Tag: Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday – Chilling Hop Tu Naa Reads

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday post subject is Halloween themed since we’ll be celebrating Halloween (somewhat differently than most years, I expect) later this week.

We don’t call it Halloween here on the Isle of Man. Instead, we call it Hop Tu Naa. All in all, it is very similar to Halloween, but if you do want to have a skeet (that’s Manx for having a nosey) at the difference between the two celebrations, you can find out more on the Culture Vannin website.

For today’s post, I wanted to put together a list of recommended reads if you are looking for inspiration this Halloween/ HopTu Naa. There are some classic horrors here, as well as a few thrillers if that is more your bag and last, but not least, there’s a bit of a parody read if you want a lighter tone.

 

IT – Stephen King

Goodreads – IT

Welcome to Derry, Maine …

It’s a small city, a place as hauntingly familiar as your own hometown. Only in Derry the haunting is real …

They were seven teenagers when they first stumbled upon the horror. Now they are grown-up men and women who have gone out into the big world to gain success and happiness. But none of them can withstand the force that has drawn them back to Derry to face the nightmare without an end, and the evil without a name.

 

Pet Sematary – Stephen King

Goodreads – Pet Sematary

The road in front of Dr. Louis Creed’s rural Maine home frequently claims the lives of neighborhood pets. Louis has recently moved from Chicago to Ludlow with his wife Rachel, their children and pet cat. Near their house, local children have created a cemetery for the dogs and cats killed by the steady stream of transports on the busy highway. Deeper in the woods lies another graveyard, an ancient Indian burial ground whose sinister properties Louis discovers when the family cat is killed.

 

Frankenstein – Mary Shelley

Goodreads – Frankenstein

Obsessed with creating life itself, Victor Frankenstein plunders graveyards for the material to fashion a new being, which he shocks into life with electricity. But his botched creature, rejected by Frankenstein and denied human companionship, sets out to destroy his maker and all that he holds dear. Mary Shelley’s chilling Gothic tale was conceived when she was only eighteen, living with her lover Percy Shelley near Byron’s villa on Lake Geneva. It would become the world’s most famous work of horror fiction, and remains a devastating exploration of the limits of human creativity.

Based on the third edition of 1831, this volume contains all the revisions Mary Shelley made to her story, as well as her 1831 introduction and Percy Bysshe Shelley’s preface to the first edition. This revised edition includes as appendices a select collation of the texts of 1818 and 1831 together with ‘A Fragment’ by Lord Byron and Dr John Polidori’s ‘The Vampyre: A Tale’.

 

The Stand – Stephen King

Goodreads – The Stand

This is the way the world ends: with a nanosecond of computer error in a Defense Department laboratory and a million casual contacts that form the links in a chain letter of death. And here is the bleak new world of the day after: a world stripped of its institutions and emptied of 99 percent of its people. A world in which a handful of panicky survivors choose sides — or are chosen.

 

Imaginary Friend – Stephen Chbosky

Goodreads – Imaginary Friend

Imagine… Leaving your house in the middle of the night. Knowing your mother is doing her best, but she’s just as scared as you.

Imagine… Starting a new school, making friends. Seeing how happy it makes your mother. Hearing a voice, calling out to you.

Imagine… Following the signs, into the woods. Going missing for six days. Remembering nothing about what happened.

Imagine… Something that will change everything… And having to save everyone you love.

 

The Chalk Man – C. J. Tudor

Goodreads – The Chalk Man

In 1986, Eddie and his friends are just kids on the verge of adolescence. They spend their days biking around their sleepy English village and looking for any taste of excitement they can get. The chalk men are their secret code: little chalk stick figures they leave for one another as messages only they can understand. But then a mysterious chalk man leads them right to a dismembered body, and nothing is ever the same.

In 2016, Eddie is fully grown, and thinks he’s put his past behind him. But then he gets a letter in the mail, containing a single chalk stick figure. When it turns out that his friends got the same message, they think it could be a prank . . . until one of them turns up dead.

That’s when Eddie realizes that saving himself means finally figuring out what really happened all those years ago.

 

The Dead Tell Lies – J F Kirwan

Goodreads – The Dead Tell Lies

Greg Adams, a criminal psychologist at Scotland Yard, specialises in bringing serial killers to justice. He tracks down a spree serial killer nicknamed the Divine, who has already killed six teenage girls and is about to kill a seventh. Greg works out the location where he is hiding and joins a raid. The police capture the Divine and save the girl, but on the very same night, Greg’s wife is brutally murdered by another serial killer, known as the Dreamer.

A year later, unable to bring the killer to justice, Greg has quit his job and is ready to end it all, when he receives a phone call from a man who tells him the Dreamer is dead, and that he didn’t kill Greg’s wife, Kate.

