Tag: goodreads

Shelf Control #7 – 04/10/2019

Welcome to day 4 of Blogtober and today’s regular feature post, Shelf Control! I am going to be sharing both Shelf Control and First Lines Friday posts throughout October. In light of the recent hiatus I have had to take from these posts due to other blogging commitments, it will be good to get back on track!

As a refresher, Shelf Control is a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies – 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.

I am using Shelf Control to look in further detail at the books I have added to the TBR and then listed as keepers in my Down the TBR Hole posts. I talk about why I want to keep the featured book; it also 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 five, so let’s look at the next book on the TBR!

 

Good Omens – Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman

Goodreads – Good Omens

According to The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch (the world’s only completely accurate book of prophecies, written in 1655, before she exploded), the world will end on a Saturday. Next Saturday, in fact. Just before dinner.

So the armies of Good and Evil are amassing, Atlantis is rising, frogs are falling, tempers are flaring. Everything appears to be going according to Divine Plan. Except a somewhat fussy angel and a fast-living demon—both of whom have lived amongst Earth’s mortals since The Beginning and have grown rather fond of the lifestyle—are not actually looking forward to the coming Rapture.

And someone seems to have misplaced the Antichrist . . .

 

My Thoughts…

I love Terry Pratchett’s writing – a fact I think I have already established having read no less than eighteen books of his now. Yeah, that many…

I have more mixed feelings about Neil Gaiman. I have read two books of his to date and whilst one was okay, I really didn’t like another. It’s probably the most popular book he has published too. I can see elements of American Gods in Good Omens, like the stand-off between good and evil etc. I think Pratchett will provide the humour in this partnership; something I felt was missing in American Gods. The lighter tone will sit a lot better with me, or so I am hoping.

Despite my mixed feelings about one of the co-authors, I am still looking forward to reading this book. Many of my friends have read the book and rated it highly, so I am sure I will enjoy it too!

Have you read Good Omens or is it on your TBR? What do you think of it?

 

 

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Shelf Control #6 – 20/09/2019

Welcome back to my regular feature post, Shelf Contol and boy, is it good to be bringing this back! I published my last Shelf Control post a month ago. Other blogging commitments meant this was set aside for a short while, but I’ll glad to be bringing this back once again!

As a refresher, Shelf Control is a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies – 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.

I am using Shelf Control to look in further detail at the books I have added to the TBR and then listed as keepers in my Down the TBR Hole posts. I talk about why I want to keep the featured book; it also 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 six, so let’s look at the next book on the TBR!

 

Warbreaker – Brandon Sanderson

Goodreads – Warbreaker

This is the story of two sisters, who happen to be princesses. Theirs is a world in which those who die in glory return as gods to live confined to a pantheon in Hallandren’s capital city. A world transformed by a power based on an essence known as breath. Using magic is arduous as breath can only be collected one unit at a time.

My Thoughts…

I think I have established at this point that Brandon Sanderson is fast becoming one of my favourite Fantasy authors.

I loved reading the first Mistborn trilogy and the first book of The Stormlight Archives. They are two very different stories with one thing in common – unique magic systems with physical dependency. This is very much apparent in Warbreaker too, judging by the synopsis. I love that Sanderson doesn’t rely on the magic to resolve complicated areas of the plot.

My list of books to read by Sanderson is mounting, so I really need to think about diving into them.

Have you read Warbreaker, any of the books mentioned above, or any others by Brandon Sanderson? Do you have any recommendations for me?

 

 

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down the tbr hole

Down the TBR Hole #25

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?

Today I’ll be checking out the next ten books on the list – are you ready?

 

The Court of Broken Knives – Anna Smith Spark

The Court of Broken Knives

Goodreads – The Court of Broken Knives

They’ve finally looked at the graveyard of our Empire with open eyes. They’re fools and madmen and like the art of war. And their children go hungry while we piss gold and jewels into the dust.

In the richest empire the world has ever known, the city of Sorlost has always stood, eternal and unconquered. But in a city of dreams governed by an imposturous Emperor, decadence has become the true ruler, and has blinded its inhabitants to their vulnerability. The empire is on the verge of invasion – and only one man can see it.

Haunted by dreams of the empire’s demise, Orhan Emmereth has decided to act. On his orders, a company of soldiers cross the desert to reach the city. Once they enter the Palace, they have one mission: kill the Emperor, then all those who remain. Only from ashes can a new empire be built.

The company is a group of good, ordinary soldiers, for whom this is a mission like any other. But the strange boy Marith who walks among them is no ordinary soldier. Marching on Sorlost, Marith thinks he is running away from the past which haunts him. But in the Golden City, his destiny awaits him – beautiful, bloody, and more terrible than anyone could have foreseen.

 

I added this book to the TBR on the 24th June 2018, and I kid you not, nearly a year on to the day (23rd June 2019), I bought my copy through Amazon. Freaky! I think it was on offer at the time, and I had read a review that reminded me of it.

This is a definite keeper, that’s for sure!

Verdict: Keep

 

The Mage Wars – Mercedes Lackey

The Mage Wars

Goodreads – The Mage Wars

Set around three thousand years before the rest of the Valdemar series, this is the ancient history of Velgarth and the story of Skandranon Rashkae, a gryphon with gleaming ebony feathers, keen magesight and acute intelligence. He is the fulfillment of all that the Mage of Silence, the human sorcerer called Urtho, intended to achieve when he created these magical beings to be his champions, the defenders of his realm – a verdant plain long coveted by the evil mage Ma’ar.

Together with Amberdrake, a Healer of body, mind and spirit, Skandranon will defend his nation from his evil counterparts created by Ma’ar, the makaar. The glorious city of White Gryphon will rise from the ashes, but it will take careful negotiation, spying and terrible war against the mysterious Black Kings to secure the stronghold. Even then, the elite guard force, the Silver Gryphons, will discover a greater terror lurking in the forests beyond the city walls…

The Mage Wars omnibus follows Skandranon and his lifelong friend, Amberdrake, and their children, as they seek to establish and defend a Kingdom of peace and tranquillity.

