Hi friends and welcome back to my usual Sunday Summary post! I hope you have had a lovely weekend? Mine has been nice and relaxing, for the most part. Aside from catching up with the housework (always a fun job) and going to a charity “Night at the Races” event, it’s been a quiet one. Plenty of time for reading, anyhow.
Earlier in the week, I shared my reading list for August. I shared it earlier than usual as I had a blog tour scheduled on Thursday for Birth of the Mortokai by Desmond Palmer and a First Lines Friday post to round off the working week. Having remembered on Monday/Tuesday, I must confess that I very nearly forgot to draft and schedule my blog tour post! I’ve never had a last-minute panic like that before, nor do I want it again!! That was the only near-disaster of the week though.
I’ve also decided to put a little more pressure on myself to beat a personal best. The all-time record number of books I have read in one year is 60, achieved in 2017. I have been way above and beyond schedule to meet my target of 50 books by the end of the year. To that end, I’ve decided to increase it to 70 books. I’m still just about on schedule to meet that goal, but getting over 60 will be a win in my eyes regardless of hitting 70 or not.
I have lots of books to talk about – so I’ll try to keep each one brief.
I started the week with two reads carried over: Kau D’varza by David Noe and The Chalk Man by C. J. Tudor. The Chalk Man was the first book I picked up and finished reading because it’s a lot shorter than Kau D’varza and frankly, I was HYPED about it! I think it’s one of my top reads of the year! Kau D’varza shortly followed, and after a few dedicated evenings to the book I could tick another sci-fi off the list!
Moving onwards, I’ve picked up another two books to read simultaneously for the latter end of the week. First and foremost, I have picked up Thran Book 1: The Birth by Brian McLaughlin. This is the first book on August’s TBR (since I didn’t get around to it in July) and at present, I am nearly 20% through the book. It’s quite a long one at 655 pages, but the world-building, characters and descriptions are fantastic!
On the side, I am also reading The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton. I have to say I haven’t read anything like it in my life. In a good way, it’s kinda weird. Keeping track of the murder and the guests/staff (and how they interact with others) at the Hardcastle estate is exciting. I’m nearly 40% through this read. I’m glad I allowed myself breathing room on the TBR to pick things up at will – I do enjoy some freedom in book choices.
I was hoping to say that I was finished listening to The Ruby in the Smoke by Philip Pullman, but I still have half an hour left to listen to. I think I’ll probably wrap up the evening with that once this Sunday Summary is posted. That way I can start afresh tomorrow. I’m torn between a couple of books and I currently have a poll on Twitter – can you help me decide what to listen to next?
Where I had a lot to talk about in the section above, I don’t actually have anything of note here this week! About chuffing right too – I wish I could spend all my money on books instead of bills…
Time to roll my sleeves up and devise next week’s plan (and hopefully remember it in good time…) Fortunately, I have no blog tours this week, so it wouldn’t be a disaster if I was a day late anyway.
I have a few backed up reviews to catch up on and this week, I want to share my thoughts about Sword Song by Bernard Cornwell. I finished reading this back in mid-May if that gives you an idea of how much I have to catch up on. Sword Song is the fourth book in the Last Kingdom / Saxon Stories series. I started reading them in 2017 and I always enjoy picking up the next book.
Since I added quite a few books to the TBR again recently I am going to sort through the next 10 on the list and see if there’s anything there I don’t want anymore. For my sanity’s sake I kinda hope so.
As usual, on Friday it’s the turn on my Shelf Control post. This week I am featuring a series as opposed to just one book! I can’t wait to share the details with you!
Top Blog Posts of the Week
In this section of my Sunday Summary post, I like to offer a quick nod to other amazing book bloggers by sharing some of the posts I really enjoyed reading! This week there is also another link to a bookish article published by the Telegraph. I hope you enjoy these posts as much as I have: –
Welcome back to my new regular feature post, Shelf Contol! Shelf Control is a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies. It is 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.
Shelf Control, for me, is about looking in more detail about the books I have added to the TBR and listed as keepers in my Down the TBR Hole posts. I get the chance to talk about why I want to keep them in more detail and it acts as a second sweep for anything that I may have changed my mind about. I won’t necessarily own all the books (yet), but I will have a reasonable number of them.
It’s week three, so let’s look at the next book on the TBR! I added today’s featured book back in January 2015 – over four years ago still. I’m seriously going to have to work on this backlog…
City of Stairs (The Divine Cities #1) – Robert Jackson Bennett
The city of Bulikov once wielded the powers of the gods to conquer the world, enslaving and brutalizing millions — until its divine protectors were killed. Now, Bulikov’s history has been censored and erased, its citizens subjugated. But the surreal landscape of the city itself, forever altered by the thousands of miracles its guardians once worked upon it, stands as a haunting reminder of its former supremacy.
Into this broken city steps Shara Thivani. Officially, the unassuming young woman is just another junior diplomat sent by Bulikov’s oppressors. Unofficially, she is one of her country’s most accomplished spies, dispatched — along with her terrifying “secretary”, Sigrud — to solve a murder.
But as Shara pursues the killer, she starts to suspect that the beings who ruled this terrible place may not be as dead as they seem, and that Bulikov’s cruel reign may not yet be over.
A tale of vast conspiracies, dead gods, and buried histories, City of Stairs is at once a gripping spy novel and a stunningly original work of fantasy.
So, I’m still sticking to my fantasy routes with this particular book. I have a lot of fantasy books at the beginning of my TBR. That was all I used to read. I am far more genre diverse now, thanks to my blog more than anything. Fantasy will always be my greatest love though.
There is huge potential for a lot of world-building in this novel. Clearly, the world and society are very unlike our own. Reading is a form of escapism for me. If I don’t feel like there is enough detail or I don’t understand the fictional world I am delving into, I don’t enjoy it. Sounds geeky, I know. How successfully an author can put together a fictional world is a huge part of whether I enjoy a book.
