Tag: magic

Belated Sunday Summary Post – 24th May 2022

Hello everyone and welcome to a belated Sunday Summary update post.

It’s been a couple of weeks since I last updated you on my reading progress, and that’s because I’ve been on holiday. I didn’t want to advertise that I was going away ahead of time, especially online. I had a great time away with my family for what was supposed to be our family holiday in 2020, which was cancelled for obvious reasons. That’s not to say it wasn’t without its dampener; I tested positive for Covid whilst we were away. It’s typical, but we didn’t let it spoil the holiday. I’ve managed to dodge it for the last two years, and I’m not too bad with it. I am on the road to recovery now and I’m hoping to be clear of it very soon!

Whilst I was away I scheduled a number of blog posts to tide you over. That first post, which went live not long before I went away, was a Top Ten Tuesday post featuring my top ten bookish characters. That was an interesting post to put together and I actually struggled a little. Surprisingly, there aren’t that many famously bookish characters. That said, I did manage to find enough for this list!

Later that week, I shared a Shelf Control post. In that post I featured The Incendium Plot by A. D. Swanston. I added this book to my TBR because it gives me the opportunity to read about British history – a subject I felt my education lacked. If you want to find out more details about the book and why I wanted to read it, you could find a link to that post above.

The second week I’ve been away, I shared another Top Ten Tuesday post. This one featured my top ten books I was excited to get, but haven’t read yet. This post has reminded me that I have plenty reading to be getting on with, including one book that I’ve had on my TBR for far longer than I would like to admit! If you want to check out the full list, the link is above.

Last Friday, my First Lines Friday scheduled post went live. In that post, I set myself a challenge that was designed to give you some insight into my reading plans; I decided that I wanted to feature a book that I wanted to pick up and read later this year. I am really excited to pick up this book. I have a friend who really loves this author and has recommended her to me in the past. I’ve also sampled this particular book before, but never just quite got round to reading it. That’s going to change. If you want to find out what this book is, you know what to do.

 

Books Read

When I last left you in my previous Sunday Summary update post of the 8th May, I was 15% of the way through The Duke & I by Julia Quinn. I’ve decided to pick up this book based on my enjoyment of the Bridgerton Netflix series. It’s not my usual cup of tea, but I was willing to give it a try in to broaden my horizons. Since that Sunday Summary update I have continued with the book and I’m now 72% of the way through. In terms of reading time left, my Kindle suggests that it’s about an hour’s worth of reading time left.

I’m glad I’ve decided to read it and give it a go, but I’ve already made my mind up that I’m not going to read the rest of the series. I’ve picked it up and given it a try. I don’t love it, but I don’t hate it either. I can’t lie – I have rolled my eyes plenty of times whilst reading this book. I have a real gripe with the male characters being described as roguish, rakish etc in a charming and endearing way, whilst the female characters cannot be anything but proper. Even a kiss is scandalous and ruinous for her. I just can’t deal with the inequality of it all. So, I’ll finish it off and tick my box and say I’ve read it, but I’m not going to subject myself to any more of it either.

In my last Sunday Summary update I confided in you that I had taken another book to bed one evening to sample, that being Empire of the Vampire by Jay Kristoff. I couldn’t admit it to you at the time, but I was doing this to make sure I was going to get on with the book as it was my planned holiday reading! I took it away with me but admittedly, I didn’t read half as much as I expected to.

When I last went on holiday with my sister I read the equivalent of Empire of the Vampire, and a bit more. However, as I went away with more people, naturally there was more chatter and socialising going on and so I didn’t read as much! I have read just under 300 pages of the book, which is 40% of the narrative. It’s still a respectable amount to have read, and I’m going to continue to read this one now that I’m back.

I’m loving the story so far and I’m glad that I picked this up even though vampire stories aren’t really my thing. There is so much more to this book and it’s fantastic… to be expected from Jay Kristoff really. I bought this book based on my love of the Nevernight series and I’m not disappointed.

 

Books Discovered

In the time I’ve been away I have added a book to my TBR, and if memory serves, it is a recommendation I’ve taken from the Currently Reading podcast. I really loved the sound of the story behind this book. I’m huge fan of fantasy and the way it’s blended with sci-fi and includes difficult topics such as racism and misogyny, I want to pick this up and give it a go!

 

Coming Up…

Naturally the section is going to be a little bit shorter than usual, as this Sunday Summary update is a belated one.

I will be sharing one other post with you later this week. I’m feeling in the mood to share a review with you, especially seeing as how I’ve been sharing other content with you recently. With that in mind, I would like to take the opportunity to review a book by a local author. I recently read Keep You Safe by Rona Halsall… and it was a surreal experience reading a book set where I live. Having the events of a narrative take place in towns and streets you know like the back of your hand is a very strange experience, but it was a refreshing one. In my review later this week I want to set down exactly why I think you should give this book a read as well!

