Tag: Robin Hobb

Monthly Wrap-Up – October 2022

I cannot believe I am writing my monthly wrap-up post for October. We are now most of the way through the year, and I have no idea where it’s gone!

The one good bit of news is that in October, I completed my Goodreads goal of reading 40 books this year. It was also quite a special one, as it was from an author and series I have both discovered this year and come to love fiercely!

Before I go ahead and spoil anything for you, let’s just dive into the books I read in October, and share with you my reading progress!

 

Assassin’s Quest

Usually, I start the month with any ‘fixed reads’ on my reading list. This month I decided to change things up and pick up Assassin’s Quest by Robin Hobb first.

I had originally wanted to pick this up in September, but there was absolutely no way I was going to fit it into my Bookoplathon TBR. I’m glad I didn’t even try, as this month I spent the majority of my time reading Assassin’s Quest. Whilst extremely good, Robin Hobb’s fantasy is not something you can pick up and devour quickly. There is a lot of detail, world-building and character development that intertwine and make for a world that requires investment. Equally, you want to savour every moment.

I started Assassin’s Quest very early in the month, but even so, I didn’t finish this until around about the 20th of the month. Even then, I only managed to achieve this feat by reading over 400 pages during a week off work. Without that, I would probably have taken the whole month to read the book, and that is no exaggeration!

I’m really happy with the way the storyline panned out, and how poor Fitz is struggling to find his place. The ending was absolutely fantastic and everything I hoped for. It makes me look forward to revisiting these characters and places later on in the Realm of the Elderlings series.

 

Blink of the Sun

If I’m entirely honest, I’m glad I didn’t start this month with my ‘fixed read’, as it ended up being a bit of a flop. It is not a promising start to reading list, so thankfully I avoided that by not picking it up first!

I was hoping Blink of the Sun would be a captivating urban fantasy that was right up my street (excuse the pun). It has a lot of good elements, but it just wasn’t quite doing it for me. I gave it a good chance, as I was intending to read this book and review it for the author and to give the book some publicity. As it stands, I have given some private feedback to the author via the site I downloaded it from (BookSirens), and I will not be sharing a public review.

 

Babel

Moving onwards and upwards, I next picked up Babel by R. F. Kuang.

I was hoping I was going to make faster reading progress that I did at the start. I can’t say whether it is because I needed to take the time to properly set up the book and characters in my head, or whether it is because I also happened to catch the winter lurgy at the same time and it affected my attention span. Probably a combination of both, in all honesty.

As of the end of the month, I made it to just over 100 pages through this novel. It is a decent amount of progress, but nothing groundbreaking. I am really enjoying the book and the more academic content. As somebody who considered pursuing a career in languages (albeit the English language), I am enjoying the arguments and commentary about how English interacts with other languages.

 

Warrior and Protector

The last book I picked up this month wasn’t on my TBR at the beginning of October. This is because I have stepped in to assist Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources a bit last minute with providing a review for an upcoming blog tour.

Unfortunately, it came to light that somebody who was due to take part in this tour originally was plagiarising other people’s reviews. Big no-no, obviously, so Rachel was looking for an alternative reviewer. As somebody who really enjoys this genre and setting, I was keen to help out in a time of need.

I started this book on the very last day of the month and read a third of it in two sittings over the course of the day. Compared to Babel, this is a much lighter read, and so progress is a lot swifter. What I like about this book, and the setting of the novel, is that I am familiar with it to an extent already. Some of the characters referred to in this book are key figures from that period of history. As a result, I’ve already come across them through other the books. The particular character we are living this narrative through, however, is a new one. That keeps the narrative fresh, even if the setting and theme are known to me.

I am enjoying this particular book and I can’t wait to share my full thoughts with you in my blog tour post on Saturday.

 

I’m resisting the urge to close this monthly wrap-up post saying I haven’t made as much progress as I would like. The truth is, I have read a solid number of pages this month. The books I have picked up are just, in their nature, more dense. They take more time to read. Page count is not the point. I read for the enjoyment of it, and I cannot say that I haven’t achieved that this month!

That’s all for me in today’s monthly wrap-up post. Have you read any of the books on my October TBR? What have you been reading this month?

 

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Sunday Summary – 23rd October 2022

Good evening and welcome, as always, to my Sunday Summary update post. If you are new here, this is a weekly post in which I talk about the books I have been sharing and reading, and those acquired during the week! At the end of the post, I will also talk about what you can expect on my blog next week.

Let’s jump into this week’s updates!

I have been enjoying a week of work this week. It has been a really good one in terms of reading progress. On the blog, things have been very run-of-the-mill. On Tuesday, I shared a book review for a read I thoroughly enjoyed last year – The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. This was an emotional five-star read, and I really enjoyed the unusual perspective. If you’re interested in my thoughts on this book, you can find a link to this post here.

Later in the week, I returned with a Shelf Control post. In this regular feature, I take a look at the books on my TBR to determine if they are still relevant. I feature one book at a time and talk specifically about why I am looking forward to reading it. This week’s book, much like my review on Tuesday, was a historical fiction novel. However, the similarities end there. Focusing on a completely different time period and continent, my shelf control feature is set in one of my favourite periods of history. If you haven’t read that post yet, there is a link here for that one!

 

Books Read

In my last Sunday Summary update post, I was 466 pages into Assassin’s Quest by Robin Hobb. I also shared that I was optimistic that I could finish this book this week, whilst I was off work.

I am pleased to say I did in fact finish this book! If you have ever read Robin Hobb for yourself, you will know that these are not easy books to read. There is a lot going on; the depth of world-building and detail means you cannot consume them quickly, however hard you try. I chipped away at the remaining half of this book across several sittings and finished the book on Thursday. As I expected, this was an absolutely phenomenal read. I really enjoyed how this book concluded. Most importantly, I can’t wait to see how the characters in these books come back later on in the series.

