Tag: historical fiction

Sunday Summary – 2nd August 2020

Happy Sunday everyone and welcome back to today’s Sunday Summary post! I hope you are all keeping well in these strange times? It’s fair to say I had a pretty good week overall; I managed a decent amount of reading as well as crocheting another blanket I’m working on. After several days of trying, I even got out into my back garden (finally)! I put out some garden furniture a couple of weeks ago now and in typical Manx fashion, the weather hasn’t been great since!  It was lovely and warm today though, so managed to get out for a read this morning.

This week’s posting schedule ended up being lighter than I intended. My Shelf Control post went live on Friday as planned, but my scheduled review of Days of Blood & Starlight didn’t. I sat down a couple of nights and put some time into getting my thoughts down, but I struggled with it if I’m honest. I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind to do it and in the end, I decided it wasn’t worth writing garbage for the sake of content. The book is fantastic and I want my review to do the book justice, so after a couple of attempts I figured shelving it and coming back to it later was for the best.

 

Books Read

I made a lot better reading progress this week. In last week’s Sunday Summary post I shared that I had only read around 30% of The Burning Land by Bernard Cornwell during the week. That’s not my worst effort by any means, but still, it hasn’t been difficult for me to step up either. As of writing this post, I am 95% through and since the last 5% is only going to take me 20-25 minutes to finish, that’ll be done by tonight!

In addition, I also started reading This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay. You may recall I mentioned this in last week’s Sunday Summary post as a work colleague has loaned it to me. Guys, honestly it’s hilarious! I don’t read many non-fiction books but this is proving to be a favourite so far! I’m around 40% through the book at the moment and I’m going to finish it after The Burning Land. I expect I’ll be finishing it quite quickly!

 

Books Discovered

For the first time in a few weeks, I have nothing to add here. It’s a good job really… my TBR pile is getting bigger instead of smaller!

 

Coming Up…

My first post of the week has to be my Reading List for August. Does anyone else think it’s scary that it is August already? I’ll be sharing my list either tomorrow or Tuesday, so please keep an eye out for that.

Later in the week, I’ll be sharing another First Lines Friday post. The last couple of times I have done this I have set a theme for my book selection. It makes it a bit more of an exciting challenge to find a book that meets the criteria. So, I’ll be setting a theme again for next week’s post. For this post, I have decided on a theme of non-fiction books. I don’t read much non-fiction so this really is a challenge – but one I’m looking forward to!

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

 

 

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Shelf Control #23 – 31/07/2020

Happy Friday and welcome to another Shelf Control post! We’re continuing with the theme of classics in today’s post. I went through a phase of adding classic novels to the TBR and so I’ve featured a lot lately. Today is no exception; however, we are coming to the end of them at last!

In case you haven’t read one of these posts before, Shelf Control is a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies. It’s a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up!

For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out Lisa’s introductory post.

Shall we check out today’s featured book?

 

Catch-22 – Joseph Heller

Goodreads – Catch-22

Set in Italy during World War II, this is the story of the incomparable, malingering bombardier, Yossarian, a hero who is furious because thousands of people he has never met are trying to kill him. But his real problem is not the enemy—it is his own army, which keeps increasing the number of missions the men must fly to complete their service. Yet if Yossarian makes any attempt to excuse himself from the perilous missions he’s assigned, he’ll be in violation of Catch-22, a hilariously sinister bureaucratic rule: a man is considered insane if he willingly continues to fly dangerous combat missions, but if he makes a formal request to be removed from duty, he is proven sane and therefore ineligible to be relieved. Since its publication in 1961, no novel has matched Catch-22’s intensity and brilliance in depicting the brutal insanity of war.

 

My Thoughts…

I wonder how many people use the expression “catch-22” in day-to-day conversation without having read this book? For the moment I count among that number! You know a book is iconic when it makes such an impact on a society that it finds its way into a language.

I added this book to the TBR in 2018 at the same time as many other classics I want to read. As a historical fiction fan, I’m definitely looking forward to picking this up. If I had kept up with my Beat the Backlist Challenge, I could have been reading this later this year. Realistically that’s looking unlikely now. However, I will be chipping away at my backlist for the foreseeable. It shouldn’t be too long before I get around to this book.

