Tag: Fiction

Sunday Summary – 25th February 2024

I’m back with my usual Sunday Summary update, and I’m looking forward to sharing what I’ve been up to this week! As always, I hope you’ve had a great one?

This week has been more chilled out than last, so I have more in the way of reading updates to catch you up on very shortly. First, let’s take a look at the blog posts I’ve shared so far this week.

My first post of the week was a Top Ten Tuesday post. In that post, I explored some of the fun superpowers I wish I had to help me along with my bookish endeavours. From infinite storage space to being able to remember every minute detail about books, I had a lot of fun thinking about this post. The content is a bit more whimsical than I’ve been posting of late and it was great fun to draft. If you haven’t checked out that post yet, as usual, I’ll provide a link to that here.

My next post was a Shelf Control feature. This is the third post I have shared of its kind so far this year, and once again I have shared a historical non-fiction with you. I obviously went through a flurry of adding these to my reading list! Although they are the same genre, each of the three books I have featured so far are all from different time periods. This week’s feature post explores history of Tudor England. It’s a short book, but when I’m looking forward to reading to refresh my knowledge on a topic I already know I love.

 

Books Read

 

The Queen’s Gambit

I left off from last week’s Sunday Summary post in between books. After some debate, I decided to pick up my Instagram poll pick runner-up next, being The Queen’s Gambit by Walter Tevis.

I added this book to my reading list after watching the Netflix series several years ago. I already knew what to expect in terms of the storyline and characterisation. The time between watching the TV show and picking up this book has probably helped negate any real comparison between the two as it wasn’t too fresh in my mind. I was still able to enjoy the story without overthinking how it compared with the Netflix show.

The Queen’s Gambit is a relatively short book, and I read this in its entirety this week. I rated the book four stars as I enjoyed the storyline, characterisation and flow of the plot. Whilst I have some basic understanding of chess and how to play, this prior knowledge isn’t especially needed to be able to understand the book. If that’s something that worries you, don’t let that put you off!

 

Hogfather

Next, I picked up what is my current read as of this Sunday Summary post. I only started this book yesterday, but already I have read 37%.

Hogfather has a really approachable narrative and is generally a bit of fun. I wish I’d had the foresight to check when this was coming up in the series, as I’d have read it in December if I’d known it was next. Hogfather is part of the Death miniseries within Discworld, and pokes fun at the concept of Father Christmas and belief.

I’m really enjoying the book so far, and given that I’ve managed to read about 160 odd pages in 24 hours, I can’t imagine I will be too long reading this book. In any case, it’s a digital loan from my library so I’ll have to get my skates on.

 

The Atlas Six

Finally, I have started listening to The Atlas Six again this week. As usually happens with me, I have let progress in audiobooks fall by the wayside in the last few weeks. However, I’ve had the motivation to start listening again this week, and I’m glad I have. I’m still not very far into the narrative, but I’m intrigued by the characters and where events in the book are going to take us.

This week, I listened to about two hours of the audio. Whilst it’s not a huge amount, it is a start considering it has been nearly 3 weeks since I last picked this up. Now that I am back into the story and the characters, I’m going to look to find more opportunities to listen whenever and wherever I can!

 

Books Discovered

Remember last week I shared that I got some book vouchers for my birthday? Well, I may have spent some of them this week 😇

I picked up quite the range of books this week. From cyborg assassins (Lifelik3) to biology (The Song of the Cell), it’s fair to say I’ve got quite the range in reading taste!

In addition to these, I picked up a couple more non-fiction books – The Survivor and Normal Women. Whilst Normal Women wasn’t officially on my TBR, it has been on my radar. You may recall that I featured a podcast from Philippa Gregory of the same name in my Well, I Didn’t Know That! series. This podcast features research that contributed towards the book, and I really enjoyed listening to the particular episode I shared. I was aware the book was coming out soon, but I confess that it had escaped my notice that it was out already. I happened to see a copy of it just as I was turning to pay for the others I picked up. I’m glad I spotted it last minute, and I eagerly grabbed a copy!

 

Coming Up…

Usual scheduling will be put on hold this week as we are already at the end of February. Where on earth has the time gone?

My first post of the week will be a Discussion Post. In this post, I’ll share how my reading tastes have changed over time. I plan to cover my reading tastes from my teenage years onwards, so that’s quite a time span to cover!

On Friday I’ll share my Monthly Wrap Up for February. Overall, I’ve read less books this month than I have for a while. It shouldn’t be a particularly long post, but I’m doing my best to fit in as much reading before then as I can! Maybe I’ll surprise myself?

As always, I’ll round up the week with another Sunday Summary update for you at the same time next week!

Until the next post, that is all from me. What are you reading right now? Do you have any recommendations for me?

 

signature

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Threads

Sunday Summary – 18th February 2024

Good evening readers and welcome to this Sunday Summary update!

This week has been an unusual week of social plans, and so you’ll find this post a little light when it comes to reading updates. I celebrated my birthday this week, so I’ve had plans with family and friends over different days for the occasion. For the first time ever, I’ve also taken part in tree planting with a local charity just this morning. It’s a coincidence that it happened to be this week as well, but I’m ready for a rest! 😂

I did manage to turn out a couple of blog posts earlier in the week. The first of those posts was my book review of Skyward by Brandon Sanderson. Whilst I’ve had the time to be able to share more reviews, I wanted to feature this young adult sci-fi as I have really enjoyed the series. I have already read the next two books in the series and will be reading the fourth shortly. It made sense to kickoff with my review of this first book so then I can follow on with the rest.