What makes City of Stairs stand out is the spy and mystery element of the story. In addition to fantasy I also really enjoy novels with a mystery to be solved within them. This genre crossover isn’t something I see every day, so I can’t wait to see how it all pans out.
Have you read City of Stairs or any other books in the series? What did you make of it?
Hi guys! It’s time for another review of the TBR in todays Down the TBR Hole post! Down the TBR Hole is a meme created by Lia @ Lost in a Story. The idea is to review the books on your TBR to decide if you still want to read them. The rules are as follows: –
Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
Order on ascending date added.
Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books.
Read the synopses of the books
Decide: keep it or should it go?
Today I’ll be checking out the next ten books on the list – are you ready?
THE GREAT GATSBY, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s third book, stands as the supreme achievement of his career. This exemplary novel of the Jazz Age has been acclaimed by generations of readers. The story is of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his new love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, of lavish parties on Long Island at a time when The New York Times noted “gin was the national drink and sex the national obsession,” it is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920s.
The Great Gatsby is one of the great classics of twentieth-century literature.
I really enjoyed learning about the history of America at school, in particular the 1920’s and 1930’s. The Great Gatsby is a classic novel too, and I really want to read more of them (you’ll see this is a theme in this Down the TBR Hole post). This is definitely staying on the list!
Discovered in the attic in which she spent the last years of her life, Anne Frank’s remarkable diary has become a world classic-a powerful reminder of the horrors of war and an eloquent testament to the human spirit.
In 1942, with the Nazis occupying Holland, a thirteen-year-old Jewish girl and her family fled their home in Amsterdam and went into hiding. For the next two years, until their whereabouts were betrayed to the Gestapo, the Franks and another family lived cloistered in the “Secret Annexe” of an old office building. Cut off from the outside world, they faced hunger, boredom, the constant cruelties of living in confined quarters, and the ever-present threat of discovery and death. In her diary Anne Frank recorded vivid impressions of her experiences during this period. By turns thoughtful, moving, and surprisingly humorous, her account offers a fascinating commentary on human courage and frailty and a compelling self-portrait of a sensitive and spirited young woman whose promise was tragically cut short.
Anyone who reads my blog will know that I am a huge fan of anything historical. I tend to read more historical fiction if anything. Again, this is another one of those popular classics and I have to read it. It will be far more harrowing than any fiction novel because I know it was real. I’m sure I’ll cry – is any other reaction appropriate?
August, 1914. The Germans have occupied Louvain in Belgium.
Among the refugees fleeing the city is Julian Hydon, a young Jesuit priest. But when he witnesses the brutal roadside killing of a scholastic, Eugene Dupierreux, Hydon determines to join the war as an Army Chaplain. But his sense of mission turns to disillusion, doubt and anger after spending time with a boy named Andy West who suffers the fate of a court martial.
Bent on experiencing the pleasure of a woman and becoming a ‘man’ before he dies, Andy warns Hydon he is about to sin and seeks absolution. Hydon is uncertain how to counsel the boy and feels his own faith slipping. But when the boy is found guilty of desertion, Hydon must accompany him to his execution.
Outraged and struck by the futility of the war, Hydon publicly criticises the sentence, entangles himself with the deserter’s girlfriend, and is rejected by the Army and the Church. Banished to England, Hydon wanders purposely from mission to mission. He is posted first at a hospital for the wounded near his home and then at Pentonville prison, resigned to comforting the souls of the damned. But something is missing. Hydon feels useless and wants to be back on the frontline, aiding the war effort.
Being handed a white feather on the train by a self-righteous lady on the train is the last straw. Isolated Hydon seeks redemption in anonymity and battle for one last time.
‘A Land of Shades’ is an unusual and gripping story of the Great War as told by a young Jesuit priest who struggles to retain his faith in the face of brutality and violence.
Historical fiction is another theme to this TBR. I must have been going through a phase at the time I added these books to the list! I knew that this book was my cup of tea when I saw it, so I already have the e-book ready and waiting for me. It’s a small part of our world history, but one I enjoy reading all the same.
Stewart Scott is a first year trainee in one of Edinburgh’s oldest law firms.
Out of his depth, he is constantly working just to stay in the game and match the talents of the other first year trainees. But a chance to shine comes Stewart’s way when he is given the opportunity to partake in an investigation.
A client of the firm has recently died. The deceased, Major Robertson, left a substantial estate, and the terms of his will stipulate that his considerable wealth will go to his family – unless the Major died by suicide, whereupon his estate will be donated to a charity. And the conclusion, thus far, has been suicide.
Heading up the investigation into the Major’s death is Sebastian Dakar, practicing Zen master and the most unlikely detective that Stewart could imagine. But upon their arrival at the Major’s family home, Stewart begins to realise that perhaps the case of the Major isn’t as cut and dried as first thought.
Occasionally I like to take a break from my usual reads, and this short and snappy legal-based novel will be a great way of doing just that! I won a copy of this book in a competition/giveaway run on Instagram by the author last year. It’s currently sat on my bookshelf in the hall. Next time I need a quick read, I could always pick this up. I really enjoyed the short stories I read last month.
The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm – Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm
When Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm published their Children’s and Household Tales in 1812, followed by a second volume in 1815, they had no idea that such stories as “Rapunzel,” “Hansel and Gretel,” and “Cinderella” would become the most celebrated in the world. Yet few people today are familiar with the majority of tales from the two early volumes, since in the next four decades the Grimms would publish six other editions, each extensively revised in content and style. For the very first time, The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm makes available in English all 156 stories from the 1812 and 1815 editions. These narrative gems, newly translated and brought together in one beautiful book, are accompanied by sumptuous new illustrations from award-winning artist Andrea Dezso.
