Tag: Fiction

Book Review: Rags of Time – Michael Ward

Hi everyone and welcome to today’s book review of Rags of Time by Michael Ward. I very kindly received a copy of the book in exchange for review last year and I’m looking forward to finally sharing my thoughts with you here. Before that though – here are the details of the book: –

 

Rags of Time – Michael Ward

Rags of Time by Michael Ward | Goodreads

London.

1639.

Thomas Tallant, a young and ambitious Spice Merchant, returns from India to find his city in turmoil.

A bitter struggle is brewing between King Charles I and Parliament, as England slides into civil war. The capital is simmering with dissent. The conflict is ready to boil over.

But Thomas soon has other troubles to contend with. A wealthy merchant, Sir Joseph Venell, is savagely killed; then his partner Sir Hugh Swofford plunges to his death, in the Tallant household.

Suspicion falls on Thomas, who is sucked into a mire of treachery and rumour within the City of London. As the merchant struggles to clear his name, he becomes captivated by the enigmatic Elizabeth Seymour, whose passion for astronomy and mathematics is matched only by her addiction to the gaming tables.

Pursued by the authorities, Thomas races to unmask the real killer who claims a third victim to implicate him further, toying with his future in a deadly cat and mouse game.

In a desperate race against time, Elizabeth applies her powers of logic and deduction to unearth the clues that will point to the killer, but her way is barred by a secret message from the grave.

Can she crack its code before Thomas, now a wounded and exhausted fugitive, succumbs to the chase?

And, if she succeeds, has Thomas the strength to face his tormentor and win his life and reputation back?

Rags of Time is the first book in an engaging and entertaining new historical crime series, set during the upheaval of the 17th Century.

 

My Thoughts…

I am a huge fan of historical fiction and Rags of Time gave me the opportunity to try something completely new. Set in 1639, it’s a new time period of British history for me. Whilst the events of the book are fiction, the political and religious tumult within the book reflects the difficulties King Charles I experienced in his reign. This particular historical period isn’t one I’d had much exposure to before reading Rags of Time, and so I enjoyed reading something new!

I also enjoyed the more immediate action taking place in the book. Merchants are dropping like flies and Thomas Tallant finds himself prime suspect of the murders. Desperate to prove his innocence, he takes in interest in the murders in the hopes of discovering the truth to clear his name. But the Magistrates are after him, and with men of such power on his tail, he feels the walls closing in around him.

The wide array of characters within the book adds a lot of colour and intrigue to the narrative. From those trying to help Thomas clear his name to the men who set out to prove him guilty, an array of relationships build a dense web within Thomas must navigate. I think this aspect of the book is very well-written. There are a lot of moving parts in the book and so the character relationships are consistently shifting in line with the action.

There is plenty of action in the book to keep all readers entertained. In his efforts to maintain his innocence, Thomas finds himself in wild chases through the city and undertaking covert operations to uncover information. With the help of the incredibly intelligent Jane Seymour, can Thomas prove his innocence? Well, you’ll have to read Rags of Time yourself to find out because I won’t be spoiling it for you!

Thanks to the author Michael Ward for a copy of the book in exchange for a review. It was a pleasure to read!

 

 

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First Lines Friday – 11/12/2020

Happy Friday everyone and thank you for joining me in today’s First Lines Friday post! This is supposed to be a regular feature, but since my last First Lines Friday post was published two months ago now, it’s fair to say I’m not doing so well on keeping it regular!

When I shared that I was doing another of these posts last Sunday, I had no idea which book I was going to feature this week. I have combed through the books on my shelf and I think I have found a good one for you.

Can you guess what it is?

 

Great Achilles. Brilliant Achilles, shining Achilles, God-like Achilles… How the epithets pile up. We never called him any of those things; we called him ‘the butcher’.

Swift-footed Achilles. Now there’s an interesting one. More than anything else, more than brilliance, more than greatness, his speed defined him. There’s a story that he once chased the God Apollo all over the plains of Troy. Cornered at last, Apollo is supposed to have said: ‘you can’t kill me, I’m immortal’. Ah, yes,’ Achilles replied. ‘But we both know if you weren’t immortal, you’d be dead.’ Nobody was ever allowed the last word; not even a God.