Next, I picked up my fixed read of the month, Blink of the Sun by Ross Kingston However, this didn’t go as well. In the end, I read just over 50 pages before I decided it wasn’t for me. It’s a shame because this was a book I really liked the sound of and had requested to read and review for the author. If you have never been in the situation before, sites such as BookSirens (via whom I downloaded this book) help you to provide feedback to the author. It isn’t a nice position to be in, but the one thing I pride myself on is being honest. It wasn’t for me, and if I had read and reviewed the book it would have reflected in my review.

After the unfortunate conclusion to Blink of the Sun, I decided to pick up Babel by R.F. Kuang. After receiving my copy of this book a couple of months ago, I’ve been dying to dive in. Admittedly, I’ve only really just started this book – I’m whole 34 pages in! A start is a start though, and one I want to build on. Naturally, I’ll update you next week’s Sunday Summary post with how I get on!

 

Books Discovered

I have one addition to my TBR this week, which is a little unusual in that it isn’t a genre I normally choose.

Kerry Tucker Learns to Live strikes me as a contemporary novel, but the synopsis indicates that there is something more going on. Having looked into the author, Louise also writes psychological thrillers. I’m hoping that an element of this comes into Kerry Tucker Learns to Live. Even if it doesn’t, I really enjoyed reading In Case You Missed It by Lindsey Kelk recently. Sometimes it’s good to have a change or palette cleanser, and that is my aim with reading this book. 

 

Coming Up…

Next week I have a fun and seasonal post to share with you on Tuesday. That particular post is part of the Top Ten Tuesday family. The topic is a freebie, provided it is Halloween-themed. With that in mind, I have decided to share my top ten Halloween reading recommendations for the spooky season!

Later in the week, I was supposed to be sharing my review of Blink of the Sun with you. However, as I am not reading and reviewing that book anymore, I will instead be sharing a First Lines Friday feature post with you. As of yet, that post has not been drafted. However, I’ll be getting onto this tomorrow night. So, I can’t even give you any spoilers as to what my featured book will be, as I haven’t decided yet! If you have any ideas of books you would like to see, or a challenge you would like me to take part in when selecting the book, let me know in the comments!

As always, I will be rounding up the week with another Sunday summary update post, at the same time next week.

 

That will do it for today though folks! Don’t forget to let me know if there’s anything you’d like to see in my First Lines Friday post; otherwise, I look forward to seeing you in the next one.

 

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Sunday Summary – 16th October 2022

Good evening – welcome back to another Sunday Summary update!

This week has been considerably better than last week. However, as a consequence of my working overtime last week, I’ve only shared one blog post with you this week. It isn’t the end of the world, but it is a deviation from my usual blogging schedule. I hope you can understand and that you enjoyed my light-hearted book tag post – The Cozy Autumn Book Tag.

 

Books Read

Thankfully, I have also had a lot more reading time this week. As of my last Sunday Summary update, I was 183 pages into Assassin’s Quest by Robin Hobb. Don’t get me wrong, 183 pages is reasonable progress. However, when you take into account this book is nearly 840 pages long, it’s not as much as you think.

This week I have done considerably better. I am now 466 pages into the book (which is just over halfway) and I’m really excited about where the plot is leading at the moment! A lot has already happened so far, but I feel like we’re finally getting into the main action of the story. 

I was avidly reading this book earlier this morning and I can’t wait to jump back into it soon as this post goes live! Fortunately, I have a lot more free time next week as I am on annual leave from my job. I’m going to be making a real push to finish Assassin’s Quest next week – wish me luck!

 

Books Discovered

Good news is I haven’t added any new books to my reading list this week! I have been fluctuating at roughly the same number of books on my reading list for quite some time. Whilst it’s good but it’s not growing, I would like to try and whittle it down some!

 

Coming Up…

You’ll be glad to know that I will be back to my usual schedule of sharing two posts midweek, and a Sunday Summary to wrap up events at the end of the week.

My first post of next week is a book review of The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I really enjoyed my read of this historical-fiction novel. Whereas we normally read narratives of World War II from the perspective of British or American characters, I found the book me refreshing in as it focused on the lives of German and Jewish individuals. The Book Thief was a very easy five-star read for me, and if you want to find out why, check out my post on Tuesday.

Later in the week, I will be back with a Shelf Control. In that post, I am featuring another historical-fiction novel; this one is from a very different, but equally loved time period. If you like reading and learning about the Tudors, I recommend you check out my post on Friday!

As always, we will round off the week with another Sunday Summary update. How much reading can I do during a week off work? Let’s find out!

 

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Sunday Summary – 9th October 2022

Hello everybody and welcome to today’s Sunday Summary update post. I don’t know about you, but it is a very dreary evening here. It is the kind where you just want to snuggle in with blankets, candles and all the cosy things about you. I have done just that.

This week… has been a long week. I can’t say it particularly went to plan. In terms of my blog, this week’s posts went out as usual. On Monday, I shared my reading list for October 2022. This list is considerably more manageable than last month’s TBR! I’ve deliberately kept the number of books on the list towards the shorter end. Whilst I may be reading fewer books, the ones I am picking up are also on the chunky side! If you want to find out what I’m reading and haven’t taken a look at that post yet, there is a link above as always.

On Friday I shared a First Lines Friday post. In that post, I feature a book that I purchased a copy of originally… not realising it was part of a wider series. This particular book caught my mum‘s eye on my blog, and she has gone on to read some of these books even before I have touched any of them! She has really enjoyed them so far, and I can’t wait to try them for myself.

As for the rest of the week, well, it ended up being busy in every aspect that I didn’t expect. Long story short, I ended up doing overtime on a project for work. As a result, my usual blog post scheduling, and a lot of my reading, just didn’t happen. I’ll leave it at that. The good news is, we got the project done. However, I was working some fairly long days towards the end of this week.

 

Books Read

As of last week’s Sunday Summary update, I had just finished reading Dark Matter by Blake Crouch. That was the last book on my September TBR that I managed to pick up.

This week, I started my October TBR, but not with my one ‘fixed read’ of the month. I decided to pick up one of my mood reads. It was one that I had wanted to pick up sooner, however, I couldn’t justify picking it up in September as I had a large quantity of books to try and read. I have been really enjoying the Farseer trilogy by Robin Hobb, and so I have picked up Assassin’s Quest, the final book of that trilogy.

