Tag: Greek Mythology

Sunday Summary – 4th September 2022

Hello everyone and welcome to this week’s Sunday Summary update post! I hope you have had a great week!

I have had a good one myself. It has been an exciting week, as I’ve had the opportunity to talk about my reading progress in August in my Monthly Wrap-Up post. Not only that, but I have also shared my humongous TBR for September. Having taken part in the ‘spring semester’ of Magical Readathon recently, I decided I really enjoyed taking part in it.

I saw that Becca is hosting her Bookoplathon readathon for September, and so I decided to take part. The board did not treat me kindly, and I have to read no less than eight books this month! If you haven’t checked out either my August wrap-up or my September TBR yet, you can find the links above to do so.

 

Books Read

In my last Sunday Summary update post, I was most of the way through Golden Son, I was part-way through The Silence of the Girls as a break from Golden Son, and in terms of audiobook progress, I had stalled a little with The Viscount Who Loved Me.

 

The Silence of the Girls

I decided my first priority of the week was to continue reading The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker. I was really enjoying this particular book, and it was just the break I needed from Golden Son. Needless to say, I made very quick progress with this book and finished it very early on in the week! I really enjoyed the contrasting perspective it offers to books around war.

It is not often we think of the lives of those living in the war camp, especially those who are not there by choice. I really enjoyed this one, and if you like Greek mythology I would strongly recommend you pick this book up to!

 

Golden Son

Having had a sufficient break, I went back to finish Golden Son by Pierce Brown. I’m glad I stuck with it in the end, as the ending picked up. It’s not that the book was boring or that there was nothing going on; in fact, the problem was quite the opposite. There was a lot going on. Maybe too much! It barely felt like we had gotten over one event before the next occurred, and the pace was a bit much for me. While this didn’t really change towards the end, I think a break allowed me time to process what has happened before and I like how the book has been left in terms of a cliffhanger.

 

Silverthorn

From there I have moved on to my first read on my September TBR – Silverthorn by Raymond E Feist.

I read the first book of the series, Magician, initially as a teenager, but then again back in 2017. My intention then was to read the book to bring me back up-to-date with events so I could continue with the series. This didn’t quite pan out as I thought. However, the addition of the book I have on kindle has an excellent summary of what has gone before in the beginning. I don’t feel like I have suffered for having not picked up the second book in a while.

I am currently around halfway through Silverthorn, and I’m really enjoying the narrative so far. In all, it is quite different from what I remember of Magician. Events have moved on significantly since that first book, although we are seeing some malign forces returning to the narrative. I hope to be able to make further progress with this read quite quickly. It is easy to pick up and follow what is going on. Since I haven’t picked up this series for a long time, this is no mean feat!

 

The Viscount Who Loved Me

I have made some further progress with The Viscount Who Loved Me, albeit marginal. I have managed to get around the cringey bee sting scene by skipping what was left all together. I’ve obviously missed one of the most significant events in the book, but it wasn’t exactly surprising given that I watched the Netflix series. It’s been easy to work around and I have listened to this a little bit more, although not much.

 

Books Discovered

I have deliberately not been looking at books out there at the moment, because I can’t really afford to add anything to my TBR. I have added a number of books of late, and I’m trying to keep the number down. My efforts don’t seem to be working!

 

Coming Up…

Early next week I am sharing a discussion post with you, talking about why it is important to pick up books from diverse authors. It’s not lost on me that I’m going to be sharing this at a time when I am reading a book by a cis white male. I cannot help the bias shown in the publishing industry historically.

As much as it is important to read books by diverse authors, it is also not fair to exclude authors from your reading list based on their background. That is the point of my post, but that also includes not ruling out majority authors either.

On Friday, I will be sharing a Shelf Control post with you. The book I am featuring in that post is one I purchased a physical copy of a number of years ago. It is sat on my bookshelf waiting to be picked up, and having reminded myself of the synopsis, I can’t wait to get around to it!

As always, I’ll be back with you this time next week for my Sunday Summary update. I’m hoping to share a lot of reading progress with you, as I have a lot to read this month.

That concludes today’s Sunday Summary update. What have you been reading?

 

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Monthly Wrap-Up – August 2022

I can’t believe I’m drafting my end of August wrap-up already. This year seems to be absolutely flying by, as they always seem to do!

This month I took part in a readathon for the very first time. It has been a great way of setting myself a challenge. For the last year or so I have been gradually stepping up my reading again, after stepping back from a ridiculous personal best. I have enjoyed having the challenge – although it has been a challenge! Not only did I have an ample reading list for the readathon, but I also wanted to pick up an additional book for a personal goal I have set myself – reading more non-fiction.

Let’s dive into what I have been reading this month!