From “The Frog King” to “The Golden Key,” wondrous worlds unfold–heroes and heroines are rewarded, weaker animals triumph over the strong, and simple bumpkins prove themselves not so simple after all. Esteemed fairy tale scholar Jack Zipes offers accessible translations that retain the spare description and engaging storytelling style of the originals. Indeed, this is what makes the tales from the 1812 and 1815 editions unique–they reflect diverse voices, rooted in oral traditions, that are absent from the Grimms’ later, more embellished collections of tales. Zipes’s introduction gives important historical context, and the book includes the Grimms’ prefaces and notes.
A delight to read, The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm presents these peerless stories to a whole new generation of readers.
When I received a copy of this for my birthday (on request), a few people were a little bemused as to why I would want it. Yes, okay, it’s children’s stories, but not the ones we know and love today. These are the originals written over 200 years ago before they were revised and adapted. They include parts that never made it to the popular children’s tales we tell now. This particular edition also touches on the historical influences in some of the stories.
Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again . . .
The novel begins in Monte Carlo, where our heroine is swept off her feet by the dashing widower Maxim de Winter and his sudden proposal of marriage. Orphaned and working as a lady’s maid, she can barely believe her luck. It is only when they arrive at his massive country estate that she realizes how large a shadow his late wife will cast over their lives–presenting her with a lingering evil that threatens to destroy their marriage from beyond the grave.
I tried to read this years ago when I borrowed it (for what I hope are obvious reasons?). I struggled then and if I’m honest, I’ll think I’ll struggle again. It’s not really my thing. Yes, it has elements of genres I enjoy, like horror, but the romance puts me off. It’s a classic and I added it to the TBR for that reason. I don’t want to force myself to read books I don’t think I’ll enjoy though.
Don Quixote has become so entranced by reading chivalric romances, that he determines to become a knight-errant himself. In the company of his faithful squire, Sancho Panza, his exploits blossom in all sorts of wonderful ways. While Quixote’s fancy often leads him astray – he tilts at windmills, imagining them to be giants – Sancho acquires cunning and a certain sagacity. Sane madman and wise fool, they roam the world together, and together they have haunted readers’ imaginations for nearly four hundred years.
With its experimental form and literary playfulness, Don Quixote generally has been recognized as the first modern novel. The book has had enormous influence on a host of writers, from Fielding and Sterne to Flaubert, Dickens, Melville, and Faulkner, who reread it once a year, “just as some people read the Bible.”
And again, we have a work of classical fiction. I am relatively sure I added it to the list having read a fellow bloggers review of it. In hindsight though, I don’t think this is my cup of tea either.
It’s been almost ten years since Nathan Garrett woke on a cold warehouse floor with nothing but a gun, a sword, and no idea of who he was or how he got there. His only clue … a piece of paper with his name on it. Since then, he’s discovered he’s a powerful sorcerer and has used his abilities to work as a thief for hire. But he’s never stopped hunting for his true identity, and those who erased his memory have never stopped hunting for him. When the barrier holding his past captive begins to crumble, Nathan swears to protect a young girl who is key to his enemy’s plans. But with his enemies closing in, and everyone he cares about becoming a target for their wrath, Nathan is forced to choose between the life he’s built for himself and the one buried deep inside him.
Crimes Against Magic is an Urban Fantasy set in modern-day London with Historical flashbacks to early fifteenth-century France. It’s book one of the Hellequin Chronicles, a series about Nathan (Nate) Garrett, a centuries-old sorcerer.
Whilst I like fantasy novels, I always approach Urban Fantasy with a degree of scepticism.
I read fantasy novels as a means of escapism. Having the modern-day setting to these novels makes it a little harder for me to achieve that. It might sound completely daft to you, but there you have it. I’m not 100% sure about this one, so I’ll take it off the list.
‘Crime? What crime?…My killing a loathsome, harmful louse, a filthy old moneylender woman…and you call that a crime?’
Raskolnikov, a destitute and desperate former student, wanders through the slums of St Petersburg and commits a random murder without remorse or regret. He imagines himself to be a great man, a Napoleon: acting for a higher purpose beyond conventional moral law. But as he embarks on a dangerous game of cat and mouse with a suspicious police investigator, Raskolnikov is pursued by the growing voice of his conscience and finds the noose of his own guilt tightening around his neck. Only Sonya, a downtrodden prostitute, can offer the chance of redemption.
This vivid translation by David McDuff has been acclaimed as the most accessible version of Dostoyevsky’s great novel, rendering its dialogue with a unique force and naturalism.
This is a classic that is definitely staying on my list! It’s one of the first (and few) I bought as a reward for meeting a monthly savings goal – the larger goal being a deposit for my (now recently purchased) new car! I set myself a tough target so there are only a couple of months that I managed to not dip into the savings. I bought this because the synopsis is interesting… and it’s a classic. I’m trying to read more of those.
John Grisham’s five novels — A Time To Kill, The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, and The Chamber — have been number one best-sellers, and have a combined total of 47 million copies in print. Now, inThe Rainmaker, Grisham returns to the courtroom for the first time since A Time To Kill, and weaves a riveting tale of legal intrigue and corporate greed. Combining suspense, narrative momentum, and humor as only John Grisham can, this is another spellbinding read from the most popular author of our time.
