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Book Review: A Clash of Kings – George R. R. Martin

At a time when A Game of Thrones is a hot topic, I really want to keep the fervour going because it is SO WELL DESERVED! As some of you may know, I have been re-reading the books since around December last year. My reading schedule meant that I couldn’t fit the whole series in before the TV show, but never mind! It doesn’t hamper my enjoyment of it at all! Are you reading the books or watching the last season?

Today, I’m reviewing my recent re-read of A Clash of Kings.

 

A Clash of Kings

Goodreads – A Clash of Kings

A comet the color of blood and flame cuts across the sky. Two great leaders—Lord Eddard Stark and Robert Baratheon—who hold sway over an age of enforced peace are dead, victims of royal treachery. Now, from the ancient citadel of Dragonstone to the forbidding shores of Winterfell, chaos reigns. Six factions struggle for control of a divided land and the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms, preparing to stake their claims through tempest, turmoil, and war.

It is a tale in which brother plots against brother and the dead rise to walk in the night. Here a princess masquerades as an orphan boy; a knight of the mind prepares a poison for a treacherous sorceress; and wild men descend from the Mountains of the Moon to ravage the countryside. Against a backdrop of incest and fratricide, alchemy and murder, victory may go to the men and women possessed of the coldest steel…and the coldest hearts. For when kings clash, the whole land trembles.

Here is the second volume in George R.R. Martin magnificent cycle of novels that includes A Game of Thrones and A Storm of Swords. As a whole, this series comprises a genuine masterpiece of modern fantasy, bringing together the best the genre has to offer. Magic, mystery, intrigue, romance, and adventure fill these pages and transport us to a world unlike any we have ever experienced. Already hailed as a classic, George R.R. Martin stunning series is destined to stand as one of the great achievements of imaginative fiction.

 

My Thoughts…

Where book one of the Song of Ice and Fire series sets the scene for a long haul conflict that spans the remainder of the series, A Clash of Kings is the true beginning of the conflict. A Clash of Kings introduces a number of new characters (and dragons) to the game, including new chapters from the perspectives of Davos and Theon. The growing war over the true heir to the Iron Throne drives great change into the lives of many. Every character has a unique storyline.

It isn’t something I noticed until I went back to the beginning, but the complexity and sophistication of the character relationships and narrative develops gradually throughout the books. It was only making the jump back from A Dance with Dragons to the beginning again that I noticed how simple things were in the early days… by comparison anyway.

Even though the complexity increases, never have I found each character arc difficult to follow. Each character perspective is re-visited frequently enough that we don’t forget where they are and what they are up to. Geographically, the narrative is far more diverse than A Game of Thrones. However, as we are building on a sturdy foundation of geography, history and lore already established, the progression feels natural, not confusing.

I can talk about the love of my series all I like; in the grand scheme of things, my review is unlikely to make a difference about whether someone picks up the series or not. Arguably the TV series has been the greatest influence on book sales, with 8 million copies of A Game of Thrones being sold following the airing of the first season (source: Forbes). It’s a topic that a lot of people are talking about right now, and as a lover of the books and the TV show, jointly and severally, I am proud to be a part of the community.

 

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Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 5th May 2019

I’m writing today’s Sunday Summary post with headphones in – again! Things haven’t been all that bad here for about two weeks now, but there have been bad periods tonight and it’s honestly ridiculous. As a rule, I work best in relative quiet, but I am genuinely resorting to choosing my own noise over that of my neighbour’s TV. Otherwise, I’ve had a mediocre week but great weekend. The first week back at work is never fun; however, my sister is visiting this weekend. At least I’ve had that to look forward to!

I’ve also started a busy reading month ahead of me. Inspired by my recent time off, I’ve got the urge to read lots of books so I’m pushing the boundaries a little. If you want to take a look at the books on my list this month, I’ve published my reading list and you can find it here. A little later in the week I published my review of Ewan Pendle and the Castle of Nightmares, as well as reminisced a little over the early days… good times.

 

Books Read

I began the week where I left off in last week’s Sunday Summary post with Maskerade by Terry Pratchett. I was aiming to get this finished by Monday at the latest, but I actually finished it on Tuesday in the early evening. Without hesitation, I quickly picked up my first book from this month’s TBR, The Drawing of the Three by Stephen King. I’ve been making steady progress throughout the week and I’m at 80%. I’ll be reading more tonight and fingers crossed, I’ll have it finished by tomorrow. I said that last week too, but I’m more hopeful this time!

I also finished the novella about the history of Lock In, so I’ve started a new audiobook. The Painted Man by Peter Brett is a little different from the books I have listened to previously. It’s narrated really well and I have gotten into it quite quickly!

 

Books Discovered

Not so much discovered, but I treated myself to paperback copies of A Storm of Swords: Part 2 and A Feast for Crows after payday.

 

Coming Up…

What’s coming up on the blog next week? When I type this, or something similar, the thought that follows is “good question”. It’s rare that I’ve planned so far ahead that I know this point before I start writing this section.

I think I am going to tackle another review early this week because I have a few to catch up on. Whilst we fans are all in Game of Thrones fever, I’m thinking to review A Clash of Kings.