 

The First Binding

Genre: Epic Fantasy

Pages: 832

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Gollancz

Publication Date: 16 Aug 2022

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

 

Goodreads – The First Binding

The first book I picked up this month was The First Binding by R.R.Virdi. This book came with its own challenge of itself, as I had to read the book and publish my review in just over two weeks. It meant I had a lot of reading to do as it’s a chunky book – at least 70 pages a day – to be able to complete this goal. I’m pleased to say I was able to keep relatively on track, and just pipped my goal at the end. It was a pleasure to read, although it might have been just a little bit nicer if I hadn’t had the time pressure. Still, I’m really glad to have taken part in the publication blog tour.

If you haven’t checked out that post already, here is a link for you to do so!

 

Invisible Women

Genre: Non-fiction

Pages: 411

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Abram’s Press

Publication Date: 12 Mar 2019

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

 

Goodreads – Invisible Women

Next, I decided to read Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez. This is the non-fiction read that I decided to pick up in addition to magical readathon.

It didn’t fit any of the prompts in any way, shape, or form. But, I was meant to read this last month and I ended up swapping it out last minute on a whim. I’m really glad I picked this book up anyway. It was a fantastic and enlightening read, even if some of the subjects really made my blood boil.

And that they did! What this book is really good at doing is highlighting the ways in which we think gender is treated equally, when in fact, that is far from the case! If that sounds like something you’re interested in then I would strongly recommend picking up this book.

 

Golden Son

Genre: Science fiction

Pages: 442

Audience: YA / Adult

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

Publication Date: 08 Jan 2015

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟

 

Goodreads – Golden Son

My next read was Golden Son by Pierce Brown.

This book fit the prompt of a book set in the future, although how far in the future isn’t really quantified. We know it is set in the future as it is set in a time when the human race has colonised space. The first book is set on Mars, and is a very interesting dystopian science fiction. Having read and enjoyed that book last year, I couldn’t wait to pick up sequel. That it fit this reading prompt was the perfect opportunity to pick it up.

I started off quite well with this book, although I will admit I hit a bit of a wall at around 70%. I did manage to finish this book on the very last day of the month, and it did improve at the end. My problem with it was there was an awful lot going on. By the time we got to 70%, the thrill of the action had worn off.

We’d been on the throttle for the majority of the book and I lost a bit of steam with it. To combat that, I ended up taking a short break from it to read another book, and going back to it was absolutely fine.

 

The Silence of the Girls

Genre: Historical fiction / Greek Mythology

Pages: 325

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Penguin

Publication Date: 02 May 2019

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Goodreads – The Silence of the Girls

To break up Golden Son, I decided to pick up The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker. This was already on my TBR, however, I needed a change of setting and pace.

The book is also a quick read at 325 pages. I first picked this up on the last Saturday of the month, and I read it within about four days.

I really enjoyed the change of perspective. If you are not familiar with The Silence of the Girls, it is a Greek mythology book set during the Trojan war. What sets it apart from other narratives, however, is that it focuses on the lives of women in the war camp as opposed to the men. Instead of brave, fearless warriors, the men are talked about as husbands, brothers and sons. In a way, it de-glamorises war and hits home the devastation that it causes.

The lives of women in war are often overlooked, but The Silence of the Girls does its bit to change that. The lives the women have are harrowing. Briseis and the other women’s experiences are not made out to be tragic, exceptional circumstances – it’s commonplace. Rather, all women in the camp experience the same thing, if not worse.

Despite the subject matter and the treatment of the characters, I really enjoyed this book. It was a great palate cleanser and it was just what I needed. I’m glad I finally got to it!

 

The Viscount Who Loved Me

Genre: Historical Romance

Pages: 354

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Avon

Publication Date: 05 Dec 2000

Rating: TBC

 

Goodreads – The Viscount Who Loved Me

This month I decided to listen to The Viscount Who Loved Me. I read the first Bridgerton book, the Duke and I, back in May this year. It ended up being a fairly average read. However, I am really interested in the character stories for Eloise and Penelope.

As we are some time away in the Netflix series (at least Eloise), I wanted to try to continue with the books. A way of compromising between my enjoyment of the Netflix series, but my reservation about the books was to try it in audiobook format. This turns out to have worked pretty well overall.

If I’m honest, I’m not a huge fan of the ‘hate-to-love’ trope present in this book. I don’t understand it. For me, it is a very extreme thing to hate somebody. If you get so far as to hate somebody, then nothing they can do will redeem themselves. Maybe that says more about me. In my opinion, this isn’t a ‘hate-to-love’ relationship – it is at best ‘dislike-to-love’.

I also had to skip a very cringey scene because I just couldn’t listen to it. However, I have been able to continue with it and I am still listening to it now. I have just a few hours left.

Whilst I still have my gripes about the series in general (for example the inequality in behaviour between men and women, the romanticising of men behaving badly to name just a couple of examples), it is a lot more palatable in audio format. I was finding with reading the books that I sometimes struggled to get past sections of the narrative that I had serious gripes with. However, instead of re-reading and rolling my eyes into the back of my head, I had to let that frustration go and keep my attention on the narrative, otherwise I would get lost. As a result of fewer interruptions, I’ve been able to get on with this a lot better.

