Tag: reading list

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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Reading List – June 2020

Hey guys and welcome to June’s reading list!

No surprises this month, I am actually setting a reading list this time. It was very unusual not setting one last month, but definitely the right decision to make. I had more than enough on my plate with moving house and getting tidied up afterwards without pressuring myself to read as much as possible in between.

The truth is I am going to be working on various bits and pieces in the next few months. Almost the entire house still needs redecorating for example, and that’s going to take time to do. I’m also supposed to be taking an exam in a month’s time, but that’s uncertain at the moment. The venue has cancelled pretty much all exams right now, but with one corona case left and thirteen days since our last positive testing, I’m hopeful that we will beat the stinking virus and the situation may change. Whether it happens or not, I’m still preparing for it now, so that’s more time I have to set aside for it.

Long story short, yes I am setting a TBR… but it’s not going to be a long one. I don’t want to overburden myself or lose focus on home improvements because that’s more important. I love my reading and my blog, but I know that taking a ‘step back’ is what’s needed in the short term. If I do manage to read more than I expect – great! Equally, if I don’t, I’m not going to kick myself. I’m already 6 books behind schedule so I’m very unlikely to hit this year’s target of 80 books. I was on track before the move happened, but not anymore and I doubt I’ll claw it back. Never mind.

So, enough ramble… shall we check out my TBR?

 

A Dance with Dragons pt 2 – After the Feast – George R. R. Martin

Goodreads – A Dance with Dragons

The future of the Seven Kingdoms hangs in the balance.

In King’s Landing the Queen Regent, Cersei Lannister, awaits trial, abandoned by all those she trusted; while in the eastern city of Yunkai her brother Tyrion has been sold as a slave. From the Wall, having left his wife and the Red Priestess Melisandre under the protection of Jon Snow, Stannis Baratheon marches south to confront the Boltons at Winterfell. But beyond the Wall the wildling armies are massing for an assault…

On all sides bitter conflicts are reigniting, played out by a grand cast of outlaws and priests, soldiers and skinchangers, nobles and slaves. The tides of destiny will inevitably lead to the greatest dance of all.

 

This entry probably doesn’t come as a surprise to you, since I am part way through the book from last month. I’ve read about 140 pages so far, so I’ve made decent progress… but also a good way to go too. I’m such a fan of the series that I don’t find these difficult to read. Some long and complicated books can feel like a bit of a slog, but A Game of Thrones is an old friend to me at this point. I can pick them up and put them down really easily as I know so much about the plot, characters etc from earlier reads and the TV show, that it’s not new content to learn. Finishing this second part will complete my re-read of the series, which has been long overdue.

 

Never Ever Tell – Kirsty Ferguson

Goodreads – Never Ever Tell

She’d do anything for her boy…

Vanessa Sawyer knows all about pain. She’s felt it every day since marrying the boy who fathered her baby in high school. All he’s meant are broken bones, broken heart and broken dreams. But he also brought her the love of her life. When her son Wren was born, her baby boy was her salvation.

Vanessa watches Wren grow and become a young man she can be proud of. Until one night everything changes, including Wren. One night that her son refuses to speak of. Now Vanessa can’t rest, not until she uncovers the secret that her son has been hiding from her.

Will she find the answers she’s searching for or will her quest for the truth take her to a dark place where all hope is lost?

One evil act. One tragedy. Lives destroyed forever.

 

Although I have a reduced TBR, I am taking part in a blog tour this month. Just the one. I loved the sound of Never Ever Tell and from what I’ve read about it, the book contains some pretty mature themes. If you don’t like reading about domestic violence or rape then you probably don’t want to read either this book or my review of it on the 22nd June. The last book I read on the topic of rape actually made my Top Reads of 2019 list, so I have high hopes I’ll enjoy this one!

 

Chimeborn – Daniel Curry

Goodreads – Chimeborn

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

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

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

 

A long time ago I reviewed Daniel Curry’s first book, The Kitsune in the Lantern and really enjoyed it. His books are aimed at readers far younger than I am, but I don’t care, I enjoyed it anyway! Chimeborn is the start of a new series and I’m looking forward to reading the book and letting you know my thoughts.

Chimeborn has been on my review request list for a little while, and I figured a light, short read is the sort of thing I need right now! The synopsis sounds great and on a good night, I can probably read it in one sitting – two tops!

 

The Burning Land – Bernard Cornwell

Goodreads – The Burning Land

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

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

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

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

 

The Burning Land is the fifth Saxon’s Stories novel by Bernard Cornwell. This series has fast become a favourite of mine; I love the characters and the setting, and it’s well written and entertaining too!

I’ll be happy if I round off the month having started but not finished this book. Like I said, i don’t want to take on too much. I’m already well acquainted with the series so I should be able to jump in nice and easily, despite not picking up the series for just over a year!

That’s my reading list for June folks! Have you read any of these books? Do any catch your eye? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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Top Ten Tuesday – Opening Lines

When I saw the topic for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday post, I knew I had to do it. I love sharing the opening lines of books in the hopes that it will encourage someone to try a new, different book. Regular readers will know I have a fortnightly First Lines Friday series, in which I choose a book and share the opening paragraph.

Today’s post is all about my top ten opening lines. To avoid regurgitating content and boring you all to death with a blog post thousands of words long, I’ve decided to be selective about my books and pick the best one (or two!) liner beginnings that appeal to me. I have read most of these books, but there are a couple that are still on the TBR.

Shall we dive in?

 

The Name of the Wind – Patrick Rothfuss

Goodreads – The Name of the Wind

It was night again. The Waystone Inn lay in silence, and it was a silence of three parts.

 

Dear Child – Romy Hausmann

Goodreads – Dear Child

On the first day I lose my sense of time, my dignity and a molar.

 

1984 – George Orwell

Goodreads – 1984

It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.

 

The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood

Goodreads – The Handmaid’s Tale

We slept in what had once been the gymnasium.

 

The Gunslinger – Stephen King

Goodreads – The Gunslinger

The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.

 

If We Were Villains – M L Rio

Goodreads – If We Were Villains

I sit with my wrists cuffed to the table and I think, But that I am forbid / To tell the secrets of my prison-house, / I could a tale unfold whose lightest word / Would harrow up thy soul.

 

Blackwing – Ed Mcdonald

Blackwing

Goodreads – Blackwing

Somebody warned them that we were coming.

 

The Testaments – Margaret Atwood

Goodreads – The Testaments

Only dead people are allowed to have statues, but I have been given one while still alive. Already I am petrified.

 

IT – Stephen King

Goodreads – IT

The terror, which would not end for another twenty-eight years – if it ever did end – began, so far as I know or can tell, with a boat made from a sheet of newspaper floating down a gutter swollen with rain.

 

Vox – Christina Dalcher

Goodreads – Vox

If anyone told me I could bring down the president, and the Pure Movement, and that incompetent little shit Morgan LeBron in a week’s time, I wouldn’t believe them. But I wouldn’t argue.

So, what do you think of this week’s Top Ten Tuesday post? Do any of these catch your eye? What are your favourite opening lines? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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Top Ten Tuesday – Last Ten Books I Abandoned

Welcome to today’s Top Ten Tuesday post! Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. This isn’t something I take part in every week so I always have a lot of fun putting these lists together when I do!

I quite often go it alone with topics rather than following the set topics for the week. That said, however, this week I am taking part in the scheduled topic, as I have DNF’d (Did Not Finish) a few books lately. I don’t do this very often though, so I am going to have two lists – books I DNF’d and then books I removed from my TBR before even beginning them.

Let’s check out the lists and why I abandoned them, shall we? Each list is in date order, from my most recently abandoned book in each category.