As I mentioned above, I ended up working a lot this week and so this limited the amount I was able to read. However, as of this Sunday Summary update, I am 183 pages into this 800-and-something epic. I am really enjoying where this book is going so far, and so I’m optimistic that I will be able to make a good amount of progress next week! I am very heavily invested already, meaning I want to pick it up at every opportunity I’m given!

One of my ongoing reads from my previous Sunday Summary post was Ordinary Heroes by Joseph Pfeifer. As of that last post, I only had 45 minutes of listening time left of my audiobook. I will admit that I only picked up and finished this audiobook this morning. However, I’m really glad I did. I have mentioned quite a few times that this is a really interesting book, albeit sad. I have really enjoyed this listen and I have learned things about the events of 9/11 that I didn’t know before. This book will work really well to read (in print or kindle) or as an audiobook. The narrative flows really well, and I think I would have flown through this in either case!

 

Books Discovered

I suppose I have technically added a book to my TBR this week, although it was always going to be on there. As I am enjoying my current read of Assassin’s Quest, I decided to pick up the next book in the Realm of the Elderlings series – the first book of The Liveship Traders series.

Ship of Magic is every bit as chunky as the rest of the series has proven to be so far. This excites me; this book/series shifts its focus from the main character we have seen so far, FitzChivalry Farseer, into the wider realm. It’s an opportunity for me to dig into world-building from a different perspective.

 

Coming Up…

Normally I would have next week’s post already lined up for you. However, this week I don’t as yet.

I have been trying to work out a plan of attack and I have decided that this week I will be reducing my posting schedule from three posts (Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday) to two posts. Instead, I am going to share my take of The Cozy Autumn Book Tag on Wednesday this week.

I’ve taken that decision because I am already going to have my usual full ‘blog workload’ in drafting and scheduling posts for the week after next. I didn’t want to put myself in a position where I effectively doubled my workload, at a time when I’m just recovering from having an increased workload! So, I hope the change of schedule and the slightly lighter topic isn’t too much bother for anybody, and I’ll be back to my usual posting days from the week after.

In addition to my post on Wednesday, I will of course be back for another Sunday Summary update at the end of the week. Naturally, I’m hoping for a lot more progress in terms of reading – but I will let you know next week’s Sunday Summary.

That’s all from me folks! There isn’t too much in the way of updates from me this week, but I hope you can understand why.

What have you been reading?

 

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Monthly TBR – August 2022 (Magical Readathon)

Happy Friday everyone! It’s still early in August, and it’s time to share my monthly TBR!

This month I am doing something fun, and belatedly taking part in a readathon. A few years ago, G over at Book Roast set up her Magical Readathon. Inspired by the structure of the exams in the Harry Potter series, she built a readathon in which you could ‘sit exams’ over two ‘sittings’ by reading books that completed certain prompts associated with them. In the first sitting, you have one prompt per exam. In the second, you can specialise in certain exams and read multiple prompts for that subject – the more you read, the better grade you get. 

That was several years ago, and now she has developed the readathon even further. She has built her own fantasy world based around a similar concept. The aim is to obtain qualifications in two semesters (one month-long readathon in April and one in August) towards a certain fantasy career.

I didn’t hear about this readathon until very recently. I missed out in April this year, so whilst everybody else taking part is doing the August prompts right now, I have decided to go back to April’s prompts so I can catch up and maybe take part in real-time next year. It’s been implied that progress made this year will carry over into next year.

I want to take part as it will be fun and push me a little out of my comfort zone. The prompts in some cases are for books I wouldn’t necessarily choose to put on my monthly TBR right now. At the same time, I have been able to incorporate books that I do want to read at the moment, so it’s the best of both worlds. There is a lot more interactivity involved in these readathons that I won’t be able to do right now, but that’s something I can look forward to.

 

Magical Readathon: Character

I have one book on my monthly TBR that I have to read, and that’s because I’m taking part in a blog tour later this month.

Naturally, I had to fit this into the prompts given, and fortunately, I can make it fit one. That, combined with the limitation of the amount I can read in a month, narrowed down my career options. In the end, it was a toss-up between the Craftsmage and Story Weaver profession. Technically, the Craftsmage career is an easier one to obtain as there is less reading required for it. However, I was less keen on the April prompts for this profession. So, I opted for Story Weaver.

For that career, I have to obtain qualifications in Inscription, Art of Illusion, Psionics and Divination, and Lore. I am hoping to read more than four books this month, so I’ve chosen some additional reads for my own reasons. If those additional books fulfill a prompt, I’ve noted it here and will count it. It might not count for anything right now, but as this readathon is ongoing, it may become relevant later.

Let’s jump into the books I’ve chosen for my monthly TBR and which prompts they fulfill for my career choice.

 

Fixed Reads

The First Binding

Inscription: An Intimidating Read

I’m only setting one fixed read this month, and that is because I am taking part in a blog tour later this month. As a result, this is the book I had fit into the list of prompts I had.

The First Binding is an epic fantasy novel over 800 pages long. That may be intimidating enough, but the added kicker is that I have to read and finish this book and share my review on the 15th August. Having done the maths, it means I have to read an absolute minimum of 70 pages a day in order to get there. Naturally, I aim to read it quicker if I can. If that’s not intimidating, I don’t know what is!

 

Mood Reads

The Silence of the Girls

Lore: Mythology Inspired Read

This particular book is about Greek Mythology, in particular, around female characters affected by the Trojan War. I recently read and enjoyed Pandora’s Jar by Natalie Haynes. I’ve wanted to pick up more books about the subject (I’ve even added one about the Trojan War, written by Natalie Haynes, to my TBR recently).

However, I already own a copy of The Silence of the Girls. As it’s a subject I’m interested in, and a topic I need for the readathon, this should be perfect. The icing on the cake is that it’s a nice short read. After reading The First Binding, I think I will relish it.

