Tag: goodreads

down the tbr hole

Down the TBR Hole #17

No sooner do I remove books from my TBR, I replace them with others. It is a never-ending battle… but I have to make some effort to get it under control, right? That’s what this post is all about!

I feel my previous Down The TBR Hole posts were getting a bit lengthy, so I am cutting the number of books I am reviewing from 10 down to 5.

To recap, the meme was created by Lia @ Lost in a Story and 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?

Let’s review the next five books on my list!

 

The Kennedy Brothers: The Rise and Fall of Jack and Bobby

Goodreads – The Kennedy Brothers

 

Eight years apart in age, John F. and Robert F. Kennedy were wildly different in temperament and sensibility. Jack was the leader — charismatic, ironic, capable of extraordinary growth and reach, yet also reckless. Bobby was the fearless, hardworking Boy Scout — unafraid of dirty work and ruthless about protecting his brother and destroying their enemies. Jack, it was said, was the first Irish Brahman, Bobby the last Irish Puritan.

As Richard D. Mahoney demonstrates with brilliant clarity in this impeccably documented, magisterial book, the Kennedys lived their days of power in dangerous, trackless territory. The revolution in Cuba had created a poisonous cauldron of conflicting interests. As attorney general, Bobby was determined to bring down Castro and the Mafia; it was during this mission that the very forces of crime he was trying to eradicate came into play.

The Mafia, and in particular the murderous and charming Johnny Rosselli, had been enlisted by the CIA to eliminate Castro. Bobby may have spearheaded an anti-Mafia crusade, but Joe and Jack had courted the mob during the 1960 presidential race. Blackmail and double-dealing were the order of the day. Achieving power meant compromising the best and brightest of ideals and entering into a Faustian bargain — as Bobby Kennedy discovered on November 22, 1963.

Mahoney gives us the Kennedy days and years as we have never before seen them. Here are Jack and Bobby in all their hubris and humanity, youthfulness and fatalism. Here, also, is American history as it unfolds. The Kennedy Brothers is a fresh and masterful account of two men whose legacy continues to hold the American imagination.

 

My Thoughts…

There is very much a historical theme to this post; I must have been in the mindset that I wanted to learn a lot more. I l already have an e-copy of this book, so I am definitely going to read it. The presidency of the US has never been a subject I have taken an interest in before, so reading this will be a new experience for me. In the past I have enjoyed something similar, however, focussing on a diplomatic visit to the USA by Nikita Khrushchev. The thought of a grown man having a tantrum because he can’t go to Disney World still makes me giggle now and then.

Verdict: Keep

 

Crown and Country: A History of England Through the Monarchy

Goodreads – Crown and Country

 

David Starkey looks at the monarchy as a whole, charting its history from Roman times, to the Wars of the Roses, the chaos of the Civil War, the fall of Charles I and Cromwell’s emergence as Lord Protector – all the way up until the Victorian era when Britain’s monarchs came face-to-face with modernity.

 

My Thoughts…

Book two in my apparent history crusade explores different tides – the British monarchy. Considering I am TECHNICALLY British (as Manx isn’t an official nationality), my knowledge of the monarchy is terrible. I spent my time in school learning about the world wars and the financial boom/depression of the US. The rulers of our country, past and present, are hardly touched upon. Isn’t that a little embarrassing? I’m rectifying that mistake by keeping this book on the list.

Verdict: Keep

 

Merchants of Virtue (The Huguenot Connection trilogy Book 1)

Goodreads – Merchants of Virtue

 

MERCHANTS OF VIRTUE follows a rich merchant family during of the repeal of religious tolerance by Louis XIV.

France 1685, Protestants fear for their lives following Louis the Greats revocation of their rights. Jeanne Delpech returns from her chateau to the Quercy capital to find her townhouse overrun by mercenary soldiers. The Sun Kings dragoons are given carte blanche to rob, beat, and commit atrocities to force Huguenots (French Protestants) to abjure their religion. Can Jeanne keep her children and her unborn baby without forsaking her faith?

A true story rich in historical detail, fast-moving action and powerful emotion.

 

My Thoughts…

I seem to be covering history from all angles here, as this book explores history and religion. When I first discovered this book I knew I had to read it. I came across it, courtesy of my Bookbub daily email with book deals on it and fell in love with the synopsis straightaway!

Verdict: Keep

 

The Saint’s Rise (Ignifer Cycle, #1)

Goodreads – The Saint’s Rise

 

No heroes endure…

Three thousand years ago the world fell into darkness, when the great black mouth of the Rot ravaged the land. Across the glorious library city of Aradabar its dark tongues hammered down, leveling the glass towers of learning and entombing the bookyards in a thick blanket of lava. Only a single child survived the devastation; an infant with a prophecy carved into his skin, promising the rise of a hero powerful enough to slay the Rot for good.

Now that child is a young man, beginning to question the meaning of his many scars…

Now those scars are hunted by a jealous King, ruler of a brutal industrial city, where a thousand bizarre castes toil away like slaves…

Now a dark beast is watching, an Unforgiven, seeking to fulfill a promise made long ago…

And now the Rot has returned, its great black mouth gaping large in the sky, bringing chaos and fear to a world where no heroes endure…

 

My Thoughts…

I actually saw this book on Bookbub again only a couple of days ago. The cover caught my eye because I recognized it! At least my TBR isn’t a complete blur in my mind!

I can’t resist a little Fantasy. Sure, it’s a bit cliché with its prophesied child hero and all that jazz, but it has good reviews and I’m in a good mood! It stays!

Verdict: Keep

 

The Incendium Plot (Christopher Radcliff, #1)

Goodreads – The Incendium Plot

 

England in 1572 is a powder keg of rumour, fanaticism, treachery and dissent. All it would take is a single spark . . .

In the England of Elizabeth I, the fear of plague and invasion, and the threat of insurrection are constant. As the Earl of Leicester’s chief intelligencer, lawyer Dr Christopher Radcliff is tasked with investigating rumours of treachery at home and the papist threat from abroad. And with heresy and religious unrest simmering beneath the surface of a country on the brink, Radcliff is under pressure to get results.

Then two brutal and seemingly motiveless killings point alert Radcliff to the whisper of a new plot against the queen. There are few clues, and all he and his network of agents have to go on is a single word: incendium. But what does it mean – and who lies behind it? Christopher Radcliff must find out before it’s too late . . .

(Please note: The Incendium Plot was first published in hardback as Incendium)

 

My Thoughts…

This Down the TBR Hole post focuses on a number of historical fiction, but if there is one slightly different to the others… it’s this one.

The period The Incendium Plot is based on is more recent than my usual reads. Usually, I go for the Tudor period or even earlier to the Viking invasion of Britain. I know a little of the history of this event already, so I’m excited to see how the book portrays it all!