 

Boom Time – Michelle Lowe

Goodreads – Boom Time

Bootleggers, coppers, and no good, dirty gangsters! During Prohibition, the parties were wild, the alcohol was flowing, and danger was never far away. Pierce Landcross has been brought to the fast-paced future of New York City, 1926. His abductor, the Trickster, claims he’s hiding Pierce for his own protection, but cutthroats and femme fatales lurk around every corner. Lost in a strange land, Pierce vows to keep his nose clean, but that doesn’t last long when he falls into the bootlegging racket. Pierce has to quickly adapt to a world full of diesel-fueled machines, airships, moving picture shows, and clashes with rival gangs. At the same time, he has to elude a hunter from his own time sent to kill him!

 

This is my most recent DNF, and it was purely a matter of timing as to why I had to put this down. I signed up to review this and my review was due this month, but with the house move and all I was unable to honour that! I believe I can submit a real review later with the particular site I downloaded it from, so I might finish it later and do that.

 

Good Omens – Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman

Goodreads – Good Omens

‘Armageddon only happens once, you know. They don’t let you go around again until you get it right.’

People have been predicting the end of the world almost from its very beginning, so it’s only natural to be sceptical when a new date is set for Judgement Day. But what if, for once, the predictions are right, and the apocalypse really is due to arrive next Saturday, just after tea?

You could spend the time left drowning your sorrows, giving away all your possessions in preparation for the rapture, or laughing it off as (hopefully) just another hoax. Or you could just try to do something about it.

It’s a predicament that Aziraphale, a somewhat fussy angel, and Crowley, a fast-living demon now finds themselves in. They’ve been living amongst Earth’s mortals since The Beginning and, truth be told, have grown rather fond of the lifestyle and, in all honesty, are not actually looking forward to the coming Apocalypse.

And then there’s the small matter that someone appears to have misplaced the Antichrist…

 

I was really disappointed to DNF this one, but I had to! I love Terry Pratchett’s humour, but the narrative felt comparatively dry to his usual books. You can tell this isn’t purely his writing style and that it’s a collab with another author. Unfortunately, my experiences with Neil Gaiman’s books are mediocre at best, and WTF at worst. I was hoping Good Omens would turn the tide on my experience with this writing, but it really hasn’t.

 

Gardens of the Moon – Steven Erikson

Goodreads – Gardens of the Moon

The Malazan Empire simmers with discontent, bled dry by interminable warfare, bitter infighting and bloody confrontations with the formidable Anomander Rake and his Tiste Andii, ancient and implacable sorcerers. Even the imperial legions, long inured to the bloodshed, yearn for some respite. Yet Empress Laseen’s rule remains absolute, enforced by her dread Claw assassins.

For Sergeant Whiskeyjack and his squad of Bridgeburners, and for Tattersail, surviving cadre mage of the Second Legion, the aftermath of the siege of Pale should have been a time to mourn the many dead. But Darujhistan, last of the Free Cities of Genabackis, yet holds out. It is to this ancient citadel that Laseen turns her predatory gaze.

However, it would appear that the Empire is not alone in this great game. Sinister, shadowbound forces are gathering as the gods themselves prepare to play their hand…

Conceived and written on a panoramic scale, Gardens of the Moon is epic fantasy of the highest order–an enthralling adventure by an outstanding new voice.

 

I love epic fantasy books, but I just could not follow what was going on in this one. A lot of people rave about it, that it’s a classic etc, but I couldn’t get on with it. I would read a chapter and finally grasp who was who and what was happening… and then the book would cut to another completely different scene and character set. It was too choppy for me to get into. Sorry guys!

 

The Eye of the World – Robert Jordan

the eye of the world

Goodreads – Eye of the World

The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and go, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again. In the Third Age, an Age of Prophecy, the World and Time themselves hang in the balance. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.

 

My friend Rachael will dislike me for this, but my first experience of The Eye of the World wasn’t the best one. If you guys think The Lord of the Rings books are heavily descriptive then let me introduce you to this book! It was just a bit slow for me and even though I tried to stick with it, I had to give up. I might try again at some point when I am in a better mood for an (epic) epic.

 

The Seventh Scroll – Wilbur Smith

Goodreads – The Seventh Scroll

For 4,000 years, the lavish crypt of the Pharaoh Mamose has never been found…until the Seventh Scroll, a cryptic message written by he slave Taita, gives beautiful Egyptologist Royan Al Simma a tantalizing clue to its location.

But this is a treasure cache others would kill to possess. Only one step ahead of assassins, Royan runs for her life and into the arms of the only man she can trust, Sir Nicholas Quenton-Harper-a daring man who will stake his fortune and his life to join her hunt for the king’s tomb. Together, they will embark on a breathtaking journey to the most exotic locale on earth, where the greatest mystery of ancient Egypt, a chilling danger and an explosive passion are waiting.

Steeped in ancient mystery, drama and action, The Seventh Scroll is a masterpiece from a storyteller at the height of his powers.

 

I loved River God, and my friend who recommended these books to me loved this book best of all. You can imagine my disappointment when I just couldn’t get on with it at all. Unlike River God, The Seventh Scroll is set in modern-day. The story follows on from that first book, but I didn’t like the sudden switch of time setting. I tried to stick with it but ultimately had to DNF as I wasn’t enjoying it.

This next list is of books I have removed from my TBR. In fairness, a lot of these will have been removed as they were added many years ago and my reading tastes have changed quite a lot since then! So… here is the second list!

 

The Sheep Look Up – John Brunner

Goodreads – The Sheep Look Up

An enduring classic, this book offers a dramatic and prophetic look at the potential consequences of the escalating destruction of Earth. In this nightmare society, air pollution is so bad that gas masks are commonplace. Infant mortality is up, and everyone seems to suffer from some form of ailment.

 

When I originally covered this in my Down the TBR Hole series (a couple of years ago now) I marked this as a keeper as I was interested in the dystopian aspect of it. I confess that since then this silently slipped off the TBR. Sure, I like dystopian books, but whatever appeal it had to me when I added it has now been lost. It sounds a bit depressing, to be honest!

 

The Just City – Jo Walton

Goodreads – The Just City

“Here in the Just City you will become your best selves. You will learn and grow and strive to be excellent.”

Created as an experiment by the time-traveling goddess Pallas Athene, the Just City is a planned community, populated by over ten thousand children and a few hundred adult teachers from all eras of history, along with some handy robots from the far human future–all set down together on a Mediterranean island in the distant past.

The student Simmea, born an Egyptian farmer’s daughter sometime between 500 and 1000 A.D, is a brilliant child, eager for knowledge, ready to strive to be her best self. The teacher Maia was once Ethel, a young Victorian lady of much learning and few prospects, who prayed to Pallas Athene in an unguarded moment during a trip to Rome–and, in an instant, found herself in the Just City with grey-eyed Athene standing unmistakably before her.

Meanwhile, Apollo–stunned by the realization that there are things mortals understand better than he does–has arranged to live a human life, and has come to the City as one of the children. He knows his true identity, and conceals it from his peers. For this lifetime, he is prone to all the troubles of being human.

Then, a few years in, Sokrates arrives–the same Sokrates recorded by Plato himself–to ask all the troublesome questions you would expect. What happens next is a tale only the brilliant Jo Walton could tell.

 

This is another book that discretely slipped off the list. The appeal for this one was in the combination of different time periods all coming together, but I’ve lost interest. It is as simple as that. There are so many books out there so why waste time trying to read one you aren’t fussed on?

 

India Black – Carol Carr

Goodreads – India Black

When Sir Archibald Latham of the War Office dies from a heart attack while visiting her brothel, Madam India Black is unexpectedly thrust into a deadly game between Russian and British agents who are seeking the military secrets Latham carried.

Blackmailed into recovering the missing documents by the British spy known as French, India finds herself dodging Russian agents-and the attraction she starts to feel for the handsome conspirator.

 

I added this because the plot sounded cool, but when looking at it again more recently, I’m not 100% sure I am going to get on with the narrative. Maybe I was prepared to chance the awkward cheesiness of the main character falling for ‘the handsome conspirator’ once, but I’m honestly just put off by that now.