Naturally, my next Sunday Summary update will return to normal schedule and I will be rounding up my reading progress from the week for you.

That’s all for me in today’s belated Sunday Summary update post – thanks for persevering with today’s very long update and I’ll see you in the next one!

 

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First Lines Friday – 20/05/2022

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

I knew I wanted to set myself another challenge for this post. Sometimes it’s nice to have the freedom of choice to be able to pick up anything at random and feature it. However, I do relish a challenge. I was in the mood to set one for myself when I drafted my last Sunday Summary post… so here we are! The challenge I set for myself in today’s post is to feature a book I plan on reading sometime this year. It’s a fun topic because it gives me a way of getting excited for the book in advance, but the best thing about it is that I get to share some of my reading plans with you!

But, before we jump right into the spoilers, shall we check out today’s intro and see if you can guess what it is?

 

A history of the Six Duchies is of necessity a history of its ruling family, the Farseers. A complete telling would reach back beyond the founding of the first Duchy, and if search names were remembered, would you tell us of Outislanders raiding from the sea, visiting as pirates a shore more temperate and gentler than the icy beaches of the Out Islands. But we do not know the names of these earliest forebears.

And of the first real king, little more than his name and some extravagant legends remain. Taker his name was, quite simply, and perhaps with that naming began the tradition that daughters and sons of his lineage would be given names that would shape their lives and beings. Folk beliefs claim that such names were sealed to the newborn babes by magic, and that these royal offspring were incapable of betraying the virtues whose names they bore. Passed through fire and plunged through salt water and offered to the winds of the air; thus were names sealed to these chosen children. So we are told. A pretty fancy, and perhaps once there was such a ritual, but history shows us that this was not always sufficient to bind the child to the virtue that named it…

 

 

Assassin’s Apprentice – Robin Hobb

Goodreads – Assassin’s Apprentice

In a faraway land where members of the royal family are named for the virtues they embody, one young boy will become a walking enigma.

Born on the wrong side of the sheets, Fitz, son of Chivalry Farseer, is a royal bastard, cast out into the world, friendless and lonely. Only his magical link with animals – the old art known as the Wit – gives him solace and companionship. But the Wit, if used too often, is a perilous magic, and one abhorred by the nobility.

So when Fitz is finally adopted into the royal household, he must give up his old ways and embrace a new life of weaponry, scribing, courtly manners; and how to kill a man secretly, as he trains to become a royal assassin.

 

My Thoughts…

If you know your fantasy books, then you may have picked up a hint from the first sentence of today’s extract, even if you don’t recognise it in its entirety. The keyword was Farseers. Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb is the first book in the Farseers trilogy and I am finally going to start it this year!

I’ve sampled reading this book a couple of times – the first on my phone years ago and another time I think I started reading it on an iPad. But here’s the thing, I don’t read that way. I think I wanted to try the book out, to sample it and see what I thought. I was excited enough about it to go out of my way to try it, but it never quite made it to be my current read. It’s my own fault. I was always trying it at a time when I was reading something else, and it wasn’t really a priority.

But I’m going to make it a priority.

I love fantasy and I have great hopes for this series and this author. One of my friends with whom I have a similar reading taste is a fan of Robin Hobb and she has recommended these books to me in the past. I really liked what I’ve seen based on the first of chapter or two I’ve tried, and this year I swear I’m going to start in earnest.

I wouldn’t be surprised if this is a book series that makes it onto my bookshelves. My copy of Assassin’s Apprentice, the first book, is currently on kindle, and I will read it that way for the moment. If I love it as much as I think I’m going to, then I’ll end up buying a paperback copy and purchasing the rest of the series that way as well!

I can’t wait to invest time into this properly. It’s full of potential and I am looking for a new fantasy series and author to dive into! I feel like this is going to be the right time to give this a go!

 

This has been quite a long First Lines Friday post, but I hope you can tell how excited I am for this book! Have you read Assassin’s Apprentice, the rest of the trilogy or even any of the other books also written by Robin Hobb? I’d be really interested to see how you feel about the books and her writing, so please drop me a comment below and let me know what you think!

 

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Sunday Summary – 8th May 2022

Good evening and welcome to my Sunday Summary update for this week. It’s time to share what I have been reading and blogging about over the last week, as well as any books I’ve added to the TBR and finally, what blog posts you can expect on the blog over the next two weeks! Yes, two!

As this week was the beginning of May, I have taken the opportunity to share my Monthly Wrap-Up for April 2022, as well as my Monthly TBR for May on my blog this week. It was fun to look back at the books I’ve read over the course of the month, and as I didn’t get through all of my reading list, you’ll see that some have been carried forward to this month as well as added some new ones. One of those I’ve even read already, so progress is looking good!

