Tag: First Lines Friday

First Lines Friday – 16/09/2022

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s First Lines Friday post!

I’m really excited to share today’s book, as it is written by an author I am already familiar with. However, it is a bit different from another series of his that I have been reading. I also read something similar earlier this year (set in the same time period and featuring the same famous character of the period). I for one I’m really excited to see how I enjoy this book.

Without further preamble, shall we dive into today’s First Lines Friday intro: –

 

I died just after the clock in the passageway struck nine.

There are those who claim that her Majesty, Elizabeth, by the grace of God, Queen of England, France, and of Ireland, will not allow clocks to strike the hour in her palaces. Time is not allowed to pass for her. She has defeated time. But that clock struck. I remember it.

I counted the bells. Nine. Then my killer struck.

And I died.

 

 

 

Fools and Mortals – Bernard Cornwell

Genre: Historical Fiction

Pages: 416

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Harper Collins

Publication Date: 19 Oct 2017

 

 

Goodreads – Fools and Mortals

Lord, what fools these mortals be . . .

In the heart of Elizabethan England, Richard Shakespeare dreams of a glittering career in one of the London playhouses, a world dominated by his older brother, William. But he is a penniless actor, making ends meet through a combination of a beautiful face, petty theft and a silver tongue. As William’s star rises, Richard’s onetime gratitude is souring and he is sorely tempted to abandon family loyalty.

So when a priceless manuscript goes missing, suspicion falls upon Richard, forcing him onto a perilous path through a bawdy and frequently brutal London. Entangled in a high-stakes game of duplicity and betrayal which threatens not only his career and potential fortune, but also the lives of his fellow players, Richard has to call on all he has now learned from the brightest stages and the darkest alleyways of the city. To avoid the gallows, he must play the part of a lifetime . . . .

Showcasing the superb storytelling skill that has won Bernard Cornwell international renown, Fools and Mortals is a richly portrayed tour de force that brings to life a vivid world of intricate stagecraft, fierce competition, and consuming ambition.

 

My Thoughts…

Earlier this year I read Twelve Nights by Penny Ingham. This book, as you can probably guess by the title, is influenced by William Shakespeare. William Shakespeare is a key character in Twelve Nights, and he is also prominent in Fools and Mortals.

The main character is Richard, William’s brother. Richard is an actor and therefore we find ourselves in a very similar setting to Twelve Nights. I really enjoyed that particular book, so I’m interested to see how Bernard Cornwell Write this kind of narrative in comparison.

It is very different from the series of his I am also reading at the moment – the Saxon stories (aka The Last Kingdom). That is a set of books I am really enjoying, and the character development is strong in those. I’m hoping for much the same in Fools and Mortals. As a standalone book, this will be a great way to try out a narrative in a different time period from Bernard Cornwell. If I go on to enjoy it as much as I expect I will, then it is only natural that I will go on to read the rest of his books… different time periods or not.

From the introduction, we have no idea who the character is. It is a very interesting introduction because straight away, a significant event happens to draw the reader in.

This introduction really captured my attention, and I hope it has captured yours too! Have you read Fools and Mortals? Would you like to based on today’s First Lines Friday post? As always, I would love it if you could let me know in the comments!

 

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First Lines Friday – 26/08/2022

Happy Friday and welcome to another First Lines Friday post! First Lines Friday is a regular series on my blog. It’s a fun way to share books I love, am interested in and/or are on my TBR. Sometimes I like to experiment with something new!

I was inspired to share the opening lines of today’s feature, as I recently received my Illumicrate exclusive edition. The book sounds amazing, and the edition I received is absolutely stunning! I shared a reel last Friday on Instagram of my unboxing, so if you haven’t checked that out, please go and check out my Instagram page.

Without further preamble, shall we dive into today’s First Lines Friday introduction?

 

By the time Professor Richard Lovell found his way through Canton’s narrow alleys to the faded address in his diary, the boy was the only one in the house left alive.

The air was rank, the floor slippery. A jug of water sat full, untouched by the bed. At first the boy had been too scared of retching to drink; now he was too weak to lift the jug. He was still conscious, though he’d sunk into a drowsy, half-dreaming haze. Soon, he knew, he’d fall into a deep sleep and fail to wake up. That was what happened to his grandparents a week ago, then his aunts the day after, and then Miss Betty, the Englishwoman, a day after that.