 

Tess of the Road – Rachel Hartman

Goodreads – Tess of the Road

In the medieval kingdom of Goredd, women are expected to be ladies, men are their protectors, and dragons get to be whomever they want. Tess, stubbornly, is a troublemaker. You can’t make a scene at your sister’s wedding and break a relative’s nose with one punch (no matter how pompous he is) and not suffer the consequences. As her family plans to send her to a nunnery, Tess yanks on her boots and sets out on a journey across the Southlands, alone and pretending to be a boy.

Where Tess is headed is a mystery, even to her. So when she runs into an old friend, it’s a stroke of luck. This friend is a quigutl—a subspecies of dragon—who gives her both a purpose and protection on the road. But Tess is guarding a troubling secret. Her tumultuous past is a heavy burden to carry, and the memories she’s tried to forget threaten to expose her to the world in more ways than one.

Returning to the fascinating world she created in the award-winning and New York Times bestselling Seraphina, Rachel Hartman introduces readers to a new character and a new quest, pushing the boundaries of genre once again in this wholly original fantasy.

 

Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed reading Seraphina and Shadow Scale years ago. I liked the concept of dragons being able to disguise themselves in this world, but I’m not sold on this related book. I’ve heard that it’s not so good as those other books, and I think I’ve probably outgrown the series anyway.

 

The Potato Factory – Bryce Courtenay

Goodreads – The Potato Factory

Ikey Solomon is very successful indeed, in the art of thieving. Ikey’s partner in crime is his mistress, the forthright Mary Abacus, until misfortune befalls them. They are parted and each must make the harsh journey from 19th century London to Van Diemens Land. In the backstreets and dives of Hobart Town, Mary learns the art of brewing and builds The Potato Factory, where she plans a new future. But her ambitions are threatened by Ikey’s wife, Hannah, her old enemy. The two women raise their separate families. As each woman sets out to destroy the other, the families are brought to the edge of disaster.

 

I feel like I originally added this to the TBR based on a review or recommendation because the synopsis doesn’t really sell it to me. That was several years ago now and I’ve no idea what the appeal was to add this to the list, so it dropped off again!

 

There you have it – that’s my Top Ten Tuesday post for today! Have you abandoned any books recently? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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Reading List – May 2020

Hey everyone! It’s a bright, sunny May day and today we are going to talk about my reading list for May… of the lack of one.

It’s rare that I don’t set a TBR. I think in the history of my blog (since I started doing it seriously in the second half of 2017), I have deliberately not set a TBR once. On that occasion, it was to give me a chance to mood read for a change and a bit more freedom in my reading choice. This month though, I can’t commit to reading all that much.

If you’re my friend, a family member or a regular reader of my blog, you will know that there’s a pretty big change coming up in my life. Provided all goes to plan and there are no last-minute hiccups, I’m going to be moving later this week. Of course, it’s all up-in-the-air thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. Not only that but because of it it’s very likely I am going to be dealing with most of it on my own. My mum and dad will be helping where they can by dropping food off to me, but if the rules don’t relax then they can’t help me get sorted anywhere near as much as they want to!

Naturally, I have been planning for this and juggling my blogging/reading for weeks. I’ve been doing bits here and there so it’s been manageable, but now I’ve had to step it up and my reading has almost stopped completely. I’m now behind schedule for my Goodreads challenge, but I’m not worrying about it too much. I have plenty of time to make it up. In the grand scheme of things, even if I don’t read much over the next couple of weeks I’m still in a good position to catch up at a better time. I won’t get that far behind. It’s not worth putting any pressure on myself over it!

I’ve been living in boxes waiting for this to happen for months, so once I’m the other side I am getting sorted as soon as possible! I’m planning for the whole thing to take me about a week, which is going to take us until mid-month before I’m anywhere near being in a position to read a little more and enjoy some downtime. Don’t get me wrong, I’m hoping to be able to pick up a book to wind down in the evenings. I just don’t know how much reading I’ll get in. I’m not the most physically fit person in the world (largest understatement of the year!) so let’s be honest – I’m going to be knackered! I might just want to sleep instead.

I’m posting this to say that you shouldn’t be surprised if things are a little quiet from me in the immediate future. I’m going to read what I can, share blog posts when and where I have the capacity to write or schedule them and keep you up to date with everything that’s going on.

Fingers crossed I can get a wriggle on and be back to my usual routine soon.

 

 

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Reading List – April 2020

I can’t believe it’s the beginning of April already! It doesn’t seem like three months ago I was setting myself targets for this year – but it is! I don’t feel like I am doing too great with one of those either, so I’m hoping to address that in this month’s reading list!

At the beginning of the year, I set myself a couple of challenges – the Goodreads Reading Challenge (as I do every year) and new this year, the Beat the Backlist Challenge. I also said I wanted to borrow from my local library more too.

The Goodreads Challenge is going well – I’m on track for my target of 80 books by the end of the year. It’s the other two challenges I’ve fallen behind in… not for a lack of trying! I’ve picked up 5 Beat the Backlist books, but I’ve had to DNF two of them. So, I’ve only read 3 out of my target 25 books. I suppose the aim is to clear 25 items off this list, but counting DNF’s feels like cheating so I’m not counting them. I have also tried to borrow from my local library electronically for some of the books I am reading, but they just don’t have the ones I am after in their library. Obviously, with everything going on right now the actual library is closed, so my options are limited with this right now.

So, this month I am going to be working a little harder on the Beat the Backlist Challenge, because that I can do! I’ve kept my blog tour schedule nice and light for other reasons – I was supposed to be moving house soon. Clearly, that’s also not happening right now! However, I would be daft not to take the opportunity to catch up with some of the older items on my TBR.

So, what am I planning to read this month?

 

iRemember – S. V. Bekvalac

Goodreads – iRemember

The city of iRemember shimmers in the desert haze, watched over by the Bureau, a government agency that maintains control through memory surveillance and little pink pills made from the narcotic plant Tranquelle.

It looks like an oasis under its geodesic dome, but the city is under siege. ‘Off-Gridder’ insurgents are fighting to be forgotten.

Bureau Inspector Icara Swansong is on a mission to neutralise the threat. Her investigation leads her into iRemember’s secret underbelly, where she finds herself a fugitive from the very system she had vowed to protect. She has to learn new rules: trust no one. Behind every purple Tranquelle stalk lurk double-agents.

A sci-fi noir with a psychedelic twist, iRemember explores the power the past holds over us and the fragility of everything: what is, what once was, and what will be.

 

I actually finished March’s TBR a little early (since I DNF’d Good Omens at 47%) so I have actually made a healthy start on this book already. I am getting the two blog tour reads done first, just in case things do ease off here and the move is possible. I’m not holding my breath, but I don’t want to count on it and then get myself in trouble as a result of being ill-prepared.

As it happens, my blog tour post for this book is due on Sunday, so naturally, this book is the first on my list. I’m really enjoying it so far, and you’ll be able to get my full thoughts on it on Sunday!

 

Magical Intelligence – M. K. Wiseman

Goodreads – Magical Intelligence

When you are a member of Britain’s first team of wizard spies, every mission might be your last. But as the dawning of the 20th century draws ever nearer, magic grows weak. Violectric Dampening, the clash of man-made electricity with the Gifts of magekind, threatens M.I.’s existence. And if that isn’t enough, they’ve now been discharged from their own government. Obsolete. Distrusted.

And now hunted by one of their own.

Myra Wetherby has always feared her so-called fits, strange visions of people and places that she cannot explain. It is the emotional manipulation, however, a strange empathic connection to those around her, which threatens her very sanity. A danger to her family, Myra runs away, falling straight into the hands of the newly ousted Magical Intelligence team. Who just so happen to need an ability like hers.

Which makes Myra one of them . . . whether she likes it or not.

