Tag: TBR

Top Ten Tuesday – Books I Meant to Read In 2020 but Didn’t Get To

Hey guys and welcome to today’s Top Ten Tuesday post! Today’s topic is Books I Meant to Read In 2020 but Didn’t Get To… and if that doesn’t sum up 2020 for me then I don’t know what does! I made ambitious plans last January, ignorant of how the year was going to pan out for me. I’ve already talked about the reasons a lot, but ultimately I didn’t meet any of my goals.

The most important goal in relation to today’s post was my aim to read the 25 oldest books on my TBR. I made a noble attempt and managed to read 7 in full, but I also DNF’d 3. A lot of these were old additions to the TBR… we’re talking 2014/2015 when I first started using Goodreads. That’s why I wanted to get around to them, but also to see if my reading taste has changed. If anything, I think I’m a lot more open to different genres when I was then. Some of the books added were pushing the boat out on what I normally read so I’m happy to accept some of the DNF’s. Others had every right to be firm favourites but just didn’t work for me at all (Good Omens by Terry Pratchett – I’m looking at you!)

So, as you can see I have plenty of material for the Top Ten I didn’t get around to! I also wanted to write this post about it as my new goal for this year is to pick up where I left off and read more exclusively from the TBR… no ARCs, no new review requests etc. So, which ones am I looking forward to the most? Let’s get into it! Rather than a paragraph for each book, I’ve split my ten into genres groups that I’ll talk more generally about.

 

Fantasy

 

It’s hardly surprising that a number of books on this list are from the fantasy genre. As a teenager, it was pretty much all I read. These books are all by authors I love. I have already read at least three books by each and I’m confident that I’m going to really enjoy the books listed above. Brandon Sanderson and Stephen King I have read more recently. It has been a number of years since I read a book by Mark Lawrence, so I’m excited to get stuck in!

I think it’s funny that I am coming to this Stephen King novel now having read several of his other books in different genres. I’m pretty sure I added The Talisman with the intention of using it as a ‘step into’ trying his writing before exploring his more extensive horror genre books! Look how that worked out!

 

Science-fiction

 

Science-fiction is another genre that pops up again and again. I didn’t read a lot of it when I was younger, but I definitely have a healthier appreciation for it now. I added Dune to my TBR after being gifted a copy for my birthday a few years ago. I’m glad it was given to me as I really like the sound of it. I have had an experimental skeet at the first few pages before and I’m hopeful I’ll be enjoying this one too.

The Feedback Loop is quite short compared to my average read, but still, I love the sound of the plot. It will be the first thing I have read by this author too, so it’ll be a completely new experience for me.

 

Classics

 

If someone had told me ten years ago that one day I would be reading classics by choice, I’d have laughed at you. If you also told me that I’d re-read and come to enjoy the classic novels I hated studying for school, I wouldn’t believe you. And yet, I am reading them. For the most part, I am enjoying them. I’ve only DNF’d one so far and that’s The Catcher in the Rye. I’m not put off by this though and I’m looking forward to trying more classics!

 

Historical Fiction

I love historical fiction novels too, so their inclusion on this list shouldn’t be a surprise either! The two locations and time periods for each book’s setting are very different, but I have read similar books before that I’ve really enjoyed them. The Book Thief is set in Nazi Germany in WW2 and Hild in 7th century Britain.

WW2 is one of my favourite historical time periods to read about. You could call it a bit of morbid fascination given the atrocities real people lived through in these times. It’s horrible to think about but equally, I think novels set in this period have a lot to tell us. It’s a reminder not to make the same mistakes again.

 

So, those are my Top Ten Books I Meant to Read In 2020 but Didn’t Get To. Have you read any of them, or do you intend to in 2021?

 

 

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2020 Wrap Up Post

2020 was a crazy year. I don’t think that’s a stretch of the imagination for absolutely anybody at this point. It also, strangely, ended up being one of my busiest years personally. Unfortunately, not as much in terms of blogging and reading as I had hoped, but that’s okay. I’ve come to the realisation that in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter.

Before I get into my blogging and reading progress of the year, I’d like to tell you a little bit about the other things I ended up doing in 2020 as well. Ultimately, this played a part in the amount of time I had to commit to blogging and reading.

 

Background

At the end of 2019, I decided that I wanted to move house. I’m not going to go into the ugly details, but let’s just say they were external forces that drove me to that decision. Moving house is a huge undertaking at the best of times, but I ended up moving in May 2020, during the middle of lockdown here on the island. We were delaying the move as per guidelines, but unfortunately again, other factors meant it had to go ahead. That meant my family couldn’t help me as they had planned to, and whilst I was able to use a removal firm on the day, the rest was up to me. There were many tears on the day and my parents had to watch me bawl my eyes from the doorstep (unable to come in but dropping off some food) once I got here, but with the help and advice of my mum and dad I got it together and within a couple of weeks of moving in I had everything straight.

But that’s where the rest of the work began. The house I ended up moving into had some very interesting decoration, to say the least! Pretty much none of it was to my taste, so within a couple of months of moving in I started redecorating. What can I say, I had holiday to take from work and nowhere to go with it!

Whilst I had anticipated moving, I hadn’t really considered that I’d end up spending so much free time working on the house after I moved in. It’s not a problem, and ultimately I’m happier because I’ve spent the time making this place mine. It does mean, however, that it ate into my free time for reading and played a part in my not reaching my goal of 80 books last year.

What I also didn’t expect was how lockdown would affect me. When it was first announced, I was obviously upset that I couldn’t see anyone. But, I stupidly thought to myself, right I’ve got all this time to kill – I’ll read more. How I can laugh at myself in hindsight. What I didn’t expect was how much of a distraction lockdown would be and actually… I couldn’t concentrate on reading all that much. At least, not to start with. Some days were better than others.

So you see, there were multiple factors that contributed to my not reaching my already very ambitious goal of 80 books last year. I thought I would be disappointed with myself if I didn’t, but strangely I’m not. I know I read at every opportunity I could and wanted to, and equally, I didn’t force myself to read things I didn’t want to either. When I wanted to do something different I enjoyed other hobbies… saw my friends and family (sorry, feel bad for saying it but it’s true) and did the things I wanted.

My other challenges also flopped a little. Whilst I started off well, reading less also took its toll on my attempt to read more of the older books on my TBR. I was still signing up for blog tours and such, and so these took priority and my challenge fell off the radar. My final challenge was to read more from my local library. Ha! With covid, that went down the pan too. I did check to see if I could borrow electronic editions, but most of the time they weren’t available at my library. Maybe I’ll be better at this throughout this year (once it re-opens again)? 

Anyway, there’s the background. And now, onto the books I read last year! My final end of year stats are:

I think I DNF’d the highest number of books I have ever recorded in a year in 2020. I think this is in part because I started to go through my TBR and my reading tastes have changed since I added the books several years ago. That’s not always the case… in fact, some of the best books I read last year were added to my TBR four or five years ago!

There were definitely more hits than misses. All in all, I think there was a pretty good proportion of books that I knew I was going to love and some more adventurous read that I want to try. Some of those worked, but those I put down definitely fall into that category.

To summarise this year wrap up post, here is a list of all the books I read last year and their star ratings: –

 

2020 Books

Have you read any of the books on this list? Or any of them on your TBR? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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2021 Reading Resolutions / Goals

Hi guys! Happy New Year! I can’t believe I’m writing my first post of 2021 already. Last year seems like a bit of a blur. I’ve enjoyed a lovely break over Christmas and I’ve had plenty of time to think about my goals for 2021 and today’s post. 