Grisham’s sixth spellbinding novel of legal intrigue and corporate greed displays all of the intricate plotting, fast-paced action, humor, and suspense that have made him the most popular author of our time. In his first courtroom thriller since A Time To Kill, John Grisham tells the story of a young man barely out of law school who finds himself taking on one of the most powerful, corrupt, and ruthless companies in America — and exposing a complex, multibillion-dollar insurance scam. In his final semester of law school Rudy Baylor is required to provide free legal advice to a group of senior citizens, and it is there that he meets his first “clients,” Dot and Buddy Black. Their son, Donny Ray, is dying of leukemia, and their insurance company has flatly refused to pay for his medical treatments. While Rudy is at first skeptical, he soon realizes that the Blacks really have been shockingly mistreated by the huge company, and that he just may have stumbled upon one of the largest insurance frauds anyone’s ever seen — and one of the most lucrative and important cases in the history of civil litigation. The problem is, Rudy’s flat broke, has no job, hasn’t even passed the bar, and is about to go head-to-head with one of the best defense attorneys — and powerful industries — in America.
I am yet to read any of John Grisham’s novels, but I have heard a lot of good things about his writing. I know work colleagues that regularly read his books, so I definitely want to give them a go. Also, do I want to watch how one man challenges a huge corporation and cross my fingers that he gives it to them good? Yes, yes I do.
Once again that’s three out of ten books that I have dropped from the list. At least I know I have a reasonable idea of what I like to read and I’m not *too* impulsive when it comes to adding books to the TBR. Okay, that’s a complete lie!
Have you read any of these books? Do you agree with my choices?
Hi guys! It’s time for another review of the TBR in today’s Down the TBR Hole post. Down the TBR Hole is a meme created by Lia @ Lost in a Story. The idea is to review the books on your TBR to decide if you still want to read them. The rules are as follows: –
Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
Order on ascending date added.
Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books.
Read the synopses of the books
Decide: keep it or should it go?
I’ve been basing this post on five books for a while in order to make them more manageable to read and easier to write. However, for the last several months I’ve only gotten around to writing one post per month. If I want to get my TBR reviewed in full, looking at five books a month isn’t going to cut it. Therefore, I am going back to reviewing ten books on the list. I hope you’re sitting comfortably.
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.
I have started reading this book in odd quiet moments on my phone and not gotten that far… too many times! It’s no fault of the book. I just can’t read on my phone. It’s too small and uncomfortable. I need to make time to read this properly on my kindle. Not only have I really enjoyed what I have read, but a friend of mine has read and enjoyed her books. I trust her judgement.
The Templars: The Rise and Spectacular Fall of God’s Holy Warriors – Dan Jones
Jerusalem 1119. A small group of knights seeking a purpose in the violent aftermath of the First Crusade decides to set up a new order. These are the first Knights of Templar, a band of elite warriors prepared to give their lives to protect Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land. Over the next two hundred years, the Templars would become the most powerful religious order of the medieval world. Their legend has inspired fervent speculation ever since. But who were they really and what actually happened?
My current knowledge of the Templars originates from playing Assassin’s Creed. I’m not going to lie. If memory serves, I found this book in Waterstones during a shopping trip away with some female friends. I decided to buy it when I got home as I had limited space in the case. No word of a lie, the e-book came up on sale on Amazon either that night, or the next morning. So, I bought it!
I think I’ll enjoy learning the foundation and history of this holy Order.
The Time Travellers Guide to Medieval England – Ian Mortimer
Imagine you could get into a time machine and travel back to the 14th century. This text sets out to explain what life was like in the most immediate way, through taking the reader to the Middle Ages, and showing everything from the horrors of leprosy and war to the ridiculous excesses of roasted larks and haute couture.
This is another history book (surprise surprise!) but with a different subject matter entirely. I know quite a bit about the likes of the Cold War, the economic boom and great depression in America… that sort of thing. If there was a lack in my history lessons, it was British history. By reading this book, I’m looking to rectify the gap in my knowledge.
Ikey Solomon is very successful indeed, in the art of thieving. Ikey’s partner in crime is his mistress, the forthright Mary Abacus, until misfortune befalls them. They are parted and each must make the harsh journey from 19th century London to Van Diemens Land. In the backstreets and dives of Hobart Town, Mary learns the art of brewing and builds The Potato Factory, where she plans a new future. But her ambitions are threatened by Ikey’s wife, Hannah, her old enemy. The two women raise their separate families. As each woman sets out to destroy the other, the families are brought to the edge of disaster.
I think it was the criminal element of this that drew my attention to the novel. Having read the synopsis again though, I’m not so sure about it. I have too many books to be sat on the fence, so I’m going to drop this off the list.
Originally written for the pulp magazines of the 1920s and 1930s, H. P. Lovecraft’s astonishing tales blend elements of horror, science fiction, and cosmology that are as powerful today as they were when first published.
This tome presents original versions of many of his most harrowing stories, including the complete Cthulhu Mythos cycle, in order of publication.
I’ve already started reading some of these stories. They are weird and wonderful (with a side dish of creepy). It’s not a book I’ll read in one go – it’s too large for that! It’s sat on my bookshelf in the hallway though, so I’ll pick it up periodically and work my way through it!
DCI John Luther has an extraordinary clearance rate. He commands outstanding loyalty from friends and colleagues. Nobody who ever stood at his side has a bad word to say about him. But Luther seethes with a hidden fury that at times he can barely control. Sometimes it sends him to the brink of madness, making him do things he shouldn’t; things way beyond the limits of the law.
The Calling, the first in a new series of novels featuring DCI John Luther, takes us into Luther’s past and into his mind. It is the story of the case that tore his personal and professional relationships apart and propelled him over the precipice. Beyond fury, beyond vengeance. All the way to murder…
I love watching Luther on TV, so I have to see how his character translates through a narrative. I cannot imagine anyone playing Luther but Idris Elba. He’s perfect for the role!
In the medieval kingdom of Goredd, women are expected to be ladies, men are their protectors, and dragons get to be whomever they want. Tess, stubbornly, is a troublemaker. You can’t make a scene at your sister’s wedding and break a relative’s nose with one punch (no matter how pompous he is) and not suffer the consequences. As her family plans to send her to a nunnery, Tess yanks on her boots and sets out on a journey across the Southlands, alone and pretending to be a boy.
