Tag: TBR

down the tbr hole

Down the TBR Hole #25

Hi guys! It’s time for another review of the TBR in today’s Down the TBR Hole post! Down the TBR Hole is a meme created by Lia @ Lost in a Story. The idea is to review the books on your TBR to decide if you still want to read them. The rules are as follows: –

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

Today I’ll be checking out the next ten books on the list – are you ready?

 

The Court of Broken Knives – Anna Smith Spark

The Court of Broken Knives

Goodreads – The Court of Broken Knives

They’ve finally looked at the graveyard of our Empire with open eyes. They’re fools and madmen and like the art of war. And their children go hungry while we piss gold and jewels into the dust.

In the richest empire the world has ever known, the city of Sorlost has always stood, eternal and unconquered. But in a city of dreams governed by an imposturous Emperor, decadence has become the true ruler, and has blinded its inhabitants to their vulnerability. The empire is on the verge of invasion – and only one man can see it.

Haunted by dreams of the empire’s demise, Orhan Emmereth has decided to act. On his orders, a company of soldiers cross the desert to reach the city. Once they enter the Palace, they have one mission: kill the Emperor, then all those who remain. Only from ashes can a new empire be built.

The company is a group of good, ordinary soldiers, for whom this is a mission like any other. But the strange boy Marith who walks among them is no ordinary soldier. Marching on Sorlost, Marith thinks he is running away from the past which haunts him. But in the Golden City, his destiny awaits him – beautiful, bloody, and more terrible than anyone could have foreseen.

 

I added this book to the TBR on the 24th June 2018, and I kid you not, nearly a year on to the day (23rd June 2019), I bought my copy through Amazon. Freaky! I think it was on offer at the time, and I had read a review that reminded me of it.

This is a definite keeper, that’s for sure!

Verdict: Keep

 

The Mage Wars – Mercedes Lackey

The Mage Wars

Goodreads – The Mage Wars

Set around three thousand years before the rest of the Valdemar series, this is the ancient history of Velgarth and the story of Skandranon Rashkae, a gryphon with gleaming ebony feathers, keen magesight and acute intelligence. He is the fulfillment of all that the Mage of Silence, the human sorcerer called Urtho, intended to achieve when he created these magical beings to be his champions, the defenders of his realm – a verdant plain long coveted by the evil mage Ma’ar.

Together with Amberdrake, a Healer of body, mind and spirit, Skandranon will defend his nation from his evil counterparts created by Ma’ar, the makaar. The glorious city of White Gryphon will rise from the ashes, but it will take careful negotiation, spying and terrible war against the mysterious Black Kings to secure the stronghold. Even then, the elite guard force, the Silver Gryphons, will discover a greater terror lurking in the forests beyond the city walls…

The Mage Wars omnibus follows Skandranon and his lifelong friend, Amberdrake, and their children, as they seek to establish and defend a Kingdom of peace and tranquillity.

 

These next few books are actually quite easy, as I own them all. They are sat on my bookshelf in the spare room begging to be picked up. I bought them all together, having read a little about them via Goodreads.

Verdict: Keep

 

The Mage Storms – Mercedes Lackey

The Mage Storms

Goodreads – The Mage Storms

Karse and Valdemar have long been enemy kingdoms, until they are forced into an uneasy alliance to defend their lands from the armies of Eastern Empire, which is ruled by a monarch whose magical tactics may be beyond any sorcery known to the Western kingdoms. Forced to combat this dire foe, the Companions of Valdemar may, at last, have to reveal secrets which they have kept hidden for centuries… even from their beloved Heralds.

 

As above. I really want to try these epic fantasy novels.

Verdict: Keep

 

The Mage Winds – Mercedes Lackey

The Mage Winds

Goodreads – The Mage Winds

Long ago, high magic was lost to Valdemar when the last Herald-Mage gave his life to protect his kingdom from destruction by dark sorceries. But now the protective barrier over Valdemar is crumbling, and with the realm imperilled, Princess Elspeth, Herald and heir to the throne, has gone on a desperate quest in search of a mentor who can teach her to wield her fledgling mage-powers and help her to defend her threatened kingdom.

Winds of fate
With the realm at risk, Elspeth, herald and heir to the throne, abandons her home to find a mentor who can awaken her untrained mage abilities.

Winds of change
Princess Elspeth journeys to the Vale of the Tayledras Clan to seek Mage training among the powerful Hawkbrother Adepts, only to find that she and renegade adept Darkwind must confront the malevolent magic of Ancar of Hardorn.

Winds of fury
Herald-Princess Elspeth and her beloved partner, Darkwind the adept, return to Valdemar to confront the evil and powerful Ancar, who once again is threatening her homeland.

 

… Yeah, and again. As above. No point adding unnecessary wordage here.

Verdict: Keep

 

The Dragonbone Chair – Tad Williams

Goodreads – The Dragonbone Chair

A war fueled by the powers of dark sorcery is about to engulf the peaceful land of Osten Ard—for Prester John, the High King, lies dying. And with his death, the Storm King, the undead ruler of the elf-like Sithi, seizes the chance to regain his lost realm through a pact with the newly ascended king. Knowing the consequences of this bargain, the king’s younger brother joins with a small, scattered group of scholars, the League of the Scroll, to confront the true danger threatening Osten Ard.

Simon, a kitchen boy from the royal castle unknowingly apprenticed to a member of this League, will be sent on a quest that offers the only hope of salvation, a deadly riddle concerning long-lost swords of power. Compelled by fate and perilous magics, he must leave the only home he’s ever known and face enemies more terrifying than Osten Ard has ever seen, even as the land itself begins to die.

After the landmark Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn trilogy, the epic saga of Osten Ard continues with the brand-new novel, The Heart of What Was Lost. Then don’t miss the upcoming trilogy, The Last King of Osten Ard, beginning with The Witchwood Crown!

 

There’s definitely a fantasy theme running here so far! I can’t help but think that there are a lot of clichés in this one, based on the synopsis. I don’t mind the odd one, but stories that use the same ones all the time get repetitive. It sounds very similar to something I have read before, so I think I am going to pass on this one.

Verdict: Go

 

Auschwitz – Laurence Rees

Goodreads – Auschwitz

Auschwitz-Birkenau is the site of the largest mass murder in human history. Yet its story is not fully known. In Auschwitz, Laurence Rees reveals new insights from more than 100 original interviews with Auschwitz survivors and Nazi perpetrators who speak on the record for the first time. Their testimonies provide a portrait of the inner workings of the camp in unrivalled detail—from the techniques of mass murder, to the politics and gossip mill that turned between guards and prisoners, to the on-camp brothel in which the lines between those guards and prisoners became surprisingly blurred.

Rees examines the strategic decisions that led the Nazi leadership to prescribe Auschwitz as its primary site for the extinction of Europe’s Jews—their “Final Solution.” He concludes that many of the horrors that were perpetrated in Auschwitz were driven not just by ideological inevitability but as a “practical” response to a war in the East that had begun to go wrong for Germany. A terrible immoral pragmatism characterizes many of the decisions that determined what happened at Auschwitz. Thus the story of the camp becomes a morality tale, too, in which evil is shown to proceed in a series of deft, almost noiseless incremental steps until it produces the overwhelming horror of the industrial scale slaughter that was inflicted in the gas chambers of Auschwitz.

 

As awful as it sounds, I have a bit of a morbid fascination with the events and atrocities of World War II and Nazi Germany. I love other books on the same subject, like The Tattooist of Auschwitz and Code Name Verity. Auschwitz, in contrast to the other books just named, is a non-fiction account. I’m trying to get myself to read more non-fiction (and failing right now)… but this is one to pick up at a later date.

Verdict: Keep

 

The Woman Who Would Be King: Hatshepsut’s Rise to Power in Ancient Egypt

Goodreads – The Woman Who Would Be King

An engrossing biography of the longest-reigning female pharaoh in Ancient Egypt and the story of her audacious rise to power in a man’s world.

Hatshepsut, the daughter of a general who took Egypt’s throne without status as a king’s son and a mother with ties to the previous dynasty, was born into a privileged position of the royal household. Married to her brother, she was expected to bear the sons who would legitimize the reign of her father’s family. Her failure to produce a male heir was ultimately the twist of fate that paved the way for her inconceivable rule as a cross-dressing king.