 

The Silence of the Girls – Pat Barker

The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker | Goodreads

The ancient city of Troy has withstood a decade under siege of the powerful Greek army, which continues to wage bloody war over a stolen woman—Helen. In the Greek camp, another woman—Briseis—watches and waits for the war’s outcome. She was queen of one of Troy’s neighboring kingdoms, until Achilles, Greece’s greatest warrior, sacked her city and murdered her husband and brothers. Briseis becomes Achilles’s concubine, a prize of battle, and must adjust quickly in order to survive a radically different life, as one of the many conquered women who serve the Greek army.

When Agamemnon, the brutal political leader of the Greek forces, demands Briseis for himself, she finds herself caught between the two most powerful of the Greeks. Achilles refuses to fight in protest, and the Greeks begin to lose ground to their Trojan opponents. Keenly observant and coolly unflinching about the daily horrors of war, Briseis finds herself in an unprecedented position, able to observe the two men driving the Greek army in what will become their final confrontation, deciding the fate not only of Briseis’s people but also of the ancient world at large.

Briseis is just one among thousands of women living behind the scenes in this war—the slaves and prostitutes, the nurses, the women who lay out the dead—all of them erased by history. With breathtaking historical detail and luminous prose, Pat Barker brings the teeming world of the Greek camp to vivid life. She offers nuanced, complex portraits of characters and stories familiar from mythology, which, seen from Briseis’s perspective, are rife with newfound revelations. Barker’s latest builds on her decades-long study of war and its impact on individual lives—and it is nothing short of magnificent.

 

Historical fiction is one of the genres I read most of, and the sound of the book excites me. So much so, I actually bought a physical copy of the book with a voucher I had this year. I tend to reserve buying physical copies of books so that I’m only buying books I am confident I will love. I do spend vouchers on some new reads now and then, with anything I decide to sort and get rid of myself later going to a charity.

The book includes Greek Mythology, which intrigues me. So far I’ve had a bit of a mixed experience with mythology books, so I can’t wait to see what I make of this one!

 

What did you think of today’s First Lines Friday post? Do you like the sound of The Silence of the Girls based on the first paragraph? As always, I would love to hear from you!

 

 

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Publication Day Push: Sherlock Holmes & the Ripper of Whitechapel -M K Wiseman

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s blog post! Today I am reviewing Sherlock Holmes & the Ripper of Whitechapel by M K Wiseman as part of the current publication day push tour. I have a bit of a morbid fascination with Jack the Ripper and so I practically snatched Rachel’s hand off when she sent me the invite for this tour! I doubly wanted to take part as I really enjoyed another book by M K Wiseman earlier this year. If you like fantasy novels as well, check out my review of Magical Intelligence published in April this year.

Before I jump into sharing my thoughts on Sherlock Holmes & the Ripper of Whitechapel, please allow me to say a huge thank you to the author and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the tour!

 

Sherlock Holmes & the Ripper of Whitechapel – M K Wiseman

Goodreads – Sherlock Holmes & The Ripper of Whitechapel

I am afraid that I, Sherlock Holmes, must act as my own chronicler in this singular case, that of the Whitechapel murders of 1888. For the way in which the affair was dropped upon my doorstep left me with little choice as to the contrary. Not twelve months prior, the siren’s call of quiet domesticity and married life had robbed me of Watson’s assistance as both partner and recorder of my cases. Thus, when detective inspector Lestrade of Scotland Yard required a lead—any lead—I found myself forced to pursue Jack the Ripper alone and without the aid of my faithful friend. And all for the most damnedable of reasons:

Early on in my investigations, Dr. John H. Watson, formerly of 221b Baker Street, emerged as my prime suspect.

 

Purchase Link – Amazon UK     Amazon US

 

My Thoughts…

Regardless of how much you know about the Jack the Ripper murders, Sherlock Holmes and the Ripper of Whitechapel is a really approachable fictional read on the subject. I have a little prior knowledge of the murders that plagued London in that fateful year, but I’m also by no means an expert. The narrative has been written very well so that it is easy to read and caters to all readers. I don’t think anyone exceptionally knowledgeable on the subject would find the details repetitive. Equally, the narrative doesn’t rely on prior knowledge. I personally found the balance comfortable to read.

