Tag: reading

Discussion Post: Reading Diversity is a Benefit

I wanted to share today’s discussion post as a way of encouraging people to pick up books of different genres. All in all, I think it’s a benefit and you’ll see in today’s post why I think my opinion is justified in that based on my experience. This is of course a discussion post so if you don’t agree, or have a different experience, I would love to hear from you!

 

My Experience

I started reading at a young age and as I developed into my teenage years, I fell into a common trap. I always chose to re-read the same types of books. Fantasy was (and still is) by far my favourite genre and I will pick it up at any opportunity I could. The books I borrowed from the school library were the same. Even when I had the opportunity of every book in that room, with no risk and no gamble financially as to whether I liked it or not, I still reverted to reading the same things. At first this doesn’t sound like a bad thing, however it does have its disadvantages.

The fantasy genre is full of the same kinds of tropes. Orphaned children, an unexpected journey, fate, destiny and coming-of-age stories litter the fantasy market. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy some combinations of these tropes. But that’s not to say they’re always a good thing. In fact, when I would only exclusively read fantasy I got bored of how repetitive the books were. Sure, the characters weren’t quite the same, the journeys were slightly different and each character had their own development arc… But the story is essentially the same. I got to the point where I found myself stuck in a rut and ultimately my reading dropped off just because I felt I was lacking uniqueness in my reading preferences.

Fast forward to when I started my blog. Yes, I resumed my bad habit by reading a large number of the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett. But from there I diversified, and quite quickly. If there is one thing that being part of the blogging community is good for, is that there are book recommendations literally everywhere! I had already come to realise at this point that reading the same thing over and over again was the fatal flaw the first time, and this gave me the push to try new things.

Now I am a completely different reader. Fantasy is still my favourite genre and I still read a lot of it, however I regularly intersperse it with other books from multiple genres. I can now happily say that the only genre I don’t read is romance… but that’s a story for another day. The variety of books I now read has done a lot for me in terms of motivation to continue reading, but also to branch out further and try new things. There isn’t the same apprehension about trying new authors or genres… or combinations of! I only started reading horror books after starting my blog. If I went into each little detail as to how I’ve diversified we could be here all day, but you see where I’m going with this.

 

My Thoughts…

Do I think I am a better reader for having broader reading tastes? Absolutely, yes! By having a wider choice of books I have the opportunity to learn far more than I ever did before. That aside, the different genres and writers all expose me to different writing styles. There are so many fantastic authors out there that even with having an open mind and picking up nearly everything, I could never hope to get through them all in my lifetime.

Confining yourself to a niche genre does not do you any favours, in my experience. In the short term it doesn’t seem much of a problem, and indeed, there can be plenty of vastly different books in the same genre so you don’t get bored for a very long time.

But in my experience, you do hit that point eventually. I did, and I lost my reading motivation years ago because of it. I couldn’t find anything new despite my best efforts and that lead to a stagnation. For anyone who has been in a reading slump, you know how difficult it is to get yourself out of it. It took me years to get out of that one. Whilst I would be lying if I said I didn’t have the odd slump even now, they are few and far between and can often be resolved by picking up another genre.

Do you read from different genres? Do you find they help you when you are in a Reading slump from another? If you don’t agree with what I’ve said, or even if you do, I would love to hear from you! This is a discussion post after all, and it would be interesting to see what the community at large thinks!

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2021 Reading Resolutions / Goals

Hi guys! Happy New Year! I can’t believe I’m writing my first post of 2021 already. Last year seems like a bit of a blur. I’ve enjoyed a lovely break over Christmas and I’ve had plenty of time to think about my goals for 2021 and today’s post. 

Before I get into this year’s goals, I’d like to take a quick recap over 2020. I’ll probably be writing a more detailed post on this in the next few days, but I think it’s only appropriate that I briefly talk about last years goals. This is the first year that I’ve not met my reading goal, but to be perfectly honest, I’m still proud of the number of books I managed to read in the circumstances. I ended up taking on far more than I ever imagined when I set my goal in January. Yet despite this, I still managed to complete 55 books last year, as well as ending the year reading Midnight in Chernobyl by Adam Higginbotham. I also DNF’d a surprising number of books this year. It’s rare that I give up on a book, but this year I’ve DNF’d a total of 5 books.

Inevitably, I have been thinking about my goals for this year. It’s funny because as a person I’m not a huge celebrant of New Year. Call me miserable if you wish, but I’m just the kind of person who is all too aware that the 1st of January is just another day. And most likely, it’s just like the last. Obviously, things are a little bit different with my blog, as setting new goals is kind of ‘the done thing’. If I’m honest, I started thinking about the goals I’m setting back in November and over the last couple of months I’ve convinced myself that this is the right thing to do. So, here are the ‘reading goals’ I’m setting myself for 2021: –

 

Goodreads Challenge

I have taken part in the Goodreads Reading Challenge for the last six years. Granted, 2014 and 2015 were distinct flops. This was before I started blogging and getting into reading full time, and so I only read 10 books out of the target 55 I set myself over the course of the two years.

Since getting back into reading and then beginning my blogging adventure, I’ve had a lot more success. I have met my reading goal every year until 2020. Admittedly, that goal of 80 books was very ambitious when I set it. I did that deliberately because I’ve always underestimated myself in the previous years. If I hadn’t taken on things that I ended up doing in 2020, I might just have reached it. I don’t beat myself up for not reaching it though. Towards the end of the year, I burned out. I am fully prepared to admit that to myself now. Between all the different things I ended up juggling, it all became a bit too much for me. Something had to give, and ultimately it was the reading aspect of my blog that ‘suffered’.

