Tag: reading

Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 14th October 2018

Usually, I would be lamenting the fact that it is Sunday night. Not this week.

Call me a bitch if you like (go ahead, I’ve been called worse), but since I’m not at work tomorrow, I don’t care that it’s Sunday!

 

Okay, I know I’m a bitch. I’ll deal with it.

So, what have I been up to this week?

Aside from reading, shopping and just generally dossing around, I’ve been doing some work behind the scenes on my blog. There has been a slight appearance change to bring everything into line; I am pleased with the result! Also, I have been working on some broken links caused by the migration of my blog from wordpress.com to wordpress.org. I still have a way to go on these. I’m hoping to invest more time into this next week, so next weekend it should be resolved!

As a result of this, I only managed one blog post this week. On Wednesday I shared my thoughts on a local event I attended a couple of weeks ago. As part of the Manx Litfest, I saw a re-telling of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, performed by Ben Haggarty and Sianed Jones. It was a fabulous performance.

 

Books Read

I’ve made good headway on a few books this week!

I started the week practically devouring the rest of Muse of Nightmares – not surprising really! I finished this on Monday night. It didn’t last long at all!

Next, I moved on to reading The Hidden Face by S. C. Flynn. I am reading this book at the request of the author in exchange for a review. It’s interesting so far! There is a fair bit of history to events, giving depth to the world the novel is set in. The characters are also unusual, and some shrouded in mystery. I’m about a third of the way through the book at the moment and I’m looking forward to seeing where this goes!

As I am taking part in the Blog Tour for Breachers by Anthony Thomas next week, I’ve also picked this up this week. I took part in the cover reveal back in February and since then I was hoping to get my hands on a copy! When I was invited onto the current blog tour, I was elated! I have nearly finished this book – I’m at 77%. It’s not an overly long one compared to others I have been known to read, but I am sure as hell enjoying it! You can look forward to my full review really soon!

Last, but certainly not least, I’ve made further progress on Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff. As I have had some time to work on a painting project I’m doing, I’ve been listening to Godsgrave at the same time. It’s a combination that works for me – I can’t really explain it. I listened to several hours of the audiobook though, so I can’t complain!

 

Books Discovered

I bought far too many books this week.

Okay, ignore the statement above, because there is no such thing. I bought six though, haha! A bad week for my wallet. Oh well!

On Monday, I was having a crappy day. It was just one of those… we all get them, right? I went into the bookstore “for a look”, which didn’t really go to plan. I came out with a copy of Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman and If We Were Villains by M. L. Rio. Both of these books were already on my TBR, so I justified it that way…

On Friday, I ventured into the bookstore again, gift voucher in hand. I knew I was going to end up buying a few books on this trip – in fact; I had been looking forward to the chance all week. The weather was absolutely awful, but I still ventured out anyway – #dedication. When I left, it was armed with a copy of;

  • The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
  • Th1rt3en by Steve Cavanagh
  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  • The Shining by Stephen King

A successful haul, in my opinion! I might have to lay off for a while now though… or not. Best not to make promises I can’t keep!

 

Coming Up…

 

So, as I mentioned above, I am taking part in the Blog Tour for Breachers by Anthony Thomas. My review is going live on Wednesday 17th, so I hope you can take a few moments to read my thoughts on this thoroughly enjoyable book!

 

 

 

 

I am planning on writing a second review this week, as I am aware it is a little overdue. Back in August, I read The Relic Guild by Edward Cox, however, I am yet to share my thoughts about it with you.

 

 

 

 

I’ll also be doing some more work behind the scenes to bring my blog up to speed and hopefully improve the site!

I’ll look forward to seeing you around!

Reading List – October 2018

October – the time of year when the nights start to draw in. On the one hand, it’s great! You can come home from work, draw the curtains and not feel guilty about not doing very much. I mean, it’s too cold… and DARK, obviously. I do miss the lighter nights in a way though – leaving work and having several hours of sunshine left means you can go out and do things! Days feel less work-orientated if you have time to sit outside and socialise at the local pub. Don’t think of me as an alcoholic, please! I have literally done this once this summer! Anyway… having the salad justified the wine. Pffft.

Source: Giphy

Once I am used to the dark nights though, I love it! There is no place like home, curled up under a blanket and wearing the thickest pair of socks you can find. Coffee and books are also essential… and this year, I have some great books to look forward to!

 

The Hidden Face – S. C. Flynn

Goodreads – The Hidden Face

A face without a face – an unmasking that leaves the mask.

Once every few hundred years the sun god, the Akhen, takes on human form and descends to earth. Each Unmasking of the Face of the Akhen ends one era and begins another; the last one created the Faustian Empire. Where and when will the Face next appear, and who will he – or she – be?

Dayraven, son of a great hero, returns to Faustia after years as a hostage of their rivals, the Magians. Those years have changed him, but Faustia has changed as well; the emperor Calvo now seems eccentric and is controlled by one of Dayraven’s old enemies. Following the brutal murder of his old teacher, Dayraven is drawn, together with a female warrior named Sunniva, into the search for an ancient secret that would change the fate of empires.

The Hidden Face is an epic fantasy novel drenched in the atmosphere of the early Middle Ages and in Kabbalistic riddles and is the first book in the Fifth Unmasking series.

 

This is the first direct review request from an author that I have had for a while, and I’m really excited to read it! It is my favourite genre and I have high hopes for the book, based on the synopsis.

 

Breachers – Anthony Thomas

Goodreads – Breachers

Jason Conners is the last person you’d expect to run into a burning building, unless of course there was something inside worth stealing. Call him what you want: criminal, thief, asshole, but hero? Absolutely not. Jason’s questionable behavior and disturbing antics can only be attributed to one secret.

He can change the future, but with great power comes great responsibility? Hell no. His ability makes him the best thief in the city, and nothing is off-limits. Until Jason’s carefree attitude gains the attention of the Rogues, and the government.

The Rogues want him to stop catastrophic events from taking place, and the government has their own agenda. When the hunt begins, Jason is caught in the crosshairs and learns that breaching is not as limitless as he thought.

Can this anti-hero give up a life of easy money and become the savior the Rogues need, or will it cost him everything—even his immortality?

 

I have been looking forward to this Blog Tour since taking part in the cover reveal back in February.  A while, I know! The synopsis sounds amazing in its own right… but what really sells this book to me is the anti-hero protagonist. I don’t think we see enough of these characters in books. I adored The Broken Empire series by Mark Lawrence purely because the protagonist Jorg is such an anti-hero! Fingers crossed I’ll love Breachers as much as I have hyped it up!

 

Muse of Nightmares – Laini Taylor

Goodreads – Muse of Nightmares

In the wake of tragedy, neither Lazlo nor Sarai are who they were before. One a god, the other a ghost, they struggle to grasp the new boundaries of their selves as dark-minded Minya holds them hostage, intent on vengeance against Weep.