 

This is my second and last blog tour of the month. My post for this book isn’t going live until the end of the month, but I’m still reading it nice and early.

The synopsis sounds really good – and quite unusual! That’s why I wanted to read it and share a review for the tour coming up later this month. It sounds like it blends fantasy with mystery, two genres I really enjoy reading.

 

Boom Time – Michelle Lowe

Goodreads – Boom Time

Bootleggers, coppers, and no good, dirty gangsters! During Prohibition, the parties were wild, the alcohol was flowing, and danger was never far away. Pierce Landcross has been brought to the fast-paced future of New York City, 1926. His abductor, the Trickster, claims he’s hiding Pierce for his own protection, but cutthroats and femme fatales lurk around every corner. Lost in a strange land, Pierce vows to keep his nose clean, but that doesn’t last long when he falls into the bootlegging racket. Pierce has to quickly adapt to a world full of diesel-fueled machines, airships, moving picture shows, and clashes with rival gangs. At the same time, he has to elude a hunter from his own time sent to kill him!

 

I downloaded a copy of Boom Time from BookSirens as I really like the sound of the synopsis. I really enjoyed learning about the Roaring 20’s in history, and this sounds like it takes a lot of inspiration from it! Okay, it’s a very exaggerated version, but why the heck not?

My love of fantasy novels is really shining through in this TBR, and I don’t feel ashamed of the fact either!

 

The Bands of Mourning – Brandon Sanderson

Goodreads – The Bands of Mourning

Three hundred years after the events of the Mistborn trilogy, Scadrial is now on the verge of modernity, with railroads to supplement the canals, electric lighting in the streets and the homes of the wealthy, and the first steel-framed skyscrapers racing for the clouds.

The Bands of Mourning are the mythical metal minds owned by the Lord Ruler, said to grant anyone who wears them the powers that the Lord Ruler had at his command. Hardly anyone thinks they really exist. A kandra researcher has returned to Elendel with images that seem to depict the Bands, as well as writings in a language that no one can read. Waxillium Ladrian is recruited to travel south to the city of New Seran to investigate. Along the way he discovers hints that point to the true goals of his uncle Edwarn and the shadowy organization known as The Set.

 

My first book contributing to my Beat the Backlist Challenge is The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson. You may recall that I have been reading the earlier books in this second half of the series over the last few months. I bought my copy of this book last month knowing I would get to it shortly. It makes sense to pick this up whilst the rest of the series is fresh in my mind!

 

The Thief Taker – C. S. Quinn

Goodreads – The Thief Taker

The year is 1665. Black Death ravages London. A killer stalks the streets in a plague doctor’s hood and mask…

When a girl is gruesomely murdered, thief taker Charlie Tuesday reluctantly agrees to take on the case. But the horrific remains tell him this is no isolated death. The killer’s mad appetites are part of a master plan that could destroy London and reveal the dark secrets of Charlie’s own past.

Now the thief taker must find this murderous mastermind before the plague obliterates the evidence street by street. This terrifying pursuit will take Charlie deep into the black underbelly of old London, where alchemy, witchcraft and blood-spells collide.

In a city drowned in darkness, death could be the most powerful magic of all.

 

The Thief Taker is my second BtB entry. I really debated with picking this up in light of its inclusion of plague and current events. I decided to stick with it though because I do quite fancy the sound of it. It’s not like the Black Death is anything like our current epidemic.

I featured this book not that long ago in my Shelf Control series and I have been thinking about picking it up soon anyway. I have a lot of Brandon Sanderson novels on the oldest part of my list for the challenge so I am trying to break them up.

 

The Women’s Room – Marilyn French

Goodreads – The Women’s Room

The bestselling feminist novel that awakened both women and men, The Women’s Room follows the transformation of Mira Ward and her circle as the women’s movement begins to have an impact on their lives. A biting social commentary on an emotional world gone silently haywire, The Women’s Room is a modern classic that offers piercing insight into the social norms accepted so blindly and revered so completely. Marilyn French questions those accepted norms and poignantly portrays the hopeful believers looking for new truths.

 

I have a lot of fantasy on this month’s list, so I have decided to pick up The Women’s Room as a change of genre. This is my third and final book contributing to my Beat the Backlist challenge. It is definitely quite a bit different from the books I pick up generally. We’ll see what I make of it!

 

A Dance with Dragons pt 2 – George R. R. Martin

Goodreads – A Dance with Dragons pt 2

The fifth volume, part two of A Song of Ice and Fire, the greatest fantasy epic of the modern age. Now a major Sky Atlantic TV series from HBO, featuring a stellar cast.

The future of the Seven Kingdoms hangs in the balance.

In King’s Landing the Queen Regent, Cersei Lannister, awaits trial, abandoned by all those she trusted; while in the eastern city of Yunkai her brother Tyrion has been sold as a slave. From the Wall, having left his wife and the Red Priestess Melisandre under the protection of Jon Snow, Stannis Baratheon marches south to confront the Boltons at Winterfell. But beyond the Wall the wildling armies are massing for an assault…

On all sides bitter conflicts are reigniting, played out by a grand cast of outlaws and priests, soldiers and skinchangers, nobles and slaves. The tides of destiny will inevitably lead to the greatest dance of all.

 

The second part of A Dance with Dragons is an ambitious addition to the TBR. It’s here as an “if I get through the rest I’ll start this next” book. I don’t expect to get this finished this month as well as all the above. If I get to make a start on it though, I’ll be happy.

It’s the last book of the series (that’s been published so far), so when I finish this I’ll have completed my re-read of the series!

That’s my list for the month! Have you read any of these books? What are you reading this month?

 

 

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Reading List – March 2020

I can’t believe it is the beginning of March and I’m writing my reading list post already! Last month just flew by. I know it’s a short one, but still! I’m happy with my reading progress last month given that I had a few bits on. I didn’t quite finish last month’s reading, so I am carrying one book over.

Shall we take a look at the books on this month’s TBR?

 

Good Omens – Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

Goodreads – Good Omens

‘Armageddon only happens once, you know. They don’t let you go around again until you get it right.’

People have been predicting the end of the world almost from its very beginning, so it’s only natural to be sceptical when a new date is set for Judgement Day. But what if, for once, the predictions are right, and the apocalypse really is due to arrive next Saturday, just after tea?

You could spend the time left drowning your sorrows, giving away all your possessions in preparation for the rapture, or laughing it off as (hopefully) just another hoax. Or you could just try to do something about it.

It’s a predicament that Aziraphale, a somewhat fussy angel, and Crowley, a fast-living demon now finds themselves in. They’ve been living amongst Earth’s mortals since The Beginning and, truth be told, have grown rather fond of the lifestyle and, in all honesty, are not actually looking forward to the coming Apocalypse.

And then there’s the small matter that someone appears to have misplaced the Antichrist…

 

Good Omens is my carryover. I only just started reading this at the end of last week, so it’s hardly surprising I’ve had to carry it over to this month. That said, I’ve managed to make a good start over the past day or two and I am enjoying the book so far! It’s definitely got the flavour of Terry Pratchett’s humour I love so I can see myself finishing this book pretty quickly!

 

Songbird – Karen Heenan

Goodreads – Songbird

Bess has the voice of an angel, or so Henry VIII declares when he buys her from her father. As a member of the Music, the royal company of minstrels, Bess grows up within the decadent Tudor court, navigating the ever-changing tide of royals and courtiers. Friends come and go as cracked voices, politics, heartbreak, and death loom over even the lowliest of musicians. Tom, her first and dearest friend, is her only constant. But as Bess becomes too comfortable at court, she may find that constancy has its limits.

 

My first blog tour related read of the month is this historical fiction novel. I love the Tudor period of history and I haven’t picked up a book on it in ages! Also, books with politics in them really interest me, which is funny because I hate politics! At least, I hate ours!