Before I get into this year’s goals, I’d like to take a quick recap over 2020. I’ll probably be writing a more detailed post on this in the next few days, but I think it’s only appropriate that I briefly talk about last years goals. This is the first year that I’ve not met my reading goal, but to be perfectly honest, I’m still proud of the number of books I managed to read in the circumstances. I ended up taking on far more than I ever imagined when I set my goal in January. Yet despite this, I still managed to complete 55 books last year, as well as ending the year reading Midnight in Chernobyl by Adam Higginbotham. I also DNF’d a surprising number of books this year. It’s rare that I give up on a book, but this year I’ve DNF’d a total of 5 books.

Inevitably, I have been thinking about my goals for this year. It’s funny because as a person I’m not a huge celebrant of New Year. Call me miserable if you wish, but I’m just the kind of person who is all too aware that the 1st of January is just another day. And most likely, it’s just like the last. Obviously, things are a little bit different with my blog, as setting new goals is kind of ‘the done thing’. If I’m honest, I started thinking about the goals I’m setting back in November and over the last couple of months I’ve convinced myself that this is the right thing to do. So, here are the ‘reading goals’ I’m setting myself for 2021: –

 

Goodreads Challenge

I have taken part in the Goodreads Reading Challenge for the last six years. Granted, 2014 and 2015 were distinct flops. This was before I started blogging and getting into reading full time, and so I only read 10 books out of the target 55 I set myself over the course of the two years.

Since getting back into reading and then beginning my blogging adventure, I’ve had a lot more success. I have met my reading goal every year until 2020. Admittedly, that goal of 80 books was very ambitious when I set it. I did that deliberately because I’ve always underestimated myself in the previous years. If I hadn’t taken on things that I ended up doing in 2020, I might just have reached it. I don’t beat myself up for not reaching it though. Towards the end of the year, I burned out. I am fully prepared to admit that to myself now. Between all the different things I ended up juggling, it all became a bit too much for me. Something had to give, and ultimately it was the reading aspect of my blog that ‘suffered’.

I worry that if I were to carry on in this manner, I’d end up not reading at all. Of course, I don’t want that to happen, so I’m doing something I never expected I’d do as a book blogger. I’m going against the grain and not setting myself a reading goal in 2021. That may sound a bit odd to you, but it’s the right thing for me. I’ve decided that I need to get back to my grassroots, and that’s reading what I want, at my own pace, and doing it for the enjoyment of it. It’s easy to forget that it’s supposed to be a hobby, as blogging ends up becoming like a job. It’s a full-time commitment, and when you’re trying to do other things like hold down actual paid employment, study and complete renovations on your home (to name just a few examples), it’s a lot of work. There are so only so many hours in a day.

The point of setting a Goodreads challenge is that it is supposed to be that – a challenge. This year, I don’t want to put that pressure on myself and risk a prolonged burnout. It’s as simple as that. I don’t see any point in setting myself a ‘challenge’ that isn’t going to be a challenge… hence why I’m not setting myself a goal at all.

 

TBR

Last year‘s goal of trying to chip away at the TBR ended up being a bit of a flop. I started off well, reading a couple of books a month. However, my problem is that I keep adding new ones as quickly as I read others. I was also taking on blog tours last year, which meant that I wasn’t reading enough of the TBR to counteract the books I was adding.

So, this year’s goal is to only read books on my TBR. I already know I’m not going to religiously stick to this one. I’m sure there will be new shiny books and catch my eye and I want to fast track them and read them there and then. The sentiment behind this goal is that I want to read exclusively off my TBR as much as possible and bring the number of books on that list down – significantly more than in previous years!

With this in mind, I’ll also be taking part in fewer blog tours – at least the number I provide reviews for. I will probably still take part, but I’ll be providing promotional posts or extracts as opposed to reviews. This means I can spend my time actually reading the books on my TBR without distraction or deadline. For the most part, I have deliberately not been signing up to them this year. There is one exception, and that is for a book by an author I have read a lot of historically. I have really loved her books to date and I didn’t want to miss out on providing a review for the second book of a series I’ve already started. I’ll be taking part in that tour this month, but aside from that, I have no obligations to review for a blog tour.

 

Review Requests

Technically, I haven’t really been taking many review requests over the last few months. Although, being the person I am, if someone approaches me with a really good book and say there is no time deadline, I can’t help myself to say yes. I love a good book – what can I say!

Well, now I’m saying this. I’m not taking any review requests in 2021, no matter how good the book sounds or whether there is a time deadline or not. I ended up taking on a couple of books towards the end of last year that were ‘non-time-sensitive’, and yet I still ended up getting chased on them. This is exactly what I was looking to avoid when I initially closed myself off to new review requests. My lesson has been learnt, so for this year, I won’t be taking any at all. I’ll honour the ones I have, and that is all l. At least, until next year.

 

Re-read: Harry Potter

My last goal of the year is to re-read the Harry Potter series. 

I had said to myself that I was going to do this sometime after I finished my re-read of A Game of Thrones. Now feels like the perfect time to do so. Harry Potter was one of my favourite book series’ growing up. I read Harry Potter throughout my teenage years, and they have a huge part to play in my developing a love of reading. As I am taking the opportunity to re-capture that essence and love of reading without the demands of competing against myself, or trying to reach that next target, it feels like the right time to re-visit one of the very series’ that kindled my love for reading in the first place. 

 

Have you set yourself any reading goals this year? What are your ambitions for 2021? Please let me know in the comments!

 

 

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Reading List – December 2020

Hi guys! Today I’m sharing my last reading list of 2020. Literally, where has this year gone? In some respects it isn’t a bad thing… but still. It doesn’t feel like Christmas should be just a few weeks away.

You may have noticed that my reading pace has dropped off the last few months. I’m not reading as much as I need to for a variety of reasons. I started the year planning to move, which I did in May. Since then, I’ve been putting in the work on the new place to redecorate, fix up and make it my own. In amongst all this, I’ve been studying for work-sponsored exams too. That in itself is quite a bit to juggle, but my blogging on top of that too? It’s a handful.

That’s why my reading and blogging has had to slow down a bit. I was getting a bit burned out with it, but I didn’t want to give it up. I still really enjoy reading and putting in the time to sharing my thoughts with you all, but I’ve had to find a more sustainable pace. Up until this month, I have been pretty ambitious in setting my reading lists and just carrying over what I don’t read. This month, that changes. I’ve come to accept that I am now reading less than I was… and that it’s okay. Maybe that will change again in future, and maybe not. It just depends on what else I’m doing.

This month’s list has a couple of carryovers from last month, plus one seasonal addition. Have you read any of these books?

 

Auxiliary: London 2039 – Jon Richter

Auxiliary: London 2039 by Jon Richter | Goodreads

The silicon revolution left Dremmler behind, but a good detective is never obsolete.

London is quiet in 2039—thanks to the machines. People stay indoors, communicating through high-tech glasses and gorging on simulated reality while 3D printers and scuttling robots cater to their every whim. Mammoth corporations wage war for dominance in a world where human augmentation blurs the line between flesh and steel.

And at the center of it all lurks The Imagination Machine: the hyper-advanced, omnipresent AI that drives our cars, flies our planes, cooks our food, and plans our lives. Servile, patient, tireless … TIM has everything humanity requires. Everything except a soul.

Through this silicon jungle prowls Carl Dremmler, police detective—one of the few professions better suited to meat than machine. His latest case: a grisly murder seemingly perpetrated by the victim’s boyfriend. Dremmler’s boss wants a quick end to the case, but the tech-wary detective can’t help but believe the accused’s bizarre story: that his robotic arm committed the heinous crime, not him. An advanced prosthetic, controlled by a chip in his skull.

