Tag: historical fiction

Monthly TBR – January 2023

I’m very excited to be sharing my very first TBR with you of 2023! January is always a good month for reading as I’m excited by the clean slate.

This year, I’m starting my January TBR with a book I’ve carried over from December last year. It’s quite a short read and one that I’m making good progress with already despite the number of blogging hours I’ve put in this week! And, there are plenty more to come.

As I started doing last year, I’m going to set myself a few fixed reads that I would like to get through in the month. I’m also going to set some mood reads that will be a reflection of what I want to pick up when I draft my TBR, but I can change in the month if I wish. I’ve found this approach really works for me, as it focuses me on the things I need to read, but also allows that bit of flexibility if and when things change.

Enough preamble – let’s get into the books I plan to pick up in January!

 

Fixed Reading List

 

The Secret Library

The Secret Library was on my December 2022 TBR, but I only got around to it right at the end of the month. As I have done in previous months, I underestimated the amount of time it takes to make progress with books in the Realm of the Elderlings series by Robin Hobb. As a result, I didn’t get anywhere near finished with my December TBR.

I started January having read the first of nine chapters in The Secret Library, and this is my current read as of drafting this post. I am already just over halfway through the book and it is a compelling read. If you like books about books (especially little-known books), then the tidbits of knowledge in this book will appeal to you as they do to me.

 

The Secret History

The Secret History

The Secret History was also on my December TBR, as a TBR Jar pick. I decided to set this jar up as a means of randomising my reading list a little bit and to encourage me to pick up books at times when I wouldn’t necessarily do so by choice. It’s a means of broadening my horizons.

So, I didn’t get around to it in December for the same reasons above. That is why The Secret History is on the fixed side of my January TBR. I have been looking forward to reading this book for some time, as I have heard great things from multiple sources about it. Having read other books within the same genre last year and really enjoyed them, I’m excited to see what this book holds.

 

Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow

Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow is a fixed read on my reading list as it is the featured book in Ezeekat’s online book club this month.

I joined this club in time for last month’s read of Daughter of the Moon Goddess, and that proved to be a fantastic read. Whilst it wasn’t on my reading list as yet, it was on my radar and I probably would have read it at some point anyway. I really enjoyed this book, so naturally, I’m excited to see what this next read brings.

Having read the synopsis of Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow, I really like the sound of it. As someone who enjoys gaming as well as reading and crafting and everything else I do, I have something in common with the main characters. I’m hoping that relatability will add to my enjoyment of the overall book.

I have seen this book around on social media, but I wouldn’t have picked it up unless it was part of the club. It will be interesting to see what my perception of the book is after I’ve read it, as this is a true test of using online book clubs to push my reading boundaries… because this is exactly the scenario I’ve been looking for.

 

Mood Reads

 

After You

It was a conversation with my friends before Christmas that inspired me to read this book in January. I threw myself a curveball a few years ago and picked up Me before you by Jojo Moyes. It is not the kind of book I would normally read, however, it was great. It made me cry bucketloads, but it was a really, really good book.

I didn’t know much about this second book of the series, After You. It was the discussion amongst my friends that enlightened me as to what this book is about. It’s a difficult one to talk about without letting on the events of the first book, but to explain as briefly as I can, this book deals with the aftermath and the conclusion of the first book. Given the way that it ended, and how this second book has been explained to me, I feel like reading this as a follow-up will be a good way of resolving my feelings about the first book. It also ties in nicely with my goal this year of finishing series!

 

The House of Fortune

Speaking of that goal, here is another book towards that end! One of the open series I have at the moment is The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton. I read the first book a good few years ago now (and if I recall correctly, it was around Christmas/New Year as well). I have been aware that there has been a follow-up book to pick up, but I just haven’t gotten around to it since its publication last year.

This month, I am making that effort. Once I’ve read this book, I can happily tick a series off my list!

 

The Chimp Paradox

I’m also working towards another reading goal in this last pick for my January TBR. The Chimp Paradox will be my second non-fiction read of the month, making for a very good start towards my goal of reading more than 15 non-fiction books throughout the year.

I have seen this out and about quite a few times of late. I even considered picking up a copy of this book during my recent trip to Waterstones. However, as it is a new book by a new author, I ultimately decided to either borrow the book or get a copy on my kindle instead.

Based on the synopsis and flip through in the bookstore, I’m interested to see what angle this book takes and whether I find anything in it useful in terms of personal development. I’ve seen recommendations for it, so I am optimistic that it will be an insightful read!

 

So, those are the six books on my January TBR! A few of the books I picked for this list are on the shorter side, so I’m optimistic to make good progress in this TBR.

Have you read any of the books on this list, and would you recommend? What are you reading right now? As always, I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

 

signature

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Fable

Monthly TBR – December 2022

We are in the final month of 2022, and I can hardly believe that I’m sharing my Monthly TBR for December! It barely seems like two minutes ago since I was setting my 2022 goals and resolutions for the year. And now, here we are, nearly at the end of it all.

