Tag: Fiction

First Lines Friday – 20/05/2022

Welcome to my First Lines Friday post! First Lines Friday is a regular (typically fortnightly) series on my blog. It’s a fun way to share books I love, those I am interested in and/or are on my TBR… or even just to experiment with something new!

I knew I wanted to set myself another challenge for this post. Sometimes it’s nice to have the freedom of choice to be able to pick up anything at random and feature it. However, I do relish a challenge. I was in the mood to set one for myself when I drafted my last Sunday Summary post… so here we are! The challenge I set for myself in today’s post is to feature a book I plan on reading sometime this year. It’s a fun topic because it gives me a way of getting excited for the book in advance, but the best thing about it is that I get to share some of my reading plans with you!

But, before we jump right into the spoilers, shall we check out today’s intro and see if you can guess what it is?

 

A history of the Six Duchies is of necessity a history of its ruling family, the Farseers. A complete telling would reach back beyond the founding of the first Duchy, and if search names were remembered, would you tell us of Outislanders raiding from the sea, visiting as pirates a shore more temperate and gentler than the icy beaches of the Out Islands. But we do not know the names of these earliest forebears.

And of the first real king, little more than his name and some extravagant legends remain. Taker his name was, quite simply, and perhaps with that naming began the tradition that daughters and sons of his lineage would be given names that would shape their lives and beings. Folk beliefs claim that such names were sealed to the newborn babes by magic, and that these royal offspring were incapable of betraying the virtues whose names they bore. Passed through fire and plunged through salt water and offered to the winds of the air; thus were names sealed to these chosen children. So we are told. A pretty fancy, and perhaps once there was such a ritual, but history shows us that this was not always sufficient to bind the child to the virtue that named it…

 

 

Assassin’s Apprentice – Robin Hobb

Goodreads – Assassin’s Apprentice

In a faraway land where members of the royal family are named for the virtues they embody, one young boy will become a walking enigma.

Born on the wrong side of the sheets, Fitz, son of Chivalry Farseer, is a royal bastard, cast out into the world, friendless and lonely. Only his magical link with animals – the old art known as the Wit – gives him solace and companionship. But the Wit, if used too often, is a perilous magic, and one abhorred by the nobility.

So when Fitz is finally adopted into the royal household, he must give up his old ways and embrace a new life of weaponry, scribing, courtly manners; and how to kill a man secretly, as he trains to become a royal assassin.

 

My Thoughts…

If you know your fantasy books, then you may have picked up a hint from the first sentence of today’s extract, even if you don’t recognise it in its entirety. The keyword was Farseers. Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb is the first book in the Farseers trilogy and I am finally going to start it this year!

I’ve sampled reading this book a couple of times – the first on my phone years ago and another time I think I started reading it on an iPad. But here’s the thing, I don’t read that way. I think I wanted to try the book out, to sample it and see what I thought. I was excited enough about it to go out of my way to try it, but it never quite made it to be my current read. It’s my own fault. I was always trying it at a time when I was reading something else, and it wasn’t really a priority.

But I’m going to make it a priority.

I love fantasy and I have great hopes for this series and this author. One of my friends with whom I have a similar reading taste is a fan of Robin Hobb and she has recommended these books to me in the past. I really liked what I’ve seen based on the first of chapter or two I’ve tried, and this year I swear I’m going to start in earnest.

I wouldn’t be surprised if this is a book series that makes it onto my bookshelves. My copy of Assassin’s Apprentice, the first book, is currently on kindle, and I will read it that way for the moment. If I love it as much as I think I’m going to, then I’ll end up buying a paperback copy and purchasing the rest of the series that way as well!

I can’t wait to invest time into this properly. It’s full of potential and I am looking for a new fantasy series and author to dive into! I feel like this is going to be the right time to give this a go!

 

This has been quite a long First Lines Friday post, but I hope you can tell how excited I am for this book! Have you read Assassin’s Apprentice, the rest of the trilogy or even any of the other books also written by Robin Hobb? I’d be really interested to see how you feel about the books and her writing, so please drop me a comment below and let me know what you think!

 

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First Lines Friday – 29/04/2022

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s First Lines Friday post! First Lines Friday is a regular series on my blog. It’s a fun way to share books I love, those I am interested in and/or are on my TBR… or even just to experiment with something new!

For today’s post I have set myself another challenge. My last couple of posts have been challenge-free, and so to keep the content fresh I wanted to bring this back. I am, however, bringing back a challenge I have done before, purely because I have so much content I can cover on it that it makes sense to use it. And what is that challenge you ask? To feature a book I read before I started my blog over 5 years ago now.