A chip controlled by TIM.

Dremmler smells blood: the seeds of a conspiracy that could burn London to ash unless he exposes the truth. His investigation pits him against desperate criminals, scheming businesswomen, deadly automatons—and the nightmares of his own past. And when Dremmler finds himself questioning even TIM’s inscrutable motives, he’s forced to stare into the blank soul of the machine.

Auxiliary is gripping, unpredictable, and bleakly atmospheric—ideal for fans of cyberpunk classics like the Blade Runner movies, Richard K. Morgan’s Altered Carbon, William Gibson’s Neuromancer, and the Netflix original series Black Mirror.

 

I’m already a few chapters into Auxiliary and I can tell it’s a read I’m going to get on well with. I like the premise of the book and the narrative style is easy to read. The chapters are also nice and short so it’s easy to pick up. If you enjoy mystery and science-fiction genres, this might be one for you!

 

Brave New World – Aldous Huxley

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley | Goodreads

Brave New World is a dystopian novel by English author Aldous Huxley, written in 1931 and published in 1932. Largely set in a futuristic World State, inhabited by genetically modified citizens and an intelligence-based social hierarchy, the novel anticipates huge scientific advancements in reproductive technology, sleep-learning, psychological manipulation and classical conditioning that are combined to make a dystopian society which is challenged by only a single individual: the story’s protagonist.

 

Brave New World has been on my TBR for a number of years, and after watching the TV series recently, I decided it was the right time to pick the book up! I didn’t get around to reading Brave New World last month, so I will be reading the book this month instead.

 

Twas The Nightshift Before Christmas – Adam Kay

Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas by Adam Kay | Goodreads

Twas The Nightshift Before Christmas is the hilarious, poignant and entertaining story of the life of a junior doctor at the most challenging time of the year. With twenty-five tales of intriguing, shocking and incredible Christmas incidents, the British public will finally appreciate the sacrifices made and the challenges faced by the unsung heroes of the NHS.

Twas The Nightshift Before Christmas will be fully illustrated (as tastefully as possible) and will delight all of Adam’s fans throughout the festive period of Christmas 2019 and for many years to come.

 

I was introduced to Adam Kay earlier this year with This Is Going To Hurt by a colleague. The book was both heartbreaking and hilarious at the same time. I found out around the time I read it that there was a Christmas themed book also by him, so I have been planning on reading this book in December since then! If it’s every bit as good as This Is Going to Hurt, which I expect it will be, then this will be a great read to end the year.

 

So, that’s my reading list for the month! Have you read any of these books? What did you make of them if you have, or do you like the sound of them if you haven’t? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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Reading List – November 2020

I am sharing my penultimate reading list of 2020. I just need a moment for that to sink in. Literally, WHERE HAS THIS YEAR GONE?! It’s crazy! And yet, here we are! I can’t believe it, but that doesn’t change it.

This month’s reading list features a couple of blog tour reads, as well as a couple of reading requests I previously accepted and last, but not least, a read off my never-ending TBR. One of the reading requests is a tidy up as well, as I have actually read most of the book already. I just need to finish it off!

Shall we get into what I am reading this month?

 

Glimmer of Hope – J. A. Andrews

Sometimes chasing a dream can become a nightmare…

Alecia Preen is living in poverty and desperate to make a better life for herself. Having moved to a new area for new beginnings after being disowned by her family, money was fast running out. She is struggling to make ends meet.

With the intention of charging lonely men online for her services, Alecia realises she can supplement her income by being unscrupulous. In meeting Jake Parker he requests that she role-plays as a psychiatrist, but he makes her aware of an underground millionaires playground called Sordida. He warns her to stay away.

As Alecia’s curiosity gets the better of her, she is amazed by the wealth and decadence on offer. Sordida is not the club she had anticipated because behind the legendary name lurks a very dark secret. A secret that could cost her everything.

He pays by the hour and Alecia pays in ways she had never imagined.

 

I love the sound of this particular read, which is why I’ve signed up for the blog tour! I’m not actually taking part until December, but I want to give myself plenty of time to pick the book up. It sounds sinister and intriguing, so I can’t wait to read this!

 

The Dark Chorus – Ashley Meggitt

Goodreads – The Dark Chorus

Oblivion awaits the Angel’s salvation

The Boy can see lost souls.

He has never questioned the fact that he can see them. He thinks of them as the Dark Chorus. When he sets out to restore the soul of his dead mother it becomes clear that his ability comes from within him. It is a force that he cannot ignore – the last shard of the shattered soul of an angel.

To be restored to the kingdom of light, the shard must be cleansed of the evil that infects it – but this requires the corrupt souls of the living!

With the help from Makka, a psychotically violent young man full of hate, and Vee, an abused young woman full of pain, the Boy begins to kill.

Psychiatrist Dr Eve Rhodes is seconded to assist the police investigation into the Boy’s apparently random ritualistic killings. As the investigation gathers pace, a pattern emerges. When Eve pulls at the thread from an article in an old psychology journal, what might otherwise have seemed to her a terrible psychotic delusion now feels all too real…

Will the Boy succeed in restoring the angel’s soul to the light? Can Eve stop him, or will she be lost to realm of the Dark Chorus?

 

The Dark Chorus is the second blog tour I am taking part in next month. Both blog tours are at the beginning of the month, and also on consecutive days too. This is why I am reading them nice and early this month. The Dark Chorus sounds like a really dark psychological thriller, which you guys know I love. I feel like I should have read them last month – they have a Halloween-y vibe – never mind! There isn’t a wrong time to read a book like this… at least not in my house!

 

Rags of Time – Michael Ward

Goodreads – Rags of Time

London. 1639.

Thomas Tallant, a young and ambitious Spice Merchant, returns from India to find his city in turmoil.

A bitter struggle is brewing between King Charles I and Parliament, as England slides into civil war. The capital is simmering with dissent. The conflict is ready to boil over.

But Thomas soon has other troubles to contend with. A wealthy merchant, Sir Joseph Venell, is savagely killed; then his partner Sir Hugh Swofford plunges to his death, in the Tallant household.

Suspicion falls on Thomas, who is sucked into a mire of treachery and rumour within the City of London. As the merchant struggles to clear his name, he becomes captivated by the enigmatic Elizabeth Seymour, whose passion for astronomy and mathematics is matched only by her addiction to the gaming tables.

Pursued by the authorities, Thomas races to unmask the real killer who claims a third victim to implicate him further, toying with his future in a deadly cat and mouse game.

In a desperate race against time, Elizabeth applies her powers of logic and deduction to unearth the clues that will point to the killer, but her way is barred by a secret message from the grave.

Can she crack its code before Thomas, now a wounded and exhausted fugitive, succumbs to the chase?

And, if she succeeds, has Thomas the strength to face his tormentor and win his life and reputation back?

Rags of Time is the first book in an engaging and entertaining new historical crime series, set during the upheaval of the 17th Century.

 

You may remember I picked this book up a couple of months ago. I read a good deal of the book then, but other time-constrained commitments meant I had to set the book aside at that time. Well, now I have a lot more time to finish the book, I’m going to wrap this up this month.

 

Auxilliary: London 2039 – John Richter

Goodreads – Auxiliary: London 2039

The silicon revolution left Dremmler behind, but a good detective is never obsolete.

London is quiet in 2039—thanks to the machines. People stay indoors, communicating through high-tech glasses and gorging on simulated reality while 3D printers and scuttling robots cater to their every whim. Mammoth corporations wage war for dominance in a world where human augmentation blurs the line between flesh and steel.