I worry that if I were to carry on in this manner, I’d end up not reading at all. Of course, I don’t want that to happen, so I’m doing something I never expected I’d do as a book blogger. I’m going against the grain and not setting myself a reading goal in 2021. That may sound a bit odd to you, but it’s the right thing for me. I’ve decided that I need to get back to my grassroots, and that’s reading what I want, at my own pace, and doing it for the enjoyment of it. It’s easy to forget that it’s supposed to be a hobby, as blogging ends up becoming like a job. It’s a full-time commitment, and when you’re trying to do other things like hold down actual paid employment, study and complete renovations on your home (to name just a few examples), it’s a lot of work. There are so only so many hours in a day.

The point of setting a Goodreads challenge is that it is supposed to be that – a challenge. This year, I don’t want to put that pressure on myself and risk a prolonged burnout. It’s as simple as that. I don’t see any point in setting myself a ‘challenge’ that isn’t going to be a challenge… hence why I’m not setting myself a goal at all.

 

TBR

Last year‘s goal of trying to chip away at the TBR ended up being a bit of a flop. I started off well, reading a couple of books a month. However, my problem is that I keep adding new ones as quickly as I read others. I was also taking on blog tours last year, which meant that I wasn’t reading enough of the TBR to counteract the books I was adding.

So, this year’s goal is to only read books on my TBR. I already know I’m not going to religiously stick to this one. I’m sure there will be new shiny books and catch my eye and I want to fast track them and read them there and then. The sentiment behind this goal is that I want to read exclusively off my TBR as much as possible and bring the number of books on that list down – significantly more than in previous years!

With this in mind, I’ll also be taking part in fewer blog tours – at least the number I provide reviews for. I will probably still take part, but I’ll be providing promotional posts or extracts as opposed to reviews. This means I can spend my time actually reading the books on my TBR without distraction or deadline. For the most part, I have deliberately not been signing up to them this year. There is one exception, and that is for a book by an author I have read a lot of historically. I have really loved her books to date and I didn’t want to miss out on providing a review for the second book of a series I’ve already started. I’ll be taking part in that tour this month, but aside from that, I have no obligations to review for a blog tour.

 

Review Requests

Technically, I haven’t really been taking many review requests over the last few months. Although, being the person I am, if someone approaches me with a really good book and say there is no time deadline, I can’t help myself to say yes. I love a good book – what can I say!

Well, now I’m saying this. I’m not taking any review requests in 2021, no matter how good the book sounds or whether there is a time deadline or not. I ended up taking on a couple of books towards the end of last year that were ‘non-time-sensitive’, and yet I still ended up getting chased on them. This is exactly what I was looking to avoid when I initially closed myself off to new review requests. My lesson has been learnt, so for this year, I won’t be taking any at all. I’ll honour the ones I have, and that is all l. At least, until next year.

 

Re-read: Harry Potter

My last goal of the year is to re-read the Harry Potter series. 

I had said to myself that I was going to do this sometime after I finished my re-read of A Game of Thrones. Now feels like the perfect time to do so. Harry Potter was one of my favourite book series’ growing up. I read Harry Potter throughout my teenage years, and they have a huge part to play in my developing a love of reading. As I am taking the opportunity to re-capture that essence and love of reading without the demands of competing against myself, or trying to reach that next target, it feels like the right time to re-visit one of the very series’ that kindled my love for reading in the first place. 

 

Have you set yourself any reading goals this year? What are your ambitions for 2021? Please let me know in the comments!

 

 

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Reading List – December 2020

Hi guys! Today I’m sharing my last reading list of 2020. Literally, where has this year gone? In some respects it isn’t a bad thing… but still. It doesn’t feel like Christmas should be just a few weeks away.

You may have noticed that my reading pace has dropped off the last few months. I’m not reading as much as I need to for a variety of reasons. I started the year planning to move, which I did in May. Since then, I’ve been putting in the work on the new place to redecorate, fix up and make it my own. In amongst all this, I’ve been studying for work-sponsored exams too. That in itself is quite a bit to juggle, but my blogging on top of that too? It’s a handful.

That’s why my reading and blogging has had to slow down a bit. I was getting a bit burned out with it, but I didn’t want to give it up. I still really enjoy reading and putting in the time to sharing my thoughts with you all, but I’ve had to find a more sustainable pace. Up until this month, I have been pretty ambitious in setting my reading lists and just carrying over what I don’t read. This month, that changes. I’ve come to accept that I am now reading less than I was… and that it’s okay. Maybe that will change again in future, and maybe not. It just depends on what else I’m doing.

This month’s list has a couple of carryovers from last month, plus one seasonal addition. Have you read any of these books?

 

Auxiliary: London 2039 – Jon Richter

Auxiliary: London 2039 by Jon Richter | Goodreads

The silicon revolution left Dremmler behind, but a good detective is never obsolete.

London is quiet in 2039—thanks to the machines. People stay indoors, communicating through high-tech glasses and gorging on simulated reality while 3D printers and scuttling robots cater to their every whim. Mammoth corporations wage war for dominance in a world where human augmentation blurs the line between flesh and steel.

And at the center of it all lurks The Imagination Machine: the hyper-advanced, omnipresent AI that drives our cars, flies our planes, cooks our food, and plans our lives. Servile, patient, tireless … TIM has everything humanity requires. Everything except a soul.

Through this silicon jungle prowls Carl Dremmler, police detective—one of the few professions better suited to meat than machine. His latest case: a grisly murder seemingly perpetrated by the victim’s boyfriend. Dremmler’s boss wants a quick end to the case, but the tech-wary detective can’t help but believe the accused’s bizarre story: that his robotic arm committed the heinous crime, not him. An advanced prosthetic, controlled by a chip in his skull.

A chip controlled by TIM.

Dremmler smells blood: the seeds of a conspiracy that could burn London to ash unless he exposes the truth. His investigation pits him against desperate criminals, scheming businesswomen, deadly automatons—and the nightmares of his own past. And when Dremmler finds himself questioning even TIM’s inscrutable motives, he’s forced to stare into the blank soul of the machine.