Lazlo faces an unthinkable choice—save the woman he loves, or everyone else?—while Sarai feels more helpless than ever. But is she? Sometimes, only the direst need can teach us our own depths, and Sarai, the muse of nightmares, has not yet discovered what she’s capable of.

As humans and godspawn reel in the aftermath of the citadel’s near fall, a new foe shatters their fragile hopes, and the mysteries of the Mesarthim are resurrected: Where did the gods come from, and why? What was done with thousands of children born in the citadel nursery? And most important of all, as forgotten doors are opened and new worlds revealed: Must heroes always slay monsters, or is it possible to save them instead?

Love and hate, revenge and redemption, destruction and salvation all clash in this gorgeous sequel to the New York Times bestseller, Strange the Dreamer.

 

This is my only non-ARC or review request and I have waited MONTHS for this moment!

I read Strange the Dreamer earlier this year. I suppose you could say by accident. Yes, you read that right. I was bored one Saturday afternoon and decided to sample a couple of chapters to convince myself to read it next month. Next time I looked up at the clock, I had read part 1, around 20% of the book. Two days later, I closed the cover for the last time.

I did not feel guilty either. I can see myself flying through Muse as well, then probably wanting to cry and read the whole duology again. I’m calling it now. Watch this space.

 

Another Kind of Magic – Elizabeth Davies

“I am a cat. But I am no ordinary cat. I am a witch’s familiar. I am also a woman, with a woman’s heart and a woman’s frailty.”

Two hundred years have passed since Caitlyn was trapped by dark magic and she has known many mistresses. This time the witch she is enthralled to is Joan, wife to Llewelyn, Prince of Wales.

For Caitlyn, this mistress appears no different from any of the others she has been forced to serve. That is, until Llewelyn captures William de Braose and holds him and his men prisoner, and Joan falls for William and risks everything, including Caitlyn, to fulfil her desire.​

Caitlyn, meanwhile, has her own cross to bear in the form of the gallant and reckless Hugh of Pembroke…

 

I was hoping to read this ARC last month, to try and get ahead of myself really. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be. As yet, I am still awaiting my copy. I’m reviewing this in a month’s time, so there is no rush! Now I have read the first couple of books in the Caitlin series, I think I’ll get into this one straight away! Although, with the way the second book ended, this next one could be very different from the last two. I’ll just have to wait and see!

 

The Swan Keeper – Milana Marsenich

Goodreads – The Swan Keeper

The Swan Keeper is an historical, coming of age novel set in Northwest Montana’s Mission Valley in the late 1920s.

Lillian Connelly loves trumpeter swans and vows to protect them from a hunter who is killing them and leaving their carcasses for the wolves and coyotes to ravage.

On her eleventh birthday Lilly’s family visits the Cattail Marsh to see the newly hatched cygnets. The family outing turns tragic when Dean Drake shows up with his shotgun and fires on not only the swans, but on Lilly’s family. Unable to prevent tragedy, Lillian witnesses Drake kill her father, injure her mother, and slaughter the bevy of trumpeter swans.

The sheriff, Charlie West, thinks that Lilly is reacting to the trauma and blaming Drake because of a previous conflict between Drake and her father. Lilly’s mother, sister, and her best friend, Jerome West, the sheriff’s son, all think the same thing: that Lilly is trying to make sense of a senseless accident.

Left alone to bring Dean Drake to justice, Lilly’s effort is subverted when Drake woos her sister, courts her mother, and moves into their home.

 

I first discovered this author when I was kindly asked to read and review Copper Sky. Also set in Montana, although a few years on from Copper Sky, I cannot wait to see how these novels compare.

So, that’s the list! I also hope to make a little more progress with The Eye of the World, but I’ll have to play it by ear. It depends entirely on how I get on with this lot!

Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 2nd September 2018

I look forward to writing my Sunday Summary every week. It’s a time to sit down and review what I’ve been doing and gauge how everything is. It’s my organisation time, if you like.

Some weeks are better than others. There are times when I manage to make progress on three or four books. Other times it’s only one, or hardly at all. Last week wasn’t such a great week for reading. Family was visiting, which took out some of my time, but I was in a bit of a slump.

I am hoping that the progress I have made this week is enough to break me out of it. I don’t really have time to be in a slump, with so many blog tours coming up in the next couple of months! I’ve come to think that maybe the belief that I have overstretched myself was one of the causes of my slump. I’m feeling better about it now though – I know when I am due to be reviewing the books on my list and I am confident I can do it!

 

Looking back to what has happened this week, I posted another Down the TBR Hole post on Wednesday. I managed to take three books off the list, so it was time well spent! It is getting to the point where the books on the list were added not too long ago, so I anticipate that going forward, I’ll be taking fewer books off the list than I have historically.

Yesterday, I published my reading list for September; if you want to see which books I am reading for upcoming blog tours, check out that post!

 

Books Read

 

When I lamented to you about my lack of progress last week, I told you that I had only read the first few chapters of Three Bloody Pieces. I’m pleased to say that I have made a lot more progress this week. I have so nearly finished it; I am going to call it done. There is one chapter left, and I am going to read it tonight. It’s so near as damn it!

I am also back on the audiobooks, after a couple of weeks break. I’ve started a bit of an arty project (again) and listening to these at the same time is perfect! I am picking up where I left off with Nevernight, by listening to Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff. I’ve listened to about 15% of the book in the last couple of days, which is good progress!

 

Books Discovered

 

I have been VERY good this week. There is literally nothing to report here. I haven’t added a single book to the list or even bought any…

*faints*

 

 

Coming Up…

toptentuesdayI enjoy writing Top Ten Tuesday posts… and I’ve been having a think about what topic I could feature next. Rather than focussing on books themselves, I’ve decided that this week, I’ll share my Top Ten favourite, go-to authors. I think I might struggle to narrow this down to ten…

 

I’ll be continuing my throwback mini-series on Thursday, with a review of another book or series I have read and am yet to review. I hope you can spare a few moments to join me for that!

 

down the tbr hole

Down the TBR Hole #14

 Hi everyone! Today, I am going to be reviewing my TBR with another Down the TBR hole post!

For anyone unfamiliar with how this post works, the meme was created by Lia @ Lost in a Story. The idea is to review the books on your TBR to decide if you still want to read them. The rules are as follows: –

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

 

Let’s review the next ten books on my list!

 

Carrie – Stephen King

Goodreads – Carrie

Carrie knew she should not use the terrifying power she possessed… But one night at her senior prom, Carrie was scorned and humiliated just one time too many, and in a fit of uncontrollable fury she turned her clandestine game into a weapon of horror and destruction…

 

I refuse to take Carrie off of my list. It is a book I really want to read, as it is one of King’s better known titles. If not the book, there are plenty of people who have seen the film. My parents fall in the latter category and they recommended it to me as well. It’s a keeper!

Verdict: Keep

 

American Psycho – Bret Easton Ellis

Goodreads – American Psycho

Patrick Bateman is twenty-six and he works on Wall Street, he is handsome, sophisticated, charming and intelligent. He is also a psychopath. Taking us to head-on collision with America’s greatest dream—and its worst nightmare—American Psycho is bleak, bitter, black comedy about a world we all recognise but do not wish to confront.