It may nearly be the end of the year, but we’re not quite there yet! There is still one monthly TBR left in me for this year, and I am now striving to exceed my reading goal by 10 books by the end of the year. That means I need to read another five books throughout December.

Let’s take a look at my picks!

 

Fixed Reading List

 

Daughter of the Moon Goddess

 

 

Genre: Fantasy Romance

Pages: 512

Audience: Young Adult

Publisher: Harper Voyager

Publication Date: 11 Jan 2022

 

This month is a month of firsts. That may be an unusual thing to say in my last monthly TBR post of the year, but, you’ve got to try it sometime. New experiences aren’t just for January. The reason I say this is because I am taking part in my first online book club read!

I have decided to read Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan. Somebody in the bookish community I discovered through Instagram (@ezeekat) has recently started hosting a book club through Fable. It’s the first time I’ll use this app and take part in a group read in this way.

However, if I really enjoy it, this is something I would like to continue with. I have always liked the idea of book clubs because they encourage you to broaden your horizons. It is through such groups that you’re encouraged to read things out of your comfort zone.

 

TBR Jar Pick – The Secret History

 

The Secret History

 

Genre: Dark Academia

Pages: 559

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Vintage

Publication Date: 16 Sept 1992

 

A second first in today’s Monthly TBR for December is that I have decided to add a pick from a TBR jar.

The first reason I set up my TBR jar was to help out during times when I don’t know what to read. When I’m feeling indecisive or really open-minded, I would like to be able to select a book out of my dedicated owl mug at random and go on and read my selection.

The second reason I wanted to set this up was so it encourages me to pick up books when I wouldn’t necessarily choose them for myself. Whilst I will never force myself to read a book, the use of my TBR jar will allow me to overcome any bias I have at a given time.

My first TBR jar pick is The Secret History by Donna Tartt. I have actually been looking forward to picking up this book, and it’s crossed my mind since reading something similar – Babel. I’m also looking forward to it because I know another reader who has picked it up, enjoyed it, and recommended it to me this year.

 

Mood Reads

 

The Keeper of Lost Things

 

 

Genre: Contemporary

Pages: 288

Audience: Adult

Publisher: William Morrow

Publication Date: 21 Feb 2017

 

The Keeper of Lost Things is one of the oldest books on my TBR now. With that in mind, I would like to try and pick it up in December.

Along the lines of broadening horizons as mentioned above, The Keeper of Lost Things is more contemporary than I would usually pick up. However, I really like the sound of the synopsis. As a very sentimental person, I think I can understand the motivations and plot line behind this particular book.

It is a little bit different from my typical read, but this can be a good thing. Often, I need a break in routine. I have been reading a lot of fantasy of late, and so The Keeper of Lost Things will give me the chance to read something different during December.

 

The Secret Library

 

 

Genre: History / Non-Fiction

Pages: 256

Audience: Adult

Publisher: O Mara Books Ltd

Publication Date: 29 Sept 2016

 

I am really looking forward to picking up The Secret Library. In summary, it is a book of books. It explores some lesser-known literary tidbits from history that will sate my curiosity to learn.

On the one hand, I may find the odd one or two hidden bookish gems that I will want to pick up and read as a result of reading The Secret Library. Equally, my TBR pile may just explode. I can’t predict it. Either way, The Secret History looks to be a short, fun read full of history and literature.

 

Ship of Magic

 

 

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 897

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Harper Voyager

Publication Date: 01 Mar 1998

 

Now that I have recovered from reading Assassin’s Quest by Robin Hobb, I am looking forward to jumping into the next series within the wider realm of books. I have read the first trilogy out of a total of 16 books in the Realm of the Elderlings series. In that first trilogy, the universe is introduced (in reasonable depth) through the perspective of FitzChivalry Farseer.

Already a lot has happened in the first three books, but what I’m looking forward to in this next series is a complete change of perspective. It will be interesting to see if they ‘standalone’ well, add to my overall enjoyment of the universe, or whether it serves as filler for a main series.

 

Queen of Our Times

 

 

Genre: Non-fiction / Biography

Pages: 690

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Pegasus

Publication Date: 05 Apr 2022

 

As my audiobook listen of Queen of Our Times by Robert Hardman is still ongoing, I’m going to try and make further progress with this audiobook this month. This originally featured on my October Monthly TBR post. I have a lot of progress to make, as I have been a little lax on audiobooks in the last couple of months. 

Fingers crossed December is the month of steady progress!

 

So, that is my monthly TBR for December! I’m sorry if you’re a little disappointed that there aren’t any seasonal reads in this list. If I’m entirely honest, it’s not something I would generally pick up. Plus, by the end of the month, I’m going to be all Christmassed out anyway!

Have you read any of the books on my December TBR?