It still isn’t going to be my favourite series in the whole wide world. It never was. But, I think I can continue with the series to at least get out of it what I want.

 

Assassin’s Quest

Unfortunately, I didn’t quite get to Assassin’s Quest in August.

I had an ambitious TBR, even though it was only five books; two of the books are over 800 pages (Assassin‘s Quest being one of them). I also suffered a little bit with hitting a brick wall with Golden Son. Even so, I wouldn’t have finished Assassin‘s Quest in any case.

Given that I have a manic TBR for September (check out tomorrow’s post to see why!), I’ve decided to postpone picking up Assassin‘s Quest. I won’t be doing myself any favours picking this up now, even though I want to.

Instead, I think I will leave it until October to try and read.

That’s it for my monthly wrap-up. Have you read any of the books in today’s monthly wrap-up post? What have you been reading? I’d love to know in the comments!

 

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Sunday Summary – 28th August 2022

Good evening everyone and welcome to this week’s Sunday Summary post! I have lots of updates for you; I can’t wait to share with you what I have been reading this week.

Before we jump into that, let’s recap the posts I’ve shared on my blog this week. On Tuesday, I shared a book review for a non-fiction book I read earlier this year. It was not the easiest of books to read because of the subject matter. But, I think it’s very important that everybody gives it a go at least once. That book is The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank.

On Friday I shared the opening lines of a newly released book I received a copy of very recently. I already cannot wait to pick this particular book up. The synopsis sounds really interesting, and the opening lines had me hooked! If you haven’t checked out that post already, you can find a link to my First Lines Friday post here!

 

Books Read

In last week’s Sunday Summary post, I was around a third of the way through Golden Son by Pierce Brown. I really enjoyed the first book of the series, Red Rising, last year. I’ve made a solid amount of progress with this book this week; I am now around 80% of my way through it.

However, I will admit that I have lost steam with this one. In my last Sunday Summary post, I mentioned that it was fast-paced, and that hasn’t changed. In fact, I think there’s too much action and too much going on if I’m completely honest. We’ve been on the throttle for most of the book, and now it is coming to the conclusion, I’m a bit bored. It’s lost the thrill of excitement.

This puts me in a bit of a dilemma because I’ve obviously invested a lot of time into getting to this stage of the book. A part of me wants to put this down, but another part of me doesn’t. For the sake of pushing through for an hour or so to get to the end, it may be worth it to persevere. It may even redeem itself. However, I’ve been lacking the drive to do so in the past couple of days. My plan is to try and push on to complete the read, but I’ll let you know what happens in next week’s Sunday Summary update.

Yesterday, in a bid to give myself a break from Golden Son, I picked up The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker. This is a nice concise read, and in a very short space of time, I’ve nearly read 100 pages of the book. Coming in at just over 300 pages, that’s a good amount of progress! It is also a lot easier to read, so I think I will fly through this one.

I’m also really enjoying the perspective. Instead of featuring the usual tales of men and the glory of war in Greek mythology, it speaks about war and conquest from the perspective of the women it affects. It discusses the men who die in battle not as glorious warriors, but as brothers, husbands, and sons. Women are taken captive and enslaved in every way you can imagine. Despite the horror, this is done relatively stoically, as if it is expected by the women. It is a shocking perspective. 

Switching up my current read to this book has definitely been the right move, and I think I will finish this one before going back to Golden Son.

I have made a tad more progress with The Viscount Who Loved Me on audiobook this week, but not as much as in previous weeks. I’ve only listened to it a couple of days whilst commuting, so consequently, I’ve only made about 10% progress through the audiobook.

If I’m entirely honest, I’ve gotten to the bee sting scene and just… yeah. It made me cringe so hard I couldn’t listen to it! I’m sure most people would think it an interesting and ‘spicy’ scene, but that just doesn’t work for me! I think I’ll just skip the scene and continue around it because I cannot listen to it otherwise.

 

Books Discovered

I wasn’t planning on adding any books to my reading list this week. However, I discovered that an author I have started to read has released further books in a series that I’ve started – that being Christopher Ruocchio and his Sun Eater series. I have read the first book and started the second, however, there are a further two out already, and the fifth book is out in December this year.

I’ve added them to my reading list so they aren’t forgotten!

 

Coming Up…

Next week I have both my monthly wrap-up post, and my September Monthly TBR to share with you! It’s always an exciting week when it comes to re-capping what I’ve been reading in one month, and discussing what I’m reading in the next.

With the end of the month not falling until Wednesday, I’ll be sharing my first post of the week on Thursday the 1st September. That way, you have the very latest updates from me in my monthly wrap-up post. I already have a good chunk of this post drafted, so I’ll just be adding the last bits to it on Wednesday before it goes live on Thursday.

Next month’s TBR is extremely ambitious to the point that I don’t think I’ll complete it. However, I’m going to have a very, very good go. You’ll find out why it’s ended up that way in my post on Friday.