 

I have sat and read reviews of this book for about 20 minutes solid, and I am REALLY undecided. When I added the book, I expected a sociopathic murderer. It seems that there is far more to this book than I initially expected. I can’t decide if I want to read it or not. It is graphic in its descriptions and… shall we say, not very complimentary to women. A part of me wants to be repulsed and the other is curious about why others are massacring this book/author. 

Curiosity killed the cat, but I’ll take my chances.

Verdict: Keep

 

In the Blood – Steve Robinson

Goodreads – In the Blood

Two hundred years ago a loyalist family fled to England to escape the American War of Independence and seemingly vanished into thin air. American genealogist Jefferson Tayte is hired to find out what happened, but it soon becomes apparent that a calculated killer is out to stop him.

In the Blood combines a centuries-old mystery with a present-day thriller that brings two people from opposite sides of the Atlantic together to uncover a series of carefully hidden crimes. Tayte’s research centres around the tragic life of a young Cornish girl, a writing box, and the discovery of a dark secret that he believes will lead him to the family he is looking for. Trouble is, someone else is looking for the same answers and will stop at nothing to find them.

In the Blood is the first book in the Jefferson Tayte mystery series.

 

I first became acquainted with this series when I found The Last Queen of England (book 3) on Goodreads. From there, I read about the first book and the synopsis is really interesting. I think the emphasis on the family genealogy makes for an interesting plot, so I’m going to be reading this book in the future.

Verdict: Keep

 

The Stone in the Skull – Elizabeth Bear

Goodreads – The Stone in the Skull

The Stone in the Skull, the first volume in her new trilogy, takes readers over the dangerous mountain passes of the Steles of the Sky and south into the Lotus Kingdoms.

The Gage is a brass automaton created by a wizard of Messaline around the core of a human being. His wizard is long dead, and he works as a mercenary. He is carrying a message from a the most powerful sorcerer of Messaline to the Rajni of the Lotus Kingdom. With him is The Dead Man, a bitter survivor of the body guard of the deposed Uthman Caliphate, protecting the message and the Gage. They are friends, of a peculiar sort.

They are walking into a dynastic war between the rulers of the shattered bits of a once great Empire.

 

Whatever it was that compelled me to add this to the TBR a year ago has pretty much gone.

I must have been looking for other fantasy books to read, but this one just doesn’t appeal to me anymore.

Verdict: Bin

 

Stalking Jack the Ripper – Kerri Maniscalco

Goodreads – Stalking Jack the Ripper

Presented by James Patterson’s new children’s imprint, this deliciously creepy horror novel has a storyline inspired by the Ripper murders and an unexpected, blood-chilling conclusion…

Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord’s daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father’s wishes and society’s expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle’s laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

The story’s shocking twists and turns, augmented with real, sinister period photos, will make this dazzling, #1 New York Times bestselling debut from author Kerri Maniscalco impossible to forget.

 

I just love the sound of this novel… and the historical ties hinted at within too. I used to watch Ripper Street – it was one of my favourite TV shows, before they stopped it! ARGH! Ahem, anyway… it’s the perfect time period. I’d also be lying if I said I wasn’t all for a woman breaking the conventions society have built for her, because you know, they were oppressive.

Verdict: Keep

 

Consider Phlebas – Iain M. Banks

Goodreads – Consider Phlebas

The war raged across the galaxy. Billions had died, billions more were doomed. Moons, planets, the very stars themselves, faced destruction, cold-blooded, brutal, and worse, random. The Idirans fought for their Faith; the Culture for its moral right to exist. Principles were at stake. There could be no surrender.

Within the cosmic conflict, an individual crusade. Deep within a fabled labyrinth on a barren world, a Planet of the Dead proscribed to mortals, lay a fugitive Mind. Both the Culture and the Idirans sought it. It was the fate of Horza, the Changer, and his motley crew of unpredictable mercenaries, human and machine, actually to find it, and with it their own destruction.

 

I added this because I saw a great review for it I’ve been trying to incorporate more sci-fi into my reading, but on looking back at this, it might be too much. I’m not great when it comes to technical details and I just feel this is going to be a bit too hard-hitting for me.

Verdict: Bin

 

The Scorch Trials – James Dashner

Goodreads – The Scorch Trials

Solving the Maze was supposed to be the end.

Thomas was sure that escape from the Maze would mean freedom for him and the Gladers. But WICKED isn’t done yet. Phase Two has just begun. The Scorch.

There are no rules. There is no help. You either make it or you die.

The Gladers have two weeks to cross through the Scorch—the most burned-out section of the world. And WICKED has made sure to adjust the variables and stack the odds against them.

Friendships will be tested. Loyalties will be broken. All bets are off.

There are others now. Their survival depends on the Gladers’ destruction—and they’re determined to survive.

 

I enjoyed reading The Maze Runner last year. It was the rare exception in which I had watched the film first. Did I love it enough to continue with the series? I’m not so sure anymore. I feel that the demographic the series was written for doesn’t really suit me anymore. If I were to read this, I think it would be forced… and that’s not a way to enjoy a book. Time to call it a day, I think.

Verdict: Bin

 

Invictus – Ryan Graudin

Goodreads – Invictus

Time flies when you’re plundering history.

Farway Gaius McCarthy was born outside of time. The son of a time-traveling Recorder from 2354 AD and a gladiator living in Rome in 95 AD, Far’s birth defies the laws of nature. Exploring history himself is all he’s ever wanted, and after failing his final time-traveling exam, Far takes a position commanding a ship with a crew of his friends as part of a black market operation to steal valuables from the past.

But during a heist on the sinking Titanic, Far meets a mysterious girl who always seems to be one step ahead of him. Armed with knowledge that will bring Far’s very existence into question, she will lead Far and his team on a race through time to discover a frightening truth: History is not as steady as it seems.

 

I like the time travel concept behind this plot. It is one of the science fiction themes I CAN get my head around. I’m also intrigued by the heist on the Titanic, as it grounds the story to something familiar. Sometimes, time travel (for me anyway) can get confusing if it is all based in the future, or without some kind of “landmark”. I think this will make an enjoyable read, so it’s staying on the list.

Verdict: Keep

 

99 Red Balloons – Elisabeth Carpenter

Goodreads – 99 Red Balloons

Two girls go missing, decades apart. What would you do if one was your daughter?

When eight-year-old Grace goes missing from a sweetshop on the way home from school, her mother Emma is plunged into a nightmare. Her family rallies around, but as the police hunt begins, cracks begin to emerge.

What are the secret emails sent between Emma’s husband and her sister? Why does her mother take so long to join the search? And is Emma really as innocent as she seems?