At just twenty, Hatshepsut ascended to the rank of king in an elaborate coronation ceremony that set the tone for her spectacular twenty-two year reign as co-regent with Thutmose III, the infant king whose mother Hatshepsut out-maneuvered for a seat on the throne. Hatshepsut was a master strategist, cloaking her political power plays with the veil of piety and sexual expression. Just as women today face obstacles from a society that equates authority with masculinity, Hatshepsut had to shrewdly operate the levers of a patriarchal system to emerge as Egypt’s second female pharaoh.

Hatshepsut had successfully negotiated a path from the royal nursery to the very pinnacle of authority, and her reign saw one of Ancient Egypt’s most prolific building periods. Scholars have long speculated as to why her images were destroyed within a few decades of her death, all but erasing evidence of her rule. Constructing a rich narrative history using the artifacts that remain, noted Egyptologist Kara Cooney offers a remarkable interpretation of how Hatshepsut rapidly but methodically consolidated power—and why she fell from public favor just as quickly. The Woman Who Would Be King traces the unconventional life of an almost-forgotten pharaoh and explores our complicated reactions to women in power.

 

It’s rare that one non-fiction book graces the TBR, but two in a row?! It’s unheard of. I’m keeping this book on the TBR too; I didn’t even know there were female pharaohs! I’d like to learn a little more about her, and Egyptian culture. It’s a break from my usual reading and allows me to expand my history knowledge.

Verdict: Keep

 

Henry VIII – Abigail Archer

Goodreads – Henry VIII

Henry VIII ruled England from 1509 to 1547. As a young man, he was fond of sports and hunting, and was said to be uncommonly handsome. Standing more than six feet tall, he loomed large in the lives and minds of his subjects as he navigated his country through the tricky diplomatic and military hazards of the sixteenth century. A man of enormous appetites, Henry conducted affairs with many women, married six, and executed two. His infatuation with Anne Boleyn set in motion a chain of events that reshaped the church in England and eroded the dominance of Rome. But the popular image of Henry as a crude tyrant, dispatching courtiers, enemies, and wives with gusto, obscures a more nuanced and fascinating character.

He was a true Renaissance king who presided over one of Europe’s greatest courts and nudged Western civilization onto a new course. Here, from Abigail Archer, author of The New York Times bestseller Elizabeth I, is the story of Henry VIII.

 

Three non-fiction books in a row? I must have been conscious of the fact that I don’t read many and trying to rectify that. They are all history as well, which is fair enough. I enjoy history – at least they are all different in time period. The Tudor period is up there with WW2 on my list of favourite subjects.

Verdict: Keep

 

Playing With Matches – Lee Strauss

Goodreads – Playing With Matches

Heinz Schultz’s word could send a man to prison. Though only a youth of fifteen, he was strong, tall, and blond. The boys in his Deutsches Jungvolk unit esteemed him and feared him.

And they wanted to be just like him.
Emil Radle wanted to be just like him.

A dedicated member of Hitler Youth, Emil was loyal to the Fuehrer before family, a champion for the cause and a fan of the famous Luftwaffe Airforce.

Emil’s friends Moritz and Johann discover a shortwave radio and everything changes. Now they listen to the forbidden BBC broadcast of news reports that tell both sides. Now they know the truth.

The boys along with Johann’s sister Katharina, band together to write out the reports and covertly distribute flyers through their city. It’s an act of high treason that could have them arrested–or worse.

As the war progresses, so does Emil’s affection for Katharina. He’d do anything to have a normal life and to stay in Passau by her side. But when Germany’s losses become immense, even their greatest resistance can’t prevent the boys from being sent to the Eastern Front.

 

How quickly we swing back to History and WW2… but at least we are back in historical fiction territory. I am on familiar ground again! I simultaneously added this to the TBR and bought the e-book from Amazon. That’s how convinced I was that this was a keeper. I think I saw this advertised on Bookbub when it was on offer. I stand by my decision to buy it there and then.

Verdict: Keep

 

Keep You Safe – Rona Halsall

Goodreads – Keep You Safe

What if trying to protect your child only put them in danger?

Natalie is desperate to find her little boy. It has been more than three years since she saw Harry. Three long years in prison for a crime she knows she didn’t commit.

But her husband believed the police, and took their son.

Who has gone to such great lengths to destroy Natalie’s life? Everyone she once trusted – friends, family, everyone close to her – what secrets do they hide?

If Natalie finds the truth, will she get Harry back, or lose him forever?

A totally gripping psychological thriller– perfect for fans of Big Little Lies, The Girl on the Train and C.L Taylor.

Previously titled GUILTY LITTLE SECRETS

 

Rona Halsall’s Keep You Safe is staying on the list for a couple of reasons. Not only does it sound like a fantastic thriller/mystery novel, but Rona is a local author! I feature a lot of books on my blog, but as yet, nothing from anyone living on our little Island. I’m excited to be able to read this and share my thoughts on it.

Verdict: Keep

Only one book struck off the list again. At this point, I don’t think I’ll be striking many more off the list. They are all reasonably recent additions.

Have you read any of these books? Do you agree with my choices?

As always, I would love to hear from you!

 

 

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Shelf Control #4 – 09/08/2019

Welcome back to my new regular feature post, Shelf Contol! Shelf Control is a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies.  It is a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up!

For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out Lisa’s introductory post.

I am using Shelf Control to look in further detail at the books I have added to the TBR and then listed as keepers in my Down the TBR Hole posts. In this post I take the opportunity to talk about why I want to keep them. It also acts as a second sweep for anything that I may have changed my mind about. I won’t necessarily own all the books (yet), but I will have a reasonable number of them.

It’s week four, so let’s look at the next item on the TBR! This week’s post is a little unusual as I am featuring not just one book, but three.

 

The Mistborn Series – Brandon Sanderson

 

Three hundred years after the events of the Mistborn trilogy, Scadrial is now on the verge of modernity, with railroads to supplement the canals, electric lighting in the streets and the homes of the wealthy, and the first steel-framed skyscrapers racing for the clouds.

Kelsier, Vin, Elend, Sazed, Spook, and the rest are now part of history—or religion. Yet even as science and technology are reaching new heights, the old magics of Allomancy and Feruchemy continue to play a role in this reborn world. Out in the frontier lands known as the Roughs, they are crucial tools for the brave men and women attempting to establish order and justice.

One such is Waxillium Ladrian, a rare Twinborn who can Push on metals with his Allomancy and use Feruchemy to become lighter or heavier at will.

After twenty years in the Roughs, Wax has been forced by family tragedy to return to the metropolis of Elendel. Now he must reluctantly put away his guns and assume the duties and dignity incumbent upon the head of a noble house. Or so he thinks, until he learns the hard way that the mansions and elegant tree-lined streets of the city can be even more dangerous than the dusty plains of the Roughs.

My Thoughts…

I have put off reading the books following the initial trilogy. I loved it so much that I guess a small part of me is concerned it won’t live up to the original. Given the great ratings on Goodreads I don’t think my concerns have any real foundations.

I loved the characters, the world-building and the basis of magic in this series. I have also come across a similar concept in another of his books – The Stormlight Archives. Instead of magic being infinite power, it has a physical limitation. In the Mistborn books, those with magic can only wield their powers if they ingest the required metal compound – also known as Allomancy. Once it has burned out, that’s it. Having such limitations, Mistborn are far from invincible. Inconvenient problems cannot be swept under the carpet and the narrative is far more sophisticated in resolving issues as a result.

There is a seventh and final book to the series, which has yet to be published. It was initially timetabled for 2018 but unfortunately delayed. Hopefully, the final one will be published shortly so I can wrap up what I hope will continue to be an excellent series.

Have you read any of the Mistborn novels or any other books by Brandon Sanderson?

 

 

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down the tbr hole

Down the TBR Hole #24

Hi guys! It’s time for another review of the TBR in today’s Down the TBR Hole post! Down the TBR Hole is a meme created by Lia @ Lost in a Story. The idea is to review the books on your TBR to decide if you still want to read them. The rules are as follows: –

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

Today I’ll be checking out the next ten books on the list – are you ready?

 

The Fourteenth Letter – Claire Evans

Goodreads – The Fourteenth Letter

One balmy June evening in 1881, Phoebe Stanbury stands before the guests at her engagement party: this is her moment, when she will join the renowned Raycraft family. As she takes her fiancé’s hand, a stranger with a knife steps forward and ends the poor girl’s life. Amid the chaos, he turns to her groom and mouths: “I promised I would save you”.