 

signature

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Fable

Monthly Wrap-Up – November 2022

Somehow we are already into the final month of 2022, and that can only mean that it is time for my monthly wrap-up post for November!

I read quite a few books in November. All in all, it has been a very productive month. I took part in a couple of blog tours early on, and then went on to work my way through my whole reading list. That is something I haven’t achieved for a long time!

Let’s dive into the books I read in November!

 

Warrior and Protector

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Goodreads

My first book of the month was Warrior and Protector by Peter Gibbons.

This was the first read as I had a fairly imminent blog tour deadline to meet. That said, it was an incredibly easy read to pick up and enjoy. I read this in just a handful of days. If you enjoy books like Bernard Cornwell’s the Saxon stories, or anything set in 10th century England, I’d recommend this one highly.

I really enjoyed the character development in this particular book. It has a perspective that you wouldn’t necessarily expect from a book of this kind. If you want to find out more, you can check out my full review here.

 

Warrior of Mercia

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Goodreads

The next book I picked up was very similar in setting but was part of a series that I started earlier this year. I have been really enjoying the Eagle of Mercia Chronicles by MJ Porter.

When I received the invite to take part in the tour for Warrior of Mercia, I knew I would be daft not to take it up! The plot lines of these books are full of action, but equally do not script on character development either.

For entirely different reasons to Warrior and Protector, the protagonist of his book makes an interesting character in terms of his motivations. He is a dutiful young man, but his heart isn’t really in being a warrior. If you want to find out more, again, I have a full review where you can find out more.

 

Babel

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Goodreads

It was nice to pick up and be able to stick with Babel by R.F. Kuang. With my ongoing blog tour commitments, I was picking up and putting this down quite a bit. However, once all my obligations were over and done with, I read this book very quickly.

I really enjoyed how this book delves into language and translation. Although it is a fantasy fiction novel, it reads quite academically. The story is cleverly interwoven with the fantasy element, but also combines more serious topics including racism, colonialism, and even classism. To an extent, Babel was everything I expected it to be – however it was also so much better!

 

Malice

Rating: DNF

Goodreads

Malice by John Gwynne is the one disappointment in my monthly wrap-up for November. I have owned my copy of this book for a very, very long time. I attempted to pick it up once somewhere in the region of 2016. However, as this pre-dates both my blog and my Goodreads account, I can’t pinpoint exactly when I started it.

Unfortunately, the fact that I didn’t make it much further than the third chapter back then should have told me everything I needed to know. I gave this a solid attempt, but I just wasn’t getting into it at all. After three days of pushing through the first 50 odd pages, I decided to hang this one up. There was absolutely no point in trying to struggle on with it. I knew I was onto a good reading streak, and I didn’t want to spoil it.

It’s not the end of the world. Yes, it is a shame when you don’t enjoy a book as much as you would like. However, thinking on the bright side, I have enough ongoing series as it is without adding another one!

 

Dear Child

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Goodreads

Next, I decided to pick up a genre that I haven’t read very much of lately – psychological thriller.

I had wanted to read a book like this in my October TBR. However, I didn’t get around to it. I recently featured Dear Child in my Autumn TBR post. The synopsis has been playing on my mind ever since. Given that I already owned a copy of the book ready to pick up, it was a no brainer decision.

And this was a fantastic psychological thriller. For me, I determine a book like this to be a hit if I’m thinking about it even when I’m not reading. If I’m trying to work through who the characters are, and determine what potential motives and hidden plot twists there are yet to unveil, that’s a very good sign! Of course, I was doing it with Dear Child.

Another good indicator is how quickly I managed to read this book. I started it on a Sunday morning and finish it by Thursday the following week.

 

The Motivation Code

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Goodreads

Having worked my way through my November TBR at this point, it took me a while to decide what to read next. I hadn’t even considered my December TBR at this point, so I was at a bit of a loss. In the end, I turned to my recent TBR additions for some inspiration. I found The Motivation Code.

I recently took the online assessment that accompanies this book, and I wanted to find out what my results really meant. And in that way, this has been an insightful read. Some of the results I got were to an extent, a surprise. However, having read about these different motivation codes, I can see myself in them 100%. They go a good way to explaining why I like to work in certain settings, and equally importantly, how I like to work. I don’t necessarily just mean employment. I mean as in how I operate. How I do things. 

The book is also useful in that it highlights where there may be gaps in your skill set. For example, one of my top three motivators is to explore. That means I am good at delving into new things and starting many projects (hardly shocking news to anyone who knows me). However, one of my downfalls is that I might try to take on too many things and lose focus on what I’ve already started. I am the kind of person who, at times, needs to be re-focused away from the ‘new and interesting’. I can do this myself, but it is something I need to consciously do.

Reading The Motivation Code has helped me understand who I am and why I think it act the way I do. It is one thing to know it subconsciously, but to read this book and bring it to the forefront enables me to work on the elements of my personality that aren’t necessarily positive.