And at the center of it all lurks The Imagination Machine: the hyper-advanced, omnipresent AI that drives our cars, flies our planes, cooks our food, and plans our lives. Servile, patient, tireless … TIM has everything humanity requires. Everything except a soul.

Through this silicon jungle prowls Carl Dremmler, police detective—one of the few professions better suited to meat than machine. His latest case: a grisly murder seemingly perpetrated by the victim’s boyfriend. Dremmler’s boss wants a quick end to the case, but the tech-wary detective can’t help but believe the accused’s bizarre story: that his robotic arm committed the heinous crime, not him. An advanced prosthetic, controlled by a chip in his skull.

A chip controlled by TIM.

Dremmler smells blood: the seeds of a conspiracy that could burn London to ash unless he exposes the truth. His investigation pits him against desperate criminals, scheming businesswomen, deadly automatons—and the nightmares of his own past. And when Dremmler finds himself questioning even TIM’s inscrutable motives, he’s forced to stare into the blank soul of the machine.

Auxiliary is gripping, unpredictable, and bleakly atmospheric—ideal for fans of cyberpunk classics like the Blade Runner movies, Richard K. Morgan’s Altered Carbon, William Gibson’s Neuromancer, and the Netflix original series Black Mirror.

 

A few months ago I accepted a review request for this book and I love the sound of it. I’m a huge fan of science-fiction and I am always vowing to read more of it. I like the crime element to the narrative as well. I think this will be a really interesting read!

 

Brave New World – Aldous Huxley

Goodreads – Brave New World

Brave New World is a dystopian novel by English author Aldous Huxley, written in 1931 and published in 1932. Largely set in a futuristic World State, inhabited by genetically modified citizens and an intelligence-based social hierarchy, the novel anticipates huge scientific advancements in reproductive technology, sleep-learning, psychological manipulation and classical conditioning that are combined to make a dystopian society which is challenged by only a single individual: the story’s protagonist.

 

My last book on today’s list has been on my TBR for three years now. I’ve decided to read it now as I recently watched the TV series currently on Now TV. I loved the dystopian vibes (let’s face it, I don’t think I’ve discovered a dystopian read I didn’t like!) and so I’ve bumped it up the list and I’m reading it this month.

 

So, that’s what you can expect me reading and talking about this November. Have you read Brave New World or any of the other books on my list?

 

 

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Stay at Home Book Tag

Hey guys! In my Sunday Summary post a couple of days ago I told you that I was going to be sharing a little bit more of a fun post this week. It’s been absolutely ages since I’ve done a tag and I read a great one over on The Book Dutchesses’s blog last week. Please go and check out Candyce’s answers to this tag – I’m sure you’ll enjoy her take on the post as much as I did!

It’s the Stay at Home tag… only appropriate in light of all the quarantining we have had to do lately! I’m glad to share that it has actually come to an end here in the Isle of Man. The borders are still closed, but we’ve had no active cases for about two weeks and no new positive tests for nearly four weeks as of this post.

 

Laying In Bed: A Book You Read In A Day

I certainly haven’t had the chance to read a book in a day during quarantine. Despite being at home, I am fortunate enough to still be able to work remotely and so I haven’t had the time. I’ll also come on to this later on in the post, but there is one other pretty big thing that’s happened since the pandemic started which has taken up my time.

The last book I read in a day, as far as I recall, was The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides. Technically I read it across two days, but within 24 hours so it still counts as far as I’m concerned. I have read other short stories and novellas since then, but that feels like a bit of a cheat to count them. The Silent Patient is around 325 pages, so a good size book to have crammed into a day!

 

Snacking: A Guilty Pleasure Read

I’m not a big fan of books that are heavily based around character relationships, but the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy is the exception to the rule and for that reason, they are my guilty pleasure. The relationship itself is about companionship and belonging with someone who has the same ideals as you… even though the rest of the world thinks it’s impossible. It’s not lewd or even particularly sexual, which is why I enjoy this series so much!

 

Netflix: A Series You Want To Start

Regular readers of my blog will know that I am a huge fan of Brandon Sanderson. I’ve read eight books of his so far across three series’ (or future series in the case of Elantris). One series that I haven’t started yet is Skyward. I love the fantasy novels of his that I have read so far, but I’m looking forward to seeing how well he writes science-fiction. I bought this book just before lockdown, so an apt feature here.

 

Deep Clean: A Book That’s Been On Your TBR Forever

As Candyce said in her post, I could also write an incredibly long list of books that have been on my TBR forever! I am trying to work through them (albeit slowly at the moment), but I’ll get there eventually. The book I’m featuring here could equally have been a candidate for the previous topic, but it’s best suited here. Not saying I am trying to get through every Sanderson book written ever or anything, but…

 

Animal Crossing: A Book You Bought Because Of The Hype

The last book I bought based on fabulous reviews and hype in the book blogging community was Circe by Madeleine Miller and honestly, it was a little bit of a disappointment. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it. It was a perfectly acceptable read. I just didn’t think it lived up to the hype. There’s a good lesson learned there because I won’t be so quick to make the same mistake again. Circe was a little out of my comfort zone as I have scarce knowledge of Greek gods at best. Ironically, I have gone on to buy more books because I enjoy the topic. Next time I read a massive hype about a book, I’ll seriously consider whether it’s my cup of tea in the first place. If the book doesn’t appeal to me in its own right, then I shouldn’t buy it.

 

Productivity: A Book You Learned From Or Had An Impact On You

The last book that had an impact on me is one I reviewed during quarantine. I’m a huge fan of books based around WW2… morbid I know, but I’m fascinated. Cilka’s Journey taught me something I didn’t know – that some prisoners from the camps after they were ‘liberated’ were forced into labour camps elsewhere for several years afterwards for ‘aiding the Nazi’s’. They basically went from one hell to another. It’s hard to imagine having to go through that!

 

FaceTime: A Book You Were Gifted

I’ve been gifted a few books over the years. I feel sorry for family members who have ever considered trying to get me a book as a gift because knowing what I have and don’t have would be an impossible task. I only really get books if I specifically ask for them – otherwise, it’s a trusty voucher. I’m not complaining, I take great delight in spending them! I love wandering around my local Waterstones… especially if it’s spending money that isn’t mine!

One book I was gifted that I wasn’t expecting was Dune by Frank Herbert. I got this about three years ago for my birthday from a collection put together by my work colleagues. It’s a science-fiction novel, and it’s a bit of a classic of the genre, so I would have probably discovered and added this to my TBR in my own time anyway. I hadn’t heard of it when I got it, but it was such a great choice for me and I was really chuffed to get it.

 

Self Care: One Thing You’ve Done Recently To Look After Yourself

I definitely can’t pinpoint this to one, as I’ve had some pretty big changes in my life since lockdown began. The most significant act of self-care I’ve done is to move house. Now you’re probably thinking… that doesn’t sound like self-care at all! It has been stressful – especially so as I couldn’t have any help from friends or family. It was worth it though. I’ve upgraded from my flat so I have more space and more potential to make this place my own… plus, it’s an investment in my future. That definitely is self-care, just a bit more long term than the traditional definition perhaps!

In the short term, I have picked up crochet again and just recently finished making a baby blanket for a friend and then a jumper for myself! It’s been a good few years since I last picked it up, so I’m really happy with how well I’ve managed to get back into it. I’m also working on an afghan throw for my bed made up of all different coloured/patterned squares. It’s a huge project and still a work in progress!