 

Assassin’s Quest

Art of Illusion: Book with a trope I Like

I am a big reader of fantasy. As such, there are a lot of tropes to choose from. Some are more used than most, and some of them I like better than others. One of the tropes I enjoy, even if it is a bit overused, is characters going off on a quest and developing personally as a result. Fitting in with that trope nicely, I’ve chosen Assassin’s Quest by Robin Hobb.

I have just finished reading Royal Assassin and I’m itching to pick up this third book of the first trilogy. It fit perfectly into the required prompt… so it would have been rude not to! 

 

Golden Son

Psionics & Divination: Book Set in the Future

For the psionics and divination prompt, I need to read a book set in the future. This is the prompt I’ve had the most debate over, and changed my book selection a number of times already.

Naturally, I have the flexibility to change my mind again if I feel the need. However, I have provisionally chosen to read Golden Son by Pierce Brown. I read Red Rising last year and I really loved this first book. Set in the near (but undefined) future, the series is about the colonisation of all the planets in space – in particular, Mars. This is a science fiction novel with a dystopian theme. I really enjoyed this first book and I’ve heard good things about the second in the series. So, I’m taking the opportunity to tick off this prompt and further read towards completing a series. God knows I have plenty ongoing already without starting anymore. 

 

Invisible Women

No prompt

The last physical book I am provisionally setting on my monthly TBR is Invisible Women. I had intended to read this book last month, but I ended up swapping it out for Pandora’s Jar on a whim.

Reading this particular book doesn’t satisfy any of the prompts for the readathon, however, I have set myself a personal goal of reading at least one non-fiction book a month. It’s for this reason that I am still adding Invisible Women to this TBR.

 

Audiobooks

The Viscount Who Loved Me

Alchemy: Book featuring Romance

There are some chunky books on my TBR, so I’m only ‘setting’ five physical reads this month.

I would like to try and squeeze in one more book, and I would like to do so in audiobook format. I think this is the first time I’ve ever put an audiobook on a TBR deliberately. Audiobooks make up the smallest proportion of my reading. However, I have definitely been in the mood to listen to more audiobooks of late. Whilst I am in the mood, I’d like to try and make this more of a regular habit, rather than the stop-start relationship I typically have.

The reason for adding the audiobook, and this genre audiobook, is because I think I want something lighter to listen to. I should be able to listen to this on my commute, or whilst I am doing jobs around the house and so it should be easy to squeeze in.

There is another reason why I have chosen this format for this book. I read the Duke and I back in May, and whilst I had mixed feelings about the book, I said I wasn’t going to continue with the series. However, I’m going to give it a second chance in audiobook format.

I have enjoyed the Bridgerton Netflix series to date, but most importantly, I want to see if I can persevere long enough to follow Penelope‘s and Eloise‘s story arcs. They are honestly the only two characters I really care about. However, it’s going to be a while before we get there in the Netflix series, so if I can at least get so far as their books and I’ll be happy.

Don’t get me wrong, if I don’t enjoy this overly either then I’ll abandon the attempt and I’ll just have to wait for the Netflix series to get to their parts.

Having checked the prompt sheet, I can pass the alchemy exam by reading a book featuring a romance. So, if I read this book then that’s an bonus qualification I can earn.

 

So, that’s my monthly TBR for August! This is my first time ever taking part in a readathon, and I am really excited! Have you ever taken part in one? Alternatively, what are you reading this month? Let me know in the comments or on social media.

Wish me luck!

 

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Monthly Wrap-Up – July 2022

If you want to find out which amazing books I’ve been reading this month, and those I would like to recommend to you my fellow readers, then my monthly wrap-up post is the one for you!

In my monthly wrap-up posts, I share the details of all the books I read in the month just gone. For July, I decided to keep with a similar concept with my TBR and only set a couple of ‘fixed reads’, whereas the rest could be changed with my mood. I’ll clearly mark out which books fell into which bracket.

Overall, I found this approach really worked for me once again.

Whereas last month I ended up sticking to my provisional mood reads, I did actually swap one book out for another this month. It was entirely on a whim, but that’s the point. I want to give myself the flexibility if I really want to read something, to just pick it up.

 

Books Read

Fixed Reads

Twelve Nights

Genre: historical-fiction

Pages: 380

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Nerthus

Publication Date: 1 Jun 2022

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟

 

Goodreads – Twelve Nights

My first read of the month was Twelve Nights by Penny Ingham. I committed to taking part in a blog tour for this particular book and shared my review as a part of it. That post was due on the 11th of July, so reading this particular book was my first port of call.

If you want to check out my full thoughts on the book, you can find a link to my blog tour post here. In summary, Twelve Nights was a fun historical-fiction/mystery novel in which a number of themes are brought together – the treatment of women in the 16th century, the impact of religion on daily life, William Shakespeare, the theatre and surprisingly, suffering from Alzheimer’s/dementia.

We are taken through a variety of twists and turns as Magdalen tries to get to the bottom of a murder she did not commit, all before her ‘inquest’ and inevitable conviction for the crimes. The mystery took a turn I was not expecting, and I really enjoyed the element of surprise at the 11th hour!

If any of these things sound like something you’d enjoy, then I recommend picking this book up.

 

The Man Who Died Twice

Genre: Mystery

Pages: 422

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Penguin

Publication Date: 16 Sept 2021

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

 

Goodreads – The Man Who Died Twice

My second and last ‘fixed read’ of the month was The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman. I set this as a fixed read as I wanted to return the book to Chris whilst he was on island visiting with my sister. I had every intention to pick this up straight after Twelve Nights, however, that didn’t come to pass.

Instead, I had a real hankering to pick up another book (and not one on my July TBR). I indulged myself by picking this other book up, before returning to The Man Who Died Twice.

The story was engaging, high-stakes, and enabled us to see a little into Elizabeth’s past, which I really enjoyed. I think she’s one of the more interesting characters of the book/series so far, even if she is quite unrealistic in real life. But, that’s not the point. It’s a bit of fun and I enjoy how Richard Osman manages to write an intriguing mystery, with a lot of humour along the way.