Verdict: Keep

Okay, so it appears I’m not getting rid of any books on this occasion. Sometimes that annoys me, (it is the point of the post after all), but equally I suppose I can be assured that the books on my TBR are of genuine interest.

Have you reviewed your TBR recently, or just added to it?

 

Can’t Wait Wednesday – 3 (+2) 2019 Book Releases

As it is a brand New Year, (okay, so we are over a week in… who cares?) I want to share with you some of the books I am really looking forward to reading this year! Usually, this is a weekly post, but I’m only really writing this as a one-off. Maybe I’ll pick it up more regularly in the future if it proves popular, so if you want to see it again, you need to let me know!

This series began as “Waiting On Wednesday” and hosted at Breaking the Spine.  However, the original creator is no longer able to host the meme and it has now linked up with Can’t Wait Wednesday, hosted at Wishful Endings.

So, which three 2019 releases am I looking forward to reading?

 

Children of Virtue & Vengeance – Tomi Adeyemi

Goodreads – Children of Virtue & Vengeance

Expected Publication Date: 5 March 2019

 

I really enjoyed reading Children of Blood & Bone last year. I love the magical elements of the book, in addition to its focus on ethnicity and oppression. It’s done in such a tasteful but poignant way. I would love the opportunity to read more books like this one!

 

Darkdawn – Jay Kristoff

Goodreads – Darkdawn

Expected Publication Date: 3 September 2019

 

I have listened to the first book of the series on Audible and I am part way through the second book. The world-building and history behind the main storyline are fantastic. These little details are dropped into the storyline that they don’t hinder the main action; if anything, they enhance it. If Book 3 is as good as Books 1&2, I don’t want the series to end!

 

The Testaments – Margaret Atwood

Goodreads – The Testaments

Expected publication Date: 10 September 2019

 

The first time I read The Handmaid’s Tale, I wasn’t enamoured. I was young then (says my sagely 23 y/o self), but the second time I read it, I loved it! I have also come to really enjoy the recent TV show. I’m glad the book isn’t connected to that show. As similar as they are, the TV show is a close but modernised adaptation… not a dramatisation of the book. I also think the title is apt and I love the nod it gives to the Bible. It is in His name that society justifies the oppression of women, after all. I always wondered what happened to Offred. I never imagined it was anything good; now I get to find out!

 

Unconfimed Future Releases

I want to mention a couple of other books I am looking forward to, but these neither have expected release dates, nor do I expect one soon.

 

The Winds of Winter – George R. R. Martin

Goodreads – The Winds of Winter

 

I am completely in love with the Song of Ice and Fire series. It’s one I will pick up again and again throughout my lifetime. I currently have e-book versions of the series, but eventually, I want to invest in physical copies. I am currently re-reading the series (A Clash of Kings at the moment) as the final season is on television this year! At last! I’m both excited and sad at the same time!

 

Doors of Stone – Patrick Rothfuss

Goodreads – Doors of Stone

 

This is another one of the best fantasy book series of all time. My favourite thing about them is the narration. I love the idea that cocky Kvothe gets brought down a peg or two by his experience and how unapologetic he is for that. We all make mistakes. It’s more fun to read someone else’s though!

When will these last two books be released? Does it matter when? No, not really. It makes me angry when I read “negative reviews” of a book which basically consist of people complaining about the wait for them to be published. Why do that? If you have loved a book series so much to follow it this far, then surely the next book is worth the wait!

Would you not feel cheated if an author gave into pressure and published a book earlier than planned and it didn’t live up to expectation? I sure would! I, for one, am more than happy to settle down and discover a few more new authors or start another series in the meantime. Irrespective of how much noise you make, the books will be ready when they are ready.

So go sit down with a cup of tea and read something else. Good things come to those who wait.

 

New Years Resolutions and Reading List – January 2019

Happy New Year everybody! I would like to wish you all a fabulous 2019!

I’m not one for setting myself New Year Resolutions… aside from a reading goal. I find them difficult to stick to. That being said, I am setting myself two bookish and one personal resolution this year to see if I can do it: –

  • Reading Goal: 50 books
  • Read at least 5 non-fiction books
  • No alcohol in 2019

Yep, you read that right! A lot of people are attempting dry January, but I’ve decided to step up the challenge. I can go a month without alcohol easily… I must do it at least six times a year without trying. Truth is, I’m not fussed. I only drink to be social. So, we’ll see just how much I miss it. I don’t think I will at all, but only time will tell.

As to my reading goals, I really ought to read more non-fiction. I last read a non-fiction book in November 2017 – over a year ago. Since I really like history, I expect that I’ll probably dip into this genre in order to complete the challenge. I’ll keep an open mind though. I have been known to read an autobiography or two in the past.

Last year I read 46 books, beating my target of 40 with about a month or so to spare. After I hit my target, I did lose a bit of motivation to read more. With that in mind, I have decided to increase my target to 50 books. The most I have read in one year is 60, however, I read 20 of those before my blog came into existence in April 2017. I don’t think that is achievable this year, but I’ll happily aim down the middle with 50.

So, which books am I going to read in January to get myself started on that goal? In previous months I haven’t set myself that many books to read in a bid to give myself more freedom. I’m not convinced it’s working though. January’s list is going to be a full one though because I have a number of blog tours coming up in the next couple of months.

 

The Road to Alexander – Jennifer Macaire

Goodreads – The Road to Alexander

This is a carryover from last year; I began reading this last month in an attempt to get ahead of myself. With personal matters the way they were, I’ve lost a lot of this advantage, but I’m still well on track to finishing this book in time for the tour mid this month.

 

Black Matter – G. D. Parker

Goodreads – Black Matter

I’m looking forward to reading this book as the synopsis sounds fantastic. I expect it will be a combination of a thrilling crime novel with a futuristic setting, which for me will be a shakeup on the books I normally read. I have read some brilliant crime novels recently, so I have high expectations for this one.

 

You Can’t Make Old Friends & Choose Your Parents Wisely – Tom Trott

Goodreads – You Can’t Make Old Friends

Goodreads – Choose Your Parents Wisely

You guessed it, another blog tour! This one isn’t until February, however, on that date I am reviewing three books in one post. I told you, I’m a very busy girl. This month I am going to read books one and two, with number three making an early appearance in next month’s list.

 

A Clash of Kings – George R. R. Martin

Goodreads – A Clash of Kings

I recently re-read A Game of Thrones, beginning my mission to re-read all of the books before watching the final season of the show, due to air this year! Can something not come around quick enough and too quickly at the same time? I am excited but also gutted that this will be the end. I’ll be that person who binges a season every so often once it’s over, I bet. A Clash of Kings is quite a long book, so I am going to have to get my skates on!