Later in the week, I’d like to take another look at the TBR and whittle it down. Removing the books I am no longer interested in will make it appear a little more manageable… until I add a ton more books at least!

What are you up to this week? What books are you reading?

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Book Review: Ewan Pendle and the Castle of Nightmares – Shaun Hume

***I have been provided with a copy of this book by the author for the purpose of providing an honest review. All opinions stated are my own***

My review of Ewan Pendle and the Castle of Nightmares feels a little overdue, but I have been looking forward to writing this post! The timing of the post is actually quite interesting. I have recently had my two year blog anniversary and I have been thinking back a lot to those early days. One of the earliest book reviews I posted was for the first book of Shaun Hume’s fantasy series, Ewan Pendle and the White Wraith. Incidentally, my review today is two weeks shy of the two year anniversary of that post! A strange part of me feels like we have grown together…

 

Ewan Pendle and the Castle of Nightmares

 

Goodreads – Ewan Pendle and the Castle of Nightmares

When Ewan Pendle began his second training year at Firedrake Lyceum, he thought it might at least be easier than the first. Now that he knew he was a Lenitnes, one of an ancient race of peoples who alone can see the real Creatures which inhabit the earth, he hoped things would maybe go a little downhill from here … How wrong he was.

Ewan is summoned by Alice Blazely, the would be assassin who he and his friends Mathilde and Enid helped capture last year, the cunning woman using her final wish after being sentenced to death for her crimes to request a private meeting with Ewan. Alone together in a deep and dank cell, Alice reveals a secret which could turn Ewan’s world upside down – again. Does she hold the answer to deciphering Ewan’s disturbing reoccurring dreams? Can he ever trust the woman who wanted to see him dead?

As if a shocking revelation from a new foe wasn’t enough to handle, Ewan must also tackle a sea monster in the Thames, deal with the evil Rosethorn twins, come face to face with a shadow troll in a London alleyway and bargain with a crafty dragon, and attempt to find a treasure lost for over a thousand years …

As the summer ends, Ewan’s year long initiation into the world of creatures and the Lenitnes is finally over. But it’s then when monsters of all shapes and sizes really do start leaping, clawing and flying at him thick and fast!

 

My Thoughts…

Ewan Pendle, his friends and the fantasy world he lives in has come on leaps and bounds since the first book. Where Ewan Pendle and the White Wraith lays the foundations of the series, this next book builds upon the established world in ways that I never could have imagined. Character relations are becoming more complex and I’m starting to feel a wider plot developing. I can’t wait to see what comes next!

The writing and narrative style of this second instalment of Ewan Pendle’s adventures has improved from the first book, in my opinion. I think having invested the time in setting everything up in the first book; the action and characters have more opportunity to shine through now, and they DO! I really love the additional world-building, such as the history of Firedrake Lyceum, being incorporated into the narrative in a clever way. Chapters are nice and concise as well, which makes for easy reading.

Ewan and friends, in their highly adventurous (and slightly, enjoyably reckless) way, risk their lives to locate a castle seen only through Ewan’s dreams/nightmares. Once Ewan’s connection to these dreams becomes apparent he must do everything he can to prevent the living nightmare. Ewan, by nature, is an introverted character. He can really come out of his shell when he needs to though. The depth of emotion he has makes him feel really real, and as someone who can relate to him really well, it makes me root for him all the more!

I can’t help but feel that this series will keep on giving. Each book is paced really well. They drive the story forward in a way that unveils new secrets and challenges as existing ones are resolved. I have said it before and I’ll say it again… I cannot wait to see what happens next! There are developments within this book that I didn’t see coming at all; I’m expecting a lot of surprises to come.

 

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Reading List – May 2019

We are just over a third of the way through the year – isn’t that a scary thought?! Yes, it’s time to publish another reading list; I have lots of plans this month. My recent time off has got me kind of excited and slightly ambitious about this TBR. I have lots of books that I want to pick up now and in order to achieve my goal, I’m thinking of experimenting a little more with reading more than one book at once. This worked really well for me recently, so why wouldn’t it in the long term?

I’m also excited to be picking up more books that aren’t part of blog tours. I am only taking part in one tour this month (in stark contrast to the four I did last month). It affords me more freedom to choose books I have wanted to pick up for some time! I fully expect my last book of the list is going to appear on next month’s list too – it’s an epic in its own right.

 

Sword Song – Bernard Cornwell

 

“Bernard Cornwell ranks as the current alpha male of testoterone-enriched historical fiction….This satisfying tale leaves you hungry for more of Uhtred’s adventures.” -USA Today

The year is 885, and England is at peace, divided between the Danish Kingdom to the north and the Saxon kingdom of Wessex in the south. Warrior by instinct and Viking by nature, Uhtred, the dispossessed son of Northumbrian lord, has land, a wife and children-and a duty to King Alfred to hold the frontier on the Thames. But a dead man has risen, and new Vikings have invaded the decayed Roman city of London with dreams of conquering Wessex…with Uhtred’s help. Suddenly forced to weigh his oath to the king against the dangerous turning side of shifting allegiances and deadly power struggles, Uhtred-Alfred’s sharpest sword-must now make the choice that will determine England’s future.