Curl up for a sumptuous, exhilarating debut as a young legal clerk seeks to solve the mystery of Phoebe’s death – and uncovers a secret world full of danger.

 

Doesn’t the synopsis for this sound really intriguing?! Who is this girl and why is she murdered? How does her murder save her fiancé? I want to find out!

Verdict: Keep

 

Everless – Sara Holland

Goodreads – Everless

In the kingdom of Sempera, time is currency—extracted from blood, bound to iron, and consumed to add time to one’s own lifespan. The rich aristocracy, like the Gerlings, tax the poor to the hilt, extending their own lives by centuries.

No one resents the Gerlings more than Jules Ember. A decade ago, she and her father were servants at Everless, the Gerlings’ palatial estate, until a fateful accident forced them to flee in the dead of night. When Jules discovers that her father is dying, she knows that she must return to Everless to earn more time for him before she loses him forever.

But going back to Everless brings more danger—and temptation—than Jules could have ever imagined. Soon she’s caught in a tangle of violent secrets and finds her heart torn between two people she thought she’d never see again. Her decisions have the power to change her fate—and the fate of time itself.

 

I purchased an e-book copy of Everless last year as I loved the sound of it so much. I stand by that decision even now. It’s an unusual concept with a lot of potential and I can’t wait to see how the narrative plays out. It has pretty good reviews on Goodreads too.

Verdict: Keep

 

A Brief History of Time – Stephen Hawking

Goodreads – A Brief History of Time

In the ten years since its publication in 1988, Stephen Hawking’s classic work has become a landmark volume in scientific writing, with more than nine million copies in forty languages sold worldwide. That edition was on the cutting edge of what was then known about the origins and nature of the universe. But the intervening years have seen extraordinary advances in the technology of observing both the micro- and the macrocosmic worlds. These observations have confirmed many of Professor Hawking’s theoretical predictions in the first edition of his book, including the recent discoveries of the Cosmic Background Explorer satellite (COBE), which probed back in time to within 300,000 years of the universe’s beginning and revealed wrinkles in the fabric of space-time that he had projected.

Eager to bring to his original text the new knowledge revealed by these observations, as well as his own recent research, Professor Hawking has prepared a new introduction to the book, written an entirely new chapter on wormholes and time travel, and updated the chapters throughout.

 

I am by no means a science geek, but I definitely want to give this a try. After his death last year I added this book to the TBR. The man was a genius; his incredible research and his battle against motor neurone disease (outliving his initial 2 years life expectancy prognosis by 53 years!) will be his lasting legacy.

Verdict: Keep

 

Fools and Mortals – Bernard Cornwell

Goodreads – Fools and Mortals

A dramatic new departure for international bestselling author Bernard Cornwell, FOOLS AND MORTALS takes us into the heart of the Elizabethan era, long one of his favourite periods of British history.

Fools and Mortals follows the young Richard Shakespeare, an actor struggling to make his way in a company dominated by his estranged older brother, William. As the growth of theatre blooms, their rivalry – and that of the playhouses, playwrights and actors vying for acclaim and glory – propels a high-stakes story of conflict and betrayal.

Showcasing his renowned storyteller’s skill, Bernard Cornwell has created an Elizabethan world incredibly rich in its portrayal: you walk the London streets, stand in the palaces and are on stage in the playhouses, as he weaves a remarkable story in which performances, rivalries and ambition combine to form a tangled web of intrigue.

 

Fools and Mortals is currently sat on my bookshelf in the hallway. I have dipped into it very recently, if only to share a First Lines Friday post about it. After that intro, I found it hard to put the book away again. I can see myself picking it pretty soon.

Verdict: Keep

 

Katherine of Aragón: The True Queen – Alison Weir

Goodreads – Katherine of Aragon

Bestselling author and acclaimed historian Alison Weir takes on what no fiction writer has done before: creating a dramatic six-book series in which each novel covers one of King Henry VIII’s wives. In this captivating opening volume, Weir brings to life the tumultuous tale of Katherine of Aragón. Henry’s first, devoted, and “true” queen.

A princess of Spain, Catalina is only sixteen years old when she sets foot on the shores of England. The youngest daughter of the powerful monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella, Catalina is a coveted prize for a royal marriage – and Arthur, Prince of Wales, and heir to the English throne, has won her hand. But tragedy strikes and Catalina, now Princess Katherine, is betrothed to the future Henry VIII. She must wait for his coming-of-age, an ordeal that tests her resolve, casts doubt on her trusted confidantes, and turns her into a virtual prisoner.

Katherine’s patience is rewarded when she becomes Queen of England. The affection between Katherine and Henry is genuine, but forces beyond her control threaten to rend her marriage, and indeed the nation, apart. Henry has fallen under the spell of Katherine’s maid of honor, Anne Boleyn. Now Katherine must be prepared to fight, to the end if God wills it, for her faith, her legitimacy, and her heart.

 

The Tudor period and the lives of Henry VIII and his wives is one of my favourite topics of history. When I saw an article interviewing Alison Weir about the books/series in Writer’s Magazine, I had to add the first to the TBR. If I get on with the writing style of this first book then the rest will be going on the TBR too.

Verdict: Keep

 

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman

Goodreads – Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

No one’s ever told Eleanor that life should be better than fine.

Meet Eleanor Oliphant: She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy.

But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kinds of friends who rescue one another from the lives of isolation they have each been living. And it is Raymond’s big heart that will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one.

Soon to be a major motion picture produced by Reese Witherspoon, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is the smart, warm, and uplifting story of an out-of-the-ordinary heroine whose deadpan weirdness and unconscious wit make for an irresistible journey as she realizes. . .

The only way to survive is to open your heart.

 

I think I am going to relate to Eleanor more than I would like to admit. Whilst I do go out to some social events, I’m not that adventurous. My weekends are not full of pizza and alcohol, but books. I have better than phone chats because I get to go and see my parents at the weekend. I’m hoping this will be an enjoyable read… and it might even teach me something about myself!

Verdict: Keep

 

The Hangman’s Daughter – Oliver Pötzsch

Goodreads – The Hangman’s Daughter

Magdalena, the clever and headstrong daughter of Bavarian hangman Jakob Kuisl, lives with her father outside the village walls and is destined to be married off to another hangman’s son—except that the town physician’s son is hopelessly in love with her. And her father’s wisdom and empathy are as unusual as his despised profession. It is 1659, the Thirty Years’ War has finally ended, and there hasn’t been a witchcraft mania in decades. But now, a drowning and gruesomely injured boy, tattooed with the mark of a witch, is pulled from a river and the villagers suspect the local midwife, Martha Stechlin.

Jakob Kuisl is charged with extracting a confession from her and torturing her until he gets one. Convinced she is innocent, he, Magdalena, and her would-be suitor race against the clock to find the true killer. Approaching Walpurgisnacht, when witches are believed to dance in the forest and mate with the devil, another tattooed orphan is found dead and the town becomes frenzied. More than one person has spotted what looks like the devil—a man with a hand made only of bones. The hangman, his daughter, and the doctor’s son face a terrifying and very real enemy.

 

My love of historical fiction is shining through in this Down the TBR Hole post.

It’s unusual for such compassion to be shown, one by a hangman and two, to someone accused of witchcraft. Magdalena’s quest to uncover the truth should be an excellent mystery to solve.

Verdict: Keep

 

The Rithmatist – Brandon Sanderson

The Rithmatist

Goodreads – The Rithmatist

The Rithmatist, Brandon Sanderson’s New York Times bestselling epic teen adventure is now available in paperback.

More than anything, Joel wants to be a Rithmatist. Rithmatists have the power to infuse life into two-dimensional figures known as Chalklings. Rithmatists are humanity’s only defense against the Wild Chalklings. Having nearly overrun the territory of Nebrask, the Wild Chalklings now threaten all of the American Isles.

As the son of a lowly chalkmaker at Armedius Academy, Joel can only watch as Rithmatist students learn the magical art that he would do anything to practice. Then students start disappearing—kidnapped from their rooms at night, leaving trails of blood. Assigned to help the professor who is investigating the crimes, Joel and his friend Melody find themselves on the trail of an unexpected discovery—one that will change Rithmatics—and their world—forever.