Have you read Catch-22? What did you think of it if you have? If not, is it of any interest to you? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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Sunday Summary – 26th July 2020

Good evening and welcome back to another Sunday Summary update from me! Have you had a good week? I’ve actually quite enjoyed mine, although you might laugh at me when you know the reason why. After months of disruption, I finally went back to work this week. I never thought I’d be saying that I looked forward to going back to work, but I was! It has been nice to get a sense of normality back.

As well as going back into work this week, I’ve been busy doing bits around the house and visiting my aunt as it was her birthday. I had originally planned for my audiobook review of Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman to be published earlier in the week, but this was eventually posted on Thursday. On Friday I shared another First Lines Friday post. This week I had fun selecting a book to feature from my physical bookshelves!

 

Books Read

Between going back to work, my social life, blogging and then several hours doing jobs around the house, I’ve been a busy bee this week! As such, I haven’t really gotten much reading done. I have made progress with The Burning Land, so I am now 36% of the way through the book compared to around 7%. I didn’t quote the percentage in my Sunday Summary dated 5th July, but I’m fairly sure that is where I got to. It’s not my best effort, but it could be worse too. I’ll be taking this up to bed with a cup of tea tonight, so I’m hoping to get to around 50% before I turn in.

 

Books Discovered

My work colleagues know that I am a little book mad and one of my teammates was telling me about a book he read during lockdown. He said that he isn’t much of a reader, but he read This Is Going to Hurt – Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor by Adam Kay in one sitting. It was that good. He said it’s the kind of book that has you in hysterics one minute and nearly in tears the next. I was already sold on giving it a try. The next day, he had left his copy of the book on my desk to let me borrow which is really, really nice of him. You guys can guess what I’ll be reading soon…

 

Coming Up…

Since I have an abundance of reviews to write, I’ll be sharing my thoughts on another book in the next few days. Next on my list to review is the second book of Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone series, Dreams of Gods and Monsters. I really loved this book so you can expect a glowing review!

Later in the week, I’ll be sharing another Shelf Control post. As I think is apparent from my recent Shelf Control posts I went through a phase of adding classic, iconic novels to my TBR. Next week’s feature is no exception, and it’s probably a book that a number of you have already read! I’m a wee bit behind…

Although I have less ‘other business’ next week, I’m keeping the blogging schedule a little light. I’m going to try and catch up on my reading, but these posts should keep you entertained until next week’s Sunday Summary update.

Have a good one!

 

 

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First Lines Friday – 03/07/2020

In my recent Sunday Summary post, I set myself a theme for today’s First Lines Friday post. I didn’t really know what book or genre I wanted to share, but I wanted to set some criteria so my selection of book was less random than usual. In the end, I settled on choosing a book that I have read and rated five stars.

I spent a long time last night flicking through a number of highly-rated reads and finally settled on today’s selection. It’s a historical fiction novel I read in 2018 and if I remember correctly, I read this in two sittings over two days. It is really easy to read and I was surprised to learn it was written for a younger audience than I expected considering the subject matter. Have you any idea what it might be from the hints? If not, perhaps the opening lines might give it away…

 

One afternoon, when Bruno came home from school, he was surprised to find Maria, the family’s maid – who always kept her head bowed and never looked up from the carpet – standing in his bedroom, pulling all his belongings out of the wardrobe and packing them in four large wooden crates, even the things he’d hidden at the back that belonged to him and were nobody else’s business.

‘What are you doing?’ he asked in as polite a tone as he could muster, for although he wasn’t happy to come home to find someone going through his possessions, his mother had always told him that he was to treat Maria respectfully and not just imitate the way Father spoke to her. ‘You take your hands off my things.’

Maria shook her head and pointed towards the staircase behind him, where Bruno’s mother had just appeared.

 

Intrigued to find out what the book I am featuring this week is?

 

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas – John Boyne

Goodreads – The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

The story of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is very difficult to describe. Usually we give some clues about the book on the back cover, but in this case we think that would spoil the reading of the book. We think it is important that you start to read without knowing what it is about.

If you do start to read this book, you will go on a journey with a nine-year-old boy called Bruno. (Though this isn’t a book for nine-year-olds.)  And sooner or later you will arrive with Bruno at a fence.

Fences like this exist all over the world. We hope you never have to encounter such a fence.

 

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is such an iconic story that I think everyone has an idea of what it’s about, even if you haven’t read the book or watched a film based on it. I went into this book with a vague idea of the story, but reading it for myself was a completely different experience. It’s one of the few books that have made me really cry at the end. Despite the emotional aspect of the story, I absolutely recommend it to anyone and everyone. It offers a child’s innocent and completely different perspective to an awful event.