Shall we check out today’s intro? Can you guess which book it’s from?

 

When I wake up, the other side of the bed is cold.

My fingers stretch out, seeking Prim’s warmth but finding only the rough canvas cover of the mattress. She must have had bad dreams and climbed in with our mother. Of course she did. This is the day of the reaping.

I prop myself up on one elbow. There’s enough light in the bedroom to see them. My little sister, Prim, curled up on her side, cocooned in my mother’s body, their cheeks pressed together. In sleep, my mother looks younger, still worn but not so beaten-down. Prim’s face is as fresh as a raindrop, as lovely as the primrose for which she was named. My mother was very beautiful once, too. Or so they tell me.

 


The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins

Goodreads – The Hunger Games

Could you survive on your own in the wild, with every one out to make sure you don’t live to see the morning?

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister’s place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before—and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weight survival against humanity and life against love.


My Thoughts…

The Hunger Games is a fantastic trilogy for anyone who likes fantasy, dystopian fiction, or most importantly, a bit of both! As a huge fantasy reader, this really appealed to me as it was slightly different from the plethora of other fantasy books I was reading at the time.

The Hunger Games and the characters within offer a little bit of everything. Fantastic character development really starts with this book and blossoms throughout the trilogy. It’s the kind of book that shows you what humankind is capable of at its worst, but also can bring out the best in people as well.

I’m glad I read this trilogy. It’s a book series I really appreciate. I also really like the films made based on these books! I think it’s one of the few exceptions to the rule where the film has done the books justice.

If, like me, you have found yourself in a bit of a fantasy rut and are desperate to try and find something a little bit different in the overcrowded genre, then give this one a go! I read this at a time where I had gotten a little bit bored of fantasy because I read that much of it. The Hunger Games offers something a little bit different, and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!

I hope you have enjoyed today’s First Lines Friday feature! Have you read The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, or any of the other books in the series? I’d love to know what you thought!

 

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Book Review: Shadow and Bone – Leigh Bardugo

In today’s book review I’m sharing my thoughts on the first book of the Shadow and Bone series. I picked up this book having watched the related Netflix series. This book was already on my radar because I had read and loved the Six of Crows duology, also written by Leigh Bardugo. I had already said then that I wanted to read this series, and I’m glad I have started at last.

If you are unfamiliar with the book, here’s a little bit about it below: –

 

Shadow & Bone – Leigh Bardugo

Goodreads – Shadow and Bone

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

 

My Thoughts…

Based on the Netflix series, this book lived up to my expectations. When I went into it, I knew that I wasn’t necessarily going to love every single aspect of it. There is an element of romance to the story which I didn’t particularly like in the Netflix series either, and inevitably I was going to come across it again in the book. That said, it didn’t detract from the rest of the story in the slightest.

But I am just going to take a minute to talk about that romance, because if I can’t have a whinge on my own little space on the Internet then where can I? Why do men wielding dark and mysterious powers have to ALWAYS be drop-dead gorgeous? Can fantasy writers please have a little bit more imagination and a perspective a little more true to reality for a minute? I know it’s a fantasy book, but there’s a difference between fantastical and delusional.

People are attracted to power. I can’t deny that. But every single fantasy villain is somehow both more powerful than anybody else in the world and just as beautiful… apparently. And that annoys me. Not only is it unrealistic, but the only real way that would actually be true is if they’re also narcissistic. There are a lot of narcissistic people in the world, but does it have to be every single fantasy villain?

I love the fantasy genre, but not all of the tropes that you see time and again. It gets boring. Even reading the tropes I like again and again it gets boring. Ones that I’m not keen on in the first place can definitely go in the bin. Like this one. Anyway, disparaging comments aside, that’s not to say that my grievance with this particular element of the book took away from the rest of the story. It definitely didn’t! On the contrary, I rated this book 4 stars out of five on Goodreads. It’s still a great book!

One of my favourite things about the Six of Crows duology what was the magic system and the lore behind the Grisha. I knew straightaway that it was an element I wanted to explore in more detail, and I’m really glad I did. There is still much to be learned about these people and their magic, and so I want to pick up the rest of the series to pursue this further.

Equally, the world building and the dynamic between those of different regions in the world adds a lot to the storyline. As someone who is very uninterested in politics in real life, I like to see it play out in books. If you follow my blog you know I’m a huge fan of the likes of Game of Thrones etc, in which politics is a huge element. It definitely comes to into play in Shadow and Bone as well. Both the dynamics between characters and those of other regions are attributable to how well this is portrayed within the narrative, and it makes for an interesting division that will no doubt come to the fore in future books.