 

I’ve recently watched Season 3 of the TV adaptation, The Last Kingdom, and it has re-ignited my love for the story! I last picked up the series nearly two years ago now – June 2017. That’s far too long! I had barely started my blog at that point.

 

Son of the Moon – Jennifer Macaire

 

Can you face the consequences of cheating the Fates? Alexander the Great journeys to India, where he and Ashley are welcomed with feasts and treachery. With their son, Paul, being worshiped as the Son of the Moon, and Alexander’s looming death, Ashley considers the unthinkable: how to save them and whether she dares to cheat Fate?

 

This read is my one and only blog tour of the month. I have read the first two books in the series already, The Road to Alexander and Legends of Persia already. I’m really enjoying the series so far; I’ll be the first to hold my hands up and say that I know very little of the time period itself. Whilst it’s great to visit favourites (Tudor History, for example), it’s also refreshing to try something new. This is a gamble that really paid off on this occasion!

 

Seventh Decimate – Stephen Donaldson

 

Fire. Wind. Pestilence. Earthquake. Drought. Lightning. These are the six Decimates, wielded by sorcerers for both good and evil.

But a seventh Decimate exists–the most devastating one of all…

For centuries, the realms of Belleger and Amika have been at war, with sorcerers from both sides brandishing the Decimates to rain blood and pain upon their enemy. But somehow, in some way, the Amikans have discovered and invoked a seventh Decimate, one that strips all lesser sorcery of its power. And now the Bellegerins stand defenseless.

Prince Bifalt, eldest son of the Bellegerin King, would like to see the world wiped free of sorcerers. But it is he who is charged with finding the repository of all of their knowledge, to find the book of the seventh Decimate–and reverse the fate of his land.

All hope rests with Bifalt. But the legendary library, which may or may not exist, lies beyond an unforgiving desert and treacherous mountains–and beyond the borders of his own experience. Wracked by hunger and fatigue, sacrificing loyal men along the way, Bifalt will discover that there is a game being played by those far more powerful than he could ever imagine. And that he is nothing but a pawn…

 

I have plans to read a book that Gollancz have sent to me for review next month, called The God Within. That book is the second instalment of a series. You can probably guess where this is leading… There is no way I’ll be able to pick that up knowing that I haven’t read the first book –so here it is! A bit of pre-reading, shall we say…

 

The Drawing of the Three – Stephen King

 

This second volume in the epic series ‘The Dark Tower’ both stands alone and continues the adventures of Roland of Gilead. He has mysteriously stepped through the doorway in time to 1980s America, where he meets Eddie Dean and Odetta Holmes.

 

I have started reading this book already! I finished April’s TBR at the 11th hour (almost precisely) yesterday and decided that I wanted to get stuck in with May’s list. This is my first victim ahem book of choice for the month! It’s been too long since reading the first book really; I need to pick these up sooner!

 

The Empress of All Seasons – Emiko Jean

 

In a palace of illusions, nothing is what it seems.

Each generation, a competition is held to find the next empress of Honoku. The rules are simple. Survive the palace’s enchanted seasonal rooms. Conquer Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. Marry the prince. All are eligible to compete—all except yōkai, supernatural monsters and spirits whom the human emperor is determined to enslave and destroy.

Mari has spent a lifetime training to become empress. Winning should be easy. And it would be, if she weren’t hiding a dangerous secret. Mari is a yōkai with the ability to transform into a terrifying monster. If discovered, her life will be forfeit. As she struggles to keep her true identity hidden, Mari’s fate collides with that of Taro, the prince who has no desire to inherit the imperial throne, and Akira, a half-human, half-yōkai outcast.

Torn between duty and love, loyalty and betrayal, vengeance and forgiveness, the choices of Mari, Taro, and Akira will decide the fate of Honoku in this beautifully written, edge-of-your-seat YA fantasy.

 

Here is another read sent to me by Gollancz for review. I haven’t really read all that much fantasy aimed at a YA audience lately, so I am looking forward to seeing how I like this book. I think the plotline is really interesting – it’s what has enticed me to read it the most!

 

A Feast for Crows – George R. R. Martin

 

Crows will fight over a dead man’s flesh, and kill each other for his eyes.

Bloodthirsty, treacherous and cunning, the Lannisters are in power on the Iron Throne in the name of the boy-king Tommen. The war in the Seven Kingdoms has burned itself out, but in its bitter aftermath new conflicts spark to life.

The Martells of Dorne and the Starks of Winterfell seek vengeance for their dead. Euron Crow’s Eye, as black a pirate as ever raised a sail, returns from the smoking ruins of Valyria to claim the Iron Isles. From the icy north, where Others threaten the Wall, apprentice Maester Samwell Tarly brings a mysterious babe in arms to the Citadel.

Against a backdrop of incest and fratricide, alchemy and murder, victory will go to the men and women possessed of the coldest steel and the coldest hearts.