And, as always, I’ll be back with another Sunday Summary update this time next week. Hopefully, I will be able to continue and finish both The Silence of the Girls and Golden Son. I also want to have made decent progress with my next breed, assassins quest. I’m not going to finish this in August, but I’m hoping I can at least make a start at this point.

That’s all from me for today’s Sunday Summary update though. What have you been reading?

 

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Monthly Wrap-Up – July 2022

If you want to find out which amazing books I’ve been reading this month, and those I would like to recommend to you my fellow readers, then my monthly wrap-up post is the one for you!

In my monthly wrap-up posts, I share the details of all the books I read in the month just gone. For July, I decided to keep with a similar concept with my TBR and only set a couple of ‘fixed reads’, whereas the rest could be changed with my mood. I’ll clearly mark out which books fell into which bracket.

Overall, I found this approach really worked for me once again.

Whereas last month I ended up sticking to my provisional mood reads, I did actually swap one book out for another this month. It was entirely on a whim, but that’s the point. I want to give myself the flexibility if I really want to read something, to just pick it up.

 

Books Read

Fixed Reads

Twelve Nights

Genre: historical-fiction

Pages: 380

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Nerthus

Publication Date: 1 Jun 2022

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟

 

Goodreads – Twelve Nights

My first read of the month was Twelve Nights by Penny Ingham. I committed to taking part in a blog tour for this particular book and shared my review as a part of it. That post was due on the 11th of July, so reading this particular book was my first port of call.

If you want to check out my full thoughts on the book, you can find a link to my blog tour post here. In summary, Twelve Nights was a fun historical-fiction/mystery novel in which a number of themes are brought together – the treatment of women in the 16th century, the impact of religion on daily life, William Shakespeare, the theatre and surprisingly, suffering from Alzheimer’s/dementia.

We are taken through a variety of twists and turns as Magdalen tries to get to the bottom of a murder she did not commit, all before her ‘inquest’ and inevitable conviction for the crimes. The mystery took a turn I was not expecting, and I really enjoyed the element of surprise at the 11th hour!

If any of these things sound like something you’d enjoy, then I recommend picking this book up.

 

The Man Who Died Twice

Genre: Mystery

Pages: 422

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Penguin

Publication Date: 16 Sept 2021

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

 

Goodreads – The Man Who Died Twice

My second and last ‘fixed read’ of the month was The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman. I set this as a fixed read as I wanted to return the book to Chris whilst he was on island visiting with my sister. I had every intention to pick this up straight after Twelve Nights, however, that didn’t come to pass.

Instead, I had a real hankering to pick up another book (and not one on my July TBR). I indulged myself by picking this other book up, before returning to The Man Who Died Twice.

The story was engaging, high-stakes, and enabled us to see a little into Elizabeth’s past, which I really enjoyed. I think she’s one of the more interesting characters of the book/series so far, even if she is quite unrealistic in real life. But, that’s not the point. It’s a bit of fun and I enjoy how Richard Osman manages to write an intriguing mystery, with a lot of humour along the way.

At the same time though, he doesn’t neglect difficult subjects. In his first book, the narrative includes a character suicide. In the second book, one of the characters experiences violence and a consequent knock of confidence as a result of the attack.

The copy I read was a chunky hardback edition, but this turned out to be a quick read regardless. I really enjoyed being back in the company of Elizabeth, Joyce, Ron and Ibrahim (a.k.a. the Thursday Murder Club). The narrative of this second book in the series was honestly slightly better than the first. I managed to read this in just a handful of days and return the book to its rightful owner with plenty of time to spare.

This was one of my top reads of the month. If you enjoy mystery books on the lighthearted, contemporary side, this is one for you!

 

Mood Reads

Pandora’s Jar

Genre: Mythology

Pages: 320

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Picador

Publication Date: 1 Oct 2020

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

 

Goodreads – Pandora’s Jar

I picked up and read Pandora’s Jar completely on a whim.

After reading Twelve Nights and suffering the injustices of women through the perspective of Magdalen, I wanted a book that almost served a bit of social justice. What drew me to Pandora’s Jar, in particular, is that the author features 10 female characters in Greek myths and explores how they are done injustice in their own stories.

One of the more interesting things I found, is that these stories weren’t written that way originally; the stories have changed over time and the roles these women play in the stories (whether made inconsequential, turned into monsters or painted to be downright evil). In Pandora’s Jar, Natalie Haynes challenges these changes and puts to right how these characters were portrayed in earlier/alternate versions of the stories.

 

Royal Assassin

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 648

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Harper Voyager

Publication Date: 27 Mar 2014

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

 

Goodreads – Royal Assassin

Next, I wanted to continue my foray into the Realm of the Elderlings, so picked up Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb.

Royal Assassin is the second book of the Farseer trilogy and I am loving these books so far! I am a big fantasy reader, with greater emphasis on those that are in series as opposed to standalone.