The tone of the narrative is very Sherlock Holmes in its portrayal, in my opinion. I confess that I haven’t read any Sherlock Holmes novels to date, however as a famous character I have already formulated an idea of how I expect him to be based on his portrayal elsewhere. The tone/language choice etc definitely lives up to Sherlock’s’ popularised characterisation… which I say is a huge achievement!

As you can probably expect from the synopsis, there is a great deal of tension in the plotline itself. Sherlock’s intense, almost brooding personality couples with his dark suspicions of a valued friend and partner. The damning evidence stacks up against Watson and I found myself caught up in the novel very quickly and easily. I didn’t want to put it down!

Sherlock Holmes & the Ripper of Whitechapel is very easy to read. It is a fairly short book, so easily approachable for anyone to pick up and read without a massive commitment. The narrative style flows well so it’s easy to get lost in the book and before you know it… you’ve read a quarter of it in one short sitting! The concise chapters are also good if you want to be able to pick it up and put it down with ease – although I promise you won’t want to!

I’ve really enjoyed reading this historically based mystery novel. If you are a fan of Sherlock Holmes or, like me, are lured into the mystery of the identity of Jack the Ripper, I cannot recommend this novel highly enough!

 

Author Bio

M. K. Wiseman has degrees in Interarts & Technology and Library & Information Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her office, therefore, is a curious mix of storyboards and reference materials. Both help immensely in the writing of historical novels. She currently resides in Cedarburg, Wisconsin.

Social Media Links –

http://mkwisemanauthor.com

https://twitter.com/FaublesFables

https://www.facebook.com/FaublesFables/

https://www.instagram.com/faublesfables/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7073540.M_K_Wiseman

First Lines Friday – 09/10/2020

Happy Friday everyone and thank you for joining me in today’s First Lines Friday post! On Sunday I promised a spectacular feature in today’s post and I hope you won’t be disappointed. I for one think this could be one of the best books on my TBR right now.

This book is affiliated with a main, well-known series that I talk about a lot here on Reviewsfeed. If I had to choose one book series to read for the rest of my life, this would be it! So, am I biased about how good this week’s book is? Yes. Do I care? Not one bit! My blog and my rules, right?!

So, without further adieu, here is this week’s extract: –

 

The maesters of the citadel who keep the histories of Westeros have used Aegon’s Conquest as their touchstone for the past three hundred years. Births, deaths, battles, and other events are dated either AC (After the Conquest) or BC (Before the Conquest).

True scholars know that such dating is far from precise. Aegon Targaryen’s conquest of the Seven Kingdoms did not take place in a single day. More than two years passed between Aegon’s landing and his Oldtown coronation… and even then the conquest remained incomplete, since Dorne remained unsubdued. Sporadic attempts to bring the Dornishmen into the realm continued all through King Aegon’s reign and well into the reigns of his sons, making it impossible to fix a precise end date for the Wars of Conquest.

 

 

If you know me or recognise those names you probably have a good idea as to what today’s book is!

 

Fire and Blood – George R. R. Martin

Goodreads – Fire & Blood

With all the fire and fury fans have come to expect from internationally bestselling author George R. R. Martin, this is the first volume of the definitive two-part history of the Targaryens in Westeros.

Centuries before the events of A Game of Thrones, House Targaryen—the only family of dragonlords to survive the Doom of Valyria—took up residence on Dragonstone. Fire and Blood begins their tale with the legendary Aegon the Conqueror, creator of the Iron Throne, and goes on to recount the generations of Targaryens who fought to hold that iconic seat, all the way up to the civil war that nearly tore their dynasty apart.

What really happened during the Dance of the Dragons? Why did it become so deadly to visit Valyria after the Doom? What is the origin of Daenerys’s three dragon eggs? These are but a few of the questions answered in this essential chronicle, as related by a learned maester of the Citadel and featuring more than eighty all-new black-and-white illustrations by artist Doug Wheatley. Readers have glimpsed small parts of this narrative in such volumes as The World of Ice & Fire, but now, for the first time, the full tapestry of Targaryen history is revealed.

With all the scope and grandeur of Gibbon’s The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Fire and Blood is the ultimate game of thrones, giving readers a whole new appreciation for the dynamic, often bloody, and always fascinating history of Westeros.