Auxiliary is gripping, unpredictable, and bleakly atmospheric—ideal for fans of cyberpunk classics like the Blade Runner movies, Richard K. Morgan’s Altered Carbon, William Gibson’s Neuromancer, and the Netflix original series Black Mirror.

 

I’m already a few chapters into Auxiliary and I can tell it’s a read I’m going to get on well with. I like the premise of the book and the narrative style is easy to read. The chapters are also nice and short so it’s easy to pick up. If you enjoy mystery and science-fiction genres, this might be one for you!

 

Brave New World – Aldous Huxley

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley | Goodreads

Brave New World is a dystopian novel by English author Aldous Huxley, written in 1931 and published in 1932. Largely set in a futuristic World State, inhabited by genetically modified citizens and an intelligence-based social hierarchy, the novel anticipates huge scientific advancements in reproductive technology, sleep-learning, psychological manipulation and classical conditioning that are combined to make a dystopian society which is challenged by only a single individual: the story’s protagonist.

 

Brave New World has been on my TBR for a number of years, and after watching the TV series recently, I decided it was the right time to pick the book up! I didn’t get around to reading Brave New World last month, so I will be reading the book this month instead.

 

Twas The Nightshift Before Christmas – Adam Kay

Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas by Adam Kay | Goodreads

Twas The Nightshift Before Christmas is the hilarious, poignant and entertaining story of the life of a junior doctor at the most challenging time of the year. With twenty-five tales of intriguing, shocking and incredible Christmas incidents, the British public will finally appreciate the sacrifices made and the challenges faced by the unsung heroes of the NHS.

Twas The Nightshift Before Christmas will be fully illustrated (as tastefully as possible) and will delight all of Adam’s fans throughout the festive period of Christmas 2019 and for many years to come.

 

I was introduced to Adam Kay earlier this year with This Is Going To Hurt by a colleague. The book was both heartbreaking and hilarious at the same time. I found out around the time I read it that there was a Christmas themed book also by him, so I have been planning on reading this book in December since then! If it’s every bit as good as This Is Going to Hurt, which I expect it will be, then this will be a great read to end the year.

 

So, that’s my reading list for the month! Have you read any of these books? What did you make of them if you have, or do you like the sound of them if you haven’t? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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Reading List – November 2020

I am sharing my penultimate reading list of 2020. I just need a moment for that to sink in. Literally, WHERE HAS THIS YEAR GONE?! It’s crazy! And yet, here we are! I can’t believe it, but that doesn’t change it.

This month’s reading list features a couple of blog tour reads, as well as a couple of reading requests I previously accepted and last, but not least, a read off my never-ending TBR. One of the reading requests is a tidy up as well, as I have actually read most of the book already. I just need to finish it off!

Shall we get into what I am reading this month?

 

Glimmer of Hope – J. A. Andrews

Sometimes chasing a dream can become a nightmare…

Alecia Preen is living in poverty and desperate to make a better life for herself. Having moved to a new area for new beginnings after being disowned by her family, money was fast running out. She is struggling to make ends meet.

With the intention of charging lonely men online for her services, Alecia realises she can supplement her income by being unscrupulous. In meeting Jake Parker he requests that she role-plays as a psychiatrist, but he makes her aware of an underground millionaires playground called Sordida. He warns her to stay away.

As Alecia’s curiosity gets the better of her, she is amazed by the wealth and decadence on offer. Sordida is not the club she had anticipated because behind the legendary name lurks a very dark secret. A secret that could cost her everything.

He pays by the hour and Alecia pays in ways she had never imagined.

 

I love the sound of this particular read, which is why I’ve signed up for the blog tour! I’m not actually taking part until December, but I want to give myself plenty of time to pick the book up. It sounds sinister and intriguing, so I can’t wait to read this!

 

The Dark Chorus – Ashley Meggitt

Goodreads – The Dark Chorus

Oblivion awaits the Angel’s salvation

The Boy can see lost souls.

He has never questioned the fact that he can see them. He thinks of them as the Dark Chorus. When he sets out to restore the soul of his dead mother it becomes clear that his ability comes from within him. It is a force that he cannot ignore – the last shard of the shattered soul of an angel.

To be restored to the kingdom of light, the shard must be cleansed of the evil that infects it – but this requires the corrupt souls of the living!

With the help from Makka, a psychotically violent young man full of hate, and Vee, an abused young woman full of pain, the Boy begins to kill.

Psychiatrist Dr Eve Rhodes is seconded to assist the police investigation into the Boy’s apparently random ritualistic killings. As the investigation gathers pace, a pattern emerges. When Eve pulls at the thread from an article in an old psychology journal, what might otherwise have seemed to her a terrible psychotic delusion now feels all too real…

Will the Boy succeed in restoring the angel’s soul to the light? Can Eve stop him, or will she be lost to realm of the Dark Chorus?

 

The Dark Chorus is the second blog tour I am taking part in next month. Both blog tours are at the beginning of the month, and also on consecutive days too. This is why I am reading them nice and early this month. The Dark Chorus sounds like a really dark psychological thriller, which you guys know I love. I feel like I should have read them last month – they have a Halloween-y vibe – never mind! There isn’t a wrong time to read a book like this… at least not in my house!

 

Rags of Time – Michael Ward

Goodreads – Rags of Time

London. 1639.

Thomas Tallant, a young and ambitious Spice Merchant, returns from India to find his city in turmoil.

A bitter struggle is brewing between King Charles I and Parliament, as England slides into civil war. The capital is simmering with dissent. The conflict is ready to boil over.

But Thomas soon has other troubles to contend with. A wealthy merchant, Sir Joseph Venell, is savagely killed; then his partner Sir Hugh Swofford plunges to his death, in the Tallant household.