Needless to say, these books are right up my street. They aren’t quick reads, but I really love these books. I just managed to finish Royal Assassin on the last day of the month. Given the way the book ended, I can’t see myself reading the third book of this first trilogy very, very soon!

This was my top read of the month, although The Man Who Died Twice came a close second. This is a book for epic fantasy lovers – especially if you like to invest in a detailed world spanning multiple books.

 

A Feast of Phantoms

Book cover of A Feast of PhantomsGenre: Fantasy

Pages: 270

Audience: New Adult

Publisher: Acorn

Publication Date: 17 Mar 2020

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟

 

Goodreads – A Feast of Phantoms

I signed up to review A Feast of Phantoms via BookSirens a few months ago, and as the review deadline is coming up imminently, I decided to pick this up in July.

Also as I didn’t have my copy of The First Binding yet, it felt like a perfect opportunity to squeeze this in. I did also end up taking a brief break from reading Royal Assassin to make sure I had time to hit the review deadline.

A Feast of Phantoms is a nice short read and is an eclectic mix of genres. The book has a western/steampunk theme, with a predominant fantasy baseline with elements of supernatural. Are you still with me? It is quite a wild combination, and whilst I wasn’t sure about it at first, it won me over. When it became clear in the narrative that all is not as it seems, that was the hook.

This is a solid fantasy read if you’re looking for something on the shorter side. At 270 pages, I flew through A Feast of Phantoms. If you want to find out more, I am publishing my review on Thursday.

 

A Note on The First Binding…

I had put The First Binding on my TBR for July, as I was expecting a review copy ahead of a blog tour post on the 15th of August.

However, I only just received my copy on Friday. This is a reading priority now (for obvious reasons), but I just wanted to include this explanation in my monthly wrap-up to let you know why I haven’t picked it up this month. It’s because I couldn’t.

 

Audiobooks

I have decided to add a section to these monthly wrap-up posts for audiobooks, as it is abundantly clear that I am back into a phase of listening to these. I have been doing a lot of crafty projects lately, and whilst I don’t have a deadline for a gift anymore, I’m working on something for myself.

It’s quite a large cross-stitch project, so it’s going to take me a while. However, that means I’m going to have plenty of time to listen to more audiobooks. I set the precedence when making my friend Rachael‘s gift, so I am really into it.

Still, I’m not a quick audiobook listener. It’s The method I consume books in the least, so I’m not going to have loads of books here in any one month.

 

Northern Lights

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 399

Audience: Children/Middle Grade

Publisher: Scholastic Point

Publication Date: 23 Oct 1998

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟

 

Goodreads – Northern Lights

This month I have completed listening to Northern Lights by Philip Pullman. I’ve enjoyed the story element of it even though I’m not necessarily the target audience. I do have some gripes about the audiobook itself.

I am not a fan of the casting of this audiobook in particular. A lot of it is narrated by the author Philip Pullman himself, however, character speech is cast out to other people. Personally, I would have preferred consistency and if the author had narrated everything himself, I think it would be smoother.

I also don’t like some of the voices, especially the main character Lyra. I understand the casting in a way, but her voice is just irritating. Overall, it’s quite jarring and not as pleasant an experience as it could have been. I’m going to try and not let it deter me from listening to the rest of the series, but there is just my two pence worth.

 

That’s a wrap for my monthly wrap-up post! Did you read any great books in July? Do you have any book recommendations to share? As always, I’d love to hear from you!

 

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Sunday Summary – 17th July 2022

Hello everyone and welcome to my Sunday Summary update for this week!

Although my first blog post of the week was drafted ahead of time, there has been no rest for the wicked this week. My blog tour review of Twelve Nights by Penny Ingham went live on Monday; it was a pleasure to take part in the tour. Twelve Nights is a historical thriller/mystery novel. If that’s the kind of thing that floats your boat then I recommend you check this out.

Later in the week I took another look at my TBR and shared a Shelf Control post. In this post, I feature a sequel that has been on my list for quite some time. I even re-read the first book of the series to refresh my memory. But five years on, I still haven’t read the sequel! If you are curious to know which fantasy book I featured in this week‘s post, there’s a link above so you can go and take a look.

My blogging schedule hasn’t been quite so manic this week. However, I have been busy behind-the-scenes working towards a goal I set myself at the beginning of the year. To date, I’ve not been doing that well with it. This week, I prepared and scheduled next week’s posts. I wanted to get myself into a position where I was scheduling blog posts a week ahead of their publishing date, and I’ve got there. I bought myself a weekly planner so it’s a little bit easier for me to coordinate and organise myself! Fingers crossed I can keep it up!

 

Books Read

When I shared my Sunday Summary update with you last week, I had just finished reading Twelve Nights ahead of the blog tour. By rights, I should have moved on to my next and last ‘fixed read’ of the month, The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman.