Where Tess is headed is a mystery, even to her. So when she runs into an old friend, it’s a stroke of luck. This friend is a quigutl—a subspecies of dragon—who gives her both a purpose and protection on the road. But Tess is guarding a troubling secret. Her tumultuous past is a heavy burden to carry, and the memories she’s tried to forget threaten to expose her to the world in more ways than one.
Returning to the fascinating world she created in the award-winning and New York Times bestselling Seraphina, Rachel Hartman introduces readers to a new character and a new quest, pushing the boundaries of genre once again in this wholly original fantasy.
I really enjoyed reading Seraphina and Shadow Scale; in particular, the element of music. Tess of the Road is set in the same fantasy world, but I get the impression it’s quite separate from these books too. Again, I’m on the fence, so I think I’ll set it aside.
Do you want to know what it’s like to die, to kill, to really fear for your life? Then get hooked…
Detroit-based homicide detective John Barnes has seen it all—literally. Thanks to a technologically advanced machine, detectives have access to the memories of the living, the dying, and the recently dead. But extracting victims’ experiences firsthand and personally reliving everything up to the final, brutal moments of their lives—the sights, the sounds, the scents, the pain—is also the punishment reserved for the criminals themselves.
Barnes has had enough. Enough of the memories that aren’t his. Enough of the horror. Enough of the voices inside his head that were never meant to take root…until a masked serial killer known as Calavera strikes a little too close to home.
Now, with Calavera on the loose, Barnes is ready to reconnect, risking his life—and his sanity. Because in the mind of this serial killer, there is one secret even Barnes has yet to see…
The premise of this novel is unique and a little unnerving… in a good way! This is a total keeper – I think the synopsis speaks for itself!
Orphaned as a child, Jane has felt an outcast her whole young life. Her courage is tested once again when she arrives at Thornfield Hall, where she has been hired by the brooding, proud Edward Rochester to care for his ward Adèle. Jane finds herself drawn to his troubled yet kind spirit. She falls in love. Hard.
But there is a terrifying secret inside the gloomy, forbidding Thornfield Hall. Is Rochester hiding from Jane? Will Jane be left heartbroken and exiled once again?
I want to read Jane Eyre because it’s a classic, but I’ll admit I am really dubious about the romance element of the story. I was so on the fence about it that I decided to ask my bookish friends on Twitter whether I should still read it or not.
The vast majority voted yes, commenting that there is so much more to the novel and that I should stick with the first few chapters. Thank you for your comments guys, it’s been a great help! I’ll take your advice and keep it on the list.
When Sir Archibald Latham of the War Office dies from a heart attack while visiting her brothel, Madam India Black is unexpectedly thrust into a deadly game between Russian and British agents who are seeking the military secrets Latham carried.
Blackmailed into recovering the missing documents by the British spy known as French, India finds herself dodging Russian agents-and the attraction she starts to feel for the handsome conspirator.
When I first added this book, the synopsis intrigued me. To a degree, it still does, but not as much as it did when I added it. I’m conscious of the number of books on my list, and I need to trim it down. I think this book will also be relegated for the greater good.
So, that’s three out of ten books plucked from the list!
Have you read any of these books? Do you agree with my choices?
Nothing beats writing a Sunday Summary post at the end of the week, but not the end of the weekend! Who else has the day off tomorrow?
My parents are working tomorrow, so I have a few plans of my own. Aside from doing the usual domestic things, I don’t plan to be without a book in hand for too long!
I’d like to apologise for not posting on Tuesday as promised. I found choosing my Top Ten characters of the A Song of Ice and Fire (aka Game of Thrones) series a lot harder than I expected. Once I had picked my top ten I started writing brief commentaries on each. By 10:30pm on the Tuesday local time, I’d only written up satisfactory commentaries for half of the characters. At that point, I decided I wasn’t going to get the post ready for publishing to the standard I would like that night. Therefore, I decided to postpone it. When it does go live, I hope it doesn’t disappoint. I think I made the right decision in the end, and I hope you can understand.
I did manage to publish my review of Mythos by Stephen Fry on schedule. My interest in Greek Mythology stemmed from reading The Road to Alexander back in January, which features the story of Persephone and Hades. Mythos is my first non-fiction read of the year and I aim to read another four by the end of December. It’s not a huge number, I know, but we all have to start somewhere right?
After last week’s Sunday Summary post, I promptly finished Sword Song by Bernard Cornwell. I really love this historical fiction series! The characters (Uhtred in particular) are fantastic and the narrative is easy to get lost in. I had less than 20% left so finishing this last weekend was quite easy.
I’ve spent most of the week reading Empress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean. I was kindly sent a copy of this to review by Gollancz. YA isn’t a typical genre for me, although I do like to sample it from time to time. I’m glad I requested this book. It gave me insight into a completely different culture and the fantasy element of the tale was really enjoyable to read! I look forward to writing my full review!
With Empress of all Seasons concluded, the rest of this month is dedicated to A Feast for Crows by George R. R. Martin. When I set my reading list for the month I said I’d be happy if I got around to starting the book. To be nearly 20% through the book with five days of May left is an incredible achievement! Reckon I can get to 60% by the end of the month? That sounds like a challenge to me!
I have also been listening to The Painted Man in the car on the way home from work. I’ll be popping out and about in the car tomorrow, so you can be sure I’ll be chipping into it some more. I have three and a half hours of the story left, so my second challenge is to finish this by the time I publish next week’s Sunday Summary post.
Payday has rolled around once again (thank goodness)! This month I was determined to complete my paperback collection of the A Song of Ice and Fire series. I was fortunate that my store was stocking each of the books I needed to complete my collection. I have some plans to jazz up my shelves with some GoT related decor, but for now, here they are in all their glory!