A New York Times Book Review Notable Children’s Book of 2013

 

Brandon Sanderson, at this point, is an auto-buy author. Saying that I aim to read ALL his books is a tall order. He has already written a lot of books and so many more are in the planning. I’ve already read one trilogy (The Mistborn trilogy) and started another series (The Stormlight Archives). I’m also reading Elantris later this month. It’s fair to say I am making an effort.

I love the way he builds each fantasy world differently to the next. The one thing the books I have read so far have in common is that magic is based around some physical element; it isn’t an infinite resource. No magically getting rid of inconvenient problems.

Verdict: Keep

 

Eve of Man – Giovanna Fletcher

Eve of Man

Goodreads – Eve of Man

AGAINST ALL ODDS, SHE SURVIVED.
THE FIRST GIRL BORN IN FIFTY YEARS.
THEY CALLED HER EVE . . .

All her life Eve has been kept away from the opposite sex. Kept from the truth of her past.

But at sixteen it’s time for Eve to face her destiny. Three potential males have been selected for her. The future of humanity is in her hands. She’s always accepted her fate.

Until she meets Bram.

Eve wants control over her life. She wants freedom.

But how do you choose between love and the future of the human race?

EVE OF MAN is the first in an explosive new trilogy by bestselling authors Giovanna & Tom Fletcher.

 

I’m on the fence with this one. It’s a work of dystopian fiction, which in theory should be right up my street. I have doubts though. If the narrative is going to consist of constant mournful pining for someone else then I’m just not going to get on with it.

If I didn’t have such a large TBR then maybe I’d give it the benefit of the doubt and try it. I think I’ll drop this one.

Verdict: Go

 

Daughter of Smoke and Bone – Laini Taylor

Daughter of Smoke & Bone

Goodreads – Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Errand requiring immediate attention. Come.

The note was on vellum, pierced by the talons of the almost-crow that delivered it. Karou read the message. ‘He never says please’, she sighed, but she gathered up her things.

When Brimstone called, she always came.

In general, Karou has managed to keep her two lives in balance. On the one hand, she’s a seventeen-year-old art student in Prague; on the other, errand-girl to a monstrous creature who is the closest thing she has to family. Raised half in our world, half in ‘Elsewhere’, she has never understood Brimstone’s dark work – buying teeth from hunters and murderers – nor how she came into his keeping. She is a secret even to herself, plagued by the sensation that she isn’t whole.

Now the doors to Elsewhere are closing, and Karou must choose between the safety of her human life and the dangers of a war-ravaged world that may hold the answers she has always sought.

 

Daughter of Smoke and Bone is going nowhere but into my hands to read! I actually just bought my copy of the book a couple of weeks ago. Paperback, because I love Laini Taylor’s Strange the Dreamer series and I don’t doubt I’ll love this one too.

Verdict: Keep

One book out of ten doesn’t feel all that productive, but at least I can say I know my reading preferences. The books I am considering at this point were only added to the TBR a year ago, so comparatively, they aren’t even that old choices. I doubt there will be much I filter off the list at this point… but I can look, right?

Have you read any of these books? Do you agree with my choices?

As always, I would love to hear from you!

 

 

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Shelf Control – 26/07/2019

Welcome back to my new regular feature post, Shelf Contol! Shelf Control is a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies.  It is a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up!

For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out Lisa’s introductory post.

Shelf Control, for me, is about looking in more detail about the books I have added to the TBR and listed as keepers in my Down the TBR Hole posts. I get the chance to talk about why I want to keep them in more detail and it acts as a second sweep for anything that I may have changed my mind about. I won’t necessarily own all the books (yet), but I will have a reasonable number of them.

It’s week three, so let’s look at the next book on the TBR! I added today’s featured book back in January 2015 – over four years ago still. I’m seriously going to have to work on this backlog…

 

City of Stairs (The Divine Cities #1) – Robert Jackson Bennett

 

The city of Bulikov once wielded the powers of the gods to conquer the world, enslaving and brutalizing millions — until its divine protectors were killed. Now, Bulikov’s history has been censored and erased, its citizens subjugated. But the surreal landscape of the city itself, forever altered by the thousands of miracles its guardians once worked upon it, stands as a haunting reminder of its former supremacy.

Into this broken city steps Shara Thivani. Officially, the unassuming young woman is just another junior diplomat sent by Bulikov’s oppressors. Unofficially, she is one of her country’s most accomplished spies, dispatched — along with her terrifying “secretary”, Sigrud — to solve a murder.

But as Shara pursues the killer, she starts to suspect that the beings who ruled this terrible place may not be as dead as they seem, and that Bulikov’s cruel reign may not yet be over.

A tale of vast conspiracies, dead gods, and buried histories, City of Stairs is at once a gripping spy novel and a stunningly original work of fantasy.

 

My Thoughts…

So, I’m still sticking to my fantasy routes with this particular book. I have a lot of fantasy books at the beginning of my TBR. That was all I used to read. I am far more genre diverse now, thanks to my blog more than anything. Fantasy will always be my greatest love though.

There is huge potential for a lot of world-building in this novel. Clearly, the world and society are very unlike our own. Reading is a form of escapism for me. If I don’t feel like there is enough detail or I don’t understand the fictional world I am delving into, I don’t enjoy it. Sounds geeky, I know. How successfully an author can put together a fictional world is a huge part of whether I enjoy a book.

What makes City of Stairs stand out is the spy and mystery element of the story. In addition to fantasy I also really enjoy novels with a mystery to be solved within them. This genre crossover isn’t something I see every day, so I can’t wait to see how it all pans out.

Have you read City of Stairs or any other books in the series? What did you make of it?

 

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down the tbr hole

Down the TBR Hole #23

Hi guys! It’s time for another review of the TBR in todays Down the TBR Hole post! Down the TBR Hole is a meme created by Lia @ Lost in a Story. The idea is to review the books on your TBR to decide if you still want to read them. The rules are as follows: –

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

Today I’ll be checking out the next ten books on the list – are you ready?

 

The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald

Goodreads – The Great Gatsby

THE GREAT GATSBY, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s third book, stands as the supreme achievement of his career. This exemplary novel of the Jazz Age has been acclaimed by generations of readers. The story is of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his new love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, of lavish parties on Long Island at a time when The New York Times noted “gin was the national drink and sex the national obsession,” it is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920s.

The Great Gatsby is one of the great classics of twentieth-century literature.

 

I really enjoyed learning about the history of America at school, in particular the 1920’s and 1930’s. The Great Gatsby is a classic novel too, and I really want to read more of them (you’ll see this is a theme in this Down the TBR Hole post). This is definitely staying on the list!

Verdict: Keep

 

The Diary of a Young Girl – Anne Frank

Goodreads – The Diary of a Young Girl

Discovered in the attic in which she spent the last years of her life, Anne Frank’s remarkable diary has become a world classic-a powerful reminder of the horrors of war and an eloquent testament to the human spirit.

In 1942, with the Nazis occupying Holland, a thirteen-year-old Jewish girl and her family fled their home in Amsterdam and went into hiding. For the next two years, until their whereabouts were betrayed to the Gestapo, the Franks and another family lived cloistered in the “Secret Annexe” of an old office building. Cut off from the outside world, they faced hunger, boredom, the constant cruelties of living in confined quarters, and the ever-present threat of discovery and death. In her diary Anne Frank recorded vivid impressions of her experiences during this period. By turns thoughtful, moving, and surprisingly humorous, her account offers a fascinating commentary on human courage and frailty and a compelling self-portrait of a sensitive and spirited young woman whose promise was tragically cut short.

 

Anyone who reads my blog will know that I am a huge fan of anything historical. I tend to read more historical fiction if anything. Again, this is another one of those popular classics and I have to read it. It will be far more harrowing than any fiction novel because I know it was real. I’m sure I’ll cry – is any other reaction appropriate?

Verdict: Keep

 

A Land of Shades – Charles Lyte

Goodreads – A-Land of Shades

August, 1914. The Germans have occupied Louvain in Belgium.

Among the refugees fleeing the city is Julian Hydon, a young Jesuit priest. But when he witnesses the brutal roadside killing of a scholastic, Eugene Dupierreux, Hydon determines to join the war as an Army Chaplain. But his sense of mission turns to disillusion, doubt and anger after spending time with a boy named Andy West who suffers the fate of a court martial.