Meanwhile, ageing widow Maggie Taylor sees Grace’s picture in the newspaper. It’s a photograph that jolts her from the pain of her existence into a spiralling obsession with another girl – the first girl who disappeared…

 

I was so sure I was going to enjoy reading this book when I originally added it to the list. Having read the synopsis again, I stand by my decision. It’s the kind of drama I would watch on TV… if I watched TV. I hardly watch it lately and yet I’m stupid enough to pay for it! Anyway… I digress. This kind of mystery is right up my street. I think this may be getting bumped up the list.

Verdict: Keep

 

The Sun God’s Heir: Return – Elliott Baker

Goodreads – The Sun God’s Heir: Return

The Sun God’s Heir is a swashbuckling series, set at the end of the seventeenth century in France, Spain and northern Africa. Slavery is a common plague along the European coast and into this wild time, an ancient Egyptian general armed with dark arts has managed to return and re-embody, intent on recreating the reign of terror he began as Pharaoh. René Gilbert must remember his own lifetime at the feet of Akhenaten to have a chance to defeat Horemheb. A secret sect has waited in Morocco for three thousand years for his arrival.

 

I remember being really excited for this when I first saw it. I bought a copy straight away.

I’m not saying that I’ve changed my mind – I still think this will make for an enjoyable read. I am just a little less enthused than I was then.

I have a copy, so I’ll keep it and try it. You never know… I might come to love it! So… that’s the list! Have you read any of these books? Is there anything you would change? Let me know in the comments!

down the tbr hole

Down the TBR Hole #13

Hi everyone – welcome to another Down the TBR hole post!

For anyone unfamiliar with how this post works, the meme was created by Lia @ Lost in A Story. The idea is to review the books on your TBR to decide if you still want to read them. The rules are as follows: –

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

Shall we review the next ten books on my list?

 

The Elizabethan World – Lacey Baldwin Smith

Goodreads – The Elizabethan World

The Elizabethan World was a world remade. At the dawn of the sixteenth century, Europe was emerging from an age of ignorance and uncertainty. New lands were being discovered and old ones revitalized. People abandoned the ideals of medieval times to make startling advances in technology, science, and art. Here, award-winning historian Lacey Baldwin Smith vividly brings to life the story of Queen Elizabeth – perhaps the most influential sovereign in England’s history – and the age she created.

During her reign, Queen Elizabeth, last of the Tudor monarchs, presided over developments that still shape and inform our lives and culture today, including her patronage of William Shakespeare, the formation of the Church of England, victory over the Spanish Armada, even the execution of Mary Queen of Scots. Smith’s keen eye for detail and sense of how those details have echoed through the centuries make this book essential reading for anyone who wants to understand how history works.

 

The Tudor period is my favourite topic of history. I don’t know why I love it so much… it was quite a morbid time (especially for Henry VIII’s wives). I studied the subject extensively at school, and loved watching the TV series with Jonathan Rhys Meyers a couple of years ago.

There is definitely no question about keeping this book on the list!

Verdict: Keep

 

Mayflowers for November: The Rise and Fall of Anne Boleyn – Malyn Bromfield

Goodreads – Mayflowers for November: The Rise and Fall of Anne Boleyn

A novel depicting Anne Boleyn’s dramatic downfall through the eyes of a servant in the court of Henry the Eighth.

Avis Grinnel’s life is forever changed when a young musician arrives unexpectedly to escort her to the innermost sanctum of King Henry VIII’s royal court.

However, it is not the king who has demanded her presence but his new queen, the much-disliked Anne Boleyn.

She has been told Avis is a “little cunning wench who has the sight” and demands she uses her powers to divine whether the queen is pregnant with a girl, or with the boy child the king expects.

From the moment she gives her fateful answer, Avis becomes embroiled in an extravagant world of intrigue, deceit and murderous plotting that is far removed from her lowly home life in the king’s kitchens at Greenwich Palace.

She becomes an unwilling participant and watcher in the alliances and misplaced loyalties of court life as the King wages religious war with the Pope and the churches while changing wives and mistresses in his relentless pursuit of a male heir.

Whispers, lies and rumours abound as the Queen fights for her survival and Avis struggles to balance her life of opulence in the royal chambers with the humble world of her baker parents and a mysterious suitor.

Her story is revealed partly as it unfolds and partly as a deeply-felt memory told to the faithful blind White Boy, who has been at her side for most of her life.

The brutal ending of Anne Boleyn’s reign is already known and written into history but this dramatic and vividly drawn story records the stark reality with an intricate and colourful portrayal of life at all levels in Tudor England.

 

I must have been in a history-buff mood this day, as I added this at the same time as The Elizabethan World. Anne Boleyn is one of the most memorable and controversial wives of Henry VIII. Naturally, I want to remind myself of her life story.

Verdict: Keep

 

Twelve Years a Slave – Solomon Northup

Goodreads – Twelve Years a Slave

Twelve Years a Slave, sub-title: Narrative of Solomon Northup, citizen of New-York, kidnapped in Washington city in 1841, and rescued in 1853, from a cotton plantation near the Red River in Louisiana, is a memoir by Solomon Northup as told to and edited by David Wilson. It is a slave narrative of a black man who was born free in New York state but kidnapped in Washington, D.C., sold into slavery, and kept in bondage for 12 years in Louisiana. He provided details of slave markets in Washington, D.C. and New Orleans, as well as describing at length cotton and sugar cultivation on major plantations in Louisiana.

 

The release of the film inspired me to read this book. I’m firmly in the camp of books-are-better-than-the-film-adaptations, so reading it first is a must.

Verdict: Keep

 

Bad Girls from History: Wicked or Misunderstood – Dee Gordon

Goodreads – Bad Girls from History

You won’t be familiar with every one of the huge array of women featured in these pages, but all, familiar or not, leave unanswered questions behind them. The range is extensive, as was the research, with its insight into the lives and minds of women in different centuries, different countries, with diverse cultures and backgrounds, from the poverty stricken to royalty. Mistresses, murderers, smugglers, pirates, prostitutes and fanatics with hearts and souls that feature every shade of black (and grey!). From Cleopatra to Ruth Ellis, from Boudicca to Bonnie Parker, from Lady Caroline Lamb to Moll Cutpurse, from Jezebel to Ava Gardner. Less familiar names include Mary Jeffries, the Victorian brothel-keeper, Belle Starr, the American gambler and horse thief, La Voisin, the seventeenth-century Queen of all Witches in France but these are random names, to illustrate the variety of the content in store for all those interested in women who defy law and order, for whatever reason. The risqu’, the adventurous and the outrageous, the downright nasty and the downright desperate all human (female!) life is here. From the lower strata of society to the aristocracy, class is not a common denominator. Wicked? Misunderstood? Nave? Foolish? Predatory? Manipulative? Or just out of their time? Read and decide.

 

Whilst I have no doubt that the women in these pages are interesting, I don’t know. I’ve lost enthusiasm to read it. There isn’t any point forcing myself to read it when I know I don’t want to. This is the first casualty of the TBR Hole today. 