Those are the books I am reading this month! Is anyone else re-reading the A Song of Ice and Fire series this year? As always, I would love to hear from you!

Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary: 9th December 2018

Good evening everyone! Have you all had a lovely weekend? I can’t believe it’s Sunday evening already… doesn’t the time just fly by!

I’ve started drafting today’s post a little later than usual because I upgraded to the new WordPress editor. I had heard some bad things about it – it appeared a lot more functional than the previous editor. Haha… what a joke. What started out to be a not-so-bad experience turned horrendous. After about 45 minutes of trying to format my post in the new editor I cut my losses, downloaded the classic editor plugin and started again. It’s the best decision I (and 800,000 other users) have made.

So… what have I been up to this week? I had the pleasure of taking part in an exciting Blog Tour organised by Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources on Tuesday. Facing a Twisted Judgment by K. J. McGillick is a thrilling read. After a newlywed woman disappears along with artwork worth millions, her husband is suspect number one. As the evidence stacks up against him, we dig into the investigation through the eyes of Dalia.

On Thursday I wrote about my recent “more relaxed” approach to reading and how it is working out for me. I’ve decided to stick it out for another month and so I have committed which books I’ll be reading in my Reading List for December.

In between all this, as well as my reading, I have desperately been trying to catch up with watching I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! I love the show, but it is very full on. I might normally turn on the TV once a week or so – having to watch at least one episode every day to try to keep up (not even to catch up the week I was already behind) is tough going. Is anyone else watching it? What do you make of this year’s campmates?

 

Books Read

 

The number one priority at the beginning of this week was to finish reading Facing a Twisted Judgment. I’ll hold my hands up and say I left it too late to read it. I don’t like to cut it that fine, but I have been struggling with some other books lately which delayed starting this book. I had the book read by about 9:30pm the night before my tour post was due to go live, so I just went straight in for the review. If there is one positive that comes out of that, is that my thoughts and feelings were very fresh. I finished drafting that post gone 11pm that night… which was not so good for my sleeping pattern. It’s my own fault so I can’t complain.

With the pressure taken off me, I decided to pick up Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. Imagine a world in which the media is designed to only make you happy by indoctrination, emotionally detaching you from other people, war, tragedy etc. Can you imagine a world without books? Nope… me neither. I read this book in a matter of a few evenings just before bed. It is so easy to read and so poignant, I’m glad I picked it up; I’ve wanted to for such a long time!

The next read (and my current work in progress) is The Road to Alexander by Jennifer Macaire. Having learned my lesson with Facing A Twisted Judgment, I am starting this book early. I’m due to tour with it in the New Year – no one can suggest I won’t be prepared for this one! I’ve made a respectable start (17%) on this one considering I only picked it up on Friday night. I’ve had quite a busy weekend and so I’m looking forward to delving a bit further into this book next week!

 

Books Discovered

I have been very restrained this week in terms of book buying. Well, it is nearly Christmas after all! I have to leave some present ideas for people, right? I probably won’t get any books anyway – it’s only me that has the book-bug in this family.  That’s the whole reason I started this blog! If I don’t have an outlet to talk about it to, I might just burst!! Okay, slight exaggeration… I’d just bore a lot of uninterested people to death instead.

Instead, I have signed up for a number of blog tours coming up between January-March next year. Watch this space for news of those closer to the time!

 

Coming Up…

It has been a long while since I reviewed a book that hasn’t been part of a blog tour. I was going through a phase of being practically caught up on my reviews, but I have plenty of breathing room now. I initially read the book I‘ll be reviewing back in October. The Silent Patient is an ARC I have been sent for review and I really enjoyed it. Again, this was another book I read extremely quickly. If I had the willpower to forego sleep, I would have done so just to finish this book sooner!

 

 

 

down the tbr holeIt has been a couple of weeks since I published a Down the TBR Hole post, so I also plan to whittle down the TBR a little more next week. I have 188 books on the list – it really isn’t going down all that much! I think I am my own worst enemy…

 

In terms of reading progress, I want to finish The Road to Alexander. I am reading this well in advance but I have also made a few commitments in reading terms for next year, so I’ll thank myself for the head start in future.

In addition to this, I also want to start reading Ewan Pendle and the Castle of Nightmares by Shaun Hume. This is the second book of the series he is writing and he has kindly asked for a review. I really enjoyed the first book, Ewan Pendle and the White Wraith (fun fact –the first book I reviewed on request ever) so I can’t wait to give my feedback on this latest release!

 

That is how my week is shaping up… how about yours?

Blog Tour Review: Facing a Twisted Judgment – K J McGillick

I am really looking forward to today’s blog tour post for Facing a Twisted Judgment by K. J. McGillick. I was kindly invited to the tour by Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. A massive thank you to both of you for enabling me to enjoy this thrilling read!

 

Purchase Links: Amazon.com Amazon.co.uk

Goodreads – Facing A Twisted Judgment

 

Synopsis

What happens when tunnel vision clouds a police investigation? Is it true that once you are labeled a person of interest you really are the prime suspect? Can you trust the legal system?  Probably not.

After a bitterly contested legal battle over inherited property, the hard-won art collection and its owner Samantha Bennington disappear. Both have vanished without a trace.

When blood spatter is discovered under the freshly painted wall of the room in which two of the paintings were hung, the theft becomes the opening act in a twisted tale of jealousy, revenge, and murder leading to a final judgment for all involved.

As the list of suspects narrows, the focus lands squarely on the husband. Some labeled Samantha’s husband a corrupt attorney, others an opportunist. Either way, he’s in the crosshairs of law enforcement and they are calling him a murderer. But is he the only viable suspect? What about the missing woman’s drug-addicted sister and her convicted felon brother? Both were furious over their loss at court and have more than enough reason to hate Samantha.

Guilty until proven innocent leaves Alexander Clarke facing a twisted judgment.

 

My Thoughts…

Give me a crime novel with any number of suspects and I’ll sit there and try to deduce my way through it like a very amateurish Poirot. The measure of a good crime novel is whether I THINK I’ve hacked it or not. As I said, I’m not very good at these things. I’m always wrong, but I enjoy the attempt nonetheless.

I was kept guessing throughout this book! I doubted everyone and everything I was told, trusting none of the characters…well, except Dalia. Was it truly the cold and calculating husband? Maybe it was the psycho sister or brother serving time for fraud. The investigation targets the husband very quickly and the evidence starts to mount up against him.

The narrative is clearly constructed from two perspectives; Dalia, employed by the company trying to recover several pieces of artwork valued at 130million dollars, and suspect number one himself. Dalia’s background as an attorney means she cannot help but take a natural interest in the disappearance of Samantha and subsequent investigation. Her narrative is balanced between developing her character and current events. Of all the characters in the book, I found Dalia to be the most authentic and relatable. As a newcomer to the team and the investigation, we unravel the mystery through her eyes.