 

Helene – Karl Drinkwater

Goodreads – Helene

Dr Helene Vermalle is shaping the conscience of a goddess-level AI.

As a leading civilian expert in Emergent AI Socialisation, she has been invited to assist in a secret military project.

Her role? Helping ViraUHX, the most advanced AI in the universe, to pass through four theoretical development stages. But it’s not easy training a mind that surpasses her in raw intellect. And the developing AI is capable of killing her with a single tantrum.

On top of this, she must prove her loyalty to the oppressive government hovering over her shoulder. They want a weapon. She wants to instil an overriding sense of morality.

Can she teach the AI right and wrong without being categorised as disloyal?

Lost Tales of Solace are short side-stories set in the Lost Solace universe.

 

I’m definitely reading more in the way of science-fiction than I ever have before. I have been fortunate to have picked up some great books recently, which means I keep gravitating back to the genre.

I love the premise of this novel. Artificial Intelligence is definitely relevant right now and there are plenty of people sat on the fence about its benefits and drawbacks. It sounds like this book might touch on that, so I can’t wait to read it and share my thoughts with you in the upcoming blog tour!

 

Tooth & Blade – Julian Barr

Goodreads – Tooth and Blade

Parts 1-3 of the legendary TOOTH AND BLADE series together for the first time!

Two worlds. One destiny.

Dóta has dwelled sixteen years among the trolls. She knows nothing but the darkness of her family’s cave. Her mother says humans are beasts who would slay them all. Yet the gods of Asgard whisper in the night: Dóta is a child of men, a monster unto monsters.

To discover her human side, Dóta must take up her bone knife and step into the light above. Secrets await her in the human realm–beauty, terror, the love of a princess.

Soon Dóta must choose between her clan and humankind, or both worlds will be devoured in fire and war.

A monster sheds no tears.

Norse mythology meets historical fantasy in TOOTH AND BLADE. Step into a realm of haunted meres, iron and magic.

 

I love the idea of a mash-up of Norse Mythology and fantasy. Honestly, it’s so unlike anything I have read before that I wanted to give it a try.

 

Shadows of Self – Brandon Sanderson

Goodreads – Shadows of Self

Shadows of Self shows Mistborn’s society evolving as technology and magic mix, the economy grows, democracy contends with corruption, and religion becomes a growing cultural force, with four faiths competing for converts.

This bustling, optimistic, but still shaky society now faces its first instance of terrorism, crimes intended to stir up labor strife and religious conflict. Wax and Wayne, assisted by the lovely, brilliant Marasi, must unravel the conspiracy before civil strife stops Scadrial’s progress in its tracks.

Shadows of Self will give fans of The Alloy of Law everything they’ve been hoping for and, this being a Brandon Sanderson book, more, much more.

 

I really enjoyed reading The Alloy of Law back in January and I am keen to make even more progress with this series. It’s been on my TBR for a long time so it’s overdue! I honestly love every single Brandon Sanderson book I have ever read. The Alloy of Law was brilliantly reminiscent of the previous Mistborn trilogy, yet so much more! The change in setting and characters really worked for me. I can’t wait to get back to their adventures!

 

The God Game – Danny Tobey

Goodreads – The God Game

You are invited!
Come inside and play with G.O.D.
Bring your friends!
It;’s fun!
But remember the rules. Win and ALL YOUR DREAMS COME TRUE.™ Lose, you die!

With those words, Charlie and his friends enter the G.O.D. Game, a video game run by underground hackers and controlled by a mysterious AI that believes it’s God. Through their phone-screens and high-tech glasses, the teens’ realities blur with a virtual world of creeping vines, smoldering torches, runes, glyphs, gods, and mythical creatures. When they accomplish a mission, the game rewards them with expensive tech, revenge on high-school tormentors, and cash flowing from ATMs. Slaying a hydra and drawing a bloody pentagram as payment to a Greek god seem harmless at first. Fun even.

But then the threatening messages start. Worship me. Obey me. Complete a mission, however cruel, or the game reveals their secrets and crushes their dreams. Tasks that seemed harmless at first take on deadly consequences. Mysterious packages show up at their homes. Shadowy figures start following them, appearing around corners, attacking them in parking garages. Who else is playing this game, and how far will they go to win?

And what of the game’s first promise: win, win big, lose, you die? Dying in a virtual world doesn’t really mean death in real life—does it?

As Charlie and his friends try to find a way out of the game, they realize they’ve been manipulated into a bigger web they can’t escape: an AI that learned its cruelty from watching us.

God is always watching, and He says when the game is done.

 

I was very lucky to receive a copy of this from Gollancz in exchange for a review. Again, I love the science-fiction vibe. If asked what my second hobby was (because reading is my first, obviously),I’d say it’s gaming. I don’t have anywhere near as much time as I used to spend playing games on my laptop, but I do enjoy it now and then!

The premise of The God Game combines my two favourite hobbies, so I have very high hopes that I’ll enjoy it. It reminds me of another book I received by Gollancz and reviewed last year – Ctrl+S by Andy Briggs. That particular book blended these two together, as well as included virtual reality and I really enjoyed it.

So, that’s March’s TBR taken care of. Have you read any of the books on this month’s list? Have any of them caught your eye? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

 

 

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Reading List – February 2020

January passed by in a whirlwind – I can’t believe I am here sharing my next monthly TBR already! Aside from one DNF, January was a good month for me! I managed to read 7 books in their entirety, as well as finish an audiobook from last year! I’m hoping for an equally productive February. I have already started this month’s TBR, so fingers crossed!

What am I reading this month? I have a number of blog tours lined up, as well as a couple more books on the list that will contribute to my Beat the Backlist challenge.

 

One – K. J. McGillick

Goodreads – One

A stolen life. A Faustian bargain. Prey becomes predator.

Azar Abed’s veiled memories of her childhood were too dark and traumatic to revive. Raised by the man who murdered her mother she moves through life numb and emotionally bankrupt. That is until her father goes one step too far. With the help of his business partner, Dr. Adrien Armond, her father implements a plan to steal her life to save his own. Their downfall? Her survival.

Her obsession to extract retribution leads her into a dark abyss of rage. Azar and her lover devise a plan to upend global economies but her need for vengeance compels her to take it one step further. Biological weapons of mass destruction are on her agenda and innocent bystanders become collateral damage. Would the few that see it coming have the resources to stop the plan already in motion.

 

One is the first book I have picked up this month… and with good reason! I’m taking part in theblog tour for this third instalment in the Path of Deception and Betrayal. On Saturday. Yep, it’s coming around quickly, although in fairness I’m making reasonable progress with it. I just read the previous book Two in a matter of days, so I’m sure I’ll have this read in no time!

I can’t wait to see how this particular series ends and how all the novels tie together!

 

The Mentor – Lee Matthew Goldberg

Goodreads – The Mentor

Kyle Broder has achieved his lifelong dream and is an editor at a major publishing house.

When Kyle is contacted by his favorite college professor, William Lansing, Kyle couldn’t be happier.

Kyle has his mentor over for dinner to catch up and introduce him to his girlfriend, Jamie, and the three have a great time. When William mentions that he’s been writing a novel, Kyle is overjoyed. He would love to read the opus his mentor has toiled over.

Until the novel turns out to be not only horribly written, but the most depraved story Kyle has read.

After Kyle politely rejects the novel, William becomes obsessed, causing trouble between Kyle and Jamie, threatening Kyle’s career, and even his life. As Kyle delves into more of this psychopath’s work, it begins to resemble a cold case from his college town, when a girl went missing. William’s work is looking increasingly like a true crime confession.

Lee Matthew Goldberg’s The Mentor is a twisty, nail-biting thriller that explores how the love of words can lead to a deadly obsession with the fate of all those connected and hanging in the balance.