Bent on experiencing the pleasure of a woman and becoming a ‘man’ before he dies, Andy warns Hydon he is about to sin and seeks absolution. Hydon is uncertain how to counsel the boy and feels his own faith slipping. But when the boy is found guilty of desertion, Hydon must accompany him to his execution.

Outraged and struck by the futility of the war, Hydon publicly criticises the sentence, entangles himself with the deserter’s girlfriend, and is rejected by the Army and the Church. Banished to England, Hydon wanders purposely from mission to mission. He is posted first at a hospital for the wounded near his home and then at Pentonville prison, resigned to comforting the souls of the damned. But something is missing. Hydon feels useless and wants to be back on the frontline, aiding the war effort.

Being handed a white feather on the train by a self-righteous lady on the train is the last straw. Isolated Hydon seeks redemption in anonymity and battle for one last time.

‘A Land of Shades’ is an unusual and gripping story of the Great War as told by a young Jesuit priest who struggles to retain his faith in the face of brutality and violence.

 

Historical fiction is another theme to this TBR. I must have been going through a phase at the time I added these books to the list! I knew that this book was my cup of tea when I saw it, so I already have the e-book ready and waiting for me. It’s a small part of our world history, but one I enjoy reading all the same.

Verdict: Keep

 

Tricks of the Trade – Euan B Pollock

Goodreads – Tricks of the Trade

Stewart Scott is a first year trainee in one of Edinburgh’s oldest law firms.

Out of his depth, he is constantly working just to stay in the game and match the talents of the other first year trainees. But a chance to shine comes Stewart’s way when he is given the opportunity to partake in an investigation.

A client of the firm has recently died. The deceased, Major Robertson, left a substantial estate, and the terms of his will stipulate that his considerable wealth will go to his family – unless the Major died by suicide, whereupon his estate will be donated to a charity. And the conclusion, thus far, has been suicide.

Heading up the investigation into the Major’s death is Sebastian Dakar, practicing Zen master and the most unlikely detective that Stewart could imagine. But upon their arrival at the Major’s family home, Stewart begins to realise that perhaps the case of the Major isn’t as cut and dried as first thought.

 

Occasionally I like to take a break from my usual reads, and this short and snappy legal-based novel will be a great way of doing just that! I won a copy of this book in a competition/giveaway run on Instagram by the author last year. It’s currently sat on my bookshelf in the hall. Next time I need a quick read, I could always pick this up. I really enjoyed the short stories I read last month.

Verdict: Keep

 

The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm – Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

Goodreads – The Original Folk & Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm

When Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm published their Children’s and Household Tales in 1812, followed by a second volume in 1815, they had no idea that such stories as “Rapunzel,” “Hansel and Gretel,” and “Cinderella” would become the most celebrated in the world. Yet few people today are familiar with the majority of tales from the two early volumes, since in the next four decades the Grimms would publish six other editions, each extensively revised in content and style. For the very first time, The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm makes available in English all 156 stories from the 1812 and 1815 editions. These narrative gems, newly translated and brought together in one beautiful book, are accompanied by sumptuous new illustrations from award-winning artist Andrea Dezso.

From “The Frog King” to “The Golden Key,” wondrous worlds unfold–heroes and heroines are rewarded, weaker animals triumph over the strong, and simple bumpkins prove themselves not so simple after all. Esteemed fairy tale scholar Jack Zipes offers accessible translations that retain the spare description and engaging storytelling style of the originals. Indeed, this is what makes the tales from the 1812 and 1815 editions unique–they reflect diverse voices, rooted in oral traditions, that are absent from the Grimms’ later, more embellished collections of tales. Zipes’s introduction gives important historical context, and the book includes the Grimms’ prefaces and notes.

A delight to read, The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm presents these peerless stories to a whole new generation of readers.

 

When I received a copy of this for my birthday (on request), a few people were a little bemused as to why I would want it. Yes, okay, it’s children’s stories, but not the ones we know and love today. These are the originals written over 200 years ago before they were revised and adapted. They include parts that never made it to the popular children’s tales we tell now. This particular edition also touches on the historical influences in some of the stories.

Verdict: Keep

 

Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier

Goodreads – Rebecca

Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again . . .

The novel begins in Monte Carlo, where our heroine is swept off her feet by the dashing widower Maxim de Winter and his sudden proposal of marriage. Orphaned and working as a lady’s maid, she can barely believe her luck. It is only when they arrive at his massive country estate that she realizes how large a shadow his late wife will cast over their lives–presenting her with a lingering evil that threatens to destroy their marriage from beyond the grave.

 

I tried to read this years ago when I borrowed it (for what I hope are obvious reasons?). I struggled then and if I’m honest, I’ll think I’ll struggle again. It’s not really my thing. Yes, it has elements of genres I enjoy, like horror, but the romance puts me off. It’s a classic and I added it to the TBR for that reason. I don’t want to force myself to read books I don’t think I’ll enjoy though.

Verdict: Go

 

Don Quixote – Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

Goodreads – Don Quixote

Don Quixote has become so entranced by reading chivalric romances, that he determines to become a knight-errant himself. In the company of his faithful squire, Sancho Panza, his exploits blossom in all sorts of wonderful ways. While Quixote’s fancy often leads him astray – he tilts at windmills, imagining them to be giants – Sancho acquires cunning and a certain sagacity. Sane madman and wise fool, they roam the world together, and together they have haunted readers’ imaginations for nearly four hundred years.

With its experimental form and literary playfulness, Don Quixote generally has been recognized as the first modern novel. The book has had enormous influence on a host of writers, from Fielding and Sterne to Flaubert, Dickens, Melville, and Faulkner, who reread it once a year, “just as some people read the Bible.”

 

And again, we have a work of classical fiction. I am relatively sure I added it to the list having read a fellow bloggers review of it. In hindsight though, I don’t think this is my cup of tea either.

Verdict: Go

 

Crimes Against Magic – Steve McHugh

Goodreads – Crimes Against Magic

It’s been almost ten years since Nathan Garrett woke on a cold warehouse floor with nothing but a gun, a sword, and no idea of who he was or how he got there. His only clue … a piece of paper with his name on it. Since then, he’s discovered he’s a powerful sorcerer and has used his abilities to work as a thief for hire. But he’s never stopped hunting for his true identity, and those who erased his memory have never stopped hunting for him. When the barrier holding his past captive begins to crumble, Nathan swears to protect a young girl who is key to his enemy’s plans. But with his enemies closing in, and everyone he cares about becoming a target for their wrath, Nathan is forced to choose between the life he’s built for himself and the one buried deep inside him.

Crimes Against Magic is an Urban Fantasy set in modern-day London with Historical flashbacks to early fifteenth-century France. It’s book one of the Hellequin Chronicles, a series about Nathan (Nate) Garrett, a centuries-old sorcerer.

 

Whilst I like fantasy novels, I always approach Urban Fantasy with a degree of scepticism.

I read fantasy novels as a means of escapism. Having the modern-day setting to these novels makes it a little harder for me to achieve that. It might sound completely daft to you, but there you have it. I’m not 100% sure about this one, so I’ll take it off the list.

Verdict: Go

 

Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Goodreads – Crime and Punishment

‘Crime? What crime?…My killing a loathsome, harmful louse, a filthy old moneylender woman…and you call that a crime?’

Raskolnikov, a destitute and desperate former student, wanders through the slums of St Petersburg and commits a random murder without remorse or regret. He imagines himself to be a great man, a Napoleon: acting for a higher purpose beyond conventional moral law. But as he embarks on a dangerous game of cat and mouse with a suspicious police investigator, Raskolnikov is pursued by the growing voice of his conscience and finds the noose of his own guilt tightening around his neck. Only Sonya, a downtrodden prostitute, can offer the chance of redemption.

This vivid translation by David McDuff has been acclaimed as the most accessible version of Dostoyevsky’s great novel, rendering its dialogue with a unique force and naturalism.

 

This is a classic that is definitely staying on my list! It’s one of the first (and few) I bought as a reward for meeting a monthly savings goal – the larger goal being a deposit for my (now recently purchased) new car! I set myself a tough target so there are only a couple of months that I managed to not dip into the savings. I bought this because the synopsis is interesting… and it’s a classic. I’m trying to read more of those.

Verdict: Keep

 

The Rainmaker – John Grisham

Goodreads – The Rainmaker

John Grisham’s five novels — A Time To Kill, The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, and The Chamber — have been number one best-sellers, and have a combined total of 47 million copies in print. Now, inThe Rainmaker, Grisham returns to the courtroom for the first time since A Time To Kill, and weaves a riveting tale of legal intrigue and corporate greed. Combining suspense, narrative momentum, and humor as only John Grisham can, this is another spellbinding read from the most popular author of our time.

