Tag: non-fiction

Monthly TBR – October 2022

Hello everyone and welcome to my monthly TBR for October! How are we in the final quarter of the year? Already, this year is absolutely flying by, and before we know it I’ll be talking about the books I read in 2022 in total! But, enough of that now. Today’s post is all about the books I intend to read during October. This month I am toning things back down and not taking part in any readathons. Instead, I have gone back to my previous model of setting a small number of fixed books to read in the month, but the rest being mood reads that I can chop and change at will.

So, let’s dive into my October TBR!

 

Fixed Reads

Blink of the Sun

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 488

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Lunar Triumvirate

Publication Date: 30 Jun 2022

 

 

Goodreads – Blink of the Sun

My one and only fixed record of the month is Blink of the Sun. I have agreed to review this book on BookSirens, and the review is due towards the end of this month. This particular fantasy caught my eye, and as I’m always trying to explore new authors (especially indie authors), I fancied giving it a go. I can’t wait to see you how it compares with a number of other fantasy books I’ve read, and what makes it stand out if anything.

 

Mood Reads

Assassin’s Quest

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 838

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Harper Voyager

Publication Date: 27 Mar 2014

 

 

Goodreads – Assassin’s Quest

I have been wanting to pick up this third book in the Farseer trilogy for the last couple of months. Unfortunately, there was absolutely no way I was going to be able to read this as part of a monthly TBR in September with the way Bookoplathon went. However, I have every intention to pick this up this month whilst the events of the first two books are fresh in my mind. I am also really enjoying this series, but I’m partly kicking myself that I didn’t try it earlier. Better late than never though, as they say.

 

Carrie

Genre: Horror

Pages: 322

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Anchor

Publication Date: 24 Jun 2008

 

 

Goodreads – Carrie

I didn’t get chance to read Carrie in September. This was a poll pick as part of Bookoplathon, but as it was one of the last rolls in the game, I just didn’t get to it. However, October is a perfect month to pick up a book like this! It would be rude not to have a Stephen King novel as a Halloween read, and whilst I already had this one on a TBR, I figured it made sense to carry it forward. This is a mood read, however, and I have plenty of other Stephen King books on my bookshelf. I could always change my mind and pick up The Shining, or Outsider, or even Sleeping Beauties if I fancy a change.

 

Babel

Genre: Fantasy / Dark Academia

Pages: 545

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Harper Voyager

Publication Date: 23 Aug 2022

 

 

Goodreads – Babel

I received my copy of this book just over a month ago now, and I have been looking forward to reading it ever since! I haven’t really read much in the way of dark academia to date, however, I feel like this is a perfect seasonal read. This book begins with a child in a plague-ridden house. A sinister setting if ever we saw one. From there the story really comes into its own. I’m also really interested to see the take on language and translation that is an integral part of the plot. I can be a little bit of a nerd when it comes to language… particularly English. This isn’t a usual plot device or theme of a book, so I want to see how this works.

 

Queen of Our Times

Genre: Non-fiction

Pages: 690

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Pegasus Books

Publication Date: 05 Apr 2022

 

 

Goodreads – Queen of Our Times

With the sad passing of Queen Elizabeth II last month, I have been inspired to pick up a book about her life. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that she reigned for over 70 years as the British monarch. Most people don’t work for that long in their lives. I have to say, when it comes to the British monarchy, I am fairly in the dark. I can’t say I know very much about it, and it is for this reason that I want to pick up Queen of Our Times. I want to fill that gap, and in reading this book, honour the woman who gave her life to her job, to her duty.

 

That is my monthly TBR for October 2022! Compared to last month, it is not remotely adventurous, but that’s a good thing! Last month’s reading list ended up being far too long, but that wasn’t really my fault. It was just bad luck. This month I’m aiming for a smaller list but with good quality books that I’m really going to enjoy.

Have you read any of the books on my October Monthly TBR? Have any of them caught your eye? Let’s have a chat in the comments! 