 

Doesn’t this thriller sound fantastic? Well, I think so and that’s what matters! I am also reading The Mentor as part of a blog tour this month. This particular tour is a first for me, as I haven’t toured with Blackthorn Book Tours before.

I’m looking forward to delving into this sinister-sounding novel and finding out just how well the novel lives up the synopsis! I’ll be sure to let you know.

 

The Girl from the Workhouse – Lynn Johnson

Goodreads – The Girl from the Workhouse

Even in the darkest of times, she never gave up hope.

Staffordshire, 1911. Ginnie Jones’s childhood is spent in the shadow of the famous Potteries, living with her mother, father and older sister Mabel. But with Father’s eyesight failing, money is in short supply, and too often the family find their bellies aching with hunger. With no hope in sight, Ginnie is sent to Haddon Workhouse.

Separated from everything she has known, Ginnie has to grow up fast, earning her keep by looking after the other children with no families of their own. When she meets Clara and Sam, she hopes that she has made friends for life… until tragedy strikes, snatching away her newfound happiness.

Leaving Haddon three years later, Ginnie finds work as a mouldrunner at the Potteries, but never stops thinking about her friends in the workhouse – especially Sam, now a caring, handsome young man. When Sam and Ginnie are reunited, their bond is as strong as ever – until Sam is sent to fight in WW1. Faced with uncertainty, can Ginnie find the joy that she’s never had? Or will her heart be broken once again?

An emotional, uplifting and nostalgic family saga that will make you smile, while tugging on your heart-strings. Fans of Sheila Newbury, Kitty Neale and Sheila Riley will love this beautiful read.

 

I was drawn to signing up for the blog tour for this book as it is a completely new topic of historical fiction that I haven’t explored before. I am definitely diversifying more in what time periods I pick up (although I still have my favourites and I make no apology for it either). Books around the second World War tend to be my preference rather than the first, so it will make for an interesting change I hope!

 

Unborn – Rachel McLean

Goodreads – Unborn

America, 2026.
Feminism has been defeated.
Equality is a memory.
And abortion has been criminalized.

Three women find themselves on the wrong side of the law. Kate, carrying the child of a sexual predator. Grace, whose baby will be born with a fatal deformity. And Cindee: abused, abandoned and pregnant.

Their punishment will fit their crime.

Can these three very different women come together to fight an oppressive system and win their freedom?

Find out by reading Unborn, a chilling dystopia combined with a gripping legal thriller.

 

I hope my reasons for signing up to this blog tour are unusual. I imagine they will be. When I read the synopsis, I knew I had to read the book and share my thoughts on it as 1) I enjoy dystopian novels and legal thrillers and 2) I think I’ll have a unique perspective on the book.

Unborn is a dystopian novel that tackles the idea of a society that denies women the right to terminate a pregnancy. Abortion has been legal in the UK for over 50 years and around 45 in the US. What if I told you that where I live, abortion was made legal last year. The Isle of Man Abortion Reform Law only came into effect in May 2019 – prior to that, it was illegal. Yeah.

I’m sure you’ve already gathered I am going to have some things to say about that. You’ll have to wait for my review post for more.

 

City of Stairs – Robert Jackson Bennett

Goodreads – City of Stairs

The city of Bulikov once wielded the powers of the gods to conquer the world, enslaving and brutalizing millions — until its divine protectors were killed. Now, Bulikov’s history has been censored and erased, its citizens subjugated. But the surreal landscape of the city itself, forever altered by the thousands of miracles its guardians once worked upon it, stands as a haunting reminder of its former supremacy.

Into this broken city steps Shara Thivani. Officially, the unassuming young woman is just another junior diplomat sent by Bulikov’s oppressors. Unofficially, she is one of her country’s most accomplished spies, dispatched — along with her terrifying “secretary”, Sigrud — to solve a murder.

But as Shara pursues the killer, she starts to suspect that the beings who ruled this terrible place may not be as dead as they seem, and that Bulikov’s cruel reign may not yet be over.

A tale of vast conspiracies, dead gods, and buried histories, City of Stairs is at once a gripping spy novel and a stunningly original work of fantasy.

 

City of Stairs will (I hope) be the second book I read that will contribute to my Beat The Backlist challenge. I am trying to fit in at least two books a month that will go towards this challenge. Since I am trying to read 25 this year and I DNF’d one last month, I am going to have to squeeze a couple more in at some point though.

I really like the sound of City of Stairs – elements of it remind me a little of Brandon Sanderson’s Elantris. I like to go back to fantasy novels after reading some different things. It’s by far my favourite genre. I couldn’t read it all the time like I used to; it gets boring. I do like to go back to it regularly though. I added City of Stairs to the TBR in January 2015. Five years is too long to take to get around to a book…

 

Good Omens – Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman

Goodreads – Good Omens

‘Armageddon only happens once, you know. They don’t let you go around again until you get it right.’

People have been predicting the end of the world almost from its very beginning, so it’s only natural to be sceptical when a new date is set for Judgement Day. But what if, for once, the predictions are right, and the apocalypse really is due to arrive next Saturday, just after tea?

You could spend the time left drowning your sorrows, giving away all your possessions in preparation for the rapture, or laughing it off as (hopefully) just another hoax. Or you could just try to do something about it.

It’s a predicament that Aziraphale, a somewhat fussy angel, and Crowley, a fast-living demon now finds themselves in. They’ve been living amongst Earth’s mortals since The Beginning and, truth be told, have grown rather fond of the lifestyle and, in all honesty, are not actually looking forward to the coming Apocalypse.

And then there’s the small matter that someone appears to have misplaced the Antichrist…

 

I haven’t read a book by Terry Pratchett for months now! I love his humour and I have heard a lot of good things about this book! I’m going to be totally honest; I’m reading it because Terry Pratchett had a hand in it. I haven’t had the best experience with Neil Gaiman’s books in the past, but we’ll see how this combination works. I’m sure I’ll have plenty to say about it once I have read it! Do you think I should tag the authors in my review when it goes live?

A bit of a salty joke I know, but no author should be too big to think that getting tagged in reviews is beneath them. All publicity (especially free publicity) is good, right? For those that haven’t heard about it, there have been arguments on Twitter lately about the appropriateness of tagging authors in book reviews. One of these authors doesn’t want to be tagged in reviews. They obviously think they’re too good for it. The other is dead, so no prizes for guessing who I’m talking about!

That’s the list set for the month! I would love to get the chance to squeeze in another book if I can since I have set myself such a lofty reading challenge target. The beauty of it is that if I do get this far, I can pick up anything I want based on my mood! I do tend to be quite regimented in my book choice, but I do enjoy picking up something on a whim from time to time.

What books are you reading during February?

 

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Reading List – January 2020

It’s the 7th January and I am only just publishing my TBR now! Yes, I’m later than usual, but I had some really fun posts I wanted to share that rounded up 2019 and introduced 2020. In fact, I still have one post left to share! If you want to see which books I rate the best of 2019, keep an eye out on my blog over the next couple of days.

For now though, let’s take a look at which books I am kick-starting 2020 with!

 

The Violinist’s Apprentice – Isabella Mancini

Goodreads – The Violinist’s Apprentice

A dark journey through time.

On a group trip to Rome, musician Clementina is whirled back in time to 17th century Italy.

Amidst court intrigue and creaking carriages, Italy becomes a chiaroscuro backdrop to her growing feelings for young violin-maker Antonio Stradivari. They kiss under an orange tree, and she persuades him to help a poor young boy from the nearby orphanage.

But people begin to notice just how ‘strange’ the young woman at the artist’s side is. She must be a witch!

Meanwhile, in present-day Scotland, her brother suffers a life-threatening accident, and in an icy corner of the Arctic, a professor frets about global warming.

Can Clementina find a way to return to the 21st century?

 

It feels weird talking in the sense of “I’m going to be reading this book in January” because, well, I already have! I read this within the first few days of January as I am taking part in a blog tour in a week’s time.