With half the post already completed, I have absolutely no excuses to disappoint you this week. This week I will be posting my Top Ten A Game of Thrones characters – honest!
As with this week, I plan to share a book review for you later in the week. This time, I’ll be reviewing the final book in The Relic Guild trilogy, The Watcher of Dead Time by Edward Cox. This is another series kindly provided to me by Gollancz that I’ve really enjoyed. I hope you can check in for that post later in the week. If you want to check out my reviews of the earlier books in the trilogy, I’ll be providing links to those too!
It’s time for another Sunday Summary post again… already! It barely feels like I finish one weekly wrap-up post before I am starting the next one, seriously. It’s great though! Writing and sharing my progress/thoughts on something I love is a total pleasure. It’s not something that everyone understands, but that’s okay! That’s precisely why I reach out to an awesome community like you! Knowing that even a handful of people take the time to read what I have to say is really humbling.
Whilst a lot of this weekend (okay, yesterday) has been dedicated to playing Minecraft, I have managed a good amount of reading throughout the week! The end of last week/beginning of the week was a busy one! After I concluded last week’s Sunday Summary post, I jumped immediately into finishing drafting my Blog Tour post for Son of the Moon by Jennifer Macaire. After a few days breather on the blog post front, I committed myself to another Throwback Thursday review of The Rag Nymph by Catherine Cookson. I particularly enjoy those posts as it gives me the chance to review the books that I read even before starting my blog over two years ago now.
I’m pleased with the amount of reading I have done this week. Even taking out a good few hours yesterday to scratch my Minecraft itch, I managed to get plenty done!
As of last week’s Sunday Summary post, I was halfway through my current read, Seventh Decimate by Stephen Donaldson. I have kindly been sent the second book of The Great God’s War series, so I wanted to pick up the first book before I get stuck into that. I can guarantee reading the second book will not be as speedy as the first, on account of it being almost twice as long! Seventh Decimate only took three days in all though, so it shouldn’t be too much of a challenge!
Immediately after concluding Seventh Decimate, I picked up one of my current reads, Sword Song by Bernard Cornwell. I’m 83% through the book as of now, with about an hour left of reading time required to finish it. Sounds like a challenge to me! I totally love this series so far. I first watched the BBC series when it aired in 2015, although I hadn’t realised it was based on a book series until later. After I started a new job, a Danish colleague of mine, also a fan, loaned the first book to me. I read and returned it within a week. That’s how much I loved it! I’ve been hooked since. I’m a little miffed that the series has been relegated to Netflix.
I confess that I have also dipped into a book I was intending to save until last. I’m confident in my current reading progress though, so I don’t think it’s an issue. I am too excited for the last episode of A Game of Thrones. Of course, once this is published I am going to have to go on an internet ban until I can watch it tomorrow night. I can’t wait to see how it ends; equally, I don’t want it to end and I’m nervous about how satisfied I’ll be about the ending. It’s not really the end though, as we still have the books to look forward to! I’ll have to content myself with reading A Feast for Crows, won’t I?
On the audiobook front, I have also been trundling through The Painted Man by Peter Brett. It’s definitely picked up since the beginning and I am really intrigued to see where the tale is going. I usually listen to it in the car commuting to and from work. This is going to be cut back as I have just started giving a colleague a lift to work in the morning, but I don’t think I’ll suffer too much as a result. I’ll have to start listening to it as I am getting ready in the morning instead.
I have behaved this week – no additions or purchases!
Friday this week is payday though… and I feel a purchase or two coming on!
Tomorrow night… I have plans. Plain and simple! Nothing is coming between me and the last episode of A Game of Thrones, that’s for sure! I’m also due to be out on Thursday evening for a catch up with friends. Therefore, I think I’ll be going back to posting on Tuesday and Friday for this week.
Since it’s been about a month since my last post of this kind, I’d quite like to post a Top Ten Tuesday list. I don’t always pick the subject matter at the time. However, given that it’s the final of A Game of Thrones, I feel like writing a topical post. I’ve already written a Quintessential Quotes post in this vein, so I am going to talk about my Top Ten characters of the series!
On Friday I am going to write my review of a book I borrowed from the library and read back in February this year. Mythos by Stephen Fry, as you may well guess from the title, is a history and re-telling of various tales within Greek Mythology. It was my first venture into non-fiction for the year and to be honest, I am overdue to read another one. I set myself the challenge of reading five this year, so I’m behind on that front. I picked up the book after reading The Road to Alexander by Jennifer Macaire, as that book touches on Greek Mythology. It piqued my interest and I’m glad I went the extra step.
The weekend has come and gone in a flash, as it always does anyway! How are we all friends? Did you have a good one?
I’ve done surprisingly well in terms of the amount of reading I have done, but more on that later. In addition to that, I have also attempted to write a few thoughts down about my recent re-read of A Clash of Kings. Let’s face it, what can I possibly say to such an epic? I tried, I really did! I had more success in reviewing my TBR on Friday – far less pressure on that post. I may only have removed one book from the list, but I’ve psyched myself up for reading the rest!
I made light work of The Drawing of the Three after last week’s post! I left it too long between picking up books, but I can assure you it won’t be too long until I pick up number three. I found the second book a little easier to read than the first. Maybe having got the first under my belt made a difference.
I promptly moved on to Son of the Moon by Jennifer Macaire. I am taking part in a blog tour for the book tomorrow and I wanted to get this read in good time. I finished reading the book yesterday and have started my post. Finishing it for tomorrow is my job after this post goes live!
Since last night, I have read half of Seventh Decimate by Stephen Donaldson. I’m not quite sure how I have managed to read so much so quickly, but I have! I’m reading Seventh Decimate ahead of taking on The War Within, book two, next month. That has a lot more pages, so I won’t be so quick getting through that book!