On Friday I shared a First Lines Friday post. This week’s feature was inspired by conversations I’ve had with family in the last week or so about a specific author. Mum has been reading other books written by the author of this week’s feature (that I’ve already reviewed on my blog). Plus, mum’s recommended me a TV series based on another book of hers I intend to pick up very soon. If you want to find out what that is, you can check out that post here.

 

Books Read

 

Heart of the Sun Warrior

As of last week’s Sunday Summary post, I was 75% into Heart of the Sun Warrior by Sue Lyn Tan.

My initial hopes of finishing this book quite quickly were quashed by the amount of ‘extra curricular’ stuff I’ve been doing this week. I have finished this book now, but I didn’t finish it until yesterday.

Overall, I rated this four stars. It could have been a three star, but I actually really enjoyed the ending. I wasn’t sure how the love triangle was going to play out. Had it gone the way I was expecting, I think that would have impacted the rating. The ending, however, was better than expected and so bumped it up to a four star.

I’m pleased that I can tick this off my reading list as complete as that is a series now wrapped up. It’s my first series concluded in 2024 – let’s hope it’s not the last!

 

Books Discovered

I didn’t receive any books for my birthday this year, but I was very fortunate to get vouchers so that I can spend them down the line…

I’m gutted! Can’t you tell? 😉

 

Coming Up…

My first post of the week will be a bit of a fun one. As I’ve shared some reviews lately, I want to lighten the content by sharing my version of this week’s Top Ten Tuesday post. This week’s topic is bookish superpowers I wish I had! There are many…

On Friday I’ll be back with another Shelf Control feature. I’ve already shared two non-fiction historical books in these features so far and I’ve got a third lined up for this week’s post. It’s a completely different time period and subject to those I’ve already featured in this series so far. I like to read about a lot of historical periods, clearly! I hope you can check out this post.

As always, I’ll be back this time next week with another Sunday Summary update for you. As of this post, I have a lot less in the way of social plans lined up so I’m hopeful that more reading will get done. We’ll see though!

Until my next post, happy reading!

 

signature

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Threads

First Lines Friday – 16/02/2024

Happy Friday fellow readers and welcome to another First Lines Friday feature post!

When I decided to share this feature, I kept my options open as to the book I could feature in today’s post. I’m glad I did that, as conversations within my family this week inspired today’s choice.

I’m not going to give you too much ramble here because I am keen to get stuck in. However, one thing I will say in the interest of transparency is that today’s First Lines Friday introduction contains swearing.

Read on at your discretion…

 

‘It’s an unfortunate situation.’

Bishop John Durkin smiles, benevolently.

I’m pretty sure that Bishop John Durkin does everything benevolently, even taking a shit.

The youngest Bishop to preside over the North Notts diocese, he’s a skilled orator, author of several acclaimed theological papers, and, if he hadn’t at least tried to walk on water, I’d be amazed.

He’s also a wanker.

I know it. His colleagues know it. His staff know it. Secretly, I think, even he knows it.

 

 

The Burning Girls – C. J. Tudor

 

Genre: Horror/Thriller

Pages: 396

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Penguin

Publication Date: 23 Nov 2021

 

 

Goodreads – The Burning Girls

An unconventional vicar moves to a remote corner of the English countryside, only to discover a community haunted by death and disappearances both past and present–and intent on keeping its dark secrets–in this explosive, unsettling thriller from acclaimed author C. J. Tudor.

Welcome to Chapel Croft. Five hundred years ago, eight protestant martyrs were burned at the stake here. Thirty years ago, two teenage girls disappeared without a trace. And two months ago, the vicar of the local parish killed himself.

Reverend Jack Brooks, a single parent with a fourteen-year-old daughter and a heavy conscience, arrives in the village hoping to make a fresh start and find some peace. Instead, Jack finds a town mired in secrecy and a strange welcome package: an old exorcism kit and a note quoting scripture. “But there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed and hidden that will not be known.”

The more Jack and her daughter Flo get acquainted with the town and its strange denizens, the deeper they are drawn into their rifts, mysteries, and suspicions. And when Flo is troubled by strange sightings in the old chapel, it becomes apparent that there are ghosts here that refuse to be laid to rest.

But uncovering the truth can be deadly in a village where everyone has something to protect, everyone has links with the village’s bloody past, and no one trusts an outsider.

 

My Thoughts…

The Burning Girls, and CJ Tudor, have been topics of conversation amongst my family in the last week. It’s this inspiration that led to The Burning Girls being featured in today’s First Lines Friday post.

Mum has been reading The Chalk Man, CJ Tudor’s debut novel and we’ve been chatting about it. I’m pleased to say that Mum enjoyed this debut just as much as I did, and she is very quickly moving on to The Taking of Annie Thorne.

The recommendations have also gone the other way. Mum and Dad have been watching the TV drama based on the featured book in this post, The Burning Girls. Mum recommended this to me to watch last weekend as they thoroughly enjoyed it. I do intend to watch the TV series, but it’s also making me think about picking up the book. Shock horror, you say?