 

I love everything A Game of Thrones (aka A Song of Ice and Fire) and if you are a regular reader, you may know that I completed my re-read of the published books in the series earlier this year. Now with the TV series over too I need to get my fix of fire and blood somewhere!

I am a huge fan of novels and series’ with detailed backstories to the current narrative. The main series itself is rich in detail to the events that lead up to the wars/struggles we read in those books. I always thought the history of the world was so detailed that it could be a story in its own right… and now it is!

This book has over 600 pages of the history of Westeros to dive into, and judging by the synopsis Fire and Blood goes into more detail about events that are only ‘comparatively’ touched on in the series, such as the Doom of Valyria. I can’t wait to read this – I hope it’s every bit as good as the rest of the books. I don’t have any real reason to doubt why it wouldn’t be!

 

What did you think of today’s First Lines Friday post? As always, I would love to hear from you!

 

 

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Blog Tour Review: Limelight – Graham Hurley

I’m really looking forward to sharing my thoughts on Limelight by Graham Hurley with you today! I have read this book over the weekend just gone in preparation for the tour and it is one of the best books I have read recently. Before I jump in with the details, I would first like to say a massive thank you to both Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the tour, and to the author Graham Hurley for the opportunity to take part and read this fabulous mystery novel! It’s a pleasure to be one of the bloggers kicking off the tour.

 

Limelight – Graham Hurley

Goodreads – Limelight

Life is dangerous. No one survives it. Enora Andressen makes a series of mind-blowing discoveries when her friend disappears.

Actress Enora Andressen is catching up with her ex-neighbour, Evelyn Warlock, who’s recently retired to the comely East Devon seaside town of Budleigh Salterton. The peace, the friendship of strangers and the town’s prestigious literary festival . . . Evelyn loves them all.

Until the September evening when her French neighbour, Christianne Beaucarne, disappears. Enora has met this woman. The two of them have bonded. But what Enora discovers over the anguished months to come will put sleepy Budleigh Salterton on the front page of every newspaper in the land.

 

Purchase Links – Severn House     Amazon UK     Amazon US

 

My Thoughts…

Reading Limelight has been a breath of fresh air. A busy schedule has meant that I haven’t been reading as much lately – I’d even go so far as to say I had lost motivation. However, picking up Limelight has reminded me just why I love curling up with a good book. It’s a gem of a mystery novel that has been so easy to read because it has a lot of elements I love – a unique plotline, investment into character and world-building, and above all, an easy to read writing style that I couldn’t put down. In addition to all these, the book, particularly the setting, has a sense of familiarity to me.

I grew up in a seaside town much like Budleigh Salterton. Even now I live only a few minutes drive away, but the thing I really relate to in this novel is the sense of community that comes with small places such as this one. The concept of knowing everyone in town, even if just by sight, might seem strange to anyone living in large cities. Living in a place such as this myself though, I can say that the author has portrayed the town and the relationships of the characters within, perfectly.

Up until Christianne’s disappearance, Budleigh Salterton has the quiet, relaxed feel that I know and love. On the island here we have a phrase for it, ‘Traa dy Liooar’, meaning ‘time enough’. Equally, in places like this, any bit of news is a scandal. Christianne’s disappearance and the events that follow will inevitably dominate the headlines…

What also fits with this is the pace of the novel and the amount of characterisation shared with the reader. I enjoy novels with a lot of depth and time taken in bringing the main characters and the setting to life. Limelight in this regard is also right up my street! This also works well to draw the reader into the community. We really get to know each of the characters in their own right, as well as how they interact with each other.

Limelight is a mystery novel with a unique premise. Never before have I come across a mystery with a theme of euthanasia in it. It makes Limelight a unique novel within its genre and I’ve enjoyed reading the arguments and ethics around the debate that come up in the book. Despite the content matter, Limelight isn’t a heavy read at all. I have read this book over the course of a weekend and enjoyed every moment of it! I hadn’t realised it was part of a series when I signed up for the blog tour. Based on how much I enjoyed reading this book, I’m absolutely inclined to go back to the beginning and read the rest of the books!