If you haven’t checked out either of those posts, I provided links above so you can go and check them out.

 

Books Read

This has to to be one of the most random book combinations, ever.

When I left you in last week’s Sunday Summary update, I had only read the first 30 pages or so of Crowfall by Ed McDonald. I had just finished the previous book in the series, Ravencry, and I was really looking forward to delving into this final instalment of the trilogy. I fully expected this would be a quick read. Not only was I really into it having just finished the second book of the series, but I remember loving and devouring it the first time. And I’ve done it again!

When I last read Crowfall nearly three years ago, I read all 450 pages of the book in six days. This time, I read it in five! By no means was I trying to beat that record, but having looked back to see exactly how quickly I read it the first time, it’s clear that I loved the book both times!

I’m really happy that I decided to re-read this trilogy. Picking up the first book of the series, Blackwing, again was completely on a whim, but it was a good decision. And it’s been great for my reading motivation.

Next, I moved on to my current read, which is The Duke and I by Julia Quinn. Against all the odds, I really enjoyed watching Bridgerton on Netflix, and so I’ve decided to step out of my comfort zone and try the book. When I decided to add this to my TBR I wasn’t sure if this was something I was going to enjoy or not, but I was willing to give it a go. I’m currently 15% through the book and so far, it’s perfectly readable. I’m not going to say I haven’t rolled my eyes once or twice, because that would be a lie, but I’m willing to stick for now and see how it goes.

Last night I went to bed early with a cup of tea and I decided to sample the first few pages of my next read, which is Empire of the Vampire by Jay Kristoff. I bought this book purely for my love of the Nevernight series. Vampire stories aren’t typically something that I read much. However, again, I’m willing to go out of my comfort zone. Before I delve into the 700 page epic properly, I wanted to make sure that I thought I’ll like it. I’ve only read the first 20 odd pages as a sample, but it’s looking very good! I can already see in the little bit I’ve read that it definitely has a ‘Name of the Wind’ vibe in its narration style. I can’t wait to pick this up properly!

 

Books Discovered

I went to my local Waterstones this week with the aim of finding myself a new bookmark. Naturally, I walked out with said bookmark and also two books as well.

I noticed that they had stock of the second and third book in the Dune series by Frank Herbert, and so I decided to pick those up. I read and loved the first book of the series earlier this year, and even watched the film recently. Given that I have a paperback copy of the first book of the series anyway, I’m naturally going to continue to read the series this way. Thankfully, these books combined make up the rough length of the first book, so they’re not quite so big. I can’t wait to read these either!

 

Coming Up…

This week I’m taking part in a Top Ten Tuesday post. This week’s theme is ‘Bookish Characters’. Although I’ve read a lot of books, I’ve struggled a little bit to come up with a full list of ten. There aren’t many books I’ve read with characters as devout to reading! Nevertheless, I have just about come up with ten for the list and I can’t wait to share that with you on Tuesday!

This week there was a temporary hold on my usual Friday feature post, however, I am back next week and it is the turn of my Shelf Control feature post. I’ll be taking a look at the next book on my TBR, deciding if I want to read it still, and sharing the details with you!

Normally I’d be telling you that I’ll be back next week with a Sunday Summary update post, however I will not be sharing Sunday Summary posts for the next couple of weeks. With that in mind, I’m also going to share with you what posts are going live on my blog the following week as well, so you know exactly what to expect!

The following week I’m taking part in another Top Ten Tuesday post. The theme for the 17th of May is ‘Books I Was SO EXCITED to Get, but I Still Haven’t Read’. I didn’t struggle with this list; I have so many books on my TBR and my bookshelves that I have plenty of inspiration to choose from. I’m embarrassed to say that the first book on my list is over six years old! Even that’s an estimate because I can’t exactly date when I purchased my copy.

Unexpectedly, I’ll be back with a First Lines Friday post as my next Friday feature. Last time I did this post I set myself the challenge of featuring a book I read before I started my blog. I am going to set myself a challenge again, but not this one. Instead, I am going to feature a book on my TBR that I plan to read sometime this year. This is a new challenge, and one that gives me the chance to consider what my future reading plans are and give you a little bit of insight into them!

That’s all for me in today’s Sunday Summary update post. I hope you have a great week ahead and I’ll see you in the next post!

 

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Sunday Summary – 1st May 2022

Hello and welcome to today’s Sunday Summary update. As always, I’m back at the end of the week to update you on the books I’ve been reading and the blog posts I’ve been sharing. I also have a TBR addition to let you know about, as well as what’s coming up on my blog next week!