 

Bonus: An Upcoming Release You’re Looking Forward To

Predictable I know, but I am sneaking in another Brandon Sanderson book here! The fourth book of The Stormlight Archives is due to be published in November this year and I’m really excited about it! I’ve read the first book, The Way of Kings so far, but I’ve been holding off reading more of the series since he’s not even halfway through writing them yet! I think I can justify treating myself to the second book now…

So, those are my answers to the Stay at Home Book Tag! It was nice to write a more casual post. If you like reading these, let me know in the comments and I’ll make an effort to publish some more! If you want to take part in the tag, please do and tag me in so I can see your answers!

Are there any upcoming releases you are looking forward to?

 

 

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Reading List – March 2020

I can’t believe it is the beginning of March and I’m writing my reading list post already! Last month just flew by. I know it’s a short one, but still! I’m happy with my reading progress last month given that I had a few bits on. I didn’t quite finish last month’s reading, so I am carrying one book over.

Shall we take a look at the books on this month’s TBR?

 

Good Omens – Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

Goodreads – Good Omens

‘Armageddon only happens once, you know. They don’t let you go around again until you get it right.’

People have been predicting the end of the world almost from its very beginning, so it’s only natural to be sceptical when a new date is set for Judgement Day. But what if, for once, the predictions are right, and the apocalypse really is due to arrive next Saturday, just after tea?

You could spend the time left drowning your sorrows, giving away all your possessions in preparation for the rapture, or laughing it off as (hopefully) just another hoax. Or you could just try to do something about it.

It’s a predicament that Aziraphale, a somewhat fussy angel, and Crowley, a fast-living demon now finds themselves in. They’ve been living amongst Earth’s mortals since The Beginning and, truth be told, have grown rather fond of the lifestyle and, in all honesty, are not actually looking forward to the coming Apocalypse.

And then there’s the small matter that someone appears to have misplaced the Antichrist…

 

Good Omens is my carryover. I only just started reading this at the end of last week, so it’s hardly surprising I’ve had to carry it over to this month. That said, I’ve managed to make a good start over the past day or two and I am enjoying the book so far! It’s definitely got the flavour of Terry Pratchett’s humour I love so I can see myself finishing this book pretty quickly!

 

Songbird – Karen Heenan

Goodreads – Songbird

Bess has the voice of an angel, or so Henry VIII declares when he buys her from her father. As a member of the Music, the royal company of minstrels, Bess grows up within the decadent Tudor court, navigating the ever-changing tide of royals and courtiers. Friends come and go as cracked voices, politics, heartbreak, and death loom over even the lowliest of musicians. Tom, her first and dearest friend, is her only constant. But as Bess becomes too comfortable at court, she may find that constancy has its limits.

 

My first blog tour related read of the month is this historical fiction novel. I love the Tudor period of history and I haven’t picked up a book on it in ages! Also, books with politics in them really interest me, which is funny because I hate politics! At least, I hate ours!

 

Helene – Karl Drinkwater

Goodreads – Helene

Dr Helene Vermalle is shaping the conscience of a goddess-level AI.

As a leading civilian expert in Emergent AI Socialisation, she has been invited to assist in a secret military project.

Her role? Helping ViraUHX, the most advanced AI in the universe, to pass through four theoretical development stages. But it’s not easy training a mind that surpasses her in raw intellect. And the developing AI is capable of killing her with a single tantrum.

On top of this, she must prove her loyalty to the oppressive government hovering over her shoulder. They want a weapon. She wants to instil an overriding sense of morality.

Can she teach the AI right and wrong without being categorised as disloyal?

Lost Tales of Solace are short side-stories set in the Lost Solace universe.

 

I’m definitely reading more in the way of science-fiction than I ever have before. I have been fortunate to have picked up some great books recently, which means I keep gravitating back to the genre.

I love the premise of this novel. Artificial Intelligence is definitely relevant right now and there are plenty of people sat on the fence about its benefits and drawbacks. It sounds like this book might touch on that, so I can’t wait to read it and share my thoughts with you in the upcoming blog tour!

 

Tooth & Blade – Julian Barr

Goodreads – Tooth and Blade

Parts 1-3 of the legendary TOOTH AND BLADE series together for the first time!

Two worlds. One destiny.

Dóta has dwelled sixteen years among the trolls. She knows nothing but the darkness of her family’s cave. Her mother says humans are beasts who would slay them all. Yet the gods of Asgard whisper in the night: Dóta is a child of men, a monster unto monsters.

To discover her human side, Dóta must take up her bone knife and step into the light above. Secrets await her in the human realm–beauty, terror, the love of a princess.

Soon Dóta must choose between her clan and humankind, or both worlds will be devoured in fire and war.

A monster sheds no tears.

Norse mythology meets historical fantasy in TOOTH AND BLADE. Step into a realm of haunted meres, iron and magic.

 

I love the idea of a mash-up of Norse Mythology and fantasy. Honestly, it’s so unlike anything I have read before that I wanted to give it a try.

 

Shadows of Self – Brandon Sanderson

Goodreads – Shadows of Self

Shadows of Self shows Mistborn’s society evolving as technology and magic mix, the economy grows, democracy contends with corruption, and religion becomes a growing cultural force, with four faiths competing for converts.

This bustling, optimistic, but still shaky society now faces its first instance of terrorism, crimes intended to stir up labor strife and religious conflict. Wax and Wayne, assisted by the lovely, brilliant Marasi, must unravel the conspiracy before civil strife stops Scadrial’s progress in its tracks.

Shadows of Self will give fans of The Alloy of Law everything they’ve been hoping for and, this being a Brandon Sanderson book, more, much more.

 

I really enjoyed reading The Alloy of Law back in January and I am keen to make even more progress with this series. It’s been on my TBR for a long time so it’s overdue! I honestly love every single Brandon Sanderson book I have ever read. The Alloy of Law was brilliantly reminiscent of the previous Mistborn trilogy, yet so much more! The change in setting and characters really worked for me. I can’t wait to get back to their adventures!

 

The God Game – Danny Tobey

Goodreads – The God Game

You are invited!
Come inside and play with G.O.D.
Bring your friends!
It;’s fun!
But remember the rules. Win and ALL YOUR DREAMS COME TRUE.™ Lose, you die!

With those words, Charlie and his friends enter the G.O.D. Game, a video game run by underground hackers and controlled by a mysterious AI that believes it’s God. Through their phone-screens and high-tech glasses, the teens’ realities blur with a virtual world of creeping vines, smoldering torches, runes, glyphs, gods, and mythical creatures. When they accomplish a mission, the game rewards them with expensive tech, revenge on high-school tormentors, and cash flowing from ATMs. Slaying a hydra and drawing a bloody pentagram as payment to a Greek god seem harmless at first. Fun even.

But then the threatening messages start. Worship me. Obey me. Complete a mission, however cruel, or the game reveals their secrets and crushes their dreams. Tasks that seemed harmless at first take on deadly consequences. Mysterious packages show up at their homes. Shadowy figures start following them, appearing around corners, attacking them in parking garages. Who else is playing this game, and how far will they go to win?

And what of the game’s first promise: win, win big, lose, you die? Dying in a virtual world doesn’t really mean death in real life—does it?

As Charlie and his friends try to find a way out of the game, they realize they’ve been manipulated into a bigger web they can’t escape: an AI that learned its cruelty from watching us.

God is always watching, and He says when the game is done.

 

I was very lucky to receive a copy of this from Gollancz in exchange for a review. Again, I love the science-fiction vibe. If asked what my second hobby was (because reading is my first, obviously),I’d say it’s gaming. I don’t have anywhere near as much time as I used to spend playing games on my laptop, but I do enjoy it now and then!