Have you read The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas? Let me know what you think of the story in the comments!

 

 

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Reading List – July 2020

I can’t believe I am writing yet another reading list post. Where is the year going? Don’t get me wrong, with this year’s track record it’s not a bad thing, but still! We’re now over halfway through the year, and I’m definitely not half-way through my reading challenges. Oh well, maybe that’s a discussion for another post, but I’m not beating myself up over it.

For now though, shall we jump into the next few books I am planning to read over the next month?

 

Chimeborn – Daniel Curry

Goodreads – Chimeborn

Welcome to Whitby, the quaint, magical town on the sea. Its ruined Abbey watches over from the East Cliff, broken and long since abandoned. However a magic within watches over Darcy Colben and his friends – the Chimeborn.

Born in the witching hour of midnight and gifted with magical sight, Chimeborn can see the Abbey for what it really is. A centuries old academy for their kind, and home to the Council of Chime. The power of Saint Hilda still resides in Whitby and this power has been shattered among the modern Chimeborn. A battle brews for control of the ancient magic, and sides will need to be chosen by all.

Ideal for strong young readers, and an enjoyable story up to young adult, this tale of power and growing up will leave you desperate to explore the shores of the north-east of England and find the magic for yourself.

 

I’ll admit I wasn’t expecting to carry this book forward to this month, but here we are. I had to cut back a lot of my jobs around the house, as well as hobbies in order to study for an exam. As it happens, I actually sat that exam this morning and the hard work paid off, so it was worth it! I still have around two-thirds of the book to finish, but that equates to a couple of hours reading time, so not a huge thing.

 

The Burning Land – Bernard Cornwell

Goodreads – The Burning Land

The enemy is massing on the borders, a united force for once.

The king, a man of many victories, is in failing health, and his heir is an untested youth.

Uthred, the king’s champion, leads his country’s forces to war, but his victory is soured by personal tragedy and by the envy of the king’s court. So he breaks with the king and takes off for the land of his birth, determined to resist all calls for his return. That is, until one unexpected request…

This is the making of England brought magnificently to life by the master of historical fiction.

 

Despite not finishing Chimeborn, I did actually start The Burning Land – the last book on last month’s TBR. I was confident this was going to be a carryover when I wrote last month’s TBR, so its reappearance isn’t a surprise.

A few nights ago I did allow myself a break from studying to have a ‘fun’ read before bed, but I was in the mood to start this book. I’ve read the first few chapters, so I’m 7% of the way through at the moment. I’m optimistic I will get to finish it this month!

 

Grace & Serenity – Annalisa Crawford

Goodreads – Grace & Serenity

Living on the streets is terrifying and exhausting. Grace’s only comforts are a steady stream of vodka, and a strange little boy who’s following her around.

At nineteen, Grace has already had a child and endured an abusive marriage. But she’s also had her baby abducted by her vengeful husband and been framed as a neglectful mother. Even her own parents doubted her version of the story. So she did the only thing that made sense to her—run away.

The streets are unforgiving. Winter is drawing in. And Grace isn’t prepared for the harsh realities of survival. At her very bleakest, a Good Samaritan swoops into her life and rescues her. With a roof over her head and food in her stomach, she longs to see her baby again.

But nothing ever comes for free.

 

I was really glad to be invited onto the blog tour for this book because doesn’t it sound so sinister?! I’m intrigued to read more and find out what it’s all about! I recently read another novel with a strong theme of abuse and it was written really well. I hope this is just as good, because if so, I am bound to enjoy it!

 

The Dead Tell Lies – J  R Kirwan

Greg Adams, a criminal psychologist at Scotland Yard, specialises in bringing serial killers to justice. He tracks down a spree serial killer nicknamed the Divine, who has already killed six teenage girls and is about to kill a seventh. Greg works out the location where he is hiding and joins a raid. The police capture the Divine and save the girl, but on the very same night, Greg’s wife is brutally murdered by another serial killer, known as the Dreamer.

A year later, unable to bring the killer to justice, Greg has quit his job and is ready to end it all, when he receives a phone call from a man who tells him the Dreamer is dead, and that he didn’t kill Greg’s wife, Kate.

Greg returns to Scotland Yard to work for Superintendent Chief Detective Donaldson in the hope he can re-examine the case with the help of two new detectives, Finch and Matthews.