Greg returns to Scotland Yard to work for Superintendent Chief Detective Donaldson in the hope he can re-examine the case with the help of two new detectives, Finch and Matthews.

As Greg delves into the case further, he becomes more convinced that the Dreamer wasn’t the man responsible for his wife’s murder.

But if it wasn’t the Dreamer, who was it?

In order to solve the mystery around his wife’s murder, Greg is going to have to delve even deeper into the mind of a terrifying psychopath. And this time he might not make it back in one piece…

 

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle – Stuart Turton

Goodreads – The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

“Agatha Christie meets Groundhog Day . . . quite unlike anything I’ve ever read, and altogether triumphant.” – A. J. Finn, #1 New York Times-bestselling author of The Woman in the Window

Aiden Bishop knows the rules. Evelyn Hardcastle will die every day until he can identify her killer and break the cycle. But every time the day begins again, Aiden wakes up in the body of a different guest at Blackheath Manor. And some of his hosts are more helpful than others. With a locked room mystery that Agatha Christie would envy, Stuart Turton unfurls a breakneck novel of intrigue and suspense.

For fans of Claire North, and Kate Atkinson, The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a breathlessly addictive mystery that follows one man’s race against time to find a killer, with an astonishing time-turning twist that means nothing and no one are quite what they seem.

This inventive debut twists together a thriller of such unexpected creativity it will leave readers guessing until the very last page.

Recommended in The New York TimesThe GuardianHarper’s Bazaar, Buzzfeed, Vulture, BookRiot, and more.

 

Mindworm – David Pollard

Goodreads – Mindworm

The placid life of a college librarian is plunged into a desperate fight for survival when he witnesses the death of his only friend. Suddenly he is forced to confront disturbing changes in his nature and appetites and their consequences. Suspected of murder and pursued by an implacable police detective he runs – but is he running from the law or from himself?

 

Reaper Man – Terry Pratchett

Goodreads – Reaper Man

‘Death has to happen. That’s what bein’ alive is all about. You’re alive, and then you’re dead. It can’t just stop happening.’

But it can. And it has.

Death is missing – presumed gone.

Which leads to the kind of chaos you always get when an important public service is withdrawn. If Death doesn’t come for you, then what are you supposed to do in the meantime?

You can’t have the undead wandering about like lost souls – there’s no telling what might happen!

Particularly when they discover that life really is only for the living…

 

 

I hope you found some reading inspiration from today’s Top Ten Tuesday list! If you have read any of these books or have any other suggestions in the comments, please share it with us.

 

 

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Top Ten Tuesday – Non-Bookish Hobbies

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s Top Ten Tuesday post!

Today’s topic is actually a little premature as it’s earmarked for Tuesday 3rd November. Unfortunately, I have a blog tour that day but I really wanted to share the post anyway. It’s especially relevant at the moment as I am finding myself turning more to non-bookish hobbies.  I also think this post is a fun way for you to get to know a little more about me!

So, here are my top ten non-bookish hobbies, and for fun, I’m posting them in reverse order: –

 

Logic Puzzles

From classic puzzle books, Sudoku, codebreakers and hanjie are puzzles I really enjoy trying to decode. Classic games like Minesweeper are fun too. I think it’s fair to say that I don’t have a particular bias towards numbers, words or pictures when it comes to employing logic to solve a puzzle – I just enjoy the challenge of using the clues I’m given to complete a puzzle.

I haven’t done a logic grid puzzle in a long time, but those are good too! Half the battle with those is reading the word clues very carefully to make sure you got all the information out of them.

 

Watch documentaries

I don’t watch much TV, but lately, I’ve taken to watching documentaries. I’ve watched nearly3 series’ of Blowing Up History over the past couple of months, as well as David Attenborough’s The Galapagos Islands docu-series. I’m sure I watched these years ago, but I enjoyed it again! I also enjoy TV mystery/thrillers and dramas, but I haven’t watched so many of those lately.

 

Watching YouTube

From instructional videos to watching people play games like Minecraft, I enjoy watching a video or two on YouTube… especially when I’m eating.

 

Play Minecraft

Playing Minecraft is something I also enjoy, although I haven’t logged on for a little while now. The last time I went to play I discovered my wireless mouse was broken. That was the end of August. I tend to play Minecraft for a bit and then stop, but then get back into it again. I haven’t played all that much since the Nether update went live, so maybe that’s my excuse to get back into it again! The next update has just been announced and sounds great, so I’ll definitely be getting back into it again when that’s released!

 

Listening to music

I almost forgot to add this to my list even though it’s something I do every day. That’s precisely the reason I overlooked it – it’s an ingrained habit. I love music across a variety of genres. From some of the more modern music to singer/songwriter, musical tracks and even soundtracks (I’m sure you’ll be REALLY surprised to know I have all the Game of Thrones soundtracks downloaded… NOT!) I really enjoy a variety of music. It depends on my mood as to what I listen to.