 

There is absolutely no way I am going to get all the above books read in one month, but if I can read the rest and at least make a START on this one, I’ll be happy! Naturally, A Game of Thrones is hot-topic at the moment with the final series already halfway through (and wasn’t that last episode epic?!) Now more than ever I am keen to pick up the books and continue to enjoy the experience.

 

What are you reading?

 

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Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 28th April 2019

This week has been one of the best this year, by far! I’ve had a much-deserved break from work to relax, catch up on some sleep… and read plenty of books! Apparently, the break was needed too. An eagle-eyed reader of last week’s post may have noticed I managed to get the date very, very wrong – a month wrong, in fact. Well done if you spotted it – if you didn’t it’s too late now because I’ve corrected that grievous error…

I’ve not been sleeping well lately thanks to an inconsiderate night-owl neighbour. Not to jinx it, but things have been alright this week, so fingers crossed my complaints have finally made an impact!

 

Although I had more time on my hands this week, the blog schedule remained as usual. My focus was on the reading side, so I have stuck to my three posts. My first blog post of the week landed on Wednesday and I decided to resurrect my “Quintessential Quotes” post. I last made one last year and this time, I wanted to take a look at another fantasy author I am fast becoming a huge fan of – Brandon Sanderson. The particular book I decided to feature was “The Way of Kings”. On Friday I took part in my last blog tour of the month for Justice Gone by N. Lombardi Jr.

 

Books Read

I’ve had such a productive week in reading terms. It’s not very often that I manage to get through so much simply because I’m out at work! Now I understand how some people can get through so many books in a week. I was talking to my parents about how much I have been reading on Friday and my mum joked that I will probably die surrounded by books and cats. Suffocation by TBR doesn’t sound like the worst way to go…

Following on from last week, I ended up reading Justice Gone and The Watcher of Dead time pretty much side by side. It’s not very often I do this, but it felt right. Reading one and then the other worked because it enabled me to take a break from each when I needed to, but I was able to keep up the momentum. The narratives and genres are completely different, which helps. I can’t read anything to similar at the same time but that wasn’t a problem here at all.

In the last couple of days, I picked up the last book of the TBR for April, Maskerade by Terry Pratchett. His books are always a great laugh and quite easy to read. I’m two-thirds of the way through currently and I expect I’ll have it finished by tomorrow at the latest. Who knows, for the first time in a long while (if not ever) I might actually get to start a monthly TBR early!

I may have been at home most of the week, but I did have a couple of trips out in the car. I have finished the main storyline of Lock In and I am now listening to the novella also included in the audiobook that tells us the history of Haden’s syndrome.

 

Books Discovered

In addition to being off work this week, payday rolled around (finally)! So, yes, I treated myself to a couple of books. One of these I needed pretty much straight away, since my library don’t have this one in their e-book library. The second book is one that I could have borrowed from them, but I have bought the first three books already. I have just watched Season 3 of The Last Kingdom and it’s reminded me that I really need to pick up the next book. Sword Song is book four of the series and I expect I’ll be picking it up really soon!

 

Coming Up…

It’s that time of the month when I am thinking about my next TBR. I am really excited about it, because having been off and had a taste of the luxury of time; I want to read all the books! I have so many in mind I fear I won’t get around to them all. I’m either going to have to reluctantly postpone one or two or really pull my finger out to dedicate every spare moment I have to the cause. I’m yet to decide, but I’ll let you know in my reading list post!

A little later in the week, I’m going to be writing a book review that isn’t for a blog tour! It’s been so long since I’ve done one and I now have a bit of a backlist. Usually, I refer to Goodreads, but because I have done so many tours a few books still to review are quite far down the list now. To be sure I don’t forget them, I’ve started a list on my phone to be sure nothing is forgotten! Since I have been reading Shaun Hume’s book for so long (and I got the chance to put all my feedback together whilst I have been off work – another win!) it’s time I finally committed to a review.

 

Top Blog Posts of the Week

A Reader to Whatever End – This Savage Song (Monsters of Verity #1) – Book Review

Book Bosomed Blonde – Experimental Star Ratings

Two Turn the Page Book Reviews – #bookreview – Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

Jennifer Tar Heel Reader – Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer

Jack’s Bedtime Reading – My Favourite Fantasy Worlds

You probably hate me now for all this talk of time off work (lucky bitch), and fair enough! Just remember that I have to go back tomorrow and I am very acutely aware of this fact. I’m not looking forward to it! Reading the antics of Terry Pratchett’s creations had best keep me sane…

 

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Blog Tour Review: Justice Gone – N. Lombardi Jr

Today is my final blog tour post of the month. This tour had me reading something a little out of my comfort zone, yet I was equally keen to try it! Thank you to the author and to Rachel @ Rachel’s Random Resources for the opportunity to take part and try something new!

 

Justice Gone

A beaten homeless vet. Three cops gunned down. A multistate manhunt. The trial of the decade.

A new kind of legal thriller

When a homeless war veteran is beaten to death by the police, stormy protests ensue, engulfing a small New Jersey town. Soon after, three cops are gunned down.

A multi-state manhunt is underway for a cop killer on the loose. And Dr Tessa Thorpe, a veteran’s counselor, is caught up in the chase.