At the same time though, he doesn’t neglect difficult subjects. In his first book, the narrative includes a character suicide. In the second book, one of the characters experiences violence and a consequent knock of confidence as a result of the attack.

The copy I read was a chunky hardback edition, but this turned out to be a quick read regardless. I really enjoyed being back in the company of Elizabeth, Joyce, Ron and Ibrahim (a.k.a. the Thursday Murder Club). The narrative of this second book in the series was honestly slightly better than the first. I managed to read this in just a handful of days and return the book to its rightful owner with plenty of time to spare.

This was one of my top reads of the month. If you enjoy mystery books on the lighthearted, contemporary side, this is one for you!

 

Mood Reads

Pandora’s Jar

Genre: Mythology

Pages: 320

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Picador

Publication Date: 1 Oct 2020

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

 

Goodreads – Pandora’s Jar

I picked up and read Pandora’s Jar completely on a whim.

After reading Twelve Nights and suffering the injustices of women through the perspective of Magdalen, I wanted a book that almost served a bit of social justice. What drew me to Pandora’s Jar, in particular, is that the author features 10 female characters in Greek myths and explores how they are done injustice in their own stories.

One of the more interesting things I found, is that these stories weren’t written that way originally; the stories have changed over time and the roles these women play in the stories (whether made inconsequential, turned into monsters or painted to be downright evil). In Pandora’s Jar, Natalie Haynes challenges these changes and puts to right how these characters were portrayed in earlier/alternate versions of the stories.

 

Royal Assassin

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 648

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Harper Voyager

Publication Date: 27 Mar 2014

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

 

Goodreads – Royal Assassin

Next, I wanted to continue my foray into the Realm of the Elderlings, so picked up Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb.

Royal Assassin is the second book of the Farseer trilogy and I am loving these books so far! I am a big fantasy reader, with greater emphasis on those that are in series as opposed to standalone.

Needless to say, these books are right up my street. They aren’t quick reads, but I really love these books. I just managed to finish Royal Assassin on the last day of the month. Given the way the book ended, I can’t see myself reading the third book of this first trilogy very, very soon!

This was my top read of the month, although The Man Who Died Twice came a close second. This is a book for epic fantasy lovers – especially if you like to invest in a detailed world spanning multiple books.

 

A Feast of Phantoms

Book cover of A Feast of PhantomsGenre: Fantasy

Pages: 270

Audience: New Adult

Publisher: Acorn

Publication Date: 17 Mar 2020

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟

 

Goodreads – A Feast of Phantoms

I signed up to review A Feast of Phantoms via BookSirens a few months ago, and as the review deadline is coming up imminently, I decided to pick this up in July.

Also as I didn’t have my copy of The First Binding yet, it felt like a perfect opportunity to squeeze this in. I did also end up taking a brief break from reading Royal Assassin to make sure I had time to hit the review deadline.

A Feast of Phantoms is a nice short read and is an eclectic mix of genres. The book has a western/steampunk theme, with a predominant fantasy baseline with elements of supernatural. Are you still with me? It is quite a wild combination, and whilst I wasn’t sure about it at first, it won me over. When it became clear in the narrative that all is not as it seems, that was the hook.

This is a solid fantasy read if you’re looking for something on the shorter side. At 270 pages, I flew through A Feast of Phantoms. If you want to find out more, I am publishing my review on Thursday.

 

A Note on The First Binding…

I had put The First Binding on my TBR for July, as I was expecting a review copy ahead of a blog tour post on the 15th of August.

However, I only just received my copy on Friday. This is a reading priority now (for obvious reasons), but I just wanted to include this explanation in my monthly wrap-up to let you know why I haven’t picked it up this month. It’s because I couldn’t.

 

Audiobooks

I have decided to add a section to these monthly wrap-up posts for audiobooks, as it is abundantly clear that I am back into a phase of listening to these. I have been doing a lot of crafty projects lately, and whilst I don’t have a deadline for a gift anymore, I’m working on something for myself.

It’s quite a large cross-stitch project, so it’s going to take me a while. However, that means I’m going to have plenty of time to listen to more audiobooks. I set the precedence when making my friend Rachael‘s gift, so I am really into it.

Still, I’m not a quick audiobook listener. It’s The method I consume books in the least, so I’m not going to have loads of books here in any one month.

 

Northern Lights

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 399

Audience: Children/Middle Grade

Publisher: Scholastic Point

Publication Date: 23 Oct 1998

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟

 

Goodreads – Northern Lights

This month I have completed listening to Northern Lights by Philip Pullman. I’ve enjoyed the story element of it even though I’m not necessarily the target audience. I do have some gripes about the audiobook itself.

I am not a fan of the casting of this audiobook in particular. A lot of it is narrated by the author Philip Pullman himself, however, character speech is cast out to other people. Personally, I would have preferred consistency and if the author had narrated everything himself, I think it would be smoother.

I also don’t like some of the voices, especially the main character Lyra. I understand the casting in a way, but her voice is just irritating. Overall, it’s quite jarring and not as pleasant an experience as it could have been. I’m going to try and not let it deter me from listening to the rest of the series, but there is just my two pence worth.

 

That’s a wrap for my monthly wrap-up post! Did you read any great books in July? Do you have any book recommendations to share? As always, I’d love to hear from you!

 

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Sunday Summary – 31st July 2022

Hello readers – welcome back to another Sunday Summary update from me. As always, I hope you’ve had a good week.

This week I have shared a couple of blog posts with you. On Tuesday, I shared a review of The Taking of Annie Thorne by CJ Tudor. This was the second book I read by this author; I enjoyed this one. As I read the book about a year ago, I felt it was time I finally committed my thoughts and shared them with you.

Later in the week, I shared a Shelf Control post. In that post, I had a look at a non-fiction true crime book that I am excited to read. The opening line of this book is intriguing, and I haven’t heard about this incident before. If you want to find out more, you can find a link to this post here.

 

Books Read

I have finished a couple of books this week.

I originally started the week by continuing my read of Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb. As of last week’s Sunday Summary update, I was approximately halfway through this book. I started to make further progress, before picking up another book that had a more immediate review deadline.