 

Author Bio

Graham Hurley is an award-winning TV documentary maker who now writes full time. His Faraday and Winter series won two Theakstons shortlist nominations and was successfully adapted for French TV. He has since written a quartet of novels featuring D/S Jimmy Suttle, and three WW2 novels, the first of which – Finisterre – was shortlisted for the Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize. The first three titles in the Enora Andressen series, Curtain Call, Sight Unseen and Off Script, are also available from Severn House. After thirty years in Portsmouth, Graham now lives in East Devon with his wife, Lin.

Social Media Links –

https://www.grahamhurley.co.uk/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/135794.Graham_Hurley

https://twitter.com/Seasidepicture

https://www.facebook.com/grahamhurleyauthor/

 

First Lines Friday – 21/08/2020

Happy Friday everyone! It’s the end of the working week again and so it’s time for another First Lines Friday post! I hope you have all had a good one and are looking forward to the weekend?

In last week’s Sunday Summary post I committed to another theme for today’s book selection. This week’s choice is a little easier as the genre I picked (crime) is one I read a reasonable amount of. Today’s featured book is one I read and was blown away by recently. Can you pick up on the hint in the intro as to which book it is?

 

Greg Adams stared at the crime scene photos of the four dead girls. He recalled the words of his mentor during his first criminology one-on-one.

‘The dead don’t lie.’

‘The trouble is, they don’t speak either,’ Greg had replied.

Now, fifteen years later, the taut faces of four teenage girls, eyes wide with shock, stared back at him. If they could speak, he knew exactly what they would say.

Find him.

Soon there would be another photo on the wall of New Scotland Yard’s Evidence Room 3A. Officers of all ranks were out searching for the next victim but, like Greg, they had no idea where the next kill would happen. For the hundredth time scanned the photos, the map of London and it’s outer suburbs stabbed with four red-topped pins, the scrawled ideas in his notepad, the fragmentary remarks on his laptop, the cryptic clues left after each killing.

He had nothing.

Neither did the dozen others working the case. But unless he came up with something in the next hour, another girl would die.

 

 

Which book am I featuring today?

 

The Dead Tell Lies – J. F. Kirwan

Goodreads – The Dead Tell Lies

Greg Adams, a criminal psychologist at Scotland Yard, specialises in bringing serial killers to justice. He tracks down a spree serial killer nicknamed the Divine, who has already killed six teenage girls and is about to kill a seventh. Greg works out the location where he is hiding and joins a raid. The police capture the Divine and save the girl, but on the very same night, Greg’s wife is brutally murdered by another serial killer, known as the Dreamer.

A year later, unable to bring the killer to justice, Greg has quit his job and is ready to end it all, when he receives a phone call from a man who tells him the Dreamer is dead, and that he didn’t kill Greg’s wife, Kate.

Greg returns to Scotland Yard to work for Superintendent Chief Detective Donaldson in the hope he can re-examine the case with the help of two new detectives, Finch and Matthews.

As Greg delves into the case further, he becomes more convinced that the Dreamer wasn’t the man responsible for his wife’s murder.

But if it wasn’t the Dreamer, who was it?

In order to solve the mystery around his wife’s murder, Greg is going to have to delve even deeper into the mind of a terrifying psychopath. And this time he might not make it back in one piece…

 

I read The Dead Tell Lies to take part in last month’s blog tour for the book. If you haven’t already read my review, please go and take a look at that! As you can tell from that, I loved the book. The storyline was twisty and the narrative cleverly written. At times you don’t even know whether to trust Greg or his actions.

If you enjoy edge-of-your-seat whodunits, I think you’ll love The Dead Tell Lies. As a former psychology student, I really enjoyed the criminology aspect and Greg’s approach of trying to get into the killer’s head to understand his motives.

 

What did you think of today’s First Lines Friday post? As always, I would love to hear from you!

 

 

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Shelf Control #24 – 14/08/2020

It’s Friday – welcome to a slightly later than usual Shelf Control post. Apologies it’s a little late – normally I draft these on a Thursday night but as I was working on yesterday’s Spotlight Feature post, I didn’t get round to it.

We’re concluding the run of classic books in today’s post. I went through a phase of adding quite a few classic novels to the TBR, as you have seen over the past several weeks.