 

signature

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Monthly Wrap-Up – September 2022

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s monthly wrap-up post!

I typically post on a Friday, however, with that being the very last day of September, I decided to share this post today.

September’s TBR, which was put together as part of Bookoplathon, was ridiculous. I got really unlucky with my game and ended up with three more books to my TBR than I initially planned. If you want to check out what my full TBR was, and how the game was played, I’ve linked that post above.

I knew I wasn’t going to get through this TBR. Although I had tried to pick shorter books, there was still a lot on the list and if I’m honest, I felt over-faced before I even began. That said, I made a solid attempt without dropping everything else to do it. I made a good amount of progress, but I inevitably didn’t finish it.

Let’s take a look at the books I did manage to read in September! 

 

Books Read

Silverthorn

The first book of the month I read was Silverthorn by Raymond E. Feist. I have read the first book, Magician, twice. However, it has been some time since I picked up that first book – the latest being over five years ago!

Thankfully, there are enough reminders in Silverthorn for you to be able to pick it up. Quite conveniently, the edition of the book I have gives a very nice summary of what has happened before at the beginning. I was expecting to have to do some research online to catch myself up, however, this section did the job.

I really enjoyed the first book Magician, however, Silverthorn didn’t quite live up to my expectation. It was a perfectly adequate read, and it was nice to recap to some of the magical features and characters that I really enjoyed from the first book. However, it was just a little bit flat. I didn’t dislike it by any stretch of the imagination, however, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I was going to either. Being solid, three-star read – not the best start to Bookoplathon.

 

In Case You Missed It

In Case You Missed It was the one book on my TBR that I didn’t know what to expect from. It is not the kind of book I would have picked up of my own volition. I read this as my mum had accidentally purchased two copies of this book for herself, and she gave one to me as a recommendation because she really enjoys Lindsey Kelk books. I didn’t know what to expect, but I think I needed to change from my usual reading habits.

In Case You Missed It was a five-star read. I enjoyed that it was a light-hearted topic, and the humour in the narrative and between the characters is fantastic! This particular book was a pleasant surprise!

 

Treacle Walker

Treacle Walker was not on September’s TBR. It was a book that was introduced to me by the CEO of my employer, and he loaned me his copy to read. I know he was planning to loan it out again to others after me, so I wanted to read this quite quickly.

I already knew I wasn’t getting through my TBR at this point, so I decided to read it anyway. It is a very short read, so it didn’t take long in any case. It was trippy and a very strange narrative, but an enjoyable read.

 

Ordinary Heroes

I had been listening to Ordinary Heroes at the end of September – at the end of the month, I had just a couple of hours left. I wanted to pick this up as a non-fiction read (I’m trying to read at least one a month at the moment). It also conveniently fit one of my Bookoplathon prompts – the highest-rated book on my TBR.

I can see why! This is both an emotionally charged and informative read. I was only young when the twin towers fell, however, it is an event that unites the vast majority of people today.

It is often sad that people know where they were when it happened. It was obviously the most harrowing of events in modern history, and it was insightful to learn the perspective of the first fire chief on the scene. There are things I didn’t know about this book, that could be upsetting for someone to read, so I won’t mention them here. I’ll talk about them in my review of the book and fully disclose the topic in that post, so people can choose whether to read or not.

I’ve really enjoyed this listen so far. Despite the difficult topic, it is a book I would recommend anybody read or listen to. It is a nice short, one in any case, so definitely approachable for anyone to pick up!

 

Dark Matter

My last read of the month is Dark Matter by Blake Crouch. Dark Matter is a science-fiction, thriller in which we very quickly are starting to doubt our perspective and our sense of belonging.

It is a fast-paced, read, and with its subject matter being very different from the other books on my TBR, this has been a hit! It has been a little while since I’ve read anything like a thriller, and its combination with science fiction has gelled really well.

