Tag: reading list

Top Ten Tuesday – Books I Was SO EXCITED to Get, but Still Haven’t Read!

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday post topic, Books I Was SO EXCITED to Get, but Still Haven’t Read, is going to be a fun one to participate in. It’s reminded me that I have a lot of great books that I really want to read, and some of them I’ve had for an embarrassingly long time!

I have been through my bookshelves and selected my top 10 books, I’ve also got a step further and done some research to find out roughly when I got them, so you have an idea of how long I have had them for. There’s even one book, the first book, that I couldn’t put a precise date on as to when I bought it. Whoops!

Enough of the preamble; shall we jump into the list so you can find out what some of the oldest books I’m excited to read are: –

 

Malice – <2016?

I cannot tell you when I bought Malice by John Gwynne.

The only way I have been able to roughly date this book is a memory of myself packing up this book when I left a job in February 2016. I was using a paperclip as a bookmark (although I’d only got through the first few pages in reality). The paper clip had left a slightly rusty mark on the page, so that tells you how long had even been there! I have absolutely no idea when I physically purchased this book, and that makes this the oldest book on my list.

I’ve heard great things about this series and John Gwynne, so maybe this post is telling me it’s time to pick this one up at last.

 

The Shining – 07/2017

Thankfully we jump ahead a little bit with this next book, although not by as much as I’d like! Now we are in the realms of a timeframe in which I had started my blog. This book is still nearly 5 years in my possession, however, and I still haven’t read it! I have come to love Stephen King even though horror isn’t a genre I would have picked up originally. I have given other books of his a go and I have come to love them.

I have no doubt that The Shining will be just good. I feel like this would be an excellent read to pick up in autumn or around Halloween, so maybe that’s what I’ll save this one for!

 

Th1rt3en – 10/2017

When I drafted this post I put together my list in what I thought was roughly date order, but I was surprised by this book. I was convinced I’d bought this a lot later, but obviously not!

Ironically, I think my mum is more likely to read this book before I do and it’s been on my radar a lot longer. Admittedly, I hadn’t realised that this was the fourth book of a series (but the stories don’t seem connected so could be read in any order) when I picked up my copy in Waterstones. That won’t stop me though, and if my mum gives the rest of the books a really good review when you can guarantee I will be picking these up as well!

 

Fools and Mortals – 05/2018

I’ve become a huge fan of Bernard Cornwell’s The Last Kingdom, aka the Saxon Stories series. Having started this one, I saw a copy of Fools and Mortals in Waterstones and decided to give it a go based on author alone.

Don’t get me wrong, I really love the sound of the synopsis, but it’s my love of Bernard Cornwell that drove me to pick this up and see what it was about in the first place! I’m still working my way through the Saxon Stories series now, but I should think that I will pick this up long before I finish that one.

 

Norse Mythology – 10/2018

I love the idea of reading a book about Norse mythology, and given that Neil Gaiman is a well-known writer in the fantasy genre, I was really excited to buy this book.

I’ll admit that now I am a little bit more sceptical. When I bought this book I had every confidence that I was going to enjoy Neil Gaiman‘s writing, however that hasn’t necessarily proven to be the case. I haven’t hated his books, don’t get me wrong. But the best read has been a three star rating from me. I finished American Gods but didn’t enjoy it and I couldn’t even finish Good Omens, his collaboration with one of my favourite authors, Terry Pratchett.

It’s not going to stop me from picking up Norse Mythology though, as I’m hoping the subject of the book will help spur my interest.

 

Skyward – 12/2019

I used Goodreads as a good indicator of when I had purchased copies of books and added them to my TBR for this post. However, I ended up resorting to my Sunday summary update posts to find out when I purchased Skyward, because I forgot to add this onto my TBR at the time.

It turns out I bought my copy of Skyward in December 2019. When you see that date you probably automatically assume that I got it for Christmas, however I purchased it a few days beforehand with a book voucher I had one for my competition at work. I joked in that post that it was a rare occasion, and I’m pretty sure I haven’t won anything like it since.

I can’t grumble though; last year we were all given vouchers as a thank you for our work rather than a competition. They are good eggs.

 

The Boy Who Followed His Father into Auschwitz – 01/2020

We are down to the last four books on this list and in terms of recency, we just about make it into the 20s.

I added this book to my TBR back in January 2020. I recalled that at the time I had read or listened to another Auschwitz themed book around the same time, and having looked back, I had finished listening to Cilka’s Journey by Heather Morris. Whilst a morbid subject, I love books with this setting. Clearly I wanted to continue to pursue the genre further, and to date I still do!

In fact, I’ve gone onto purchase even more Auschwitz themed books in paperback since then. Strangely, this is almost a bit of a comfort read. But not really, you know what I mean!

 

Invisible Women – 03/2020

This next book on my list is a little bit different, however having read Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg recently, this is one that I’m going to make sure I end up reading this year.

Up until a couple of months ago I would not have described myself as a feminist. There are a lot of reasons why that is the case, mostly being the negative connotation that comes with the word. However, Lean In reminded me that just because people associate the word in the wrong way, that doesn’t mean that I am not a feminist. I do want equality, for women in the workplace and for men in their personal lives.

I really liked that Lean In covered both sides of the story, because men are just as pushed out of primary parental roles as women are in the workplace. It’ll be interesting to see if Invisible Women takes the same route, or if it really just focuses on women and the injustices we live day-to-day.

