Tag: reading list

2021 Half Year Review

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s 2021 half-year review of my reading progress! I appreciate I’ve been a little quiet over the last week and a half. I have been taking time to spend with my family, in particular my sister who has recently visited the island for the first time in 16 months. Previously she has been unable to due to Covid restrictions.

Somehow, we are at the halfway point in the year. Where the heck has that gone? Regardless of how quickly it seems to have flown, I feel like now is a good time to take a look at my reading progress over the year and review what I would like to do over the next six months.


Half Year Progress

This year is a little peculiar in that I have decided not to set myself a reading goal this year. If you want to find out all the reasons for that, you can find that in my 2021 Reading Resolutions / Goals post. Ultimately, the decision was taken to give me a little bit of breathing room and take a step back, without burning out or dropping everything completely. Naturally, I haven’t read as much as I have in previous years. However, I have been taking the time to engage in more hobbies and learn new things… and I’ve enjoyed doing that!

The other decision I made at the beginning of the year was to read almost exclusively off my TBR. At the beginning of the year, this list was around 200 books long, just over. That is a lot of planned reading and without taking the time to dedicate to this list, I was never going to stand a chance of getting through it! Even now the progress I have made doesn’t seem huge, but it is going in the right direction and I’ll take that as a win! Whilst I haven’t cleared too much off the list, I have been adding to it as well as reading books off it… So I can’t complain too much!

In the last six months, I have read 10 books. To recap, these are the books I have read so far this year: –

This is a lot less than previous years, and part of me is comparing myself to that standard and saying that this isn’t very much. But, another part of me is saying “hang on, this is more than most people read in a year!” Given that my goal for this year was to step back and enjoy some more downtime, I suppose it is better to measure my success by that. I have enjoyed having more time, as well as having the freedom to choose what books I want to read and when. I pick up and read when I want to and not because I feel obliged to.

It’s important to remember that being a successful reader isn’t about the number of books you read. Despite not having read as many this year, I have no lack of content for my blog and it’s given me a little bit of a chance to catch up with the backlog of book reviews. So yes, I’m running at a slight deficit but at the moment that suits me just fine.


Next Half Year Plans

To get that happy medium of reading enough books for content I will probably have to read a little bit more than I am currently, but not too much. I don’t have to read 72 books (my personal-best) to be a successful reader and blogger. I have a blog. I post on it regularly and most importantly of all, I enjoy doing it. Taking the step back has reminded me why I started to do it in the first place – for the love of books and reading. Stats don’t matter. Whether you agree with that or not is entirely up to you. But I stand by that decision and I’m glad that I made that choice at the beginning of the year.

That said, I do want to start reading a little bit more again. I’m never going to push myself to beat my personal best for the stats or bragging rights. That’s a lot of books to read and whilst I enjoyed it at the time, I have definitely come to appreciate the other things I get involved in and having a variety of hobbies at once. To achieve that again I would have to give them up, and I’m not prepared to do that. However, I would like to make reading a bit more of a habit again (because at the moment it really is as and when I fancy). I would like to be a bit more up to speed ready for the beginning of next year and so this is the perfect time to ease myself back in.

At the moment I’m probably picking up a book once a week on average, and maybe listening to an audiobook on a separate occasion – also maybe once a week. Rather than try to boost my reading based on the number of books read, I am instead going to set myself a goal to pick up reading more than one night a week. It doesn’t have to be for very long necessarily, but I want the regularity back, and I think this is the right way to do it. If I happen to read more books by doing that then that’s great, but equally if I end up reading the same number of books (perhaps because I’ve chosen some chunky ones to get through) that’s also fine by me.

So, here is my 2021 Half Year Review and my plans for the next six months. What have you been reading this year?

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Top Ten Tuesday – Spring 2021 TBR

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday post is all about my Spring 2021 TBR.

If I’d have been writing this post this time last year, I would’ve been picking the ten books that I absolutely would be reading during spring. However, now I have changed to a more relaxed approach, today’s list is my top ten books that I will be choosing from rather than just reading the lot. It could well be subject to change. If there’s one thing I am enjoying this year it’s having the freedom to choose what I read when I want rather than setting rigid reading lists that I didn’t always stick to.