As of the end of the month, I made it 73% through the book. According to the calculated reading time on my Kindle, I will only take about an hour to read what is left of the book. So, I nearly finished this in September, but not quite. Still, it won’t eat into too much time in October to finish.

 

DNF’d

Red Sister

Unfortunately, I DNF’d my second read of the month – Red Sister by Mark Lawrence.

It is disappointing really because I really enjoyed a previous series by Mark Lawrence as a teenager. However, this book just wasn’t doing it for me. I didn’t outright hate it, but it wasn’t really holding my attention either.

It took several days to make it to just a third of the way through the book, and I was bored. I had grappled with myself as to whether to DNF the book earlier, but I set myself a target to get a third of the way through before making a decision. Maybe I should have stuck with my gut because I didn’t end up carrying on anyway.

However, it can’t be said that I didn’t give it a good try.

 

So, those are the books I picked up in September. Have you read any of these books? Do any of them appeal to you?

 

signature

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Sunday Summary – 11th September 2022

Good evening everyone and welcome to another bookish update in today’s Sunday Summary post.

Earlier this week I shared a couple of blog posts with you. I started off the week with a Discussion Post on why reading diversity matters. I am always trying to branch out and read new things, but there are still plenty of books, authors, and topics that I am still yet to explore. In that post, I made a pledge that I am going to try and pick up more of these books in the future!

Later in the week, it was the turn of my regular Friday feature, Shelf Control. In that post, I talked about a book that has been on my reading list for a number of years. Having recently re-read the synopsis, it has reminded me just why I can’t wait to pick it up.

 

Books Read

As of last week’s Sunday Summary post, I was halfway through Silverthorn by Raymond E Feist. I enjoyed the book overall, but if I’m entirely honest, not as much as the first book. Whilst I could follow the events from the first book, Magician, it seemed to have a different feel about it. On the one hand, this was good because it was easy to pick up, but at the same time, it wasn’t quite what I was expecting either. In the end, I gave it a three-star rating.

Next, I started my current read, Red Sister by Mark Lawrence. I’ve had high hopes for Red Sister as I previously read and enjoyed The Broken Empire trilogy by the same author. 

If I’m honest, Red Sister hasn’t grabbed me as much as I hoped it would either. It’s a tough one. I don’t know if I’m going to carry on with it or not. It’s not that I hate it because I don’t. I don’t love it either though. I’m currently 20% of the way through Red Sister and I’m going to continue a little longer. If it still hasn’t grabbed me by about a third of the way through, then I will set it aside. There are still elements in the book to be explained that we haven’t come to yet. Maybe once I’ve got a bit more of the foundation down I will be able to get into it.

I’m going to pick up Red Sister after this post goes live with a view to getting to a third of the way through the book tonight. That way, I have decided whether I’ll carry on or not and that determines what my reading week looks like next week. I will let you know in next week’s Sunday Summary post how I get on.

I have officially decided to stop listening to The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn. I’ve just had enough of it and I’m not really inclined to finish it. So, I’m not going to force myself to. Instead, I might pick up another book on September‘s TBR in audio format instead.

 

Books Discovered

The CEO of the company I work for is as much an avid reader as I am. On Friday, he gave me a couple of reading recommendations.

The first of those recommendations is Treacle Walker by Alan Garner. This is quite a short book, and I like the sound of it based on what he told me of it. It is the first I had heard of this particular book, and given that I am trying to branch out with my reading, I have added this book to my reading list.

He also gave me a second recommendation, which is Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel. When I read about this recommendation, I got really excited. It is set in one of my favourite periods of history, and the synopsis in my opinion is really interesting.

I can’t wait to pick this up and have a discussion with him about it!

 

Coming Up…

Next week, I plan to start the week by sharing a book review with you.