As Greg delves into the case further, he becomes more convinced that the Dreamer wasn’t the man responsible for his wife’s murder.

​But if it wasn’t the Dreamer, who was it?

In order to solve the mystery around his wife’s murder, Greg is going to have to delve even deeper into the mind of a terrifying psychopath. And this time he might not make it back in one piece…

 

It has been a little while since I’ve read a crime thriller, so I’m looking forward to taking part in this publication blog tour. I’m a sucker for a psychology element to a novel! More details about the book are being published closer to the publication date, including the cover. So, I can’t share that with you right now, hence the placeholder image. Sorry guys!

 

Sleeping Giants – Sylvain Neuvel

Goodreads – Sleeping Giants

A girl named Rose is riding her new bike near home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth. She wakes up at the bottom of a square-shaped hole, its walls glowing with intricate carvings. But the firemen who come to save her peer down upon something even stranger: a little girl in the palm of a giant metal hand.

Seventeen years later, the mystery of the bizarre artifact remains unsolved – the object’s origins, architects, and purpose unknown.

But some can never stop searching for answers.

Rose Franklin is now a highly trained physicist leading a top-secret team to crack the hand’s code. And along with her colleagues, she is being interviewed by a nameless interrogator whose power and purview are as enigmatic as the relic they seek. What’s clear is that Rose and her compatriots are on the edge of unravelling history’s most perplexing discovery-and finally figuring out what it portends for humanity. But once the pieces of the puzzle are in place, will the result be an instrument of lasting peace or a weapon of mass destruction?

 

I’m going to try my best to get to this last book on the TBR, but as with The Burning Land in last month’s reading list – if I manage to start it I’ll be happy. In theory, I do have a bit more free time coming up so there isn’t any reason why I wouldn’t get round to this. I picked Sleeping Giants as the genre varies from the books already on the TBR, but also as it will count towards the Beat the Backlist challenge I am taking part in this year. I’ll admit, I’ve written off completing it, but that doesn’t mean I have to give up on it entirely!

Have you read any of the books on this month’s reading list? What are you reading?

 

 

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Stay at Home Book Tag

Hey guys! In my Sunday Summary post a couple of days ago I told you that I was going to be sharing a little bit more of a fun post this week. It’s been absolutely ages since I’ve done a tag and I read a great one over on The Book Dutchesses’s blog last week. Please go and check out Candyce’s answers to this tag – I’m sure you’ll enjoy her take on the post as much as I did!

It’s the Stay at Home tag… only appropriate in light of all the quarantining we have had to do lately! I’m glad to share that it has actually come to an end here in the Isle of Man. The borders are still closed, but we’ve had no active cases for about two weeks and no new positive tests for nearly four weeks as of this post.

 

Laying In Bed: A Book You Read In A Day

I certainly haven’t had the chance to read a book in a day during quarantine. Despite being at home, I am fortunate enough to still be able to work remotely and so I haven’t had the time. I’ll also come on to this later on in the post, but there is one other pretty big thing that’s happened since the pandemic started which has taken up my time.

The last book I read in a day, as far as I recall, was The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides. Technically I read it across two days, but within 24 hours so it still counts as far as I’m concerned. I have read other short stories and novellas since then, but that feels like a bit of a cheat to count them. The Silent Patient is around 325 pages, so a good size book to have crammed into a day!

 

Snacking: A Guilty Pleasure Read

I’m not a big fan of books that are heavily based around character relationships, but the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy is the exception to the rule and for that reason, they are my guilty pleasure. The relationship itself is about companionship and belonging with someone who has the same ideals as you… even though the rest of the world thinks it’s impossible. It’s not lewd or even particularly sexual, which is why I enjoy this series so much!

 

Netflix: A Series You Want To Start

Regular readers of my blog will know that I am a huge fan of Brandon Sanderson. I’ve read eight books of his so far across three series’ (or future series in the case of Elantris). One series that I haven’t started yet is Skyward. I love the fantasy novels of his that I have read so far, but I’m looking forward to seeing how well he writes science-fiction. I bought this book just before lockdown, so an apt feature here.