The one thing I didn’t like about the Netflix series is that it merged the story lines of Six of Crows with this book. Both are fantastic stories – but in their own right! I’m glad the author has chosen to explore these separately, because there are so much of scope and I’m looking forward to see where the rest of the series leads.

 

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First Lines Friday – 15/04/2022

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s First Lines Friday post! First Lines Friday is a regular series on my blog. It’s a fun way to share books I love, those I am interested in and/or are on my TBR… or even just to experiment with something new!

For today’s post I decided once again to keep my options open and choose a book at random. I do enjoy setting myself a challenge from time to time, but unless I have inspiration, these aren’t always the easiest. When I was drafting my Sunday Summary post last week, I had absolutely no idea as to what I might want to do; that’s why I left it open.

I have since decided to feature a book that is sat on my bookshelf and waiting to be read. I enjoy going to visit these books because it gives me a reason to get excited about picking them up in future. I have been known to prioritise a book based on featuring it, so who knows, I might be reading this one soon!

Shall we check out today’s intro?

 

Just under the surface of the waves where the ocean met the land, a hand without a body reached for someone to grab it. The hand was wrapped in plastic, so time and water hadn’t eaten it, and its fingers, unmoving, were poised and ready to be held. Nell Crane picked it up out of the foam. She placed it quietly into her satchel.

Right where the black river split into the big wild blue, Nell and Ruby Underwood were collecting bits of treasure from the foam. They were farther out than they were supposed to be, out on the city’s jagged edge, the pair of them charged with rebellion.

Besides, this was where all the best stuff washed up. Right before the hungry sea gobbled the old pieces of the city into oblivion, the estuary caught them and spread them all out on the beach. Treasure among the pebbles.

Nell wouldn’t take her boots off and stood at the kissing lip of the water, keenly eyeing the drift. A lightbulb, a coil of wire: she snatched them and tucked them away. Only useful things. Maybe they’d be the very things that would spark off a great idea – she needed one, and fast. Summer would be over soon. Days like today were a distraction from the forms Nell had not yet filled out, the letters that she hadn’t answered, the end of apprenticeship project she had not yet begun. Here by the waterside she could forget, at least for a little while.

 

 

Spare and Found Parts – Sarah Maria Griffin

Goodreads – Spare and Found Parts

Nell Crane has always been an outsider. In a city devastated by an epidemic, where survivors are all missing parts—an arm, a leg, an eye—her father is the famed scientist who created the biomechanical limbs everyone now uses. But Nell is the only one whose mechanical piece is on the inside: her heart. Since the childhood operation, she has ticked. Like a clock, like a bomb. As her community rebuilds, everyone is expected to contribute to the society’s good . . . but how can Nell live up to her father’s revolutionary idea when she has none of her own?

Then she finds a mannequin hand while salvaging on the beach—the first boy’s hand she’s ever held—and inspiration strikes. Can Nell build her own companion in a world that fears advanced technology? The deeper she sinks into this plan, the more she learns about her city—and her father, who is hiding secret experiments of his own.

 

My Thoughts…

I found this book in my local Waterstones, and it was this very same introduction that led me to buying the book! I really liked the sound of it, and it’s quite unlike anything I have ever read before. I was looking to treat myself and picked this up on a whim, and I think it’s fair to say from what we know of the book already, that I did!

In terms of timing, a book featuring an epidemic may not be for everyone. However, I think this has a really interesting premise and it has the dystopian feel that I love. I think this is aimed at a young adult genre, as opposed to being more of an adult fantasy, but I’m still excited to read it and see what it has to offer even if I’m not strictly the target audience! I’m also really excited as the book is categorised as steampunk on Goodreads. I recently read and loved another book with a similar theme, and so I think I’ll really get on with this. 

I can’t lie, I am also a really big fan of the red sprayed edges on my paperback copy. It might seem like a small thing, but I love it!

Have you read Spare and Found Parts? If so, please let me know what you thought! Equally, if you like the sound of this book and want to add it to your reading list, I’d love to hear as well!

 

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First Lines Friday – 01/04/2022

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s First Lines Friday post! First Lines Friday is a regular series on my blog. It’s a fun way to share books I love, those I am interested in and/or on my TBR or even just to experiment with something new!