I’ve decided to share quite a topical review, particularly if you are a fan of George R.R. Martin and the A Song of Ice and Fire series (a.k.a. a Game of Thrones). You may or may not be familiar with the fact that the prequel show (House of the Dragon) is currently airing. This in fact covers some of the narrative and history of the Targaryen’s in his book, Fire and Blood. I read this book last year, and given its hot topic at the moment, I’ve decided to share my review on that.

I will be back on Friday with another regular feature post. Next week’s post will be a First Lines Friday, and I really like the sound of the book I have chosen. The opening lines set the book in motion immediately. I also read a book earlier this year in a similar setting and time period. It has also been all that I have a read number of books by, and enjoyed. I for one can’t wait to pick up his book myself– but if you’re interested to find out what that book is, don’t forget to check out my blog on Friday.

As always, You can find out all the latest updates in my Sunday Summary post next week.

For now, that’s all folks! What have you been reading?

 

signature

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Sunday Summary – 4th September 2022

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

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

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

 

Books Read

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

 

The Silence of the Girls

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

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

 

Golden Son

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

 

Silverthorn

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

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

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

 

The Viscount Who Loved Me

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

 

Books Discovered

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

 

Coming Up…

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

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

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

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

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

 

signature

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Monthly TBR: September 2022 (Bookoplathon!)

You can laugh at my expense into today’s September Monthly TBR, so please enjoy the opportunity whilst you can! I’ve decided to take part in another monthly readathon – Bookoplathon! 

Taking a more flexible approach to reading has really worked for me, even when I took part in a readathon last month. I really enjoyed taking part in that readathon, and when I happened to see that there was another one that I really liked the sound of, I decided to do it this month along with other readers. All I can say is it’s a good job I’ve found my reading motivation because as you will see, luck was not on my side with this particular game.

As you have probably guessed by the title, Bookoplathon is based around the board game Monopoly. Each space has a different reading prompt.  To start the game, decide on a number of rolls and as you move around the board you have to pick a book relevant to the prompt you land on.

It would be too much to explain the whole game in detail. If you are interested, here is a link to Becca‘s announcement video which explains all the spaces and rules. The only rule I will explain here is that if you roll a double, you have to add an extra roll to your game. This means you end up adding another book to your TBR. This happened to me a lot! As and when any other rules become relevant, I’ll describe them below.

Here is a copy of my Bookoplathon board, which shows how my game played out.

I decided on five rolls before I started. That way, I rationalised, that if I got a double, I still have the capacity to read six books. Only, luck wasn’t on my side. I ended up rolling three doubles, meaning I have a total of eight books to pick up this month.

I don’t normally compensate with the length of the books I choose to read. When I loosely set a TBR, I’m more likely to read fewer books if the page count is high rather than deliberately choose shorter books. Unfortunately, I have to be conscious of the length of the books I’m going to be picking up this month to satisfy the prompts of bookoplathon. That’s not to say I’ve added eight 20-page books to my reading list this month, because I haven’t. However, I also don’t have multiple 800 page epics like I did for magical readathon. I learned my lesson there!

So, now the basic rules have been explained, let’s jump into the prompts I landed on and the books I have chosen to satisfy them: –

Silverthorn

Starting from the go square, I rolled a seven for my first roll. As with the normal board, the seven lead me to a ‘chance’ space. In bookoplathon, specific books are listed on the ‘chance’ cards, and ‘community shelf’ spaces have additional prompts. For this particular game, I set 6 books for ‘chance’ and 6 prompts on the ‘community shelf’. For ‘chance’, I decided to add books already on my TBR, and for ‘community shelf’ I added prompts that weren’t already included on the board. In order to decide which book I had to read in the case of landing on one of these spaces, it was decided by a single dice roll. For my roll on the ‘chance’ space, I rolled a two. This meant the book I have to pick up is Silverthorn by Raymond E Feist.