I picked up a copy of this in paperback format fairly recently, even though the book has been on my TBR since December 2022. Part of the reason I wanted to pick this up and physical format was because that’s how I’ve read CJ Tudor’s other books to date. I also bought it in this format so I could pass it on to Mum to read if she wants to after me. I did the same thing with The Chalk Man and The Taking of Annie Thorne. Although in practice, Mum does the majority of her reading at lunchtime and so purchased kindle copies for ease. And why not!

Either way, I hope I enjoy The Burning Girls as much as I did her other books, and that I can pass on this copy as a recommendation once I’ve read it to somebody I think will love it!

Have you read The Burning Girls, watched the TV series, or any other books by CJ Tudor? Have you enjoyed this First Lines Friday feature? As always, I would love to hear from you!

 

signature

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Threads

Book Review: Skyward – Brandon Sanderson

Whilst I have the time to catch up on some outstanding book reviews, I’m making the most of the situation and sharing some of my favourites. Today, I share my thoughts on the first book in Brandon Sanderson’s YA sci-fi series, Skyward.

I have a lot of great things to say about this book! At the time of publishing this review, I’ve read three out of the four books currently on the market. I’ll be looking to pick up the next in the series, Defiant, very soon!

 

Skyward – Brandon Sanderson

Genre: Science-fiction

Pages: 513

Audience: Young Adult

Publisher: Gollancz

Publication Date: 06 Nov 2018

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

 

Goodreads –  Skyward

Defeated, crushed, and driven almost to extinction, the remnants of the human race are trapped on a planet that is constantly attacked by mysterious alien starfighters. Spensa, a teenage girl living among them, longs to be a pilot. When she discovers the wreckage of an ancient ship, she realizes this dream might be possible—assuming she can repair the ship, navigate flight school, and (perhaps most importantly) persuade the strange machine to help her. Because this ship, uniquely, appears to have a soul.

 

My Thoughts

 

Plot

Skyward has an interesting plot that sucks you in from the synopsis. In truth though, there is far more to explore underneath the surface.

The narrative in which we explore through Spensa’s viewpoint is far more complex than meets the eye. The world history, Spensa’s upbringing and the discovery of a mysterious ship only start us off on this detailed, action-packed narrative. Although we pick up events from Spensa’s discovery onwards, in reality the set up of what happens in this book begins far earlier, and we unravel this history throughout the present day narrative.

As a military sci-fi, fans of combat will have plenty to enjoy in this book. We graduate alongside Spensa through training into live fighting. The drama and suspense keeps us on our toes as we never quite trust that the characters we grow to love throughout the book are safe. They’re not…

 

Setting

Science fiction fans will not be disappointed with the rich descriptions and detail in Skyward. Both in terms of the physical setting and the political environment Spensa grows up in, there is plenty to explore.

Skyward excels in its ability to stand out in the science fiction genre without too much techno-babble and jargon. As a book aimed at young readers, it’s especially important that Sanderson got this right… and indeed he did! I enjoy science fiction, although I wouldn’t say I have the brains for too much techy speak. I was able to follow everything with ease.

What makes this book extra special is that over time, we come to realise that the world and plot introduced throughout the first 400-450 pages is just a small speck in the galaxy. Skyward paves the way for the epic series it is, and sets the scene for the remaining books excellently!

 

Characters

The book is predominantly told from the perspective of a teenager who has grown up in the shadow of her father. His name is tarred for turning against his fleet in the midst of battle. Many try to discount Spensa and prevent her from training to fly out of fear that she will do the same thing as her father.

And in fairness, Spensa is a loose cannon. She is impulsive and independent, which are not traits conducive to an environment where teamwork is essential. Spensa has a lot to learn over the course of the book, about herself, but also about the perceptions that have tarnished her name throughout her childhood.

Whilst the book does well in sharing a detailed plot with rich descriptions, character development is also very prevalent in this narrative. I would say the book has a reasonable 50-50 split of both of these elements. Whether you prefer an action driven narrative or a character driven narrative, there is ample of each.

 

Narrative Style

With a young adult audience in mind, the narrative needs to be easy to read and approachable for a younger audience. Brendan Sanderson does this very well. This makes both the book and genre approachable to new or less developed readers and would serve as a great introduction to the genre.

At over 500 pages, there is plenty of storyline here to sink our teeth into. It has its fair share of twists and unexpected events. These are entwined into the narrative seamlessly and are shocking but not so complex but they cannot be understood either.

 

Summary

If you are looking for a new sci-fi series to start reading without complex jargon, and with a strong female protagonist, Skyward is one I would highly recommend. As of this post, I have gone on to read further two books in the series, with the fourth book recently out and making it to my reading list soon!

Brandon Sanderson is an author I will go back to time and again regardless of genre. If you are a fan of his fantasy books, don’t let the change of genre put you off giving this a try. He is a fantastic writer and being able to lend himself to different storylines, and indeed genre.

Have you read the Skyward or any other books by Brandon Sanderson that you would love to recommend to my readers?