 

Queen of Our Times

Current Read

Goodreads

I haven’t really made much progress with Queen of Our Times this month. I started the month with every intention to pick up and listen to this audiobook more regularly. However, I will be completely honest and say that I haven’t done it.

Quite often, I’m in the mood to listen to music. Especially so this month, as Dermot Kennedy released his new album and I’ve been listening to it on repeat since it was released mid-month. I have no shame.

Also, I have been making more of an effort to watch more TV this month. As you are probably aware, I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here has just been on and I really enjoyed watching it! However, for me, watching a show like that is a commitment. My TV doesn’t go on that much, and certainly not as regularly as I’ve needed to keep up with the show. That’s also impacted on my time to listen to audiobooks.

This is a book that will rollover into December.

 

So, those are the books I’ve been reading throughout the month of November. Technically, I also started the first book of my December TBR on the 29th of November. However, I’m not giving any spoilers as to what that book is. Instead, you’ll have to check out my TBR going live on Saturday!

I hope you’ve enjoyed my monthly wrap-up post. Have you read any of the books on this list? Have any of them caught your eye?

Let me know in the comments, and until next time, happy reading!

 

signature

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Fable

Blog Tour Review: Warrior of Mercia – MJ Porter

Hello everybody and welcome to today’s blog tour review of Warrior of Mercia by M. J. Porter. This is the third book of the Eagle of Mercia Chronicles, and I have had the pleasure I’ve taken part in blog tours for the first two books of the series. If you want to catch up on those before jumping into my review of Warrior of Mercia, you can find links to Son of Mercia and Wolf of Mercia here.

Before I begin my review in earnest, I would like to say thank you to the author, Boldwood Books and Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the tour. It is the last day of the tour, and there are a number of fabulous bloggers who have contributed as well. I’ll share more details on those below.

Now, let’s find out more about the book!

 

Warrior of Mercia – M. J. Porter

Genre: Historical Fiction

Pages: 316

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Boldwood Books

Publication Date: 09 Nov 2022

Rating: 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

 

Goodreads – Warrior of Mercia

Icel is a lone wolf no more.

Oath sworn to Wiglaf, King of Mercia and acknowledged as a member of Ealdorman Ælfstan’s warrior band, Icel continues to forge his own destiny on the path to becoming the Warrior of Mercia.

With King Ecgberht of Wessex defeated and Londonium back under Mercian control, the Wessex invasion of Mercia is over.

But the Wessex king was never Mercia’s only enemy. An unknown danger lurks in the form of merciless Viking raiders, who set their sights on infiltrating the waterways of the traitorous breakaway kingdom of the East Angles, within touching distance of Mercia’s eastern borders.

Icel must journey to the kingdom of the East Angles and unite against a common enemy to ensure Mercia’s hard-won freedom prevails.

 

Purchase Link – Amazon

 

My Thoughts…

If you enjoy historical fiction novels so full of action that they keep you on the edge of your seat, Warrior of Mercia is for you! With each new chapter, the detailed narrative and political landscape Icel lives in deepens.

Icel has come a long way from the first book in the series, Son of Mercia. By and large, he has kept to his roots and has far more affinity for healing people as opposed to causing harm. However, his character development throughout the series allows him to expand into a more traditional role expected in ninth-century historical fiction novels. England is divided, and invaders from the Norse lands threaten their every way of life. Icel has transitioned from a boy who quails at the idea of harming someone to a young man who will raise his seax willingly to defend his people.

That isn’t the typical plot development you would expect from these kinds of novels. However, it is for this reason that this series really works for me. It offers something different and unique. Icel’s perspective is, at least for me, unseen so far in this historical setting. Whilst comparable to the likes of Bernard Cornwell’s The Last Kingdom, the Eagle of Mercia Chronicles has a tale of its own, and from a fresh pair of eyes.

Warrior of Mercia is a fast-paced read. At just 327 pages, it is very easy to pick up and makes for a quick read. The chapters are also nicely broken out so none are too long. It is a small thing but makes a difference to the reading experience. It makes it easier and more enjoyable. You have the option to pick it up and put it down relatively easily – although, you won’t want to! Even though the page count isn’t too onerous, the quality and quantity of the narrative isn’t compromised. On the contrary, the narrative is full of in-depth battle scenes and political machinations. If these are elements you enjoy in your books, just as I do, then you will be just as thrilled with the book as I am.

I am glad I opted to take part in this blog tour. I had high expectations for the book based on the prior books in the series. Needless to say, Warrior of Mercia did not disappoint! It picks up nicely from events in the previous book. Events from the previous books are nicely summarised and spotted in quite naturally to refresh us as readers. Then, the narrative throws us back in to the tumultuous setting I have come to enjoy.