Grisham’s sixth spellbinding novel of legal intrigue and corporate greed displays all of the intricate plotting, fast-paced action, humor, and suspense that have made him the most popular author of our time. In his first courtroom thriller since A Time To Kill, John Grisham tells the story of a young man barely out of law school who finds himself taking on one of the most powerful, corrupt, and ruthless companies in America — and exposing a complex, multibillion-dollar insurance scam. In his final semester of law school Rudy Baylor is required to provide free legal advice to a group of senior citizens, and it is there that he meets his first “clients,” Dot and Buddy Black. Their son, Donny Ray, is dying of leukemia, and their insurance company has flatly refused to pay for his medical treatments. While Rudy is at first skeptical, he soon realizes that the Blacks really have been shockingly mistreated by the huge company, and that he just may have stumbled upon one of the largest insurance frauds anyone’s ever seen — and one of the most lucrative and important cases in the history of civil litigation. The problem is, Rudy’s flat broke, has no job, hasn’t even passed the bar, and is about to go head-to-head with one of the best defense attorneys — and powerful industries — in America.

 

I am yet to read any of John Grisham’s novels, but I have heard a lot of good things about his writing. I know work colleagues that regularly read his books, so I definitely want to give them a go. Also, do I want to watch how one man challenges a huge corporation and cross my fingers that he gives it to them good? Yes, yes I do.

Verdict: Keep

Once again that’s three out of ten books that I have dropped from the list. At least I know I have a reasonable idea of what I like to read and I’m not *too* impulsive when it comes to adding books to the TBR. Okay, that’s a complete lie!

Have you read any of these books? Do you agree with my choices?

As always, I would love to hear from you!

 

 

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Shelf Control #2 – 12/07/2019

Welcome back to my new regular feature post, Shelf Contol!

You may remember the purpose of this post from my outline a couple of weeks ago. If not, here’s a summary. Shelf Control is run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies. It’s a weekly (or in my case, fortnightly) celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up!

For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out Lisa’s introductory post.

Shelf Control, for me, is about looking in more detail about the books I have added to the TBR and listed as keepers in my Down the TBR Hole posts. I get the chance to talk about why I want to keep them in more detail and it acts as a second sweep for anything that I may have changed my mind about. I don’t necessarily own all the books (yet), but I will have a reasonable number of them.

It’s week two, so let’s look at the second book on the TBR! This also dates back to December 2014. Perhaps it’s a little overdue?

 

Gardens of the Moon (Malazan Book of the Fallen #1) – Steven Erikson

 

The Malazan Empire simmers with discontent, bled dry by interminable warfare, bitter infighting and bloody confrontations with the formidable Anomander Rake and his Tiste Andii, ancient and implacable sorcerers. Even the imperial legions, long inured to the bloodshed, yearn for some respite. Yet Empress Laseen’s rule remains absolute, enforced by her dread Claw assassins.

For Sergeant Whiskeyjack and his squad of Bridgeburners, and for Tattersail, surviving cadre mage of the Second Legion, the aftermath of the siege of Pale should have been a time to mourn the many dead. But Darujhistan, last of the Free Cities of Genabackis, yet holds out. It is to this ancient citadel that Laseen turns her predatory gaze.

However, it would appear that the Empire is not alone in this great game. Sinister, shadowbound forces are gathering as the gods themselves prepare to play their hand…

Conceived and written on a panoramic scale, Gardens of the Moon is epic fantasy of the highest order–an enthralling adventure by an outstanding new voice.

 

My Thoughts…

There is a definite theme when it comes to my older book choices. They are all in the fantasy genre! As a teenager, that was pretty much all I would read, with a couple of exceptions. It’s still my favourite genre now, although I definitely need to intersperse my reading with other genres to keep things fresh.

Gardens of the Moon has really mixed reviews on Goodreads. People either seem to love it or not get on with it at all. Sometimes that can sway my opinion, but I am not going to let it with this one. I think the synopsis sounds really interesting. Not only that, but reviews of the later books in the series get a lot better! I gather it is a little confusing to start – it might just be a case of persevering until the pieces start to fit together.

I was confident that I wanted to give this book a try, so I have the ebook sat on my kindle waiting for me to pull my finger out and pick it up!

Have you read Gardens of the Moon or any other books in the Malazan Book of the Fallen series? What did you think?

 

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Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 23rd June 2019

Good evening everybody! I hope you have all had a good week and an even better weekend! I’ve really enjoyed mine because I have spent a fair bit of it (more than usual) with my mum. Dad has had to go to America for work; whilst he’s enjoying the sights today, we’ve just been doing the usual. At least we’re together though!

I’ve also had quite a good week blog-wise. I’ve been trying to catch up on some reviews I have still to write, particularly for audiobooks. I’ll be the first person to admit that I listen to them, move onto the next and forget to add them to my review list. To that end, I reviewed my listen of Lock In by John Scalzi earlier this week.

I’ve also started one of two new regular posts I’ll be featuring. I’ll be sharing these posts fortnightly on alternate weeks, so long as I don’t have any blog tours or other commitments. This week’s post was a First Lines Friday post, featuring Blackwing by Ed McDonald. My choice was inspired by a current read at the time, Crowfall, the final instalment of the trilogy.

 

***Announcement***

In addition to the above, my blog has officially broadened its horizons! For a long time, I’ve been putting off setting up a Facebook page for my blog and promoting myself. I guess I was worried about what people I knew would think. I needn’t have worried though really. I’m proud of the time and effort I put into my hobby. Why should I worry about what someone I went to school with thinks? The people that matter to me already knew of it, even if they hadn’t seen it.

So, I’m now on Facebook! It’s going to take a little while to build up my page and presence, but it’s a move I’m glad I made. If anyone wants to follow me there, there’s a link to my page in the sidebar, or alternatively, you can find me here!

And now, back to the usual Sunday Summary schedule: –

 

Books Read

Following on from my last Sunday Summary post, I left off with two current reads, Three by K. J. McGillick and Crowfall by Ed McDonald. At the top of the week, I was just over halfway through Three, however, I confess I allowed myself to be sidetracked with that book. I only just finished reading this early this afternoon.

I’ve spent most of the week reading Crowfall. It’s not even on this month’s TBR, but what can I say? I was just looking forward to reading it so much! I received my copy from Gollancz a couple of weeks ago and it’s been taunting me to pick it up. It’s the final book in the Raven’s Mark trilogy and I had to find out what happened next! I finished Crowfall on Friday evening. Whilst I’m sad it’s over, I’m also happy with the way everything ended.

Last night I began The War Within by Stephen Donaldson. I’ve only read the prologue so far, about thirty pages) but I’m intrigued to see how this second instalment to the series pans out. My understanding is that the writing style is different from the first book, which I think I’ll enjoy. It’s also a lot longer, so I’ll need to get my reading skates on if I want to finish my TBR this month.

I’m sure I’ll manage!

 

Books Discovered

I have a couple of additions to the TBR this week – shock. No sooner do I whittle it down a few books, I add more! The curse of the bookworm I guess!

This week, I’ve added Vox by Christina Dalcher and Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch. Vox has the touch of dystopian fiction that I love. As awful as the idea is of the oppression of women, I’m not going to lie, I like reading it. I love to rally behind characters that fight their oppressors, be that for issues relating to gender, racial… whatever! Rivers of London is a blend of fantasy and mystery, with a touch of paranormal. An interesting combination and I can’t wait to see what I make of it.

 

Coming Up…

I’ve been looking forward to reading Three and taking part the blog tour which, you guessed it, is coming up next week! My tour post is to go live on Wednesday, so I really hope you can take a minute out of your busy schedules to read my thoughts on my latest read by K. J. McGillick.

On Friday this week, I’ll be starting my second regular feature post, called Shelf Control. It’s a post originally hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies and I love the idea of dedicating a post to books you are yet to read. Lord knows I have plenty of them to talk about!