Suspicion falls on Thomas, who is sucked into a mire of treachery and rumour within the City of London. As the merchant struggles to clear his name, he becomes captivated by the enigmatic Elizabeth Seymour, whose passion for astronomy and mathematics is matched only by her addiction to the gaming tables.

Pursued by the authorities, Thomas races to unmask the real killer who claims a third victim to implicate him further, toying with his future in a deadly cat and mouse game.

In a desperate race against time, Elizabeth applies her powers of logic and deduction to unearth the clues that will point to the killer, but her way is barred by a secret message from the grave.

Can she crack its code before Thomas, now a wounded and exhausted fugitive, succumbs to the chase?

And, if she succeeds, has Thomas the strength to face his tormentor and win his life and reputation back?

Rags of Time is the first book in an engaging and entertaining new historical crime series, set during the upheaval of the 17th Century.

 

You may remember I picked this book up a couple of months ago. I read a good deal of the book then, but other time-constrained commitments meant I had to set the book aside at that time. Well, now I have a lot more time to finish the book, I’m going to wrap this up this month.

 

Auxilliary: London 2039 – John Richter

Goodreads – Auxiliary: London 2039

The silicon revolution left Dremmler behind, but a good detective is never obsolete.

London is quiet in 2039—thanks to the machines. People stay indoors, communicating through high-tech glasses and gorging on simulated reality while 3D printers and scuttling robots cater to their every whim. Mammoth corporations wage war for dominance in a world where human augmentation blurs the line between flesh and steel.

And at the center of it all lurks The Imagination Machine: the hyper-advanced, omnipresent AI that drives our cars, flies our planes, cooks our food, and plans our lives. Servile, patient, tireless … TIM has everything humanity requires. Everything except a soul.

Through this silicon jungle prowls Carl Dremmler, police detective—one of the few professions better suited to meat than machine. His latest case: a grisly murder seemingly perpetrated by the victim’s boyfriend. Dremmler’s boss wants a quick end to the case, but the tech-wary detective can’t help but believe the accused’s bizarre story: that his robotic arm committed the heinous crime, not him. An advanced prosthetic, controlled by a chip in his skull.

A chip controlled by TIM.

Dremmler smells blood: the seeds of a conspiracy that could burn London to ash unless he exposes the truth. His investigation pits him against desperate criminals, scheming businesswomen, deadly automatons—and the nightmares of his own past. And when Dremmler finds himself questioning even TIM’s inscrutable motives, he’s forced to stare into the blank soul of the machine.

Auxiliary is gripping, unpredictable, and bleakly atmospheric—ideal for fans of cyberpunk classics like the Blade Runner movies, Richard K. Morgan’s Altered Carbon, William Gibson’s Neuromancer, and the Netflix original series Black Mirror.

 

A few months ago I accepted a review request for this book and I love the sound of it. I’m a huge fan of science-fiction and I am always vowing to read more of it. I like the crime element to the narrative as well. I think this will be a really interesting read!

 

Brave New World – Aldous Huxley

Goodreads – Brave New World

Brave New World is a dystopian novel by English author Aldous Huxley, written in 1931 and published in 1932. Largely set in a futuristic World State, inhabited by genetically modified citizens and an intelligence-based social hierarchy, the novel anticipates huge scientific advancements in reproductive technology, sleep-learning, psychological manipulation and classical conditioning that are combined to make a dystopian society which is challenged by only a single individual: the story’s protagonist.

 

My last book on today’s list has been on my TBR for three years now. I’ve decided to read it now as I recently watched the TV series currently on Now TV. I loved the dystopian vibes (let’s face it, I don’t think I’ve discovered a dystopian read I didn’t like!) and so I’ve bumped it up the list and I’m reading it this month.

 

So, that’s what you can expect me reading and talking about this November. Have you read Brave New World or any of the other books on my list?

 

 

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Top Ten Tuesday – Changes in My Bookish Life Since 2017

Hi guys and welcome back to another Top Ten Tuesday post! This is one of the less regular features on my blog – I don’t think I have written one of these for a couple of months or so.

The topic I have chosen is one I saw posted by Jana at The Artsy Reader Girl, published last month. I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the Top Ten Changes in My Bookish Life. Jana begins her list from the commencement of blogging, so I’ll do the same too!

 

Firstly, I read a lot more!

My previous record number of books read in 2017 (60 books) has been beaten; with a couple of weeks to go, I’ll set a new record of 70-something books.

 

I read a greater variety of genres

I used to read a pretty much only fantasy, both before and at the beginning of my blogging adventure. Now I read a lot of genres, often switching between them for variety. I have diversified A LOT since then.

 

…And read new genres too!

I had never read a horror novel until I started blogging. Pet Sematary was my first horror novel, swiftly followed by IT less than two months later!

 

I read less on Kindle than I used to

I used to read nearly 100% on Kindle. However, now I am earning a little more I am buying physical copies of books I love. I also get physical review copies from publishers too!

 

I have a significantly longer TBR…

Perks of being part of a book blogging community: you have lots of amazing people to talk to and discuss books with. Also, you get to hear about all the books and consequently there aren’t enough hours in the day to read them all…

 

I started self-hosting my blog in June 2018

I love the freedom this allows me. Mostly. I have wanted to throw my computer out of the window on one or two occasions with it, but in the grand scheme of things it’s great!

 

I actually have a blogging schedule

When I first started blogging I basically posted when I felt like it. I was far more sporadic than I am now. Now I am drafting and publishing content regularly!

 

I have a community to talk to/with!

I have branched out with a lot of social media and as such, I have a lot more people to talk to. It’s rare I get to have a bookish conversation offline.

 

I’m no longer afraid to ask publishers for review copies

This came with confidence and the growth of my blog. Now I have a bit of a following, it’s worthwhile for publishers to send me books to review.

 

I am very lucky to be on publishers mailing lists

Over time I have gotten myself on various mailing lists, giving me greater access to books and new authors.