Donald Darfield, an African-American Iraqi war vet, war-time buddy of the beaten man, and one of Tessa’s patients, is holed up in a mountain cabin. Tessa, acting on instinct, sets off to find him, but the swarm of law enforcement officers gets there first, leading to Darfield’s dramatic capture.

Now, the only people separating him from the lethal needle of state justice are Tessa and ageing blind lawyer, Nathaniel Bodine. Can they untangle the web tightening around Darfield in time, when the press and the justice system are baying for revenge?

Purchase Links: –   Amazon UK     Amazon US     Barnes & Noble     Book Depository     Waterstones     Kobo

 

My Thoughts…

Reading Justice Gone was a new experience for me. It’s rare that I read anything with a military undertone – if I do, it’s historical (WW2 etc). The lives of war veteran’s after they have served their country, and the daily difficulties they face, as a result, isn’t really well known.

I found the novel easier to read the further developed the story became. Each character is easy to invest in and as many of the characters have experienced trauma as a result of a military background, I found myself empathising with them so easily. I love how openly PTSD is discussed and that there isn’t a stigma around men expressing their true feelings.

“What makes a person if not their own experiences?”

It’s a poignant quote from the book and it has stuck with me… simply because it’s true! Vets returning from service aren’t given the support needed to integrate themselves back into society and are then punished for acting out in the only way they know.

There is a degree of violence in the book which some readers may not like, but I personally didn’t find it off-putting. If anything, experiencing these moments with the characters drives home the feelings of injustice even more.

I was mainly drawn to the book for the promise of a legal thriller – and I was not disappointed! Donald Darfield stands accused murdering three police officers, who days before had beaten his friend and sergeant to death. Reminiscent of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, the novel tackles the challenges and failings of the justice system, as well as racial and socioeconomic bias in society.

 

 

Author Bio

N. Lombardi Jr, the N for Nicholas, has spent over half his life in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, working as a groundwater geologist. Nick can speak five languages: Swahili, Thai, Lao, Chinese, and Khmer (Cambodian).

In 1997, while visiting Lao People’s Democratic Republic, he witnessed the remnants of a secret war that had been waged for nine years, among which were children wounded from leftover cluster bombs. Driven by what he saw, he worked on The Plain of Jars for the next eight years.

Nick maintains a website with content that spans most aspects of the novel: The Secret War, Laotian culture, Buddhism etc. http://plainofjars.net

His second novel, Journey Towards a Falling Sun, is set in the wild frontier of northern Kenya.

His latest novel, Justice Gone was inspired by the fatal beating of a homeless man by police.

Nick now lives in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Social Media Links –

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6982373.N_Lombardi_Jr_

http://www.author-n-lombardi-jr.com/

Quintessential Quotes – Favourite Quotes from The Stormlight Archives #1

It’s been over a year since I last shared one of these posts. I don’t really know why I don’t do them more often – they’re an opportunity to share the best parts of a book or series to others! To date, I have only written these posts covering a series of books. Today’s post, however, is just going to cover one book in particular – The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson.

 

The Way of Kings

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson, The Way of Kings, Book One of the Stormlight Archive begins an incredible new saga of epic proportion.

Roshar is a world of stone and storms. Uncanny tempests of incredible power sweep across the rocky terrain so frequently that they have shaped ecology and civilization alike. Animals hide in shells, trees pull in branches, and grass retracts into the soilless ground. Cities are built only where the topography offers shelter.

It has been centuries since the fall of the ten consecrated orders known as the Knights Radiant, but their Shardblades and Shardplate remain: mystical swords and suits of armor that transform ordinary men into near-invincible warriors. Men trade kingdoms for Shardblades. Wars were fought for them, and won by them.

One such war rages on a ruined landscape called the Shattered Plains. There, Kaladin, who traded his medical apprenticeship for a spear to protect his little brother, has been reduced to slavery. In a war that makes no sense, where ten armies fight separately against a single foe, he struggles to save his men and to fathom the leaders who consider them expendable.

Brightlord Dalinar Kholin commands one of those other armies. Like his brother, the late king, he is fascinated by an ancient text called The Way of Kings. Troubled by over-powering visions of ancient times and the Knights Radiant, he has begun to doubt his own sanity.

Across the ocean, an untried young woman named Shallan seeks to train under an eminent scholar and notorious heretic, Dalinar’s niece, Jasnah. Though she genuinely loves learning, Shallan’s motives are less than pure. As she plans a daring theft, her research for Jasnah hints at secrets of the Knights Radiant and the true cause of the war.

The result of over ten years of planning, writing, and world-building, The Way of Kings is but the opening movement of the Stormlight Archive, a bold masterpiece in the making.

Speak again the ancient oaths:

Life before death.
Strength before weakness.
Journey before Destination.

and return to men the Shards they once bore.

The Knights Radiant must stand again.

 

Brandon Sanderson is fast becoming one of my favourite fantasy writers.

I first picked up his Mistborn trilogy and I loved the concept of magic still having a physical basis (it stems from ingesting different metal compositions) and the subsequent limitations that has. The Stormlight Archives magic has a similar dependency but on the completely different elements of light.