 

Nevernight – 02/2021

Nevernight

I really loved the Nevernight trilogy as audiobooks, and so after I finished listening to Darkdawn I decided to buy the whole trilogy to read in paperback. I must admit I thought I had bought them a little more recently than February last year, but that’s still not too long you have been sat on myself waiting to be picked up!

 

The Witches – Salem 1962, A History – 10/2021

This is the most recent book on this list. I only purchased my copy of this around about six months ago, and I’ll admit I purchased it on a whim. I happened to see it in the bookstore and I really think it’s an interesting topic.

For that reason, I will can’t wait to give this a read. However, with all the older books on my list yet to be picked up, this one might take a while to get to!

 

So, those are my top ten books I was so exited to get, but still haven’t read… yet! Have you read any of the books featured in today’s Top Ten Tuesday post? Have you now added any to your TBR? Let me know in the comments!

 

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Top Ten Tuesday – Bookish Characters

In today’s Top Ten Tuesday post, I’m featuring my top ten bookish characters. I’ll admit that I actually struggled to put this list together a little bit. Despite having read so many books, I don’t typically read anything with bookworms for characters. That being said, I have just about managed to scrape together a list; if you love your bookish characters as well, then check out my list below and which books they are from so you can check them out for yourself!

 

Hermione Granger

This one is a fairly obvious start, but as I’ve just finished re-reading the Harry Potter series, this was the first name that popped into my head. Hermione is very intelligent, and can always be found with a book in hand. It suits her personality very well and she is one of the most likable characters… even if she can be a little bit of a snotty goody-two-shoes sometimes!

 

Liesel Meminger

Readers of The Book Thief will be familiar with Liesel, and the book title tells you everything you need to know! Liesel loves books so much that she will go out of her way to steal them. What is also very endearing is that reading is something she does with her foster father and it is a bonding activity for them. Readers can really empathise with Liesel, because a lot of the time she reads to escape her reality – Germany in the middle of the Second World War.

 

Tyrion Lannister

Tyrion is one of my favourite characters in the Game of Thrones series. Not only does he have his head screwed on the most, but he is also an avid bookworm. From history tomes to books about dragons, nothing is off-limits for Tyrion. He also reads for some personal solace; as a dwarf, he is ridiculed by almost everybody, despite his birth. Especially by his father. From birth he was never destined to follow his brother in prowess as a knight, but instead he made use of what he had – the thirst for knowledge and the patience to learn.

 

Samwell Tarly

Samwell Tarly is another Game of Thrones character who would never have made it as a warrior if not for being thrown into the Night’s Watch. He is well suited as a steward, not only for his kind and gentle manner, but also for his love of study and reading. It’s for this reason that he ends up on the wall in the first place; Sam is a disappointment to his father as he does not follow in his footsteps. He does not wish him to be the family heir and so he is sent to Castle Black as a means of disinheriting him in favour of his younger and more pliable brother.

 

Lazlo Strange

If ever asked how his nose got broken, you’d expect Lazlo to regale you with a story of some kind of brawl or fight. But the truth is, Lazlo Strange breaks his nose when a book falls off a bookshelf and hits him in the face.

Lazlo loves the adventure in books, little knowing that he’s going to end up undertaking an adventure of his own. Aptly titled, events in Strange the Dreamer take this wide-eyed, naive young man on a journey to find a city lost to legend, Weep. Little does he know that his dreams of a blue-skinned goddess are tied to that place as well.

 

Bilbo Baggins

Bilbo Baggins of The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy enjoys both reading books, but also writing them. After his adventures in The Hobbit, he is determined to make a record of his journey and this is referenced in the Lord of the Rings series. The life of a hobbit is, for the most part, a quiet one… and a bookish nature is far from strange. However, we get to see the exception to the rule in the form of the protagonists of these books.

 

Dantry Tanza

Blackwing

Dantry Tanza is a character that features throughout The Raven’s Mark series. He is very scholarly by nature, but he is emotionally driven to his studies in order to help save his sister Ezabeth.

Dantry is quite endearing because he is one of those people who is very, very intelligent, but also quite lacking in terms of experience and common sense. He is naive, but he really blooms throughout the books!

 

King Alfred

In a slightly different way, King Alfred of the Saxon stories series is also bookish. But more in a chronicler’s sense. He is determined to unite a fractured England, and he attempts to record the history of his efforts to unite England as we know it today.

In a way, we probably owe a lot to him for this as it’s where a lot of our knowledge of history in the period came from.

 

Scout Finch

Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird is undoubtedly a very bookish character. She is taught by Atticus Finch in a way that allows her to develop her mind from a very young age. She’s even said to have learnt to read before starting at school, which is very young indeed!

 

Guy Montag

I didn’t expect to feature a Classic on this list, but Guy Montag from Fahrenheit 451 is the epitome of bookish characters.

In a world where books are banned, his job as a fireman is to burn books. But, curiosity gets the better of him and ultimately, he becomes the kind of person that is being rooted out of their censored society. There’s something about the forbidden that lures you in, and Guy Montag falls for books and their sacred, secret knowledge hard.

 

That’s all from me in today’s Top Ten Tuesday post. Have you read any of the books on today’s list? Do you like any of these bookish characters? Let me know in the comments!

 

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Monthly TBR – May 2022

Hello and welcome to my Monthly TBR for May! It’s the beginning of yet another month and so it’s time to share what I plan to read over the next few weeks with you! I have some great books on the list and as always, I’m going to try and give myself time to fit in a couple of mood reads. Even just one would be nice. I haven’t managed to get to any over the last couple of months, so I’m setting myself a slightly reduced fixed list in the hope that I can get there this month!