 

signature

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Threads

Sunday Summary – 11th February 2024

Good evening friends – I’m back with my usual Sunday Summary post! If you are new here, Sunday Summary is my weekly update in which I share with you what I’ve been reading and sharing on my blog.

Before we get into the books I picked up this week, let’s do a quick recap of the blog post I’ve already shared.

The first post I shared this week went live on Wednesday. That post was a book review of Lost Solace by Karl Drinkwater. I have already read a number of Karl Drinkwater’s books before. They were part of a side series to Lost Solace. After months of trying to get to the book, I finally read it in November last year. It’s always a pleasure to feature this author my blog; I have enjoyed every single book of his to date. If you want to find out more about this introduction to his main sci-fi series with a strong female lead and a witty AI, you can find out more here.

On Friday, I shared the next instalment in my Shelf Control regular feature. This is the second post of its kind of this year, and it also happens to feature a second historical non-fiction novel. Where the previous instalment looks at World War II, we step back far further into the realms of Ancient Egypt in Friday’s featured book. It is a biography of a famous female pharaoh, and not the one you would imagine. If your interest is piqued, you can find that post here.

 

Books Read

 

Heart of the Sun Warrior

I’ve only really made progress with one book this week, but it is another reasonable size. I’ve still managed to read a good few hundred pages.

Heart of the Sun Warrior is the sequel to Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan. I initially read the first book of this duology last year. Given that I’m trying to read more series, picking up the sequel was a natural choice.

As I borrowed this from my library digitally, I’m actually reading this book on my phone. It’s not my favourite format, but I’m making do. I’m enjoying the book, the complexities of the plot and the character relations within. I especially enjoy this book as I like the Asian inspiration behind the characters and storyline. I’m very used to reading westernised fantasy. It’s making a refreshing change to pick up something different.

As of this Sunday Summary, I am bang on 75% of the way through and hopeful that I’ll finish it shortly!

 

Books Discovered

After watching the first episode of Fool Me Once on TV, I have added the book of the same name by Harlan Coben to my reading list.

 

Coming Up…

Midweek, I plan to share a book review with you. I have quite the backlog, and I want to share another fun sci-fi book series with you. I am a huge fan of Brandon Sanderson, and I have read three out of four books of his Skyward series so far. I am yet to review any of the books in his series so far, so that’s what I’ll be featuring this week!

On Friday, I’ll be back with my First Lines Friday feature post. As with the last time I shared this type of post, I’m going to keep the topic free so that I have flexibility to feature what I want nearer the time. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun to pose myself a challenge sometimes. However, I’m quite happy to allow myself full flexibility on this occasion.

You know what’s coming next. I’ll be back at the end of next week with another Sunday Summary update. I’ll catch you up on the books I have read over the course of the week, any I’ve added to my reading list, and lastly, what is coming up on the blog.

Thanks for taking the time to read this Sunday Summary post!

What are you reading?

 

signature

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Threads

Book Review: Lost Solace – Karl Drinkwater

In November last year, I finally picked up Lost Solace by Karl Drinkwater. For months I tried to get to the book, but didn’t quite get there. Having read and reviewed numerous books in his Lost Tales of Solace series already, I was excited to finally see how they intertwined with the main series he has written.

If you enjoy fast-paced science-fiction and are interested in diving into a new series, then Lost Solace won’t disappoint!

Let’s take a look at the book!

 

Lost Solace – Karl Drinkwater

Genre: Science-fiction

Pages: 287

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Organic Apocalypse

Publication Date: 15 Oct 2017

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

 

Goodreads –  Lost Solace

 

They’re called the Lost Ships … but sometimes they come back.

And when they do the crews are missing, while the ships have been strangely altered, rumoured to be full of horrors.

Opal Imbiana has been seeking something her whole life. It’s a secret so precious she’s willing to risk her life recovering it from a recently discovered Lost Ship, in a lonely nebula far from colonised space.

She’s just one woman, entering an alien and lethal environment. But with the aid of an amazing AI companion and experimental armoured suit, Opal might just stand a chance.

This blast of a book kickstarted the much-loved Lost Solace series, about an unlikely friendship between two women who keep hope alive in the darkest of times.

 

My Thoughts

 

Plot

If you enjoy fast paced and action-led plots, then Lost Solace is a book you won’t want to miss! Full of twists and turns, within is a compelling storyline in which we explore interesting facets of the lore in this world.

Opal is determined to explore the hostile environment of a re-emerged Lost Ship. Not only does she have the local environment to overcome, but she is also challenged by other humans on her quest for discovery. With an AI, Clarissa, on her side, she sets out to do what would appear to be impossible.

In a race against time, will Opal and Clarissa prevail? 

 

Setting

The Lost Ship is an eerie setting that we get to explore throughout the narrative. Whilst Opal and Clarissa feel very isolated in their quest, they are far from alone. If the local hostile environment wasn’t enough to contend with, Opal is being hunted down.

The tension and atmosphere Karl Drinkwater incorporates into this already busy narrative is impressive. Although the book overall is very action-led, there is enough world-building and description incorporated into the narrative to construct the deserted and eerie atmosphere present throughout.

 

Characters

Lost Solace is told from the perspective of two strong female leads. The first of these is Opal. She is a strong and inquisitive individual, empowered by her determination and force of will. Opal is accompanied by an AI known as Clarissa. She is incredibly smart – as can only be expected from a supercomputer. However, this isn’t just where her strengths lie.