The premise of The God Game combines my two favourite hobbies, so I have very high hopes that I’ll enjoy it. It reminds me of another book I received by Gollancz and reviewed last year – Ctrl+S by Andy Briggs. That particular book blended these two together, as well as included virtual reality and I really enjoyed it.

So, that’s March’s TBR taken care of. Have you read any of the books on this month’s list? Have any of them caught your eye? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

 

 

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Reading List – February 2020

January passed by in a whirlwind – I can’t believe I am here sharing my next monthly TBR already! Aside from one DNF, January was a good month for me! I managed to read 7 books in their entirety, as well as finish an audiobook from last year! I’m hoping for an equally productive February. I have already started this month’s TBR, so fingers crossed!

What am I reading this month? I have a number of blog tours lined up, as well as a couple more books on the list that will contribute to my Beat the Backlist challenge.

 

One – K. J. McGillick

Goodreads – One

A stolen life. A Faustian bargain. Prey becomes predator.

Azar Abed’s veiled memories of her childhood were too dark and traumatic to revive. Raised by the man who murdered her mother she moves through life numb and emotionally bankrupt. That is until her father goes one step too far. With the help of his business partner, Dr. Adrien Armond, her father implements a plan to steal her life to save his own. Their downfall? Her survival.

Her obsession to extract retribution leads her into a dark abyss of rage. Azar and her lover devise a plan to upend global economies but her need for vengeance compels her to take it one step further. Biological weapons of mass destruction are on her agenda and innocent bystanders become collateral damage. Would the few that see it coming have the resources to stop the plan already in motion.

 

One is the first book I have picked up this month… and with good reason! I’m taking part in theblog tour for this third instalment in the Path of Deception and Betrayal. On Saturday. Yep, it’s coming around quickly, although in fairness I’m making reasonable progress with it. I just read the previous book Two in a matter of days, so I’m sure I’ll have this read in no time!

I can’t wait to see how this particular series ends and how all the novels tie together!

 

The Mentor – Lee Matthew Goldberg

Goodreads – The Mentor

Kyle Broder has achieved his lifelong dream and is an editor at a major publishing house.

When Kyle is contacted by his favorite college professor, William Lansing, Kyle couldn’t be happier.

Kyle has his mentor over for dinner to catch up and introduce him to his girlfriend, Jamie, and the three have a great time. When William mentions that he’s been writing a novel, Kyle is overjoyed. He would love to read the opus his mentor has toiled over.

Until the novel turns out to be not only horribly written, but the most depraved story Kyle has read.

After Kyle politely rejects the novel, William becomes obsessed, causing trouble between Kyle and Jamie, threatening Kyle’s career, and even his life. As Kyle delves into more of this psychopath’s work, it begins to resemble a cold case from his college town, when a girl went missing. William’s work is looking increasingly like a true crime confession.

Lee Matthew Goldberg’s The Mentor is a twisty, nail-biting thriller that explores how the love of words can lead to a deadly obsession with the fate of all those connected and hanging in the balance.

 

Doesn’t this thriller sound fantastic? Well, I think so and that’s what matters! I am also reading The Mentor as part of a blog tour this month. This particular tour is a first for me, as I haven’t toured with Blackthorn Book Tours before.

I’m looking forward to delving into this sinister-sounding novel and finding out just how well the novel lives up the synopsis! I’ll be sure to let you know.

 

The Girl from the Workhouse – Lynn Johnson

Goodreads – The Girl from the Workhouse

Even in the darkest of times, she never gave up hope.

Staffordshire, 1911. Ginnie Jones’s childhood is spent in the shadow of the famous Potteries, living with her mother, father and older sister Mabel. But with Father’s eyesight failing, money is in short supply, and too often the family find their bellies aching with hunger. With no hope in sight, Ginnie is sent to Haddon Workhouse.

Separated from everything she has known, Ginnie has to grow up fast, earning her keep by looking after the other children with no families of their own. When she meets Clara and Sam, she hopes that she has made friends for life… until tragedy strikes, snatching away her newfound happiness.

Leaving Haddon three years later, Ginnie finds work as a mouldrunner at the Potteries, but never stops thinking about her friends in the workhouse – especially Sam, now a caring, handsome young man. When Sam and Ginnie are reunited, their bond is as strong as ever – until Sam is sent to fight in WW1. Faced with uncertainty, can Ginnie find the joy that she’s never had? Or will her heart be broken once again?

An emotional, uplifting and nostalgic family saga that will make you smile, while tugging on your heart-strings. Fans of Sheila Newbury, Kitty Neale and Sheila Riley will love this beautiful read.

 

I was drawn to signing up for the blog tour for this book as it is a completely new topic of historical fiction that I haven’t explored before. I am definitely diversifying more in what time periods I pick up (although I still have my favourites and I make no apology for it either). Books around the second World War tend to be my preference rather than the first, so it will make for an interesting change I hope!

 

Unborn – Rachel McLean

Goodreads – Unborn

America, 2026.
Feminism has been defeated.
Equality is a memory.
And abortion has been criminalized.

Three women find themselves on the wrong side of the law. Kate, carrying the child of a sexual predator. Grace, whose baby will be born with a fatal deformity. And Cindee: abused, abandoned and pregnant.

Their punishment will fit their crime.

Can these three very different women come together to fight an oppressive system and win their freedom?

Find out by reading Unborn, a chilling dystopia combined with a gripping legal thriller.

 

I hope my reasons for signing up to this blog tour are unusual. I imagine they will be. When I read the synopsis, I knew I had to read the book and share my thoughts on it as 1) I enjoy dystopian novels and legal thrillers and 2) I think I’ll have a unique perspective on the book.

Unborn is a dystopian novel that tackles the idea of a society that denies women the right to terminate a pregnancy. Abortion has been legal in the UK for over 50 years and around 45 in the US. What if I told you that where I live, abortion was made legal last year. The Isle of Man Abortion Reform Law only came into effect in May 2019 – prior to that, it was illegal. Yeah.

I’m sure you’ve already gathered I am going to have some things to say about that. You’ll have to wait for my review post for more.

 

City of Stairs – Robert Jackson Bennett

Goodreads – City of Stairs

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.

 

City of Stairs will (I hope) be the second book I read that will contribute to my Beat The Backlist challenge. I am trying to fit in at least two books a month that will go towards this challenge. Since I am trying to read 25 this year and I DNF’d one last month, I am going to have to squeeze a couple more in at some point though.

I really like the sound of City of Stairs – elements of it remind me a little of Brandon Sanderson’s Elantris. I like to go back to fantasy novels after reading some different things. It’s by far my favourite genre. I couldn’t read it all the time like I used to; it gets boring. I do like to go back to it regularly though. I added City of Stairs to the TBR in January 2015. Five years is too long to take to get around to a book…

 

Good Omens – Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman

Goodreads – Good Omens

‘Armageddon only happens once, you know. They don’t let you go around again until you get it right.’

People have been predicting the end of the world almost from its very beginning, so it’s only natural to be sceptical when a new date is set for Judgement Day. But what if, for once, the predictions are right, and the apocalypse really is due to arrive next Saturday, just after tea?

You could spend the time left drowning your sorrows, giving away all your possessions in preparation for the rapture, or laughing it off as (hopefully) just another hoax. Or you could just try to do something about it.

It’s a predicament that Aziraphale, a somewhat fussy angel, and Crowley, a fast-living demon now finds themselves in. They’ve been living amongst Earth’s mortals since The Beginning and, truth be told, have grown rather fond of the lifestyle and, in all honesty, are not actually looking forward to the coming Apocalypse.