I hope I have inspired you to take a look at this book based on my review. If you are still unsure, I would like to find out more, there are a number of bloggers who have also taken part in the tour. David kicked off the blog tour with a smashing review. I agree with his view that the descriptions within the book are so immersive that you could be right there with Icel in the thick of it. I also enjoyed Amy‘s review. She correctly points out how well the narrative interweaves historical fact with elements of fiction for an all-round, entertaining read! These are but a couple of examples of contributors to the tour, and I hope you can take some time to check out their posts as well! 

I hope between us we can convince you to pick up Warrior of Murcia, or even the series as a whole if that’s your cup of tea! This book could be read perfectly well as a stand-alone, but I would personally recommend the whole series!

Author Bio

MJ Porter is the author of many historical novels set predominantly in Seventh to Eleventh-Century England, and in Viking Age Denmark. They were raised in the shadow of a building that they believed housed the bones of long-dead Kings of Mercia – so their writing destiny was set. The first novel in their new Anglo-Saxon series for Boldwood Son of Mercia was published in February 2022.

Social Media Links

Twitter https://twitter.com/coloursofunison

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/m_j_porter/

Newsletter Sign Up: https://bit.ly/MJPorterNews

Bookbub profile: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/mj-porter

Sunday Summary – 13th November 2022

Good evening and welcome to another Sunday Summary update! This week I’ve been busy reading and preparing for yet another blog tour, at the same time as having a busy working week. I’ve also been fitting in more TV time than usual as I’m currently watching I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here! I don’t normally tend to watch much television during the week, so I’ve had to make a conscious effort to fit this in. I didn’t watch the last two series set in the UK; I’m glad to see it finally back in Australia.

Aside from all that, I have shared my typical two blog posts with you this week.

On Tuesday, I decided to take part in the Top Ten Tuesday post of the week. For that post, we had the decision to feature our top ten books as part of a series we would like to begin, continue with, or finish. Given that I need absolutely no help in starting new series, I put the emphasis on those I would like to finish. The thought process here was that it will inspire me to pick up those that I am close to the end of. Therefore it would result in a reduction of my ‘ongoing list’. I feature some fantastic series in this post and already have some I’d like to read soon!

Later in the week, I shared my Shelf Control regular feature post. This month I seem to be featuring a lot of historical fiction novels, and this post is no exception. I will admit I made a bit of a gaff when I bought this book. I didn’t realise it was part of a series! That said, I’m still going to read the book anyway and I will base my decision of going backward based on whether I enjoy the last book or not! If you want to find out which book I’m talking about, you can find a link to that post above.

 

Books Read

In last week’s Sunday Summary post, I was up to page 154 of Babel by R.F. Kuang. I had to set the book aside the week prior in order to read another book ahead of a blog tour post. This week, I had a small window in which to make a little more progress, before I had to put this down once again for another commitment. On Sunday night I read another chapter of Babel, taking me up to chapter 10, 172 pages in.

My next commitment was reading Warrior of Mercia by M.J. Porter. If that name rings any bells with you, it may be because I read the first two books in her Eagle of Mercia series earlier this year. When I saw the advertisement for this tour, I knew I wanted to continue with the series and the unique perspective we get in these books.

And this book didn’t disappoint. The main character is unique in that he does not relish his role as a warrior. If given the choice, he is a man who chooses to heal rather than hurt. However, the progression we have seen in his books relates to his acknowledging that he has a part to play in both roles.

I’ve been reading Warrior of Mercia for most of this week, finishing the book last night. I enjoyed this every bit as much as I expected, and I can’t wait to share my imminent review with you!

I was hoping to have gone back to Babel again before the end of the week, however that hasn’t panned out. Now I have no more interruptions, so this will be my main read for next week. I’m keen to move on as I’m looking forward to picking up another book on my November TBR. I saw a TikTok video/review of this particular book yesterday. It suggests that Malice by John Gwynne is very like A Game of Thrones. It is also been on my reading list for a very long time, so I want to jump in and make a start. Rather than allowing myself to “pick up the two at once”, (I will not read both at the same time) I’m going to make myself finish Babel first.

What also hasn’t worked out this week is listening to more of Queen of Our Times by Robert Hardman. I’ve had the opportunity, I just haven’t taken it up. I need to make more of an effort to make this a habit, and that is my aim for next week.

 

Books Discovered

Would you believe I walked into a bookshop today and didn’t purchase anything for myself? I wish to be showered in praise for the mighty accomplishment of discipline. It’s not something I normally have.

Mostly when it comes to food, but also books!

 

Coming Up…

My first blog post next week is my blog tour review of Warrior of Mercia by M.J. Porter. Typically I will try and prepare my blog posts a week in advance. But for obvious reasons, I haven’t been able to do so completely. As my tour post goes live on Tuesday, I’ll be finishing this off on Monday night and getting this ready to go live!

Later in the week, I will be sharing another regular feature. This time, it is the turn of my First Lines Friday post. I have tried something different in terms of book selection this week, and I hope it pays off!