 

Fixed Reads

Crowfall

It feels kind of weird to feature this book in a way, because not only has it been on my last few TBR’s, but also because I am over two thirds through the book as of writing this post. I picked up Crowfall right at the beginning of this month after just finishing Ravencry, its predecessor. We are now a few days into May and I’ve been flying through this book – so much so that I’m hoping to finish this one very very soon!

So yes, it feels a bit strange, because I’m featuring it at a time when I’m about to finish it!

 

The Duke and I

The Duke and I was on my ‘mood read list’ last month, but as you know, I didn’t get round to it. That’s not the end of the world, because what I’ve taken to doing (if I can) is bump my mood reads up onto my fixed list if I still want to read them the following month. And I really do want to give this ago!

I’m still not 100% sure if this will be my cup of tea as it’s more of a romance than I’m used to reading. But, I do enjoy historical fiction and so I’m willing to give it a go for that reason. I have also really enjoyed The Netflix TV shows based on these books, so I’m hopeful that this will be an exception to the rule instead of a DNF! Having not long taken part in a contradictions book tag, that post has reminded me that sometimes we can be surprised by what we like when we don’t expect to, but also vice versa!

 

Empire of the Vampire

Another reason why I am setting a slightly smaller reading list this month is because I am picking up this chunk of a book.

At over 700 pages in its own right, this is going to be a substantial read. Maybe not quite enough to equate to 2 books of average length (for me), but it’s still plenty to be sinking my teeth into. The pun was fully intended!

As a general rule, I’m not big on vampire stories either, but that’s not to say I can’t enjoy them. I have enjoyed elements of them in the past, and frankly, I’m willing to overlook the fact because this is written by Jay Kristoff. I loved his Nevernight series and I autobought this book on that basis – that’s how much I loved them! I’ve also seen reviews that it has a very Patrick Rothfuss-y ‘The Name of the Wind’ vibe about its narration, and I’m all for that too!

 

Mood Reads

Dune Messiah

I just bought myself a copy of Dune Messiah at my local Waterstones the other day (not a spoiler because I’ve already shared it on my Instagram) and I want to read it – soon!

I saw this on a whim, but as I have the first book in paperback, I decided to pick this up, as well as the third book of the series (Children of Dune), with some vouchers I had. Not only have I watched the new film recently, but I did also read that first book of the series earlier this year. And I really enjoyed it, so whilst it’s fresh in my mind I’m thinking this might be my next good book to read. It’s also comparatively short at around 300 pages, so quite digestible. It will be a good one to pick up if I want something more concise.

 

Death of Kings

I’ve started watching the fourth series of The Last Kingdom in the last week, and it’s reminded me that I have the next book in the series yet to pick up. Technically the events in this book cover what occurred at the end of the last series, but I really don’t mind! I want to keep going with the series because I’m really loving the setting, the characters and the overall conflict that keeps rearing its head. As a fan of historical fiction it ticks a lot of boxes for me. And, it’s been awhile since I picked the last one up… so it’s about time I got stuck back in!

 

I may have pencilled in what I think my mood reads are going to be, they are precisely that – mood reads. That means that whilst these are books I want to pick up now, I might change my mind when it comes to it. If I want to pick up something totally different then that’s okay. I find giving myself the time to pick up something on a whim suits me. It keeps my reading motivation up and keeps it fun. It’s only my hobby, after all!

Have you read any of the books on my TBR? What are you reading this month? Let me know in the comments or on social media!

 

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Monthly Wrap-Up – April 2022

Welcome to today’s Monthly Wrap-Up for April 2022! We are already a third of the way through the year and honestly, time is flying once again! In today’s post I want to talk about the books I’ve been reading throughout the month of April, as well as provide a little commentary on where I’m up to with my 2022 Goodreads Challenge.

Get yourself a cuppa and make yourself comfortable!

 

Books Read

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

My first read of the month, carried forward from March, was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling. This is the longest read on my list so far this year; even having started and read a couple of hundred pages in March, I still had around five hundred to go to get to the end of this epic! And epic this story is! I’m glad that I’ve completed my reread of the Harry Potter series; it’s one that I loved as a teenager as I grew up with them. I’m pleased to say that even reading them through the perspective of somebody little bit older, they still have all the appeal they did when I read them first.

 

The Thursday Murder Club

Next, I moved on to something a lot more lighthearted, and a book that I was recommended to read. The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman was a completely different ballpark, but I loved every second of this one as well! I say this one was lighthearted, but there was one section in the story really took me by surprise. There are a couple of chapters in the book that take a very sudden turn, and whilst their inclusion in such a generally lighthearted book meant that the chapters had more impact, they made me cry.

This was another fantastic read overall. I loved the characters and the story in general, because I had me questioning everybody and their motive to see if I could get to the bottom of the story before the end of the book. The writing had me questioning pretty much everybody had some point, so it was really good in that respect! I’m definitely going to continue to read more of these books. If you like the idea of a whodunnit, but with a private investigation being led by more geriatric members of society, then you’ll enjoy this one as much as I did.

 

Ravencry

Ravencry

Lastly, I read Ravencry by Ed McDonald in the month of April. Having read and loved Blackwing at the end of February/early March, I knew I wanted to continue the trilogy in full. I read these books originally over 3 years ago now and loved them – so much so that I’ve gone on to gift two copies of this trilogy to friends.

Picking this up again has been great for me. I have enjoyed having the confidence in knowing that I’m going to enjoy a book, especially at a time where things aren’t exactly all that great in the world, and a guaranteed pick me up is a blessing. You have probably gathered that my overall reading speed isn’t the same as it was a couple of years ago either, and whilst I’m certainly not trying to break any records or push myself too hard, I would like to be reading a little bit more than I am.