I’m looking forward to sharing my review of this one; it combined an element of science-fiction, time-travel, and historical fiction. Previously, I have really enjoyed how these genres work together and this was no exception for The Violinist’s Apprentice.

 

Agricola’s Bane – Nancy Jardine

Goodreads – Agricola’s Bane

A.D. 84 Northern Roman Britain

Nith of Tarras helps Enya of Garrigill in the search for her kin, missing after the disastrous battle at Beinn na Ciche fought between the Caledonian warriors and the mighty Ancient Roman legions. Enya soon has a heartrending choice to make. Should she tread Vacomagi territory that’s swarming with Roman auxiliaries to find her brother? Or, should she head south in search of her cousin who has probably been enslaved by the Romans?

The Commander of the Britannic Legions and Governor of Britannia – General Gnaeus Iulius Agricola – is determined to claim more barbarian territory for the Roman Empire, indeed plans to invade the whole island, but finds not all decisions are his to make. It increasingly seems that the goddess, Fortuna, does not favour him.

The adventures of the Garrigill clan continue…

In Book 4, the tales of the Garrigill Clan come to readers of the series via members of their second generation of Brigantes – their fight against the oppressive forces of the Ancient Roman Legions and their General Agricola a continuing and unending struggle.

 

Agricola’s Bane is my current read at the time of drafting this post. Again, this read is in preparation for a blog tour which I am taking part in a little later this month. This is the last book of The Celtic Fervour series and I’m at that point where I want to read it to find out how the author concludes events but I don’t want it to end at the same time! You know what I mean?

 

Two – K. J. McGillick

Goodreads – Two

Her husband wants her tucked away in a psychiatric ward. His business partner wants her dead.

Exclusive Paris art gallery owner Isabella Armond’s life spins out of control when she discovers her husband Dr. Adrien Armond has been brokering and trafficking in black market organs and using her beloved gallery to launder the money. Now Europol believes she is a key part of the conspiracy that destroyed Notre Dame, Westminster Abbey and St. Peter’s Basilica.

In a race against time, Isabella must use all the resources at her disposal to clear her name, outwit her husband and salvage her life and business.

 

I have read a number of books by K. J. McGillick and I have enjoyed every single one to date. You guessed it, this is another read and review for a blog tour. That said, I do have a little longer for this as my post is due towards the end of the month! All I can say is thank goodness I started my blog tour reading last month; otherwise I’d be in trouble at this point!!

I love the sound of this particular novel. It sounds so sinister, and makes you wonder who you can really trust!

 

A Crown in Time – Jennifer Macaire

Goodreads – A Crown in Time

Since it was perfected in 2900, time travel has been reserved for an elite, highly trained few. However, on certain occasions, a Corrector is needed to rectify a mistake in the past.

Do your job well, and you’ll go down in history. Fail, and you will be erased from Time . . .

In the far future, a convicted criminal is given a chance at redemption. The Corrector Program at Tempus University is sending Isobel back in time, to the year 1270, to rewrite history.
Her mission? To save the crown of France.

If she follows the Corrector’s Handbook everything should run smoothly. But soon, Isobel finds herself accompanying a hot-headed young noble on his way to fight the infidel in Tunis: a battle Isobel knows is fated to be lost.

Isobel must fulfil her duty, knowing she can never return to her time, knowing one wrong move can doom the future, or doom her to be burned as a witch . . .

The first in an exciting new time-slip series, from the author of the action-packed Time for Alexander series, Jennifer Macaire. A CROWN IN TIME will have you on the edge of your seat from the very first page . . .

 

Jennifer Macaire is also fantastic at bringing together historical fiction and science-fiction. This time last year I was introduced to her as an author and since I have enjoyed a number of books in her The Time for Alexander series.

I am looking forward to A Crown in Time as, like The Time for Alexander series, it combines science-fiction and historical fiction. I’ve read and enjoyed quite a few time-travel related novels lately, so I have high hopes for this one too!

 

Gardens of the Moon – Steven Erikson

Goodreads – Gardens of the Moon

The Malazan Empire simmers with discontent, bled dry by interminable warfare, bitter infighting and bloody confrontations with the formidable Anomander Rake and his Tiste Andii, ancient and implacable sorcerers. Even the imperial legions, long inured to the bloodshed, yearn for some respite. Yet Empress Laseen’s rule remains absolute, enforced by her dread Claw assassins.

For Sergeant Whiskeyjack and his squad of Bridgeburners, and for Tattersail, surviving cadre mage of the Second Legion, the aftermath of the siege of Pale should have been a time to mourn the many dead. But Darujhistan, last of the Free Cities of Genabackis, yet holds out. It is to this ancient citadel that Laseen turns her predatory gaze.

However, it would appear that the Empire is not alone in this great game. Sinister, shadowbound forces are gathering as the gods themselves prepare to play their hand…

Conceived and written on a panoramic scale, Gardens of the Moon is epic fantasy of the highest order–an enthralling adventure by an outstanding new voice.

 

I set myself a challenge this year to take part in the Beat the Backlist challenge. My aim for the year is to read the 25 oldest items on my TBR (minimum). Gardens of the Moon is number one – and the oldest! Added to my TBR in December 2014… it really is about time I got to it. I have heard amazing reviews of it too, so I’ll be getting stuck in very soon!

 

The Alloy of Law – Brandon Sanderson

Goodreads – The Alloy of Law

Three hundred years after the events of the Mistborn trilogy, Scadrial is now on the verge of modernity, with railroads to supplement the canals, electric lighting in the streets and the homes of the wealthy, and the first steel-framed skyscrapers racing for the clouds.

Kelsier, Vin, Elend, Sazed, Spook, and the rest are now part of history—or religion. Yet even as science and technology are reaching new heights, the old magics of Allomancy and Feruchemy continue to play a role in this reborn world. Out in the frontier lands known as the Roughs, they are crucial tools for the brave men and women attempting to establish order and justice.

One such is Waxillium Ladrian, a rare Twinborn who can Push on metals with his Allomancy and use Feruchemy to become lighter or heavier at will.

After twenty years in the Roughs, Wax has been forced by family tragedy to return to the metropolis of Elendel. Now he must reluctantly put away his guns and assume the duties and dignity incumbent upon the head of a noble house. Or so he thinks, until he learns the hard way that the mansions and elegant tree-lined streets of the city can be even more dangerous than the dusty plains of the Roughs.Three hundred years after the events of the Mistborn trilogy, Scadrial is now on the verge of modernity, with railroads to supplement the canals, electric lighting in the streets and the homes of the wealthy, and the first steel-framed skyscrapers racing for the clouds.

 

The Alloy of Law is another candidate for my Beat the Backlist challenge! I have a lot of Brandon Sanderson books making up this challenge, so I am trying to spread them out as best as I can.

The Alloy of Law is a second Mistborn series; it has been years since I read the first one! It might be wise to brush myself up on what happened in it, but not essential. It’s set much later than the first series, so it shouldn’t make too much difference that I read the others ages ago!

 

These are Not the Trinity Papers – Vale Zalecki

Goodreads – These Are Not the Trinity Papers

Isaac Beringer knows the thesis he penned during his psychotic fit was utterly absurd and he was right to be laughed out of academia. Yet decades later, he finds himself summoned to the United States by Elias Cohen, the CEO of a multi-billion dollar technological giant who just happens to be his biggest fan. Elias may be beautiful and brilliant, but Isaac knows he must also be extremely batty to consider Isaac’s thesis the greatest scientific work of the 21st century. He soon finds out how deep the rabbit hole goes; a rabbit hole that houses a sprawling neural network of servers designed to emulate human learning, human corpses 3D-printed with flesh and blood, and a monumental amount of effort to resurrect one particular person from the dead. And Elias isn’t even his only fan.

Isaac might have shaken off his insanity, but unfortunately, the world around him has just fallen in love with it.