For today’s post I decided to keep my options open and choose a book at random to feature. In today’s post, following a discussion I had with my friends, I’m featuring something completely different to the usual content on my blog. There is a book series that I’m considering trying, and the thing that’s most unusual about it is that the genre is not my cup of tea at all! He read a lot of my blog, you know that can mean only one thing… 

I’ve made it very clear in so many blog posts that romance is just not for me. And it’s not. However, I have been watching a popular TV series online that has got me invested in the storyline of this book. I have a friend who has also enjoyed some of the books as a result of the series, and my other friend is also going to give these a go in audiobook format, so I’m willing to give at least the first one a try too.

Have you guessed which book series I’m talking about? if not, today’s First Lines Friday intro might give you all the clues you need: –

 

The birth of Simon Arthur Henry Fitzranulph Basset, Earl Clyvedon, was met with great celebration. Church bells rang for hours, champagne flowed freely through the gargantuan castle that the newborn would call home, and the entire village of Clyvedon quit work to partake of the feast and holiday ordered by the young earl’s father.

“This,“ the baker said to the blacksmith, “is no ordinary baby.“

For Simon Arthur Henry Fitzranulph Basset would not spend his life as Earl Clyvedon. That was a courtesy title. Simon Arthur Henry Fitzranulph Basset – the baby who possessed more names than any baby could possibly need – was the heir to one of England’s oldest and richest dukedoms. And his father, the ninth Duke of Hastings, had waited years for this moment.

As he stood in the hall outside his wife’s confinement room, cradling the squalling infant, the duke’s heart near burst with pride.

Already several years past forty, he had watched his cronies – dukes and earls, all – beget heir after heir. Some had had to suffer through a few daughters before siring a precious son, but in the end, they all been assured that the lines would continue, that their blood would pass forward into the next generation of England’s elite.

 

 

The Duke & I – Julia Quinn

Goodreads – The Duke and I

In the ballrooms and drawing rooms of Regency London, rules abound. From their earliest days, children of aristocrats learn how to address an earl and curtsey before a prince—while other dictates of the ton are unspoken yet universally understood. A proper duke should be imperious and aloof. A young, marriageable lady should be amiable… but not too amiable.

Daphne Bridgerton has always failed at the latter. The fourth of eight siblings in her close-knit family, she has formed friendships with the most eligible young men in London. Everyone likes Daphne for her kindness and wit. But no one truly desires her. She is simply too deuced honest for that, too unwilling to play the romantic games that captivate gentlemen.

Amiability is not a characteristic shared by Simon Basset, Duke of Hastings. Recently returned to England from abroad, he intends to shun both marriage and society—just as his callous father shunned Simon throughout his painful childhood. Yet an encounter with his best friend’s sister offers another option. If Daphne agrees to a fake courtship, Simon can deter the mamas who parade their daughters before him. Daphne, meanwhile, will see her prospects and her reputation soar.

The plan works like a charm—at first. But amid the glittering, gossipy, cut-throat world of London’s elite, there is only one certainty: love ignores every rule…

 

My Thoughts…

I don’t know if branching out to read The Duke and I will be a good experience or not. But, as somebody who is willing to be diverse in every other reading genre, it would be rude of me not to try. There’s often a lot of bad press about books that become popular and consequently don’t live up to the hype. And I get that. I experience that with fantasy books quite a lot. However, I’d argue there are instances where popularity can be of a benefit.

If not for having watched the Netflix series, I would never have dreamed of picking up this book. I’d only started watching that series after a number of recommendations and good reviews. Even then, I’d only really put it on to experiment with it – it was more background noise than anything. But there were elements that I quickly found I enjoyed and I’ve come to like the series. I’m currently watching the second series on Netflix, with just a couple of episodes left. I believe this one deviates from the events in the book, but that’s a possible discussion for another day depending on how I get on with this first one.

It might be good, it might be bad, and equally it might fall somewhere in the middle. I just don’t know. But whilst I’m interested in the story, having watched the series, I’m willing to give this a shot. I’m not going to know what I think until I give it a try. And having read today’s introduction in preparation for this post, and a little bit further on, I can see myself giving this a healthy shot. That’s not to say I’m going to become a romance reader overnight, because that’s not true either. If I do go on to like this, it will definitely be an exception as opposed to the rule.

I hope you have enjoyed today’s First Lines Friday post! Have you read The Duke and I, or any of the books in the Bridgerton series by Julia Quinn? Let me know what you think, especially if this particular series was out of your comfort zone and you picked it up anyway!