So, which ten books on likely to appear on my Spring 2021 TBR? Read on below to find out!

 

The Book Thief – Markus Zusak

Easter is around the corner and the daffodils are out in force, despite the cold weather persisting. So, I suppose I should count now as spring and in that vein, I am featuring my current read on this list. I’m about halfway through The Book Thief right now and I’m really enjoying it so I hope to have it finished soon!

 

Fire and Blood – George R. R. Martin

Fire and Blood is also a current read. I’m a couple of hundred pages in at the moment and I’m intending on picking this up again as soon as I have finished The Book Thief. It’s a heavy read in case you haven’t seen it before. If you have you’ll know it weighs in at about 700 odd pages. It’s a big one but you know me – I love the realm of Westeros and all the history that goes with the Game of Thrones series.

 

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – J. K Rowling

I’ve read the first couple of Harry Potter books this year to date. If you follow my blog you’ll know that I committed to doing a re-read of the series this year! The first couple of books have been really easy to pick up and get back into the story from the start. I haven’t read these books since I was a teenager so going back to them is truly a blast from the past. I’m keen to keep up the momentum with this and so I’m fully intending on reading this next instalment very shortly!

 

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – J. K. Rowling

And following on from my last book on this list, depending on how quickly I get around to reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, I may just get around to reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire before the summer. Maybe, we’ll see.

 

A Clash of Kings – George R. R. Martin

Similar to my featuring The Book Thief and Fire and Blood, it’s only fair that I feature my current audiobook as well. I really love the Game of Thrones series (as I’m sure I have established by now) and so I have been listening to this audiobook as a way to touch base with the series. This is also a long one and so I don’t really expect to get this listen to too much. I don’t want to commit to it just in case I don’t!

 

The Psychology Book

This book is one I have picked up previously and made a degree of progress with, however, I ultimately ended up putting it down and I haven’t read it in its entirety. It has been on my TBR for a number of years now and so I want to set aside the time to pick this up. As a former psychology student, I do find the content quite interesting and I like the diversity within this book!

 

Dune – Frank Herbert

I was gifted a copy of Dune years ago for my birthday by work colleagues and I think it’s about time that I get around to giving it a go! I love the sound of the premise and given that I’ve been reading more science fiction in recent years, I’m hoping that I really get on with this one. Only time and picking up the book itself will tell, but I’m optimistic.

 

Silverthorn – Raymond E. Feist

I first read Magician, the first book of the series, as a teenager. A couple of years ago I revisited this first book in an attempt to make a more serious go off reading the series. As with my first attempt, however, I didn’t really follow through and pick up this next book. I do plan on doing the shortly though, although I won’t be picking up the first book a third time – at worst I will have to try and recap the events of the first book online.

 

Words of Radiance – Brandon Sanderson

I am a huge fan of Brandon Sanderson and a reading list wouldn’t feel right without a book of his on it somewhere. I read The Way of Kings, the first book of this series (that is ultimately going to be around ten books long), a couple of years ago. Since then I have been deliberately putting off delving into this series further, despite the fact I really want to do having loved the first book. Brandon Sanderson has only published four of the ten at the moment I don’t want to be disappointed by catching up and having to wait for the last few to be published. As it stands book five scheduled for publication in two and a half years time! With that in mind, I think I have left at a decent time to be able to pick up the next book and halve another break before the next; it gives him a chance to keep writing the series so I don’t catch up before he finishes it!

 

If We Were Villains – M. L. Rio

I’ve owned a copy of this book for quite a few years now and it’s one of the older books on my TBR. So, this is another book that I intend to read shortly. Realistically, being at this end of the list, it is more likely being a summer read. That’s not the end of the world though, as it’s quite a nice manageable length it could make for quite an easy light read! Maybe in the garden –  although thoughts like that whilst it’s a tropical 8°C currently feels a little optimistic…

 

So, these are my top ten books I’ll likely be choosing from for my Spring 2021 TBR! Have you read any of these? Let me know in the comments. 

 

 

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Top Ten Tuesday – Books I Meant to Read In 2020 but Didn’t Get To

Hey guys and welcome to today’s Top Ten Tuesday post! Today’s topic is Books I Meant to Read In 2020 but Didn’t Get To… and if that doesn’t sum up 2020 for me then I don’t know what does! I made ambitious plans last January, ignorant of how the year was going to pan out for me. I’ve already talked about the reasons a lot, but ultimately I didn’t meet any of my goals.