Picking up books by fantastic authors such as Ed McDonald really help motivate me to do so!

 

Ideally, I would’ve liked to have picked up Crowfall, the last book on my ‘set list’ before the end of the month. I set myself another ambitious list last month with the aim of trying to pick up my books. But, the beauty of having mood reads is that it doesn’t matter so much if I don’t get round to them. Naturally, I would like to get to a point where I have a little bit of freedom of choice with my reading (because that’s the format I’m setting myself this year – a fixed reading list and then potentially a couple where I have flexibility if I complete the set list).

At the same time, I’m not beating myself up about it either. You may not know, but I am currently studying for an exam that I’m sitting at the end of June. Whilst it’s not a large one by any means, I’ve been working through the content nice and early so I’ve got plenty of time to iron out the kinks and work out what I need to work on a little bit more. I’ve put in a lot of hours this month towards studying. In reality, if I had put that time into reading instead I would have completed my reading list very early this month. But, priorities are priorities. The fact that I’ve achieved both, as well as continuing to blog, is something I’m proud of!

 

Goodreads Challenge Update

In my monthly wrap-up posts, I am yet to comment on where am I with regards to my Goodreads Challenge for this year. I’ve therefore decided to add this review to this post, and I will also be looking at my progress in my August month-end review, and finally again at the end of the year.

As I say above, I’ve not been reading as much as I have historically, but the great news is I am perfectly on track with my Goodreads Challenge. As of drafting this post I am neither ahead nor behind. At this stage it’s a great confidence booster, because it means I don’t have to put any pressure on myself to catch up, but equally I’ve not set myself a challenge that is too easy. There have been a couple of years where I have set myself challenges and then up to them at a later date as I underestimated my capabilities. So far, it doesn’t look like I have to do that this year.

For a quick recap, here is a list of books I have read so far this year: –

  1. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
  2. The Feedback loop
  3. Dune
  4. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
  5. Clockwork Magpies
  6. Son of Mercia
  7. The Diary of a Young Girl
  8. Blackwing
  9. Keep You Safe
  10. Lean In
  11. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
  12. The Thursday Murder Club
  13. Ravencry

What I hope this list also demonstrates is that I am picking up a variety of books. There is fantasy and science fiction, mystery and thrillers, as well as historical fiction and even a couple of non-fiction books. For someone who doesn’t read a lot of non-fiction generally, I’m really happy that I’ve managed to squeeze two into such a short list!

So there you have it – my monthly wrap-up post for April 2022! I hope you enjoyed today’s post and you are looking forward to finding out what I’m going to be reading in May. If you are, keep your eyes peeled for a post going live in the next couple of days!

What have you been reading? Have you got any good book recommendations? As always, I’d love to hear from you!

 

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Top Ten Tuesday – Authors I Haven’t Read, But Want To

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday post topic is an interesting one, because it gives me the opportunity to feature some new books and new to me authors that I can’t wait to read! I have plenty of these on my TBR, and some of these are coming up very soon (cough cough The Thursday Murder Club).

As today’s list is a very simple one, I’m going to list below the books that I wish to feature. The reasoning behind all of these is pretty much the same – either the premise has really gripped me, I have read or heard rave reviews about the book in question or because I’m willing to push my boundaries and give something new a go. Perhaps it could be a combination of any of these three.

Anyway, I’m not going to bore you with a bit of blurb for each book, otherwise I’ll end up repeating myself quite a lot! So, without further ado, here is my list of top ten authors I haven’t read, but want to!

 

Richard Osman – The Thursday Murder Club

 

Julia Quinn – The Duke & I

 

Jeffrey Deaver – The Bone Collector

 

M. L. Rio – If We Were Villains 

 

Donna Tartt – The Secret History

The Secret History

 

Ransom Riggs – Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

 

Antonio Iturbe – The Librarian of Auschwitz

 

Steve Cavanagh – The Defence

 

John Marrs – The Good Samaritan

 

Robin Hobb – Assassin’s Apprentice

 

So, those are my top ten authors I haven’t read, but want to! Have you read any of these books? Or have you now added any to your TBR? Let me know in the comments!

 

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Monthly TBR – April 2022

Hello everyone and welcome to my monthly TBR for April. I’m really excited to be sharing the books I plan to pick up within the next few weeks! 

I didn’t get through all of my reading list for March. I did set myself an ambitious list and so I’m neither surprised nor disappointed by this fact. I knew when I prepared the list it was very likely I was going to carry some forward through to April – so most of the books on this month’s list have already been shared on last month’s TBR! 

Let’s see what I’m going to be reading very soon!

 

Fixed Reads

Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows

I will be opening the month with my current read carried over from March, being Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling. I’m currently around halfway through this book and I’m excited to complete my reread of the series! I last read this book around nine years ago now, so I am keen to read this book again and experience it from a more mature perspective!

 

The Thursday Murder Club

I have been loaned a copy of The Thursday Murder Club by my sister’s boyfriend, Chris, to read. I didn’t quite get round to this one last month, but I still cannot wait to pick this up! I’ve heard great things about this book, in particular the characters and the humour!

 

Ravencry & Crowfall

I added Ravencry and Crowfall to my ‘mood read list’ last month, but since I didn’t get round to them I’ve decided I’m adding them to my fixed list for April! I have a couple of other ‘mood reads’ in mind that I’d like to pick up, and so the progression onto my fixed reading list felt natural!