Alex is far from a likable character, but his portrayal in the narrative is intriguing and wonderfully written. He is an attorney himself, but with a shady past, a long list of ex-wives and a cold/calculating demeanor, he is far from squeaky clean. When this newlywed’s wife goes missing along with some of her most valuable assets, Alex’s primary concern for the insurance claim on the artwork paints a sinister picture.

I loved reading the chapters from Alex’s perspective because I was intrigued by how emotionally detached he is as a person. Psychology is a subject that I been interested in since the age of 17; Alex makes an interesting test case. His almost split personality can turn at the flick of a switch. His need for control and ability to manipulate people is unnerving. When his wife plans to go against his wishes with the assets he helped her win in court, what lengths will he go to in order to get his way?

A concise narrative makes Facing A Twisted Judgment easy to pick up but hard to put down.

 

About the Author

K. J. McGillick was born in New York and once she started to walk she never stopped running. But that’s what New Yorker’s do. Right?

As she evolved so did her career choices. After completing her graduate degree in nursing she spent many years in the university setting sharing the dreams of the enthusiastic nursing students she taught. After twenty rewarding years in the medical field she attended law school and has spent the last twenty-four years as an attorney helping people navigate the turbulent waters of the legal system. Not an easy feat. And now? Now she is sharing the characters she loves with readers hoping they are intrigued by her twisting and turning plots and entertained by her writing.

Social Media Links – Facebook   Twitter @KJMcGillickAuth

http://www.kjmcgillick.com/

 

 

Throwback Thursday Review: The Inheritance Cycle – Christopher Paolini

Today’s Throwback Thursday review of the Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini is going to be a mixed bag. It’s a series I started and loved in the beginning, but ultimately I have DNF’d it.

 

Goodreads – Eragon

Goodreads – Eldest

Goodreads – Brisingr

Goodreads – Inheritance

Eragon and the fledgling dragon must navigate the dangerous terrain and dark enemies of an empire ruled by a king whose evil knows no bounds. Can Eragon take up the mantle of the legendary Dragon Riders?

When Eragon finds a polished blue stone in the forest, he thinks it is the lucky discovery of a poor farm boy; perhaps it will buy his family meat for the winter. But when the stone brings a dragon hatchling, Eragon realizes he has stumbled upon a legacy nearly as old as the Empire itself. Overnight his simple life is shattered, and he is thrust into a perilous new world of destiny, magic, and power. With only an ancient sword and the advice of an old storyteller for guidance, Eragon and the fledgling dragon must navigate the dangerous terrain and dark enemies of an Empire ruled by a king whose evil knows no bounds. Can Eragon take up the mantle of the legendary Dragon Riders? The fate of the Empire may rest in his hands. . . .

 

My Thoughts…

I started reading Eragon whilst I was at school. I have a particular friend whom I aspired to be like at school. She was into the same books as me – in fact, it was unusual to meet her without a book in hand. (She is also the person who introduced me to Terry Pratchett, I might add).

I had seen her reading Eragon before I had picked it up, so naturally, I had to read it too! I loved the fantasy element of the book; at that time, the young-boy-coming-of-age trope was still exciting. And who doesn’t love dragons?!

If you don’t… you have no soul. Just saying.

I really enjoyed reading the first book; it is magical – and the worldbuilding! I found it very immersive.

I would say that Eragon is a book that I read in my bookworm infancy. At that point, I hadn’t really refined my preferences. I was drinking up everything I could. By the time I got around to Eldest, though, I had started to formulate my own ideas of what I liked and what I didn’t. It’s not that I didn’t like Eldest particularly, I did. I have fond memories of ignoring my duties of supervising younger kids during break and being stood next to a radiator with these books instead. Much more fun, yes?

So, what do I think went wrong?

If I am 100% honest, I think I just outgrew these books. I recall finding the second book immature in the plot and writing style. Frustration peaked because I feel the book could have been better. I wanted to like it, but I couldn’t get past the barrier that presented itself.

I haven’t attempted Brisingr or Inheritance because I don’t think I can bring myself to. The plot is well and truly lost to me so I would be back at square one, with far less appreciation for the tropes it relies on. I don’t think I will enjoy it and I don’t think I need a better reason to not read these books. If we cannot take enjoyment out of reading, then what is the point?

 

down the tbr hole

Down the TBR Hole #16

Hi friends! I am back from my brief trip away and I am officially back in the blogging game! Isn’t it weird that you can miss it after only a few days? I decided it is time for another Down the TBR hole post – it is always good to review the TBR and personally, it makes for an easy post to get back into the swing of things!

To recap, the meme was 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?

So, without further adieu, let’s review the next ten books on my list!

The Birth of Death – Joseph Macolino

Goodreads – The Birth of Death

Artimus, the head investigator for the elvish kingdom of Erathal, is disturbed when he discovers that the culprit behind a recent string of kidnappings presents the greatest threat the world of Evorath has ever seen. As he develops feelings for Savannah, a beautiful elvish druid hiding a great secret, he struggles to separate his personal feelings from his responsibilities to the crown. Meanwhile, Irontail, a young centaur warrior, endeavors to find his way in a tribe where independent thought is discouraged.

When their paths cross, the entire forest must unite, performing an ancient ritual to combat this new evil. While the world of Evorath deals with this great threat, Artimus and his companions must put their internal conflicts to rest as they work together to combat this harbinger of death. As they work towards this common goal, they find that they each have their own, unique gifts to offer. But, will they be strong enough to survive?

The first of many stories taking place in the world of Evorath, this series gives readers the thrill of an epic fantasy while introducing characters who are struggling to balance the demands of society with their own personal desires. One thing is for sure: at the end of it all, nothing will be the same.

If memory serves, I think I stumbled upon this particular book through Twitter. I added it to the TBR as the world of Evorath is a high-fantasy setting. As I hadn’t heard of it before, I thought to give it a try.

A year on, I admit I am less enthusiastic. I have read so many excellent books in this genre – I’m not sure that it will live up to expectations. That isn’t the nicest thing to say I know, but I am only being honest. It’s also not quite the style of fantasy I like; last year I was willing to give it a chance despite that, but I’ve changed my mind.

Verdict: Bin

Thirteen – Steve Cavanagh

Goodreads – Thirteen

THE SERIAL KILLER ISN’T ON TRIAL.

HE’S ON THE JURY…

They were Hollywood’s hottest power couple. They had the world at their feet. Now one of them is dead and Hollywood star Robert Solomon is charged with the brutal murder of his beautiful wife.