Firstly, let’s go through what I’ve been sharing on my blog. I decided to take part in a Contradictions Book Tag at the beginning of this week. In that post, I shared various books I have read that don’t necessarily live up to my usual reading habits. For example, one of the questions is to name a book I enjoyed from the genre I don’t normally read, and so on. I had great fun with this post, because it gave me the opportunity to talk about books in a slightly different way. It has both positives and negatives, so I trust it will make a fun read for everybody!

On Friday I shared a First Lines Friday feature. As the posts I’ve written over the last month haven’t featured a challenge, I decided to bring this back for this week’s post. This week’s challenge was to feature a book that I read before I started my blog. Admittedly I have done this one before, but there are plenty of books I could choose from. I’m really happy with the feature I went with. If you want to find out which book I chose, you could find a link to the post above to take a look for yourself!

 

Books Read

In last week’s Sunday Summary update post, I had around 80 pages left of The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman to read. My plan was to read and finish that book last Sunday night, and I’m pleased to say I did! I really enjoyed how this story ended and it was refreshing to read something relatively lighthearted! I’ll definitely go on to continue with his books, because this was a really fun one to read!

In last week’s update I also shared that I had started Ravencry by Ed McDonald. I had started this on a whim as I fancied a change from The Thursday Murder Club, so I made this my ‘bedtime reading’ book. As I finished The Thursday Murder Club nice and quickly, Ravencry became my current read in earnest and it’s the book I’ve been reading for most of the week. I actually finished this one last night, and I loved it as much as I did the first time I read it! These books never fail to impress in their epicness, the range of characters, and the overall entertainment value from them. As I’m sure you’ve gathered, I absolutely love these, and I’m glad I’ve gone back to them to enjoy them all over again!

Speaking of which, the next book on my reading list for the week is Crowfall, the third and final instalment in The Raven’s Mark trilogy. As I only finished Ravencry last night, I’m only about 30 pages into Crowfall at the moment. However, being in full swing having just read Ravencry, I’m hoping that this isn’t going to take long to read at all. I distinctly remember devouring this the last time I read it, so I have every confidence it will be the exact same this time round!

 

Books Discovered

Having heard fabulous reviews for an indie book on the Currently Reading podcast, (something I have gotten into listening to recently), I have added Hench by Natalie Zina Walschots to my TBR this week.

I love the sound of this book because it’s completely different from books I would typically read. I’m not ‘into’ superheroes, but I do enjoy an element of it now and then. In fact, my first read of the year, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, had an element of it in; the main characters in that book write comic books about superheroes. I enjoyed this particular aspect in the book because it’s not something I read a lot of. I’m hoping I think the same of Hench.

The story is a little bit different though. From what I have gathered from the discussion Meredith and Kaytee had on the Currently Reading podcast, the main character is somebody whose life has been negatively impacted by a superhero… and even despite her injures, she is deemed one of the lucky ones. Anna is living proof that not all of their deeds are for the good of all, and she makes it her mission to exact revenge. She takes up employment for the worst kind of villiains that can be expected in any superhero story. She is just a data cruncher, a small cog in a very big machine, but knowing how to use the data against them and to her advantage, she becomes a force to be reckoned with in her own right.

 

Coming Up…

Somehow it is the first week of May next week. Whilst that’s a good thing because it means it’s a lovely long bank holiday weekend, it means that time is absolutely flying by! Needless to say, it’s time for me to share my Monthly Wrap-Up for April 2022. I’m looking forward to sharing the books I’ve been reading over the course of the month with you, and provide an update on where I am up to with my Goodreads challenge!

Naturally, the next matter on the agenda is to share what I’m planning on reading throughout the month of May. I have some really good books on this month’s list, and I can’t wait to share it with you!

I’m fairly sure you know what’s coming next. I’ll be back this time next week with another Sunday Summary update for you all! Until then, I hope you enjoy this lovely bank holiday weekend and have a great week ahead!

 

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Sunday Summary – 24th April 2022

Good evening everyone! I’m back with today’s Sunday Summary update to conclude another busy week. As always, I trust you’ve had a good one?

Before we jump into what I’ve been up to this week, I have a fun little update to share with you. My blog has been on the Internet for five years! I’m just celebrating the anniversary and honestly, I can’t believe it! As someone who has lots of ideas but very rarely follows through with them, I’m proud of myself for having stuck with my blog. It’s a lot of time and effort, but I really love having this space to share my thoughts and feelings with you! Here’s to the next 5 years!

My first post of the week was a book review of Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. Having read and loved Six of Crows, I wanted to pick up this series. However, I expedited this after watching the Netflix series that amalgamated these two together. I wasn’t too keen on this, but that’s besides the point. It was great to dive into my opinions on why I enjoyed this first instalment to the series!