 

These next few books are actually quite easy, as I own them all. They are sat on my bookshelf in the spare room begging to be picked up. I bought them all together, having read a little about them via Goodreads.

Verdict: Keep

 

The Mage Storms – Mercedes Lackey

The Mage Storms

Goodreads – The Mage Storms

Karse and Valdemar have long been enemy kingdoms, until they are forced into an uneasy alliance to defend their lands from the armies of Eastern Empire, which is ruled by a monarch whose magical tactics may be beyond any sorcery known to the Western kingdoms. Forced to combat this dire foe, the Companions of Valdemar may, at last, have to reveal secrets which they have kept hidden for centuries… even from their beloved Heralds.

 

As above. I really want to try these epic fantasy novels.

Verdict: Keep

 

The Mage Winds – Mercedes Lackey

The Mage Winds

Goodreads – The Mage Winds

Long ago, high magic was lost to Valdemar when the last Herald-Mage gave his life to protect his kingdom from destruction by dark sorceries. But now the protective barrier over Valdemar is crumbling, and with the realm imperilled, Princess Elspeth, Herald and heir to the throne, has gone on a desperate quest in search of a mentor who can teach her to wield her fledgling mage-powers and help her to defend her threatened kingdom.

Winds of fate
With the realm at risk, Elspeth, herald and heir to the throne, abandons her home to find a mentor who can awaken her untrained mage abilities.

Winds of change
Princess Elspeth journeys to the Vale of the Tayledras Clan to seek Mage training among the powerful Hawkbrother Adepts, only to find that she and renegade adept Darkwind must confront the malevolent magic of Ancar of Hardorn.

Winds of fury
Herald-Princess Elspeth and her beloved partner, Darkwind the adept, return to Valdemar to confront the evil and powerful Ancar, who once again is threatening her homeland.

 

… Yeah, and again. As above. No point adding unnecessary wordage here.

Verdict: Keep

 

The Dragonbone Chair – Tad Williams

Goodreads – The Dragonbone Chair

A war fueled by the powers of dark sorcery is about to engulf the peaceful land of Osten Ard—for Prester John, the High King, lies dying. And with his death, the Storm King, the undead ruler of the elf-like Sithi, seizes the chance to regain his lost realm through a pact with the newly ascended king. Knowing the consequences of this bargain, the king’s younger brother joins with a small, scattered group of scholars, the League of the Scroll, to confront the true danger threatening Osten Ard.

Simon, a kitchen boy from the royal castle unknowingly apprenticed to a member of this League, will be sent on a quest that offers the only hope of salvation, a deadly riddle concerning long-lost swords of power. Compelled by fate and perilous magics, he must leave the only home he’s ever known and face enemies more terrifying than Osten Ard has ever seen, even as the land itself begins to die.

After the landmark Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn trilogy, the epic saga of Osten Ard continues with the brand-new novel, The Heart of What Was Lost. Then don’t miss the upcoming trilogy, The Last King of Osten Ard, beginning with The Witchwood Crown!

 

There’s definitely a fantasy theme running here so far! I can’t help but think that there are a lot of clichés in this one, based on the synopsis. I don’t mind the odd one, but stories that use the same ones all the time get repetitive. It sounds very similar to something I have read before, so I think I am going to pass on this one.

Verdict: Go

 

Auschwitz – Laurence Rees

Goodreads – Auschwitz

Auschwitz-Birkenau is the site of the largest mass murder in human history. Yet its story is not fully known. In Auschwitz, Laurence Rees reveals new insights from more than 100 original interviews with Auschwitz survivors and Nazi perpetrators who speak on the record for the first time. Their testimonies provide a portrait of the inner workings of the camp in unrivalled detail—from the techniques of mass murder, to the politics and gossip mill that turned between guards and prisoners, to the on-camp brothel in which the lines between those guards and prisoners became surprisingly blurred.

Rees examines the strategic decisions that led the Nazi leadership to prescribe Auschwitz as its primary site for the extinction of Europe’s Jews—their “Final Solution.” He concludes that many of the horrors that were perpetrated in Auschwitz were driven not just by ideological inevitability but as a “practical” response to a war in the East that had begun to go wrong for Germany. A terrible immoral pragmatism characterizes many of the decisions that determined what happened at Auschwitz. Thus the story of the camp becomes a morality tale, too, in which evil is shown to proceed in a series of deft, almost noiseless incremental steps until it produces the overwhelming horror of the industrial scale slaughter that was inflicted in the gas chambers of Auschwitz.

 

As awful as it sounds, I have a bit of a morbid fascination with the events and atrocities of World War II and Nazi Germany. I love other books on the same subject, like The Tattooist of Auschwitz and Code Name Verity. Auschwitz, in contrast to the other books just named, is a non-fiction account. I’m trying to get myself to read more non-fiction (and failing right now)… but this is one to pick up at a later date.

Verdict: Keep

 

The Woman Who Would Be King: Hatshepsut’s Rise to Power in Ancient Egypt

Goodreads – The Woman Who Would Be King

An engrossing biography of the longest-reigning female pharaoh in Ancient Egypt and the story of her audacious rise to power in a man’s world.

Hatshepsut, the daughter of a general who took Egypt’s throne without status as a king’s son and a mother with ties to the previous dynasty, was born into a privileged position of the royal household. Married to her brother, she was expected to bear the sons who would legitimize the reign of her father’s family. Her failure to produce a male heir was ultimately the twist of fate that paved the way for her inconceivable rule as a cross-dressing king.