Verdict: Bin

 

How to Be a Woman – Caitlin Moran

Goodreads – How to be A Woman

Though they have the vote and the Pill and haven’t been burned as witches since 1727, life isn’t exactly a stroll down the catwalk for modern women. They are beset by uncertainties and questions: Why are they supposed to get Brazilians? Why do bras hurt? Why the incessant talk about babies? And do men secretly hate them? Caitlin Moran interweaves provocative observations on women’s lives with laugh-out-loud funny scenes from her own, from adolescence to her development as a writer, wife, and mother.

 

On the whole, I’m not a huge fan of women’s literature. The one notable exception I have read (part of and is subject to a re-read) is I Don’t Know How She Does It by Allison Pearson. To keep my attention, this “genre” needs the humour to keep me turning the pages… and something inside me says I’ll like this one.

Based on the last two books on the list, you’d think I was a feminist!

Verdict: Keep

 

After the Fire – Will Hill

Goodreads – After the Fire

The things I’ve seen are burned into me, like scars that refuse to fade.

Father John controls everything inside The Fence. And Father John likes rules. Especially about never talking to Outsiders. Because Father John knows the truth. He knows what is right, and what is wrong. He knows what is coming.

Moonbeam is starting to doubt, though. She’s starting to see the lies behind Father John’s words. She wants him to be found out.

What if the only way out of the darkness is to light a fire?

 

If I’m 100% honest, I’m keeping this on the list as I have heard so many others rave about this book. I’m not a huge fan of contemporary novels. I started this blog to give new books a try though – so where better to start than here?

Verdict: Keep

 

Soul Identity – Dennis Batchelder

Goodreads – Soul Identity

You can’t take it with you… but what if you could? Most people believe their souls outlive their bodies. Most people would find an organization that tracks their souls into the future and passes on their banked money and memories compelling. Scott Waverly isn’t like most people. He spends his days finding and fixing computer security holes. And Scott is skeptical of his new client’s claim that they have been calculating and tracking soul identities for almost twenty-six hundred years. Are they running a freaky cult? Or a sophisticated con job? Scott needs to save Soul Identity from an insider attack. Along the way, he discovers the importance of the bridges connecting people’s lives.

 

It’s not very often I get a book recommendation from my Dad. He isn’t much of a reader, except on holiday really. If a book catches his eye, then I trust his judgement. I’m quite interested by the combination of science-fiction and crime element… it’s not a combination you see every day.

Verdict: Keep

 

The Bone Collector – Jeffrey Deaver

Goodreads – The Bone Collector

Lincoln Rhyme was once a brilliant criminologist, a genius in the field of forensics — until an accident left him physically and emotionally shattered. But now a diabolical killer is challenging Rhyme to a terrifying and ingenious duel of wits. With police detective Amelia Sachs by his side, Rhyme must follow a labyrinth of clues that reaches back to a dark chapter in New York City’s past — and reach further into the darkness of the mind of a madman who won’t stop until he has stripped life down to the bone.

 

My sister bought us a copy of this book to share/read MONTHS ago… she was going to read it first and then pass it on to me. I think either she has forgotten, or is hoping I’ve forgotten because she wants to keep it so much!

Sister dear, if you want to keep it, I’ll get my own copy.

I also had an interesting bookish conversation at work today… and I think the person I was talking to might like this as well. I’ll drop them an email on Monday! Usually, when I start talking about books, this is the kind of reaction I get:-

Verdict: Keep

 

The Librarian of Auschwitz – Antonio Iturbe

Goodreads – The Librarian of Auschwitz

Based on the experience of real-life Auschwitz prisoner Dita Kraus, this is the incredible story of a girl who risked her life to keep the magic of books alive during the Holocaust.
Fourteen-year-old Dita is one of the many imprisoned by the Nazis at Auschwitz. Taken, along with her mother and father, from the Terezín ghetto in Prague, Dita is adjusting to the constant terror that is life in the camp. When Jewish leader Freddy Hirsch asks Dita to take charge of the eight precious volumes the prisoners have managed to sneak past the guards, she agrees. And so Dita becomes the librarian of Auschwitz.

Out of one of the darkest chapters of human history comes this extraordinary story of courage and hope.

 

  1. This is a book about Auschwitz
  2. This is a book about a girl who risks her life to keep books

I’d be a fool to take this off my list! If anything, I am bumping this up further – I’d forgotten I’d added it to the list!

Verdict: Keep

 

Killing Floor – Lee Child

Goodreads – Killing Floor

Ex-military policeman Jack Reacher is a drifter. He’s just passing through Margrave, Georgia, and in less than an hour, he’s arrested for murder. Not much of a welcome. All Jack knows is that he didn’t kill anybody. At least not here. Not lately. But he doesn’t stand a chance of convincing anyone. not in Margrave, Georgia. Not a chance in hell.

 

My granddad read these books… or so mum tells me. Lee Child was one of his favourite authors (together with Wilbur Smith), so I want to give these books a try to see if I will like them too.

Verdict: Keep

 

I am binning one book this time – lame! Aha! Oh well, at least I know that I genuinely still want to read these books. That is the point of the exercise after all!

Have you read any of the books I’ve mentioned? Let me know in the comments!

Until next time,

Do we encourage children to read as much as we could?

It only takes one look at my blog to establish that I am a voracious reader. I haven’t always been so fanatical about it though. I’ve always enjoyed reading, even as a child, but it was only since the beginning of last year that I truly caught the book bug.

My mum and dad had been reading to me long before I could l talk. Granted, I probably spent a lot of the time either staring vacantly at the pictures or trying to snatch the book from them at first. All beginnings are humble ones. Whether conscious or not, children learn from the example set by adults – and who are they around more than their parents? Be it by direct interaction or just observing others;

 

babies are like sponges.

 

I am sure there are many parents out there that discovered this very quickly. My mum did too. I took my time in learning to crawl, which eventually progressed to walking. What I lacked in motivation to move, however, I made up for elsewhere. In particular, I was very good at picking up words – rude ones especially. I was caught muttering phrases like “oh for fuck’s sake” to myself many a time. Even when you think kids aren’t paying attention, they are – aren’t they mum?

Kids have amazing skill sets and they’re completely underestimated. They will unashamedly declare that they “SNIFFED BACK THEIR SNOT”, or that the person in front of you at the checkout smells, much to the amusement of any adult (quietly tittering to themselves) too polite/honest to say so. If they can pick upon such obvious things, it makes you wonder what else fails to escape their notice.

A child’s mind really starts to mature once they go to school (or alternative education). They are introduced to a world of small people, just like them. They are no longer the centre of attention. They have to share and make friends and find their place in the world. Most importantly of all though, they start to learn. In order to do that, they have to learn to read – and this is expected to be encouraged at home.  

 

But do we really do enough to encourage our children to read?

 

We have already established that reading is an integral part of learning, but are we setting the right example? Statistics would suggest, not exactly.