 

 

Babel, or The Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translators’ Revolution

Genre: Historical Fantasy / Dark Academia

Pages: 560

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Harper Voyager

Publication Date: 23 Aug 2022

 

 

Goodreads – Babel

Traduttore, traditore: An act of translation is always an act of betrayal.

1828. Robin Swift, orphaned by cholera in Canton, is brought to London by the mysterious Professor Lovell. There, he trains for years in Latin, Ancient Greek, and Chinese, all in preparation for the day he’ll enroll in Oxford University’s prestigious Royal Institute of Translation — also known as Babel.

Babel is the world’s center of translation and, more importantly, of silver-working: the art of manifesting the meaning lost in translation through enchanted silver bars, to magical effect. Silver-working has made the British Empire unparalleled in power, and Babel’s research in foreign languages serves the Empire’s quest to colonize everything it encounters.

Oxford, the city of dreaming spires, is a fairytale for Robin; a utopia dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge. But knowledge serves power, and for Robin, a Chinese boy raised in Britain, serving Babel inevitably means betraying his motherland. As his studies progress Robin finds himself caught between Babel and the shadowy Hermes Society, an organization dedicated to sabotaging the silver-working that supports imperial expansion. When Britain pursues an unjust war with China over silver and opium, Robin must decide: Can powerful institutions be changed from within, or does revolution always require violence? What is he willing to sacrifice to bring Babel down?

Babel — a thematic response to The Secret History and a tonal response to Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell — grapples with student revolutions, colonial resistance, and the use of translation as a tool of empire.

 

My Thoughts…

I’m excited I have received my copy of this book! When I initially signed up for Illumicrate’s book-only subscription, I didn’t know this was going to be the first book I received. However, I’m really excited it is! Fellow bloggers who have read advanced copies of this book have absolutely raved about it. As soon as I heard their thoughts, I knew I had to pick up a copy for myself. That I’ve got my hands on an exclusive edition only makes me happier! I had to feature it in this week’s First Lines Friday post. 

I’m most excited about exploring how the fantasy elements of the book entwine with the element of language and translation. It doesn’t seem to be a superficial element of the plot; if the content of the book has some academic element in itself, then this will appeal to me no end.

I had a place to attend university, but ultimately I made the decision several years ago not to attend. It wouldn’t have been for me in any case, (and in terms of career, I don’t think I could be more opposite in what I do now compared to what I intended to do, but I’m very happy with my decision). I get to explore the attendance of a university through this narrative and it is something that I’m looking forward to.

For readers who enjoy diverse character representation, then this book is right up your street! Written by American-Chinese author R.F. Kuang, this book is mainly told from the perspective of an Asian character. The author herself attended the University of Oxford, and in her exclusive letter included in this copy, she talks about her complex relationship with the institution. Described as both the university of her dreams, and yet also elitist and classist (to name just a couple of its less favourable traits), I hope to see the author’s own experience play out through Robin Swift‘s narrative.

If I go on to enjoy Babel as much as I suspect I will, then I have a number of books that R.F. Kuang has already published but I will be going back and reading. The Poppy War especially appeals to me!

I hope you have enjoyed this week’s First Lines Friday feature! Have you added Babel to your reading list? Does today’s introduction compel you to do so?

 

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First Lines Friday – 12/08/2022

Happy Friday and welcome to my First Lines Friday post to wrap-up the working week! First Lines Friday is a regular series on my blog. It’s a fun way to share books I love, am interested in and/or are on my TBR. Sometimes I like to experiment with something new!

For this week‘s First Lines Friday post I wanted to feature a book that is on this month’s TBR. I wanted to pick it up last month, but I ended up reading another non-fiction book completely on a whim. I am excited for this particular read, and I’ve owned my copy of this book for a couple of years.

Here is today’s First Lines Friday intro: –

 

Most of recorded human history is one big data gap. Starting with the theory of Man the Hunter, the chroniclers of the past have left little space for women’s role in the evolution of humanity, whether cultural or biological. Instead, the lives of men have been taken to represent those of humans overall. When it comes to the lives of the other half of humanity, there is often nothing but silence.