At just twenty, Hatshepsut ascended to the rank of king in an elaborate coronation ceremony that set the tone for her spectacular twenty-two year reign as co-regent with Thutmose III, the infant king whose mother Hatshepsut out-maneuvered for a seat on the throne. Hatshepsut was a master strategist, cloaking her political power plays with the veil of piety and sexual expression. Just as women today face obstacles from a society that equates authority with masculinity, Hatshepsut had to shrewdly operate the levers of a patriarchal system to emerge as Egypt’s second female pharaoh.

Hatshepsut had successfully negotiated a path from the royal nursery to the very pinnacle of authority, and her reign saw one of Ancient Egypt’s most prolific building periods. Scholars have long speculated as to why her images were destroyed within a few decades of her death, all but erasing evidence of her rule. Constructing a rich narrative history using the artifacts that remain, noted Egyptologist Kara Cooney offers a remarkable interpretation of how Hatshepsut rapidly but methodically consolidated power—and why she fell from public favor just as quickly. The Woman Who Would Be King traces the unconventional life of an almost-forgotten pharaoh and explores our complicated reactions to women in power.

 

It’s rare that one non-fiction book graces the TBR, but two in a row?! It’s unheard of. I’m keeping this book on the TBR too; I didn’t even know there were female pharaohs! I’d like to learn a little more about her, and Egyptian culture. It’s a break from my usual reading and allows me to expand my history knowledge.

Verdict: Keep

 

Henry VIII – Abigail Archer

Goodreads – Henry VIII

Henry VIII ruled England from 1509 to 1547. As a young man, he was fond of sports and hunting, and was said to be uncommonly handsome. Standing more than six feet tall, he loomed large in the lives and minds of his subjects as he navigated his country through the tricky diplomatic and military hazards of the sixteenth century. A man of enormous appetites, Henry conducted affairs with many women, married six, and executed two. His infatuation with Anne Boleyn set in motion a chain of events that reshaped the church in England and eroded the dominance of Rome. But the popular image of Henry as a crude tyrant, dispatching courtiers, enemies, and wives with gusto, obscures a more nuanced and fascinating character.

He was a true Renaissance king who presided over one of Europe’s greatest courts and nudged Western civilization onto a new course. Here, from Abigail Archer, author of The New York Times bestseller Elizabeth I, is the story of Henry VIII.

 

Three non-fiction books in a row? I must have been conscious of the fact that I don’t read many and trying to rectify that. They are all history as well, which is fair enough. I enjoy history – at least they are all different in time period. The Tudor period is up there with WW2 on my list of favourite subjects.

Verdict: Keep

 

Playing With Matches – Lee Strauss

Goodreads – Playing With Matches

Heinz Schultz’s word could send a man to prison. Though only a youth of fifteen, he was strong, tall, and blond. The boys in his Deutsches Jungvolk unit esteemed him and feared him.

And they wanted to be just like him.
Emil Radle wanted to be just like him.

A dedicated member of Hitler Youth, Emil was loyal to the Fuehrer before family, a champion for the cause and a fan of the famous Luftwaffe Airforce.

Emil’s friends Moritz and Johann discover a shortwave radio and everything changes. Now they listen to the forbidden BBC broadcast of news reports that tell both sides. Now they know the truth.

The boys along with Johann’s sister Katharina, band together to write out the reports and covertly distribute flyers through their city. It’s an act of high treason that could have them arrested–or worse.

As the war progresses, so does Emil’s affection for Katharina. He’d do anything to have a normal life and to stay in Passau by her side. But when Germany’s losses become immense, even their greatest resistance can’t prevent the boys from being sent to the Eastern Front.

 

How quickly we swing back to History and WW2… but at least we are back in historical fiction territory. I am on familiar ground again! I simultaneously added this to the TBR and bought the e-book from Amazon. That’s how convinced I was that this was a keeper. I think I saw this advertised on Bookbub when it was on offer. I stand by my decision to buy it there and then.

Verdict: Keep

 

Keep You Safe – Rona Halsall

Goodreads – Keep You Safe

What if trying to protect your child only put them in danger?

Natalie is desperate to find her little boy. It has been more than three years since she saw Harry. Three long years in prison for a crime she knows she didn’t commit.

But her husband believed the police, and took their son.

Who has gone to such great lengths to destroy Natalie’s life? Everyone she once trusted – friends, family, everyone close to her – what secrets do they hide?

If Natalie finds the truth, will she get Harry back, or lose him forever?

A totally gripping psychological thriller– perfect for fans of Big Little Lies, The Girl on the Train and C.L Taylor.

Previously titled GUILTY LITTLE SECRETS

 

Rona Halsall’s Keep You Safe is staying on the list for a couple of reasons. Not only does it sound like a fantastic thriller/mystery novel, but Rona is a local author! I feature a lot of books on my blog, but as yet, nothing from anyone living on our little Island. I’m excited to be able to read this and share my thoughts on it.

Verdict: Keep

Only one book struck off the list again. At this point, I don’t think I’ll be striking many more off the list. They are all reasonably recent additions.

Have you read any of these books? Do you agree with my choices?

As always, I would love to hear from you!

 

 

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Sunday Summary – 1st September 2019

It’s time to write a Sunday Summary post again. AGAIN! The weeks and the weekends are just flying at the moment. This time last week I was looking forward to enjoying a bank holiday Monday off – and now that’s the last of them until… you know. The C-word. I’ve not had my summer holiday yet so we aren’t allowed to talk about that…

On to more current affairs – what has been keeping me busy this week? On slightly non-blog related events, I unveiled my new hair colour on Instagram and Facebook. You may have noticed some slightly different blog artwork reflecting the change. Let’s just say there’s no chance of losing me in a crowd anytime soon!

I had my first post of the week drafted even before last week’s Sunday Summary post. I am pleased to have hosted a book review for K J McGillick’s latest book in the Lies and Misdirection series, Duality. I’ve really enjoyed the series so far and Duality’s more personal touch was a definite hit with me!