I started reading A Feast of Phantoms around midweek, and I finished this book within a few days. The review deadline for this book is coming up next week, and so I needed to finish the book in time to prepare my review.

It was a really quick interesting read. If you enjoy fantasy books in a Western setting, or elements of steampunk, this is a book you should get on with. I enjoyed this combination and the plot line was action-packed and easy to read.

After finishing A Feast of Phantoms, I returned to Royal Assassin to finish the book by the end of this month. I finished the last 32 pages of the book just now and I loved the ending! As for the resolution, I had no idea what I was expecting, but it is so cleverly written and I cannot wait to see what happens next! I already own the last book of this trilogy, so I may just be picking this up before too long.

I am rapidly becoming a huge fan of Robin Hobb. She has already built an interesting epic fantasy, and I have only read two books out of about sixteen in total. One of the things I enjoy about her writing is that she is not delicate with her characters. The ending of this book proves this!

 

Books Discovered

Given that I have added enough books to my TBR of late, I’m pleased to say that I haven’t added anything new this week.

 

Coming Up…

This week has been an interesting one in terms of preparing my blog posts in advance. I have done what I can with some posts, however, I found I was able to start them, but not finish them. At least at first.

My first post of the week will be going live on Tuesday, and that is going to be my monthly wrap-up. For obvious reasons, I’ve not been able to finish writing that post as my reading progress up to today needs to be included. A few days ago, I drafted what progress I could. Tomorrow I will finish off the post with the last updates and it will be with you on Tuesday.

Next, I started drafting my review post for A Feast of Phantoms. When I first started drafting this post, I was still reading the book. So, I ended up doing a lot of setup and left the section for my review blank. In the end, I filled this in on Friday after finishing the book, and I have scheduled the post to go live on Thursday next week.

I am sharing an additional post this week. As it is the beginning of a brand-new month, I’m going to be sharing my planned TBR. This is the one post that I haven’t drafted as yet, but I have set myself a list and I will be drafting this post tomorrow ready to be shared on Friday.

And then last, but not least, I will be back with another Sunday Summary update this time next week. You can expect all my reading updates as usual.

I hope you have enjoyed today’s Sunday Summary post. Have you been reading anything good lately? Do you have any book recommendations for me?

 

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Sunday Summary – 24th July 2022

Good evening everyone and welcome to this week’s Sunday Summary update post. With the exception of the weekend’s washout weather, we’ve had a pretty good week here. I hope you have too?

Both of this week’s blog posts were prepared in advance for the first time in a long time. I am glad I was able to take the opportunity to get ahead, and I’ll be continuing this going forward.

This week, I scheduled a Top Ten Tuesday post as I had complete discretion over the topic. Having looked back at what has been popular on my blog in the past, I have a lot of views for posts featuring favourite book quotes, as well as my review of A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin. Naturally, I decided to combine the two topics together, and shared my top ten quotes from the Game of Thrones series (so far!)

Later this week I shared a First Lines Friday post. In this post, I decided to pick up a book that has been on my TBR for a very long time. This is to get me excited about the book because I intend to read it soon! I have owned my copy of this book since 2016 at the latest, although realistically, I purchased it earlier than that. I’ve talked about it a couple of times on my blog recently; you may be able to guess what it is if you read another Top Ten Tuesday post I shared in the last month or two.

 

Books Read

As of last week’s Sunday Summary update, I was 179 pages into The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman. This particular book was loaned to me by my sister’s boyfriend. Since they were both over visiting this week, I wanted to finish it and return his copy before they left.

I’m pleased to say that I managed to finish this book with a full day to spare! The book itself is about 425 pages long. That sounds like a lot, but the font is a lot larger than I’m used to and I flew through it!

The story is compelling as well, which made it very easy for me to read large sections at a time. Dare I say it, but I think I actually preferred The Man Who Died Twice over The Thursday Murder Club. Both are good books, but for me the sequel just pipped it. As with the first book of the series, Richard Osman manages to weave in a topic that is quite serious in nature but wrapped up in a humorous book with cracking characters. At least this one didn’t make me cry!

Next, I picked up my current read, Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb. Where The Man Who Died Twice was not too long and printed with very large text, Royal Assassin is the complete opposite. My paperback copy has over 600 pages, and the text is significantly smaller! At least there is no time pressure for me to read this book. It’s not a bad thing either because I love dense, detailed fantasy books! They are my go-to comfort read. 

Despite it’s length, I’m still doing really well with my reading progress. I only started this book mid-week, but I’m already 329 pages in, which equates to about 50% read. I’m really enjoying the story so far, and it picks up well from the first book, Assassin’s Apprentice. I only read this first book of the series very recently, so reading Royal Assassin has been easy as I’m familiar with what has gone before.

One of the main things I like about Robin Hobb’s books so far is that she’s not particularly kind to her characters. That might sound like a weird comment, but when you know the author is going to ‘protect’ the main character, it doesn’t feel realistic. Already, FitzChivalry has endured far more than a teenager should, and we know damn well that he is only at the beginning. 

I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to keep up the good pace with this book and finish this within the next few days!

 

Books Discovered

On the back of last week’s Sunday Summary post, in which I shared that I had read Pandora’s Jar by Natalie Haynes, I was recommended another book by Happy Panda.

A Thousand Ships, also written by Natalie Haynes, is a book that once again features the stories of several female characters in Greek myth affected by the Trojan war. Such stories are often dominated by the tales of heroic men, but as with Pandora’s Jar, Natalie Haynes seeks to highlight a largely unwritten perspective – that of the women.

 

Coming Up…

I’ve been keeping up with scheduling my blog posts ahead of time and I’m excited to share what I have scheduled for you next week!

On Tuesday I am sharing a book review. Just over a year ago, I finished my read of my second book by C.J. Tudor, The Taking of Annie Thorne. I really enjoyed this creepy mystery/psychological thriller/horror novel, and I think readers who are fans of these genres will too! I hope you can check out my post on Tuesday, and that my post will persuade you to pick up the book for yourself!