On Friday I shared my Shelf Control fortnightly feature. In this week‘s post, I shared details of the next book on my TBR – Sleepyhead by Mark Billingham. It sounds like a really interesting thriller novel and if I go on to enjoy this, it’s going to be the start of a fabulous series; it’s quite a long one. You can find out all my thoughts on this book, as well as details of the book itself in my Shelf Control post.

 

Books Read

In last week’s Sunday Summary update I was about a third of the way through The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman. I am pleased to report a significant amount of progress this week!

I am really enjoying this mystery story. As the mystery and thriller genre goes, this is on the very lighthearted side of things. For the most part. There is a lot of humour in it, and I’m really enjoying this aspect! I will say there are a couple of chapters that really took me by surprise though. As I say, it’s very funny and lighthearted, but without spoilers, a tragic event in a couple of the later chapters really punched me in the gut – so much so made me cry. The fact that they were included in the way they were means that it had a greater impact. Thankfully I was able to mop up the tears and carry on!

I’m hoping to finish The Thursday Murder Club tonight after this post goes live. I am currently 80% of the way through the book, with just under 80 pages or so to go until the end.

I’ve also started reading a second book this week. I fancied a change from The Thursday Murder Club for some bedtime reading. Probably conscious that I have several books still on my TBR and not a lot of the month left in which to read them, I decided to pick up Ravencry by Ed McDonald. This is strictly bedtime reading for now, so that way I can make progress with both. I’m already around 80 pages into Ravencry, and having read Blackwing (the first book of the trilogy) recently as well it helps that I am following up in a timely manner! Although the events of this book occur four years after the first book, the context makes a lot more sense. Ravencry is proving a very easy read and once I’ve finished The Thursday Murder Club, I’ll be moving onto this one in earnest!

 

Books Discovered

I have absolutely no updates for you on the TBR front this week, other than to confirm that I haven’t added anything to it once again (thankfully!)

 

Coming Up…

I’ve seen a fun book tag post, in which the idea is to share bookish likes and dislikes that go against your norms. It’s called the Contradictions Book Tag, and I can’t wait to really dig into the different topics and share books that I’ve liked and ‘shouldn’t have’, and equally those that I wanted to and didn’t!

On Friday I will be sharing a First Lines Friday post. As I haven’t set myself a challenge for the last couple of iterations of this post, I will be setting myself a challenge for next week. My challenge, you ask? The featured book has to be one I read as a teenager, and pre-dates my blogging days. I have done this particular challenge before, but as I read so much when I was younger there’s still plenty of scope to feature something new and share the love for something that I haven’t shared as yet!

As always, I will be back this time next week with another Sunday Summary post, containing all my latest updates of books read etc.

I hope you can join me for these posts, but in the meantime I hope you have a fabulous week and I’ll see you around!

 

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Book Review: Shadow and Bone – Leigh Bardugo

In today’s book review I’m sharing my thoughts on the first book of the Shadow and Bone series. I picked up this book having watched the related Netflix series. This book was already on my radar because I had read and loved the Six of Crows duology, also written by Leigh Bardugo. I had already said then that I wanted to read this series, and I’m glad I have started at last.

If you are unfamiliar with the book, here’s a little bit about it below: –

 

Shadow & Bone – Leigh Bardugo

Goodreads – Shadow and Bone

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

 

My Thoughts…

Based on the Netflix series, this book lived up to my expectations. When I went into it, I knew that I wasn’t necessarily going to love every single aspect of it. There is an element of romance to the story which I didn’t particularly like in the Netflix series either, and inevitably I was going to come across it again in the book. That said, it didn’t detract from the rest of the story in the slightest.

But I am just going to take a minute to talk about that romance, because if I can’t have a whinge on my own little space on the Internet then where can I? Why do men wielding dark and mysterious powers have to ALWAYS be drop-dead gorgeous? Can fantasy writers please have a little bit more imagination and a perspective a little more true to reality for a minute? I know it’s a fantasy book, but there’s a difference between fantastical and delusional.

People are attracted to power. I can’t deny that. But every single fantasy villain is somehow both more powerful than anybody else in the world and just as beautiful… apparently. And that annoys me. Not only is it unrealistic, but the only real way that would actually be true is if they’re also narcissistic. There are a lot of narcissistic people in the world, but does it have to be every single fantasy villain?

I love the fantasy genre, but not all of the tropes that you see time and again. It gets boring. Even reading the tropes I like again and again it gets boring. Ones that I’m not keen on in the first place can definitely go in the bin. Like this one. Anyway, disparaging comments aside, that’s not to say that my grievance with this particular element of the book took away from the rest of the story. It definitely didn’t! On the contrary, I rated this book 4 stars out of five on Goodreads. It’s still a great book!