This is the celebrity murder trial of the century and the defence want one man on their team: con artist turned lawyer Eddie Flynn.

All the evidence points to Robert’s guilt, but as the trial begins a series of sinister incidents in the court room start to raise doubts in Eddie’s mind.

What if there’s more than one actor in the courtroom?

What if the killer isn’t on trial? What if the killer is on the jury?

Anyone who follows by blog or social media accounts will know that I actually bought my copy of this recently. It’s a definite keeper. I don’t think I have come across a book with a premise like it. It is scary and unnerving… and that’s BEFORE I’ve read it!

Verdict: Keep

The Traveler –Fredric Shernoff

Goodreads – The Traveler

When your alter-ego comes out of time to hunt you.

Dan Wells is a normal guy with a dysfunctional marriage and a job he hates. Like many others, he spends much time thinking about the past and what he could have done differently. When he discovers his ability to time travel, Dan wins a chance to revisit his past and alter his life’s development. But a fatal mistake triggers a murderous chain reaction that threatens to ruin his life forever.

A fun, scary and sophisticated game of reflections and doppelgangers

Now, Daniel will have to dive deeper into time and try to make things right. But when he meets the beautiful Suzy will he turn his back on the present?

Action, romance and destiny merge in an intense and readable time-travel novel like you have never read before

Fredric Shernoff, author of Atlantic Island, has created a new and brilliant spin on the time- travel genre and sends his readers into a nuanced drama in a gripping sci-fi universe. Enjoy this thought-provoking time-travel romance that grabs you, excites you and asks the question: If you found in your past what you missed in your present, would you abandon your real life forever?

I am pretty sure I added this book as I have been trying to read more in the way of science-fiction… on the subject of time travel particularly. Having re-read the synopsis, I find myself say on the fence. I like the topic of time-travel, but it can be confusing at times. Knowing there are going to be multiple versions of characters makes me wary… I’ll admit. I like the idea, but as I have so many books on the TBR, I’m making the call that anything not jumping out at me is getting taken off the list. So many books and too little time. All that jazz.

Verdict: Bin

The Good Samaritan – John Marrs

Goodreads – The Good Samaritan

She’s a friendly voice on the phone. But can you trust her?

The people who call End of the Line need hope. They need reassurance that life is worth living. But some are unlucky enough to get through to Laura. Laura doesn’t want them to hope. She wants them to die.

Laura hasn’t had it easy: she’s survived sickness and a difficult marriage only to find herself heading for forty, unsettled and angry. She doesn’t love talking to people worse off than she is. She craves it.

But now someone’s on to her—Ryan, whose world falls apart when his pregnant wife ends her life, hand in hand with a stranger. Who was this man, and why did they choose to die together?

The sinister truth is within Ryan’s grasp, but he has no idea of the desperate lengths Laura will go to…

Because the best thing about being a Good Samaritan is that you can get away with murder.

As soon as I read the synopsis for this book, I was hooked! As with Thirteen by Steve Cavanagh, there is just something creepy about sinister characters in roles that are perceived as being in positions of trust. It’s unnerving and equally intriguing. So much so, this is definitely staying on the TBR.

Verdict: Keep

Sleepyhead – Mark Billingham

Goodreads – Sleepyhead

Detective Inspector Tom Thorne now knows that three murdered young women were a killer’s mistakes — and that Alison was his triumph. And unless Thorne can enter the mind of a brilliant madman — a frighteningly elusive fiend who enjoys toying with the police as much as he savors his sick obsession — Alison Willetts will not be the last victim consigned forever to a hideous waking hell.

Already an international bestseller, Mark Billingham’s “Sleepyhead” is a chilling masterwork of crime fiction — a boldly original experiment in terror that will beget dark dreams and sleepless nights.

There are quite a few crime-related books on my list, I’ve noticed. I really enjoy reading psychological thrillers and the like; trying to figure out the identity or motive of the killer. It’s rare that I come to the right conclusion, but that is half the excitement! I definitely still want to read this one – I want to see what happens to Alison.

Verdict: Keep

A Suitable Lie – Michael J. Malone

Goodreads – A Suitable Lie

Some secrets should never be kept. . . .

Andy Boyd thinks he is the luckiest man alive. Widowed with a young child, after his wife dies in childbirth, he is certain that he will never again experience true love. Then he meets Anna. Feisty, fun and beautiful, she’s his perfect match . . . and she loves his son like he is her own. When Andy ends up in the hospital on his wedding night, he receives his first clue that Anna is not all that she seems. Desperate for that happy-ever-after, he ignores it. A dangerous mistake that could cost him everything. A brave, deeply moving, page-turning psychological thriller, A Suitable Lie marks a stunning departure for one of Scotland’s finest crime writers, exploring the lengths people will go to hide their deepest secrets, even if it kills them.

Mind games again… definitely a common theme here. I added these books to the list within a reasonably short timeframe… so I was obviously particularly inspired at that time.

Again, this is definitely another book staying on the list!

Verdict: Keep

Words of Radiance – Brandon Sanderson

Goodreads – Words of Radiance

Expected by his enemies to die the miserable death of a military slave, Kaladin survived to be given command of the royal bodyguards, a controversial first for a low-status “darkeyes.” Now he must protect the king and Dalinar from every common peril as well as the distinctly uncommon threat of the Assassin, all while secretly struggling to master remarkable new powers that are somehow linked to his honorspren, Syl.

The Assassin, Szeth, is active again, murdering rulers all over the world of Roshar, using his baffling powers to thwart every bodyguard and elude all pursuers. Among his prime targets is Highprince Dalinar, widely considered the power behind the Alethi throne. His leading role in the war would seem reason enough, but the Assassin’s master has much deeper motives.

Brilliant but troubled Shallan strives along a parallel path. Despite being broken in ways she refuses to acknowledge, she bears a terrible burden: to somehow prevent the return of the legendary Voidbringers and the civilization-ending Desolation that will follow. The secrets she needs can be found at the Shattered Plains, but just arriving there proves more difficult than she could have imagined.

Meanwhile, at the heart of the Shattered Plains, the Parshendi are making an epochal decision. Hard pressed by years of Alethi attacks, their numbers ever shrinking, they are convinced by their war leader, Eshonai, to risk everything on a desperate gamble with the very supernatural forces they once fled. The possible consequences for Parshendi and humans alike, indeed, for Roshar itself, are as dangerous as they are incalculable.

There is absolutely no doubt on this one – I didn’t have to read the synopsis to determine that.

I added Words of Radiance to the list after reading (and reviewing) The Way of Kings last year. They are epic books to be sure, but thoroughly absorbing. I’d go so far as to say the book easily qualifies in my top 5 of last year. Were Brandon Sanderson further into publishing this series I would have already read Words of Radiance… but I am trying to pace myself. I’ll only land myself with a long wait for the rest of the series otherwise. Patience, Rebecca.