Having recently re-read Blackwing, the first book in the series, I got really excited for the series again. So naturally, I wanted to read it all again as opposed to just the first book! I re-read Blackwing in just a matter of days, and I fully expect Ravencry and Crowfall to be much the same in terms of experience!

 

Mood Reads

The Duke & I

This addition to my TBR is experimental. I’m not sure if it’s a book I’m going to enjoy, however having recently enjoyed watching the second season of the Netflix TV show, there’s no reason why I shouldn’t.

If I do enjoy The Duke and I then I will continue with the book series. However, don’t expect me to suddenly start reading romance all the time; my enjoyment of these books, if indeed I do enjoy them, will be the exception instead of the rule.

What I can say, is having featured this book in a very recent First Lines Friday post, the introduction made a good impression on me! Let’s see how the rest of the book pans out, shall we?

 

The Bone Collector

I’ve also been watching the TV series, Lincoln Rhyme, on Now TV recently. I have a copy of The Bone Collector sat upstairs on my bookshelf, and now feels like the right time to pick this up for myself. I believe my sister has read at least some of this book and enjoyed it. I can’t wait to see how it compares!

 

As in previous months, my indicated mood reads are provisional and I might choose to pick up something else at the time! Last month I didn’t even get round to my mood reads, which is perfectly okay too. I feel like this reading list is a little bit less ambitious, though still plentiful enough to give myself a challenge!

Have you read any of the books on my TBR? What are you reading this month? Let me know in the comments or on social media!

 

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Monthly Wrap-Up – March 2022

Hi everyone and welcome to today’s monthly wrap-up post for March 2022. I set myself an ambitious reading list in March, and whilst I didn’t get round to all of it I’m happy with my reading progress overall! I’ve read quite a few different books over the month, from varying genres as well! Let’s jump into what I’ve been reading: –

 

Books Read

Blackwing

Blackwing

At the beginning of the month I carried over Blackwing by Ed McDonald. This was a last minute swap out from another mood read I listed in February’s TBR. I had every intention of picking up One Flew Over the Cuckoo‘s Nest, but with the breakout of war in Ukraine this wasn’t really going to hit the spot for me. Instead, I wanted to fall back on a book that I knew I was going to love, and I’m glad I made the switch! It was exactly what I needed, and it didn’t take me long to finish this book.

 

One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest

I then decided to read One Flew Over the Cuckoo‘s Nest by Ken Kesey, and it ended up being my first DNF of 2022. I’ve got about 40% of the way through the book before I decided that enough was enough. I just couldn’t get into it in the way I hoped I would. I made the decision to stop reading this because I wasn’t enjoying it and I didn’t want it to sap my reading energy and drive me into a slump.

 

Keep You Safe

I promptly moved on and read Keep You Safe by Rona Halsall. I added this book to my TBR years ago, having found out that Rona is a local author. I really liked the sound of this book and I’m glad I finally picked it up! In fact, I wish I picked it up sooner! It came at just the moment I needed. I’ll admit that it was very strange to read a book set so close to home. I could picture the events of the book so vividly, because they took place in places I’ve lived and worked etc. It was so familiar and at the same time, a completely new experience for me! The plot line was fantastic! I really enjoyed picking this book up and I’ll definitely be reading more from Rona in future.

 

Lean In

The next book I picked up varied a lot from those I’d already picked up in March. My sister had recommended Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg to me, after having a copy recommended and given to her by a more senior female colleague. If you are not familiar, Sheryl Sandberg is the COO of Facebook and through this book, she talks about her experiences as a woman throughout her career, in particular with regards to her advancement into leadership.

I’m one of those people that Sheryl describes, in that before reading this book I wouldn’t have necessarily described myself as a feminist. However, people get tied down with the negative connotations of being called a feminist and are often frightened to use the word. I’m not just about championing women, as is so often erroneously ascribed to the word, but a champion of equality for both sexes. That is what being a feminist truly means. As Sheryl points out in her book, that means women being given opportunities to step up in the workplace… and men being given the opportunity to step up at home.

It was very different to the sort of book I would have picked up myself, but I’m glad I did. I have definitely taken away snippets of advice and it has given me food for thought both widely and also in terms of how I see myself in the workplace.

 

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

My last read of the month, and the book I’m carrying forward into April 2022 is Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling. As of the end of the month, I was around a couple of hundred pages through this last instalment of the Harry Potter series. I’ve already made a good amount of progress in the first few days of April, and as of writing this post I’m around halfway through! I can’t wait to continue this re-read this month and to complete my re-read of the series at last!

 

There were a few books I didn’t get round to picking up in March, but I’m still happy with the reading progress I’ve made. Those books that I didn’t get round to reading will be carried forward into April. If you want to check out my full list of books on my April TBR, stay tuned and I will be sharing that post very soon…

What have you been reading this month? Have you got any good book recommendations? As always, I’d love to hear from you!

 

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Top Ten Tuesday – Books With Your Favorite Trope/Theme

The theme of today’s Top Ten Tuesday post is Books With Your Favorite Trope/Theme. The theme I have chosen for today’s post is prophecies. It’s a heavily used trope in fantasy, but it’s one that I enjoy going back to again and again! That will become apparent by the number of books that I’ve been able to share on this list today.

I’m not a big fan of fantasy books that regurgitate the same tropes again and again (and often use multiple at the same time). Books like that just feel like you’re reading the same thing all the time. However, prophecies is the one thing that I don’t get sick off, especially if they are pulled off cleverly.

