Tag: reading

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Disappointing Books

Hi!! I hope everyone is having a wonderful Tuesday so far!
Today I wanted to do something a little different – it’s another meme frequenting the world of blogging and I’m excited to dive in!! Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish for the purpose of sharing lists about a variety of book-related topics.
Personally, I feel like I spend a lot of time talking about books I love and enjoy, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that! After all, I am not intentionally going to pick up a book I know I am not going to like.
That being said, sometimes with the best will in the world, we cannot love everything. Books that other people rave about, or books you think you will really enjoy just don’t always cut the mustard. (This is a really bizarre expression, but I love it!) These books are the feature of today’s post, so let’s get to it!
I’m writing the list in reverse order, so I’m starting with the least offensive books:-
 

10. American Gods – Neil Gaiman

American Gods
I think I’ll get some hate on this one. It is not that I didn’t like it. I did. I DID, OKAY?! I just didn’t love it… and I really thought (hoped) I would. This is a book that has been talked about a lot this year and perhaps the hype got my hopes up. It’s an okay read – and I would probably pick it up again (as has been recommended to me)… but not yet.
 

9. Eric – Terry Pratchett

Eric
Again, this is a book in which I enjoyed certain parts of, but not all. Towards the end of the book, Rincewind and Eric have to make their way through Hell back to the Discworld. I particularly loved this part as Hell was basically run like an office, with memos, policy statements and torture by boredom instead of the traditional variety of physical methods. Working in an office for 35 hours a week, I saw the humour in this, but not much else. It isn’t a bad book, but not one of Pratchett’s finest in my humble opinion.
 

8. Moving Pictures – Terry Pratchett

Moving Pictures
It’s bad enough having one Pratchett book on here, never mind two!!
I just found this one to be really slow. At school I studied a lot of theatre so this parody of the magic of Hollywood should have been right up my street. Sad to say, I found it a bit dull.
 

7. The Inheritance Cycle series – Christopher Paolini


 
I started this series whilst studying my A-Levels, and I have fond memories of reading Eragon whilst on break duty, supervising the kids in the younger years.
I think by the time I came to read Eldest I had outgrown the series – I found it a little bit childish and ultimately, I have given up on it. If I had read it sooner I probably would have enjoyed it.
 

6. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
My dad would absolutely hate me if I knew this was on my list of most disappointing books. I don’t mind the film so much, but I find it really silly. It’s not supposed to be a book you take seriously, sure. I just didn’t enjoy it all that much.
 

5. The Great Iron War Series – Dean Wilson


 
I started this series this year. I also DNF’d it this year. The foundations of the series are good – I love the base plot and the motivations of the characters. What I dislike about the books is how repetitive and unrealistic they are.
“Well damn, the enemy broke my super expensive submarine. Good job I kept an arsenal of weapons and a barrage balloon on standby… you know, just in case.”
Right. Sounds legit, no?

4. The Books of Pellinor – Alison Croggon


I really enjoyed three-quarters of this series. Guess which one let me down.
The Singing, of course. The build-up to this huge battle between “The Chosen One” and the darkness begins early on and you know what? By the time the battle actually came Alison must have realised she only had about 12 pages left in her, rushed the ending very badly, and for me, the whole series just fell flat on its face. I was so disappointed, as this had so much promise.

3. Magician’s Guild – Trudi Canavan

Magician's Guild
Now we are getting to the really bad books. This was a DNF pretty much straight away as I couldn’t get into it. There isn’t much more to it than that.
 

2. The Knife of Never Letting Go – Patrick Ness

The Knife of Never Letting Go
The idea of a world in which you can read minds sounds both fantastic and scary right?! I thought so too, but this was also a DNF straight away. I seem to recall I thought it came across a bit childish, but I attempted this years and years and years ago and truth be told, I’ve erased the painful memory of trying to read this from my mind.
 

1. The Darkness that Comes Before – Scott Bakker

The Darkness that Comes Before
What makes this book the worst on my list is that by every right, I should have enjoyed it. I felt so strongly that I should, I ended up forcing myself to read it and that was a mistake. I’ve even attempted a re-read years later and I cannot get into it. I don’t like the main character; I find the fantasy world confusing… the list goes on. It doesn’t get any better. I can honestly say that whilst I am sure someone out there loves it… I don’t. It gets the top prize for being the worst book I ever read.
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So that makes up my list of the Top Ten Most Disappointing Books!!
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The important thing to remember is that everybody has different tastes and we are all entitled to our opinions. I’m basically saying don’t hate on me for any of my choices, pretty please?
Have you read any of these books? Do you agree with me?
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Down the TBR Hole #6

Hi everybody! So it’s been a little while since I last did one of these posts, and I really do need to clear the list down. Normally I go ahead and look at the next five books on the TBR but I am going to be going through the next TEN on my list today!
In case anyone needs a brush up on just what this tag entails:-
This meme was started by Lia @ Lost in a Story to clear out my reading list of unwanted books. I have old items on Goodreads that I need to sort through. Here is how it works:

  • 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?