For artificial intelligence, she is full of humour and dry wit. It’s a facet of personality that I only expected from her character as a result of reading Helene, and it works very well. It makes her stand out and adds depth to her personality. The interactions between Opal and Clarissa are hilarious to read. They break up the action in the book, making for a well-rounded read.

As a little extra, we also get to see characters from Karl Drinkwater’s other Lost Tales of Solace series. It was fun to see the overlap and get to revisit some of these individuals!

 

Narrative Style

Lost Solace has an easy to read, flowing narrative style. It is written in such a way that the book is approachable for readers of all levels and experience. Although a science-fiction book, the content isn’t so technologically advanced that readers are unable to understand what’s going on. It strikes up just the right balance of setting the scene, but also being clear and descriptive so no presumed knowledge is required.

At under 300 pages, it is also a quick read. I am a fast reader anyway, but a book of this length is definitely approachable for anyone interested in the genre, and for any level of commitment.

 

Summary

I am a fan of science-fiction, so I was never not going to love Lost Solace. It is the first book in a series that I will be continuing with as soon as possible!

Lastly, I cannot help but share the dedication that Karl includes in the opening of this book. I loved it!

To strong women everywhere, at all times. 

 

Have you read Lost Solace, or any other books by Karl Drinkwater?

 

signature

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Threads

Sunday Summary – 4th February 2024

Evening all and welcome to my Sunday Summary update for this week! It’s been a busy week with blog posts as it’s the beginning of the month. This is my fourth post of the week so far! Normally I’d spread the posts out over the week, but the way timing has worked out, they’re all at latter end.

My first post of the week was my monthly wrap-up for January, which was shared on Thursday. I read seven books in full in January, with plenty of variety in there! If you are interested to see what books I picked up, that’s the post to check out.

On Friday, I took part in a blog tour post for Sword of Vengeance by Peter Gibbons. In that post, I shared my thoughts on this fourth instalment in the series. If you’re following the series and want to find out more, you can see my thoughts in my review above.

Yesterday, I shared my February TBR. With a long reading list completed in January, I set myself another ambitious list to keep up momentum. If you want to find out what I’m reading this month, you can find a link to my reading list using the link above.

 

Books Read

 

The Black Coats

This week I picked up The Black Coats by Colleen Oakes. I intended to read this in January, but I ended up finishing the book a couple of days ago.

As a contemporary fiction, it was quite a quick read. I enjoyed the feminist angle on the narrative and how the plot line progressed. It was a fun read, and although not too long, there was enough in there to help me invested in the characters and plot.

There is also plenty of action in the book to keep it moving forward. My reading pace with this book was naturally quite quick as the constantly moving and unfolding narrative kept me wanting to read more!

 

The Atlas Six

I’ve also made a little progress with The Atlas Six this week. As of this Sunday Summary, I’m still at the stage of getting to know the main characters and the set up of the book. However, I’m intrigued by everything I have listened to so far and I’m really enjoying the production.

I like how each of the main characters have been cast separately, as they are easy to identify and each have their own distinct voices and personalities. I’m not picky when it comes to audiobooks in terms of casting, or whether it is narrated by multiple people or not. However, I do seem to be enjoying multi-cast audiobooks a little more.

I’m looking forward to listening to more of this in the coming week!

 

Books Discovered

It’s another clean bill this week with no new books added to my reading list! As I’ve also finished The Black Coats, as of today’s post the reading list is at a mere 195 books to read.

Not many then…

 

Coming Up…

My first blog post of next week will be a book review. Since reading the book in November 2023, I’ve intended to share my review of Lost Solace by Karl Drinkwater. I have read and reviewed multiple books in a side series of Karl’s previously. If you like science-fiction then make sure you check out my review in the coming days!

On Friday, I’ll be back with another Friday feature. This week, it is the turn of Shelf Control. If you are unfamiliar with the series, it encourages me to review upcoming books on my reading list and share why I’m looking forward to them. It’s proved a great way of whittling down the reading list behind the scenes if I’ve changed my mind on something since I added it. Otherwise, it hypes me to pick it up. Hopefully soon, but then I do have a lot to read so I can’t always promise that…

Lastly, you know that I’ll be back with another Sunday Summary at the same time next week.

Until then, happy reading!

 

signature

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Threads

Blog Tour Review: Sword of Vengeance – Peter Gibbons

I feel especially privileged to bring you a review of Sword of Vengeance on both publication day and for the opening leg of this blog tour!

I’ve had the pleasure to feature two out of the three previous books in the series as part of tours – Warrior and Protector and Brothers of the Sword. I would have featured the second book in the series, Storm of War as well, if not for my oversight of missing the tour invite! This is a great historical fiction series to pick up if you love your Viking era literature.

Before we get into my review, I always take the opportunity to say thank you to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources, and to the author, Peter Gibbons for the opportunity to review the book as part of the tour.

 

Sword of Vengeance – Peter Gibbons

Genre: Historical Fiction

Pages:

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Boldwood Books

Publication Date: 02 Feb 2024

Rating: 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

 

Goodreads – Sword of Vengeance

In the aftermath of the great battle of Maldon, justice is demanded and vengeance will be served!