Lastly, I’ll be back again this time next week with another Sunday Summary update for you. As usual, I’ll be talking about the books I’ve read and any added to my reading list (although hopefully none). Lastly, I’ll share details of what posts you can expect on the blog next week.

Until next time, have a fabulous week ahead!

 

signature

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Shelf Control #56 – 11/11/2022

Happy Friday and welcome to my Shelf Control post to wrap up the working week!

Shelf Control is a regular feature on my blog. It’s a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies… a celebration of the unread books on our shelves! The idea is to pick a book you own but haven’t read and write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up!

If you want to read more about the Shelf Control feature, check out Lisa’s introductory post.

Today’s featured book is a historical fiction novel from a time period I have dabbled in, but not read loads on. When I purchased my copy of this book based on the synopsis, I didn’t realise it was part of a series.

Shall we jump into today’s Shelf Contol feature?

 

Eagles in the Storm – Ben Kane

Genre: Historical-fiction

Pages: 352

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Arrow

Publication Date: 01 Jan 2015

 

 

Goodreads – Eagles in the Storm

AD 15. The German chieftain Arminius has been defeated, one of the lost Roman eagles recovered, and thousands of German tribesmen slain.

Yet these successes aren’t nearly enough for senior centurion Lucius Tullus. Not until Arminius is dead, his old legion’s eagle found and the enemy tribes completely vanquished will he rest.

But Arminius – devious, fearless – is burning for revenge of his own.

Charismatic as ever, he raises another large tribal army, which will harry the Romans the length and breadth of the land.

Soon Tullus finds himself in a cauldron of bloodshed, treachery and danger.

His mission to retrieve his legion’s eagle will be his most perilous yet…

 

My Thoughts…

Historical fiction is a genre I enjoy going back to, time and again. When I purchased my copy of Eagles in the Storm, it was having read books about Roman warriors before. What I hadn’t realised is that it is not a standalone novel – rather, the final book of a trilogy! 

I won’t let that stop me from picking this up. If I go on to enjoy this relatively short historical fiction novel, I will go back to the beginning and read its predecessors.

One of the things I like about Eagles in the Storm is that it is quite a short book. It is the kind of read you can pick up in between longer ones with ease. Or, if you really just need a change of genre, you can scratch that itch quite easily with this book!

Given the topic of the book, it promises to be full of action. I fully expect this to be a quick read and one that I enjoy thoroughly!

 

signature

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Sunday Summary – 6th November 2022

Good evening readers and welcome to another regular Sunday Summary update!

Last week’s Sunday Summary post was a bit of a boring one – I had very little to report. I’m pleased to say that I have plenty more reading progress to share with you this week. Before we get into that though, let’s recap the blog posts I shared with you earlier this week.

On Tuesday, I shared my Monthly Wrap-Up post for October. Overall, I made a decent amount of reading progress. My first read of the month was the particularly chunky Assassin’s Quest by Robin Hobb. From there, I went on to pick up another couple of books in the month. If you want to find out what I read throughout October, you can do so with a link to my wrap-up post above.

On Thursday, I shared my Monthly TBR for November. In addition to that list, I’ve carried over my current read of Babel by R. F. Kuang. It is not the smallest of reading lists, but when are they ever? I’ve already made a solid start, and you’ll see why in just a moment! Again, if you want to check out that post, there’s a link above.

The reason I had to get a wriggle on with my first read of November because I shared my review of that book in yesterday’s blog tour post. Having had a bit of a slow month last month, I think it helped to have a deadline to get my first book read and done. I can only hope it has set the pace for the month! If you are a fan of historical fiction, and in particular, authors like Bernard Cornwell and Conn Iggulden, my blog tour review for Warrior and Protector is something you should check out!

 

Books Read

Babel

In last week’s Sunday Summary post, I shared measly reading progress of Babel by R. F. Kuang. I didn’t really define that progress in my post because I was a bit disappointed with it if I’m entirely honest. I decided to pick up the book again on Sunday night for one last push before I put the book aside to read Warrior and Protector. By the end of Sunday night, I was up to page 154. Over the course of the week, that was just 120 pages read. 

 

Warrior and Protector

From there, I moved on to Warrior and Protector by Peter Gibbons. As you now know, this was because I was sharing my review of the book for the blog tour yesterday. I really enjoyed this relatively short, palate-cleansing read. Historical fiction is a genre I go back to time and again. I have a love of the particular setting of this book from reading/watching The Last Kingdom and other books by other authors I have toured with. I signed up for the tour relatively last minute, to replace another blogger.

I’m really glad I stepped up for this one. I started this book at the beginning of the week and finished it early Friday night. At just over 300 pages, it is quite a short and fast-paced read – at least for me! The book was full of action and a lot more in the way of character development than you might expect from our main character, Beornoth. I enjoyed some of the overlaps and references to well-known characters of the period. It helped ground the story in a setting. I was already familiar with but offers a new and unique perspective.