However, I didn’t. When I was planning to take a book to bed with me on Monday night, I just really didn’t fancy going into that book just yet. I was looking for a book to counterbalance the injustice experienced by women in Twelve Nights. There was only one book on my bookshelf that would do this, and that was Pandora’s Jar by Natalie Haynes.

I made the right decision to pick this book up. It gave me everything I needed and was a really interesting non-fiction book as well. This ticks off another goal for this year – picking up more non-fiction! In case you are unfamiliar, Pandora’s Jar takes a look at women in Greek myths and in particular, focuses on those who are not done justice in their stories. This could be because they are largely ignored or overshadowed by men, are made out to be evil… or worse yet, painted as straight-up monsters.

I really enjoyed the discussions In this book. It’s very well researched and it’s a good way of diving into Greek myths, and especially how the stories have evolved over the course of time.

I started reading The Man Who Died Twice as well. I picked this book up a couple of days ago and I am already a healthy 179 pages in. Initially, the hardback copy of this book looks quite long. It’s around 425 pages in total, but I was delighted to see that the text in this copy is huge! At least, compared to Pandora’s Jar. I’m absolutely flying through this book as I’ve only picked it up on three occasions over a couple of days. It is everything I was hoping it would be based on The Thursday Murder Club and I’m glad to be back with our main characters and a whole new mystery!

I have also been back on the audiobooks this week. I originally started listening to these again as I was completing a craft project (that I couldn’t share at the time because it was a gift for a friend). Around about a month ago I was discussing how I have a hit-and-miss relationship with them. It is around this time that I received my kit to complete my friend’s gift, and I fell back into them.

Rachael’s Wedding gift

In making my friend’s gift, I have motivated myself to get back into a craft project for myself. I bought myself a cross-stitch kit a while ago, and now I am making this for myself. I’ve made some progress with it this week, and at the same time, I listened to a couple of hours of The Northern Lights by Philip Pullman. I only have about an hour and a half left, so I’m hopeful I can finish this very soon!

 

Books Discovered

I was very good last week and I didn’t add a single thing to my TBR. However, the streak hasn’t lasted.

I saw a really cute video on Instagram of a friend of the author opening a copy of The Wonderland Trials. It was a really cute video and was captioned with a message about all the hard work the author has put in, as she very nearly didn’t publish this book. This made me look into it a bit more, and it’s very different from the sort of thing I would normally read. However, I’m intrigued, so it’s on the list!

 

Coming Up…

As I said above, I have been busy this week. Normally in this section, I talk about what is going to be shared on my blog this week, being in a position where I haven’t written it yet. Not this week! I already have next week’s posts scheduled and ready to go!

The first post you will see next week will be published on Tuesday. This week is a freebie in the Top Ten Tuesday series. That meant I had full discretion on what I wanted to share. I decided to combine two popular topics on my blog – A Game of Thrones, and my favourite quotes.

Later in the week, a First Lines Friday post is scheduled for you! In this post, I feature a book I intend to read very soon. It has been on my reading list for such a long time too! I’ve already talked about this book a couple of times on my blog recently. If you’re not sure what it is or want to find out more, you can check out that post on Friday.

As always, I’ll be back at the same time next week for another Sunday Summary update. With any luck, I’ll have kept up with drafting blog posts a week in advance! I’ve already done the hard work; it should be plain sailing from here on out!

That’s all from me for this week’s Sunday Summary update. Have you been reading anything interesting this week? As always, I’d love to know what you’re reading!

 

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First Lines Friday – 04/03/2022

Hello and welcome to today’s First Lines Friday post! First Lines Friday is a regular series on my blog. It’s a fun way to share books I love, those I am interested in and/or are on my TBR… or even just to experiment with something new!

For today’s post I set myself the challenge to feature a book I’ve added to my TBR within the last three months. There have been quite a few books added so I had plenty to choose from! Today’s choice was one I picked up on a whim.

Here is today’s intro: –

 

He had not allowed for the weight. The cold he anticipated, the water’s sluggish buoyancy, this to he considered. The darkness? The lantern does well enough, and his memory allows for shortfalls in sight.

But the weight… This is something else altogether.

The lantern itself is manageable. It is bound to his wrist with thick twine, affording movement in both hands, but it pulls down uncomfortably on his arm and the salt water stings where the twine has already rubbed the skin. The ropes are looped under each armpit – one for the salvage, one to raise him again – cumbersome, but they help balance is body as he descends.

The sinking weights, two, although bulky, can be endured.

The problem is the harness.

 

 

 

Pandora – Susan Stokes-Chapman

Goodreads – Pandora

London, 1799. Dora Blake is an aspiring jewellery artist who lives with her uncle in what used to be her parents’ famed shop of antiquities. When a mysterious Greek vase is delivered, Dora is intrigued by her uncle’s suspicious behaviour and enlists the help of Edward Lawrence, a young antiquarian scholar. Edward sees the ancient vase as key to unlocking his academic future. Dora sees it as a chance to restore the shop to its former glory, and to escape her nefarious uncle.