992AD

King Aethelred’s the Unready’s army has been defeated at the historic Battle of Maldon by Viking invaders led by Olaf Tryggvason and King Sweyn Forkbeard.

The strategic turning point of the battle was when Godric, an East Saxon Thegn, fled the battlefield taking with him the Saxon army, leaving behind his brothers to be massacred in a welter of blood and Norse axe blades.

Saxon warrior Beornoth emerges from the ashes of defeat with his heart aflame with vengeance and when King Aethelred sends for Bernoth with orders to punish those traitors responsible for the crushing defeat, he heeds the king’s call.

With a small band of loyal warriors, Bernoth embarks on an unforgiving journey across the perilous landscape to seek out Godric and exact his bloody revenge. They must fight their way through a world teeming with political intrigue, shifting alliances and the ever-present threat of the Vikings.

Can Beornoth triumph over insurmountable odds in this pulse pounding quest for retribution?

If you enjoyed The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell, you’ll love Beornoth’s Quest for Vengeance!

 

Purchase Link

 

My Thoughts

 

Plot

Sword of Vengeance is a fact-paced and action-packed narrative. That’s hardly surprising as the precedent was set from the get-go in this series, Warrior and Protector.

Events of the book pick up immediately after the conclusion of book three. I’m not giving away any spoilers here, so rest assured. What I can say is that the consequences of that battle, and the drama, are the driving forces of events in this book.

Beornoth and his brave warriors demand vengeance, and these bloodthirsty men have no qualms in seeking it out themselves! As with previous books though, there is an element of underlying politics and a wider plot which still touches on this very personal narrative. As a prominent warrior, Beornoth cannot wholly serve himself, and his ties to some of the most powerful men in the country ensure his actions have both impact and repercussions across the country.

 

Characters

The narrative of Sword of Vengeance is a very personal one in nature. Through this, we find ourselves investing heavily in characters such as Beornoth and Brand. They are the favourites we have come to know throughout earlier books in the series. In particular, I love their individual intricate stories and relationship with each other.

I never quite know or trust what will happen to characters in these books. Peter Gibbons doesn’t spare characters from rough treatment and puts them in the firing line time and again. After the events of previous books, I cannot be sure that the characters we have come to know and love will come unscathed. It’s both terrifying and exhilarating!

 

Setting

Beornoth and his band undertake a fair degree of travel in the book. New settings are beautifully and vividly described. If you are the type of reader visualise such things as you read, you will not find the narrative or descriptions wanting.

Although the main focus of the plot centres around Beornoth and his quest for vengeance, we still get to enjoy the wider setting of turmoil and conflict. Vikings continue to plague the Saxon peoples. The solution presented by the church to deal with this problem is to try and pay off the Vikings. Naturally, this harbours resentment from those who ultimately end up paying the bill. The people. Warriors like Beornoth know that this is only a temporary solution, and will likely beget a larger problem once word of Saxon riches gets out.

On the whole, the depth of the narrative and setting in which events take place makes for full and comprehensive immersion in the storyline.

 

Narrative Style

What I’ve found really helpful when reading Sword of Vengeance is that main plot points in the earlier books recapped as the narrative goes along. They serve as a great reminder of what has gone before, so if it has been a while since you’ve picked up the series, or indeed, if you haven’t picked up those books yet at all, you still know what’s going on. The only reason I wouldn’t recommend reading Sword of Vengeance as a standalone is because you would miss out on three fabulous books before this one. You absolutely could though, if you wanted to. But why would you want to do yourself dirty like that?

Despite plenty of action, Sword of Vengeance is very easy to read. The action compels you to read on, and the narrative style itself is approachable for all readers. I love historical fiction, especially about this time period. As a result of this, and the ease of reading, it was a book I found myself easily getting lost in!

Peter Gibbons strikes up a great balance in these books between chapter length and descriptive detail. Neither one compromises the other, and we can appreciate both in equal measure. Some people love action in their books… others are more character driven. Sword of Vengeance brings both together in a healthy balance, meaning there are elements of this book for all readers.

 

Summary

If you love action-packed narratives full of conflict and detailed battle scenes, Sword of Vengeance will not disappoint! As a huge fan of the genre and time period of both this book and the wider series, it is very much what I hoped for!

I’ve enjoyed this series every bit as much as other books I’ve read by both big names like Bernard Cornwell and Conn Iggulden, as well as upcoming authors like M.J Porter and J.C. Duncan. If you have read any of my reviews of books by these authors and are looking for something similar, then I cannot stress enough how much you should pick up books by Peter Gibbons.

Although I haven’t read his Viking Blood and Blade series myself, I will share that it comes highly recommended to me by a work colleague of mine. Either of these series are great for fans in the genre, and I’ll be picking up that second one in my own time. If that isn’t testament to how much I enjoy Peter Gibbons writing, then I don’t know what is!

 

Author Bio

Peter Gibbons is a financial advisor and author of the highly acclaimed Viking Blood and Blade trilogy.

He comes to Boldwood with his new Saxon Warrior series, set around the 900 AD Viking invasion during the reign of King Athered the Unready. The first title of the new series, Warrior and Protector, will be published in October 2022. He originates from Liverpool and now lives with his family in County Kildare.