And then there’s the small matter that someone appears to have misplaced the Antichrist…

 

I haven’t read a book by Terry Pratchett for months now! I love his humour and I have heard a lot of good things about this book! I’m going to be totally honest; I’m reading it because Terry Pratchett had a hand in it. I haven’t had the best experience with Neil Gaiman’s books in the past, but we’ll see how this combination works. I’m sure I’ll have plenty to say about it once I have read it! Do you think I should tag the authors in my review when it goes live?

A bit of a salty joke I know, but no author should be too big to think that getting tagged in reviews is beneath them. All publicity (especially free publicity) is good, right? For those that haven’t heard about it, there have been arguments on Twitter lately about the appropriateness of tagging authors in book reviews. One of these authors doesn’t want to be tagged in reviews. They obviously think they’re too good for it. The other is dead, so no prizes for guessing who I’m talking about!

That’s the list set for the month! I would love to get the chance to squeeze in another book if I can since I have set myself such a lofty reading challenge target. The beauty of it is that if I do get this far, I can pick up anything I want based on my mood! I do tend to be quite regimented in my book choice, but I do enjoy picking up something on a whim from time to time.

What books are you reading during February?

 

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Reading List – January 2020

It’s the 7th January and I am only just publishing my TBR now! Yes, I’m later than usual, but I had some really fun posts I wanted to share that rounded up 2019 and introduced 2020. In fact, I still have one post left to share! If you want to see which books I rate the best of 2019, keep an eye out on my blog over the next couple of days.

For now though, let’s take a look at which books I am kick-starting 2020 with!

 

The Violinist’s Apprentice – Isabella Mancini

Goodreads – The Violinist’s Apprentice

A dark journey through time.

On a group trip to Rome, musician Clementina is whirled back in time to 17th century Italy.

Amidst court intrigue and creaking carriages, Italy becomes a chiaroscuro backdrop to her growing feelings for young violin-maker Antonio Stradivari. They kiss under an orange tree, and she persuades him to help a poor young boy from the nearby orphanage.

But people begin to notice just how ‘strange’ the young woman at the artist’s side is. She must be a witch!

Meanwhile, in present-day Scotland, her brother suffers a life-threatening accident, and in an icy corner of the Arctic, a professor frets about global warming.

Can Clementina find a way to return to the 21st century?

 

It feels weird talking in the sense of “I’m going to be reading this book in January” because, well, I already have! I read this within the first few days of January as I am taking part in a blog tour in a week’s time.

I’m looking forward to sharing my review of this one; it combined an element of science-fiction, time-travel, and historical fiction. Previously, I have really enjoyed how these genres work together and this was no exception for The Violinist’s Apprentice.

 

Agricola’s Bane – Nancy Jardine

Goodreads – Agricola’s Bane

A.D. 84 Northern Roman Britain

Nith of Tarras helps Enya of Garrigill in the search for her kin, missing after the disastrous battle at Beinn na Ciche fought between the Caledonian warriors and the mighty Ancient Roman legions. Enya soon has a heartrending choice to make. Should she tread Vacomagi territory that’s swarming with Roman auxiliaries to find her brother? Or, should she head south in search of her cousin who has probably been enslaved by the Romans?

The Commander of the Britannic Legions and Governor of Britannia – General Gnaeus Iulius Agricola – is determined to claim more barbarian territory for the Roman Empire, indeed plans to invade the whole island, but finds not all decisions are his to make. It increasingly seems that the goddess, Fortuna, does not favour him.

The adventures of the Garrigill clan continue…

In Book 4, the tales of the Garrigill Clan come to readers of the series via members of their second generation of Brigantes – their fight against the oppressive forces of the Ancient Roman Legions and their General Agricola a continuing and unending struggle.

 

Agricola’s Bane is my current read at the time of drafting this post. Again, this read is in preparation for a blog tour which I am taking part in a little later this month. This is the last book of The Celtic Fervour series and I’m at that point where I want to read it to find out how the author concludes events but I don’t want it to end at the same time! You know what I mean?

 

Two – K. J. McGillick

Goodreads – Two

Her husband wants her tucked away in a psychiatric ward. His business partner wants her dead.

Exclusive Paris art gallery owner Isabella Armond’s life spins out of control when she discovers her husband Dr. Adrien Armond has been brokering and trafficking in black market organs and using her beloved gallery to launder the money. Now Europol believes she is a key part of the conspiracy that destroyed Notre Dame, Westminster Abbey and St. Peter’s Basilica.

In a race against time, Isabella must use all the resources at her disposal to clear her name, outwit her husband and salvage her life and business.

 

I have read a number of books by K. J. McGillick and I have enjoyed every single one to date. You guessed it, this is another read and review for a blog tour. That said, I do have a little longer for this as my post is due towards the end of the month! All I can say is thank goodness I started my blog tour reading last month; otherwise I’d be in trouble at this point!!

I love the sound of this particular novel. It sounds so sinister, and makes you wonder who you can really trust!

 

A Crown in Time – Jennifer Macaire

Goodreads – A Crown in Time

Since it was perfected in 2900, time travel has been reserved for an elite, highly trained few. However, on certain occasions, a Corrector is needed to rectify a mistake in the past.

Do your job well, and you’ll go down in history. Fail, and you will be erased from Time . . .

In the far future, a convicted criminal is given a chance at redemption. The Corrector Program at Tempus University is sending Isobel back in time, to the year 1270, to rewrite history.
Her mission? To save the crown of France.

If she follows the Corrector’s Handbook everything should run smoothly. But soon, Isobel finds herself accompanying a hot-headed young noble on his way to fight the infidel in Tunis: a battle Isobel knows is fated to be lost.

Isobel must fulfil her duty, knowing she can never return to her time, knowing one wrong move can doom the future, or doom her to be burned as a witch . . .

The first in an exciting new time-slip series, from the author of the action-packed Time for Alexander series, Jennifer Macaire. A CROWN IN TIME will have you on the edge of your seat from the very first page . . .

 

Jennifer Macaire is also fantastic at bringing together historical fiction and science-fiction. This time last year I was introduced to her as an author and since I have enjoyed a number of books in her The Time for Alexander series.

I am looking forward to A Crown in Time as, like The Time for Alexander series, it combines science-fiction and historical fiction. I’ve read and enjoyed quite a few time-travel related novels lately, so I have high hopes for this one too!

 

Gardens of the Moon – Steven Erikson

Goodreads – Gardens of the Moon

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.

 

I set myself a challenge this year to take part in the Beat the Backlist challenge. My aim for the year is to read the 25 oldest items on my TBR (minimum). Gardens of the Moon is number one – and the oldest! Added to my TBR in December 2014… it really is about time I got to it. I have heard amazing reviews of it too, so I’ll be getting stuck in very soon!

 

The Alloy of Law – Brandon Sanderson

Goodreads – The Alloy of Law

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.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.

 

The Alloy of Law is another candidate for my Beat the Backlist challenge! I have a lot of Brandon Sanderson books making up this challenge, so I am trying to spread them out as best as I can.

The Alloy of Law is a second Mistborn series; it has been years since I read the first one! It might be wise to brush myself up on what happened in it, but not essential. It’s set much later than the first series, so it shouldn’t make too much difference that I read the others ages ago!

 

These are Not the Trinity Papers – Vale Zalecki

Goodreads – These Are Not the Trinity Papers

Isaac Beringer knows the thesis he penned during his psychotic fit was utterly absurd and he was right to be laughed out of academia. Yet decades later, he finds himself summoned to the United States by Elias Cohen, the CEO of a multi-billion dollar technological giant who just happens to be his biggest fan. Elias may be beautiful and brilliant, but Isaac knows he must also be extremely batty to consider Isaac’s thesis the greatest scientific work of the 21st century. He soon finds out how deep the rabbit hole goes; a rabbit hole that houses a sprawling neural network of servers designed to emulate human learning, human corpses 3D-printed with flesh and blood, and a monumental amount of effort to resurrect one particular person from the dead. And Elias isn’t even his only fan.