It’s taking all my self-control not to pick up the rest of this series too quickly. This epic fantasy series is anticipated to consist of ten books and as yet, only three have been published. I’m trying to pace myself. I really enjoyed the first book though, so I’ll cave in sometime soon. If anything, writing this post and looking at some of my favourite quotes from the book makes me want to pick up Words of Radiance already!

Of the five quotes I have picked out, these last two have to be my favourite!

 

Have you read The Way of Kings or any other books by Brandon Sanderson? Do you have any recommendations for me?

 

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Blog Tour Review: Trust Me – K. J. McGillick

After reading Facing a Twisted Judgment and Karma Never Loses an Address, I knew K. J. McGillick was an author I was going to be keeping my eyes out for. When I received an email from Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources advertising this new tour, I signed up straight away!

 

Trust Me

Sex. Power. Murder.

Dr. Gabriel Blackwell and his wife Sandra Blake have it all. He’s a brilliant thoracic surgeon. She’s a high-powered attorney with family money. Their lives are as loving as they are glamorous.

Or are they?

When a nurse Dr. Blackwell works with is brutally murdered, the questions fly. Who would want to kill this woman and why? When an autopsy reveals the woman was pregnant, all signs point to Dr. Blackwell. Just what was her relationship with him?

Whispers about a scandalous sex club surface. How many other lovers are there? Are any of them safe? How far would he go to protect his reputation?

Tragedy strikes again as Sandra Blake is found dead floating in their pool. Dr. Blackwell now finds himself on trial for two murders. Facing life in prison, Dr. Blackwell will grasp at any straw to preserve his freedom.

Any straw.

Is anyone innocent? Is anyone safe?

 

Purchase Links:     Amazon UK     Amazon US

 

My Thoughts…

Mary and her ever-expanding legal team are back and taking on more cases. The path to justice never runs smoothly though. Trust Me is fraught with danger, plot twists and amoral clients – Mary and her team of attorneys really have their work cut out for them! Poppy and Mr Martin are the firm’s newest recruits. They join Dahlia, Tallulah and Eloise in a myriad of complex legal cases – from criminal defence to probate matters.

Although not as closely linked as the previous books I have read by K. J. McGillick, there are a number of overlapping characters in Trust Me that make for friendly faces. Don’t let Mary’s innocent old lady act fool you – she’s one senior citizen I wouldn’t like to cross! She also has an eye for bright-spark attorneys. They are all fantastic at their jobs both inside and outside of the courtroom and it’s great to see them have the odd moral-dilemma of representing someone they don’t believe. It reminds us that they are human too.

Each of these books is cleverly written so as to explain enough about the legal elements of each case, but in a way that is believable in context and approachable to the reader. Wading through legal jargon isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and I feel the author has been successfully mindful to balance the narrative. The author’s experience in the profession really shines through!

The drama unfolds at a pace that is both easy to follow and to read, even in quite long sittings (without necessarily realising it!). It keeps you pining for that next chapter and wondering what will happen next, even when it isn’t in your hand. Trust Me.

Thank you to the author and to Rachel for the opportunity to read another thoroughly enjoyable crime fiction novel! I sincerely hope this isn’t the last we have seen of the team and can’t wait to find out what trouble lands on their doorstep next!

 

Author Bio

K. J. McGillick was born in New York and once she started to walk she never stopped running. But that’s what New Yorker’s do. Right? A Registered Nurse, a lawyer now author.

As she evolved so did her career choices. After completing her graduate degree in nursing, she spent many years in the university setting sharing the dreams of the enthusiastic nursing students she taught. After twenty rewarding years in the medical field she attended law school and has spent the last twenty-four years as an attorney helping people navigate the turbulent waters of the legal system. Not an easy feat. And now? Now she is sharing the characters she loves with readers hoping they are intrigued by her twisting and turning plots and entertained by her writing

Social Media Links –

https://www.facebook.com/KJMcGillickauthor/

Kathleen McGillick

@KJMcGillickAuth

http://www.kjmcgillick.com/

https://twitter.com/KJMcGillickAuth

 

 

down the tbr hole

Down the TBR Hole #20

Down the TBR Hole is a meme created by Lia @ Lost in a Story. The idea is to review the books on your TBR to decide if you still want to read them. The rules are as follows: –

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books.
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

So, without further adieu, let’s review the next five books on my list!

 

Kill the Father – Sandrone Dazieri

Goodreads – Kill the Father

‘The rock cast a sharp, dark shadow over a shape huddled on the ground. Please don’t let it be the boy, Colomba thought. Her silent prayer didn’t go unanswered. The corpse belonged to the mother.’

THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN STOP HIM IS THE ONE WHO GOT AWAY…

Dante Torre spent eleven young years in captivity – held by a man known only as The Father – before outwitting his abductor. Now working for the police force, Torre’s methods are unorthodox but his brilliance is clear. When a young child goes missing in similar circumstances in Rome, Torre must confront the demons of his past to attempt to solve the case.