If you are also a fan of fantasy books that revolve around prophecies then this post is for you! Perhaps you have read the books on this list already. Alternatively, you may have just found some recommendations! So, without further ado, let’s go through my top ten books: –

 

Harry Potter series

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

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

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

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

 

The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archives series)

Roshar is a world of stone and storms. Uncanny tempests of incredible power sweep across the rocky terrain so frequently that they have shaped ecology and civilization alike. Animals hide in shells, trees pull in branches, and grass retracts into the soilless ground. Cities are built only where the topography offers shelter.

It has been centuries since the fall of the ten consecrated orders known as the Knights Radiant, but their Shardblades and Shardplate remain: mystical swords and suits of armor that transform ordinary men into near-invincible warriors. Men trade kingdoms for Shardblades. Wars were fought for them, and won by them.

One such war rages on a ruined landscape called the Shattered Plains. There, Kaladin, who traded his medical apprenticeship for a spear to protect his little brother, has been reduced to slavery. In a war that makes no sense, where ten armies fight separately against a single foe, he struggles to save his men and to fathom the leaders who consider them expendable.

Brightlord Dalinar Kholin commands one of those other armies. Like his brother, the late king, he is fascinated by an ancient text called The Way of Kings. Troubled by over-powering visions of ancient times and the Knights Radiant, he has begun to doubt his own sanity.

Across the ocean, an untried young woman named Shallan seeks to train under an eminent scholar and notorious heretic, Dalinar’s niece, Jasnah. Though she genuinely loves learning, Shallan’s motives are less than pure. As she plans a daring theft, her research for Jasnah hints at secrets of the Knights Radiant and the true cause of the war.

The result of over ten years of planning, writing, and world-building, The Way of Kings is but the opening movement of the Stormlight Archive, a bold masterpiece in the making.

Speak again the ancient oaths:

Life before death.

Strength before weakness.

Journey before Destination.

and return to men the Shards they once bore.

The Knights Radiant must stand again.

 

A Game of Thrones series

Long ago, in a time forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons out of balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, sinister and supernatural forces are massing beyond the kingdom’s protective Wall. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the land they were born to. Sweeping from a land of brutal cold to a distant summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, here is a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come together in a time of grim omens.

Here an enigmatic band of warriors bear swords of no human metal; a tribe of fierce wildlings carry men off into madness; a cruel young dragon prince barters his sister to win back his throne; and a determined woman undertakes the most treacherous of journeys. Amid plots and counterplots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, the fate of the Starks, their allies, and their enemies hangs perilously in the balance, as each endeavors to win that deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones.

 

Lord of the Rings series

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them

In ancient times the Rings of Power were crafted by the Elven-smiths, and Sauron, the Dark Lord, forged the One Ring, filling it with his own power so that he could rule all others. But the One Ring was taken from him, and though he sought it throughout Middle-earth, it remained lost to him. After many ages it fell by chance into the hands of the hobbit Bilbo Baggins.

From Sauron’s fastness in the Dark Tower of Mordor, his power spread far and wide. Sauron gathered all the Great Rings to him, but always he searched for the One Ring that would complete his dominion.

When Bilbo reached his eleventy-first birthday he disappeared, bequeathing to his young cousin Frodo the Ruling Ring and a perilous quest: to journey across Middle-earth, deep into the shadow of the Dark Lord, and destroy the Ring by casting it into the Cracks of Doom.

The Lord of the Rings tells of the great quest undertaken by Frodo and the Fellowship of the Ring: Gandalf the Wizard; the hobbits Merry, Pippin, and Sam; Gimli the Dwarf; Legolas the Elf; Boromir of Gondor; and a tall, mysterious stranger called Strider.

 

Wizard’s First Rule (The Sword of Truth series)

In the aftermath of the brutal murder of his father, a mysterious woman, Kahlan Amnell, appears in Richard Cypher’s forest sanctuary seeking help . . . and more.

His world, his very beliefs, are shattered when ancient debts come due with thundering violence. In a dark age it takes courage to live, and more than mere courage to challenge those who hold dominion, Richard and Kahlan must take up that challenge or become the next victims. Beyond awaits a bewitching land where even the best of their hearts could betray them. Yet, Richard fears nothing so much as what secrets his sword might reveal about his own soul. Falling in love would destroy them—for reasons Richard can’t imagine and Kahlan dare not say.

In their darkest hour, hunted relentlessly, tormented by treachery and loss, Kahlan calls upon Richard to reach beyond his sword—to invoke within himself something more noble. Neither knows that the rules of battle have just changed . . . or that their time has run out.

This is the beginning. One book. One Rule. Witness the birth of a legend.

 

Mistborn series

For a thousand years the ash fell and no flowers bloomed. For a thousand years the Skaa slaved in misery and lived in fear. For a thousand years the Lord Ruler, the “Sliver of Infinity,” reigned with absolute power and ultimate terror, divinely invincible. Then, when hope was so long lost that not even its memory remained, a terribly scarred, heart-broken half-Skaa rediscovered it in the depths of the Lord Ruler’s most hellish prison. Kelsier “snapped” and found in himself the powers of a Mistborn. A brilliant thief and natural leader, he turned his talents to the ultimate caper, with the Lord Ruler himself as the mark.

Kelsier recruited the underworld’s elite, the smartest and most trustworthy allomancers, each of whom shares one of his many powers, and all of whom relish a high-stakes challenge. Then Kelsier reveals his ultimate dream, not just the greatest heist in history, but the downfall of the divine despot.