One of my favourite things about the Six of Crows duology what was the magic system and the lore behind the Grisha. I knew straightaway that it was an element I wanted to explore in more detail, and I’m really glad I did. There is still much to be learned about these people and their magic, and so I want to pick up the rest of the series to pursue this further.

Equally, the world building and the dynamic between those of different regions in the world adds a lot to the storyline. As someone who is very uninterested in politics in real life, I like to see it play out in books. If you follow my blog you know I’m a huge fan of the likes of Game of Thrones etc, in which politics is a huge element. It definitely comes to into play in Shadow and Bone as well. Both the dynamics between characters and those of other regions are attributable to how well this is portrayed within the narrative, and it makes for an interesting division that will no doubt come to the fore in future books.

The one thing I didn’t like about the Netflix series is that it merged the story lines of Six of Crows with this book. Both are fantastic stories – but in their own right! I’m glad the author has chosen to explore these separately, because there are so much of scope and I’m looking forward to see where the rest of the series leads.

 

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Book Review: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – J. K. Rowling

In today’s blog post I’m sharing my thoughts on Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s’ Stone, the first book of the series I’m just about to finish reading for the second time! I read this series originally as a teenager and I loved them then as much as I do now! It’s a series for just about anybody and if my reread has proven anything, is that it doesn’t matter how old you are when you pick these up. This first book of the series didn’t seem immature or childish even now. Yes, it’s a lot simpler than the later books in the series, but it’s still just as readable.

If you’re like me then you’re probably also asking yourself, how do you go about reviewing such an iconic book series? Your guess is as good as mine – I’m just going to muddle through as best I can. I know I won’t do it justice, but I can only do my best!

 

Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone – J. K. Rowling

Goodreads – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Harry Potter’s life is miserable. His parents are dead and he’s stuck with his heartless relatives, who force him to live in a tiny closet under the stairs. But his fortune changes when he receives a letter that tells him the truth about himself: he’s a wizard. A mysterious visitor rescues him from his relatives and takes him to his new home, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

After a lifetime of bottling up his magical powers, Harry finally feels like a normal kid. But even within the Wizarding community, he is special. He is the boy who lived: the only person to have ever survived a killing curse inflicted by the evil Lord Voldemort, who launched a brutal takeover of the Wizarding world, only to vanish after failing to kill Harry.

Though Harry’s first year at Hogwarts is the best of his life, not everything is perfect. There is a dangerous secret object hidden within the castle walls, and Harry believes it’s his responsibility to prevent it from falling into evil hands. But doing so will bring him into contact with forces more terrifying than he ever could have imagined.

Full of sympathetic characters, wildly imaginative situations, and countless exciting details, the first installment in the series assembles an unforgettable magical world and sets the stage for many high-stakes adventures to come.

 

My Thoughts…

The thing is I love the most about these books is that it doesn’t matter how old you are when you start reading them. I grew up with these books, and I probably read Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone either as a preteen or an early teenager. I read this book again for the first time since then last year. At around twice the age I was when I first read the book, I loved it just as much!

Whilst I would say the intended genre is probably young adult, at the same time it doesn’t feel pigeonholed there. There is so much to this series that there’s something in it for everybody! This very first book is comparatively lighthearted to the rest of the series. It’s a wonderful introduction to a vast and detailed magical world, providing fantasy readers with escapism and a life they would have loved to have lived as a child; to be quantified as special and sent off to a magical school of witchcraft and wizardry.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher‘s Stone is only a few hundred pages long. It’s an easy book to pick up and read because of the length, but also the way in which it’s written. The narrative style is very easily digestible. Personally, I think you could easily pick up and put down the book as you wish. It’s really easy to follow what’s going on and it’s honestly a pleasure to read. I read this book within a matter of days just by doing some bedtime reading. You don’t have to be an avid reader to get through this book very quickly!

I like the pacing of Harry Potter and the Philosopher‘s Stone. Being the first book in the series, there is a lot to take in. We have a lot of the setting of the scene, character and world building thrown into the mix. I find it just right so that even a younger audience could follow what is going on, but equally it’s not slow for more mature readers either. As well as all this, there’s a lot of magical excitement to keep our attention. From a plethora of spells to learn to the wonder of the everyday… such as chocolate frogs (which really do behave like frogs!); there is always something going on and keeping the action flowing in a fun way!

In my opinion, this book is the perfect introduction to the now famous series. It’s fun and exciting whilst also setting the scene for a much wider story. The story unfolds in ways that I didn’t take initially expect when I first started the books. But, I really enjoy that! If you haven’t read these yet then I honestly recommend you do. They are absolutely fantastic and they really are for absolutely anyone!