Midweek, I shared a second review – I cannot believe it has taken me four months to get around to reviewing Maskerade by Terry Pratchett. It did though. Slightly shameful I admit, but better late than never, right?

On Friday I really enjoyed sharing a First Lines Friday post with you again. I’m really enjoying these regular Friday features so I’ll definitely be keeping up with them where I can. This week’s featured book is a book talked about a lot in the community and one I will particularly enjoy reading (when I finally get around to it!).

 

Books Read

I feel good about this week’s progress, even though overall I didn’t get to touch one of the books on August’s TBR at all. Since I have a blog tour coming up really soon (more on that below), my focus of the week was finishing The Fourth Victim by John Mead. As of last week’s Sunday Summary post, I was 23% through the book; I finished it on Thursday. I really got into the unusual case and I can’t wait to tell you more about it… but no spoilers, obviously!

Me Before You. Oh, I have so much to say about this book. Thank goodness I had the foresight not to try to finish reading this at work. On Friday night I was an absolute mess. It has been a long time since a book made me cry like that. That said I am glad I took the recommendation of a colleague and read it. I wouldn’t describe it as my usual read but I enjoyed it… every tear-wrenching moment.

After I had slept on the ending of Me Before You (I wasn’t fit to start anything else, to be honest), I picked up one of my first reads of September a day early. I have signed up for a lot of blog tours this month. A lot. Maybe too many, but I’m excited about them all! Since I had no chance of reading an epic 655-page fantasy novel in one day, I was as well getting ahead of the game for September’s TBR. As of right now, I am 22% through The Beltane Choice by Nancy Jardine.

As usual, I’ll wrap this section up with my audiobook progress of the week. I’m coming to the end of my opportunity to listen to my audiobooks in the car on the way to work as well as back, but that’s no problem! I also have the bonus of not needing to listen to the radio some nights due to local events and road closures. I’ve listened to several more hours of Six of Crows this week. I feel like the setup and the plot is finally building up to the main event. I was a little unsure of this title when I started but I’m glad I persevered!

 

Books Discovered

After reading a great excerpt and review shared by Drew over at The Tattooed Book Geek, I have added In the Absence of Miracles by Michael J. Malone to the TBR. If you want to check out the post, I’ve included a link to it in my Top Blog Posts section below!

 

Coming Up…

On account of it being September already (where has that come from?), I’m beginning the week by sharing my reading list for September! As I have mentioned, I have signed up for a number of blog tours this month and three are reviews. In addition to those, I have a couple of reads I am really, really looking forward to. Hint: one of them is being published on the 10th of September.

As you have probably guessed from previous weeks, I am on a mission to work my way through my slight backlog of reviews. I’m going to be putting aside some of the older reviews on my list in favour of sharing my thoughts on a more recent read. Back in my early blogging days, I was approached to review Seeker by David Noe and Laura Loolaid. Well, a few months ago David approached me again with a second science-fiction novel set in the same Universe for review and I gladly accepted. He has been very patient in waiting for a review, so that’s my midweek post.

Normally I’d be sharing a Shelf Control post this Friday, however, I am setting that aside as I am scheduled on the book birthday blitz tour for The Fourth Victim on Friday 6th. I’m looking forward to telling you just why I really enjoyed this unusual police-procedural / crime fiction novel!

 

Top Blog Posts of the Week

Bibliophagist Reviews – No Disclaimers Book Tag

In the Absence of Miracles by Michael J. Malone Blog Tour: Book Excerpt and Book Review. #BlogTour #IntheAbsenceofMiracles #BookBloggers @OrendaBooks @annecater @michaelJmalone1

 

So, that’s me finished rambling for today! What have you been reading?

 

 

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Shelf Control #5 – 23/08/2019

Welcome back to my regular feature post, Shelf Contol! Shelf Control is a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies – 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.

Regular readers will know that I am using Shelf Control to look in further detail at the books I have added to the TBR and then listed as keepers in my Down the TBR Hole posts. I talk about why I want to keep the featured book; it also 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 five, so let’s look at the next book on the TBR!

 

The Talisman – Stephen King

On a brisk autumn day, a twelve-year-old boy stands on the shores of the gray Atlantic, near a silent amusement park and a fading ocean resort called the Alhambra. The past has driven Jack Sawyer here: his father is gone, his mother is dying, and the world no longer makes sense. But for Jack everything is about to change. For he has been chosen to make a journey back across America–and into another realm.

One of the most influential and heralded works of fantasy ever written, The Talisman is an extraordinary novel of loyalty, awakening, terror, and mystery. Jack Sawyer, on a desperate quest to save his mother’s life, must search for a prize across an epic landscape of innocents and monsters, of incredible dangers and even more incredible truths. The prize is essential, but the journey means even more. Let the quest begin. . . .

 

My Thoughts…

The Talisman isn’t going to be the first fantasy novel I’ll read by Stephen King. I am already really enjoying The Dark Tower series! I have read the first two books, with the third sat on my bookshelf ready and waiting.

Although fantasy is my most-read genre, my first read of King’s wasn’t one of his fantasy books – it was The Green Mile. I confess that I have only picked up his books in the last couple of years; I wish I had sooner!

Regardless of genre, there is something compelling about his narratives that keeps you flipping the pages. I have listened to/read six of his novels so far, with more on my shelf to read in future.

Have you read any of Stephen King’s novels? What are your favourites?

 

 

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Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 18th August 2019

Welcome back to my blog and my Sunday Summary post everybody! Have you had a lovely week and a great weekend?

I decided to scale back my posting a little this week to three posts instead of four. I have a couple of lengthy books to read – as well as the two additional books I have picked up – a busy schedule! My first post of the week was published on Wednesday. It had been a little while since sharing an audiobook review. With Darkdawn being published next month, I figured a review of Godsgrave was due.