 

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Book Review: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – J. K. Rowling

In today’s blog post I’m sharing my thoughts on Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s’ Stone, the first book of the series I’m just about to finish reading for the second time! I read this series originally as a teenager and I loved them then as much as I do now! It’s a series for just about anybody and if my reread has proven anything, is that it doesn’t matter how old you are when you pick these up. This first book of the series didn’t seem immature or childish even now. Yes, it’s a lot simpler than the later books in the series, but it’s still just as readable.

If you’re like me then you’re probably also asking yourself, how do you go about reviewing such an iconic book series? Your guess is as good as mine – I’m just going to muddle through as best I can. I know I won’t do it justice, but I can only do my best!

 

Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone – J. K. Rowling

Goodreads – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Harry Potter’s life is miserable. His parents are dead and he’s stuck with his heartless relatives, who force him to live in a tiny closet under the stairs. But his fortune changes when he receives a letter that tells him the truth about himself: he’s a wizard. A mysterious visitor rescues him from his relatives and takes him to his new home, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

After a lifetime of bottling up his magical powers, Harry finally feels like a normal kid. But even within the Wizarding community, he is special. He is the boy who lived: the only person to have ever survived a killing curse inflicted by the evil Lord Voldemort, who launched a brutal takeover of the Wizarding world, only to vanish after failing to kill Harry.

Though Harry’s first year at Hogwarts is the best of his life, not everything is perfect. There is a dangerous secret object hidden within the castle walls, and Harry believes it’s his responsibility to prevent it from falling into evil hands. But doing so will bring him into contact with forces more terrifying than he ever could have imagined.

Full of sympathetic characters, wildly imaginative situations, and countless exciting details, the first installment in the series assembles an unforgettable magical world and sets the stage for many high-stakes adventures to come.

 

My Thoughts…

The thing is I love the most about these books is that it doesn’t matter how old you are when you start reading them. I grew up with these books, and I probably read Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone either as a preteen or an early teenager. I read this book again for the first time since then last year. At around twice the age I was when I first read the book, I loved it just as much!

Whilst I would say the intended genre is probably young adult, at the same time it doesn’t feel pigeonholed there. There is so much to this series that there’s something in it for everybody! This very first book is comparatively lighthearted to the rest of the series. It’s a wonderful introduction to a vast and detailed magical world, providing fantasy readers with escapism and a life they would have loved to have lived as a child; to be quantified as special and sent off to a magical school of witchcraft and wizardry.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher‘s Stone is only a few hundred pages long. It’s an easy book to pick up and read because of the length, but also the way in which it’s written. The narrative style is very easily digestible. Personally, I think you could easily pick up and put down the book as you wish. It’s really easy to follow what’s going on and it’s honestly a pleasure to read. I read this book within a matter of days just by doing some bedtime reading. You don’t have to be an avid reader to get through this book very quickly!

I like the pacing of Harry Potter and the Philosopher‘s Stone. Being the first book in the series, there is a lot to take in. We have a lot of the setting of the scene, character and world building thrown into the mix. I find it just right so that even a younger audience could follow what is going on, but equally it’s not slow for more mature readers either. As well as all this, there’s a lot of magical excitement to keep our attention. From a plethora of spells to learn to the wonder of the everyday… such as chocolate frogs (which really do behave like frogs!); there is always something going on and keeping the action flowing in a fun way!

In my opinion, this book is the perfect introduction to the now famous series. It’s fun and exciting whilst also setting the scene for a much wider story. The story unfolds in ways that I didn’t take initially expect when I first started the books. But, I really enjoy that! If you haven’t read these yet then I honestly recommend you do. They are absolutely fantastic and they really are for absolutely anyone!

 

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Sunday Summary – 20th March 2022

Hello and welcome to my Sunday Summary update for this week! I hope it’s been a great one for you?

I originally intended to share a book with you at the beginning of this week for Harry Potter and the Philosopher‘s Stone by J. K. Rowling. And I started this post. However, I think I felt a little bit intimidated by the task. This is a fantastic book and series and I got stuck with how to begin. How do you even go about reviewing such a massive series? That’s something I’m going to have to figure out very quickly, because I still plan to share my review with you soon. Apologies it didn’t come when I said it was going to.

I did manage to draft and publish my First Lines Friday post this week. For that post, I set myself the challenge of featuring a book on this month’s TBR and I’m really happy with my choice. I picked up most of the books left on my TBR to gauge the opening lines and see which I thought was best/most interesting. For me, it was a clear winner! If you haven’t checked out that post yet you can do so with the link above, and let me know what you think of the introduction!

