A happy long weekend to everyone in the UK! I’m back with my weekly Sunday Summary update, so I hope you’re sat comfortably with a cuppa for this one.
As always, I’ll kick off this post by summarising the blog posts I’ve shared over the course of the week. My first blog post was published on Wednesday. In that post, I shared a review of a short story anthology I read recently, Taking Liberties. The review turnaround on this book was quite quick as I had been asked to provide a review by one of the contributing authors. However, as always, I haven’t let that colour my opinion of the book; my thoughts are entirely my own.
On Friday, I shared a First Lines Friday feature. This time last week, I set myself the challenge of choosing a book for this feature that fits a ‘non-fiction medical’ description. I’m really happy with the book I chose to feature, as I have read and loved this author’s other books from this genre previously!
As of last week’s Sunday Summary post, I was 100 pages into Starsight by Brandon Sanderson. What I had read so far was already a great introduction. Over the course of the next few days, I chipped away at this book and made it to about 50%.
Then, on Thursday night, I started reading more of the book… and this great book became a fantastic one! I was so invested in the events and the storyline that I ended up reading all the second half of the book in one night. That’s about 230 pages, which has to be a reading record for me. Did I stay up far too late to finish this book? Yes. Do I regret that decision? No.
Starsight differs from Skyward, and there are readers out there that didn’t like this change. It’s a difficult one to talk about without spoiling the story, so I’m not going to mention the details. However, I really enjoyed this change. I think it would have been difficult to progress this series without that change taking place. In any case, it really worked for me, and as a result, the book was a very easy five-star rating.
Against All Gods
After finishing Starsight, I started making progress with my final read of the month, Against All Gods by Miles Cameron.
As of this Sunday Summary post, I’m only really just getting into the book so I don’t really have too much to say at the moment. So far, the introduction is fine, but it hasn’t grabbed my attention as much as I thought it would either. Then again, I am only 7% in. I’ll continue with it and see what progress I make in the next few days.
As Long as the Lemon Trees Grow
I’ve continued making progress with listening to As Long As the Lemon Trees Grow this week. Yesterday, I had the pleasure of gardening in some of the warmest temperatures we’ve had locally for some time. As Long As the Lemon Trees Grow helped me concentrate on something other than how hot and uncomfortable I was when trying to wrestle with a hover mower on uneven ground. Don’t say I don’t know how to spend my weekends…
I’ve now nearly finished this audiobook. It is a fantastic listen and I’m hoping to finish this off tomorrow. We are at a really exciting (and equally devastating) point in the narrative and I need to know what happens. I need to know if there’s a happy ending or not.
Having added some books to my reading list over the last few weeks, I’m pleased to report a clean bill this week!
Next week is inevitably going to be a busy one, as it is the week in which I will feature my monthly wrap-up post (Wednesday), as well as my monthly TBR for June (Friday).
Thankfully, I don’t have any other blogging obligations next week. Over the last couple of months, I have had blog tour posts that coincided with the beginning of the month. So, although I have enough going on with two sizable blog posts to draft and share, at least I don’t have anything else on top of that!
As always, I’ll be back this time next Sunday to give you another Sunday Summary and catch you up on what I’ve been reading.
Until then, I hope you have a fantastic week whatever you get up to. Happy reading!
Happy Sunday everyone and welcome to my weekly Sunday Summary update. I hope you’ve had a good week, as always! Before we dive into the books I’ve been reading this week, let’s recap the blog posts I’ve been sharing.
I started this week by sharing a Top 5 Recommendations post. Inspired by another blog post I had seen recently, I decided to share my top self-help reads that I’d recommend anyone pick up. The list includes everything from improving focus to empowering women in the workplace. As always, I provide a link to that post if you want to go and check that out!
Usually, I share a regular feature on a Friday. However, due to a bit of a lack of forward planning on my part, I didn’t get this ready in time to go out on Friday. I was at a friend’s house on Friday night, and didn’t get home til gone midnight anyway. So, I shared my planned Shelf Control post yesterday instead!
Picking up where I left off in last week’s Sunday Summary, I started off the week continuing my read of Death Magnanimous by Michael Martin. As of last week’s update, I was 22% into the book. Already, I was hooked my the story and the circumstances the protagonist found himself in. The split timeline, allowing us readers to explore Charlie’s life before his accident, really added to the narrative and understanding his loss. There is also an element of mystery that comes into the story, which I enjoyed.
I finished this book by midweek, and I really enjoyed this Netgalley ARC (advanced reader copy). As the book is to be published in July, I’m going to try and get my review published on my blog soon.