On Friday I shared a First Lines Friday post. This week’s post featured a dystopian classic currently on my reading list. I would imagine a few people have already read this book, willing or not at school. I’m aiming to make my way through all these books at some point.

 

Books Read

As with last week, I have a few books on the list in this Sunday Summary post. Throughout the week I have been reading Thran Book 1: The Birth. Last week I commented that I wanted to make more progress on it this week. I’m pleased to say I have. I’ve read a further 35% of the book, so if I can keep that pace up, I’ll have it finished in time for next week’s post!

The next book on my list is Duality by K. J. McGillick. I had not long started this book at the time of reading last week’s Sunday Summary post, but I finished reading it very quickly. I set myself the target of finishing it by midweek, and indeed I finished it on Wednesday!

In the middle of this week, I was feeling a little restless in terms of reading. I already had two books on the go and I wasn’t really in the mood. I wanted something different. A work colleague has recently read and loved Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, so I took inspiration from that and borrowed an e-copy from my library. It really isn’t my type of read but I have enjoyed the beginning so far. I’ve been dedicating the rest of the week to making progress on Thran, so haven’t got beyond the first 10% yet. It’s been easy and enjoyable to read so far, so I am going to stick with it!

I struggled to get into Six of Crows last week – I actively put off listening to the audiobook on the way home from work in favour of listening to the radio. I’ve been better this week and put about another hour or so into it. It’s picked up, I’m glad to say. I’m not giving anyone a lift into work for the next couple of weeks, so I’ll be able to listen to put more time into Six of Crows. I plan to make use of it now I’ve found the hook.

 

Books Discovered

I’ve been good and not spent any money on books, but I have added one book to the TBR this week. Take It Back has just been published by HarperCollins – it’s a courtroom drama in which four boys are accused of a horrific crime. Tackling racial divisions in society, I think this will prove an entertaining and enlightening read!

 

Coming Up…

If you want to know what posts are coming up in the next week, then you have come to the right place, my friends! With the amount of reading I have on, I have decided that I am going to stick to a three post week again.

In the usual format on these weeks, I’ll be sharing a book review on Wednesday. Earlier this year I received a copy of The War Within by Stephen Donaldson courtesy of Gollancz – the second book of the series. In order to catch up, I borrowed Seventh Decimate from my local library. This first book is the subject of my review. I hope you can check that out!

On Friday it is the turn of my regular Shelf Control post. For those who have not read these before, I feature a book currently on my TBR and tell you a little about it; why I want to read it and such. With this series in its infancy, I am still looking at some really old books on my list. I have found it useful though; it has encouraged me to pick one of these books up later this month!

 

Top Blog Posts of the Week

SPasciuti’s Blogger Review Feature – Reviewsfeed

Top Six Bookish Pet Peeves

#BookReview The Perfect Wife By J. P. Delaney #Thriller

So, that’s all from today’s Sunday Summary post! What are you reading?

 

 

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Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 11th August 2019

Welcome back to another Sunday Summary post! Yes, the weekend has come to a close once again. Doesn’t it fly? I hope you have had a good one, whatever you have been up to!

In addition to my reading this week, I’ve also been sharing a variety of bookish related posts. On Tuesday, I undertook another review of the TBR in my latest Down the TBR Hole post. It didn’t turn out to be all that successful in terms of reducing the list, but it was still good fun to look at this list all the same.

On Thursday I reviewed a book I initially read back in May, Sword Song by Bernard Cornwell. I am really enjoying this historical fiction series. By all accounts, I shouldn’t get on with Uhtred’s character, but you cannot help but like him… faults and all!

Friday was the turn of my regular Shelf Control post. Rather than just one book, this week’s post featured three! I’ve read the first trilogy of this series so far, however, with three following books published and one final one yet to be published, I still have a bit of reading to do with this one!

 

Books Read

I’ve dipped in and out of several books this week. I have spent the week reading parts of a long fantasy novel, Thran Book 1: The Birth. As this is a long and detailed read, I think it’s the type of book that I’ll be chipping away at in between other reads rather than binge reading. I’m about a quarter of the way through the book so far, although I am hoping to make more progress on it in the next week.

I’ve also been dipping in and out of reading The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle throughout the week. I finally finished this last night and… wow! The story was so complex! Who knew so much could happen in one day? I knew  this murder mystery was portrayed in several perspectives, but I didn’t expect them to jump around as much as they did. If I had tried to read it faster I would have lost the plot. Don’t get me wrong, it worked, but if you’re not paying attention then you just end up mind-fucked. It deserves the 5* rating I’ve given it, but I’m glad I took my time unravelling the story. I realise that for many 6 days wouldn’t really fall under ‘taking ones time’, but yeah.

On Saturday evening I started my current read, Duality by K. J. McGillick. I’m glad to be back with a number of familiar characters and another, totally unique art theft case. The undercurrents and history of Renaissance art vs Religion is really interesting and I can’t wait to discover more about it as the team work to unravel the case! I’ve managed to read just over a quarter of the book already. I imagine I’ll have this read by mid next week at this rate!

After your results on my Twitter poll last week, I made a very meagre start on listening to Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. For one reason or another, I only ended up listening to this on the way home from work one day this week.

 

Books Discovered

The only addition I have to the list this week is a cute little sample my mum got for me! Whilst she was out shopping last week she was offered a sample of One Minute Later by Susan Lewis. Knowing my obsessive reading, she took it and has given it to me this afternoon. Thanks mum!

 

Coming Up…

Since I am free of blog tours and other commitments next week, I have totally free reign as to what I share with you. As I mentioned in last week’s Sunday Summary post, I have a few reviews to catch up on. To that end, on Wednesday I’ll be sharing my review of an audiobook I listened to AGES ago now – Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff.