The most important goal in relation to today’s post was my aim to read the 25 oldest books on my TBR. I made a noble attempt and managed to read 7 in full, but I also DNF’d 3. A lot of these were old additions to the TBR… we’re talking 2014/2015 when I first started using Goodreads. That’s why I wanted to get around to them, but also to see if my reading taste has changed. If anything, I think I’m a lot more open to different genres when I was then. Some of the books added were pushing the boat out on what I normally read so I’m happy to accept some of the DNF’s. Others had every right to be firm favourites but just didn’t work for me at all (Good Omens by Terry Pratchett – I’m looking at you!)

So, as you can see I have plenty of material for the Top Ten I didn’t get around to! I also wanted to write this post about it as my new goal for this year is to pick up where I left off and read more exclusively from the TBR… no ARCs, no new review requests etc. So, which ones am I looking forward to the most? Let’s get into it! Rather than a paragraph for each book, I’ve split my ten into genres groups that I’ll talk more generally about.

 

Fantasy

 

It’s hardly surprising that a number of books on this list are from the fantasy genre. As a teenager, it was pretty much all I read. These books are all by authors I love. I have already read at least three books by each and I’m confident that I’m going to really enjoy the books listed above. Brandon Sanderson and Stephen King I have read more recently. It has been a number of years since I read a book by Mark Lawrence, so I’m excited to get stuck in!

I think it’s funny that I am coming to this Stephen King novel now having read several of his other books in different genres. I’m pretty sure I added The Talisman with the intention of using it as a ‘step into’ trying his writing before exploring his more extensive horror genre books! Look how that worked out!

 

Science-fiction

 

Science-fiction is another genre that pops up again and again. I didn’t read a lot of it when I was younger, but I definitely have a healthier appreciation for it now. I added Dune to my TBR after being gifted a copy for my birthday a few years ago. I’m glad it was given to me as I really like the sound of it. I have had an experimental skeet at the first few pages before and I’m hopeful I’ll be enjoying this one too.

The Feedback Loop is quite short compared to my average read, but still, I love the sound of the plot. It will be the first thing I have read by this author too, so it’ll be a completely new experience for me.

 

Classics

 

If someone had told me ten years ago that one day I would be reading classics by choice, I’d have laughed at you. If you also told me that I’d re-read and come to enjoy the classic novels I hated studying for school, I wouldn’t believe you. And yet, I am reading them. For the most part, I am enjoying them. I’ve only DNF’d one so far and that’s The Catcher in the Rye. I’m not put off by this though and I’m looking forward to trying more classics!

 

Historical Fiction

I love historical fiction novels too, so their inclusion on this list shouldn’t be a surprise either! The two locations and time periods for each book’s setting are very different, but I have read similar books before that I’ve really enjoyed them. The Book Thief is set in Nazi Germany in WW2 and Hild in 7th century Britain.

WW2 is one of my favourite historical time periods to read about. You could call it a bit of morbid fascination given the atrocities real people lived through in these times. It’s horrible to think about but equally, I think novels set in this period have a lot to tell us. It’s a reminder not to make the same mistakes again.

 

So, those are my Top Ten Books I Meant to Read In 2020 but Didn’t Get To. Have you read any of them, or do you intend to in 2021?

 

 

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2020 Wrap Up Post

2020 was a crazy year. I don’t think that’s a stretch of the imagination for absolutely anybody at this point. It also, strangely, ended up being one of my busiest years personally. Unfortunately, not as much in terms of blogging and reading as I had hoped, but that’s okay. I’ve come to the realisation that in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter.

Before I get into my blogging and reading progress of the year, I’d like to tell you a little bit about the other things I ended up doing in 2020 as well. Ultimately, this played a part in the amount of time I had to commit to blogging and reading.