In case you haven’t read one of these posts before, Shelf Control is a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies. It’s a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up!

For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out Lisa’s introductory post.

Shall we check out today’s featured book?

 

The Book Thief – Markus Zusak

Goodreads – The Book Thief

It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will be busier still.

By her brother’s graveside, Liesel’s life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger’s Handbook, left behind there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery. So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordian-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library, wherever there are books to be found.

But these are dangerous times. When Liesel’s foster family hides a Jew in their basement, Liesel’s world is both opened up, and closed down.

In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.

 

My Thoughts…

I’m a huge fan of historical fiction novels based around WW2. I’ve read and featured many on my blog over the past few years, so it’s not exactly a secret. Combine that with the main character who reveres books… I’m bound to love it!

It astounds me that the book has a rating of 4.3 on Goodreads and nearly 1.8 million ratings. That’s mad! If it’s rated that highly I have a lot of confidence I will feel the same way about it. Almost all of my Goodreads friends that have rated the book have given it 5 stars.

Have you read The Book Thief? Is it as good as it appears? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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First Lines Friday 07/08/2020

It’s Friday, so you know what that means – it’s time for another First Lines Friday post! I hope you have all had a good week and are looking forward to the weekend! The weather is looking pretty good for a change, so I might get the chance to sit out in my garden!

In my Sunday Summary post last Sunday I set myself another challenge for this week’s book selection. I also made it pretty difficult for myself, as I chose a genre I don’t pick up very often – non-fiction. It’s fair to say I’ve been inspired to feature it by my recent read of This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay (which is not this week’s featured book, before you start wondering!)

This is a book I have read and featured on my blog previously; can you guess what it is, or who it is by?

 

These days the origin of the universe is explained by proposing a Big Bang, a single event that instantly brought into being all matter from which everything and everyone are made.

The ancient Greeks had a different idea. They said that it all started not with a bang, but with CHAOS.

Was Chaos a God – a divine being – or simply a state of nothingness? Or was Chaos, just as we would use the word today, a kind of terrible mess, like a teenager’s bedroom only worse?

Think of Chaos perhaps as a kind of grand cosmic yawn. As in a yawning chasm or a yawning void.

Whether Chaos brought life and substance out of nothing or whether Chaos yawned life up or dreamed it up, or conjured it up in some other way I don’t know. I wasn’t there. Nor were you. And yet in a way we were, because all the bits that make us were there. It is enough to say that the Greeks thought it was Chaos who, with a massive heave, or a great shrug, or hiccup, vomit or cough, began the long chain of creation that has ended with pelicans and penicillin and toadstools and toads, sea-lions, seals, lions, human beings and daffodils and murder and art and love and confusion and death and madness and biscuits.

 

Any ideas what book am I featuring today?

 

Mythos – Stephen Fry

Goodreads – Mythos

Rediscover the thrills, grandeur, and unabashed fun of the Greek myths—stylishly retold by Stephen Fry. This legendary writer, actor, and comedian breathes new life into beloved tales. From Persephone’s pomegranate seeds to Prometheus’s fire, from devious divine schemes to immortal love affairs, Fry draws out the humor and pathos in each story and reveals its relevance for our own time. Illustrated throughout with classical art inspired by the myths, this gorgeous volume invites you to explore a captivating world, with a brilliant storyteller as your guide.

 

Having read a historical fiction novel by Stephen Fry previously, I picked up Mythos as an entertaining way to learn more about Greek myths. I have read a few novels now in which the Greek Gods feature, and yet until reading this I had very little knowledge of the tales.

As I am sure is the case with many of you, I was familiar with a couple of stories. Pandora’s box, for example, and Prometheus gifting fire to mankind and his subsequent eternal punishment by Zeus. I didn’t really know much else though, and after the basic story of Persephone was included in the plotline for another novel I had read, I decided I wanted to read more.

I enjoyed Stephen Fry’s retellings as the narrative is full of witticism and laugh-out-loud humour. The narrative is written quite conversationally, so you could imagine the book being narrated and it would feel natural to listen to. It made a subject I knew very little about very approachable, and the maps and diagrams at the beginning were great help with working out who was who and the hierarchy of the Gods.

If you haven’t checked out my full review, you can find it here.