 

I suspect this will overlap into February, but my last read of the month is one I was asked to review by the author. His request came in after reviewing another science-fiction book, Ctrl+S by Andy Briggs.

Again, this one has a definite science-fiction theme. Maybe I can’t classify this as a lesser-read genre anymore. Anyway, I was really intrigued by the synopsis so I am grateful Vale Zalecki approached me to ask for a review.

It’s a good job I feel motivated with the New Year and a fresh start because I have plenty of reading to be getting on with this month!

What are you reading?

 

 

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Reading List: December 2019

Good afternoon readers! It’s the last month of 2019, so this is my last Reading List of the year… Wow. Where did that go?

I am really impressed with the number of books I have read this year! My all-time record of 60 books has already been beaten, set when the reading and blogging adventures began in 2017. I initially set myself a reading target of 50 books because that was how many I read in 2018. Now, I am aiming for 70. I only have 3 books left to hit that target!

By the time I include the rest of December’s TBR and my audiobook, I think I’ll have read 74 books. A part of me considered trying to push to 75, but I think that’s too ambitious. I’m happy where I am anyway, so no point pushing myself too hard.

Which books are closing out the reading journey this year?

 

After Whorl: Donning Double Cloaks – Nancy Jardine

Goodreads – After Whorl Donning Double Cloaks

AD 73 Northern Roman Britain

Brennus of Garrigill—Bran—monitors Roman activity across Brigantia. Stability prevails till AD 78 when Agricola, Governor of Britannia, orders complete conquest of all barbarians. Brennus heads north, seeking the Caledon who will lead the northern tribes against Rome.

Ineda treks northwards with her master, Tribune Valerius – supplies officer for Agricola’s Britannia campaigns. At Pinnata Castra, she escapes and seeks fellow Brigantes congregating for battle in the north.

The Legions of the Roman Empire and the Caledon allies clash at Beinn na Ciche in AD 84, but where are Brennus and Ineda?

The adventures of the Garrigill Clan continue…

 

I am reading Nancy Jardine’s Celtic Fervour series and reviewing the books as part of the organised blog tours. I picked up these books as they have given me the chance to read historical fiction in a completely new time period. I’m really enjoying reading about the Roman conquest of Britain – so much so, I have started learning a little Latin!

I am already 40% of the way through this book and as I have no plans for the rest of the day, I’m hoping to finish this one soon!

 

Dreams of Gods and Monsters – Laini Taylor

Goodreads – Dreams of Gods and Monsters

Two worlds are poised on the brink of a vicious war. By way of a staggering deception, Karou has taken control of the chimaera’s rebellion and is intent on steering its course away from dead-end vengeance. The future rests on her.

When the brutal angel emperor brings his army to the human world, Karou and Akiva are finally reunited – not in love, but in a tentative alliance against their common enemy. It is a twisted version of their long-ago dream, and they begin to hope that it might forge a way forward for their people. And, perhaps, for themselves.

But with even bigger threats on the horizon, are Karou and Akiva strong enough to stand among the gods and monsters?

The New York Times bestselling Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy comes to a stunning conclusion as – from the streets of Rome to the caves of the Kirin and beyond – humans, chimaera, and seraphim strive, love, and die in an epic theater that transcends good and evil, right and wrong, friend and enemy.

 

I have to finish this before the end of the year! I was completely and utterly captivated by Daughter of Smoke and Bone on holiday in October. So much so, I read Days of Blood and Starlight last month. It’s rare that I devour a series as quickly as this, but what can I say? I’ve come to love Laini Taylor’s books that much that it has to be done!

 

Sixty Minutes – Tony Salter

Goodreads – Sixty Minutes

Five different people. Five separate lives. Sixty minutes to bind them for ever.

Hassan, Jim, Shuna, Dan and Nadia come from very different worlds. If life were straightforward, their paths would never cross. But our lives are rarely that simple and, as the clock ticks away the minutes of a single hour on a July morning, fate draws all five together in a headlong rush towards disaster.

Who are the heroes and who are the villains? Tony Salter’s latest novel leaves us guessing right up to the last page.

 

When I received the email inviting me to the blog tour of Sixty Minutes, I was immediately drawn in by the synopsis. It is very vague on the circumstances but has a lot of intrigue: who are these people and what has drawn them together?

There’s only one way to find out what happens…

 

Million Eyes – C. R. Berry

Goodreads – Million Eyes

What if we’re living in an alternate timeline? What if the car crash that killed Princess Diana, the disappearance of the Princes in the Tower, and the shooting of King William II weren’t supposed to happen? Ex-history teacher Gregory Ferro finds evidence that a cabal of time travellers is responsible for several key events in our history. These events all seem to hinge on a dry textbook published in 1995, referenced in a history book written in 1977 and mentioned in a letter to King Edward III in 1348. Ferro teams up with down-on-her-luck graduate Jennifer Larson to get to the truth and discover the relevance of a book that seems to defy the arrow of time. But the time travellers are watching closely. Soon the duo are targeted by assassins willing to rewrite history to bury them. Million Eyes is a fast-paced conspiracy thriller about power, corruption and destiny.

 

Million Eyes sticks with the science-fiction vibe I have been feeling lately. I’m also looking forward to the thriller element of the novel and finding out why the time-travelling assassins are set on re-writing history. Could the alternative be worse?

I am taking part in the upcoming blog tour for this novel next year – yes, next year, but that’s not that far away!

 

Fires of the Dead – Jed Herne

Goodreads – Fires of the Dead

Fire can’t be tamed.

Wisp is a pyromancer: a magician who draws energy from fires to make his own flames. He’s also a criminal, one job away from retirement. And it can’t come bloody soon enough.

Leading his misfit crew, Wisp ventures into a charred and barren forest to find a relic that could change the realm forever. But they aren’t the only ones on the hunt, and the forest isn’t as barren as it seems …

A jaded gang leader longing for retirement

A bloodthirsty magician with a lust for power

A brutish fighter who’s smarter than he looks

A young thief desperate to prove herself

A cowardly navigator with secrets that won’t stay buried

Together, they must survive fights, fires, and folk tales that prove disturbingly real – if they don’t kill each other first.

 

I saw this novella on a website called BookSirens, which is a lot like Netgalley if you haven’t come across it before. The concept of a non-altruistic main character in a fantasy genre novel is one I love already and I have read a good few books like it already. With this being a novella, this should be really quick to pick up and review before the deadline next year!

 

A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens

Goodreads – A Christmas Carol

‘If I had my way, every idiot who goes around with Merry Christmas on his lips, would be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart. Merry Christmas? Bah humbug!’

Introduction and Afterword by Joe Wheeler
To bitter, miserly Ebenezer Scrooge, Christmas is just another day. But all that changes when the ghost of his long-dead business partner appears, warning Scrooge to change his ways before it’s too late.

Part of the Focus on the Family Great Stories collection, this edition features an in-depth introduction and discussion questions by Joe Wheeler to provide greater understanding for today’s reader. “A Christmas Carol” captures the heart of the holidays like no other novel.

 

I made a real effort to seasonally read in October, but it’s not so straightforward in December. Sure, there are plenty of books to choose from, but they are all women’s fiction. It’s the same with Christmas movies – city girl comes home to country routes for Christmas, reunites with old flame, falls in love, is “torn” between going back to old life but you just KNOW that it’s going to end happily ever after *sigh*

Will someone please pass me a puke bucket?

As with Christmas films, there are only a select few Christmas themed books that really appeal to me. This month, in addition to watching Miracle on 34th Street (the edition with Richard Attenborough), I will be reading A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. As a classic, I can’t really turn my nose up at this one. At least, I hope not or you will be calling me Scrooge.

For the record, I love Christmas… just not all the cheesiness that goes with it. Sorry, not sorry.

That’s my reading list for December! What are you reading this month? Did you set any reading goals and are you likely to achieve them?

 

 

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