 

Deep Clean: A Book That’s Been On Your TBR Forever

As Candyce said in her post, I could also write an incredibly long list of books that have been on my TBR forever! I am trying to work through them (albeit slowly at the moment), but I’ll get there eventually. The book I’m featuring here could equally have been a candidate for the previous topic, but it’s best suited here. Not saying I am trying to get through every Sanderson book written ever or anything, but…

 

Animal Crossing: A Book You Bought Because Of The Hype

The last book I bought based on fabulous reviews and hype in the book blogging community was Circe by Madeleine Miller and honestly, it was a little bit of a disappointment. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it. It was a perfectly acceptable read. I just didn’t think it lived up to the hype. There’s a good lesson learned there because I won’t be so quick to make the same mistake again. Circe was a little out of my comfort zone as I have scarce knowledge of Greek gods at best. Ironically, I have gone on to buy more books because I enjoy the topic. Next time I read a massive hype about a book, I’ll seriously consider whether it’s my cup of tea in the first place. If the book doesn’t appeal to me in its own right, then I shouldn’t buy it.

 

Productivity: A Book You Learned From Or Had An Impact On You

The last book that had an impact on me is one I reviewed during quarantine. I’m a huge fan of books based around WW2… morbid I know, but I’m fascinated. Cilka’s Journey taught me something I didn’t know – that some prisoners from the camps after they were ‘liberated’ were forced into labour camps elsewhere for several years afterwards for ‘aiding the Nazi’s’. They basically went from one hell to another. It’s hard to imagine having to go through that!

 

FaceTime: A Book You Were Gifted

I’ve been gifted a few books over the years. I feel sorry for family members who have ever considered trying to get me a book as a gift because knowing what I have and don’t have would be an impossible task. I only really get books if I specifically ask for them – otherwise, it’s a trusty voucher. I’m not complaining, I take great delight in spending them! I love wandering around my local Waterstones… especially if it’s spending money that isn’t mine!

One book I was gifted that I wasn’t expecting was Dune by Frank Herbert. I got this about three years ago for my birthday from a collection put together by my work colleagues. It’s a science-fiction novel, and it’s a bit of a classic of the genre, so I would have probably discovered and added this to my TBR in my own time anyway. I hadn’t heard of it when I got it, but it was such a great choice for me and I was really chuffed to get it.

 

Self Care: One Thing You’ve Done Recently To Look After Yourself

I definitely can’t pinpoint this to one, as I’ve had some pretty big changes in my life since lockdown began. The most significant act of self-care I’ve done is to move house. Now you’re probably thinking… that doesn’t sound like self-care at all! It has been stressful – especially so as I couldn’t have any help from friends or family. It was worth it though. I’ve upgraded from my flat so I have more space and more potential to make this place my own… plus, it’s an investment in my future. That definitely is self-care, just a bit more long term than the traditional definition perhaps!

In the short term, I have picked up crochet again and just recently finished making a baby blanket for a friend and then a jumper for myself! It’s been a good few years since I last picked it up, so I’m really happy with how well I’ve managed to get back into it. I’m also working on an afghan throw for my bed made up of all different coloured/patterned squares. It’s a huge project and still a work in progress!

 

Bonus: An Upcoming Release You’re Looking Forward To

Predictable I know, but I am sneaking in another Brandon Sanderson book here! The fourth book of The Stormlight Archives is due to be published in November this year and I’m really excited about it! I’ve read the first book, The Way of Kings so far, but I’ve been holding off reading more of the series since he’s not even halfway through writing them yet! I think I can justify treating myself to the second book now…

So, those are my answers to the Stay at Home Book Tag! It was nice to write a more casual post. If you like reading these, let me know in the comments and I’ll make an effort to publish some more! If you want to take part in the tag, please do and tag me in so I can see your answers!

Are there any upcoming releases you are looking forward to?

 

 

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Audiobook Review: Cilka’s Journey – Heather Morris

Today’s audiobook review is for my second historical fiction novel by Heather Morris. I loved listening to The Tattooist of Auschwitz despite its subject matter, so I knew I had to listen to Cilka’s Journey as well!

As if the events of Auschwitz aren’t harrowing enough, Cilka’s Journey centres around a young woman who is imprisoned in a labour camp after being liberated from the infamous Auschwitz-Birkenau site. She is imprisoned for helping the Nazis – her crime: prostituting herself to them… like she had a choice!

 

Cilka’s Journey – Heather Morris

Goodreads – Cilka’s Journey

In this follow-up to The Tattooist of Auschwitz, the author tells the story, based on a true one, of a woman who survives Auschwitz, only to find herself locked away again.