I haven’t yet chosen my feature book, but I have a few days to decide! I only have 194 on my TBR to choose from…

 

Top Blog Posts of the Week

 

Jo’s Book Blog – Shelf Control 19-06-19

Jo’s Book Blog – Vox by Christina Dalcher

Bookidote – Recursion by Blake Crouch

 

 

 

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Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 16th June 2019

This week’s Sunday Summary post is going to be a lot more chilled than last weeks! I hope you’ve all had a good week! I have spent the day with my parents, as I always do, but it has been extra special since it is Father’s Day today!

So, what have I been up to this week? Thankfully I have had fewer blog posts and tours to juggle this week, so I’ve been able to relax a little! My first blog post of the week was published on Wednesday, so I had a couple of day’s respite. I took part in the one-day blog blitz for The Lynmouth Stories by L. V. Hay. If you haven’t read my review of these three short stories yet, please check out the link. Suffice to say, I’ve added her debut novel to the TBR as a result of reading these.

On Friday, I published my next Down the TBR Hole post. I’m not posting these all that regularly (around once a month), so I have reverted to reviewing ten books at a time. I need to get through the list somehow!

I’ve also spent a bit of time on proofreading exercises. I’m hoping to have a stab at my first assessment of the course shortly, so I’ve been getting the practice in! I feel a lot more confident now I’ve done some more work on it.

 

Books Read

I’m quite pleased with my reading progress again this week! Last Sunday I was reading Biohacked and Begging by Stephen Oram and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon. Neither of these books lasted all that long.

From there, I picked up Three: Deception Love Murder by K. J. McGillick. I’ve read a few books of hers now and I’m really enjoying them. The combination of the criminal activity and the art world is one that comes up across her books, and it’s clear she knows a LOT about the subject.

In addition to the above, I have picked up a second non-scripted book. I made such good progress with the short stories at the beginning of the month that I have time to do so! A couple of weeks ago I received a copy of Crowfall, courtesy of Gollancz, to read and review. It didn’t even make it to the bookshelf because I knew I couldn’t resist. It’s been sat on my table taunting me since I received it. Last night, I caved in and started it! I have no regrets!

Lastly, I finished my audiobook this week! I listen to them in the car on the way home from work. Now that the TT racing has come to an end, things have calmed down and the fanatics have gone home, I’ve not needed to be switched onto the radio.

 

Books Discovered

As I mentioned above, I have added one book to my ‘discovered’ list this week. After reading The Lynmouth Stories, I would like to read L. V. Hay’s debut novel, The Other Twin.

 

Coming Up…

It’s been a little while since I reviewed an audiobook, so next week I am going to be reviewing Scythe by Neal Shusterman. Since I finished this about two months ago, it’s about time I finally committed my thoughts down to… well, not paper, but you know.

I want to trial a new post later this week. I have been tempted to try a First Lines Friday post as a way of (hopefully) introducing people to new books. To that end, I’m going to give it a go! Depending on how well it’s received, I might start making it a regular feature.

 

Top Blog Posts of the Week

Books Love Readers Blog – Blog Tour – Once A Liar by A F Brady

 

 

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down the tbr hole

Down the TBR Hole #22

Hi guys! It’s time for another review of the TBR in today’s Down the TBR Hole post. Down the TBR Hole is a meme created by Lia @ Lost in a Story. The idea is to review the books on your TBR to decide if you still want to read them. The rules are as follows: –

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

I’ve been basing this post on five books for a while in order to make them more manageable to read and easier to write. However, for the last several months I’ve only gotten around to writing one post per month. If I want to get my TBR reviewed in full, looking at five books a month isn’t going to cut it. Therefore, I am going back to reviewing ten books on the list. I hope you’re sitting comfortably.

 

Assassin’s Apprentice – Robin Hobb

Goodreads – Assassin’s Apprentice

In a faraway land where members of the royal family are named for the virtues they embody, one young boy will become a walking enigma.

Born on the wrong side of the sheets, Fitz, son of Chivalry Farseer, is a royal bastard, cast out into the world, friendless and lonely. Only his magical link with animals – the old art known as the Wit – gives him solace and companionship. But the Wit, if used too often, is a perilous magic, and one abhorred by the nobility.

So when Fitz is finally adopted into the royal household, he must give up his old ways and embrace a new life of weaponry, scribing, courtly manners; and how to kill a man secretly, as he trains to become a royal assassin.

 

I have started reading this book in odd quiet moments on my phone and not gotten that far… too many times! It’s no fault of the book. I just can’t read on my phone. It’s too small and uncomfortable. I need to make time to read this properly on my kindle. Not only have I really enjoyed what I have read, but a friend of mine has read and enjoyed her books. I trust her judgement.

Verdict: Keep!

 

The Templars: The Rise and Spectacular Fall of God’s Holy Warriors – Dan Jones

Goodreads – The Templars

Jerusalem 1119. A small group of knights seeking a purpose in the violent aftermath of the First Crusade decides to set up a new order. These are the first Knights of Templar, a band of elite warriors prepared to give their lives to protect Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land. Over the next two hundred years, the Templars would become the most powerful religious order of the medieval world. Their legend has inspired fervent speculation ever since. But who were they really and what actually happened?

 

My current knowledge of the Templars originates from playing Assassin’s Creed. I’m not going to lie. If memory serves, I found this book in Waterstones during a shopping trip away with some female friends. I decided to buy it when I got home as I had limited space in the case. No word of a lie, the e-book came up on sale on Amazon either that night, or the next morning. So, I bought it!

I think I’ll enjoy learning the foundation and history of this holy Order.

Verdict: Keep!

 

The Time Travellers Guide to Medieval England – Ian Mortimer

Goodreads – The Time Traveller’s Guide to Medieval England

Imagine you could get into a time machine and travel back to the 14th century. This text sets out to explain what life was like in the most immediate way, through taking the reader to the Middle Ages, and showing everything from the horrors of leprosy and war to the ridiculous excesses of roasted larks and haute couture.

 

This is another history book (surprise surprise!) but with a different subject matter entirely. I know quite a bit about the likes of the Cold War, the economic boom and great depression in America… that sort of thing. If there was a lack in my history lessons, it was British history. By reading this book, I’m looking to rectify the gap in my knowledge.

Verdict: Keep

 

The Potato Factory – Bryce Courtenay

Goodreads – The Potato Factory

Ikey Solomon is very successful indeed, in the art of thieving. Ikey’s partner in crime is his mistress, the forthright Mary Abacus, until misfortune befalls them. They are parted and each must make the harsh journey from 19th century London to Van Diemens Land. In the backstreets and dives of Hobart Town, Mary learns the art of brewing and builds The Potato Factory, where she plans a new future. But her ambitions are threatened by Ikey’s wife, Hannah, her old enemy. The two women raise their separate families. As each woman sets out to destroy the other, the families are brought to the edge of disaster.

 

I think it was the criminal element of this that drew my attention to the novel. Having read the synopsis again though, I’m not so sure about it. I have too many books to be sat on the fence, so I’m going to drop this off the list.

Verdict: Go

 

Necronomicon – H. P. Lovecraft

Goodreads – Necronomicon

Originally written for the pulp magazines of the 1920s and 1930s, H. P. Lovecraft’s astonishing tales blend elements of horror, science fiction, and cosmology that are as powerful today as they were when first published.

This tome presents original versions of many of his most harrowing stories, including the complete Cthulhu Mythos cycle, in order of publication.

 

I’ve already started reading some of these stories. They are weird and wonderful (with a side dish of creepy). It’s not a book I’ll read in one go – it’s too large for that! It’s sat on my bookshelf in the hallway though, so I’ll pick it up periodically and work my way through it!

Verdict: Keep

 

The Calling – Neil Cross

Goodreads – The Calling

Meet DCI John Luther.
He’s brilliant. He’s intense. He’s obsessional. He’s dangerous.

DCI John Luther has an extraordinary clearance rate. He commands outstanding loyalty from friends and colleagues. Nobody who ever stood at his side has a bad word to say about him. But Luther seethes with a hidden fury that at times he can barely control. Sometimes it sends him to the brink of madness, making him do things he shouldn’t; things way beyond the limits of the law.

The Calling, the first in a new series of novels featuring DCI John Luther, takes us into Luther’s past and into his mind. It is the story of the case that tore his personal and professional relationships apart and propelled him over the precipice. Beyond fury, beyond vengeance. All the way to murder…

 

I love watching Luther on TV, so I have to see how his character translates through a narrative. I cannot imagine anyone playing Luther but Idris Elba. He’s perfect for the role!

Verdict: Keep!!