A YouGov study conducted in 2014 gave some interesting results when British adults were asked about their reading habits. The study includes quite a lot of information, including age demographic, gender and location. If you want to take a look at the results yourself, you can find them here:-

 

One of the most interesting points, in my opinion, was how nearly 50% of adults described themselves as either avid or regular readers. Note that this is entirely subjective, so we cannot really comment on or assess this piece of information. What I found most shocking though (as an avid reader I admit I am biased), was how many books most of those questioned reported to read. The most common answer was between 3 and 5 books.

 

What this means…

 

To get an idea of how this works out on a practical scale, I did some searching on Google. A rough estimate for average words per novel has been suggested at about 90,000 and the average reading speed at 300 words per minute. Let’s take those numbers and apply it to an adult who says they read the maximum number of books in that bracket (5). Do you know how many minutes a day an adult would have to read to hit this target over the course of a year?

Five. Only five minutes a day. 

Another, broader study also came to similar conclusions, reporting four books as the most common response given by a similar sample size of readers. This study, in contrast to the one quoted above, is American rather than British. You can find the link to the article here.

So, if the vast majority of parents are reading the equivalent of fewer than five minutes a day, is that really sending our children the right message? We all have our own families, commitments, and schedules. I am not trying to pass judgment here… only to make you ask yourself the following question:  

Could we do more to show children that reading is fun? Could we all read a little more to show that it is more than just a chore, or learning exercise? 

 

Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 22nd July 2018

Today, my Sunday Summary post covers two weeks’ worth of reading, as I had a short holiday last weekend and couldn’t post!

Before going away, I shared my review of The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale – a lovely historical fiction novel involving the magic of toys and children’s imagination.

Whilst I was away, I had a couple of other posts scheduled for you. On Friday I shared a wonderful guest post written by Christopher Ruocchio, Five Things You Need to Know About the World of Empire of Silence. On Saturday, I shared my reviews on Death in Dulwich and The Girl in the Gallery by Alice Castle as part of the organised Blog Tour.

After I came back, I posted the next Down the TBR Hole post. I only ended up taking a couple of the books off of the list, but at least I know for sure that I want to read the books that ARE on it!

I managed to get a little reading done whilst I was away. Being sat at an airport alone makes for productive reading time!

 

Books Read

Following my Sunday Summary post a couple of weeks ago, I managed to finish reading The Girl in the Gallery with plenty of time to draft my thoughts for the blog tour post. If you haven’t checked out that post, I would really appreciate it if you did. You can find the link above!

Moving on, I picked up A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab. This was the book I picked up in the few moments I had whilst on holiday… although they were few and far between! I was visiting my sister so we had lots of shopping and activities planned. I did manage to finish the book reasonably quickly, wrapping it up on Wednesday night.

From there, I picked up another much anticipated read – Children of Blood & Bone by Tomi Adeyemi. I really love this book so far as it really does tackle some difficult themes like oppression, slavery and prejudice in a way that is approachable to read. I also love the magic in the book! I’m currently 39% through the book and I cannot wait to pick it up again.

 

Books Discovered

I have only added two books to the list, purely because I refused to even allow myself to look at books whilst shopping. I spent too much money. Payday is much awaited.

I only added Auschwitz to the TBR as I saw a fantastic review of the book. As usual, I’ve done my thing and NOT made a note of the reviewer. SORRY!!! If I find it again, I’ll add the link!

It’s one of my favourite topics. Having read some fictional works based on this tragic episode of history, I wanted to go that step further and delve into real accounts from survivors. I cannot wait to read the book!

I am adding the second book to the list literally as I write this post. Having been hugely undecided as to whether to add/buy the book, Eve of Man has been on my radar for weeks. However, having just watched a video by the lovely Zoe at No Safer Place (discussing the book and it’s hype on Youtube), I am sold. I will get around to reading this book! 

 

Top of Form

Coming Up…

I tell you, it’s lovely to be able to get back into some semblance of a routine again. I loved going away, I had a fabulous time. It threw me off the blogging schedule though, and if I have one flaw, it’s that I don’t adapt to change or breaking routine well.  Bottom of Form

Now that I can flex my typing fingers once again, I am going to kick-start the week with a post I don’t write very often. Themed around books I would love to read again, I am going to be writing a Top Ten Tuesday post.

 

 

A Darker Shade of MagicOn Friday I’ll be posting my review of A Darker Shade of Magic. I’m looking forward to reviewing this book because it is still fresh in my mind. You have no idea how much easier I find reviewing books when I have just read them. I proved that to myself in my review of The Toymakers!  

 

 

 

 

So, that’s all for now, ladies and gents! I hope you have enjoyed reading my post and I look forward to catching up with you again in my Top Ten Tuesday post!

As ever, any love, comments or criticisms are welcome – I would love to hear from you!

down the tbr hole

Down the TBR Hole #10

Having looked back, I haven’t actually written a Down the TBR Hole post and cleared out any unwanted books for over six months now. It’s no wonder these things get out of control!

For anyone who doesn’t know how this works, the meme was created by Lia @ Lost in a Story:

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

I’m going to be looking at the next ten books on the pile since I’ve neglected the pile for so long! Shall we jump right in? After I left off in my last post – with Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor (which I have now read!) I added a number of classics. I know I want to read these and frankly, they aren’t up for debate. For the sakes of making a more interesting post for you, I have decided to skip those.

 

Gilead – Marilynne Robinson

Gilead

Goodreads – Gilead

Twenty-four years after her first novel, Housekeeping, Marilynne Robinson returns with an intimate tale of three generations from the Civil War to the twentieth century: a story about fathers and sons and the spiritual battles that still rage at America’s heart. Writing in the tradition of Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman, Marilynne Robinson’s beautiful, spare, and spiritual prose allows “even the faithless reader to feel the possibility of transcendent order” (Slate). In the luminous and unforgettable voice of Congregationalist minister John Ames, Gilead reveals the human condition and the often unbearable beauty of an ordinary life.

Having read the synopsis again, I can’t really remember why I added this book to the list. I must have been inspired by something, but if I was it’s long gone now. Whatever the circumstances, I’m not convinced that this is something I would really love to read, so I’m going to pass on this one.

Verdict: Bin

 

Voyage in the Dark – Jean Rhys

Voyage in the Dark

Goodreads – Voyage in the Dark

‘It was as if a curtain had fallen, hiding everything I had ever known,’ says Anna Morgan, eighteen years old and catapulted to England from the West Indies after the death of her beloved father. Working as a chorus girl, Anna drifts into the demi-monde of Edwardian London. But there, dismayed by the unfamiliar cold and greyness, she is absolutely alone and unconsciously floating from innocence to harsh experience. Her childish dreams have been replaced by the harsher reality of living in a man’s world, where all charity has its price Voyage in the Dark was first published in 1934, but it could have been written today. It is the story of an unhappy love affair, a portrait of a hypocritical society, and an exploration of exile and breakdown; all written in Jean Rhys’s hauntingly simple and beautiful style.

I know why I’ve added this book to the list.

When it comes to books about love, passion, heartbreak, I am very choosy. The historical setting is why I have added this book to the list. Right now, I’m not really in the mood to read 170 pages of someone else’s relationship problems. That probably sounds really harsh, (because it is), but I don’t see the point in picking up a book I doubt I’ll enjoy.