Cilka Klein is 18 years old when Auschwitz-Birkenau is liberated by Soviet soldiers. But Cilka is one of the many women who is sentenced to a labor camp on charges of having helped the Nazis–with no consideration of the circumstances Cilka and women like her found themselves in as they struggled to survive. Once at the Vorkuta gulag in Sibera, where she is to serve her 15-year sentence, Cilka uses her wits, charm, and beauty to survive.

 

My Thoughts…

The first thing I loved about this story is that it taught me something new. I didn’t actually know about the labour camps and the trials men and women such as Cilka went through. So much is known about the conditions and the treatment of prisoners in Auschwitz-Birkenau and I think it’s overshadowed other events following the Second World War. I have read a few books around the subject now, but nothing like this.

As with The Tattooist of Auschwitz, the tale is based on a real person’s account of what happened to them. Reading about it in a fictional sense is upsetting enough, but knowing that many people lived through such a terrible experience is even more harrowing. There is a lot of detail to the narrative, which I really enjoy; it validates the authenticity of the events and conditions people were forced to live in. It also makes it very easy for us as listeners/readers to put ourselves in Cilka’s shoes, feel her pain, sorrow, and a few moments of joy.

The bleak descriptions of the bitterly cold Siberian labour camp are haunting. Living in such cruel conditions made the lives of these women very difficult, especially for those left weak from their time in the concentration camp. It’s frighteningly easy to feel the isolation these women have from the rest of the world. Not all is bleak, however, as many strong friendships are forged between them in their common suffering. They have few personal possessions of their own, but readily give up what they can to help others. They find solace in each other and help one another through their darkest days.

This is an audiobook review, so it’s only fair to comment on how well the audiobook is narrated. The narrator Louise Brealey’s narration style is fantastic. Cilka’s Journey is an emotional account of horrific events and her ability to encapsulate the emotion makes it even easier for the reader (listener) to immerse themselves with the story.

As I hope you can tell from the review, this was a five-star read (listen) for me. I absolutely loved it and I’m sure it’s a book I will go back and read again!

Have you read Cilka’s Journey or The Tattooist of Auschwitz? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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Shelf Control #19 – 08/05/2020

Today’s Friday feature post is all about Shelf Control (again) – or in my case, my absolute lack of it! Shelf Control is a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies. It’s a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up!

For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out Lisa’s introductory post.

Shelf Control gives me the chance to look in more depth at the books I have added to my TBR. I get to talk about why I want to keep the featured book; it also acts as a second sweep to my Down the TBR Hole posts for anything that I may have changed my mind about. I don’t necessarily own all the books (yet), but I will have a reasonable number of them. I’ve also gone on to read a couple of the earliest books on the list, so this mini-series is proving useful!

In today’s post, I am featuring a classic novel that I want to try and read. I’m not 100% sure what I’ll make of it, but I’m interested enough to give it a go!

Shall we check out today’s featured book?

 

The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas

The Three Musketeers

 

Alexandre Dumas’s most famous tale— and possibly the most famous historical novel of all time— in a handsome hardcover volume.

This swashbuckling epic of chivalry, honor, and derring-do, set in France during the 1620s, is richly populated with romantic heroes, unattainable heroines, kings, queens, cavaliers, and criminals in a whirl of adventure, espionage, conspiracy, murder, vengeance, love, scandal, and suspense. Dumas transforms minor historical figures into larger- than-life characters: the Comte d’Artagnan, an impetuous young man in pursuit of glory; the beguilingly evil seductress “Milady”; the powerful and devious Cardinal Richelieu; the weak King Louis XIII and his unhappy queen—and, of course, the three musketeers themselves, Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, whose motto “all for one, one for all” has come to epitomize devoted friendship. With a plot that delivers stolen diamonds, masked balls, purloined letters, and, of course, great bouts of swordplay, The Three Musketeers is eternally entertaining.

 

Purchase Links – Amazon UK     Amazon US     Waterstones

 

My Thoughts…

This classical novel made it to my TBR as it also blends with one of my favourite genres, historical fiction. I also decided I wanted to read it after watching and enjoying the series on Netflix.

The slight concern I have is how romanticised the characters are in the novel. Don’t get me wrong, they were in the series too and I didn’t mind it too much. It wasn’t lewd or anything like that. I’m hopeful that it strikes up a similar tone, as I will be able to get on with it quite well.

The synopsis suggests that the novel balances action with storyline well on the whole, which I am looking forward to seeing if that is the case. It definitely isn’t a time period that I have read previously, so it will be a new experience for me!