But what Edward discovers about the vase has Dora questioning everything she has believed about her life, her family, and the world as she knows it. As Dora uncovers the truth she starts to realise that some mysteries are buried, and some doors are locked, for a reason.

Gorgeously atmospheric and deliciously page-turning, Pandora is a story of secrets and deception, love and fulfilment, fate and hope.

 

My Thoughts…

Most books are added to my TBR after hearing or reading great things about them. Pandora is completely different, however. The honest answer as to how this ended up on my TBR is that I was drawn in by the gorgeous cover in a bookshop. But who wouldn’t be though, don’t you think it’s stunning?!

It was the cover that got me to pick it up in the first place, but after reading the synopsis I ran to the till to pay for this beauty faster than Mo Farah can sprint the 100m! I love the sound of this and the funny thing is, it’s since I’ve picked up a copy of this book that I have heard really good things about it. Bloggers I follow with similar reading tastes have also got themselves copies of this book, and they are just as excited for it as well.

I can’t wait to delve into this one because it’s a different type of read to my usual. I like the idea of it being a Greek mythology re-telling in a kind of historical fantasy setting. It’s an eclectic mix of genres, but you know me, the more the merrier! The last Greek mythology re-telling I read – Circe by Madeline Miller – wasn’t as good as I hoped it would be in my opinion, but I’m not going to let that stop me trying others! 

Have you read Pandora? Is it on your list of books to read? Have you enjoyed today’s First Lines Friday post? 

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First Lines Friday – 11/12/2020

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

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

Can you guess what it is?

 

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

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

 

The Silence of the Girls – Pat Barker

The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker | Goodreads

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

 

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Book Review: Circe – Madeline Miller

In today’s book review post, I am sharing my thoughts on Circe by Madeline Miller. I read this book on holiday last October and it’s finally time to share my thoughts on the book! I had heard and read so many great reviews on it, so I was optimistic that I would really love it!

 

Circe – Madeline Miller

Goodreads – Circe

In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child—not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power—the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.

Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus.

But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.

 

My Thoughts…

Whilst I did enjoy reading Circe, my perception of the book definitely suffered from the hype it got from others. It’s always a little disappointing when that happens, but it does happen occasionally! This is still a solid 3-star rated read – don’t think I am not saying I didn’t like it! I just… expected a bit more considering all the fuss over it.

I enjoyed the premise of the book and how Circe does not fit in. She makes her own way, and her own mistakes too. Plenty of them, in fact. Her independence is one of her only redeeming qualities in my eyes, however. I found it really difficult to relate to Circe, and that’s why I think my overall feel of the book is a lower rating than normal. Circe is vain, selfish, and really not all that endearing. No character is ever going to be perfect and flaws add realistic dimension, but I didn’t think there was much in the way of development throughout.

Despite my feelings for Circe’s character, I do have to give credit to the author for how well she includes so many of the Greek gods into the story in an uncomplicated manner. If you don’t know much about Greek gods, I’ll tell you this much – there’s a lot of them! I don’t have extensive knowledge of them; I’ve read one book about them (Mythos by Stephen Fry). Even so, I didn’t get lost in the plethora of characters as Circe interacts with them at various stages. Each God is introduced and explained in the narrative where relevant, so I don’t think any background knowledge is needed. Although, I won’t deny it was helpful.

The book itself is written very well. The flow of the narrative and the chapter sizes are very easy to read. I read this within a couple of days on holiday. That is a testament to how easy this is to read. I was able to pick it up and get straight back into the story in between reading breaks.

I’m disappointed that I didn’t love it as much as I wanted to, but Circe was still an interesting read and I liked the cleverness of the storyline.

Have you read Circe? What are your thoughts on it?

 

 

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Sunday Summary – 27th October 2019

Hi everyone and welcome to today’s Sunday Summary post! I have been away from my keyboard for over a week, which has been both nice and very strange. Hopefully, you didn’t notice my absence though, as I scheduled plenty of blog posts to tide you over until my return! Today’s post is going to be a fairly quick one, as I have two week’s worth of content to cover and all the mundane jobs of returning from holiday to deal with too.

Since my last Sunday Summary post, I have published a number of posts as part of Blogtober. I can’t possibly discuss them all individually, but if you want to catch up on any of these posts if you missed them they are listed below: –

 

Books Read

Since my last Sunday Summary post, I spent the week leading up to my holiday making progress with After Whorl: Bran Reborn by Nancy Jardine and Visions of Zarua by Suzanne Rogerson. Most of the week was spent on the latter book in preparation for the blog tour I took part in last Sunday. The majority of my reading has been done this week whilst on holiday. Before going away, I also made the briefest starts on listening to Thunderhead by Neil Shusterman.

My first completed book of the holiday was After Whorl: Bran Reborn, as I read the last third of the book in the first couple of days of the trip. From there, I moved on to Circe by Madeline Miller, which took me around three days to read, on and off, whilst enduring some bad weather. Later in the week, the sun came out and I managed to read Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor in less than two days. Finally, in the last couple of days of the trip, I started reading Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky. As of writing this post, I am 22% through the book and hoping to make further headway with it next week.