Later in the week, I’ll be sharing another First Lines Friday post (no prizes for guessing when that goes live). As always, it’s as much a mystery as to which book I’ll be featuring at the moment, but I’ll figure it out closer to the time!

 

Top Blog Posts of the Week

Okay, so confession time. I’ve been really bad and not read any blogs this week. I’m really sorry – I’ll be back on it next week. I promise!

What have you been up to this week? What books are you reading?

 

 

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Shelf Control #4 – 09/08/2019

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.

I am using Shelf Control to look in further detail at the books I have added to the TBR and then listed as keepers in my Down the TBR Hole posts. In this post I take the opportunity to talk about why I want to keep them. It also 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 four, so let’s look at the next item on the TBR! This week’s post is a little unusual as I am featuring not just one book, but three.

 

The Mistborn Series – Brandon Sanderson

 

Three hundred years after the events of the Mistborn trilogy, Scadrial is now on the verge of modernity, with railroads to supplement the canals, electric lighting in the streets and the homes of the wealthy, and the first steel-framed skyscrapers racing for the clouds.

Kelsier, Vin, Elend, Sazed, Spook, and the rest are now part of history—or religion. Yet even as science and technology are reaching new heights, the old magics of Allomancy and Feruchemy continue to play a role in this reborn world. Out in the frontier lands known as the Roughs, they are crucial tools for the brave men and women attempting to establish order and justice.

One such is Waxillium Ladrian, a rare Twinborn who can Push on metals with his Allomancy and use Feruchemy to become lighter or heavier at will.

After twenty years in the Roughs, Wax has been forced by family tragedy to return to the metropolis of Elendel. Now he must reluctantly put away his guns and assume the duties and dignity incumbent upon the head of a noble house. Or so he thinks, until he learns the hard way that the mansions and elegant tree-lined streets of the city can be even more dangerous than the dusty plains of the Roughs.

My Thoughts…

I have put off reading the books following the initial trilogy. I loved it so much that I guess a small part of me is concerned it won’t live up to the original. Given the great ratings on Goodreads I don’t think my concerns have any real foundations.

I loved the characters, the world-building and the basis of magic in this series. I have also come across a similar concept in another of his books – The Stormlight Archives. Instead of magic being infinite power, it has a physical limitation. In the Mistborn books, those with magic can only wield their powers if they ingest the required metal compound – also known as Allomancy. Once it has burned out, that’s it. Having such limitations, Mistborn are far from invincible. Inconvenient problems cannot be swept under the carpet and the narrative is far more sophisticated in resolving issues as a result.

There is a seventh and final book to the series, which has yet to be published. It was initially timetabled for 2018 but unfortunately delayed. Hopefully, the final one will be published shortly so I can wrap up what I hope will continue to be an excellent series.

Have you read any of the Mistborn novels or any other books by Brandon Sanderson?

 

 

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Book Review: Sword Song – Bernard Cornwell

I’m on a mission to catch up with one of my book reviews I have outstanding. I read Sword Song, the fourth instalment of the Saxon Stories in May this year. Whether you have/are reading the books or watched the TV show, there is something for all historical fiction fans.

I was introduced to The Last Kingdom, the first book of the series, by a Danish friend of mine. If you’d like to check out my reviews of the earlier books, you can find the reviews for The Last Kingdom and The Pale Horseman here and Lords of the North here. If you want to check those out before jumping into my review of Sword Song, now is the time to do it!

 

Sword Song – Bernard Cornwell

Goodreads – Sword Song

“Bernard Cornwell ranks as the current alpha male of testoterone-enriched historical fiction….This satisfying tale leaves you hungry for more of Uhtred’s adventures.” -USA Today

The year is 885, and England is at peace, divided between the Danish Kingdom to the north and the Saxon kingdom of Wessex in the south. Warrior by instinct and Viking by nature, Uhtred, the dispossessed son of Northumbrian lord, has land, a wife and children-and a duty to King Alfred to hold the frontier on the Thames. But a dead man has risen, and new Vikings have invaded the decayed Roman city of London with dreams of conquering Wessex…with Uhtred’s help. Suddenly forced to weigh his oath to the king against the dangerous turning side of shifting allegiances and deadly power struggles, Uhtred-Alfred’s sharpest sword-must now make the choice that will determine England’s future.

 

My Thoughts…

There is something about Uhtred’s character you cannot help but like. He’s tough, sure of himself; I’d even go so far to say arrogant. He is not without fault, and begrudging admitting it when he is. It’s all part of his charm. It’s funny, because I can’t stand people like that personally. I suppose there’s only room for one ego, so it has to be mine. I’m not even embarrassed to admit it either…

Caught between his Saxon heritage and his Danish upbringing and love of the warrior life, Uhtred’s loyalties are constantly tested. As a character, Uhtred makes the perfect narrator. Having ties to both sides, his conflicting feelings neither glorify nor demonise one side over the other. It serves well in building the conflict of the plot.

There may be peace between both camps for now, but it sits uneasily. As a Danish man, Uhtred is a firm believer in destiny. When word spreads of a prophecising dead man rising from the grave, Uhtred cannot resist the temptation to find out what his future has in store for him. With promises of Kingship and grandeur, Uhtred helps the Danes occupy Lundene, threatening the last standing kingdom of Wessex.

Aside from Uhtred there are plenty of other brilliant characters. From prodigiously devout to callous and reckless, England is as divided within its people as it is with the Danes. King Alfred is doing his best to pull everyone together, but he is one man – fighting a losing battle to unite the men hiding their own agendas before he even makes it onto the field.

 

 

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down the tbr hole

Down the TBR Hole #24

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?

Today I’ll be checking out the next ten books on the list – are you ready?