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The Curse of Chalion – Lois McMaster Bujold

The Curse of Chalion.jpg
Goodreads
Okay, so I can see why old me added this to the list. At the time I was in the crux of adding just about every single fantasy book to the reading list purely because that was almost all I was reading at the time. Now my reading taste has changed and I’m reading far more diverse genres, this just doesn’t quite grip me enough to keep it on the list.
Verdict: Go
 

Low Town – Daniel Polansky

Low Town
Goodreads
Again I think my older taste in books reflects in the choice to read this one. It sounds similar in theme to something else I read recently, however, I also noticed the ratings on this book from people that actually left a detailed review were not great. Were this something I was still intrigued by, I wouldn’t let the ratings put me off. As I’m already inclined to take this off the list, I’ll trust my gut instinct.
Verdict: Go
 

Code Name Verity – Elizabeth Wein

Code Name Verity
Goodreads
This is a really easy one for me – it’s an absolute keeper. I love historical fiction (WW2 in particular) and I think it’s really going to be a fantastic read. I am actually going to be reading this book pretty soon. Whilst my reading list is never set in stone until a couple of days before the next month starts, (and at that point, I commit for the month) I am more than likely looking at reading this in December. So excited!!
Verdict: KEEP!!!!!!!
 

Finnikin of the Rock – Melina Marchetta

Finnikin of the Rock
Goodreads
In all brutal honesty, my pre-diversity self probably saw a pretty cover, the world curse and went YUP!! MUST READ THIS!!
Having looked at this again, I am less than inspired. Not to be harsh, but I don’t think this will be my cup of tea.
Verdict: Go
 

The Ruins of Gorlan – John Flanagan

Rangers Apprentice
Goodreads
I cannot help but feel that the blurb for this book makes it sound like Magician’s Apprentice by Raymond E Feist. Does the story start with an orphan? Check. Do they end up becoming apprenticed in unusual circumstances? Check. See where I am going with this? I acknowledge the reviews for this are very good, but I don’t think I can unsee this correlation and its tarnished my view.
Verdict: Go
 

The Dragon’s Path – Daniel Abraham

The Dragons Path
Goodreads
This book is a typical fantasy in some ways, but equally unusual in others. Fantasy books involving war, and AGAIN with the orphans?! God forbid a child destined for a hard time have parents. To me, it seems a cop-out to make it easier for this kid to do whatever they have to in order to develop and allow the story to progress. That being said, the role of this orphan is not typical, so I’ll give it a chance.
Verdict: Keep
 

Radiance – Grace Draven

Radiance
Goodreads
Usually, fantasy with political elements usually excites me. But for the fact the synopsis of the book makes it sound like 90% of it is about the relationship between a Prince of nothing and a minor noblewoman, I might have kept it. Tentatively. Maybe. I don’t enjoy relationship-y, romance-y books. Huge turn-off.
Nope.
Verdict: GO!
 

Outlander – Diana Gabaldon

Outlander
Goodreads
The synopsis of this book makes it seem pretty tame. I’ll admit, I hadn’t read the reviews until now. Do it – read the reviews… they are fucking hilarious!
I feel like I have been brutal to the TBR today and I think this has to be the worst feature of them all. I actually think this is going to be such a car crash to read (in terms of my preference of books) that I’ll see the funny side of it. I think I need a good laugh.
If you do too – read the reviews!! Please… if you do one thing today to make yourself smile, make it this. You won’t regret it.
Verdict: Keep
 

Quantum Night – Robert J. Sawyer

Quantum Night
Goodreads
With the exception of Code Name Verity, I think this is the second best book that has come up on the TBR list. It relates to human psychology and I loved the subject when I studied it for my A-Levels. An experimental psychologist finds a way to uncover undetected psychopaths in society. Turns out he needs to look a little closer to home. He joins forces with his former girlfriend, a quantum physicist to prevent society tearing itself apart with its own violent tendencies. It’s certainly different to many of the books I have featured today and I think it will be an interesting read.
Verdict: Keep
 

Red Queen – Victoria Aveyard

Red Queen
Goodreads
I added this book as I seem to remember people were raving about it. Admittedly this was before I started blogging and therefore I picked up on from my limited circles. Having reminded myself what it is about, I’m on the fence about it, to be honest. I added it because it seemed popular but I’m not sure I want to keep it. I’m sure I would find it enjoyable if I did read it, but not feeling so inclined to pick it up right now.
Verdict: Go
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It’s fair to say I’ve had a productive clear out – I’ve discarded six books and kept four, so I’m happy with that. Have you read any of the above books? Do you agree with my decisions? I would love to hear from you either way!
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Review: The War Queen – J. M. Robison

Yesterday I had the wonderful opportunity to conduct an Author Interview with J.M Robison in relation to her first published book, The War Queen. Today I am thrilled to be publishing my review! Before we begin, if you are yet to take a look at the interview, I would recommend you do!

***I was very kindly provided with a free copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review. All the opinions stated below are my own ***

 
The War Queen

GoodReads – The War Queen

Altarn is the first woman to hold the position of State Head in Blindvar. When Lord Kaelin, State Head of Ruidenthall, propositions her to merger with their states, Altarn believes it’s his subtle way of taking her state for his own, making himself king. On the cusp of war, she rides in disguise to her last ally, Luthsinia, to ask for help.