It’s fun to look back and consider how you started out and compare it to the present day. How has your reading life change recently or over time?

 

 

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down the tbr hole

Down the TBR Hole #21

Down the TBR Hole is a meme created by Lia @ Lost in a Story. The idea is to review the books on your TBR to decide if you still want to read them. The rules are as follows: –

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books.
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

 

I’ve written quite a few of these posts now and they are proving a great way of tidying up my reading list. Okay, the list isn’t exactly GOING DOWN, but it is all books I want to read now. Shall review the next five books on my list?

 

The Siege – Helen Dunmore

Goodreads – The Siege

Called “elegantly, starkly beautiful” by The New York Times Book Review, The Siege is Helen Dunmore’s masterpiece. Her canvas is monumental — the Nazis’ 1941 winter siege on Leningrad that killed six hundred thousand — but her focus is heartrendingly intimate.

One family, the Levins, fights to stay alive in their small apartment, held together by the unlikely courage and resourcefulness of twenty-two-year-old Anna. Though she dreams of an artist’s life, she must instead forage for food in the ever more desperate city and watch her little brother grow cruelly thin. Their father, a blacklisted writer who once advocated a robust life of the mind, withers in spirit and body. At such brutal times everything is tested. And yet Dunmore’s inspiring story shows that even then, the triumph of the human heart is that love need not fall away.

 

I’m a complete sucker for historical fiction and especially for this time period. Typically, I would read about the front line, so to speak. I think it will be refreshing to read about the impact of war on everyday citizens for a change.

Verdict: Keep

 

The Adversary: A True Story of Monstrous Deception – Emmanuel Carrère & Linda Coverdale

Goodreads – The Adversary

On the Saturday morning of January 9, 1993, while Jean Claude Romand was killing his wife and children, I was with mine in a parent-teacher meeting…

With these chilling first words, acclaimed master of psychological suspense Emmanuel Carrère begins his exploration of the double life of a respectable doctor, 18 years of lies, five murders and the extremes to which ordinary people can go.

 

Doesn’t this sound really chilling? That’s precisely what I thought when I read the synopsis on Bookbub. I bought a copy straight away and I’m intrigued to see where this sinister sounding novel takes us.

Verdict: Keep

 

Secondborn – Amy A. Bartol

Goodreads – Secondborn

Firstborns rule society. Secondborns are the property of the government. Thirdborns are not tolerated. Long live the Fates Republic.

On Transition Day, the second child in every family is taken by the government and forced into servitude. Roselle St. Sismode’s eighteenth birthday arrives with harsh realizations: she’s to become a soldier for the Fate of Swords military arm of the Republic during the bloodiest rebellion in history, and her elite firstborn mother is happy to see her go.

Televised since her early childhood, Roselle’s privileged upbringing has earned her the resentment of her secondborn peers. Now her decision to spare an enemy on the battlefield marks her as a traitor to the state.

But Roselle finds an ally—and more—in fellow secondborn conscript Hawthorne Trugrave. As the consequences of her actions ripple throughout the Fates Republic, can Roselle create a destiny of her own? Or will her Fate override everything she fights for—even love?

 

I like reading dystopian novels, and that’s why I added this to the list. Looking at it again now, I’m not so sure about it. It’s not that I think I won’t like it, but there isn’t a burning, overwhelming desire to read it either. I’ve got plenty of books on the list that I would love to read right here, right now. I think this one has to go.

Verdict: Go

 

Sleeping Beauties – Stephen King & Owen King

Goodreads – Sleeping Beauties

In a future so real and near it might be now, something happens when women go to sleep; they become shrouded in a cocoon-like gauze.

If they are awakened, and the gauze wrapping their bodies is disturbed or violated, the women become feral and spectacularly violent; and while they sleep they go to another place.

The men of our world are abandoned, left to their increasingly primal devices. One woman, however, the mysterious Evie, is immune to the blessing or curse of the sleeping disease.

Is Evie a medical anomaly to be studied, or is she a demon who must be slain?

 

Stephen King is pretty much an auto-approve for me. I have read a variety of his books now and really enjoyed them all. The synopsis would have drawn me to the book whether he had a hand in it or not; the fact he does is only bonus points.

Verdict: Keep

 

11.22.63 – Stephen King

Goodreads – 11.22.63

Life can turn on a dime—or stumble into the extraordinary, as it does for Jake Epping, a high school English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine. While grading essays by his GED students, Jake reads a gruesome, enthralling piece penned by janitor Harry Dunning: fifty years ago, Harry somehow survived his father’s sledgehammer slaughter of his entire family. Jake is blown away…but an even more bizarre secret comes to light when Jake’s friend Al, owner of the local diner, enlists Jake to take over the mission that has become his obsession—to prevent the Kennedy assassination. How? By stepping through a portal in the diner’s storeroom, and into the era of Ike and Elvis, of big American cars, sock hops, and cigarette smoke… Finding himself in warmhearted Jodie, Texas, Jake begins a new life. But all turns in the road lead to a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald. The course of history is about to be rewritten…and become heart-stoppingly suspenseful.

 

Again, this is an automatic yes! What’s even better is that I came across this gem in a charity shop for only 50p!

Verdict: Keep

So, only one off the list this time, but I don’t mind too much! Do you agree with my choices? Have you read any of these books? As always, I would love to hear from you!

 

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down the tbr hole

Down the TBR Hole #20

Down the TBR Hole is a meme created by Lia @ Lost in a Story. The idea is to review the books on your TBR to decide if you still want to read them. The rules are as follows: –

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books.
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

So, without further adieu, let’s review the next five books on my list!

 

Kill the Father – Sandrone Dazieri

Goodreads – Kill the Father

‘The rock cast a sharp, dark shadow over a shape huddled on the ground. Please don’t let it be the boy, Colomba thought. Her silent prayer didn’t go unanswered. The corpse belonged to the mother.’

THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN STOP HIM IS THE ONE WHO GOT AWAY…

Dante Torre spent eleven young years in captivity – held by a man known only as The Father – before outwitting his abductor. Now working for the police force, Torre’s methods are unorthodox but his brilliance is clear. When a young child goes missing in similar circumstances in Rome, Torre must confront the demons of his past to attempt to solve the case.

Paired with Deputy Captain Colomba Caselli, a fierce, warrior-like detective still reeling from having survived a bloody catastrophe, all evidence suggests The Father is active after being dormant for decades, and that he’s looking forward to a reunion with Dante…

 

When I discovered this book I knew it was something I would love to read. Doesn’t the synopsis just sound so eerily intriguing? I’ve got a paperback copy of this sat on my bookshelf in the hallway ready to read. As a rule, I only tend to get myself physical copies of books if I know I’ll enjoy them. To me, they’re just a little more prestigious than e-books. I’m choosier about the physical books I buy I suppose. They’re more expensive and going to be out on display. I have to be sure I’ll enjoy them!

Verdict: Keep

 

Executed – R. R. Haywood

Goodreads – Executed

The team of heroes extracted from their timelines to stop the impending apocalypse didn’t think they needed a leader.

But they’ve got one anyway.

With their mission in tatters, Miri has been called in to steady the ship. And to focus them on their assignment: preventing the end of the world.

The problem is, the world doesn’t know it’s in danger. With governments pursuing them relentlessly, attempting to steal the time-travel device to use for their own ends, the heroes are on the run—fighting for survival in a world they’re supposed to save.

Meanwhile, Miri has motives of her own. And when the existence of a second device is discovered, the team’s mission and their lives are in mortal danger…

 

I’ve read the first book of this series but to be honest, after talking to some people, I have doubts about whether to continue reading it. I liked the first book in an “it’s okay, readable”, but not exceptional way. From what others have said, I don’t think it gets any better. There’s some kind of romance element that comes in later too. I don’t like that all that much in books; I can deal with it if the rest of the book is so good that it makes up for it, but I think I’ll regret keeping going with these.

Verdict: Go

 

Dancer’s Lament – Ian Esslemont

Goodreads – Dancer’s Lament

Taking Malazan fans back to that troubled continent’s turbulent early history. The opening chapter in Ian C. Esslemont’s epic new fantasy sequence, the Path to Ascendancy trilogy.

For ages warfare has crippled the continent as minor city states, baronies, and principalities fought in an endless round of hostilities. Only the alliance of the rival Tali and Quon cities could field the resources to mount a hegemony from coast to coast — and thus become known as Quon Tali.

It is a generation since the collapse of this dynasty and regional powers are once more rousing themselves. Into this arena of renewed border wars come two youths to the powerful central city state that is Li Heng. One is named Dorin, and he comes determined to prove himself the most skilled assassin of his age; he is chasing the other youth — a Dal Hon mage who has proven himself annoyingly difficult to kill.

Li Heng has been guided and warded for centuries by the powerful sorceress known as the “Protectress”, and she allows no rivals. She and her cabal of five mage servants were enough to repel the Quon Tali Iron Legions — what could two youths hope to accomplish under their stifling rule?

Yet under the new and ambitious King Chulalorn the Third, Itko Kan is on the march from the south. He sends his own assassin servants, the Nightblades, against the city, and there are hints that he also commands inhuman forces out of legend.

While above all, shadows swirl oddly about Li Heng, and monstrous slathering beasts seem to appear from nowhere to run howling through the street. It is a time of chaos and upheaval, and in chaos, as the young Dal Hon mage would say, there is opportunity.

 

I really like the sound of this fantasy novel. It seems to have some cliché character roles, but for the sake of a good story and world-building, I can live with that.

Verdict: Keep

 

Eagles in the Storm – Ben Kane

Goodreads – Eagles in the Storm

Arminius has been defeated, one of the three eagles has been recovered, and thousands of German tribesmen slain. Yet these successes aren’t nearly enough for senior centurion Lucius Tullus. Not until Arminius is dead, his old legion’s eagle liberated and the enemy tribes completely vanquished will he rest. But Arminius is still at large, devious, fearless and burning for revenge of his own. Charismatic as ever, he raises another large tribal army, which will harry the Romans the length and breadth of the land. Into this cauldron of bloodshed, danger and treachery, Tullus must go – alone. His mission – to find and bring back his legion’s eagle – will place him in more danger than he has ever faced before. Can he succeed? Can he even survive?

 

When I bought this, I didn’t realise it was the third book in the Eagles of Rome series. It’s definitely a keeper, but I am going to have to get myself the first two books and read them before I even think about picking this up. Just knowing they are in the wrong order is enough. I can’t do it. Maybe I’m a little OCD.

Verdict: Keep

 

Murder on the Orient Express – Agatha Christie

Goodreads – Murder on the Orient Express

What more can a mystery addict desire than a much-loathed murder victim found aboard the luxurious Orient Express with multiple stab wounds, thirteen likely suspects, an incomparably brilliant detective in Hercule Poirot, and the most ingenious crime ever conceived?

 

Maybe it seems a little unfair to have my doubts about such a classic, but now I do. I managed to watch the recent film starring Kenneth Branagh and Johnny Depp – in fact, I think that’s why I added this to my TBR! I have reservations about the book though if I’m honest. It’s a tale so well known that I think it won’t meet expectations, so to speak. I’ll want to like it so much that I’ll be twice as disappointed if I don’t. I’ve also been reading a lot of crime/mystery lately. Maybe I’m growing a little bored of the genre.

Verdict: Go

So, that’s 2/5 off the list! What do you think? Do you agree with me?

 

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down the tbr hole

Down the TBR Hole #19

Down the TBR Hole is a meme created by Lia @ Lost in a Story. The idea is to review the books on your TBR to decide if you still want to read them. The rules are as follows: –

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books.
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

So, without further adieu, let’s review the next five books on my list!