But even with the best criminal crew ever assembled, Kel’s plan looks more like the ultimate long shot, until luck brings a ragged girl named Vin into his life. Like him, she’s a half-Skaa orphan, but she’s lived a much harsher life. Vin has learned to expect betrayal from everyone she meets. She will have to learn trust if Kel is to help her master powers of which she never dreamed.

Brandon Sanderson, fantasy’s newest master tale-spinner and author of the acclaimed debut Elantris, dares to turn a genre on its head by asking a simple question: What if the prophesied hero failed to defeat the Dark Lord? The answer will be found in the Misborn Trilogy, a saga of surprises that begins with the book in your hands. Fantasy will never be the same again.

 

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

Narnia… the land beyond the wardrobe door, a secret place frozen in eternal winter, a magical country waiting to be set free.

Lucy is the first to find the secret of the wardrobe in the professor’s mysterious old house. At first her brothers and sister don’t believe her when she tells of her visit to the land of Narnia. But soon Edmund, then Peter and Susan step through the wardrobe themselves. In Narnia they find a country buried under the evil enchantment of the White Witch. When they meet the Lion Aslan, they realize they’ve been called to a great adventure and bravely join the battle to free Narnia from the Witch’s sinister spell.

 

Dune

Set on the desert planet Arrakis, Dune is the story of the boy Paul Atreides, heir to a noble family tasked with ruling an inhospitable world where the only thing of value is the “spice” melange, a drug capable of extending life and enhancing consciousness. Coveted across the known universe, melange is a prize worth killing for…

When House Atreides is betrayed, the destruction of Paul’s family will set the boy on a journey toward a destiny greater than he could ever have imagined. And as he evolves into the mysterious man known as Muad’Dib, he will bring to fruition humankind’s most ancient and unattainable dream.

 

The Painted Man (the Demon Cycle series)

As darkness falls after sunset, the corelings rise—demons who possess supernatural powers and burn with a consuming hatred of humanity. For hundreds of years the demons have terrorized the night, slowly culling the human herd that shelters behind magical wards—symbols of power whose origins are lost in myth and whose protection is terrifyingly fragile. It was not always this way. Once, men and women battled the corelings on equal terms, but those days are gone. Night by night the demons grow stronger, while human numbers dwindle under their relentless assault. Now, with hope for the future fading, three young survivors of vicious demon attacks will dare the impossible, stepping beyond the crumbling safety of the wards to risk everything in a desperate quest to regain the secrets of the past. Together, they will stand against the night.

 

The Eye of the World (Wheel of Time series)

the eye of the world

The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and pass. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.

Let the Dragon ride again on the winds of time.

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.

When The Two Rivers is attacked by Trollocs-a savage tribe of half-men, half-beasts- five villagers flee that night into a world they barely imagined, with new dangers waiting in the shadows and in the light.

 

So, those are my top ten books featuring prophecies! Have you read any of these books? Or have you now added any to your TBR? Let me know in the comments!

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Monthly TBR – March 2022

Hello everyone and welcome to my Monthly TBR for March. Somehow we are in the third month of the year already and I honestly have no idea where it’s gone!

Last month I decided to combine my wrap-up post for January and my February TBR. And it does make sense, to a degree. However, I thought the post was too long and I didn’t get the chance to include all the content I wanted. So, I’m experimenting with splitting these back out and if you have any feedback on which you prefer I’d love to hear it!

I’m really pleased with last month’s reading progress and I’m keen to keep the momentum going. Therefore, I’ve decided to avoid all historical fiction and non-fiction reads that I’ve had on my radar, mainly because they focus around war. It’s not a particularly pleasant topic at the moment in light of current events, so I’m putting these on hold for a little bit in favour of picking up some alternative topics. I have also chosen books of varying lengths. As some of these reads are a bit shorter, I have more titles on the list this month. 

So, shall we dive into what I am going to be reading?

 

Fixed Reads

One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest

This book was on my mood read list for February, however I decided to swap it out in favour of a fantasy book at the end of the month in order to experience some escapism. It’s for this exact reason that I make time for mood reads now; I’m glad I made the change!

However, I do still want to read this book and as of writing this post I’m currently around 20% through. I’m interested to see where this book is going to take me. Where I am at the moment, I am feeling pretty neutral about it. It’s perfectly readable, but equally it hasn’t grabbed a hold of me in the same way that some of my recent reads have. I’ll continue reading to give it a chance in the hopes it picks up; even still, if it stays the way it is it’s probably going to be a three star read.

 

Keep You Safe

I’ve had this book on my radar for a few years now. Not only does it sound great in its own right, but I also want to read it as it is written by a local author! I am intrigued by the mystery behind the synopsis and the potential for there to be an unreliable narrator, which I think is hinted at. What I also like is that it’s a very approachable length – it’s long enough to invest into but also not so long that I risk getting bogged down in a detailed and convoluted story. Sometimes that’s fine too, but lighter reads are my preference right now. 

I can’t wait to read this and share my thoughts with you!

 

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

I want to conclude my re-read of the Harry Potter series this month. I’ve been enjoying making progress with the latter books in the series and I am looking forward to picking this last instalment up again.

I last read this book 8-10 years ago now. That’s a scary thought for me! I loved it then and I have every confidence that I will again. I wouldn’t go so far as to say this is a ‘lighter’ read, as it’s fairly chunky and the subject matter quite dark for a YA fantasy, but I’m looking forward to it all the same! I still find these books engrossing!

 

Lean In

I want to try and read some non-fiction this month, and my sister recently loaned me a copy of this book. It was recommended to her through one of her more senior work colleagues for the purposes of development and I would also like to take something from this. I find myself in the middle in that I wouldn’t necessarily describe myself as a career woman, but I definitely care about my job. I don’t just turn up to get paid.