Paired with Deputy Captain Colomba Caselli, a fierce, warrior-like detective still reeling from having survived a bloody catastrophe, all evidence suggests The Father is active after being dormant for decades, and that he’s looking forward to a reunion with Dante…

 

When I discovered this book I knew it was something I would love to read. Doesn’t the synopsis just sound so eerily intriguing? I’ve got a paperback copy of this sat on my bookshelf in the hallway ready to read. As a rule, I only tend to get myself physical copies of books if I know I’ll enjoy them. To me, they’re just a little more prestigious than e-books. I’m choosier about the physical books I buy I suppose. They’re more expensive and going to be out on display. I have to be sure I’ll enjoy them!

Verdict: Keep

 

Executed – R. R. Haywood

Goodreads – Executed

The team of heroes extracted from their timelines to stop the impending apocalypse didn’t think they needed a leader.

But they’ve got one anyway.

With their mission in tatters, Miri has been called in to steady the ship. And to focus them on their assignment: preventing the end of the world.

The problem is, the world doesn’t know it’s in danger. With governments pursuing them relentlessly, attempting to steal the time-travel device to use for their own ends, the heroes are on the run—fighting for survival in a world they’re supposed to save.

Meanwhile, Miri has motives of her own. And when the existence of a second device is discovered, the team’s mission and their lives are in mortal danger…

 

I’ve read the first book of this series but to be honest, after talking to some people, I have doubts about whether to continue reading it. I liked the first book in an “it’s okay, readable”, but not exceptional way. From what others have said, I don’t think it gets any better. There’s some kind of romance element that comes in later too. I don’t like that all that much in books; I can deal with it if the rest of the book is so good that it makes up for it, but I think I’ll regret keeping going with these.

Verdict: Go

 

Dancer’s Lament – Ian Esslemont

Goodreads – Dancer’s Lament

Taking Malazan fans back to that troubled continent’s turbulent early history. The opening chapter in Ian C. Esslemont’s epic new fantasy sequence, the Path to Ascendancy trilogy.

For ages warfare has crippled the continent as minor city states, baronies, and principalities fought in an endless round of hostilities. Only the alliance of the rival Tali and Quon cities could field the resources to mount a hegemony from coast to coast — and thus become known as Quon Tali.

It is a generation since the collapse of this dynasty and regional powers are once more rousing themselves. Into this arena of renewed border wars come two youths to the powerful central city state that is Li Heng. One is named Dorin, and he comes determined to prove himself the most skilled assassin of his age; he is chasing the other youth — a Dal Hon mage who has proven himself annoyingly difficult to kill.

Li Heng has been guided and warded for centuries by the powerful sorceress known as the “Protectress”, and she allows no rivals. She and her cabal of five mage servants were enough to repel the Quon Tali Iron Legions — what could two youths hope to accomplish under their stifling rule?

Yet under the new and ambitious King Chulalorn the Third, Itko Kan is on the march from the south. He sends his own assassin servants, the Nightblades, against the city, and there are hints that he also commands inhuman forces out of legend.

While above all, shadows swirl oddly about Li Heng, and monstrous slathering beasts seem to appear from nowhere to run howling through the street. It is a time of chaos and upheaval, and in chaos, as the young Dal Hon mage would say, there is opportunity.

 

I really like the sound of this fantasy novel. It seems to have some cliché character roles, but for the sake of a good story and world-building, I can live with that.

Verdict: Keep

 

Eagles in the Storm – Ben Kane

Goodreads – Eagles in the Storm

Arminius has been defeated, one of the three eagles has been recovered, and thousands of German tribesmen slain. Yet these successes aren’t nearly enough for senior centurion Lucius Tullus. Not until Arminius is dead, his old legion’s eagle liberated and the enemy tribes completely vanquished will he rest. But Arminius is still at large, devious, fearless and burning for revenge of his own. Charismatic as ever, he raises another large tribal army, which will harry the Romans the length and breadth of the land. Into this cauldron of bloodshed, danger and treachery, Tullus must go – alone. His mission – to find and bring back his legion’s eagle – will place him in more danger than he has ever faced before. Can he succeed? Can he even survive?

 

When I bought this, I didn’t realise it was the third book in the Eagles of Rome series. It’s definitely a keeper, but I am going to have to get myself the first two books and read them before I even think about picking this up. Just knowing they are in the wrong order is enough. I can’t do it. Maybe I’m a little OCD.

Verdict: Keep

 

Murder on the Orient Express – Agatha Christie

Goodreads – Murder on the Orient Express

What more can a mystery addict desire than a much-loathed murder victim found aboard the luxurious Orient Express with multiple stab wounds, thirteen likely suspects, an incomparably brilliant detective in Hercule Poirot, and the most ingenious crime ever conceived?

 

Maybe it seems a little unfair to have my doubts about such a classic, but now I do. I managed to watch the recent film starring Kenneth Branagh and Johnny Depp – in fact, I think that’s why I added this to my TBR! I have reservations about the book though if I’m honest. It’s a tale so well known that I think it won’t meet expectations, so to speak. I’ll want to like it so much that I’ll be twice as disappointed if I don’t. I’ve also been reading a lot of crime/mystery lately. Maybe I’m growing a little bored of the genre.