 

Books Read

I’m really happy with my reading progress since my last Sunday Summary update post. I had just over 130 pages remaining of Keep You Safe by Rona Halsall, and I said in my post that I was going to make a push this week to read it. The reality is, I started reading this book last Sunday after publishing my post and I finished reading the book at 12:15am that night! I could not put it down – the ending was brilliant and so engaging that going to bed before finishing this book was not an option! It’s an absolutely fantastic psychological thriller and I can’t wait to share my thoughts on the book with you – I cannot recommend it enough!

My next read of this week was a complete 180º – I picked up Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg. This is a non-fiction novel written by Facebook‘s chief operating officer. It looks at women in the workplace and discusses female leadership in the corporate world, what limitations women have in advancing their careers (both internal and external factors) and offers advice on what women can do in order to empower themselves.

This was a recommendation by my sister, who in turn had the book recommended to her by one of her more senior work colleagues. Now, I wouldn’t describe myself as a particularly career driven person, but I am the kind of person who will take on responsibility and accountability in my job. I want to do the best I can, and likewise if I can make things better for other people I also want to do this. Work isn’t my whole life, but I want to do a good job and make a difference as well. Do you see what I mean?

Lean In was an interesting read because it’s not only focuses on limitations that women experience from other people (both men and women, you may be surprised to hear), but also the limitations they set themselves. It is all too easy to focus on the external factors, and very difficult to be introspective and acknowledge that women sometimes hold themselves back. For not shying away from this truth, I feel like Sheryl took a well-rounded approach to the subject and there are some pieces of advice in the book that I’d like to bear in mind going forward for myself.

Whilst I haven’t physically picked it up yet as of writing this post, I plan to start reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows immediately after this blog post goes live. And I’ll be making progress with this one over the next week. Whilst it’s a bit of a chunky book, I find these so easy to read so I don’t expect it will take me too long!

As in last week’s Sunday Summary update post, I am pleased to say that I’ve listened to another couple of chapters of A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin. This is going to take a very long time to get through at this pace, so I’m going to try and make more of a habit of listening to audiobooks again. I confess I’ve fallen off the wagon a little bit here!

 

Books Discovered

There’s some happy dancing going on here this week, because once again there are no new books on my TBR. And, having read and taken a couple off the list this week, the list is going in the right direction!

For now anyway!

 

Coming Up…

I will share my review of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone this week. I WILL share my review of Harry Potter and the Philosopher‘s Stone next week.

How many times do you think I have to say the sentence in order to commit? I’m disappointed that I wasn’t able to get this ready for you as planned this week, so I’m determined to publish this post in the next few days to make up for it.

Friday is my scheduled spot for a Shelf Control post. Last time I did this fortnightly feature I cut five books off my TBR. Whilst I am certainly not planning a ‘massacre’ of that scale again, I do like that this feature gives me the opportunity to review and do this if I feel necessary. It’s also great because I love featuring books that are coming up on my list and I can get excited about them at the same time!

And finally, this time next week I’ll be sharing another Sunday summary post.

Until then, I hope you have a good week, wish you happy reading and I’ll see you in the next post!

 

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First Lines Friday – 18/03/2022

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s First Lines Friday post! First Lines Friday is a regular series on my blog. It’s a fun way to share books I love, those I am interested in and/or on my TBR or even just to experiment with something new!

For today’s post I set myself the challenge to feature a book I’ve added to my TBR this month. I made the decision last week in an attempt to get my reading motivation back after a small slump and a DNF at the beginning of this month.

I’m really excited for today’s featured book. Having looked at almost all the books left on my TBR to date, the book I was going to feature it was a clear winner. I think it has the best introduction and has the best chance of grabbing your attention.

Shall we jump into it?

 

Levan Ost’s note insisted I come alone.

The clocks were poised to strike four as I approached the meeting point. The night carried a purpleish cast, Rioque and Clada both waxing, unobscured by clouds. I stepped briskly through the winter cold. Hooded. Armed. Alert. The last time I’d met Levan Ost, he tried to shank me with a broken bottle. But that had been a long time ago and, truth be told, I’d probably deserved it.

The smell of the canal met me three streets before it came into view. The waterway was blacker than oil, the streets around it mostly deserted. Nobody wanted to live near that stench. Valengrad’s canals had never been fit for swimming in, but after the Siege, we’d tossed all the dead drudge into the canals to rot. Bad magic isn’t so easily washed away though, and the pollutants had stained even the water. Four years later, it still bore the memory.

 

Ravencry – Ed McDonald

Ravencry

Goodreads – Ravencry

Four years have passed since Nall’s Engine drove the Deep Kings back across the Misery, but as they hurl fire from the sky, darker forces plots against the republic.