I’m sure this book has plenty of content and something that I can take away from it in order to develop myself and maybe even progress further!

 

The Thursday Murder Club

As well as Lean In, I’ve also been loaned a book by my sister’s boyfriend Chris. Not only did The Thursday Murder Club get a great review from him, but I’ve also been hearing great things about it in the wider community and it was already on my radar to add to my TBR and read.

I’m looking forward to picking this up because the protagonists are not from the generation you would expect to be sleuthing. I’ve also heard it’s incredibly funny and I hope it will be as intriguing and lighthearted as I’m expecting it to be.

 

The Original Folk and Fairytales of the Brother’s Grimm

I am also carrying over The Original Folk and Fairytales of the Brothers Grimm again. Whilst I did pick this book up a couple of times in February, I didn’t really make that much progress with it. I stand by my decision to chip away at this one again this month, but I need to find more balance between my current reads and also picking this one up regularly. I will continue to read this into March and even if I don’t finish it, I hope to make a lot more progress with it this month.

 

Mood Reads

Ravencry & Crowfall

I started reading Blackwing, the first book of The Raven’s Mark trilogy, on the 26th February. This was the book I decided to swap with One Flew Over the Cuckoo‘s Nest. Three days later, I’d read all 370ish pages. I devoured this book. It was exactly what I needed at the time; an epic fantasy that I could throw myself into and love all over again.

I read this book back in June 2018, so it’s been a while. Given that I loved it so much, I’ve decided that I want to re-read the rest of the trilogy again. Therefore, these are my mood reads for March! It’s not very often I’ll binge read a series like this – but if it’s good enough, I can engage and I’ll love every second of it!

 

As in previous months, my indicated mood reads aren’t set in stone and like last month, so I might choose to pick up something else at the time! Unlikely, given how much I loved Blackwing in February… but never say never!

Have you read any of the books on my monthly TBR? What are you reading this month? Let me know in the comments or on social media!

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Monthly Wrap-up – February 2022

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s monthly wrap-up for February. Up until just yesterday I was planning on combining this post with my March TBR (as I combined my wrap-up and TBR last month), however I feel like that post got a little long. I also didn’t have the full opportunity to say what I wanted, and so I’ve decided to experiment with splitting these out again. If you have a preferred format I’d love to know what your preference is.

 

Books Read

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

I carried over two reads from the end of January – Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince and The Original Folk and Fairytales of the Brothers Grimm. I continued reading Harry Potter at the very beginning of February until I finished the book on the 3rd February. This book was every bit as fantastic as I remember!  Whilst it is about 600 pages long, I didn’t feel like it take took me that long to get through. I love the tone of the books later on in the series. I enjoyed this even when I was a teenager, but the added complexity and darkness to it just appeals to me. 

 

Clockwork Magpies

My next read was Clockwork Magpies by Emma Whitehall. The publisher, Northodox Press, advertised advance reader copies of this book on Twitter in January. I fell in love with the cover and the concept straight away, and given that it was published on the 28th January, I wanted to pick this up, read and review it quite quickly whilst the launch was still fresh. I picked up Clockwork Magpies on the 3rd of February and finished it by the 7th. It was a brilliant read and the genre and length of the book made for a great palate-cleanser read. I have also shared my full review of the book already, so if you haven’t checked out that review yet you can find out my thoughts on Clockwork Magpies here!

 

Son of Mercia

I took part in a blog tour for Son of Mercia this month, and with that deadline fast approaching this was my next read of February. I picked this book up immediately after finishing Clockwork Magpies on the 7th, and I finished this on the 16th of the month. Reading progress was a little bit slower at the time as I had family over visiting. As a result, I was spending a lot of time with them and less time at home (aka reading) than usual. Given that I was reading this for a blog tour post on the 21st, I’ve already shared my thoughts on this historical fiction novel as well! If this is your cup of tea, in particular if you like Bernard Cornwell’s The Last Kingdom series, I recommend you take a look at my review here.

 

The Diary of a Young Girl

The last book I finished in full this month was The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank, which I read between the 16th – 24th February. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that this particular book is her diary and documents her life living in hiding during the Second World War. It’s not the easiest subject to read, but I found it really interesting to see the dynamics between the individuals stuck in a very limited amount of space together. Reading this book was made slightly more difficult by the ongoing current events; I finished this book on Thursday last week, which is the day Russia first invaded Ukraine. I have a lot of interest in history revolving around war, particularly the Second World War or the Cold War, but it’s a lot harder to read when it’s not an abstract idea and it’s playing out on the TV screen – it makes you realise it’s real.

 

Blackwing

Blackwing

I decided to change my last mood read of the month. In light of current events I wanted something a lot lighter and I wanted to guarantee picking up something I loved. I needed that pick-me-up and I decided to read Blackwing by Ed McDonald. This is exactly why I allow myself time for mood reads now. I do still want to read One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, which was my intended read initially, but the end of last week just wasn’t the right time for it. As I said, I wanted a pick-me-up and I’m glad I made the decision to swap it out. I’ve absolutely loved revisiting this first book of The Ravens Mark series and it’s been just what I needed – to immerse myself in abstract fantasy and gain a sense of escapism.

This is the main book I am reading and carrying over into the very beginning of March, but only just. As of the end of the month I had just less than 100 pages left to read; I read more of the book in my lunch hour today and expect to finish it tonight!

So, those were my reads for the month of February. What have you been reading? Have you got any good book recommendations? As always, I’d love to hear from you!

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