 

Tess of the Road – Rachel Hartman

Goodreads – Tess of the Road

In the medieval kingdom of Goredd, women are expected to be ladies, men are their protectors, and dragons get to be whomever they want. Tess, stubbornly, is a troublemaker. You can’t make a scene at your sister’s wedding and break a relative’s nose with one punch (no matter how pompous he is) and not suffer the consequences. As her family plans to send her to a nunnery, Tess yanks on her boots and sets out on a journey across the Southlands, alone and pretending to be a boy.

Where Tess is headed is a mystery, even to her. So when she runs into an old friend, it’s a stroke of luck. This friend is a quigutl—a subspecies of dragon—who gives her both a purpose and protection on the road. But Tess is guarding a troubling secret. Her tumultuous past is a heavy burden to carry, and the memories she’s tried to forget threaten to expose her to the world in more ways than one.

Returning to the fascinating world she created in the award-winning and New York Times bestselling Seraphina, Rachel Hartman introduces readers to a new character and a new quest, pushing the boundaries of genre once again in this wholly original fantasy.

 

I really enjoyed reading Seraphina and Shadow Scale; in particular, the element of music. Tess of the Road is set in the same fantasy world, but I get the impression it’s quite separate from these books too. Again, I’m on the fence, so I think I’ll set it aside.

Verdict: Go

 

Punishment – Scott J. Holliday

Goodreads – Punishment

Do you want to know what it’s like to die, to kill, to really fear for your life? Then get hooked…

Detroit-based homicide detective John Barnes has seen it all—literally. Thanks to a technologically advanced machine, detectives have access to the memories of the living, the dying, and the recently dead. But extracting victims’ experiences firsthand and personally reliving everything up to the final, brutal moments of their lives—the sights, the sounds, the scents, the pain—is also the punishment reserved for the criminals themselves.

Barnes has had enough. Enough of the memories that aren’t his. Enough of the horror. Enough of the voices inside his head that were never meant to take root…until a masked serial killer known as Calavera strikes a little too close to home.

Now, with Calavera on the loose, Barnes is ready to reconnect, risking his life—and his sanity. Because in the mind of this serial killer, there is one secret even Barnes has yet to see…

 

The premise of this novel is unique and a little unnerving… in a good way! This is a total keeper – I think the synopsis speaks for itself!

Verdict: Keep!!

 

Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte

Goodreads – Jane Eyre

Orphaned as a child, Jane has felt an outcast her whole young life. Her courage is tested once again when she arrives at Thornfield Hall, where she has been hired by the brooding, proud Edward Rochester to care for his ward Adèle. Jane finds herself drawn to his troubled yet kind spirit. She falls in love. Hard.

But there is a terrifying secret inside the gloomy, forbidding Thornfield Hall. Is Rochester hiding from Jane? Will Jane be left heartbroken and exiled once again?

 

I want to read Jane Eyre because it’s a classic, but I’ll admit I am really dubious about the romance element of the story. I was so on the fence about it that I decided to ask my bookish friends on Twitter whether I should still read it or not.

The vast majority voted yes, commenting that there is so much more to the novel and that I should stick with the first few chapters. Thank you for your comments guys, it’s been a great help! I’ll take your advice and keep it on the list.

Verdict: Keep

 

India Black – Carol K. Carr

Goodreads – India Black

When Sir Archibald Latham of the War Office dies from a heart attack while visiting her brothel, Madam India Black is unexpectedly thrust into a deadly game between Russian and British agents who are seeking the military secrets Latham carried.

Blackmailed into recovering the missing documents by the British spy known as French, India finds herself dodging Russian agents-and the attraction she starts to feel for the handsome conspirator.

 

When I first added this book, the synopsis intrigued me. To a degree, it still does, but not as much as it did when I added it. I’m conscious of the number of books on my list, and I need to trim it down. I think this book will also be relegated for the greater good.

Verdict: Go

So, that’s three out of ten books plucked from the list!

Have you read any of these books? Do you agree with my choices?

As always, I would love to hear from you!

 

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Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 9th June 2019

If this week’s Sunday Summary post is going to be anything like my week, it’s going to be a busy one!! Mad in fact, but it’s been fun! This weekly summary post makes my fifth this week. Fifth!!!!!

Thankfully I had the foresight to prepare Wednesday’s Time of Lies extract post last Saturday ahead of time… otherwise I may have been in trouble. I have never published so many posts in one week in the history of this blog; it’s not a schedule I have any hope of maintaining. I hope you have enjoyed it this week because I’m not planning on such a busy schedule again. For now, anyway.

This was the first full week of a brand new month. Naturally, June’s TBR was finalised and published on Monday! As it happens, I think I’ll be adding a couple of books to it. I’ve made a lot more reading progress than I anticipated and I have already started reading one book on the side.

I’ve already mentioned Wednesday’s Time of Lies tour; on Friday I published my review of one of last month’s reads, The Drawing of the Three by Stephen King. The Drawing of the Three has a totally different vibe to The Gunslinger. Where book one establishes Roland, his history and quest, book two is driven by characters drawn out of modern-day New York into Roland’s world to battle their own demons before facing an even greater challenge.

If anyone has checked out my blog today, you’ll see I’m currently touring Game of Crones by Jay Raven. The book is a collection of dark fantasy short stories surrounding the themes of witchcraft and dark magic. If you haven’t already taken a peak of my thoughts on the book, you can check out the link above!

 

Books Read

Not only have I been writing a lot this week, but I’ve also managed to read a few books too! Okay, half of them are short stories… but still!

I began the week continuing with A Feast for Crows, my carryover from last month. I expected to have a lot more catching up to do than I actually did with this one. Still, I was reading this for a few days before I had to set it aside (temporarily).

All too aware of my upcoming blog tour dates, I picked up Game of Crones by Jay Raven and The Lynmouth Stories by L. V. Hay. Game of Crones was reasonably short, so I read practically the whole book in one sitting. The Lynmouth Stories turned out to be a LOT shorter than anticipated. I managed to read this cover to cover in about half an hour.

After finishing these two short story collections I was back to A Feast for Crows. I’ve been reading this for about two weeks (although it feels longer since I am used to reading books quite quickly). Consequently, I’m pleased to report that I finally finished this yesterday. I am so glad I elected to re-read the books!

After wrapping this up I swiftly moved on to my two current reads, Biohacked and Begging by Stephen Oram and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon. Biohacked and Begging is another collection of short stories, all with themes of individuals with some form of enhancement or another. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night time isn’t strictly on my TBR, but since I have made such good progress with my TBR, I asked myself “why the heck not?” I’ve been meaning to read it for some time now…

 

Books Discovered

If I’ve not bored you to death with all my wittering so far then read on. As if I didn’t have enough to talk about this week, I also have a few honorary mentions here too!

I’ve added three books to the TBR this week – The Whisper Man by Alex North, Back to Reality by Mark Stay and The Thinking Game by Lara Kane.

The Whisper Man is a thriller with a really exciting premise and very good reviews on Goodreads. I can’t wait to pick this up! I saw Back to Reality on Reedsy, and after reading The End of Magic by Mark Stay I’m definitely going to give this a try. Likewise, Reedsy is also responsible for me adding The Thinking Game to the list. If someone can help me manage my time better and improve the way I handle myself, then they deserve a medal. This will be really helpful for managing my time at work AND her e on the blog. Reading it will also go towards my goal of reading five non-fiction books this year…

 

Coming Up…

What’s coming up this week? That’s easy… less. A lot less. Haha!

I’m taking a few days to read and recuperate. My first post of the week is for a blog tour on Wednesday. That’s my tour date for reviewing The Lynmouth Stories, so I hope you can call in and check out my thoughts on these great short stories!

Depending on how my week pans out, my next post will be on Friday (Saturday at the latest). I haven’t made any moves to clear out the TBR in a few weeks, so I’ll be reviewing the next five books on my list and deciding whether they need to stay or go!

 

Top Blog Posts of the Week

Lastly, friends, in my Sunday Summary posts I like to try to recognise some great blog posts I’ve stumbled across by other bloggers. Here is this week’s list of blog posts I really enjoyed reading: –

The Orangutan Librarian – Monthly Monkey Mini Reviews – June

Reader Fox – Book Blogger Tips Topics for the Future (ARCs, Followers, etc.) – Reader Fox

Wee Writing Lassie – The Top Ten Best Greek Gods out there + The Worst One

 

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