Social Media Links –

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/petergibbonsauthor

Sunday Summary – 28th January 2024

Good evening gang – it’s time for another Sunday Summary update. Why do the weeks just fly by? Next week is the start of February already; I honestly don’t know where January has gone! Before getting to the books I’ve read over the course of the week, let’s do a cheeky recap of the posts I’ve shared so far.

My first post of the week was a Top Ten Tuesday post. In that, I shared ten books I didn’t get to in 2023. This wasn’t so much a *top* ten as a list of ten that I just about scraped together!

On Friday I shared my first First Lines Friday post of the year. I didn’t set myself a challenge for that, so when it came to drafting it I decided to feature an opening from a favourite read of 2023. If you missed that post there’s a link above. Can you guess from the clues in the introduction what the book is?


Books Read


Crime and Punishment

As of last week’s Sunday Summary, I had read 484 pages, or just under 75%, of Crime and Punishment.

With the end in sight, I ploughed on and completed the book on Tuesday. Although it took me a little longer to read than other books I’ve picked up so far this month, I did enjoy Crime and Punishment. It was the book I expected it to be based on the synopsis and it was an interesting read. If you are unaware, the narrative explores the actions of a destitute young student who commits murder, and then struggles with his mental health and dealing with the consequences of his actions.

I am usually slower with reading classics, because of the difference in writing style and language. However, I’m glad that I’m finally able to take this one off my list as read!

 

Unmasked

I was just under half way through Unmasked as of last week’s Sunday Summary. Once again, I’ve made a good deal of progress and listened to the remaining three hours and change this week, taking me to 100% completion.

I really enjoyed Unmasked. I initially wanted to listen to the audio to understand how neurodivergence is such as autism and ADHD may affect people. Did I think I would relate to some of the symptoms or experiences as I did? No, but there we go!

If you are interested in the subject, Unmasked is written in such an approachable way that you can read as much or as little of this book as you want. It’s also a book you can go back to and read certain chapters of again. It’s well structured, comprehensive, and written very well. I also like that the audiobook is narrated by the author herself; Ellie talks a lot of her own experiences as a neurodivergent in this book, and it wouldn’t feel right to hear these narrated by someone else. It felt much more authentic coming from Ellie herself.


Sword of Vengeance

After reading the first chapter of Sword of Vengeance a couple of weeks ago at a hairdressers appointment, I picked up the book in earnest this week.

Sword of Vengeance is the fourth book in Peter Gibbons’ Saxon Warrior series. If you are a regular reader of my blog, you will know that I have been following reading and reviewing the series as part of organised blog tours. See my reviews of Warrior and Protector and Brothers of the Sword here. This fourth book is no exception. If you are interested in the series, I will be reviewing this book next week – you can find out more about when below.

Sword of Vengeance picks up where we left off after the events of Maldon and the tragic battle that took place at the end of book three. I won’t want to go into too much detail on that so I don’t spoil that third book. What I can say is that events unfold from there and once again we are thrown into a narrative of action and intrigue.

Sword of Vengeance was everything I have come to expect having read the earlier books in the series. I enjoyed the plotline and the introduction of new characters, as well as the return of favourites. If you enjoy historical fiction, and in particular, reading battle scenes, Sword of Vengeance will not disappoint you.


What next?

It’s unusual that I have to feature a section with this title, as I am rarely writing a Sunday Summary being in between books.

I generally have a couple of reads on the go, one physical or e-book, and one audiobook. I am finally getting to The Black Coats by Colleen Oakes in e-book format, which was my December TBR Jar pick. For my audiobook choice, I will be listening to The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake. Stay tuned to find out more about my reading progress and thoughts on these books over the next week!


Books Discovered

No news is good news once again this week! I’m down to 196 books on my Goodreads to-read shelf… which sadly is the lowest it’s been for a while!


Coming Up…

Next week we are in the realms of month-end. That means that it’s time to share my monthly wrap-up post for January, as well as my monthly TBR for February.

In order to accommodate those, my blogging schedule is going to be out of sync. Normally I try to post consistently throughout the week. However, with the timing of month-end and other obligations, I will be sharing four posts all in the second half of the week.

Starting on Thursday, I will be publishing my monthly wrap-up for January. I didn’t want to leave this post too long to share with you, so I am jumping in there at the first opportunity. Literally, the 1st haha!

My second post of the week goes live on Friday, and this is my blog tour review of Sword of Vengeance by Peter Gibbons. I’m glad I got this book finished earlier today as that gives me several days to draft my review and make sure I’m happy with it before going live with the tour on Friday.

On Saturday I’m sharing my TBR for February. Whilst I could technically share this on Monday the fifth, I feel like that would be quite late. Thankfully, I’ve already decided what my reading list will be and drawn my TBR Jar pick. It’s going to be another busy month… put it that way!

Then, last but not least, I’m back again to round off the week with another Sunday Summary update! In that post, I’ll recap the books I’ve read in the last seven days and update you with any books I’ve added to my reading list. Finally, I’ll share what’s coming up on the blog.

 

Summary

I hope you check out my upcoming posts as they are published. In the meantime, that is all from me in today’s post. Have a fantastic week however you spend it!