Depending on how well I get on with this first book, I may go on to read the rest of the series. I didn’t even know this was the first book in a series until today!

Have you read The Three Musketeers? What do you think? Or, have you watched the Netflix shows as I have? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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First Lines Friday – 24/04/2020

Welcome back to another First Lines Friday post! In today’s post I am changing things up a bit. I have been featuring some older reads in the last few First Lines Friday posts, however this week I am featuring something on my TBR, or To Be Read pile, instead.

I’ve selected this book completely at random. I basically did a quick scroll through the list without looking and picked the one I stopped on. Sometimes it’s nice to do things a little random.So, without further adieu, here is this week’s book. Can you guess the book from the introduction?

The Nazi officers are dressed in black. They look at death with the indifference of a gravedigger. In Auschwitz, human life has so little value that no one is shot anymore; a bullet is more valuable than a human being. In Auschwitz there are communal chambers where they administer Zyklon gas. It’s cost-effective, killing hundreds of people with just one tank. Death has become an industry that is profitable only if it’s done wholesale.

The officers have no idea that in the family camp in Auschwitz, on top of the dark mud into which everything sinks, Alfred Hirsch has established a school. They don’t know it, and it’s essential that they should not know it. Some inmates didn’t believe it was possible. They though Hirsch was crazy or naive,: How could you teach children in this brutal extermination camp where everything is forbidden? But Hirsch would smile. He was always smiling enigmatically, as if he knew something that no one else did. ‘It doesn’t matter how many schools the Nazis close, he would say to them. ‘Each time someone stops to tell a story and children listen, a school has been established.’

Shall we find out what it is?

The Librarian of Auschwitz – Antonio Iturbe

Goodreads – The Librarian of Auschwitz

Based on the experience of real-life Auschwitz prisoner Dita Kraus, this is the incredible story of a girl who risked her life to keep the magic of books alive during the Holocaust.
Fourteen-year-old Dita is one of the many imprisoned by the Nazis at Auschwitz. Taken, along with her mother and father, from the Terezín ghetto in Prague, Dita is adjusting to the constant terror that is life in the camp. When Jewish leader Freddy Hirsch asks Dita to take charge of the eight precious volumes the prisoners have managed to sneak past the guards, she agrees. And so Dita becomes the librarian of Auschwitz.

Out of one of the darkest chapters of human history comes this extraordinary story of courage and hope.

Goodreads

Purchase links:  Amazon UK      Amazon US     Waterstones

I have read and listened to a number of books from this time period and setting already. The conditions people had to suffer were horrendous. It’s awful, but I honestly believe that education about it is the way to prevent history from repeating itself.

I’m really looking forward to reading this novel and take on life in concentration camps from a new author. The main character is all about preserving books, so she has won me over already!

Have you read The Librarian of Auschwitz?

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***Please note this post contains affiliate links, meaning that I will earn a small commission on purchases made through them. If you like what you read and are interested in purchasing a copy of the book(s) featured in this post, please consider using these links and supporting a book blogger!

Thank you!***

Top Ten Tuesday – Books for a little escapism

Welcome to today’s Top Ten Tuesday post! I really like writing these posts and decided it was time for another. Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl.

I quite often go it alone with topics rather than following the set topics for the week. Sometimes the prescribed topics just don’t fit my blog at all! Instead, I have been having a think about an alternative topic for this week. I don’t know about you, but I read for a bit of escapism. I like to break away from the mundane routine. Well, normally. Fact is, the normal mundane routine has been ripped up and tossed out the window. It’s not a very nice situation we are in right now and more than ever I am looking for escapism. I’m sure others are too… and that’s what gave me the idea for this post.

I thought I might struggle to put this list together, but I had the opposite problem! I’ve had to cut it down quite a lot. I’ve excluded a lot of larger names that I would love to feature here because they’re well-known enough to recommend themselves. J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter, George R. R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones and J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings are great books – but you probably know about them already. In today’s post, I wanted to talk about books and authors that aren’t as well-known – although they deserve to be!

 

The Mistborn Series – Brandon Sanderson

It would be pretty sacrilegious not to include my current read on this list. I’ve devoured the last three books of this series with fervour over the past few months. The books published to date are split into two timelines. I loved the first trilogy years ago but recently, the later books set in the fictional city of Elendel have reiterated why I love Brandon Sanderson’s writing. The depth of history of the magic, the characters… it’s all fantastic.

I get lost in these books! They’re the kind you promise yourself ‘just one more chapter’ before bed and before you know it, it’s WAY past your bedtime. I don’t regret it either.

 

Rivers of London – Ben Aaronovitch

This is also a recent discovery. I think the fact that I listened to all of Rivers of London and a third of Moon over Soho in the past couple of weeks alone says it all! If it doesn’t, I don’t know what will!

I’ve been listening to these as audiobooks whilst crocheting. It’s nice to break up the format of ‘reading’ – but I have to praise the narrator Kobna Holdbrook-Smith. He manages to take the author’s already interesting and diverse characters and breathe life into them. The book also balances action, character development and sensory descriptions really well. If you like magical and supernatural mysteries or think you might, I would definitely recommend these books as a starting point! I suspect I’ll continue to binge-listen to these!

 

The Last Kingdom – Bernard Cornwell

Something for historical fiction fans here! I’m not even halfway through this series yet but I love it so much! It was recommended to me by a work colleague and friend. She is Danish, and it prompted some interesting conversation about the historical period. For those that don’t know, it’s set at the time the Vikings invaded Britain. The main character Uhtred is an Englishman, but living in the North, his village was raided when he was a boy and he was subsequently raised by Danes. His personal conflict between both sides runs throughout the books I have read so far and it makes for a really interesting perspective on the period!

 

Simon Says – Jo Wesley

If standalone books are more your thing, then Simon Says might be of interest to you. I’m going to be upfront and say that the storyline is based on the sensitive topic of rape, and the consequences of it. That might put some people off, and that’s fine! This book isn’t for you in that case. Considering the nature of it, I think that it is handled really well. I was really impressed with this book – so much so it made it on my top reads of 2019 list!

 

Daughter of Smoke & Bone – Laini Taylor

This book (and series) also qualified for the top reads of 2019 list! I love Laini Taylor’s style of writing and I’ve really enjoyed her Strange the Dreamer duology previously. The Angels vs Demons (monsters) baseline is plot is great because she breaks down the stereotypes of good and evil and tosses them out of the window.

 

Blackwing – Ed McDonald

Blackwing

If, like me, you love fantasy series with epic fantasy worlds with plenty of lore in a post-apocalyptic setting, then the Raven’s Mark series could be for you! Magic ravaged the world in a cataclysmic event and razed the landscape now known as the Misery. If that’s not interesting enough for you, then how does a plotline indicating that a similar event with even more catastrophic consequences sound?

It was a winner for me and I really, REALLY recommend this one to any and all fantasy fans!

 

Nevernight – Jay Kristoff

Nevernight

The Nevernight Chronicles is another great fantasy series for those that love fantasy novels with lots of history to them. Throw in a young girl who has had her family ripped apart since childhood, rare magic power and a terrible grudge… and you get an amazing, murderous and vengeful trilogy. Determined to bring down the institution that tried to have her murdered as a child, Mia Corvere is a force to be reckoned with. I also quite enjoy Jay Kristoff’s parallels between himself and Mercurio – that’ll make sense if you read the books.

 

The Wise Man’s Fear – Patrick Rothfuss

It has been a long time since I read these books, but they have definitely made a lasting impression! The first thing I love is the narration style. The tale is told from an older (and hopefully wiser) Kvothe, our main character. He is very candid over the past mistakes of his youth, which we learn about as he retells the tale.

Again, this is a series with a lot of development into the world and characters, so those of you that love that and all the action of the narrative should get on with this very well.

 

The Chalk Man – C.J. Tudor

Here is another standalone for those of you that don’t have the commitment for a series. The Chalk Man is a mystery thriller novel with a chilling premise and plenty of twists and turns to keep you on your toes! In their youth, Eddie and the gang drew chalk men as a means of communicating with each other secretly around town. However, twenty years on they reunite, and the chalk men have made a mysterious reappearance…

 

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle – Stuart Turton

The last book on my list is another standalone mystery. The premise of the novel is like a traditional murder mystery, only its groundhog day. The protagonist has seven days to relive the day in the bodies of each guest and then name the murderer.

I really liked this one – I thought it was really unique. It’s also very cleverly-written too!

Hopefully, you have found some inspiration from this Top Ten Tuesday list, if that’s what you’re looking for! If not, well I hope you enjoyed this post! Do you agree with any of my recommendations?

 

 

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