A new power is rising: a ghost in the light known only as the Bright Lady manifests in visions across the city, and the cult that worship her grasp for power even as the city burns around them.

When Crowfoot’s arcane vault is breached, an object of terrible power is stolen, and Galharrow and his Blackwings must once find out which of Valengrad’s enemies is responsible before they have a chance to use it.

To save Valengrad, Galharrow, Nenn and Tnota must venture to a darker, more twisted and more dangerous place than any they’ve walked before: the very heart of the Misery.

RAVENCRY is the second book in the Raven’s Mark series, continuing the story that began with the award winning epic fantasy BLACKWING.

 

My Thoughts…

I loved reading Blackwing last month and I cannot wait to continue with the rest of the trilogy. Ravencry throws us back into yet more action, four years after the events of the first book.

The thing I love the most about these books is that no character is a hero, or even tries to be. Everybody is out for themselves and is by no means an altruist, but that makes it feel all the more real. That is definitely encapsulated in today’s introduction and if you really liked it, then these books will be great for you because it’s consistent throughout!

I love the magic and the setting of these books. There is a lot of thought that has got into the world building and the lore and there’s so much to love! Even though it is a fantasy world it is very easy to imagine and immerse yourself in. When I read Blackwing last month, it was the escapism I needed. I found it very easy to sit and read and read and read a bit more – it was effortless!

If you need any further testament to how great this series is, I gifted a copy of this trilogy to my sister’s boyfriend for Christmas. He’d read the lot by about the third week in January!

Have you read Ravencry or any other books in the trilogy? Does today’s First Lines Friday feature make you want to pick it up for yourself? 

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Sunday Summary – 13th March 2022

Hello and welcome to today’s Sunday Summary update! As always I hope you’ve had a good week whatever you have been up to?

My blogging week began on Tuesday with a Top Ten Tuesday post. In that post I featured books with my favourite book trope or theme. My chosen trope, as a big reader of fantasy books, was prophecies. Although this is very common in the genre I found that a lot of the books I’ve read are actually part of a series. So, although it feels like I’ve read a lot of them, I actually struggled to come up with 10 completely separate books/series for this post. I managed it though, and if you haven’t checked out that post already there’s a link here so you can go and take a look.

On Friday I shared a Shelf Control post. In this fortnightly series I take a look at the next book on my TBR and share some details of the book, as well as discuss why I want to read it. I was a bit brutal going through my list this week, because I ended up deleting five books off my TBR before I got to this week’s chosen feature. I’m not complaining, because I already have a lot of books on my list. If I’m not feeling it, there are plenty more out there and there is no sense in keeping them on the list!

 

Books Read

Reading progress has been a touch slower this week. I’ve been doing some other bits and pieces; I’m working on knitting a jumper at the moment and I feel like I’ve been stuck in a very similar spot for a while. So, I’ve been making the effort to try and knit at least three or four rows a day and I’m starting to see some reward from the effort! That might not sound like much, but when you’re knitting with sock weight yarn and you are a plus size girl, that’s a lot of stitches per round (360 – I checked).

I’ve also started some study for work. Along the same lines, I’ve been doing a little bit a day and because of this I’ve got myself through the first couple of chapters already. I’m really happy with my progress, so I’m going to be carrying on in much the same way.

Despite all these little extras I’m doing every day, I still managed to read about 100 pages of Keep You Safe by Rona Halsall. It’s a really interesting book and I’m liking where it’s going so far. The timeline flits between present day and the past, and the two seem to be paced quite well in that they tie together nicely.

I’m still not sure on who I’m rooting for in terms of the protagonist or the supposed antagonist. I say supposed to because I’m not sure I trust the perspective of Natalie, which is another thing I’m enjoying. I’m constantly second guessing her and trying to work out what the truth is. It’s one of those narratives where there are three sides of the story, hers, his and the truth. I can’t wait to carry on reading and unpick the rest of this story. The book is just about 330 pages long and I’m coming up to 200 now. I’m going to make a push and try and finish it next week!

I have also been listening to more of A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin this week, and I’ve got another couple of chapters under my belt.

Having considered my position this week, I’ve decided to DNF One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest by Ken Kesey. It’s just not doing it for me, and mentally I went into the beginning of this week wanting to try and pick this up again. However, I just can’t bring myself to do it,. It hasn’t drawn me in and I don’t want to spend my time trying to force myself through it. I read to enjoy myself and I’m not really enjoying this book. So, this is officially my first DNF of 2022.