If you are reading right now, what book have you picked up? Are you enjoying it? Will you recommend it?

 

signature

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Threads

Top Ten Tuesday – Books I Didn’t Get to in 2023

Good evening readers! Posts like today’s Top Ten Tuesday are a great way to remind myself what some of my reading priorities were last year. In today’s post, I feature the books I intended to read over the course of 2023, but didn’t get to. It’s very likely I’ll try to prioritise them this year as a result!

I just about managed to scrape a list of 10 together. If I didn’t get to a specific book on a monthly TBR, I was pretty good at rolling it forward and picking it up in the following month(s) instead. There are some exceptions to that rule, though, and those are the feature of today’s Top Ten Tuesday.

Let’s see what those books were:

 

In Every Mirror She’s Black

This book was last on my February TBR and slipped the net for being rolled over into March. I’d bought my copy of the book on a whim in the 2022 post-Christmas sales. I’d chosen February to read it as February is when Black History month is celebrated.

I’m not intending to theme this February’s reading around Black History month. However, I’m always interested to read from a diverse range of authors and so I will be making an effort to do this throughout the year rather than in just one specific month.

 

The Hunchback of Notre Dame

I purchased a copy of The Hunchback of Notre Dame after going to watch a local production. This book is a tome, and whilst I had hoped to pick it up last year, I never got to it. It’s the sort of book I think you have to be in the mood for as well. Personally, I find that classics are books you need to have a certain amount of drive to pick up. The narratives don’t flow as well as modern day language; picking them up is a more deliberate action.

I did really enjoy this story, however, so I’m excited to get to The Hunchback of Notre Dame. It is just one book by Victor Hugo that I have on my reading list; the other is chunky as well!

 

To Shape A Dragon’s Breath

The next two books in today’s Top Ten Tuesday ended up on my TBR as a result of book clubs.

For a few months last year, I was reading along with an online book club. I discovered some amazing books through that, but in the end I stopped. As much as I was enjoying the books I was picking up, there was rarely any overlap with my existing reading list. Picking these up was taking away from the mountain of my own books I already have to read.

That said, I do like the sound of To Shape a Dragon’s Breath so I’ve left it on my TBR. This coincided was a busy month and so I didn’t get to start it, and the book club had moved on. As a result, there wasn’t any demand to go and read it quickly. Consequently, it temporarily fell off the list. I’ll be sweeping it up onto the list again, that’s for sure.

 

The Last Thing to Burn

The Last Thing to Burn is also a book I intended to read for a book club, but didn’t get to. Somebody in a local bookish Facebook group had posted an intention to start a book club and I was interested. However, it quickly spiralled into a large social group planning a meal out. In my opinion, the idea of the book club itself all but fell by the wayside. I had hoped to join to be able to have a good quality conversation with a few like-minded individuals, but it wasn’t meant to be.

As with To Shape A Dragon’s Breath, whilst the idea of a book club is great, reading books that other people ‘set’ take away from my time to read the books that I want to read for myself. By the end of last year, I wasn’t taking part in or reading books towards any book club at all and I’m happy with that. They are a good way to get out of your reading comfort zone, but I’m pretty good at pushing myself for now. I’ll never say never, but I have no plans to join anything any time soon.

 

Incendium

I hoped to read Incedium in November, as the book is loosely based around, or sounds similar to, the real life gunpowder plot. However, due to other reading obligations and carryovers from October, it didn’t happen.

I specifically wanted to read this book around bonfire night. Rather than land myself in the position of going into December trying to wrap up November’s books, I decided to let this one go with the intention of picking it up at the beginning of November this year instead! It’s a good job I published this Top Ten Tuesday as a reminder! 

 

The Black Coats

The Black Coats is my TBR jar pick from December. With the seasonal period, I ended up reading less than usual. As a result, I didn’t get this book before the end of the year.

However, I will be picking it up very soon. I have rolled The Black Coats onto my January TBR… although I’ll have to get a move on so I’m not rolling it on again into February! There’s still just over a week left of the month, so it’s manageable.

 

Firefight

Firefight is another book I intended to read in December but didn’t get to because of timing. There is a lot to do in December. From catching up with friends and family before the big day to actually doing the preparation for said big day… it’s amazing how much time that takes.

Plus, I had already met my official reading goal of the year and so the pressure was off. I think this contributed as well.

Whilst I won’t be reading Firefight in January, I am looking to pick this up next month instead.

 

A Storm of Swords, A Feast for Crows, A Dance with Dragons

The last three books on this Top Ten Tuesday list all tie together. At the beginning of 2023, I set out my intention to re-read George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. I did read the first couple of books in 2023.

A Storm of Swords is a little bit of a stretch on this list, because it’s more of a book I didn’t get to finish as opposed to get to at all. I ended up putting that book on hold in order to pick up other reading priorities and I never got back to it. Consequently, I never progressed from that point onwards either, meaning that A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons also went unread.

I would like to continue my re-read of the series, however. So, I intend to chip away at these books, either in print or audio, throughout 2024.

 

So, those are the books that make it to today’s Top Ten Tuesday feature.

Have you read any of the books on this list? Are there any books on this list that you haven’t got to yet but can’t wait to pick up?

As always, I would love to hear from you!

 

signature

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Threads