 

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Shelf Control #44 – 11/03/2022

Hello everyone and welcome to my Shelf Control post! Shelf Control is a fortnightly feature here on my blog and 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 and write a post about it.

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

After knocking 5 books off my TBR, I decided today’s feature is a fantasy novel I clapped eyes on back in 2017; it caught my attention immediately! The author is new to me, but I read some fantastic reviews not long after publication and so I knew I wanted to give it a shot.

So, do you want to find out what today’s book is?

 

A Plague of Giants – Kevin Hearne

Goodreads – A Plague of Giants

MOTHER AND WARRIOR

Tallynd is a soldier who has already survived her toughest battle: losing her husband. But now she finds herself on the front lines of an invasion of giants, intent on wiping out the entire kingdom, including Tallynd’s two sons—all that she has left. The stakes have never been higher. If Tallynd fails, her boys may never become men.

SCHOLAR AND SPY

Dervan is a historian who longs for a simple, quiet life. But he’s drawn into intrigue when he’s hired to record the tales of a mysterious bard who may be a spy or even an assassin for a rival kingdom. As the bard shares his fantastical stories, Dervan makes a shocking discovery: He may have a connection to the tales, one that will bring his own secrets to light.

REBEL AND HERO

Abhi’s family have always been hunters, but Abhi wants to choose a different life for himself. Embarking on a journey of self-discovery, Abhi soon learns that his destiny is far greater than he imagined: a powerful new magic thrust upon him may hold the key to defeating the giants once and for all—if it doesn’t destroy him first.

Set in a magical world of terror and wonder, this novel is a deeply felt epic of courage and war, in which the fates of these characters intertwine—and where ordinary people become heroes, and their lives become legend.

 

My Thoughts…

Highly rated epic fantasy books will always end up on my TBR if my attention is brought to them. I remember seeing quite a few posts about this book around the time it was published in 2017. However, it’s the review of a trusted blogger that persuaded me to add this to my TBR. I’ve linked that review below so you can check it out for yourself. I trust Drew‘s opinion on books as I think we have similar taste!

https://thetattooedbookgeek.wordpress.com/2017/10/05/a-plague-of-giants-seven-kennings-1-by-kevin-hearne-book-review/

I am a sucker for fantasy and the fact that it’s written by an author I haven’t read before doesn’t scare me off. I am always looking to try new authors and potentially find a new favourite. George RR Martin and Brandon Sanderson will take some knocking off the pedestal, but I won’t rule out that someone could do it!

I like the diversity of the characters alluded to in the synopsis. There’s going to be somebody for everyone to root for, depending on what attributes you like in people. As a reader I also like to interpret a narrative from different perspectives. You know how much I love A Game of Thrones; that tale has chapters written from 20+ characters in the books to date. I appreciate the scope on A Game of Thrones is a much larger than this book, but I’m still excited for the principal all the same! They’re always going to be characters you like more than others and I’m interested to see who falls into what category here!

Did you enjoy today’s Shelf Control feature? Have you read A Plague of Giants by Kevin Hearne, or anything like it? Let me know in the comments!

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Sunday Summary – 14th November 2021

Good evening and welcome to this week’s Sunday Summary update! As always, I hope you’ve had a good week whatever you have been doing?

As for what I’ve been doing, I shared a blog tour review of Million Eyes II: The Unraveller on Wednesday this week. Having taken part in the blog tour for the first book of the series back in January 2020, I was keen to get involved and share my thoughts on this second instalment. If you haven’t yet read my review, you can find a link above. That post also links to my review of the first book of the series, so if you want to catch up from the beginning that’s the place to go. In fact, I’ll pop a handy link to that here as well.

On Friday I shared a Shelf Control post. It’s a regular series here at Reviewsfeed that gives me the opportunity to review the books on my to be read list, whittle out anything I no longer want to read and feature those that I do! This week I featured a book that’s been on my list for a few years. My sister reminded me after I shared this post, she managed to get a copy of it as part of an O2 deal. She had asked if she could read it before she handed it to me, and I never saw it. She had a laugh with me about it after my post went live, and confided that she didn’t finish it herself. However, when she comes to visit at Christmas I’ll get my hands on it!

 

Books Read

 

In last week’s Sunday Summary update I had 15% of Million Eyes II: The Unraveller left to read. I was right on those stats even though I couldn’t cross check against my Kindle. That worked out to be about an hour‘s worth of reading time, however, my plan to read it on Sunday night didn’t work out. I ended up knitting instead…

However, I did go on to read this on Monday evening and at the same time I started my blog post draft while my thoughts were fresh. The ending was very good; it ended up being quite a complex narrative with so many interlinking parts, however it was executed very well. It was a pleasure to read and I’m glad I took part in the blog tour for it!