 

The Fourteenth Letter – Claire Evans

Goodreads – The Fourteenth Letter

One balmy June evening in 1881, Phoebe Stanbury stands before the guests at her engagement party: this is her moment, when she will join the renowned Raycraft family. As she takes her fiancé’s hand, a stranger with a knife steps forward and ends the poor girl’s life. Amid the chaos, he turns to her groom and mouths: “I promised I would save you”.

Curl up for a sumptuous, exhilarating debut as a young legal clerk seeks to solve the mystery of Phoebe’s death – and uncovers a secret world full of danger.

 

Doesn’t the synopsis for this sound really intriguing?! Who is this girl and why is she murdered? How does her murder save her fiancé? I want to find out!

Verdict: Keep

 

Everless – Sara Holland

Goodreads – Everless

In the kingdom of Sempera, time is currency—extracted from blood, bound to iron, and consumed to add time to one’s own lifespan. The rich aristocracy, like the Gerlings, tax the poor to the hilt, extending their own lives by centuries.

No one resents the Gerlings more than Jules Ember. A decade ago, she and her father were servants at Everless, the Gerlings’ palatial estate, until a fateful accident forced them to flee in the dead of night. When Jules discovers that her father is dying, she knows that she must return to Everless to earn more time for him before she loses him forever.

But going back to Everless brings more danger—and temptation—than Jules could have ever imagined. Soon she’s caught in a tangle of violent secrets and finds her heart torn between two people she thought she’d never see again. Her decisions have the power to change her fate—and the fate of time itself.

 

I purchased an e-book copy of Everless last year as I loved the sound of it so much. I stand by that decision even now. It’s an unusual concept with a lot of potential and I can’t wait to see how the narrative plays out. It has pretty good reviews on Goodreads too.

Verdict: Keep

 

A Brief History of Time – Stephen Hawking

Goodreads – A Brief History of Time

In the ten years since its publication in 1988, Stephen Hawking’s classic work has become a landmark volume in scientific writing, with more than nine million copies in forty languages sold worldwide. That edition was on the cutting edge of what was then known about the origins and nature of the universe. But the intervening years have seen extraordinary advances in the technology of observing both the micro- and the macrocosmic worlds. These observations have confirmed many of Professor Hawking’s theoretical predictions in the first edition of his book, including the recent discoveries of the Cosmic Background Explorer satellite (COBE), which probed back in time to within 300,000 years of the universe’s beginning and revealed wrinkles in the fabric of space-time that he had projected.

Eager to bring to his original text the new knowledge revealed by these observations, as well as his own recent research, Professor Hawking has prepared a new introduction to the book, written an entirely new chapter on wormholes and time travel, and updated the chapters throughout.

 

I am by no means a science geek, but I definitely want to give this a try. After his death last year I added this book to the TBR. The man was a genius; his incredible research and his battle against motor neurone disease (outliving his initial 2 years life expectancy prognosis by 53 years!) will be his lasting legacy.

Verdict: Keep

 

Fools and Mortals – Bernard Cornwell

Goodreads – Fools and Mortals

A dramatic new departure for international bestselling author Bernard Cornwell, FOOLS AND MORTALS takes us into the heart of the Elizabethan era, long one of his favourite periods of British history.

Fools and Mortals follows the young Richard Shakespeare, an actor struggling to make his way in a company dominated by his estranged older brother, William. As the growth of theatre blooms, their rivalry – and that of the playhouses, playwrights and actors vying for acclaim and glory – propels a high-stakes story of conflict and betrayal.

Showcasing his renowned storyteller’s skill, Bernard Cornwell has created an Elizabethan world incredibly rich in its portrayal: you walk the London streets, stand in the palaces and are on stage in the playhouses, as he weaves a remarkable story in which performances, rivalries and ambition combine to form a tangled web of intrigue.

 

Fools and Mortals is currently sat on my bookshelf in the hallway. I have dipped into it very recently, if only to share a First Lines Friday post about it. After that intro, I found it hard to put the book away again. I can see myself picking it pretty soon.

Verdict: Keep

 

Katherine of Aragón: The True Queen – Alison Weir

Goodreads – Katherine of Aragon

Bestselling author and acclaimed historian Alison Weir takes on what no fiction writer has done before: creating a dramatic six-book series in which each novel covers one of King Henry VIII’s wives. In this captivating opening volume, Weir brings to life the tumultuous tale of Katherine of Aragón. Henry’s first, devoted, and “true” queen.

A princess of Spain, Catalina is only sixteen years old when she sets foot on the shores of England. The youngest daughter of the powerful monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella, Catalina is a coveted prize for a royal marriage – and Arthur, Prince of Wales, and heir to the English throne, has won her hand. But tragedy strikes and Catalina, now Princess Katherine, is betrothed to the future Henry VIII. She must wait for his coming-of-age, an ordeal that tests her resolve, casts doubt on her trusted confidantes, and turns her into a virtual prisoner.

Katherine’s patience is rewarded when she becomes Queen of England. The affection between Katherine and Henry is genuine, but forces beyond her control threaten to rend her marriage, and indeed the nation, apart. Henry has fallen under the spell of Katherine’s maid of honor, Anne Boleyn. Now Katherine must be prepared to fight, to the end if God wills it, for her faith, her legitimacy, and her heart.

 

The Tudor period and the lives of Henry VIII and his wives is one of my favourite topics of history. When I saw an article interviewing Alison Weir about the books/series in Writer’s Magazine, I had to add the first to the TBR. If I get on with the writing style of this first book then the rest will be going on the TBR too.

Verdict: Keep

 

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman

Goodreads – Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

No one’s ever told Eleanor that life should be better than fine.

Meet Eleanor Oliphant: She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy.

But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kinds of friends who rescue one another from the lives of isolation they have each been living. And it is Raymond’s big heart that will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one.

Soon to be a major motion picture produced by Reese Witherspoon, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is the smart, warm, and uplifting story of an out-of-the-ordinary heroine whose deadpan weirdness and unconscious wit make for an irresistible journey as she realizes. . .