As usual, I’ve been plodding through my latest audiobook, The Painted Man by Peter Brett. The beginning felt a little repetitive, but it’s picked up somewhat in the past couple of days. I can’t wait to see how the characters come together, if at all.
I was quite lucky this week because I received an email from Amazon about a book I’m interested in being on sale. Admittedly, it’s a way down the line since I am only on book four of the series now. Might as well take advantage of the sale though, right? That’s what I told myself anyway!
As I’ve previously mentioned, I’m taking part in a blog tour post for Son of the Moon – tomorrow. I need to get on and finish drafting that pretty damn quickly!
After that, my next post is planned for Thursday. As part of Throwback Thursday, I’ll be looking back at a book or series I have read previously and want to feature on my blog! I hope you can join me for that!
So, that’s all from me in this Sunday Summary! What have you been reading?
Down the TBR Hole is a meme created by Lia @ Lost in a Story. The idea is to review the books on your TBR to decide if you still want to read them. The rules are as follows: –
Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
Order on ascending date added.
Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books.
Read the synopses of the books
Decide: keep it or should it go?
I’ve written quite a few of these posts now and they are proving a great way of tidying up my reading list. Okay, the list isn’t exactly GOING DOWN, but it is all books I want to read now. Shall review the next five books on my list?
Called “elegantly, starkly beautiful” by The New York Times Book Review, The Siege is Helen Dunmore’s masterpiece. Her canvas is monumental — the Nazis’ 1941 winter siege on Leningrad that killed six hundred thousand — but her focus is heartrendingly intimate.
One family, the Levins, fights to stay alive in their small apartment, held together by the unlikely courage and resourcefulness of twenty-two-year-old Anna. Though she dreams of an artist’s life, she must instead forage for food in the ever more desperate city and watch her little brother grow cruelly thin. Their father, a blacklisted writer who once advocated a robust life of the mind, withers in spirit and body. At such brutal times everything is tested. And yet Dunmore’s inspiring story shows that even then, the triumph of the human heart is that love need not fall away.
I’m a complete sucker for historical fiction and especially for this time period. Typically, I would read about the front line, so to speak. I think it will be refreshing to read about the impact of war on everyday citizens for a change.
The Adversary: A True Story of Monstrous Deception – Emmanuel Carrère & Linda Coverdale
On the Saturday morning of January 9, 1993, while Jean Claude Romand was killing his wife and children, I was with mine in a parent-teacher meeting…
With these chilling first words, acclaimed master of psychological suspense Emmanuel Carrère begins his exploration of the double life of a respectable doctor, 18 years of lies, five murders and the extremes to which ordinary people can go.
Doesn’t this sound really chilling? That’s precisely what I thought when I read the synopsis on Bookbub. I bought a copy straight away and I’m intrigued to see where this sinister sounding novel takes us.
Firstborns rule society. Secondborns are the property of the government. Thirdborns are not tolerated. Long live the Fates Republic.
On Transition Day, the second child in every family is taken by the government and forced into servitude. Roselle St. Sismode’s eighteenth birthday arrives with harsh realizations: she’s to become a soldier for the Fate of Swords military arm of the Republic during the bloodiest rebellion in history, and her elite firstborn mother is happy to see her go.
Televised since her early childhood, Roselle’s privileged upbringing has earned her the resentment of her secondborn peers. Now her decision to spare an enemy on the battlefield marks her as a traitor to the state.
But Roselle finds an ally—and more—in fellow secondborn conscript Hawthorne Trugrave. As the consequences of her actions ripple throughout the Fates Republic, can Roselle create a destiny of her own? Or will her Fate override everything she fights for—even love?
I like reading dystopian novels, and that’s why I added this to the list. Looking at it again now, I’m not so sure about it. It’s not that I think I won’t like it, but there isn’t a burning, overwhelming desire to read it either. I’ve got plenty of books on the list that I would love to read right here, right now. I think this one has to go.
In a future so real and near it might be now, something happens when women go to sleep; they become shrouded in a cocoon-like gauze.
If they are awakened, and the gauze wrapping their bodies is disturbed or violated, the women become feral and spectacularly violent; and while they sleep they go to another place.
The men of our world are abandoned, left to their increasingly primal devices. One woman, however, the mysterious Evie, is immune to the blessing or curse of the sleeping disease.
Is Evie a medical anomaly to be studied, or is she a demon who must be slain?
Stephen King is pretty much an auto-approve for me. I have read a variety of his books now and really enjoyed them all. The synopsis would have drawn me to the book whether he had a hand in it or not; the fact he does is only bonus points.
Life can turn on a dime—or stumble into the extraordinary, as it does for Jake Epping, a high school English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine. While grading essays by his GED students, Jake reads a gruesome, enthralling piece penned by janitor Harry Dunning: fifty years ago, Harry somehow survived his father’s sledgehammer slaughter of his entire family. Jake is blown away…but an even more bizarre secret comes to light when Jake’s friend Al, owner of the local diner, enlists Jake to take over the mission that has become his obsession—to prevent the Kennedy assassination. How? By stepping through a portal in the diner’s storeroom, and into the era of Ike and Elvis, of big American cars, sock hops, and cigarette smoke… Finding himself in warmhearted Jodie, Texas, Jake begins a new life. But all turns in the road lead to a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald. The course of history is about to be rewritten…and become heart-stoppingly suspenseful.
Again, this is an automatic yes! What’s even better is that I came across this gem in a charity shop for only 50p!
So, only one off the list this time, but I don’t mind too much! Do you agree with my choices? Have you read any of these books? As always, I would love to hear from you!