Verdict: Keep

Too Like the Lightning – Ada Palmer

Goodreads – Too Like The Lightning

Mycroft Canner is a convict. For his crimes he is required, as is the custom of the 25th century, to wander the world being as useful as he can to all he meets. Carlyle Foster is a sensayer – a spiritual counselor in a world that has outlawed the public practice of religion, but which also knows that the inner lives of humans cannot be wished away.

The world into which Mycroft and Carlyle have been born is as strange to our 21st-century eyes as ours would be to a native of the 1500s. It is a hard-won utopia built on technologically-generated abundance, and also on complex and mandatory systems of labelling all public writing and speech. What seem to us normal gender distinctions are now distinctly taboo in most social situations. And most of the world’s population is affiliated with globe-girdling clans of the like-minded, whose endless economic and cultural competition is carefully managed by central planners of inestimable subtlety. To us it seems like a mad combination of heaven and hell. To them, it seems like normal life.

And in this world, Mycroft and Carlyle have stumbled on the wild card that may destablize the system: the boy Bridger, who can effortlessly make his wishes come true. Who can, it would seem, bring inanimate objects to life…

I requested an ARC copy of this book on Netgalley last year, however, my request wasn’t approved. It was disappointing, but I decided I would still add the book to my TBR for a future date.

Now, I’m going to take it off again. Its dystopian nature appealed to me originally, but now I am not so confident that the element of magic is going to work well within the genre.

Verdict: Bin

Kings of the Wyld – Nicholas Eames

Goodreads -Kings of The Wyld

Clay Cooper and his band were once the best of the best — the meanest, dirtiest, most feared crew of mercenaries this side of the Heartwyld.

Their glory days long past, the mercs have grown apart and grown old, fat, drunk – or a combination of the three. Then an ex-bandmate turns up at Clay’s door with a plea for help. His daughter Rose is trapped in a city besieged by an enemy one hundred thousand strong and hungry for blood. Rescuing Rose is the kind of mission that only the very brave or the very stupid would sign up for.

It’s time to get the band back together for one last tour across the Wyld.

Part of me thinks and hopes this book has the potential to be very comical, and reviews reinforce that. I’m still sat on the fence with this one though. As with my verdict earlier, if it doesn’t grab me, it goes.

Verdict: Bin

The Iron King – Maurice Druon

Goodreads – The Iron King

From the publishers that brought you A Game of Thrones comes the series that inspired George R.R. Martin’s epic work.

France became a great nation under Philip the Fair – but it was a greatness achieved at the expense of her people, for his was a reign characterized by violence, the scandalous adulteries of his daughters-in-law, and the triumph of royal authority.

Even ignoring the claims that this series inspired A Game of Thrones, I know I’ll enjoy this book for being historical fiction anyway. That it also has ties to the Game of Thrones story is just an added bonus. I already have an e-copy of this book ready. That, I feel, says it all.

Verdict: Keep

So, that is four books being taken off of the list. That’s probably a record for me. Have you read any of the books on my list? Do you agree with my choices? Let me know in the comments!

Reading List – November 2018

November’s Reading List is going to be a slightly unusual one. Why? Well, compared with previous months, there is going to be a distinct lack of books on it! Here me out.

For over a year now I have been planning out which books I am going to read on a monthly basis; sometimes I’ll be scheduling these a couple of months in advance. The system works, I’ll give it that. I haven’t missed a deadline for blog tours or other fixed commitments.

It’s just that sometimes, (but not always), it can feel stifling.

Don’t get me wrong. I love books and reading and that hasn’t changed, but I want to try allowing myself a little more flexibility. There are moments when it feels like I am running my hobby like a military operation. In October I read three books outside of my TBR as I had the time to do so; and do you know what I enjoyed most about that? Being able to pick anything I wanted. ANYTHING!!! The freedom felt amazing!

So, I want to try something different with my TBR this month. The idea is to set only a couple of books to read now. Then, I’ll allow myself to pick up what I want, when I want it, for the rest of the month! I’m hoping I’ll read more that way. If the speed I went through books this month is anything to go by, then I expect I will. Of course, I will keep you up to date via my weekly Sunday Summary posts.

So, which books am I committing to in November?

 

The Mansions of Murder – Paul Doherty

Mansions of Murder

Goodreads – The Mansions of Murder

Synopsis

A murdered priest, a missing body, stolen treasure: Brother Athelstan tackles his most challenging investigation to date.

October, 1381. Brother Athelstan is summoned to the church of St Benet’s in Queenhithe to investigate the murder of a priest. Parson Reynaud has been found stabbed to death inside his own locked church. Other disturbing discoveries include an empty coffin and a ransacked money chest. Who would commit murder inside a holy church? Who would spirit away a corpse the night before the funeral – and who would be brave enough to steal treasure belonging to the most feared gangleader in London?

Meanwhile, the death of one of Athelstan’s parishioners reveals a shocking secret. Could there be a connection to the murdered priest of St Benet’s?

Athelstan’s investigations will lure him into the dark and dangerous world of the gangmaster known as The Flesher, whose influence has a frighteningly long reach …

 

There is a particular reason I am setting myself the task of reading this book this month. That is, it’s been outstanding a review on Netgalley for around six months now. Oops! It’s the last book I have to read and review there. I don’t really use the service anymore – I can’t say I warmed to it. Before, I was quite adamant in saying I was going to delete my account once I had fulfilled my obligations, but I’ve changed my mind. Best to keep my options open, yes? I don’t see myself using Netgalley all that frequently going forward, however.

I had actually intended to read this book back in March, but didn’t get around to it. It also made it onto July’s TBR… but guess what? It’s still unread. Not for much longer.

 

A Game of Thrones – George R. R. Martin

Goodreads – A Game of Thrones

Synopsis

Long ago, in a time forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons out of balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, sinister and supernatural forces are massing beyond the kingdom’s protective Wall.

At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the land they were born to. Sweeping from a land of brutal cold to a distant summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, here is a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come together in a time of grim omens.

Here an enigmatic band of warriors bear swords of no human metal; a tribe of fierce wildlings carry men off into madness; a cruel young dragon prince barters his sister to win back his throne; and a determined woman undertakes the most treacherous of journeys. Amid plots and counterplots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, the fate of the Starks, their allies, and their enemies hangs perilously in the balance, as each endeavors to win that deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones.

 

I have been playing around with the idea of re-reading this series for so long, I think it’s time to bite the bullet and get on with it. I don’t need to tell fans out there that the last season of the TV show airs next year. That’s my target – I want to have re-read the books by then! It’s only just shy of around 5,000 pages… no sweat…

 

Source: Giphy

 

So, that is LITERALLY all I am including on the list! I have some other books in mind – ones I have only part read and another ARC that I am all-too-aware I have had for a few months now! Once caught up with these though, I’m as free as a bird!