The only way to survive is to open your heart.

 

I think I am going to relate to Eleanor more than I would like to admit. Whilst I do go out to some social events, I’m not that adventurous. My weekends are not full of pizza and alcohol, but books. I have better than phone chats because I get to go and see my parents at the weekend. I’m hoping this will be an enjoyable read… and it might even teach me something about myself!

Verdict: Keep

 

The Hangman’s Daughter – Oliver Pötzsch

Goodreads – The Hangman’s Daughter

Magdalena, the clever and headstrong daughter of Bavarian hangman Jakob Kuisl, lives with her father outside the village walls and is destined to be married off to another hangman’s son—except that the town physician’s son is hopelessly in love with her. And her father’s wisdom and empathy are as unusual as his despised profession. It is 1659, the Thirty Years’ War has finally ended, and there hasn’t been a witchcraft mania in decades. But now, a drowning and gruesomely injured boy, tattooed with the mark of a witch, is pulled from a river and the villagers suspect the local midwife, Martha Stechlin.

Jakob Kuisl is charged with extracting a confession from her and torturing her until he gets one. Convinced she is innocent, he, Magdalena, and her would-be suitor race against the clock to find the true killer. Approaching Walpurgisnacht, when witches are believed to dance in the forest and mate with the devil, another tattooed orphan is found dead and the town becomes frenzied. More than one person has spotted what looks like the devil—a man with a hand made only of bones. The hangman, his daughter, and the doctor’s son face a terrifying and very real enemy.

 

My love of historical fiction is shining through in this Down the TBR Hole post.

It’s unusual for such compassion to be shown, one by a hangman and two, to someone accused of witchcraft. Magdalena’s quest to uncover the truth should be an excellent mystery to solve.

Verdict: Keep

 

The Rithmatist – Brandon Sanderson

The Rithmatist

Goodreads – The Rithmatist

The Rithmatist, Brandon Sanderson’s New York Times bestselling epic teen adventure is now available in paperback.

More than anything, Joel wants to be a Rithmatist. Rithmatists have the power to infuse life into two-dimensional figures known as Chalklings. Rithmatists are humanity’s only defense against the Wild Chalklings. Having nearly overrun the territory of Nebrask, the Wild Chalklings now threaten all of the American Isles.

As the son of a lowly chalkmaker at Armedius Academy, Joel can only watch as Rithmatist students learn the magical art that he would do anything to practice. Then students start disappearing—kidnapped from their rooms at night, leaving trails of blood. Assigned to help the professor who is investigating the crimes, Joel and his friend Melody find themselves on the trail of an unexpected discovery—one that will change Rithmatics—and their world—forever.

A New York Times Book Review Notable Children’s Book of 2013

 

Brandon Sanderson, at this point, is an auto-buy author. Saying that I aim to read ALL his books is a tall order. He has already written a lot of books and so many more are in the planning. I’ve already read one trilogy (The Mistborn trilogy) and started another series (The Stormlight Archives). I’m also reading Elantris later this month. It’s fair to say I am making an effort.

I love the way he builds each fantasy world differently to the next. The one thing the books I have read so far have in common is that magic is based around some physical element; it isn’t an infinite resource. No magically getting rid of inconvenient problems.

Verdict: Keep

 

Eve of Man – Giovanna Fletcher

Eve of Man

Goodreads – Eve of Man

AGAINST ALL ODDS, SHE SURVIVED.
THE FIRST GIRL BORN IN FIFTY YEARS.
THEY CALLED HER EVE . . .

All her life Eve has been kept away from the opposite sex. Kept from the truth of her past.

But at sixteen it’s time for Eve to face her destiny. Three potential males have been selected for her. The future of humanity is in her hands. She’s always accepted her fate.

Until she meets Bram.

Eve wants control over her life. She wants freedom.

But how do you choose between love and the future of the human race?

EVE OF MAN is the first in an explosive new trilogy by bestselling authors Giovanna & Tom Fletcher.

 

I’m on the fence with this one. It’s a work of dystopian fiction, which in theory should be right up my street. I have doubts though. If the narrative is going to consist of constant mournful pining for someone else then I’m just not going to get on with it.

If I didn’t have such a large TBR then maybe I’d give it the benefit of the doubt and try it. I think I’ll drop this one.

Verdict: Go

 

Daughter of Smoke and Bone – Laini Taylor

Daughter of Smoke & Bone

Goodreads – Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Errand requiring immediate attention. Come.

The note was on vellum, pierced by the talons of the almost-crow that delivered it. Karou read the message. ‘He never says please’, she sighed, but she gathered up her things.

When Brimstone called, she always came.

In general, Karou has managed to keep her two lives in balance. On the one hand, she’s a seventeen-year-old art student in Prague; on the other, errand-girl to a monstrous creature who is the closest thing she has to family. Raised half in our world, half in ‘Elsewhere’, she has never understood Brimstone’s dark work – buying teeth from hunters and murderers – nor how she came into his keeping. She is a secret even to herself, plagued by the sensation that she isn’t whole.

Now the doors to Elsewhere are closing, and Karou must choose between the safety of her human life and the dangers of a war-ravaged world that may hold the answers she has always sought.

 

Daughter of Smoke and Bone is going nowhere but into my hands to read! I actually just bought my copy of the book a couple of weeks ago. Paperback, because I love Laini Taylor’s Strange the Dreamer series and I don’t doubt I’ll love this one too.

Verdict: Keep

One book out of ten doesn’t feel all that productive, but at least I can say I know my reading preferences. The books I am considering at this point were only added to the TBR a year ago, so comparatively, they aren’t even that old choices. I doubt there will be much I filter off the list at this point… but I can look, right?

Have you read any of these books? Do you agree with my choices?

As always, I would love to hear from you!

 

 

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