 

Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden

Goodreads – Memoirs of a Geisha

A literary sensation and runaway bestseller, this brilliant debut novel presents with seamless authenticity and exquisite lyricism the true confessions of one of Japan’s most celebrated geisha.

In Memoirs of a Geisha, we enter a world where appearances are paramount; where a girl’s virginity is auctioned to the highest bidder; where women are trained to beguile the most powerful men; and where love is scorned as illusion. It is a unique and triumphant work of fiction – at once romantic, erotic, suspenseful – and completely unforgettable.

 

I added this to my TBR after reading some really good reviews of it. I must admit, looking back at that decision now, that this book will be to my taste. Let’s be honest, romantic and erotic has never been my cup of tea when it comes to literature.

Verdict: Go

 

A Darkness at Sethanon – Raymond E. Feist

Goodreads – A Darkness at Sethanon

A Darkness at Sethanon is the stunning climax to Raymond E. Feist’s brilliant epic fantasy trilogy, the Riftwar Saga.

Here be dragons and sorcery, swordplay, quests, pursuits, intrigues, stratagems, journeys to the darkest realms of the dead and titanic battles between the forces of good and darkest evil.

Here is the final dramatic confrontation between Arutha and Murmandamus – and the perilous quest of Pug the magician and Tomas the warrior for Macros the Black. A Darkness at Sethanon is heroic fantasy of the highest excitement and on the grandest scale, a magnificent conclusion to one of the great fantasy sagas of our time.

 

I took a whole two seconds to decide I was keeping this book on my list! I loved Magician years ago and again when I revisited it recently. The rest of the series is definitely staying on my TBR. It’s a total no-brainer!

Verdict: Keep

 

Wytchfire – Michael Meyerhofer

Goodreads – Wytchfire

In a land haunted by the legacy of dead dragons, Rowen Locke has been many things: orphan, gravedigger, mercenary. All he ever wanted was to become a Knight of Crane and wield a kingsteel sword against the kind of grown horrors his childhood knows all too well.

But that dream crumbled—replaced by a new nightmare.
War is overrunning the realms, an unprecedented duel of desire and revenge, steel and sorcery. And for one disgraced man who would be a knight, in a world where no one is blameless, the time has come to decide which side he’s on.

 

I’m going to be really honest here and say that adding this to the TBR was born from an urge to read more fantasy. When I was younger I used to only read fantasy novels… so much so I got a bit sick of them. I was simultaneously bored with the genre and actively trying to seek out more. Does that make sense? Maybe, or maybe not. Either way, I don’t really have the burning desire to read this anymore.

Verdict: Go

 

Dark Matter – Blake Crouch

Goodreads – Dark Matter

“Are you happy with your life?”

Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious.

Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits.

Before a man Jason’s never met smiles down at him and says, “Welcome back, my friend.”

In this world he’s woken up to, Jason’s life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor, but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable. Something impossible.

Is it this world or the other that’s the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could’ve imagined—one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe.

From the author of the bestselling Wayward Pines trilogy, Dark Matter is a brilliantly plotted tale that is at once sweeping and intimate, mind-bendingly strange and profoundly human—a relentlessly surprising science-fiction thriller about choices, paths not taken, and how far we’ll go to claim the lives we dream of.

 

I have heard so many excellent things about Dark Matter. I bought the e-book last year because I knew it was a keeper on the TBR. In fact, I thought it sounded SO GOOD I nearly bought a physical copy, months later, forgetting I already had the e-book version. It also fits my bill of trying to read more sci-fi books. Its a win-win situation.

Verdict: Keep

 

Anne Boleyn – Evelyn Anthony

Goodreads – Anne Boleyn

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

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

 

Of all of Henry VIII’s wives, Anne Boleyn’s life story is the one that captures my attention the most. I have a number of books in my TBR dedicated to the woman’s history. The Tudor period is my favourite of all historical subjects. You can see where this is going. It’s an easy decision.

Verdict: Keep

This has to be one of the easiest Down the TBR Hole posts I have ever written. Sometimes I can be a bit wishy-washy, on the fence, but these were all really easy choices for me to make!

At least I know what it is I want to read (and there is variety too)

Have you read any of these books? Do you agree with my choices?

Top Ten Tuesday – Book Recommendations

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl.

The thing I enjoy the most about blogging and reading blogs is book recommendations. Whether giving them myself or getting them by reading reviews online, it’s fun. I’m always looking to increase my reading repertoire. I hadn’t ventured into reading horror books until I started my blog and up until that point, I have missed out on enjoying a wide range of authors!

Today I am taking the opportunity to give YOU some book recommendations, but if you have any for me based on my list, then I would love to hear some of your recommendations in the comments!

I’m going to keep this list short and snappy so you can scan through if you want. Where I have reviewed a book on the list, I’ll provide a link to my review in the title. That way you can choose whether you wish to read it or not. I mean OBVIOUSLY, you do… but hey, I want all the views I can get haha!

 

My Top Ten Book Recommendations

 

A Game of Thrones – George R. R. Martin

I would only recommend this for fans of fantasy who aren’t intimidated by larger books and complex plot lines. Isn’t that a given? I think the largest books I read are typically part of the fantasy genre. There are a couple of notable exceptions though. It’s worth the time though – this is by far my favourite series of all time and I will recommend this book again and again until I am blue in the face.

 

Pet Sematary – Stephen King

This was the first horror I read of Stephen King’s. It wasn’t the first of his books I read – that accolade goes to The Green Mile. This was the first in the horror genre though. Since then I have gone on to read IT and listen to The Stand and add many other books to the list.