Next, I picked up a short story anthology – Taking Liberties. The anthology includes short stories written by multiple authors, all with a loose theme of freedom. Whilst they have this in common, the stories themselves are wide and varied. The last time I read a collection of short stories, I didn’t love the experience. However, I had a completely different experience with Taking Liberties.
In all, I read the anthology in it’s entirety (which granted, is only roughly 130 pages) in about 24 hours!
The last physical book I have picked up this week is Starsight by Brandon Sanderson. I read Skyward about six months ago now and I’m excited to be reading the sequel. So far, I am exactly 100 pages into the book and I like where the narrative is leading us. I’d heard that this book differed from the first, but no real detail as to how. Now I have an idea how… but I’m not spoiling it here!
I’m intrigued to see how the plot is going to develop. I’ve read the first 20% of the book easily, and I imagine the rest will only follow suit.
As Long as the Lemon Trees Grow
This week, I’vve been listening to more of As Long As the Lemon Trees Grow. I was just under half-way through the audiobook in my last Sunday Summary. I’ve listened to another 25% this week.
I’m loving the chaacters, the setting, and the premise of the book. I’m especially invested with the characters. Everything has gone quite well for them up until now (as well as possible in a war-torn country anyway), and I’m almost expecting some kind of disaster to happen!
I have a couple of hours or so left in the audiobook. Once I start listening to it, I imagine I’ll listen through to the end.
As if I don’t have enough books on the reading list, I discovered and added a couple more this week.
The first book is Spike by Jeremy Farrer with Anjana Ahuja. I discovered the book through inkinsights instagram, who gave the book 5 stars. The Covid-19 pandemic has had a profound effect on our lives in the last few years, and I thinkwe can talk about it now. I’m intereted to read the insights this book has into the pandemic, written by an infectious disease expert.
The second book I added to my list also comes from another recommendation by a book blogger on instagram, readingmaria. That book is A History of Burning by Janika Oza. I like the sound and scope of the premise. This is a tale about how the decisions one person, as a result of a desperate act for survival, can reverberate for generations.
I’ll be sharing a book review this week, and it’s for one of the books I picked up earlier this week.
Last month I was approached by Stephanie Bretheron, one of the author’s who contributed to Taking Liberties, for a review. I promised to read and review the bookthis month, so I’ll be sharing my full thoughts on the anthology in a few days.
On Friday, and it WILL be Friday, is the turn of my First Lines Friday post. I’ve decided on a challenge for this post. Using a prompt list for some inspiration, I landed on a prompt to feature a non-fiction book about a medical subject. Naturally, that means I could feature my my addition, Spike. But then, I have also read some great books also in this genre which I could feature. You’ll have to check out my post on Friday to see what I choose in the end.
Lastly, I’ll be here for another Sunday Summary update next Sunday!
Now, Starsight is calling me. Have a wonderful day, evening and week, and I’ll catch you in the next post!
Howdy friends! I’m back with my monthly TBR for May 2023. But, before I begin, I have to say… May the fourth be with you! (This one’s for you Dad!)
In terms of reading progress and my goal to read 50 books by the end of the year, I am currently ahead of schedule. That’s fantastic… especially when we bear in mind that I’ve read some chunky books in the last four months! And that certainly won’t change looking ahead. You know me…
Another goal I set myself at the beginning of this year is to read 15 or more non-fiction books. As of the end of April, I have read 5. So, I’m bang on track for that one too!
That’s enough of looking back at what I’ve already read, because we’re here to talk about my latest monthly TBR … what’s coming up next. Let’s take a look at the reads I intend to get through in May. It’s quite the list, but I have a plan to tackle it.
The Adventures of Amina Al-Sirafi
It feels a bit daft to list of this book on this monthly TBR, because as of drafting this TBR, I’ve already finished it. However, The Adventures of Amina Al-Sirafi was a book that I started last month but finished in May, so it gets a mention here.
Overall, I enjoyed the book. There are parts of it I am unsure about though. When I tried to summarise this in my Instagram post the other day, I came to the conclusion that I felt the book was on the whimsical side. If other books by Shannon Chakraborty are the same, I don’t know whether to pick them up or not.
If you have thoughts, please feel free to weigh in in the comments!
Wolf of Wessex
You may recall that Wolf of Wessex was on my last monthly TBR as it was last month’s pick from my TBR Jar.
Unfortunately, I didn’t quite get to it in April as intended. Instead, I’ve decided to carry this forward and make a push to try and finish two TBR reads this month.