Going forward, my intention is to pick up a Babel again for a couple more days before I set aside again for a second blog tour commitment. That tour is for a similar genre and book, so I want to pick up Babel again to give myself some separation between the two books. As at drafting this post, I am yet to do that, but my intention is to make some progress with it again tonight.

 

Queen of Our Times

I also have an audiobook update for you this week. It has been a little while since I put my headphones in, but today I started listening to Queen of Our Times by Robert Hardman. This book was originally on my October TBR. However, having had some issues with ordering a physical copy of the book, I canceled that order and instead downloaded the audiobook. Because I made this decision quite late on in the month, I didn’t get a chance to start listening to Queen of our times in October.

That is why I have added it to this month’s TBR. It also contributes to my goal of trying to read more non-fiction books. It is not very often that I read or listen to biographies. However, Queen Elizabeth II is such a poignant figure and I wanted to fill in the gaps in my knowledge about her and the Royal family.

This audiobook is 25 and a half hours long. It is not a small one by any means, but I have already chipped away at an hour and a half of listening time this morning. Now that I’ve started it, I’ll try and listen to a little bit of it every day, as much as I can. Even if it is just whilst commuting to and from work – it all adds up! Fingers crossed I’ll have another update on this in next week’s Sunday Summary! 

 

Books Discovered

I confess that I have added a book to my TBR this week, and it is all my sister’s boyfriend’s fault. I can totally blame him, right? It’s not my lack of control or anything…

On a serious note, he is currently reading Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke. When I spoke to them both on FaceTime this week, he recommended the book to me as he was really enjoying it. Having looked into it for myself, I can see this is something that I would enjoy as well.

It is a chunk of a book though. At just over 1000 pages, it is not a light addition to my reading list!

 

Coming Up…

Next week, I am back to my usual three-post schedule.

The first of those posts will be a Top Ten Tuesday post. This week’s theme is about book series. As somebody who has a lot of ongoing series at the moment, I have decided to share my list of series I would like to finish. I don’t need to talk myself into starting any more; I do a good enough job of that already! If you want to check out just a handful of the series I would like to finish, check out my post on Tuesday. And, as an additional note, if you would like me to share a separate post confessing all the ongoing series I have so you can laugh at my expense, let me know! 

Later in the week, I am back with a Shelf Control post. The feature of next week’s Shelf Control post is ironically also a series – although I didn’t realise this at the time I purchased a copy. I decided that I will pick up this historical fiction book anyway, then decide if I want to go back to the beginning based on my experience of that book. This is a new-to-me author, but the setting is one that I have read before.

As always, I will be back at the same time next week with another Sunday Summary post to share my reading progress with you. As has been the case this week, I will have a deadline that I’m working towards next week. So, I should have plenty to share with you in that post.

Tonight, my plans are to pick up Babel again briefly, before watching the first episode of I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here before bed.

What are your plans?

 

signature

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Monthly TBR – November 2022

It is the penultimate month of the year and I cannot believe we are here, sharing my monthly TBR for November already! The good news is, the reading pressure is off. I’ve officially met my reading goal of 40 books in 2022! I’m not overly interested in numbers or pushing this figure out as far as I can. Instead, I’m going to spend my time enjoying good-quality books.

For November, I have a couple of ‘fixed reads’ as I have signed up to a couple of blog tours. The remainder of my reading for the month is ‘mood reads’. 

Let’s jump into my monthly TBR for November!

 

Fixed Reads

Warrior and Protector

Goodreads – Warrior and Protector

My first read of the month is one that I’m going to have to get on pretty quickly, as I’m taking part in the upcoming blog tour on the 5th of November. I signed up for this tour relatively last minute to help out the organiser, Rachel, in a pinch. I really enjoy historical fiction novels of this kind and have read multiple this year already. With that in mind, taking on such a read at short notice is a pretty safe bet and I can’t wait to try out this new author.

my Blog Tours post needs to go live early in the month, it’s about time this month with your post is out, I should have read it (or nearly) already!

 

Warrior of Mercia

Goodreads – Warrior of Mercia

Along a similar theme, I am taking part in another blog tour later this month (15th November) for a similar book. This is not a new author to me, however; the book is the third in a series that I have already started and enjoyed this year.

One of the things I really like about this series is the unique perspective it offers in what is by no stretch of the imagination, a violent setting. Icel is a warrior, but not by choice. He is the kind of person who would rather heal rather than harm. However, he also has a sense of duty. These different aspects of him result in some internal conflict, and this is really interesting to read. I can’t wait to see how this comes into play in this third instalment of the series.

 

Mood Reads

Malice

Goodreads – Malice

Malice is the oldest book on my physical TBR to date, and it’s finally time I ticked this one off the list. I made a very cursory start to this book a good number of years ago, however, I never really got into it. That’s not to say I particularly tried, because I didn’t. It was at a time in my life (pre-blog) when I wasn’t reading much.