 

Books Discovered

I have added a few books to the TBR in the two weeks since my last post. The first of these books is Violet, which I added having read a review of the book. I have also added another book to the TBR following a review by the same blogger, which is Defender by G X Todd. The review I read was for the recent third book in the series, whereas I have added the first book to the TBR.

I have also added The Flood to my TBR, I think from reading a review or seeing it on Goodreads. However, I have done my usual and not made a note of where I have seen it so I’m not 100% sure.

 

Coming Up…

I had all my posts scheduled up until my return from holiday, so I am going to be playing catch up this week to finish off Blogtober and complete the challenge! The vast majority of the posts to the end of the month are book reviews for blog tours I have signed up to… so no pressure!

Tomorrow’s post is called Halloween Horrors – I’ll be sharing some spooky reads I have enjoyed if you are looking for inspiration ahead of Halloween this week. On Tuesday I start my four-day blitz of blog tour reviews, the first being for Hallowed Ground by Paul Twivy. Wednesday’s review will be for To Snare a Witch by Jay Raven and Thursday’s post for The Haunting of Paradise House by Killian Wolf.

By then I am done with Blogtober, however, I have an additional blog tour spot on Friday 1st for After Whorl: Bran Reborn. Then, I’m taking a much-deserved break until my usual round-up of the week next Sunday!

 

What have you been reading recently? Please feel free to drop a comment below!

 

 

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Sunday Summary

Book Review: Mythos – Stephen Fry

Hello everyone! I hope you have had a lovely week and are looking forward to the bank holiday weekend! I sure am!

Firstly, I’d like to express a quick apology for not posting my promised Top Ten Tuesday post this week. It turns out trying to choose your top ten characters in A Game of Thrones is quite hard! By Tuesday evening I had picked my candidates but only written up about half of them. I didn’t feel rushing the post was in my best interests. Anyway, I’ll talk more about it in my wrap up on Sunday.

For today, I’ll be reviewing a book I borrowed from my library in February… a book that also happens to be the first in my challenge to read more non-fiction. I was compelled to pick this up for two reasons. Firstly, reading The Road to Alexander in January piqued my interest in the subject since Greek mythology comes up in that quite a lot – particularly the tale of Persephone comes up a lot. I chose Stephen Fry’s re-telling because I have enjoyed another book of his previously. Back in September 2017 I read his book, Making History. It’s a fictional tale exploring the history of World War II and the consequences of Adolf Hitler not being born. Knowing that I enjoy his writing style, Mythos felt like a natural choice to take my first real steps into Greek Mythology with.

 

Mythos – Stephen Fry

Goodreads – Mythos

The Greek myths are the greatest stories ever told, passed down through millennia and inspiring writers and artists as varied as Shakespeare, Michelangelo, James Joyce and Walt Disney.

They are embedded deeply in the traditions, tales and cultural DNA of the West. In Stephen Fry’s hands the stories of the titans and gods become a brilliantly entertaining account of ribaldry and revelry, warfare and worship, debauchery, love affairs and life lessons, slayings and suicides, triumphs and tragedies.

You’ll fall in love with Zeus, marvel at the birth of Athena, wince at Cronus and Gaia’s revenge on Ouranos, weep with King Midas and hunt with the beautiful and ferocious Artemis.

Thoroughly spellbinding, informative and moving, Stephen Fry’s Mythos perfectly captures these stories for the modern age – in all their rich and deeply human relevance.

 

My Thoughts…

If you were to studiously explore Greek Mythology… you would be busy for quite a while purely because there are so many Gods/Goddesses. Some are names we know already – Apollo, Hermes, Aphrodite. There are many, many… many others. Although the book covers vast a number of stories about the different Gods and their interactions with each other, the book isn’t overwhelming.

Mythos’s narrative is written in an almost chronological manner, beginning with the Gods and Goddesses referred to as Olympians before moving on to their children… so on and so forth. Each tale is broken up into its own section, making it as digestible as possible. The subject matter, should you want to study it closely, can get complicated quite quickly. More than once I referred to infographics to follow the heredity.

The tales within Mythos could easily be read for entertainment or for educational purposes. Obviously, I have read it for entertainment and did so within a matter of days. I quite enjoyed the footnotes that accompanied the tales. They drop in context where appropriate and additional facts such as the names of the Roman God/Goddess equivalents. There are even some of Stephen Fry’s wittier comments for an element of humour.

The book is a great introduction to the topic. I knew relatively little about it and I’d recommend it to anyone else wanting to read up on the subject. You can read and take away as much or as little as you want. Stephen Fry’s humour and natural narrative voice make it easy to lose yourself in the heroics and follies of the Gods. So much so that you realise you are still awake and reading past your bedtime.

Not that I would do such a thing as that…

Obviously…

 

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