On Friday I will be publishing my next Shelf Control post. Having taken a look at the next book on my TBR, I share why I’m looking forward to picking up a non-fiction novel with a very sinister opening line:- 

“On the Saturday morning of January 9, 1993, while Jean Claude Romand was killing his wife and children, I was with mine in a parent-teacher meeting…”.

If the opening line to this true crime novel has drawn you in as much as it does me, check out my post on Friday and I’ll tell you all the reasons why I’m excited to read it!

That’s a wrap for this week’s Sunday Summary update. Have you got any current reads you would like to share or any recommendations for me?

 

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Monthly Wrap-Up – June 2022

Welcome to my monthly wrap-up post covering all the books I read in June. I came so, so close to finishing this month’s TBR on time; in the end, I finished my last book on the 1st of July. I’m really happy despite that though!

I knew at the beginning of this month that I wasn’t going to be reading quite so much towards the end, as I had an exam on the 29th of June to prepare for. Perhaps that is why I ended up reading so much at the beginning of the month. I also managed to squeeze in a couple of audiobooks too!

My TBR for June was a little bit different, as I couldn’t decide what to pick up and read. I had one commitment, which I ended up setting as my only ‘fixed’ book on my TBR. The rest, I pencilled in provisionally but allowed myself the option to change. Incidentally, I didn’t change any of the books, but it was nice that I have the flexibility if I wanted to. And I think I needed that. Clearly it has worked out very well for me as I’ve made very good progress this month. I’m very happy with where I’m at with my reading.

I’m considering taking this approach a bit more in future; but I’m certainly going to try it out again to see if it continues to work for me.

 

Books Read

Wolf of Mercia

Genre: Historical fiction

Pages: 346

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Boldwood Books

Publication Date: 7 Jun 2022

Stars: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

 

My first priority of this month was to read my only ‘fixed’ book of the month, Wolf of Mercia by MJ Porter. I had agreed to take part in a blog tour for this sequel; the first book I read earlier this year. The thing I love the most about this series is that it offers a unique perspective in a period of history where violence is almost expected. Our protagonist Icel does not relish battle or even killing in his own defence, but in this sequel we got to see a new side of him – one that acknowledges his duty, but also sticks to his roots of healing people wherever he can.

If you enjoy books like Bernard Cornwell’s The Last Kingdom, then this is something I would recommend to you. I picked up this series initially because of my love of that, and it really works for me!

 

Norse Mythology

Genre: Mythology; short stories

Pages: 283

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Publication Date: 6 Mar 2018

Stars:🌟🌟🌟🌟

 

After Wolf of Mercia, I swiftly moved on to Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman. I wanted to pick up this book, however, I will admit I was sceptical as to whether I would like it or not. I haven’t had the best experience with books written by Neil Gaiman overall. However, Norse Mythology really worked for me.

Perhaps it is because this book is his own retelling of classic norse stories that this ended up being really safe ground. I enjoyed how these were written. Given that the book is just a collection of short stories, it was a very quick read for me; I managed to read it in just a couple of days. I was pleasantly surprised!

 

Assassin’s Apprentice

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 392

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Harper Voyager UK

Publication Date: 27 Mar 2014

Stars:🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

 

I have been meaning to try Robin Hobb’s books for such a long time, but never quite gotten around to them. However, I finally did it and I am so glad I’ve taken the plunge! These books have come highly recommended in general, but also more specifically from friends of mine.

One of the main elements I look at with fantasy books is character and world-building. These boxes were well and truly ticked in Assassin’s Apprentice, and I really enjoyed the storyline that unfolded in this book. It had elements of magic that I really liked, but also hints at the wider storyline that I trust will unfold throughout Hobb’s ‘The Realm of the Elderlings’ books.

From very early on in the narrative, we as the reader are sympathetic towards Fitz. He is a royal bastard who is left with his father‘s man Burrich as a child. He does not fit in to life at court and so he remains largely unacknowledged… but when he is, it’s not really for the better either.

I really enjoyed this book and I’m going to be continuing with this series very, very soon!

 

The Appeal

Genre: Mystery, Thriller

Pages: 428

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Viper

Publication Date: 14 Jan 2021

Stars: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

 

The biggest selling point for me about The Appeal is that the story is told through written communications between characters. If you are looking for something that is not traditional prose, then this format is one I’d recommend you try. I really liked this change of pace, and the storyline behind the emails/messages etc between the characters is engaging in and of its own right!

The beginning of the story is a bit of a slow burn. You go into it knowing that a murder has taken place, however it does not take place until a significant way through a narrative. I expected it to happen a little bit sooner, however it comes about that the context and events we see occur in the beginning are very much relevant to what happens in the end.

What is also clever about the way this is written is that you have to read into the subtext. These people meet in person and there are interactions that we don’t see in between, but can only speculate as to what occurs. As it turns out, there is a lot more going on under the surface and whilst there were some twists I did anticipate, there were others I did not at all! This was another fantastic read, and I cannot believe that this is a debut.

I will definitely be continuing with this author’s work!

 

Skyward

Genre: Science-fiction

Pages: 513

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Gollancz

Publication Date: 6 Nov 2018

Stars: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

 

I started reading Skyward on or around the 20th June, so this is the book I read the slowest over the course of the month. However, as I mentioned above, this was expected with my exam. Just because it was read the slowest, it does not mean I did not enjoy it!

Skyward is quite different to all the other Brandon Sanderson books I have read to date. Where they have sat firmly in the fantasy genre, Skyward is (expectedly) very hard leaning into the science-fiction genre. It is also written for a young adult audience. Some people have said they felt the writing was dumbed down a little, but I didn’t pick up on this too much. The nature of our protagonist definitely appeals to a younger audience, and perhaps the plot line is a little bit less sophisticated than some of his other fantasy books. But, other than that, I felt this read just as well.

I already have a copy of the sequel, Starsight, on my bookshelves just begging to be read.