I have heard brilliant things about John Gwynne and this series. I cannot wait to give it a try and see if it lives up to the hype and expectations I have!

 

Dear Child

Goodreads – Dear Child

I featured Dear Child in my Top Ten Tuesday Halloween Recs post. I really like the sound of it and so I’ve decided to pick this up even though Halloween is now over.

It has been a little while since I last picked up a psychological thriller novel (that didn’t crossover with science-fiction, anyway) and I’m looking forward to getting back into the genre. It is one I enjoy, even though I don’t read it quite as much as I used to.

 

Queen of our Times

Goodreads – Queen of Our Times

I was originally supposed to read Queen of Our Times last month. I had ordered a copy of this book from Amazon for the occasion. However, their shipping has been absolutely terrible of late. Although they appear to offer free shipping for books over a certain value, in reality, they don’t seem to actually ship them out. Instead, they state that they are going to let you know when they’re going to ship it, but then don’t for a good length of time! In the end, I decided to cancel the order of this book, and instead, I got an audiobook version as an instant download.

I didn’t end up doing this until quite late on in October, so consequently, I haven’t started it yet! I’m looking forward to listening to this one. If I do enjoy it as much as I imagine, I may decide to try and pick up a physical copy again at a later date. But probably not from Amazon.

So, that concludes my Monthly TBR for November! Even though I have read 40 books this year (my target), I would like to keep up with the reading and most importantly, enjoying the experience!

What are you planning to read this month?

 

signature

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Shelf Control #55 – 21/10/2022

It’s Friday and that can only mean one thing; it’s time for my Shelf Control post!

Shelf Control is a regular feature on my blog. It’s a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies… a celebration of the unread books on our shelves! The idea is to pick a book you own but haven’t read and write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up!

If you want to read more about the Shelf Control feature, check out Lisa’s introductory post.

Today’s book is a historical fiction novel set in one of my favourite periods of history. It is tumultuous and full of strife, but it is a part of history that fascinates many. Myself included. I have already read books on the topic (including The Lady of the Rivers and Songbird), but it is one that I will never get sick of!

Shall we jump into today’s feature?

 

Anne Boleyn: A Novel – Evelyn Anthony

Genre: Historical-fiction

Pages: 320

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Open Road Media Romance

Publication Date: 17 Nov 2015

 

 

Goodreads – Anne Boleyn: A Novel

Set against the intrigue and pageantry of the sixteenth-century English court, Evelyn Anthony’s novel tells the love story of Henry Tudor and Anne Boleyn, who would become his wife, his queen, and the mother of one of Britain’s greatest monarchs.

On a lovely midsummer afternoon, Henry Tudor rides to Hever Castle. There, he feasts his eyes on Anne Boleyn, who caught his roving attention at court a few months earlier. Anne is in no mood to receive her king. He has torn from her the one man she loved: Harry Percy, who was forced to marry another. But King Henry VIII is not a man who gives up—the thrill of the chase only excites him more. Yet the woman he desires so passionately is no fool. Educated at the French court, Anne vows that she will not share the fate of her naïve younger sister, Mary, who after bearing Henry a bastard son was cast away and married off to a country squire. No, Anne will settle for nothing less than the crown of England, even if Henry has to break with Rome in order to marry her.

History comes thrillingly alive in a novel that features a teeming canvas of iconic real-life characters: Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, the enemy Anne vows to destroy; Henry’s first wife, the proud and pious Queen Catherine of Aragon; and Thomas Cromwell, who engineers Anne’s downfall. From the halcyon early days of courtship to her imprisonment in the palace tower for treason, this is a tale of love, ambition, and the tragic destiny of Anne of the Thousand Days.

 

My Thoughts…

Described as the love story of Anne Boleyn and Henry Tudor, this book is set during one of my favourite periods of history.

The infamous Henry VIII and his multitude of wives (and their various fates) leaves plenty for readers to pore through. I enjoy reading about this complex period of history, and I can’t wait to learn more about Anne Boleyn specifically from this book.  From the early days to her tragic end, Anne is a centrepiece in English history. In order to become Henry the eighth’s Queen and second wife, vast political and religious shifts must occur.

Anne Boleyn is often conveyed as an ambitious and conniving individual. She is often demonised as the reason for a lot of the reforms in England during the period, as well as being unable to provide the King with a son. Eventually, this led to her downfall just a few short years after she married Henry.

I’m interested to see if this particular book heralds the same tone, or if we get to see a different take on who she was as a political figure, but also a woman. The synopsis of this book suggests it is more of a romance. Whether this is just a different take on their story, or whether the whole saga is romanticised remains to be seen. 

That is all from me in today’s Shelf Control post! Have you read this book… or any other books on the Tudor period that you would recommend?

 

signature

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

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!

 

signature

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads