Tag: laini taylor

Reading List – October 2018

October – the time of year when the nights start to draw in. On the one hand, it’s great! You can come home from work, draw the curtains and not feel guilty about not doing very much. I mean, it’s too cold… and DARK, obviously. I do miss the lighter nights in a way though – leaving work and having several hours of sunshine left means you can go out and do things! Days feel less work-orientated if you have time to sit outside and socialise at the local pub. Don’t think of me as an alcoholic, please! I have literally done this once this summer! Anyway… having the salad justified the wine. Pffft.

Source: Giphy

Once I am used to the dark nights though, I love it! There is no place like home, curled up under a blanket and wearing the thickest pair of socks you can find. Coffee and books are also essential… and this year, I have some great books to look forward to!

 

The Hidden Face – S. C. Flynn

Goodreads – The Hidden Face

A face without a face – an unmasking that leaves the mask.

Once every few hundred years the sun god, the Akhen, takes on human form and descends to earth. Each Unmasking of the Face of the Akhen ends one era and begins another; the last one created the Faustian Empire. Where and when will the Face next appear, and who will he – or she – be?

Dayraven, son of a great hero, returns to Faustia after years as a hostage of their rivals, the Magians. Those years have changed him, but Faustia has changed as well; the emperor Calvo now seems eccentric and is controlled by one of Dayraven’s old enemies. Following the brutal murder of his old teacher, Dayraven is drawn, together with a female warrior named Sunniva, into the search for an ancient secret that would change the fate of empires.

The Hidden Face is an epic fantasy novel drenched in the atmosphere of the early Middle Ages and in Kabbalistic riddles and is the first book in the Fifth Unmasking series.

 

This is the first direct review request from an author that I have had for a while, and I’m really excited to read it! It is my favourite genre and I have high hopes for the book, based on the synopsis.

 

Breachers – Anthony Thomas

Goodreads – Breachers

Jason Conners is the last person you’d expect to run into a burning building, unless of course there was something inside worth stealing. Call him what you want: criminal, thief, asshole, but hero? Absolutely not. Jason’s questionable behavior and disturbing antics can only be attributed to one secret.

He can change the future, but with great power comes great responsibility? Hell no. His ability makes him the best thief in the city, and nothing is off-limits. Until Jason’s carefree attitude gains the attention of the Rogues, and the government.

The Rogues want him to stop catastrophic events from taking place, and the government has their own agenda. When the hunt begins, Jason is caught in the crosshairs and learns that breaching is not as limitless as he thought.

Can this anti-hero give up a life of easy money and become the savior the Rogues need, or will it cost him everything—even his immortality?

 

I have been looking forward to this Blog Tour since taking part in the cover reveal back in February.  A while, I know! The synopsis sounds amazing in its own right… but what really sells this book to me is the anti-hero protagonist. I don’t think we see enough of these characters in books. I adored The Broken Empire series by Mark Lawrence purely because the protagonist Jorg is such an anti-hero! Fingers crossed I’ll love Breachers as much as I have hyped it up!

 

Muse of Nightmares – Laini Taylor

Goodreads – Muse of Nightmares

In the wake of tragedy, neither Lazlo nor Sarai are who they were before. One a god, the other a ghost, they struggle to grasp the new boundaries of their selves as dark-minded Minya holds them hostage, intent on vengeance against Weep.

Lazlo faces an unthinkable choice—save the woman he loves, or everyone else?—while Sarai feels more helpless than ever. But is she? Sometimes, only the direst need can teach us our own depths, and Sarai, the muse of nightmares, has not yet discovered what she’s capable of.

As humans and godspawn reel in the aftermath of the citadel’s near fall, a new foe shatters their fragile hopes, and the mysteries of the Mesarthim are resurrected: Where did the gods come from, and why? What was done with thousands of children born in the citadel nursery? And most important of all, as forgotten doors are opened and new worlds revealed: Must heroes always slay monsters, or is it possible to save them instead?

Love and hate, revenge and redemption, destruction and salvation all clash in this gorgeous sequel to the New York Times bestseller, Strange the Dreamer.

 

This is my only non-ARC or review request and I have waited MONTHS for this moment!

I read Strange the Dreamer earlier this year. I suppose you could say by accident. Yes, you read that right. I was bored one Saturday afternoon and decided to sample a couple of chapters to convince myself to read it next month. Next time I looked up at the clock, I had read part 1, around 20% of the book. Two days later, I closed the cover for the last time.

I did not feel guilty either. I can see myself flying through Muse as well, then probably wanting to cry and read the whole duology again. I’m calling it now. Watch this space.

 

Another Kind of Magic – Elizabeth Davies

“I am a cat. But I am no ordinary cat. I am a witch’s familiar. I am also a woman, with a woman’s heart and a woman’s frailty.”

Two hundred years have passed since Caitlyn was trapped by dark magic and she has known many mistresses. This time the witch she is enthralled to is Joan, wife to Llewelyn, Prince of Wales.

For Caitlyn, this mistress appears no different from any of the others she has been forced to serve. That is, until Llewelyn captures William de Braose and holds him and his men prisoner, and Joan falls for William and risks everything, including Caitlyn, to fulfil her desire.​

Caitlyn, meanwhile, has her own cross to bear in the form of the gallant and reckless Hugh of Pembroke…

 

I was hoping to read this ARC last month, to try and get ahead of myself really. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be. As yet, I am still awaiting my copy. I’m reviewing this in a month’s time, so there is no rush! Now I have read the first couple of books in the Caitlin series, I think I’ll get into this one straight away! Although, with the way the second book ended, this next one could be very different from the last two. I’ll just have to wait and see!

 

The Swan Keeper – Milana Marsenich

Goodreads – The Swan Keeper

The Swan Keeper is an historical, coming of age novel set in Northwest Montana’s Mission Valley in the late 1920s.

Lillian Connelly loves trumpeter swans and vows to protect them from a hunter who is killing them and leaving their carcasses for the wolves and coyotes to ravage.

On her eleventh birthday Lilly’s family visits the Cattail Marsh to see the newly hatched cygnets. The family outing turns tragic when Dean Drake shows up with his shotgun and fires on not only the swans, but on Lilly’s family. Unable to prevent tragedy, Lillian witnesses Drake kill her father, injure her mother, and slaughter the bevy of trumpeter swans.

The sheriff, Charlie West, thinks that Lilly is reacting to the trauma and blaming Drake because of a previous conflict between Drake and her father. Lilly’s mother, sister, and her best friend, Jerome West, the sheriff’s son, all think the same thing: that Lilly is trying to make sense of a senseless accident.

Left alone to bring Dean Drake to justice, Lilly’s effort is subverted when Drake woos her sister, courts her mother, and moves into their home.

 

I first discovered this author when I was kindly asked to read and review Copper Sky. Also set in Montana, although a few years on from Copper Sky, I cannot wait to see how these novels compare.

So, that’s the list! I also hope to make a little more progress with The Eye of the World, but I’ll have to play it by ear. It depends entirely on how I get on with this lot!

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday – Books to Re-Read

We all have a beloved favourite… or multiple books we yearn to re-read every once in a while! They may look tattered, dog-eared or rough… maybe even like they’ve gone through the mill a few times. In a way, that’s a sign of a really good book! Equally, some people worship their books like Gods. I have a pet hate of spine cracking and avoid it where I can. However well you look after your books, they truly are a gift that keeps on giving.

Today, I wanted to share with you the Top Ten Books (series where applicable) I would die to read again: –

 

The Mistborn Trilogy – Brandon Sanderson

I love the magical realism in these books and how well each of the characters is developed. I am yet to read the next trilogy taking place after the original series, but I would certainly read these again! And again…

 

Gentlemen Bastards – Scott Lynch

I am definitely going to have to re-read these books once The Thorn of Emberlain is released. I read The Republic of Thieves back in February 2015, so it’s been over three years since I’ve touched any of the books. I’ll admit I had even forgotten we were awaiting the next installment – good of me to remind myself (and you!) I’m not a fan of all the negative messages from other fans about it not being published yet. Books take as long as necessary to write and polish. Be patient.

 

The Kingkiller Chronicle – Patrick Rothfuss

This is a series I read some time ago as well.

Usually, when I fall in love with a book, it is either for the plot or the writing style… rarely both. This series is the absolute exception to the rule! I could read these on repeat and not mind one bit. Once it is finished, I expect this series is going to end up on my all-time faves list.

 

The Broken Empire series  – Mark Lawrence

The thing I distinctly remember loving about this series is how unlovable and flawed the MC is. He is no hero. He’s selfish, spiteful and egotistic, to mention but a few things. You come to understand why though, and that kind of makes him lovable in the end.

 

The Green Mile – Stephen King

This is an absolute classic! If anyone either doesn’t like this book or doesn’t want to read it again, then I don’t understand you. I think this is a book that I will revisit and cry over again and again in my lifetime.

 

IT – Stephen King

I only read this book about a year ago, so I am not looking to re-read any time soon. I want to re-read it as it is such a large and detailed book and I want to see if I missed anything the first time around. Stephen King is such a fantastic writer. I don’t think re-reading any of his books would get repetitive.

 

To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

I think there are some fairly obvious reasons as to why I would like to read this book again.

I loved the narrative, the characters and the plot itself – but what is most important is the lesson in our history. Only from our mistakes can we learn. I would hate to think of a society so openly hostile to those within it for something so superficial as skin colour. Unfortunately, prejudice and discrimination haven’t been stamped out as much as I would like; people are just less overt about it. That is all the more reason to remind ourselves once in a while about just how awful it is.