 

Knight’s Shadow

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 606 (20hrs 6mins audio)

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Jo Fletcher Books

Publication Date: 5 Mar 2015

Stars: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

 

During the month of June I started listening to Knight’s Shadow by Sebastien de Castell again. I had started this audiobook previously, but I go through phases with audiobooks and I will binge-listen for a while, then practically stop completely. It’s a cycle that comes and goes, and I’m finally back in the ‘listening’ phase.

Even though it had been a little minute since I first started this audiobook, I was able to pick it up again really easily. The storyline and what has happened previously is unique and so it was very easy to return to the world and remember what has gone before.

I really enjoy the storyline and the witty perspective of our protagonist. I had no idea how this particular book was going to play out, after the events of the first book in series. However, it was written very well and it was a pleasure to listen to. I feel a grander storyline coming into play in comparison to the first book. As a fan of epic fantasy, this obviously appeals to me!

 

Hell

Genre: Non-fiction; memoir 

Pages: 272 (7hrs 6mins audio)

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Pan Books

Publication Date: 24 Jul 2003

Stars: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

 

The second audiobook listened to this month was completed in full, although admittedly, it only weighs in at about seven hours of listening time. Honestly, if it hadn’t been recommended to me I probably wouldn’t have picked it up. However, I’m glad I did!

This is the first prison diary written by Jeffrey Archer, and it recounts his experience of being imprisoned in HMP Belmarsh. This was a bit of an eye-opener for me. It’s not the kind of non-fiction book you would expect to pick up. However, the author’s experience of being imprisoned here, for a charge far less severe than that of his inmates, goes to show the unfairness and inefficiencies of the British legal system.

There are further prison diaries that the author wrote during his time, and I will also be listening to these in the future.

 

That is a lot of books to feature in one monthly wrap-up post! I had originally planned to share my mid-year review at the same time as this post. However, it’s already long enough, so I’m going to split that back out again and share that in the next day or two.

What have you been reading this month? Have you got any good book recommendations? Have you read any of the books I’ve featured today? As always, I’d love to hear from you!

 

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Sunday Summary – 12th June 2022

I am back with another Sunday Summary update post for you today. First of all, I hope you’ve had a fabulous week!

I started off this week by sharing a book tag post with you. I wanted something that was a lighter topic and so I pulled a book tag out of my bank that I’ve been saving for the occasion. That post was my ‘The Last Book I…’ post, and if you haven’t seen that already you can find a link to this here.

The reason I chose that post earlier in the week is because I was taking part in a blog tour on Friday and sharing a review as part of that. On Friday I shared my thoughts on the Wolf of Mercia by MJ Porter. I signed up to this blog tour having read and loved the first book of the series, Son of Mercia, earlier this year. If you are a fan of historical fiction then I highly recommend this series. If you want to find out more, again, there is a link here to that post.

 

Books Read

When I drafted last week’s Sunday Summary update post I was just about to start Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb. As planned, after my post went live I started reading this and I have read the whole book this week! I really, really loved it! For me, it’s one of those scenarios where you regret not starting it sooner! I have seen very good ratings for this book and I’ve also had recommendations from friends. It’s been on my radar for a very long time and I’m glad I finally taken the plunge into Robin Hobb’s writing.

I’m really excited to delve further into the series, because Assassin’s Apprentice was a fantastic read. It is everything I hoped it could be and more besides! You cannot help but feel sorry for Fitz. He has been down on his luck all his life, and just to rub things in a little bit further, Robin Hobb is not gentle with her characters in this book. That is all I will say, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

I started my next book yesterday, which is The Appeal by Janice Hallett. I’ve only just started this book and I’m just over 25 pages in. The story is told through communications between characters (i.e. email, text messages etc). It’s a completely different style to what I’m used to, but it makes you think about the subtext and what is going a bit more than you would have to in traditional prose. I’m enjoying the book so far and this is the read I’ll be taking forward into next week. This is going to be an interesting one!

In my book tag earlier this week, I made a comment about having not listened to much in the way of audiobooks recently. I said it was one of those things that waxes and wanes, and that currently I was in the latter of those stages. Well, I may have jinxed that when I said it! At the beginning of the week I think I was around 25% through the audiobook Knight’s Shadow by Sebastien de Castell. I have listened to most of the book this week and I’m now 80% through it.

More often than not it depends on circumstance and what I’m doing as to whether I listen to them. I found myself getting more involved in crafty projects this week, and listening to an audiobook at the same time is the perfect companion. Previously I found myself physically reading more, but this week there has been more of a balance. I definitely want to finish Knight’s Shadow now that I’m this close to the end, and who knows… maybe this is my break back into an audiobooks phase!

 

Books Discovered

I’ve added a book to my reading list this week that I’d heard about previously, but didn’t really know what it was about. It was through a top 25 standalone fantasy books video on YouTube that I came to understand the plot of The House in the Cerulean Sea by T. J Klune. I’d seen people talking about it, but never in enough detail to make me want to pick it up. Until that video. The book has themes of identity, belonging and family – which aren’t particularly common things for a fantasy book to revolve around.

I think this could be an interesting read. I also like the idea of it being a standalone fantasy as well. They are a lot less common than series, and if I go on to enjoy this book I think there are others written by the same author that I can then look at as well, that revolve around different, but just as important, topics.

 

Coming Up…

I’m conscious of the fact it has been a while since I’ve drafted a discussion post. I’ve had an idea this week that could be a fun post to write and also helpful to anybody if they are considering branching out with reading. I’ve previously written a discussion post about reading diversity in relation to picking up different genres. Along the same lines, I want to share a discussion post about why I think it is important to read outside of your comfort zone now and then… and recommend different ways that this can be achieved.

This week I will be resuming my regular Friday features, and this week it is the turn of a Shelf Control post. In case you aren’t familiar, in those posts I take a look at a book on my TBR, share the synopsis and details and why I’m still interested to read this. In doing these reviews, I have actually found books that I’ve changed my mind about and taken it off the list. It’s a good way to make myself keep this list up-to-date, and I hope that by featuring books I may just pique your interest at the same time.

And as always, I’ll be back with a Sunday Summary update at the end of the week, sharing my reading progress and recapping my news.

That’s all from me in today’s Sunday Summary update post. What are you reading?

 

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