Fellow bloggers, how do you manage your time? Does a TBR work for you? Do you find it helpful, or can it be restricting? I’m really interested in your thoughts. Obviously we all work in different ways and I am trying to work out what is best for me right now.

 

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Book Review: The Relic Guild – Edward Cox

My review of The Relic Guild by Edward Cox feels well overdue. I mean, I read this book towards the end of August! It’s a shame in a way that I have had so many other blogging commitments, meaning I couldn’t get around to writing this before now.

Better late than never, right?

 

The Relic Guild

Goodreads – The Relic Guild

Magic caused the war. Magic is forbidden. Magic will save us.

It was said the Labyrinth had once been the great meeting place, a sprawling city at the heart of an endless maze where a million humans hosted the Houses of the Aelfir. The Aelfir who had brought trade and riches, and a future full of promise. But when the Thaumaturgists, overlords of human and Aelfir alike, went to war, everything was ruined and the Labyrinth became an abandoned forbidden zone, where humans were trapped behind boundary walls a hundred feet high.

Now the Aelfir are a distant memory and the Thaumaturgists have faded into myth. Young Clara struggles to survive in a dangerous and dysfunctional city, where eyes are keen, nights are long, and the use of magic is punishable by death. She hides in the shadows, fearful that someone will discover she is touched by magic. She knows her days are numbered. But when a strange man named Fabian Moor returns to the Labyrinth, Clara learns that magic serves a higher purpose and that some myths are much more deadly in the flesh.

The only people Clara can trust are the Relic Guild, a secret band of magickers sworn to protect the Labyrinth. But the Relic Guild are now too few. To truly defeat their old nemesis Moor, mightier help will be required. To save the Labyrinth – and the lives of one million humans – Clara and the Relic Guild must find a way to contact the worlds beyond their walls.

 

My Thoughts…

I received a copy of The Relic Guild from Gollancz in exchange for a review, so firstly, a huge thank you to the team. It was one of many exciting book-post packages I received this summer!

Aside from the synopsis, the first thing I look at when deciding if I like a book is the author’s narration style. It’s make-or-break for me; it always has been. I have a natural preference for books narrated in the third person. The narration is also clear and descriptive, balancing the action of the story with descriptions of the Great Labyrinth and Labrys Town etc. The narrative also interchanges between two time periods; the War, which took place forty years previous and the present day. Chapters for each respective time period are clearly marked, making the story easy to follow.

The Relic Guild introduced a whole new concept of magic to me. The members of the Relic Guild are some of the last able to wield magic… and they each have different abilities. These abilities are almost second nature, or like a sixth sense, to the characters. Their attitude to the power differs greatly from each other too. In addition to this: weaponry, portals and other elements of the Labyrinth draw on external forces of magic. I have never found a book that as both “types” of magic, yet Edward Cox makes them work side by side so well.

I love the idea of the Labyrinth. It’s a magical place shut off from the rest of the world. In the centre, the remaining citizens live together in Labrys Town. Out in the maze surrounding the town, danger lurks around every corner. No-one can enter nor leave. Well, so they believed. Yet forty years on from the war he lost, Fabian Moor is out for his revenge against the Relic Guild. He may not be stuck in the Labyrinth, but he is a massive threat all the same.

There are a number of characters that have a crucial role to play and they are all distinct, well-developed people. Each member of the Relic Guild has a unique relationship with one another. With the exception of Clara, all were part of the War forty years ago. Clara, a former prostitute of Labrys Town has been hiding her gift. She is the first gifted person to be identified since the War, so she is a welcome surprise when the Relic Guild rescues her from danger. There is a lot of history, grudges and camaraderie between these characters and that is reflected well throughout the book. They feel like a community, a family even, as you would expect from such a close-knit group.

The citizens are protected by the Resident, who also happens to be head of the Relic Guild. His ever-watchful eye puts them in a position to observe the danger and attempt to protect the Labyrinth as disaster unfolds. The war isn’t over.

It has only just begun.

 

down the tbr hole

Down the TBR Hole #14

 Hi everyone! Today, I am going to be reviewing my TBR with another Down the TBR hole post!

For anyone unfamiliar with how this post works, the meme was 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?

 

Let’s review the next ten books on my list!

 

Carrie – Stephen King

Goodreads – Carrie

Carrie knew she should not use the terrifying power she possessed… But one night at her senior prom, Carrie was scorned and humiliated just one time too many, and in a fit of uncontrollable fury she turned her clandestine game into a weapon of horror and destruction…

 

I refuse to take Carrie off of my list. It is a book I really want to read, as it is one of King’s better known titles. If not the book, there are plenty of people who have seen the film. My parents fall in the latter category and they recommended it to me as well. It’s a keeper!

Verdict: Keep

 

American Psycho – Bret Easton Ellis

Goodreads – American Psycho

Patrick Bateman is twenty-six and he works on Wall Street, he is handsome, sophisticated, charming and intelligent. He is also a psychopath. Taking us to head-on collision with America’s greatest dream—and its worst nightmare—American Psycho is bleak, bitter, black comedy about a world we all recognise but do not wish to confront.

 

I have sat and read reviews of this book for about 20 minutes solid, and I am REALLY undecided. When I added the book, I expected a sociopathic murderer. It seems that there is far more to this book than I initially expected. I can’t decide if I want to read it or not. It is graphic in its descriptions and… shall we say, not very complimentary to women. A part of me wants to be repulsed and the other is curious about why others are massacring this book/author. 

Curiosity killed the cat, but I’ll take my chances.

Verdict: Keep

 

In the Blood – Steve Robinson

Goodreads – In the Blood

Two hundred years ago a loyalist family fled to England to escape the American War of Independence and seemingly vanished into thin air. American genealogist Jefferson Tayte is hired to find out what happened, but it soon becomes apparent that a calculated killer is out to stop him.

In the Blood combines a centuries-old mystery with a present-day thriller that brings two people from opposite sides of the Atlantic together to uncover a series of carefully hidden crimes. Tayte’s research centres around the tragic life of a young Cornish girl, a writing box, and the discovery of a dark secret that he believes will lead him to the family he is looking for. Trouble is, someone else is looking for the same answers and will stop at nothing to find them.

In the Blood is the first book in the Jefferson Tayte mystery series.

 

I first became acquainted with this series when I found The Last Queen of England (book 3) on Goodreads. From there, I read about the first book and the synopsis is really interesting. I think the emphasis on the family genealogy makes for an interesting plot, so I’m going to be reading this book in the future.