 

The Discworld Series – Terry Pratchett

What is great about the Discworld series is that it doesn’t matter how many of these you read. You could read them all if you want to, (a feat I am slowly creeping towards), or you could just pick up one to enjoy. The stories are all largely independent of each other and so you’re not committed to a mass reading expedition trying these. They have characters, places and comical themes in common, but they stand alone too. I have read too many of these books to link here, and some before my blogging days. Please search on my blog if you’re interested.

 

The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive #1) – Brandon Sanderson

As with A Game of Thrones, this is another epic read worth the investment. I have only read the first book so far, but the fact that I am willing to recommend the series based on that should say it all…

 

The Green Mile – Stephen King

If this book doesn’t make you ball your eyes out … ahem, upset, then you are not human. I was introduced to the film many years ago but due to the nature of the topics concerned, I hadn’t really watched it in full. The book is even more profound than the film and it is one I will re-visit again and again.

 

The Last Kingdom (series) – Bernard Cornwell

This is a recommendation for anyone who enjoys reading historical fiction. Again, it’s tricky to link the reviews. I love the characters and the narrative is so well written… these books are easy to get lost in. I have read the first three books of the series so far in addition to having watched the first two seasons of the TV adaptation. Muppet here has only JUST realised that Season 3 was released in November last year, but only on Netflix. I’ll have to buy the DVD for it. Next month…

 

Raven’s Mark series – Ed McDonald

Another fantasy series I know, but wow! I love Ryhalt and his sassiness; I relate to his sarcastic outlook, I really do. Ryhalt is almost a bit of an anti-hero – the kind of guy that does what he does to save his own skin MOST of the time. There is a glimmer of humanity in there somewhere though. We need to see more of these characters in books. Let’s face it, not many people are as altruistic as book heroes are!

 

An Almond for a Parrot – Wray Delaney

This book makes it to the list for the comedy factor. It has a blend of fantasy in there too, but my favourite part by far is how it handled the, erm… saucy bits. As a general rule, I don’t like books that go into that much detail in THAT regard. I find it cringe-worthy. So was this one in its own way, but that somehow made it funnier? I couldn’t have “read” this in the traditional way. I listened to the audiobook and the narrator did a fabulous job. It made the story.

 

Strange the Dreamer (series) – Laini Taylor

I recommend this duology for anyone who enjoys magic, YA style. I’m not a huge reader of YA on the whole, but I really enjoyed these. Sometimes I can find the characters immature, but the storyline behind them “finding themselves” after their world is turned upside down both makes sense and drives the plot nicely. There’s a little bit of a romance which is kind of cute. Again, I’m not really a HUGE fan generally but it isn’t overplayed.

 

Code Name Verity – Elizabeth Wein

I want to recommend this historical fiction book to anyone who loves this genre because I did NOT see the plot twist in this one coming. Not only is the character engaging, but we are able to sympathise with her predicament. The level of detail is fantastic and I was blown away by the ending!

 

I’ve tried to vary up my recommendations based on different genres, although Fantasy does prevail a little here! Have you read any of these books?

Do you have any recommendations for me?

 

Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 3rd March 2019

It’s time for the Sunday Summary (aka weekly wrap-up) again guys! Have you had a good reading week?

My week had quite a good start really. Last week I failed in writing my review of A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin. I really thought I was going to struggle. How do you even manage to start such an epic task? I did just fine though – in fact, I had to stop myself else I’d have been waffling nonsense! If you already love the book I would love to hear what you think about it as well!

Yesterday, again later than scheduled, I published my reading list for March. It was a little bit rushed to publish that post since I left it so late. I ended up spending a lot longer at a work social on Friday than I expected.

 

Books Read

My primary focus this week ended up being a little different than planned. I had hoped to finish Ewan Pendle and the Castle of Nightmares, but as I am proofreading as well as reading for review, this is quite an intensive task. I haven’t gotten very much sleep this week on account of a neighbour’s loud television at all hours of the night. Literally, 24/7. Put it this way, yesterday was my first opportunity to catch up on the much-needed sleep. I woke up at 11:45 am – much later than my 8:30 am alarm! Eek!

So, my head hasn’t been in the right place for proofreading. Instead, I decided to focus my attention on the last book on my February list, The End of Magic by Mark Stay. I started this book from scratch this week and I’m currently at 67%. I haven’t been reading at my best speed (for reasons mentioned above, as well as being out for lunch twice, staying late at work for an hour on Wednesday AND a work social on Friday), but I’m hoping to really make a push to have these two books read soon!

You may recall that I mentioned a book called Copyediting and Proofreading for Dummies in last week’s Sunday Summary post. Well, I was able to pick that up on Thursday. Naturally, my curious self couldn’t help but have a little nosy at a few chapters. There is no such thing as just looking at a few pages now…

 

Books Discovered

Out of the blue, I received a book recommendation by a friend yesterday, which was nice! She is one of my more bookish friends from school and I think we have similar tastes. She describes Gormenghast as “a brilliantly written, funny and macabre fantasy with lush descriptions and distinct characters”. The funniest part is that apparently, one character acts just like someone we both went to school with and the book “voices exactly why he was so irritating”.

I couldn’t possibly say no to that recommendation. I always try to credit them when I receive them, so thank you to my friend Alice @amjlawrence

 

Coming Up…

Before I even begin to tackle March’s reading list, priority number one is to finish February’s reads. Now that the pressure at work is off and I can hopefully get some sleep, I am really going to push finishing reading Ewan Pendle and the Castle of Nightmares and The End of Magic by midweek.

In terms of blog posts, I have decided to post another Top Ten Tuesday this week. It’s been a month since the last one, to the day. This month, my post will be all about my top ten book recommendations.

Later in the week, I’ll be dropping another review your way. This one is for The Cathedral of Known Things by Edward Cox, book two in the Relic Guild series. I am really looking forward to concluding the series by reading The Watcher of Dead Time later this month. This will be a great opportunity to conclude my thoughts about that book before I delve into the next!