Isaac might have shaken off his insanity, but unfortunately, the world around him has just fallen in love with it.

 

I suspect this will overlap into February, but my last read of the month is one I was asked to review by the author. His request came in after reviewing another science-fiction book, Ctrl+S by Andy Briggs.

Again, this one has a definite science-fiction theme. Maybe I can’t classify this as a lesser-read genre anymore. Anyway, I was really intrigued by the synopsis so I am grateful Vale Zalecki approached me to ask for a review.

It’s a good job I feel motivated with the New Year and a fresh start because I have plenty of reading to be getting on with this month!

What are you reading?

 

 

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Reading List – November 2019

Hi everyone! I’m back, at last! You may not have even noticed I was gone, but my domain hosting was due for renewal and I needed to switch to a new contract. So, my site has been down for a couple of days but I’m almost back to where I was before I started.

There’s just the small matter of the back-up I forgot to do beforehand… Yep – stupid me forgot to back up her blog in all haste to get the contract switched over after all my blog tours but before the renewal date. Consequently, I’ve managed to recover an old one, but I have some backfilling to do to get my more recent posts online again. At least I draft and save copies of all my blog posts in Microsoft Word before I upload them because otherwise I would be doomed!

Anyway, enough of that! That’s my problem to sort out. Shall we find out what November’s reading list is looking like?

 

Imaginary Friend – Stephen Chbosky

Christopher is seven years old. Christopher is the new kid in town. Christopher has an imaginary friend.

Single mother Kate Reese is on the run. Determined to improve life for her and her son, Christopher, she flees an abusive relationship in the middle of the night with Christopher at her side. Together, they find themselves drawn to the tight-knit community of Mill Grove, Pennsylvania. It’s as far off the beaten track as they can get. Just one highway in, one highway out.

At first, it seems like the perfect place to finally settle down. Then Christopher vanishes. For six awful days, no one can find him. Until Christopher emerges from the woods at the edge of town, unharmed but not unchanged. He returns with a voice in his head only he can hear, with a mission only he can complete: Build a tree house in the woods by Christmas, or his mother and everyone in the town will never be the same again.

Soon Kate and Christopher find themselves in the fight of their lives, caught in the middle of a war playing out between good and evil, with their small town as the battleground.

 

Somehow, I had absolutely no idea that Imaginary Friend was 720 pages long until I started reading it. It was only when my percentage progress didn’t seem to be going very far that I looked into it. Naturally, I only started this at the end of my holiday and with a busy return to blogging last week, I am still trying to finish this now. I’m currently just shy of 70% through so I should have this finished in the next couple of days!

 

Howling Dark – Christopher Ruocchio

The second novel of the galaxy-spanning Sun Eater series merges the best of space opera and epic fantasy, as Hadrian Marlowe continues down a path that can only end in fire.

Hadrian Marlowe is lost.

For half a century, he has searched the farther suns for the lost planet of Vorgossos, hoping to find a way to contact the elusive alien Cielcin. He has not succeeded, and for years has wandered among the barbarian Normans as captain of a band of mercenaries.

Determined to make peace and bring an end to nearly four hundred years of war, Hadrian must venture beyond the security of the Sollan Empire and among the Extrasolarians who dwell between the stars. There, he will face not only the aliens he has come to offer peace, but contend with creatures that once were human, with traitors in his midst, and with a meeting that will bring him face to face with no less than the oldest enemy of mankind.

If he succeeds, he will usher in a peace unlike any in recorded history. If he fails…the galaxy will burn.

 

As it happens, I have actually made a very brief start on this book. I was restless on Saturday and in trying to decide what to do with myself, I picked this up and read the first chapter. I decided not to carry on reading it at that time (in favour of binge-watching three hours of Chernobyl), but if nothing else it has gotten me re-acquainted with the characters and the events from the first book. I am ready to dive into this in earnest after finishing Imaginary Friend.

 

Moroda – Lauren McNeil

Linaria is a world where dragons are revered as gods, where airships rule the skies, and where war is stirring.

For Moroda, a former Goldstone, her life of luxury ends following her father’s sudden death. When her city is destroyed by a dragon, she and her sister ally with a sky pirate and narrowly escape the carnage—only to find a vigilante from an exiled race has left a trail of destruction everywhere his growing army has travelled. With compulsion at his fingertips, he strengthens his hold over Linaria’s people by stealing the power of dragons. It’s only a matter of time before Moroda, too, is forced to submit.

With war nipping at her heels and danger lurking in her companions and adversaries, Moroda must quickly learn about herself, her world, and the dragons so intent on reducing it all to ash.

 

I have received a copy of Moroda after the author contacted me to request a review. I loved the synopsis immediately and Lauren’s author profile sold it to me as well – “My books usually contain dragons, rarely feature romance, and are typically fun and hopeful.” I can’t wait to read it and share my thoughts with you all!

 

Days of Blood and Starlight – Laini Taylor

Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a world free of bloodshed and war.

This is not that world.

Art student and monster’s apprentice Karou finally has the answers she has always sought. She knows who she is—and what she is. But with this knowledge comes another truth she would give anything to undo: She loved the enemy and he betrayed her, and a world suffered for it.

In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Karou must decide how far she’ll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, secrets and impossible choices, Days of Blood & Starlight finds Karou and Akiva on opposing sides as an age-old war stirs back to life.

While Karou and her allies build a monstrous army in a land of dust and starlight, Akiva wages a different sort of battle: a battle for redemption. For hope.

But can any hope be salvaged from the ashes of their broken dream?

 

I loved Daughter of Smoke and Bone on holiday so if I didn’t add this to the TBR, I’d probably just end up picking it up anyway! I can tell it’s a series that I just want to binge read so I am as well taking that into consideration. Otherwise, I’ll just to try and cram it in around my other obligations and get myself in trouble when I can’t manage it all. I sincerely hope this lives up to the first book. In my experience of Laini Taylor’s books, I’m sure it will!

 

Awa and the Dreamrealm – Isa Pearl Ritchie

What if dreams are more real than waking life?

Life is already complicated enough for Awa Bryant when she starts having weird dreams – waking dreams – and strange coincidences start appearing in her real life.
She meets dreamcharmer, Veila, a quirky glowing creature who helps to guide Awa through the mysterious Dreamrealm.

At first the Dreamrealm is a glorious escape from Awa’s daily struggles but something is not right… Soon Awa discovers she has a bigger quest, and everything she cares about is at stake. Will she be brave enough to face her fears and save her friends?

 

I’m actually really looking forward to reading this book because I am not the intended audience. That might sound totally daft, but taking part in the blog tour for this book in December gives me the perfect opportunity to read something in a genre I love, but for a younger target audience. This is marketed as aimed at middle grade/young adult. It’s also comparatively short to some of the other books on this TBR, so it should be a welcome breath of fresh air.

 

The Shining – Stephen King

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

 

I’m gradually working my way through more of Stephen King’s book, and this month I’ve taken the notion of reading The Shining. It’s probably one of his most iconic books, so it’s about time I read it, right?

I am off work for about a week and a half later this month (yay!) to use up the rest of my annual leave. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I’ll be able to get some reading done then, but I don’t want to oversubscribe myself my giving myself a longer list. If I do finish my reading then I have the freedom to choose what I pick up as well.

What are you reading this month?

 

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