I added this book to the ‘chance’ card because I am long overdue progressing with this series. I read the first two books as a teenager, and then again not long after I started my blog. The aim was to refresh myself to continue with the series. That was about five years ago. I won’t be reading them again (again!), in part because I don’t own them anymore, but also because I don’t have the time. I will find a way to refresh myself on events so I can pick up Silverthorn.

 

Red Sister

Next, I rolled a 12. Obviously, this was my first double roll, so I knew pretty much straight away I was already adding at least a sixth book to my list. After rolling 12, I landed on the space for favourite trope. That for me is fantasy.

It’s a very broad prompt, but I have decided to pick up Red Sister by Mark Lawrence. This is one of the oldest books on my reading list, and it fits this prompt perfectly!

A lot of fantasy books can be quite long in length, however this one isn’t too bad at 467 pages. I have read and enjoyed other books by Mark Lawrence previously – his The Broken Empire trilogy. If I enjoy Red Sister as much as I enjoyed those books, then I will be very happy I have another series to dive into!

 

In Case You Missed It

For my third roll, I landed another seven. This took me on to the prompt for reading a book that features romance. Romance is the genre I by far read the least of. However, I have enough books on my TBR that I was able to find one. For this prompt, I have decided to go way off the beaten path and pick up a book that my mum gave to me to try.

My mum is a huge fan of Lindsey Kelk, and when she ended up with two copies of the same book by accident, she gave one to me. The book is called In Case You Missed It. I’m fairly sure I’ve seen this listed as a top read from its publisher recently. If it is the book I pick up to try Lindsey Kelk as an author, then it is probably the best pick!

 

The Long Earth

For my fourth roll I landed yet another seven. Moving around the board, this took me to a ‘community shelf’ space. As with the chance space earlier, I decided which of the six prompts to pick by the roll of a single dice. I rolled a three, and the prompt was to pick up a book that has more than one author. I already have a few books that meet these criteria on my TBR; I’ve decided to pick up a book co-authored by one of my favourite authors of all time.

The book is called The Long Earth, written by Terry Pratchett and Steven Baxter. I am a huge fan of Terry Pratchett, and my dad is a fan of Stephen Baxter. I’m really enjoying science-fiction in general lately, so I’m looking forward to picking this book up. Hopefully, it goes better than another read I started which was co-authored by Terry Pratchett – Good Omens. That one did not end so well… not such a good omen in itself, but we’ll see! 

 

Ordinary Heroes

Moving onto my fifth roll, I rolled a six. This was my second double of the game, meaning I had to add another roll to the game later. The six lead me to the prompt for the highest rated book on my TBR. For this prompt, I had to go to my existing TBR and select the book with the highest community rating. I actually ended up picking the second book listed, only because the first was an ARC with only 11 votes and I didn’t think that was a fair representation.

The second-highest book had over 850 ratings. That book is called Ordinary Heroes, and is a memoir of the chief firefighter who attended the 9/11 incident. It is fitting that I will end up picking up this book in September.

Fortuitously, it also helps me towards my wider goal of reading at least one non-fiction book a month!

 

Dark Matter

My sixth roll was the first additional roll I had to do as a result of landing a double. I rolled at nine, moved around the board and landed on the ‘pattern and text’ prompt. I had quite a few examples of books with covers fitting the prompt on my bookshelf, but most I’ve read already. In the end, I found one that fit – Dark Matter.

Dark Matter is a relatively short science-fiction/thriller novel. It has been on my reading list since 2018. Reading this book for this prompt will allow me to tick another book off of my reading list once complete. This will be the first book I have ever read by Blake Crouch, and as I’m always excited for new to me authors, I’m excited to see if I want to continue with the series!

 

Carrie

My seventh roll was supposed to be my last roll, but luck was not on my side; I rolled a four which was yet another double! I was a bit frustrated with my luck at this point, I cannot lie. Rolling the four landed me on the ‘poll pick’ space. For this prompt, I had to choose four books and post a poll on Twitter to get the bookish community to choose my read. Here’s how the poll played out!

IMG_4605.png