Verdict: Bin

 

Never Let me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro

Never let me go

Goodreads – Never Let Me Go

As a child, Kathy – now thirty-one years old – lived at Hailsham, a private school in the scenic English countryside where the children were sheltered from the outside world, brought up to believe that they were special and that their well-being was crucial not only for themselves but for the society they would eventually enter. Kathy had long ago put this idyllic past behind her, but when two of her Hailsham friends come back into her life, she stops resisting the pull of memory.

And so, as her friendship with Ruth is rekindled, and as the feelings that long ago fueled her adolescent crush on Tommy begin to deepen into love, Kathy recalls their years at Hailsham. She describes happy scenes of boys and girls growing up together, unperturbed–even comforted–by their isolation. But she describes other scenes as well: of discord and misunderstanding that hint at a dark secret behind Hailsham’s nurturing facade. With the dawning clarity of hindsight, the three friends are compelled to face the truth about their childhood–and about their lives now.

A tale of deceptive simplicity, Never Let Me Go slowly reveals an extraordinary emotional depth and resonance–and takes its place among Kazuo Ishiguro’s finest work.

I was torn about this one.

Whilst I am kind of intrigued by the story and the characters, I’m not really feeling it. Not that I think I won’t enjoy the book, but I can’t say I definitively will either. I have so many other books on the list now, I’m inclined to pass.

Verdict: Bin

 

You Are Not So Smart: Why You Have Too Many Friends on Facebook, Why Your Memory Is Mostly Fiction, and 46 Other Ways You’re Deluding Yourself – David McRaney

You are not so smart

Goodreads – You Are Not So Smart

An entertaining illumination of the stupid beliefs that make us feel wise.

Whether you’re deciding which smart phone to purchase or which politician to believe, you think you are a rational being whose every decision is based on cool, detached logic, but here’s the truth: You are not so smart. You’re just as deluded as the rest of us–but that’s okay, because being deluded is part of being human.

Growing out of David McRaney’s popular blog, You Are Not So Smart reveals that every decision we make, every thought we contemplate, and every emotion we feel comes with a story we tell ourselves to explain them, but often these stories aren’t true. Each short chapter–covering topics such as Learned Helplessness, Selling Out, and the Illusion of Transparency–is like a psychology course with all the boring parts taken out.

Bringing together popular science and psychology with humor and wit, You Are Not So Smart is a celebration of our irrational, thoroughly human behavior.

Non-fiction books don’t often feature in my TBR, but this one is staying firmly on the list! Psychology (and precisely how the brain works) is one of my favourite subjects; I think this is something I will find both informative and humorous. I don’t like being wrong, so this may just be an eye-opener!

Verdict: Keep

 

The Wages of Sin – Kaite Welsh

The Wages of Sin

Goodreads – The Wages of Sin

Sarah Gilchrist has fled London and a troubled past to join the University of Edinburgh’s medical school in 1892, the first year it admits women. She is determined to become a doctor despite the misgivings of her family and society, but Sarah quickly finds plenty of barriers at school itself: professors who refuse to teach their new pupils, male students determined to force out their female counterparts, and—perhaps worst of all—her female peers who will do anything to avoid being associated with a fallen woman.

Desperate for a proper education, Sarah turns to one of the city’s ramshackle charitable hospitals for additional training. The St Giles’ Infirmary for Women ministers to the downtrodden and drunk, the thieves and whores with nowhere else to go. In this environment, alongside a group of smart and tough teachers, Sarah gets quite an education. But when Lucy, one of Sarah’s patients, turns up in the university dissecting room as a battered corpse, Sarah finds herself drawn into a murky underworld of bribery, brothels, and body snatchers.

Painfully aware of just how little separates her own life from that of her former patient’s, Sarah is determined to find out what happened to Lucy and bring those responsible for her death to justice. But as she searches for answers in Edinburgh’s dank alleyways, bawdy houses and fight clubs, Sarah comes closer and closer to uncovering one of Edinburgh’s most lucrative trades, and, in doing so, puts her own life at risk…

 

I barely have to think about this one. Adding it to the TBR last year is not something I have changed m mind about. I expect I will really enjoy reading this. Historical fiction, (and dark themes within) are right up my alley. It’s a no-brainer.

Verdict: Keep

 

All the Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr

All The Light We Cannot See

Goodreads – All The Light We Cannot See

From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the stunningly beautiful instant New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.

Marie-Laure lives in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where her father works. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

In a mining town in Germany, Werner Pfennig, an orphan, grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find that brings them news and stories from places they have never seen or imagined. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments and is enlisted to use his talent to track down the resistance. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, Doerr illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another.

Doerr’s “stunning sense of physical detail and gorgeous metaphors” (San Francisco Chronicle) are dazzling. Ten years in the writing, a National Book Award finalist, All the Light We Cannot See is a magnificent, deeply moving novel from a writer “whose sentences never fail to thrill” (Los Angeles Times).

 

I added this book to my TBR with the intention to read along with another blogger. But, with so many books and so little time, it didn’t happen.

This would usually be a go-to genre for me, but I’m not sure this is something I would enjoy reading by myself. Whilst beautifully written, it is apparently difficult to get into. Without the motivation of reading with others, I fear I’d end up putting this down all-too-quickly.

I have to say no to this one, on this occasion.

Verdict: Bin

 

The Shining – Stephen King

The Shining

Goodreads – The Shining

Jack Torrance’s new job at the Overlook Hotel is the perfect chance for a fresh start. As the off-season caretaker at the atmospheric old hotel, he’ll have plenty of time to spend reconnecting with his family and working on his writing. But as the harsh winter weather sets in, the idyllic location feels ever more remote…and more sinister. And the only one to notice the strange and terrible forces gathering around the Overlook is Danny Torrance, a uniquely gifted five-year-old.

This isn’t even up for debate. It’s staying. I really love the Stephen King books I have read so far. Whilst based on the film, this “story” comes highly recommended by my parents. On the list, it remains.

Verdict: Keep

 

The Floating Theatre – Martha Conway

Floating Theatre

Goodreads – The Floating Theatre

In a nation divided by prejudice, everyone must take a side.

When young seamstress May Bedloe is left alone and penniless on the shore of the Ohio, she finds work on the famous floating theatre that plies its trade along the river. Her creativity and needlework skills quickly become invaluable and she settles in to life among the colourful troupe of actors. She finds friends, and possibly the promise of more …

But cruising the border between the Confederate South and the ‘free’ North is fraught with danger.

For the sake of a debt that must be repaid, May is compelled to transport secret passengers, under cover of darkness, across the river and on, along the underground railroad.

But as May’s secrets become harder to keep, she learns she must endanger those now dear to her.

And to save the lives of others, she must risk her own …

 

I remember purchasing a copy of this book last year, so I guess that is a good a reason as any to read it. I love theatre, so combine this with a historical theme, add some civil unrest and I am SOLD.