This may seem ambitious, but as of writing this post, I am currently reading Wolf of Wessex. In one sitting (yesterday), I managed to read just under a quarter of the book. It’s a really easy read, so I don’t anticipate this is going to take long to get through. It’s a fast paced historical-fiction novel set around the time that Vikings came to Britain. So far, it’s reading as a book set in the time period, but not one that particularly goes into the history of what happened. It’s not dense, and even at the quarter way-mark, there is a lot going on for us to unpick.
As Long As the Lemon Trees Grow
As Long As the Lemon Trees Grow is this month’s selection for Ezeekat’s online book club. If I’m being entirely honest, it’s not a book I would have picked up on my own. But, that is exactly why I joined the book club in the first place! I’m trying to broaden my reading horizons. Although I’ve only just started this book, I’m already intrigued as to where it’s going to go.
The reason I’ve already started this book is because part of my plan to tackle my large TBR is to utilise audiobooks. I am making my way through this book in audio. It’s been a few months since I last picked up a book this way, but I’m looking forward to getting back to it. The small section I’ve listened to so far has me wanting to listen more… what more can I ask for?
Against All Gods
May’s TBR Jar pick is Against All Gods by Miles Cameron. This is actually a relatively new addition to my reading list, so I’m excited it’s come out already.
When I read the synopsis when first introduced to the book, there were elements to the storyline that reminded me instantly of Terry Pratchett. I like fantasy, and when it involves elements of Greek Mythology too, that has my interest. And that’s exactly what this book is in a nutshell. I’m looking forward to giving it a go!
Taking Liberties is a short story collection that I have been provided a copy of in exchange for review.
Based on the synopsis I have read so far, the stories within are wide and varied. However, they seem to have a common theme of freedom. I like the sound of this, and I’m keen to take the opportunity to try short stories from the wide range of authors who have all contributed to this anthology.
Taking Liberties is also the shortest book on this month’s TBR, at just 136 pages. Another advantage of a book like this is that it will serve as a good palate cleanser between larger reads.
Death Magnanimous is a book I found on NetGalley. If you’re unfamiliar with the site, readers can request to read advanced reader copies of books if they promise to review them.
I confess that it’s not very often I browse the site. However, a couple of months ago I clicked on Death Magnanimous as the cover caught my eye. When I read the synopsis, I knew I wanted to read it.
It’s already been a couple of months since I downloaded my copy, and I don’t really want to leave it too much longer. Especially as the book is due to come out before too long, I want to review in a timely manner. I’ve not been able to find the book listed anywhere at the moment that would indicate how many pages it is. However, my kindle indicates that it’ll only take me 2 and a half hours to read, so it can’t be that long.
It’s been a few months since I started the Skyward series. Even though the intended audience for these books is younger than me, I really enjoyed the first book.
The Skyward series is a science-fiction tale. The events are told from the perspective of an angsty teenager, who has dreamed of flying (like her dad used to), since she was a child. However, something happened to her father, which comes to light in book one… but no spoilers here. Spensa has spent her life relatively in the dark, but all she knows is that she is not trusted.
Starsight has a lot to live up to based on the ending of the first book. My understanding is that the perspective shifts slightly in this book (although I’m unsure who to and why), so I don’t know if that is going to alter my opinion compared to the first book. However, you don’t know until you try, do try it I will.
The Waste Lands
The last book I would like to pick up in May is another book I listed on my 2023 Spring TBR post.
I’m sure when I drafted that post, I checked the last time I picked up a book from The Dark Tower series and was immediately embarrassed. I will be honest and say that I am going to have to refresh myself on events from the first two books before I pick up this third one. However, my intention is to continue with this series once I have re-familiarised myself. It makes sense to keep up with it, and if nothing else, it goes towards my goal for reading and finishing sequels this year, rather than new books.
That looks to be a hefty list for my monthly TBR! Some of those books are the traditional chunkiness you can expect from me. However, they do appear to be some slightly shorter ones as well.
No one can say that there isn’t a good deal of variety on this list.
Have you read any of the books? I’m picking up this month? Have any of them caught your eye? Let me know in the comments!
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.
Wolf of Mercia
Genre: Historical fiction
Publisher: Boldwood Books
Publication Date: 7 Jun 2022
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!
Genre: Mythology; short stories
Publication Date: 6 Mar 2018
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!
Publisher: Harper Voyager UK
Publication Date: 27 Mar 2014
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!
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Publication Date: 14 Jan 2021
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!
Publication Date: 6 Nov 2018
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.
Pages: 606 (20hrs 6mins audio)
Publisher: Jo Fletcher Books
Publication Date: 5 Mar 2015
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!
Genre: Non-fiction; memoir
Pages: 272 (7hrs 6mins audio)
Publisher: Pan Books
Publication Date: 24 Jul 2003
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!