During her journey, Altarn is ambushed but rescued by a man called Torren who offers her protection. Quickly they realize they share a mutual attraction. Upon their arrival to Luthsinia, Altarn receives news that an army has invaded Blindvar in her absence and blames Kaelin. Except it’s not Kaelin’s army, because she discovers Kaelin is in Luthsinia for the purpose of spying on her to take her land. And Torren is not who she thought he was.
Taking advantage of the unraveling situation, Kaelin kidnaps Altarn so he can take her state without her in the way and brings her to Ruidenthall. There’s a war ship on the horizon, led by a fallen angel craving mortal worship. Kaelin realizes he needs Altarn’s help to fight this army if he’s to save his state. She’s forced to agree, but how will she react when he’s wounded in battle? If she lets him die, can she fight the enemy on her own? Or if she saves his life, will he still try claiming her state, or try claiming her heart?

Having read a sample of the first chapter I knew that Altarn’s character and her position as State Head was going to be something that interested me a lot. I don’t think I need to go into the many debates about gender equality that are out there at the moment. I’m sure you see it all the time, be it on social media or the news etc. I knew this book was going to intrigue me because I wanted to see how the fictional society of this book adapted to the change of power being in the hands of a female in comparison with what we experience in reality. I was also keen to understand how Altarn coped with the difficulties, prejudice and the challenges to her credibility experienced.

 Altarn believes Kaelin, the Lord of Ruidenthall is set upon taking her land, however her council do not believe her when she brings this matter to their attention. Having had countless letters ignored and fearing the worst for her state, she sets out to neutral Luthsinia to gain the aid necessary to fend off the impending attack. As it happens, Altarn’s concern over Kaelin’s actions are the least of her concerns and ultimately, the two sides join forces to eradicate an unforeseen threat.

I found Altarn to be a remarkably developed character – in a lot of ways, I felt I could relate to her emotionally. In the first chapter we see Altarn arrive at her State Manor, clearly enraged and she quite humourously lashes out at a training target with the name of the man who told her “You have to ride the horse before you buy it. Because if you buy it first, you may find out later it limps”. Her behaviour is entirely relatable to us mere mortals (well, at least to me anyway), however, it is not the behaviour expected of a woman in her position – and especially not in public. This scene really introduces Altarn’s character and sets her development arc for the remainder of the book.

As Altarn travels to Luthsinia undercover to request aid, she ends up travelling with a young man who protects her on the road from a band of men who have less than polite intentions. Altarn perceives herself to be more than capable of defending herself, having served in the army and intends to face the threat single-handedly. As a result of this unknown man leaping to her defence, she feels irritated that she was perceived to have needed help. Despite her obvious resentment, Altarn sees the sense of safety in numbers and continues to travel with the young man, albeit distrustfully.  I cannot help but wonder if this scenario is something JM has drawn on her army experience for. Is Altarn’s circumstance (real or perceived – I’ll allow my lack of experience to keep me sitting on the fence) of feeling or being treated as the inferior sex something experienced in the army?

With the novel written in the first person narrative from the perspective of Altarn, we get to really understand the way she is thinking and feeling. I can speak now, as a woman, when I say that a lot of her emotional struggles are perfectly relatable. As she rebounds from Jessom and begins to “admire” her mysterious co-traveller, this isn’t a spontaneous reaction just for the purpose of plot developing. What I am trying to say is… it’s a perfectly natural reaction. Altarn is forced to mature and reign in these feelings as she comes to terms with the political turmoil she has to endure for the safety of her people, although this is a great struggle for her.

I’m glad now that I have gotten to this point. If there was any element of the book I wasn’t sure I was going to like, it was the relationship between Altarn and Lord Kaelin. As a rule, books with too much emphasis on relationship struggles are a turn off for me. Regardless of my feelings on the matter, allow me to be clear that the tumultuous relationship between these two powers is a quintessential element of both the plot and the development of each of these characters. I was pleasantly surprised that despite the reasonably high dependence the plot has on the relationship, I didn’t feel alienated from the characters involved – if anything it serves a reminder of just how human they are.

I also love how the book concluded. I am not going to spoil it for you, but what I will say is this… It could have been easy for the book to end in a very typical, fairytale manner. Allow me to say I am glad it didn’t. The characters are far more sophisticated than that and I am glad that shows.

I also enjoyed the developed and consistent historical background of the fantastical realm, which is introduced when relevant throughout the book. It is a danger for the reader to be the victim of “info-dumps” when the author has to explain a lot of history and context in fantasy worlds created, but I can honestly say I didn’t feel overwhelmed at any point.

In my opinion, The War Queen is an enjoyable read for all lovers of the fantasy genre. Whilst there are examples of common themes such as war (obviously), religion, (including angels and demons etc), to my mind it has been done in such a way as to set it apart from the common reiterations of the same ideas regularly seen in the genre.

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I hope you have enjoyed reading my review! If you would like to learn any more about JM Robison or The War Queen, please follow any of the below links:-
Website    Facebook     Twitter     Amazon     Goodreads     Pinterest
Also a little reminder that there is a live Facebook event on Saturday in celebration of the book’s first birthday. If you would like to join in, here is the link – hopefully we will see you there.
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Review: The Kitsune in the Lantern – Daniel Curry

I have to get this disclaimer out of the way… so here goes.

***I was very kindly provided with a free copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review. All the opinions stated below are my own ***

There – I’m glad that’s over with. I think it is kind of sad that these things are even needed really.
Anyway… on a happier note – if anyone tuned in to my blog yesterday, you’ll know I posted an interview with our author Daniel to give readers the opportunity to get to know a little bit about him, the book itself and his influences in writing. If anybody is yet to check this post out… here’s a cheeky link.
Now without further adieu… the review:-
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GoodReads – The Kitsune in the Lantern
Synopsis from GoodReads:- 

“You were chosen by Yako, the bringer of Darkness.”
Join Argus Todd and his friends as he uncovers a great power exploring an old ruin, that has stood for decades in his town.
Inari, an age-old Kitsune must train Argus in his new gifts, in order to stop the chaotic Yako from bringing the darkness to our world.
But Yako appears a complex character, and all may not be as it seems…
Debut novella from author Daniel Curry, for Children and Teens. Experience the magic of the power of the Kitsune in this first book of a brand new series.
Ideal for confident young readers, and older children searching for an easy read adventure, this book is an exciting introduction to the mind of Daniel Curry

Despite the book being aimed at a younger generation, I can hand on heart say that I enjoyed it. Admittedly, (not to sound conceited), this was an easy read for me but it was a refreshing change! That isn’t to say I didn’t learn a thing or two! The magical beings introduced in the book, known as the Kitsune, stem from Japanese folklore. I love the idea that a Kitsune gains more magical abilities as it learns and ages. I’ll hold my hands up now and say prior to reading this book – I hadn’t even heard of them before! It was a great introduction to folklore from a different culture in a fun way and diversity is definitely something we should be encouraging.
This book is perfectly written for children – whether to challenge young readers to pick up books themselves or even as a story being read aloud. The plot was easy to follow, which I think is essential in a book of this length when bearing in mind the target audience. Even though I read this book all in one day, I read it in three sessions (because life has the amazing ability of disturbing reading!) – but it was so easy to pick up again when I came back to it.
The tale follows the adventures of Argus, Mae and Tom, who venture into the ruins of an old factory. There they discover a lantern and an archaic power is once again released into the world. I loved each of these three protagonists in their own way, and I really believe that everyone will be able to relate to at least one of them. Argus is the brave and outgoing “leader” of the group. He is a role model to Tom and has the respect of Mae. Tom is quite the opposite; he is the smallest of the group, the shyest and predisposed to nervousness. I was never the most outgoing of people so my inner child relates to him. Now, with my twenty-something-year-old head on… I just wanted to mother him! Mae is a great mix of both of these two characters – she even ends up mediating between these two extremes and I truly think she is a vital part in holding the friendship together.
The book is a lovely balance of myth and magic to keep the audience engaged, all the while encouraging attributes like learning and teamwork and discouraging greed. I am in no doubt Daniel knew exactly who his target audience was… but I truly believe this book is approachable to a span of age groups. The Kitsune in the Lantern is the first of a trilogy, and it is one I have every intention of finishing and I am not ashamed of the fact. I would love to learn more about the magic of the Kitsune and what further adventures Argus, Mae and Tom get to have with their new powers.
Lastly, but certainly not least, I wanted to include my favourite passage from the book, because it is absolutely true:-

“We all walk a narrow path between darkness and light. Tiny events can push our lives either way.” Inari began to pace around him. “But there is no unfairness, or path chosen for us, there is only random tastings of both sides”.
~ The Kitsune in the Lantern – Daniel Curry

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So there you have it!
I would like to thank Daniel again for the chance not only to read this book, but to be introduced to what I feel assured is going to be a lovely series! I’ll be keeping up with it too – that’s a promise!!
Just an additional note – I am jealous of the Kitsune power to step out of time. I would so do it to catch people pulling funny faces just for a laugh – I’m not always an adult! I feel sure I’m not the only one either…
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Source: Giphy

I hope you have enjoyed my review! If you would like to find out more about the book or purchase a copy, please find the links below.
Amazon      GoodReads
Also, if you would like to follow Daniel on Twitter and keep up to date with future releases, you can find him at @DCurryAuthor.
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Sunday Summary – 8th October 2017

Hi everyone!! Welcome to the Sunday Summary, in which I post every week to update you on my reading progress during the week just gone and to advise you of what you can expect on my blog next week. So… here we go!
 

Books Read

This week I managed to squeeze two of the books on my TBR into my schedule, which I am very pleased about. Both of these books are review copies which I have very kindly been provided with in exchange for an honest review.

GoodReads – The Kitsune in the Lantern
GoodReads – The War Queen
The first book I was provided with was The Kitsune in the Lantern by Daniel Curry and the second being The War Queen by J M Robison. If you’re interested in finding out more, check out the Coming Up section below!

Books Discovered

Every week I manage to find books I really want to read and it gets added to the never-ending list. Not that I’m complaining – at all!! The great thing about connecting with other bloggers is that you get to see what they have been reading and potentially discover something new!
cat reading military

Source: Giphy

Pretty much all of the additions to the TBR this week are as a result of reading other bloggers reviews! The two exceptions are that a good couple of months ago Stephen King’s Mr Mercedes was recommended to me at work by probably THE MOST unbookish person on my team… but that’s okay. He seemed to enjoy it, so I’m sure I will! I also discovered The Bone Season via Instagram and added that to the list.

The other books I added to the TBR this week are Moonrise by Sarah Crossan, Gerald’s Game by Stephen King, Blackwing by Ed McDonald and A Plague of Giants by Kevin Hearne. This last book is due out locally on the 19th October so as soon as it’s out, I’ll be getting myself a copy!


I also bought myself two books this week, including Brave New World by Aldous Huxley and A Magnificent Obsession: Victoria, Albert and the Death that changed the British Monarchy by Helen Rappaport. That title is far from catchy… just saying. It’s what it says on the tin though, I’ll give it that. This year I have been making a conscious effort to read more classics and I also know appallingly little about the British Monarchy… Oops!

Coming Up…

I am really looking forward to next week! I am just about to start reading IT by Stephen King and I have a number of review-related posts coming up on the blog. On Tuesday I am reviewing the last book on September’s TBR list, Making History by Stephen Fry.
Remember above I mentioned I was reading two review copies of books? Well, on Thursday I will be publishing an interview with Daniel Curry, the author of The Kitsune in the Lantern. My review of the book will be published on Friday. I hope you get to join the discussion!
On Sunday I’ll be posting my Sunday Summary again and tidying up the loose ends I always seem to have.
If I don’t see you around and about the blogosphere before then, I’ll see you on Tuesday!!
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Review: The Maze Runner – James Dashner

Aloha fellow book fiends!! I have for you today my review of The Maze Runner, written by James Dashner!
As I mentioned in my post on Sunday, when I regularly give you all a little preview of the week ahead, this book is one of the exceptions to the general rule I have adopted. I watched the film first! Shock horror – I hear you cry! I know a lot of other book fans prefer to read first. Do let me know if you are of a different opinion mind, I’m keen to know!!
Personally, watching the film sold the book to me – If I hadn’t watched it I may not have picked the book up. I find though, given that I am highly biased towards reading and then watching… I was worried the book wouldn’t live up to the film. I was pleasantly surprised though, I still preferred the book but equally didn’t feel disappointed by the film for not being of equal expectation. Maybe there is some merit to doing things the wrong way around after all!!
The Maze Runner
GoodReads – The Maze Runner

If you ain’t scared, you ain’t human.
When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers—boys whose memories are also gone.
Nice to meet ya, shank. Welcome to the Glade.
Outside the towering stone walls that surround the Glade is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out—and no one’s ever made it through alive.
Everything is going to change.
Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying.
Remember. Survive. Run.

What is it about?
We pick up the story from the perspective of Thomas, who finds himself in a new and harsh environment surrounded by other young adult boys. When Thomas enters the Glade he knows only two things for sure – his name, and that he must become a Runner…the Elite – the best of the best. Having lost all other memory, he quickly has to adapt to his new life in the Glade, however, he finds himself unwelcome by some and when things start to go wrong, suspicion and blame follow him everywhere.
Then, the most unusual thing happens. The first female enters the Glade. Things go from bad to worse, and in order to survive the Gladers have to face the Grievers and escape the maze.
My thoughts
I was actually impressed with the diversity of the characters within the book; in particular I liked how there are different levels of maturity among the youths. For example, everybody is made to work, growing crops, tending animals and a few other unsavoury jobs just to name a few. Also, there is a democracy of leaders representing all the Gladers when it comes to big decisions that have to be made.
Equally, there are the inevitable bolshy characters, aggression, and bullying that can be expected from the young men. Sorry guys – this isn’t a pointed remark at you or anything like that… it’s just that in this case, 99% of the Glade population is male. In my humble opinion, girls can be just as bad worse. WORSE. The youths have also developed some of their own language, which is very reminiscent of people (sadly a lot of them are my age) today. Having read an article including 28 slang words used on the internet today (link), I only knew three of the more obscure ones. The first, and probably the one I fucking hate the most, is “fam”. The other two are “AF” and “salty”. I think that probably tells you a hell of a lot about me.
Emma Stone sarcasm
Now that I’m done being a savage and throwing shade (too much? – okay I’ll stop) at some of the language choices of people my age today, I’ll get back to my review…
I’m not going to lie, there were times when I really wanted Thomas to get a grip. Yeah, I get it, self-doubt and finding oneself is a big part of being a teenager. Having come out of the other side of my teenage years with a “don’t like me, well screw you” attitude, I found Thomas’ doubting and uncertainty frustrating. I would like to think in the situation I would just make the best of a bad situation and get on with it, but who knows until you end up in it.  Everyone is different. I am not saying he is unjustified in his thoughts and fears, I just don’t like it personally.
One of my pet peeves is that the book and the film get to the ending differently. As ever, books and their TV adaptations, they are just that, aren’t ever going to be identical, (unless you watch The Green Mile – that’s the closest I have ever seen). It’s also just as emosh…tional.
Dystopian novels are a big win for me… in fact it is one of my favourite themes to read. Whilst I found myself a bit frustrated with Thomas, the rest of the book made it a good read. I knew the ending from watching the film, but that didn’t particularly detract from the book. It is a trilogy after all, and there are still many unanswered questions as to why the Maze was ever created. I’ll have to read the next book to find out.
Have you read the Maze Runner? If so, what were your thoughts?
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Sunday Summary: 1 October 2017

Good morning, from a very dreary, windy and rainy Sunday here!!
Another week comes and goes, and this one ends with the realisation that my holiday is over and I have to go back to work tomorrow…
I would much rather talk of the week of freedom I have had as opposed to the week ahead, so I’ll get straight on with it!
 

Books Read


On account of having the week pretty much to myself and only odd jobs to do around the house, I managed to get a fair bit of reading done! I started reading Dunstan last Sunday and at the point of writing my last Sunday summary, I was about 25% of the way through it. Well, I managed to finish this book on Wednesday this week and following on from finishing it, I picked up Making History by Stephen Fry. It was the first time I had ever read one of his books and I didn’t know what to expect. I actually picked this up as it was recommended to me by a work colleague and I wasn’t disappointed! I finished this book on Friday!
 

Books Discovered


I haven’t spent a single penny on books this week… *faints* I must be all shopped out from last week!! That being said, I have added books to the TBR, being Invictus by Ryan Graudin, Before It’s Too Late by Sara Driscoll, The Weight of Shadows by Karl Holton and That Inevitable Victorian Thing by E. K. Johnston.
I also noticed this week that a few of my blogging peers (yes you guys!) have been reviewing the latest novel by Allison Pearson, How Hard Can It Be? which was published last month. It got me thinking back to my school days and I remember starting to read the first book of this now series, I Don’t Know How She Does It. Regrettably I never finished the book, but I loved what I had read… so I’ve decided I am going to pick it up again. It also got me thinking about another quite different series I started reading back at school, being The Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind. I’m as far as the fifth book of the series, being Soul of the Fire.
I have been paying a lot of attention to some of the books going around the blogosphere lately and I have added one final book that has a lot of discussion lately… A Darker Shade of Magic by V E Schwab!
A Darker Shade of Magic
 

Coming Up…

Tuesday is review day – as always, and this week I am reviewing The Maze Runner by James Dashner. This is one of the exceptions to the rule in that I actually watched the film of this first. I still preferred the book though. More about that on Tuesday!!
On Friday I am taking part in a book tag. Technically I wasn’t tagged, it was kind of an open for all, but I decided to give it a go as it will let you all get to know me better. Hopefully…
Lastly, as ever, I will follow up the week with another post just like this one!!
If you have any thoughts I would love to hear from you! Have you read any of the books mentioned?
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Sunday Summary: 24 September 2017

Hi guys!! Hope you are having a lovely weekend!!
I don’t know about you, but this has been a pretty mental week for me. Some of you may know that I was away on a short break earlier on this week, so I actually didn’t pick up a book for two days! TWO!! I had to on the third, since I had a several hour boat trip home to kill some time on. The lack of internet may also have swayed my decision…
 

Books Read


On account of being away for those few days my reading game has been pretty weak. I started The Maze Runner by James Dashner last Saturday night; I finished this yesterday and I have read about 25% of Dunstan by Conn Iggulden. I told you it was bad.
I’ll console myself with my pile of shopping instead.
 

Books Discovered

I get to this stage every week and feel like I should be going to Confession in church. I lack two things to be able to do this though. Firstly, I’m not remotely religious. Secondly, I have absolutely no intention of promising to stop buying books.


So, I bought two. Two isn’t so bad, right? That’s what I tell myself. I bought The Sun God’s Heir, by Elliot Baker and Red Sister by Mark Lawrence. Whilst the former is a completely new discovery to me, I actually added Red Sister to my TBR back in April this year. The opportunity came up to buy this book at a discount, so I took it!
As well as purchasing books, I have added a number to the TBR this week. I set myself up on Twitter last week and it has proven to be very useful for connecting with other bloggers and writers too! So much so, over the next two months I have four ARC’s to read! Exciting times! I’ll tell you a little more about them when I publish my reading list for the month they are being read and reviewed in!

As well as the books I have purchased, I have added quite a few books to the pile that I am yet to buy, including Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco, The Stone in the Skull by Elizabeth Bear, Consider Phlebas by Iain Banks and 99 Red Balloons by Elisabeth Carpenter.
Finally, my last addition to the TBR is The Scorch Trials by James Dashner, as I completed reading The Maze Runner yesterday.
 

Coming Up…

So this next week I am blessed with some additional time off work and no other major commitments, so I’ll be able to fit lots of reading in!
On Tuesday, as usual, I will be publishing a review of one of my latest reads. This week, it is Bad City by Matt Mayr. This is his first novel so I’ll certainly be keeping an eye on any further releases from this new author!
As I have time on my hands I am also bringing you an extra little cheeky blog post this week!! On Thursday I am going to be reviewing my TBR pile again and having a sort out using the meme created by Lia @ Lost in a Story.
As the first of the month begins on Sunday, and I am too fond of my Sunday summaries for organising myself, I am instead publishing my October Reading List on Friday and my Sunday Summary will be published as usual.
I hope you all have a fantastic week ahead! What books are you reading?
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Down the TBR Hole #4

Once again, as any regular readers of my blog will know I am clearing out my reading list of unwanted books. I have a reading list as long as my arm for this blog but I still have old items on Goodreads that I need to sort through and gradually amalgamate into one list. Here is how it works:

  • 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?

Here are the five books that I have focused on for this post:

1  The Sheep Look Up – John Brunner

The Sheep Look Up
GoodReads – The Sheep Look Up
Verdict: Keep
When this book was originally published in the 1960’s it was considered a work of science fiction. Today, with the concerns of global warming and climate change rapidly reaching new heights it is less of an abstract work of fiction and more a haunting potential reality. In the debate of the effect of our carbon dioxide emissions I’m largely undecided as to which side of the fence I sit. I cannot say I am sufficiently educated in order to make a decision; perhaps this topical read will help me come to one conclusion or another.
 

2  The Just City

The Just City
GoodReads – The Just City
Verdict: Keep
I don’t read a whole lot of books that feature mythology… although it’s a subject I think it would be interesting to learn a bit about!! The characters within all seem to originate from different time periods as well, which may be difficult to portray or become confusing. It’s something I’ll be paying particular attention to when I do get around to reading this.
 

3  The Alloy of Law

The Alloy of Law

GoodReads – The Alloy of Law
Verdict: Keep!!!
Have I mentioned how much I love Brandon Sanderson?! Maybe once or twice… And just look at that cover too!! I loved the first trilogy of books in this series and its my understanding that the next three pick up quite some time after the time the first three are based. Will the understanding of metals and their alloys have advanced? What has changed? I’m keen to find out. I also have the next book after this one, Shadows of Self on my GoodReads TBR. This would be due to come up for review in my next Down the TBR Hole post. I’m going to save some time and put it through here as well. I know it’s a keeper.
 

4  Snow Like Ashes

Snow Like Ashes
GoodReads – Snow Like Ashes
Verdict: Go
The clichés are back!!! We have yet another orphan on the whirlwind of destiny. Oh, she’s sixteen?! Well there’s a surprise.
When I was sixteen I was too busy dealing with raging hormones and all that jazz. Truthfully I’m a little tired of these nuances of fantasy at the moment. Maybe it’s because this book aims to target a YA audience, but the prospect of a teenage girl undermining me in this fictional world, tasking herself with retrieving a locket that will restore magic  instead of contending with all manner of female issues that crop up at that age, is not one I think I am of the mindset to enjoy right now. Maybe the smudge in my mind will wash away in time, but I am dropping this off my list for now.

5  The Talisman

The Talisman
GoodReads – The Talisman
Verdict: Keep!
I am going to try to read more of Stephen King’s works, given that I have very high expectations following on from reading The Green Mile and Pet Sematary. This is a blend of Fantasy and Horror and I think this will make for an interesting and equally uncommon pairing.
Much like Snow like Ashes, this features a child. Jack Sawyer is going on a quest to save his mother’s life. I’m keeping this on the TBR but I probably won’t be reading it until well into next year. I need to let my gripe with over achieving youths and my comparative lack of extraordinary talent drop.
I can hear my mum telling me now, as she was wont to do “If the wind changes, your face will stay like that”.
Oh the funny little expressions we have.
Have you reviewed your TBR pile lately? What have you discovered that perhaps you had forgotten about? I’d love to hear from you!
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Reading List: September 2017

It’s Friday and the beginning of a new month, which makes for one happy weekend of reading for me!
As usual it’s time to publish my reading list for the month ahead, so without further ado, here are the books I am planning on reading this month:-
 
1  Men At Arms – Terry Pratchett
Men at Arms

Corporal Carrot has been promoted! He’s now in charge of the new recruits guarding Ankh-Morpork, Discworld’s greatest city, from Barbarian Tribes, Miscellaneous Marauders, unlicensed Thieves, and such. It’s a big job, particularly for an adopted dwarf.
But an even bigger job awaits. An ancient document has just revealed that Ankh-Morpork, ruled for decades by Disorganized crime, has a secret sovereign! And his name is Carrott…
And so begins the most awesome epic encounter of all time, or at least all afternoon, in which the fate of a city—indeed of the universe itself!—depends on a young man’s courage, an ancient sword’s magic, and a three-legged poodle’s bladder.
GoodReads – Men At Arms

Terry has been a regular haunt on my reading list this year and this month is no exception. This next installment of the Discworld series goes back to characters who made their debut in Guards, Guards!, being the eighth of the series. As ever I look forward to Pratchett’s unique sense of humour and the escapades Carrot and company get themselves into.
2  American Gods – Neil Gaiman
American Gods

Locked behind bars for three years, Shadow did his time, quietly waiting for the day when he could return to Eagle Point, Indiana. A man no longer scared of what tomorrow might bring, all he wanted was to be with Laura, the wife he deeply loved, and start a new life.
But just days before his release, Laura and Shadow’s best friend are killed in an accident. With his life in pieces and nothing to keep him tethered, Shadow accepts a job from a beguiling stranger he meets on the way home, an enigmatic man who calls himself Mr. Wednesday. A trickster and a rogue, Wednesday seems to know more about Shadow than Shadow does himself.
Life as Wednesday’s bodyguard, driver, and errand boy is far more interesting and dangerous than Shadow ever imagined. Soon Shadow learns that the past never dies…and that beneath the placid surface of everyday life a storm is brewing – an epic war for the very soul of America – and that he is standing squarely in its path.
GoodReads – American Gods

I bought this book back at the end of May and I have been looking forward to getting around to picking it up ever since! I have noticed a lot of reviews flying around for both the book and the recent TV series which makes me anticipate reading it even more. Where I have seen reviews, I have tried fervently to avoid them so as not to spoil it for me. What little snippets I have seen though seems positive. I also recently read my first Neil Gaiman book, Stardust, which I enjoyed too.
 
3  Bad City
Bad City

In the violent world of post-apocalyptic South Town, Eli Baxter is king, ruling from the thirteenth floor of his building while henchman do his bidding. Simon Gray, a talented young thief, now disillusioned with South Town, is desperate to escape with the woman he loves. As he plots their journey north, glimpses of his childhood in South India and Northern Ontario reveal the world as it once was, fueling his desire to break away. But when he’s handed a new job, one that will make Eli untouchable, Simon realizes that escape – and transcendence to love and a peaceful way of life – might be harder than he thought.
Dark, atmospheric, and gritty, Bad City is the debut novel by Matt Mayr and was a quarter finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest.
“Degrees of blood and violence like a shockwave of radiation, an eternal extension of the darkness that came hard and fast when the river poured into the city.”
GoodReads – Bad City

I can’t help myself when it comes to dystopian/post-apocalyptic themed books. I quite often wonder just how much society would break down and chaos run riot in the streets if a major disaster happened to us. I sincerely hope it doesn’t *touches wood*, but it is something interesting to mull over whilst driving on the way to work or doing the dishes. Our way of life and attitudes are largely governed by other people and general expectations. Given the opportunity, just how would these rules be tossed aside and life change?
In case you hadn’t gathered – my mind wanders a lot. I am always looking for one form of escapism or another. I will perfectly admit I have full scale conversations/debates with myself in my head. I have been known to be lying in bed to go to sleep at night and one or another burning question pops into my mind:-

Night Philosophy
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4  The Maze Runner – James Dashner
The Maze Runner

If you ain’t scared, you ain’t human.
When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers—boys whose memories are also gone.
Nice to meet ya, shank. Welcome to the Glade.
Outside the towering stone walls that surround the Glade is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out—and no one’s ever made it through alive.
Everything is going to change.
Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying.
Remember. Survive. Run.
GoodReads – The Maze Runner

Here’s a confession for you all. I broke my rule and watched the film first.
Truthfully, I had heard of the book before but thinking I wasn’t going to be that interested in it, I shoved that tidbit in the mental cardboard box equivalent to the “unless junk” pile you have somewhere. Don’t try and lie to me. You have one, I can see the guilty look on your face right now.
Joking aside, I really enjoyed the film. I think I had recorded it for emergency TV should the schedule be any more abysmal than it usually is. It didn’t disappoint. What I hadn’t realised until the end of the film was that this isn’t a standalone book! Bonus!
 
5  Dunstan – Conn Iggulden
Dunstan

The year is 937. England is a nation divided, ruled by minor kings and Viking lords. Each vies for land and power. The Wessex king Æthelstan, grandson of Alfred the Great, readies himself to throw a spear into the north.
As would-be kings line up to claim the throne, one man stands in their way.
Dunstan, a fatherless child raised by monks on the moors of Glastonbury Tor, has learned that real power comes not from God, but from discovering one’s true place on Earth. Fearless in pursuit of his own interests, his ambition will take him from the courts of princes to the fields of battle, from exile to exaltation.
For if you cannot be born a king, or made a king, you can still anoint a king.
Under Dunstan’s hand, England may come together as one country – or fall apart in anarchy . . .
From Conn Iggulden, one of our finest historical writers, Dunstan is an intimate portrait of a priest and murderer, liar and visionary, traitor and kingmaker – the man who changed the fate of England.
GoodReads – Dunstan

When I read about this book it couldn’t help but remind me of another series I am making my way through at the moment, being The Last Kingdom series by Bernard Cornwell. This book is set a little further along the timeline of history to Cornwell’s fiction but I love the history behind it.
One of my colleagues at work introduced my to the Last Kingdom series and the history of the Danish coming to Britain. I couldn’t bring myself to use the word invasion there. That says a lot. The colleague in question is Danish whilst I am British so it makes for some interesting conversations; to be fair she can see both sides of the argument. Given my love of this period, I want to learn the history from another authors perspective.
 
6  Making History – Stephen Fry
Making History

In Making History, Stephen Fry has bitten off a rather meaty chunk by tackling an at first deceptively simple premise: What if Hitler had never been born? An unquestionable improvement, one would reason–and so an earnest history grad student and an aging German physicist idealistically undertake to bring this about by preventing Adolf’s conception. And with their success is launched a brave new world that is in some ways better than ours–but in most ways even worse. Fry’s experiment in history makes for his most ambitious novel yet, and his most affecting. His first book to be set mostly in America, it is a thriller with a funny streak, a futuristic fantasy based on one of mankind’s darkest realities. It is, in every sense, a story of our times.
GoodReads – Making History

This is a very last minute addition to the TBR for this month and it has been recommended to me by another colleague. Having each discovered we, in our own separate ways, dabble in the realms of  writing I introduced him to my blog. His contribution involves writing weekly articles in one of our local newspapers, which from this day forward I solemnly swear to read every week since you have given me some great advice. It’s also nice to have someone to talk to properly, as opposed to many halfhearted conversations with people that either don’t care or think I’m crazy! I’m not going to testify I’m not crazy – I let everyone draw their own conclusions…
After discussing my recent review of Extracted – R R Haywood  he thought I would find this book to be an interesting read as it raises some of the similar complications I refer to in my review. I also haven’t read anything by Stephen Fry before either, so I’m looking forward to that too.
 


 
So there you have it – that is the official TBR for this month. Now I have said this on purpose. Normally it would be a push for me to read six books in a month. As it happens, I have a wonderful two weeks off work planned this month, (yay!!). Whilst I have plans for a few of those days, I should have plenty of time to fit in lots of reading.
Can’t you tell how gutted I am?
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