Verdict: Keep

 

The Destroyer – Michael-Scott Earle

The Destroyer

Goodreads – The Destroyer

After untold centuries of absence, the evil Ancients have returned. Their magic appears unstoppable and their hunger for conquest is insatiable. To protect the country of Nia, Duchess Nadea and Scholar Paug make a desperate journey to find a human legend: A man known to have destroyed these Ancient foes with a powerful army.

But legends can lie.

When Paug and Nadea revive their hero from sleep, his virtue is far from clear.

Is he really their Savior or their Destroyer?

 

I think I downloaded this book whilst it was on some kind of free promotion. In a way, I’m glad I didn’t pay for it, because I am less enthusiastic about it than I evidently was at the time. That’s not to say I won’t like it at all, but it just isn’t screaming at me to read it really. I’ll keep it because I have it.

I can’t help but sneak a look at the reviews when I do this; a couple of the comments made worry me. Once I got to that point I stopped reading. Maybe it’s a book to read and take with a pinch of salt?

Verdict: Keep

 

The Borgia Bride – Jeanne Kalogridis

The Borgia Bride

Goodreads – The Borgia Bride

Vivacious Sancha of Aragon arrives in Rome newly wed to a member of the notorious Borgia dynasty. Surrounded by the city’s opulence and political corruption, she befriends her glamorous and deceitful sister-in-law, Lucrezia, whose jealousy is as legendary as her beauty. Some say Lucrezia has poisoned her rivals, particularly those to whom her handsome brother, Cesare, has given his heart. So when Sancha falls under Cesare’s irresistible spell, she must hide her secret or lose her life. Caught in the Borgias’ sinister web, she summons her courage and uses her cunning to outwit them at their own game. Vividly interweaving historical detail with fiction, The Borgia Bride is a richly compelling tale of conspiracy, sexual intrigue, loyalty, and drama.

Perhaps unconventionally, my interest in the history of the Borgia family came about as a result of featuring in the Assassin’s Creed games (the Ezio storyline, for anyone interested). Those to date remain my favourite of the franchise… because I love the setting and storyline. The controversy of the family appears to be founded from their real history – with that being the case, I am really looking forward to reading this!

Verdict: Keep!!!

 

So there we are!! I don’t think that’s a bad cleanse of the list! Have you read any of the books I’ve mentioned? What do you think? As ever, I would love to hear from you!

Sunday Summary – 20th May 2018

I feel like over the past couple of weeks, my attention span and my inclination to read had dwindled a little.
That’s not to say I stopped reading, because I didn’t. I have been reading some great books, but I think the nicer weather is having it’s effect on me. I’ve spent more time out walking and enjoying the sunshine whilst I can get it than I would usually. On one such walk I also got to say hello to a poor lamb, whom the local coastguard had rescued from falling off a cliff.
It’s not something you see everyday, that’s for sure!
 

Books Read


The majority of this week was spent reading Diana Christmas by F. R. Jameson. I was kindly provided with an electronic copy of the book in exchange for a review and I would like to say a huge thanks for the opportunity. I enjoyed the characters and the setting of the book; it was refreshing to read something a little different.
After finishing Diana Christmas yesterday, I made a very brief start on The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale. It was, however, the most cursory of beginnings… not really enough to comment on the book as yet. It is one of my last Netgalley reads, so I am looking forward to reading and reviewing it.
I also listened to more of Nevernight by Jay Kristoff this week. It’s great to be able to listen to a book – I don’t understand why some people are so against it. It’s convenient and if you have a great narrator, it really brings a story to life!
 

Books Discovered

The Six Tudor Queens KoA
You know by now that I am a historical fiction nerd.
I came across Alison Weir in a feature she has in June’s edition of Writing Magazine (I subscribe so I get editions earlier than the shops do). She discusses how she balances out writing his-fic with factual information and the research she puts into it – if it’s a genre you are interested in then I would say it’s worth a read! She has just released the third book of this series, which is the prompt for the article I suppose. I have yet to read any though, so needless to say, it’s been added to the ever-growing list!
 

Coming Up…

Next week I am reviewing two books for you! I am going to be reviewing Eternity’s Echoes, at the request of the author, on Wednesday.
I’ve decided to add this additional review next week because I feel it is long overdue. I may have only finished the book last week, but it has taken me some time to read and I am keen to share my thoughts with you all. Yes folks, I am talking about Empire of Silence by Christopher Ruocchio.
What are your plans for the week ahead?
Rebecca mono

Sunday Summary – 13th May 2018

It’s Sunday again! It barely feels like the weekend has even started, and already we are over half way through.
Weekends are just not long enough.
This week I opened up a little about myself in my review of the audiobook An Almond for A Parrot by Wray Delaney. This normally isn’t the sort of book I would pick up, however the historical setting and inclusion of magic swayed me to see what it was all about. Whilst I enjoyed the book – I won’t deny it made me feel a little awkward. You can catch the full details in my review.
 

Books Read


 
I finally finished Empire of Silence this week, and boy… was it worth the wait! I’ve been reading this book for a few weeks now, and it’s really made me think I ought to pick up science-fiction books more often. I want to thank Gollancz once again for giving me the opportunity to read this book prior to it’s release in July and I cannot wait to share a full review.
Sticking with the science-fiction theme, I have also read Eternity’s Echoes at the request of the author. A quick thank you here for providing me with an ecopy of the book. It’s a tale that explores the concept of time travel and potential consequences it may have if misused. I’ll be publishing a review shortly, so keep an eye out for that.
I also furthered my audiobook progress this week! So far I am loving the narrative of Nevernight. Not only is the story interesting, I love Mia as a character. The narrative itself is written in a clear manner, with an underlying tone of sarcastic wit that I relate to entirely; the narrator does an excellent job in encapsulating this. I can’t wait to listen to the story further!
 

Books Discovered


My first book buy of the week was Fools and Mortals by Bernard Cornwell. I love his Saxon stories series, (aka The Last Kingdom to those that only watch it on TV), and I also love everything about the stage and theatre. Picking up this book was a no-brainer for me once I saw it!
I actually received a copy of Blackwing to read and review from Gollancz a couple of weeks ago(?!)… ish. Anyway. I hadn’t added it to my blog before because I like to post to social media to thank the publisher first, which I was rather late in doing.
I have this amazing ability to be as un-photogenic as possible, and if I’m not convinced I like a picture… I won’t share it. Thank the lord for photo editing… because I still wasn’t all that great when I finally took that photo. Thanks to some cropping and a cheeky filter, I published the photo on InstagramTwitter and you were spared the sight of my hideous sunburn. It rather matched my lipstick. No joke. I am Casper the ghost in corporeal form.
 

Coming Up…

Almost a month after I read the book, I’ll be posting my review of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne. I really enjoyed this book, even though the topic is less than cheery. If anyone is yet to read it, I highly recommend it. As for the film… I don’t think I could watch it. I’m weak.
Rebecca mono