Verdict: Keep

 

The Stone in the Skull – Elizabeth Bear

Goodreads – The Stone in the Skull

The Stone in the Skull, the first volume in her new trilogy, takes readers over the dangerous mountain passes of the Steles of the Sky and south into the Lotus Kingdoms.

The Gage is a brass automaton created by a wizard of Messaline around the core of a human being. His wizard is long dead, and he works as a mercenary. He is carrying a message from a the most powerful sorcerer of Messaline to the Rajni of the Lotus Kingdom. With him is The Dead Man, a bitter survivor of the body guard of the deposed Uthman Caliphate, protecting the message and the Gage. They are friends, of a peculiar sort.

They are walking into a dynastic war between the rulers of the shattered bits of a once great Empire.

 

Whatever it was that compelled me to add this to the TBR a year ago has pretty much gone.

I must have been looking for other fantasy books to read, but this one just doesn’t appeal to me anymore.

Verdict: Bin

 

Stalking Jack the Ripper – Kerri Maniscalco

Goodreads – Stalking Jack the Ripper

Presented by James Patterson’s new children’s imprint, this deliciously creepy horror novel has a storyline inspired by the Ripper murders and an unexpected, blood-chilling conclusion…

Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord’s daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father’s wishes and society’s expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle’s laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

The story’s shocking twists and turns, augmented with real, sinister period photos, will make this dazzling, #1 New York Times bestselling debut from author Kerri Maniscalco impossible to forget.

 

I just love the sound of this novel… and the historical ties hinted at within too. I used to watch Ripper Street – it was one of my favourite TV shows, before they stopped it! ARGH! Ahem, anyway… it’s the perfect time period. I’d also be lying if I said I wasn’t all for a woman breaking the conventions society have built for her, because you know, they were oppressive.

Verdict: Keep

 

Consider Phlebas – Iain M. Banks

Goodreads – Consider Phlebas

The war raged across the galaxy. Billions had died, billions more were doomed. Moons, planets, the very stars themselves, faced destruction, cold-blooded, brutal, and worse, random. The Idirans fought for their Faith; the Culture for its moral right to exist. Principles were at stake. There could be no surrender.

Within the cosmic conflict, an individual crusade. Deep within a fabled labyrinth on a barren world, a Planet of the Dead proscribed to mortals, lay a fugitive Mind. Both the Culture and the Idirans sought it. It was the fate of Horza, the Changer, and his motley crew of unpredictable mercenaries, human and machine, actually to find it, and with it their own destruction.

 

I added this because I saw a great review for it I’ve been trying to incorporate more sci-fi into my reading, but on looking back at this, it might be too much. I’m not great when it comes to technical details and I just feel this is going to be a bit too hard-hitting for me.

Verdict: Bin

 

The Scorch Trials – James Dashner

Goodreads – The Scorch Trials

Solving the Maze was supposed to be the end.

Thomas was sure that escape from the Maze would mean freedom for him and the Gladers. But WICKED isn’t done yet. Phase Two has just begun. The Scorch.

There are no rules. There is no help. You either make it or you die.

The Gladers have two weeks to cross through the Scorch—the most burned-out section of the world. And WICKED has made sure to adjust the variables and stack the odds against them.

Friendships will be tested. Loyalties will be broken. All bets are off.

There are others now. Their survival depends on the Gladers’ destruction—and they’re determined to survive.

 

I enjoyed reading The Maze Runner last year. It was the rare exception in which I had watched the film first. Did I love it enough to continue with the series? I’m not so sure anymore. I feel that the demographic the series was written for doesn’t really suit me anymore. If I were to read this, I think it would be forced… and that’s not a way to enjoy a book. Time to call it a day, I think.

Verdict: Bin

 

Invictus – Ryan Graudin

Goodreads – Invictus

Time flies when you’re plundering history.

Farway Gaius McCarthy was born outside of time. The son of a time-traveling Recorder from 2354 AD and a gladiator living in Rome in 95 AD, Far’s birth defies the laws of nature. Exploring history himself is all he’s ever wanted, and after failing his final time-traveling exam, Far takes a position commanding a ship with a crew of his friends as part of a black market operation to steal valuables from the past.

But during a heist on the sinking Titanic, Far meets a mysterious girl who always seems to be one step ahead of him. Armed with knowledge that will bring Far’s very existence into question, she will lead Far and his team on a race through time to discover a frightening truth: History is not as steady as it seems.

 

I like the time travel concept behind this plot. It is one of the science fiction themes I CAN get my head around. I’m also intrigued by the heist on the Titanic, as it grounds the story to something familiar. Sometimes, time travel (for me anyway) can get confusing if it is all based in the future, or without some kind of “landmark”. I think this will make an enjoyable read, so it’s staying on the list.

Verdict: Keep

 

99 Red Balloons – Elisabeth Carpenter

Goodreads – 99 Red Balloons

Two girls go missing, decades apart. What would you do if one was your daughter?

When eight-year-old Grace goes missing from a sweetshop on the way home from school, her mother Emma is plunged into a nightmare. Her family rallies around, but as the police hunt begins, cracks begin to emerge.

What are the secret emails sent between Emma’s husband and her sister? Why does her mother take so long to join the search? And is Emma really as innocent as she seems?

Meanwhile, ageing widow Maggie Taylor sees Grace’s picture in the newspaper. It’s a photograph that jolts her from the pain of her existence into a spiralling obsession with another girl – the first girl who disappeared…

 

I was so sure I was going to enjoy reading this book when I originally added it to the list. Having read the synopsis again, I stand by my decision. It’s the kind of drama I would watch on TV… if I watched TV. I hardly watch it lately and yet I’m stupid enough to pay for it! Anyway… I digress. This kind of mystery is right up my street. I think this may be getting bumped up the list.

Verdict: Keep

 

The Sun God’s Heir: Return – Elliott Baker

Goodreads – The Sun God’s Heir: Return

The Sun God’s Heir is a swashbuckling series, set at the end of the seventeenth century in France, Spain and northern Africa. Slavery is a common plague along the European coast and into this wild time, an ancient Egyptian general armed with dark arts has managed to return and re-embody, intent on recreating the reign of terror he began as Pharaoh. René Gilbert must remember his own lifetime at the feet of Akhenaten to have a chance to defeat Horemheb. A secret sect has waited in Morocco for three thousand years for his arrival.

 

I remember being really excited for this when I first saw it. I bought a copy straight away.

I’m not saying that I’ve changed my mind – I still think this will make for an enjoyable read. I am just a little less enthused than I was then.

I have a copy, so I’ll keep it and try it. You never know… I might come to love it! So… that’s the list! Have you read any of these books? Is there anything you would change? Let me know in the comments!