I’m writing today’s Sunday Summary post with headphones in – again! Things haven’t been all that bad here for about two weeks now, but there have been bad periods tonight and it’s honestly ridiculous. As a rule, I work best in relative quiet, but I am genuinely resorting to choosing my own noise over that of my neighbour’s TV. Otherwise, I’ve had a mediocre week but great weekend. The first week back at work is never fun; however, my sister is visiting this weekend. At least I’ve had that to look forward to!
I’ve also started a busy reading month ahead of me. Inspired by my recent time off, I’ve got the urge to read lots of books so I’m pushing the boundaries a little. If you want to take a look at the books on my list this month, I’ve published my reading list and you can find it here. A little later in the week I published my review of Ewan Pendle and the Castle of Nightmares, as well as reminisced a little over the early days… good times.
I began the week where I left off in last week’s Sunday Summary post with Maskerade by Terry Pratchett. I was aiming to get this finished by Monday at the latest, but I actually finished it on Tuesday in the early evening. Without hesitation, I quickly picked up my first book from this month’s TBR, The Drawing of the Three by Stephen King. I’ve been making steady progress throughout the week and I’m at 80%. I’ll be reading more tonight and fingers crossed, I’ll have it finished by tomorrow. I said that last week too, but I’m more hopeful this time!
I also finished the novella about the history of Lock In, so I’ve started a new audiobook. The Painted Man by Peter Brett is a little different from the books I have listened to previously. It’s narrated really well and I have gotten into it quite quickly!
Not so much discovered, but I treated myself to paperback copies of A Storm of Swords: Part 2 and A Feast for Crows after payday.
What’s coming up on the blog next week? When I type this, or something similar, the thought that follows is “good question”. It’s rare that I’ve planned so far ahead that I know this point before I start writing this section.
I think I am going to tackle another review early this week because I have a few to catch up on. Whilst we fans are all in Game of Thrones fever, I’m thinking to review A Clash of Kings.
Later in the week, I’d like to take another look at the TBR and whittle it down. Removing the books I am no longer interested in will make it appear a little more manageable… until I add a ton more books at least!
What are you up to this week? What books are you reading?
This week has been one of the best this year, by far! I’ve had a much-deserved break from work to relax, catch up on some sleep… and read plenty of books! Apparently, the break was needed too. An eagle-eyed reader of last week’s post may have noticed I managed to get the date very, very wrong – a month wrong, in fact. Well done if you spotted it – if you didn’t it’s too late now because I’ve corrected that grievous error…
I’ve not been sleeping well lately thanks to an inconsiderate night-owl neighbour. Not to jinx it, but things have been alright this week, so fingers crossed my complaints have finally made an impact!
Although I had more time on my hands this week, the blog schedule remained as usual. My focus was on the reading side, so I have stuck to my three posts. My first blog post of the week landed on Wednesday and I decided to resurrect my “Quintessential Quotes” post. I last made one last year and this time, I wanted to take a look at another fantasy author I am fast becoming a huge fan of – Brandon Sanderson. The particular book I decided to feature was “The Way of Kings”. On Friday I took part in my last blog tour of the month for Justice Gone by N. Lombardi Jr.
I’ve had such a productive week in reading terms. It’s not very often that I manage to get through so much simply because I’m out at work! Now I understand how some people can get through so many books in a week. I was talking to my parents about how much I have been reading on Friday and my mum joked that I will probably die surrounded by books and cats. Suffocation by TBR doesn’t sound like the worst way to go…
Following on from last week, I ended up reading Justice Gone and The Watcher of Dead time pretty much side by side. It’s not very often I do this, but it felt right. Reading one and then the other worked because it enabled me to take a break from each when I needed to, but I was able to keep up the momentum. The narratives and genres are completely different, which helps. I can’t read anything to similar at the same time but that wasn’t a problem here at all.
In the last couple of days, I picked up the last book of the TBR for April, Maskerade by Terry Pratchett. His books are always a great laugh and quite easy to read. I’m two-thirds of the way through currently and I expect I’ll have it finished by tomorrow at the latest. Who knows, for the first time in a long while (if not ever) I might actually get to start a monthly TBR early!
I may have been at home most of the week, but I did have a couple of trips out in the car. I have finished the main storyline of Lock In and I am now listening to the novella also included in the audiobook that tells us the history of Haden’s syndrome.
In addition to being off work this week, payday rolled around (finally)! So, yes, I treated myself to a couple of books. One of these I needed pretty much straight away, since my library don’t have this one in their e-book library. The second book is one that I could have borrowed from them, but I have bought the first three books already. I have just watched Season 3 of The Last Kingdom and it’s reminded me that I really need to pick up the next book. Sword Song is book four of the series and I expect I’ll be picking it up really soon!
It’s that time of the month when I am thinking about my next TBR. I am really excited about it, because having been off and had a taste of the luxury of time; I want to read all the books! I have so many in mind I fear I won’t get around to them all. I’m either going to have to reluctantly postpone one or two or really pull my finger out to dedicate every spare moment I have to the cause. I’m yet to decide, but I’ll let you know in my reading list post!
A little later in the week, I’m going to be writing a book review that isn’t for a blog tour! It’s been so long since I’ve done one and I now have a bit of a backlist. Usually, I refer to Goodreads, but because I have done so many tours a few books still to review are quite far down the list now. To be sure I don’t forget them, I’ve started a list on my phone to be sure nothing is forgotten! Since I have been reading Shaun Hume’s book for so long (and I got the chance to put all my feedback together whilst I have been off work – another win!) it’s time I finally committed to a review.
You probably hate me now for all this talk of time off work (lucky bitch), and fair enough! Just remember that I have to go back tomorrow and I am very acutely aware of this fact. I’m not looking forward to it! Reading the antics of Terry Pratchett’s creations had best keep me sane…