 

Books Discovered

As I stated at the beginning of this post, my TBR has actually gone down this week! I’ve taken five books off the list and I haven’t added anything either, which is a miracle!

 

Coming Up…

This week I would like to share a book review with you. I am trying to make my way through my ongoing list of books to be reviewed and I’d like to chip away at this list. So, with that in mind, this week I am going to be reviewing Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. It’s saying something when you are starting to review a series that you’re just about to finish reading, and it’s seven books long!

Next week’s Friday feature will be a First Lines Friday post. For this post I am setting myself another challenge, and it’s one that I haven’t done before. For this post, I’m going to be featuring the opening lines of a book on this month’s TBR! My reading progress has been a little bit slow this week, so I’m hoping that preparing this post will psych me up and help me find the motivation to get to some of the later books on my list. We’re already nearly midway through March and I’m still only on my second book on my list!

Last, but not least, I’ll be back the same time next week for another Sunday Summary post!

Until then, I hope you have a good week and I’ll see you in the next one!

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Sunday Summary – 6th March 2022

Hello and welcome to my Sunday summary post!

It’s been a busy week here on the blog! I originally intended to share one post combining my monthly wrap-up for February and my TBR for March. However, when I started drafting that post I quickly realised that this format wasn’t really working for me. Whilst it does make sense to an extent, the post was becoming really long and I didn’t get the opportunity to include all the content I wanted. So, I decided to split these back out. So, my Monthly Wrap-up for February was posted on Tuesday and my Monthly TBR for March was shared on Thursday.

I also shared a First Lines Friday post to wrap-up the working week. In that post, I challenged myself to feature a book I’ve added to my TBR in the last three months. Let’s face it, I’ve added quite a few books in that time period and so I had plenty of scope to choose from. I’m really pleased with the book I selected and I hope you enjoyed the introduction as much as I did!

 

Books Read

When I left you in last week’s Sunday Summary post I was 60% through Blackwing by Ed McDonald. This was the book I picked up at the end of February, having swapped it from One Flew Over the Cuckoo‘s Nest.

I am glad I made the switch. I absolutely devoured reading Blackwing and the escapism fantasy books offer was exactly what I needed! I read this book in a matter of days and I’ve since decided that I’m going to continue with re-reading the trilogy.

Because I still want to read One Flew Over the Cuckoo‘s Nest, I added this to my March TBR and as of this post I am 40% through the book. I’m now doubly glad I made the switch last month because this book isn’t quite what I expected. In all honesty, I’m not sure how I feel about it. It’s perfectly readable but at the same time it’s not grabbing me in the same way either. It’s just something I feel very neutral about.

I decided to pick up a second book this week to give myself a break from it. I have picked up the next book on my TBR, Keep You Safe by Rona Halsall. This is going a lot better! I am enjoying reading this one and I managed to read 75 pages in one sitting yesterday. I expected to go into this book fully rooting for the main character. However, protagonist Natalie is a lot more complex than the synopsis lets on and I’m not sure who I’m rooting for at this point! For anyone like me who loves characters with moral shades of grey, I think it’ll be a good one for you.

I haven’t given up on One Flew Over the Cuckoo‘s Nest just yet. I’m going to continue with this next week and see how I get on. However, if it doesn’t pick up soon then I think this might be my first DNF of the year. We’ll see.

In better news, I started listening to my audiobook of A Storm of Swords again this week! It’s been a few weeks since I last put this on, however I was in the mood and I’ve managed to work my way through a few more chapters! Progress is progress!

 

Books Discovered

No new additions to the TBR for the first time in a few weeks, which is good! I’ve added enough lately, so I’ll have to give it a break if I want to delude myself that I’ll catch up at some point.

Haha, funny right?

 

Coming Up…

Next week I’ll be going back to my regular three post schedule.

It’s been a little while since I shared a Top Ten Tuesday post, and I like the sound of this week’s topic. The topic is Books With Your Favorite Trope/Theme. There are a lot of themes or tropes that could be looked at as a part of this post, so content on the blogosphere is going to be quite varied. My favourite theme for this post is going to be based around my love of fantasy books, and feature books which contain prophecies! It’s a very common thing in fantasy and it’s one of the tropes I don’t hate even though it’s a bit overused.

On Friday it’s the turn of my regular Shelf Control post. I’ll be taking another look at my TBR and sharing with you the next book on my list. I’ll share some details of the book, go into some detail as to why I added it to my list and why I still want to read it now.

Last, but not least, I’ll be back the same time next week for another Sunday Summary update!

Until then, I hope you have a good week and I’ll see you in the next post!

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