 

Background

At the end of 2019, I decided that I wanted to move house. I’m not going to go into the ugly details, but let’s just say they were external forces that drove me to that decision. Moving house is a huge undertaking at the best of times, but I ended up moving in May 2020, during the middle of lockdown here on the island. We were delaying the move as per guidelines, but unfortunately again, other factors meant it had to go ahead. That meant my family couldn’t help me as they had planned to, and whilst I was able to use a removal firm on the day, the rest was up to me. There were many tears on the day and my parents had to watch me bawl my eyes from the doorstep (unable to come in but dropping off some food) once I got here, but with the help and advice of my mum and dad I got it together and within a couple of weeks of moving in I had everything straight.

But that’s where the rest of the work began. The house I ended up moving into had some very interesting decoration, to say the least! Pretty much none of it was to my taste, so within a couple of months of moving in I started redecorating. What can I say, I had holiday to take from work and nowhere to go with it!

Whilst I had anticipated moving, I hadn’t really considered that I’d end up spending so much free time working on the house after I moved in. It’s not a problem, and ultimately I’m happier because I’ve spent the time making this place mine. It does mean, however, that it ate into my free time for reading and played a part in my not reaching my goal of 80 books last year.

What I also didn’t expect was how lockdown would affect me. When it was first announced, I was obviously upset that I couldn’t see anyone. But, I stupidly thought to myself, right I’ve got all this time to kill – I’ll read more. How I can laugh at myself in hindsight. What I didn’t expect was how much of a distraction lockdown would be and actually… I couldn’t concentrate on reading all that much. At least, not to start with. Some days were better than others.

So you see, there were multiple factors that contributed to my not reaching my already very ambitious goal of 80 books last year. I thought I would be disappointed with myself if I didn’t, but strangely I’m not. I know I read at every opportunity I could and wanted to, and equally, I didn’t force myself to read things I didn’t want to either. When I wanted to do something different I enjoyed other hobbies… saw my friends and family (sorry, feel bad for saying it but it’s true) and did the things I wanted.

My other challenges also flopped a little. Whilst I started off well, reading less also took its toll on my attempt to read more of the older books on my TBR. I was still signing up for blog tours and such, and so these took priority and my challenge fell off the radar. My final challenge was to read more from my local library. Ha! With covid, that went down the pan too. I did check to see if I could borrow electronic editions, but most of the time they weren’t available at my library. Maybe I’ll be better at this throughout this year (once it re-opens again)? 

Anyway, there’s the background. And now, onto the books I read last year! My final end of year stats are:

I think I DNF’d the highest number of books I have ever recorded in a year in 2020. I think this is in part because I started to go through my TBR and my reading tastes have changed since I added the books several years ago. That’s not always the case… in fact, some of the best books I read last year were added to my TBR four or five years ago!

There were definitely more hits than misses. All in all, I think there was a pretty good proportion of books that I knew I was going to love and some more adventurous read that I want to try. Some of those worked, but those I put down definitely fall into that category.

To summarise this year wrap up post, here is a list of all the books I read last year and their star ratings: –

 

2020 Books

Have you read any of the books on this list? Or any of them on your TBR? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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2021 Reading Resolutions / Goals

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

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

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

 

Goodreads Challenge

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

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

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

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

 

TBR

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

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

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

 

Review Requests

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

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

 

Re-read: Harry Potter

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

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

 

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

 

 

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Reading List – December 2020

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

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

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

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

 

Auxiliary: London 2039 – Jon Richter

Auxiliary: London 2039 by Jon Richter | Goodreads

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

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

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

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

A chip controlled by TIM.

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

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

 

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

 

Brave New World – Aldous Huxley

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley | Goodreads

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

 

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

 

Twas The Nightshift Before Christmas – Adam Kay

Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas by Adam Kay | Goodreads

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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Reading List – November 2020

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

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

Shall we get into what I am reading this month?

 

Glimmer of Hope – J. A. Andrews

Sometimes chasing a dream can become a nightmare…

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

The Dark Chorus – Ashley Meggitt

Goodreads – The Dark Chorus

Oblivion awaits the Angel’s salvation

The Boy can see lost souls.

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Rags of Time – Michael Ward

Goodreads – Rags of Time

London. 1639.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Auxilliary: London 2039 – John Richter

Goodreads – Auxiliary: London 2039

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

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

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

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

A chip controlled by TIM.

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

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

 

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

 

Brave New World – Aldous Huxley

Goodreads – Brave New World

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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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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