And these silences are everywhere. Our entire culture is riddled with them. Films, news, literature, science, city planning, economics. The stories we tell ourselves about our past, present and future. They are all marked – disfigured – by a female shaped ‘absent presence’. This is the gender data gap.

 

 

Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed For Men – Caroline Criado Perez

Genre: Non-fiction / Feminism

Pages: 321

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Vintage

Publication Date: 5 Mar 2020

 

 

Discover the shocking gender bias that affects our everyday lives.

Imagine a world where your phone is too big for your hand, where your doctor prescribes a drug that is wrong for your body, where in a car accident you are 47% more likely to be seriously injured, where every week the countless hours of work you do are not recognised or valued.

If any of this sounds familiar, chances are that you’re a woman.

Invisible Women shows us how, in a world largely built for and by men, we are systematically ignoring half the population. It exposes the gender data gap – a gap in our knowledge that is at the root of perpetual, systemic discrimination against women, and that has created a pervasive but invisible bias with a profound effect on women’s lives.

From government policy and medical research, to technology, workplaces, urban planning and the media, Invisible Women reveals the biased data that excludes women.

Award-winning campaigner and writer Caroline Criado Perez brings together for the first time an impressive range of case studies, stories and new research from across the world that illustrate the hidden ways in which women are forgotten, and the impact this has on their health and well-being. In making the case for change, this powerful and provocative book will make you see the world anew.

 

My Thoughts…

I’ve set myself a goal to read more non-fiction. Invisible Women appeals to me for what I hope are obvious reasons. The issues that this book highlights affect me.

The danger with a lot of the things covered in this book is that the world has been designed not for women, but more so out of negligence to understand our differences from men. It’s these kinds of issues we need to bring to the forefront in order to make changes.

I am more vocal than I have ever been before about things. When I was younger, I used to keep myself to myself. Sometimes it was easier, but other times it meant I was ignored or taken advantage of. I don’t allow that to happen anymore. If I have something to say, I will say it.

I’ll always try to say it in a constructive way, or at least an honest way. Armed with the information in this book, I would like to raise my own awareness of issues experienced by women so that I can help educate others. Who knows, if enough people shout about the same issues, we can encourage positive changes.

I hope you have enjoyed today’s First Lines Friday feature! Have you read Invisible Women; has it caught your interest?

 

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First Lines Friday – 22/07/2022

Hello everyone – happy Friday and welcome to today’s 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. They might be books I am interested in and/or are on my TBR. Equally, I can even just experiment with something new in these posts! I make the rules! 

For this week‘s First Lines Friday post I wanted to feature a book I have owned for a very long time and have every intention to pick up soon! I have featured this book in a few posts of late (in my Top Ten Tuesday – Books I was SO EXCITED to get but haven’t read, for example), and it’s playing on my mind how long I’ve had this one. Looking for material for today’s post, I decided to take a look at the opening lines and I was pulled in immediately. I can’t wait to pick up this fantasy novel in the coming months!

Let’s jump into today’s intro!

 

Forest litter crunched under Evnis’ feet, his breath misting as he whispered a curse. He swallowed, his mouth dry.

He was scared, he had to admit, but who would not be? What he was doing this night would make him traitor to his king. And worse.

He paused and looked back. Beyond the forest’s edge he could still see the stone circle, behind it the walls of Badun, his home, its outline silvered in the moonlight. It would be so easy to turn back, to go home and choose another path for his life. He felt a moment of vertigo, as if standing on the edge of a great chasm, and the world seem to slow, waiting on the outcome of his decision. I have come this far, I will see it through. He looked up at the forest, a wall of impenetrable shadow; he pulled his cloak tighter and walked into the darkness.

 

 

Malice – John Gwynne

Genre: Epic fantasy

Pages: 628

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Tor

Publication Date: 1 Dec 2012

 

 

The Banished Lands has a violent past where armies of men and giants clashed in battle. An uneasy peace reigns, but now giants stir once more, the very stones weep blood and there are sightings of gigantic worms. Those who can still read the signs see a prophecy realised: sorrow will darken the world, as angels and demons make it their battlefield.