Verdict: Go

So, that’s 2/5 off the list! What do you think? Do you agree with me?

 

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Top Ten Tuesday – Struggles of being a book blogger

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme, originally created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

Don’t get me wrong – I love being a book blogger. Having the opportunity to talk about books I love is an absolute privilege. My blog has always been about me (sorry that probably sounds really selfish, but it’s true!) Likes, comments and follows are an amazing perk, but my goal with my blog has always been about channelling my passion for reading and writing.

Nearly two years on, I still have a lot to learn about blogging. I’m still not very good at some things; I can be honest with myself about that. Whether you are new to blogging or a veteran, there’s a lot of juggling to do. Taking on such a hobby is a steep learning curve, but it’s achievable if you have the will and the motivation to make it. There are difficult days though. It’s not always going to be plain sailing. Here are my top ten struggles as a book blogger:-

 

Time

The largest commodity you have (and lose) when it comes to book blogging is time. A review post, when you take into consideration the time taken to read the book in question, can take several hours to produce. On average, for a 300-page book, I probably spend around four hours reading it and at least an hour and a half on my blog post itself. That’s quite a lot, right?

But of course, there is more to life than blogging. We need to eat, sleep, go to work (boo!) or meet friends from time to time etc. All these things snatch an awful lot of time off your hands. You’d be surprised how quickly it disappears!

 

Motivation

Sometimes, things are great! You can devour a book in two hours and get a review chucked together pretty damn quickly. It doesn’t always work that way though. If you’ve been slogging away and making slow progress for a little while, you feel the need for a break. There’s nothing wrong with that. My main hobby outside of the blog at the moment is playing Minecraft (such a nerd, I know). If I need a break from books, I’ll either try to build some new structures in my survival world; go explore some caves and/or strip mine or try (and usually fail) to build a redstone contraption. For those that don’t know, redstone is Minecraft’s equivalent of electricity. I’m not very good with it right now.

 

Being active on Social Media

For some people, this comes as naturally as breathing. On the other hand, I am terrible at it. I’m not religious with posting on my blog accounts (when I probably should be) and I pretty much never post on personal ones. It’s just not natural to me. Some people like to photograph every meal and post it online before they touch it (if there’s no proof it didn’t happen, one may argue). Not me though – I’d rather just eat it…

 

 

Reading Other Blogs

As a blogger, you would like to think I would read other people’s blogs. We’re all part of the same community; it’s only natural, right? Yes, you’re right, and again this is something I am prepared to admit I am terrible at.

I have to make a conscious effort to remember to read other blogs. I’m not in the habit. I even tried to incorporate a section in my Sunday Summary post to appreciate the best posts I’d read that week as an incentive. It’s not worked as well as I’d have liked, but I’m working on it. Promise!!

 

SEO / Marketing

Like, I get the concept, but this whole business is just a whole lot of complicated. I’m never going to be an expert at it so I’m not going to try. If Yoast’s little icon goes green, then I’m happy.

 

 

Over-commitment

It is far too easy to agree to every blog tour, review request and ARC that comes your way. That’s the quickest way to land yourself in a shit-storm. I’ll be frank. I’ve almost done it. When you sign up for too much or have too many imminent deadlines, the danger is you’ll shut down and maybe even turn away from blogging completely. The best thing to do is try not to take on too much. Learn what you are capable of managing and learn to say no. It’s hard, but you’ll thank yourself later. Trust me.

 

Writing posts last minute

This is kind of a drawback as last minute PC updates and blog downtime can put a spanner in the works. You might not even be in the right headspace to write that review that’s due to be published tomorrow. I’ve been here too. Whilst it’s a drawback in a way, I also couldn’t plan these things too much in advance. Firstly, I don’t have the time to write material to give myself a buffer, not even for a week. Secondly, I wouldn’t feel the payoff like I do now. By the time a post goes live, it won’t be fresh in my mind; I’ll have lost my connection to it or even forgotten it entirely.

 

Anti-socialism

This one sounds a little paradoxical – how can someone who publishes their thoughts and feelings openly online and interact with others about that be anti-social? By this, I’m talking about my people circle here at home. My friends and I aren’t the greatest at making plans anyway, but there are times when I don’t even want to go out and socialise – especially if I know I have a busy stint coming up blog-wise. Sorry guys…

 

 

Graphic design/ imagery

I admire people that can put so much time and effort into graphic design. I enjoy doing it, but being my usual last minute self, I don’t have time to produce new graphics for every blog post. I recycle where possible (a lot) and I should probably pull my finger out and try to mix things up a bit more.

 

 

 

Posting reviews to other sites

I know posting reviews to sites like Amazon and Goodreads are so helpful to authors, but I’m not the quickest in getting around to doing it. I tend to do it in batches where possible, but only semi-regularly. I’m just as bad at updating my review index too if that’s any consolation? No, I didn’t think that was going to work, but God loves a trier.

 

 

BLOGGERS – How long have you been blogging and what are your top struggles? Drop me a comment below and we’ll see if we have anything in common!

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