 

 

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Shelf Control #23 – 31/07/2020

Happy Friday and welcome to another Shelf Control post! We’re continuing with the theme of classics in today’s post. I went through a phase of adding classic novels to the TBR and so I’ve featured a lot lately. Today is no exception; however, we are coming to the end of them at last!

In case you haven’t read one of these posts before, Shelf Control is a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies. It’s a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up!

For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out Lisa’s introductory post.

Shall we check out today’s featured book?

 

Catch-22 – Joseph Heller

Goodreads – Catch-22

Set in Italy during World War II, this is the story of the incomparable, malingering bombardier, Yossarian, a hero who is furious because thousands of people he has never met are trying to kill him. But his real problem is not the enemy—it is his own army, which keeps increasing the number of missions the men must fly to complete their service. Yet if Yossarian makes any attempt to excuse himself from the perilous missions he’s assigned, he’ll be in violation of Catch-22, a hilariously sinister bureaucratic rule: a man is considered insane if he willingly continues to fly dangerous combat missions, but if he makes a formal request to be removed from duty, he is proven sane and therefore ineligible to be relieved. Since its publication in 1961, no novel has matched Catch-22’s intensity and brilliance in depicting the brutal insanity of war.

 

My Thoughts…

I wonder how many people use the expression “catch-22” in day-to-day conversation without having read this book? For the moment I count among that number! You know a book is iconic when it makes such an impact on a society that it finds its way into a language.

I added this book to the TBR in 2018 at the same time as many other classics I want to read. As a historical fiction fan, I’m definitely looking forward to picking this up. If I had kept up with my Beat the Backlist Challenge, I could have been reading this later this year. Realistically that’s looking unlikely now. However, I will be chipping away at my backlist for the foreseeable. It shouldn’t be too long before I get around to this book.

Have you read Catch-22? What did you think of it if you have? If not, is it of any interest to you? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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First Lines Friday – 24/07/2020

Happy Friday everyone and welcome back to another First Lines Friday post! I hope you have all had a good week and are looking forward to the weekend! I certainly am!

Before we start wishing our lives away though, it’s time to share the opening lines of another fantastic book. In my Sunday Summary post last week I set the criteria that this week’s featured book would be one I physically own. I’ve had a quick peruse and found an intro with a particular line I love. It was the selling point for making this today’s chosen book.

Can you guess what it is, or who it is by?

 

It was her third time with live ammunition… and her first time on the draw from the holster Roland had rigged for her.

They had plenty of live rounds; Roland had brought back better than three hundred from the world where Eddie and Susannah Dean had lived their lives up until the time of their drawing. But having ammunition in plenty did not mean it could be wasted; quite the contrary, in fact. The gods frowned upon wastrels. Roland had been raised, first by his father and then by Cort, his greatest teacher, to believe this, and so he still believed. Those gods might not punish at once, but sooner or later the penance would have to be paid… and the longer the wait, the greater the weight.

 

 

 

So, what book am I featuring in today’s First Lines Friday post?

 

The Waste Lands – Stephen King

Goodreads – The Waste Lands

In the third novel in King’s epic fantasy masterpiece, Roland, the Last Gunslinger, is moving ever closer to the Dark Tower, which haunts his dreams and nightmares. Pursued by the Ageless Stranger, he and his friends follow the perilous path to Lud, an urban wasteland. And crossing a desert of damnation in this macabre new world, revelations begin to unfold about who – and what – is driving him forward.

 

I absolutely love the last line of that extract. Don’t you?

I’ve read the first couple of books in the Dark Tower series already. This is the next one I am due to pick up. I bought the rest of the series a good few months ago (pre-pandemic) with book vouchers I had. Since I started the series in paperback (as I love Stephen King and I tend to buy physical books of favourite authors) I like to be consistent. I read in all methods, but if I start a series in one way then I have to finish it all in the same medium.

Stephen King’s writing is some of the best and fantasy is my favourite genre of all-time. I really couldn’t ask for more with this series! I am seriously going to have to pick this up soon; it has been over a year since I read the previous book The Drawing of the Three. I wouldn’t have guessed it was that long ago!

Have you read The Waste Lands or any other books in the Dark Tower series? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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