Young Corban watches enviously as boys become warriors and yearns to join them, determined that he will make his family proud. It is only when everything he knows is threatened that he discovers the true cost of becoming a man.

As the Kings look to their borders, and priests beg answers from the Gods, only a chosen few know that the fate of the world will be decided between two champions, the Black Sun and the Bright Star. And with their coming will be a war to end all wars.

 

My Thoughts…

Malice has been on my TBR since at least 2016 – but realistically longer. That’s the earliest I can recall owning this book. It pre-dates having my blog so I have no means of going back to work out when I obtained my copy of this book.

I did start reading this book, but only very casually. I had picked it up prior to 2016; I distinctly remember packing up the book as part of my things when I left a job in February that year. The book had a paperclip in it as a means of marking the page. To this day you can see the indent of where the paperclip sat for so long, at the beginning of chapter 3 on page 29.

That tells you how far I got!

I have heard so many good things about John Gwynne, and I’ve seen all the books of his that I want to read. Naturally, it makes sense that I start with reading the book I physically own first. Not only that, but Malice is his debut novel and it comes highly recommended! As an epic fantasy with over 600 pages, it is right up my alley!

I plan on reading this book within the next couple of months, and I can’t wait to dive in and tell you what I think. I am really hoping to love this book, because as I said, there are others of his that I want to pick up. But, more importantly in the short term, this is the first part of his The Faithful and the Fallen series. If I go on to love this book as much as I hope, then I have another new series that I can enjoy.

Have you read Malice, or any other books by John Gwynne? Would you recommend them?

 

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First Lines Friday – 24/06/2022

Welcome to today’s 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!

For this week‘s First Lines Friday post, I decided to keep my subject open. Whilst it is fun to set myself a challenge sometimes, I didn’t have any inspiration or idea as to what I wanted to do. So, I kept it open and I’ve had a good long think; I’m really happy with the book I’ve chose to feature today.

Can you guess what it is?

 

 


Memorandum for: Executive Director Frobisher

From: Ghost ID (#6755–4181–2584–1597–9 87–610–377-ERROR-ERROR…)

Incept: 01/29/76

Subject: Alexander dossier

___________________________________________________

So here’s the file that almost killed me, Director.

I won’t bore you with the tally of databases plundered, light-years jumped, or cute, sniffling orphans created in its compilation – our fee already reflects Level Of Difficulty. But this dirt is out there, if you know where to look. It seems your cleanup crews weren’t quite as thorough as you’d like, and your little corporate war isn’t quite a secret as you’d hoped.

 

 

 

Illuminae – Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Goodreads – Illuminae

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival mega-corporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than a speck at the edge of the universe. Now with enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra — who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to evacuate with a hostile warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A plague has broken out and is mutating with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a web of data to find the truth, it’s clear the only person who can help her is the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents — including emails, maps, files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more — Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

 

My Thoughts…

I’ve had my eye on this book for some time. The story is told through a compilation of correspondence and documentation as opposed to traditional prose, which interests me. This is something I’ve read and enjoyed recently (The Appeal by Janice Hallett). Given that I liked this one as much as I did, I can’t wait to try another book in this format. I’ve already decided, given the format, that I want a physical copy of this book/series. I talked about this in my top ten bookish wishes post earlier this week

I’m also a fan of Jay Kristoff. I first listened to his Nevernight Chronicles trilogy, and from there fell in love. I’ve gone on to purchase physical copies of these books to read again, and more recently, purchased and read Empire of the Vampire. This is my favourite read of 2022 so far, so I’m really excited to pick up something new by him.

Collaborations with other authors can be a bit hit and miss, but as I haven’t read anything by Amie Kaufman yet, I don’t feel like I can judge. I will just have to see how this goes! If I go on to enjoy these books then I have another series I can pick up that is co-authored by this duo. It’s a young adult science-fiction novel, which I feel like will be up my street! Especially considering I am reading a young adult science-fiction book by Brandon Sanderson at the moment, and really enjoying it. 

 

I hope you have enjoyed today’s First Lines Friday post! Have you read Illuminae, the rest of the series or any of the other books also written by these authors? I’d love to know in the comments!

 

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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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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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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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