After this, I started to read The Warden by Jon Richter. I have a read and reviewed a book by Jon Richter previously, Auxiliary: London 2039. I enjoyed this book immensely and I signed up for the blog tour of The Warden ages ago. Well, the time has finally come for me to read this book as my blog tour post for this book is due to go live next Friday.

I have to say, the book is every bit as good as I expected. It’s an action-packed psychological thriller. The majority of the narrative takes place in 2024, with flashbacks to beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The virus in this fictional narrative has mutated exceptionally and humans have to take more and more drastic action in order to avoid contamination. Like sealing themselves into buildings supported predominantly by an AI. But what if something goes wrong? Without going into any detail that’s the crux of the narrative and I’m really enjoying it. Naturally, anyone uncomfortable with the theme of the pandemic being the linchpin of the narrative might not choose to read this one. However, I very rarely shy away from a topic and I think it works really well!

As of this Sunday Summary update post, I am 3/4 of the way through the book. The remaining time left to read is about an hour and so I have plenty of time to get this finished before my blog tour post on Friday. I hope you like the sound of the book based on little snippets I told you and that you can check it out in full on Friday.

 

Books Discovered

Once again, I’m pleased to confirm that my TBR has not gotten any longer. Thankfully!

 

Coming Up…

I’ve decided to take part in this week’s Top Ten Tuesday post. The topic of the post is “Books to Read If You Love ‘X’”. For this topic, I’ve decided to stick with the genre I have read most extensively, which is fantasy. If you love fantasy books as much as me then take the time to check out my list on Tuesday. In that post I will be featuring my favourite books of the genre and why I love them!

As I mentioned above, I will be sharing my thoughts in a blog tour review for The Warden by Jon Richter on Friday. That means my usual Friday feature will be taking a very short break just for this week. I can already tell that this post is going to be a good one. If you like the sound of the book based on my description above I really hope you can check out my full thoughts on Friday. I don’t think you’ll regret it.

As always, I will be rounding off the week with my next Sunday Summary update this time next week.

I hope you have enjoyed today’s post and until next time, happy reading!

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Sunday Summary – 7th November 2021

Good evening everyone and welcome to this week’s Sunday Summary update! Have you had a good week? I sure hope so!

Earlier this week I shared my monthly wrap-up for October. Part of me can’t believe that it’s November already, the other part of me is starting to panic that it’ll nearly be December, then Christmas, and then 2022 before I can blink! I digress. In my wrap-up post, I shared the books I picked up over the course of October and also the blog posts I shared during the month. If you haven’t had a chance to check that post out already you can find a link above.

On Friday I shared a First Lines Friday post. In last week’s Sunday Summary update I set myself the challenge of featuring a book I read before I started blogging. I had a few ideas in mind, but the book I featured in the end is the first of a series that I really enjoyed, but didn’t continue in a timely manner. So, I ended up DNF’ing the second book. However, featuring this book has reminded me of this fact and so I plan to revisit it again from the beginning!

 

Books Read

This week I have continued to make progress with Million Eyes II: The Unraveller by C. R. Berry. I have a review blog post coming up on Wednesday next week and so I’ve been making solid progress with this book. I’m really enjoying it too! There is a lot of action on going and as I’m drawing towards the conclusion, I can’t wait to see how it all ends.

Off the top of my head (because my kindle is charging and I can’t check) I think I’m now 85% through, and finishing the book is about an hours worth of reading time left. I plan to finish this tonight once this post goes live. That way, I have plenty of time to get my thoughts together ready for my blog tour review!

I also made great progress with The Hanging Tree by Ben Aaronovitch. I only went and finished this last night! I’ve taken to listening to music or audiobooks as and when I’m working on a knitting project. I started listening to The Hanging Tree on a whim whilst working on a cardigan sleeve last night. I got really into it and before I knew it, I had listened to the last two hours of the audiobook! I’m really enjoying the series so far and The Hanging Tree lived up to expectation.

 

Books Discovered

Seeing as how I added a book to my list last week, I’ve been really good and I’ve been avoiding all bookshops known to man. Sometimes, I just have to avoid temptation…

 

Coming Up…

As I mentioned above, I have a blog tour post that is due to be posted on Wednesday for Million Eyes II: The Unraveller by C. R. Berry. I really hope you can join me for that post, and if you’re interested in reading up on the first book of the series in the meantime, you can find a link to my review here.

On Friday I will be back with another regular feature and this week I will be sharing a shelf control post with you. In this mini series, I take the opportunity to have a look at the books on my TBR, review if they still appeal to me to read and share with you the details!

I really hope you can join me for these posts, as well as my usual Sunday Summary wrap-up up at the end of next week. Until next time, have a good one.

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