 

Strange the Dreamer – Laini Taylor

Strange the Dreamer is a very recent read. In fact, I devoured the book! Whilst I expect to love Muse of Nightmares just as much, that hasn’t come out yet. I would anticipate I’ll end up reading this duology again. The characters, the magic, and the narrative are beautiful.

I am still waiting for my Lazlo. Still. Waiting.

 

Harry Potter series – J. K. Rowling

I grew up with these books, reading them at various stages in my childhood. Arguably, these books were hugely responsible for my love of reading. Now, I would like to read them again as an adult as I think I will appreciate them an awful lot more as more.

 

A Song of Ice & Fire (aka A Game of Thrones) – George R. R. Martin

I have in fact already re-read the series (so far) once and am pining to do so again. I am half considering re-reading one book of the series a month for the rest of the year. I’m not 100% decided though. They are large books and it would take a fair chunk of my reading time out for new books.

Fuck it. I’ve re-downloaded them onto my kindle. What’s done is done.

 

Have you read any of the books above? Would you want to re-read them again? Let me know in the comments!

 

Book Review: Strange The Dreamer – Laini Taylor

This book is so many levels of adorable! I’m gutted I have to wait until November for the second part of this duology!

Strange the Dreamer

Goodreads – Strange The Dreamer

The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around—and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries—including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

Welcome to Weep.

 

My Thoughts…

I have so many things to say about this book!!

Let’s start with the cover – it’s a good a place as any. Isn’t this edition gorgeous!!! I’ve just seen the paperback edition in one of our bookstores this weekend, but the hardback edition has my heart! I bought this last year, only a couple of months after its release and before I really got into social media with my blog, so any hype would have passed me by. I kept looking at it, again and again, vowing to read it soon but never making good on the promise until last month. When I shouldn’t have done. When I didn’t REALLY have time to.

Oh well, the heart wants what the heart wants.

I happened to get really lucky when I bought my copy of this book, because mine is SIGNED!! Don’t believe me?

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Here it is! That day I bought about five books (and was excited about them all, let’s be honest) – so much so I hadn’t even noticed this! It was only on one of the numerous occasions I picked the book up to flip through the first chapter that I saw it. It’s unusual and exciting in its own right, but given how much I love the book, now it means so much more!

Being perfectly honest, I am not normally a huge lover of YA books. For me, they have to be written well for it to work. The inevitable love interest that sparks has to avoid the typical teenage angst, moodiness and petulant behaviour (shown in another recent YA book I have read – and didn’t like as a result). Yes, there were complications to the relationship, longing between the two individuals and frustration at the circumstances… but that was justified. Neither character threw a tantrum. They both knew there was more going on in their lives than each other so the storyline wasn’t drowned; doomed to sink into the abyss of their anguish of not being able to be with each other.

I loved both of the characters. Lazlo Strange is an orphan of war, first raised by monks to become a scribe and then later on he spends his days working in a library. Aside from the overused trope that begins Lazlo’s story, (my only criticism), his life is an interesting one. If ever there was a man in my life like Lazlo Strange, (kind, bookish, inquisitive and intelligent) I would give my heart to him gladly. Lazlo is all-out adorable – and his broken nose as a result of a rogue book hitting him in the face as a youth is just the icing on the cake really.

Sarai is an interesting character shrouded in mystery – who is she? She has a great depth of character and we get to see conflicting sides of her. Her kind and honest nature comes out when she meets Lazlo, but knowing what she is capable of and the grief she is responsible for shows a revengeful side born from what has happened to her kind. She is also incredibly smart – in fact my favourite quote from the book is hers:-

“You think good people can’t hate?” she asked. “You think good people don’t kill?” Her breathing hitched, and she realised she’d crushed Lazlo’s flower in her hand. She dropped the petals into the water. “Good people do all of the things bad people do, Lazlo. It’s just when they do them, they call it justice.” She paused. Her voice grew heavy. “When they slaughter thirty babies in their cradles, they call it necessary.” 
-Sarai, Strange The Dreamer by Laini Taylor

 

I found it near impossible to put this book down. When I first picked it up, I intended to read the first chapter as a sampler. I ended up reading all of part one, amounting to about 80 pages! I demolished the remainder of the book in a week. I don’t think I can really put into words how original and captivating this story is! I am also conscious of how much I can say because I really don’t want to spoil it for anyone who is yet to read it. The narrative flowed effortlessly and the voice of each character was clear and consistent.

If neither I nor the many other reviews of this book out there have convinced you to read this book, then I don’t think you ever will. That’s your loss. Just talking about this book makes me want to read it again! *Sigh* I’ll have to re-read before October when Muse of Nightmares is released!

Read it. You know you want to.

No really, you do!
Rebecca mono