 

Writing

It’s hard to think of writing and blogging as separate to reading given that the two have gone so hand-in-hand for such a long time. But, they are technically different hobbies. I like taking the time to share my thoughts on something, whether it’s a book, an idea – you name it… I’ll have an opinion on it! Taking the time to write several times a week over the course of a few years stacks up and consequently, I find it a lot easier to write now than I did when I started blogging in 2017.

 

Knitting

Knitting is a new hobby I’ve taken up in the last month or two and I’m enjoying the challenge of it. I learned the very basics of knitting as a child, so I’m not completely new to it. I think my knowledge of it only went so far as learning the garter stitch and figuring out (the hard way) how not to add or drop stitches. That first ‘scarf’ I made, was awful. I can still picture that first section I did in brown, full of holes and scruffy as anything. In hindsight, the colour choice was a premonition for how it was going to turn out…

I still make plenty of mistakes now, but I’m also taking on more stitches and more complicated patterns… so that’s my excuse.

 

Crochet

I’ve been crocheting longer than knitting; however, I love the two just as much!! Ironically, crochet is the more complicated of the two crafts (in my opinion) as there are more stitch types and combinations etc but I found that easier to learn than knitting.

A little weird fact for you – I learned how to do these crafts at different times and in different ways, so I knit right-handed but crochet left-handed.

 

Learn new things

I guess you have probably figured out from some of the entries here that a lot of my ‘motivation’ behind them is learning new things. More than anything, I love to learn – whether it is picking up a new skill or just finding out something I didn’t know yesterday. I enjoyed going to school (for the most part) and so I try to make everyday a school day!

 

Spend time with friends/family

Above all these things, my friends and family mean the most to me and so spending time with them is the thing I look forward to most. I am very lucky to be close to my family and we see each other a lot! I also have a close-knit circle of friends that are great fun to spend time with. You see a lot of jokes about readers and avoiding socialising in favour of staying home and reading. I’m really not like that at all. I do enjoy socialising and I’m grateful for the wonderful people I have in my life. I’d give up every hobby in this list for them if I had to, so of course they take the top spot on this list!

 

What are your hobbies? Let’s chat and get to know each other!

 

 

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Top Ten Tuesday – Fantasy Novel Covers

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s fun Top Ten Tuesday post. Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Artsy Reader Girl. Whilst I don’t take part every week, I do enjoy some of the topics that are chosen to feature and this week is one of those. It is one of the broader topics I have seen for a while as the topic centres around book covers. Which ones are entirely at my discretion!

In today’s post, I have decided to feature my top ten fantasy novel covers. Whether it’s just the aesthetic or artistic appeal of a cover or the clues they give as to the plot, characters or tone of the novel, I love each and every one of the covers listed below for a variety of reasons. I have read the vast majority of these books, with just one exception. There are also a couple of entries where I share a series because I couldn’t narrow it down to just one book! They all have a similar style, so I think it’s only fair to share them all.

Shall we find out my top ten fantasy book covers?

 

Mistborn Trilogy – Brandon Sanderson

 

 

Caraval – Stephanie Garber

Caraval

 

The Way of Kings – Brandon Sanderson

 

The Black Prism – Brent Weeks

 

The Name of the Wind – Patrick Rothfuss

 

Strange the Dreamer – Laini Taylor

 

King of Thorns – Mark Lawrence

 

Daughter of Smoke and Bone – Laini Taylor

 

Circe – Madeline Miller

 

The Relic Guild trilogy – Edward Cox

 

So, here are my top ten book covers! Do you agree with any of my selections? What is your favourite fantasy novel cover? It can be featured here in today’s Top Ten Tuesday post, or any other cover you like! As always, I would love to hear from you!

 

 

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Top Ten Tuesday – Authors I’ve Read the Most Books By

Hey guys – welcome back to another Top Ten Tuesday post! It has been a little while since I posted one of these and I liked the look of this week’s topic. If you want to check out the schedule of topics, they can be found on the host’s blog at http://www.thatartsyreadergirl.com/top-ten-tuesday/.

The best book recommendations are the books you have read yourself. It’s fair and well recommending a book you have heard of based on its genre, for example, but it’s not the same as a recommendation based on your own experience of it. If I’m asked for recommendations I will always try to suggest something I have read personally. If you ask me for a romance recommendation, then you’re out of luck. Otherwise, I’m sure I’ve read something that may be of interest.

The best recommendations when it comes to authors, in my book, are for authors that you go back to again and again. There are a number of fantastic authors I don’t get to feature here as we are purely talking numbers. These top ten authors are the ones I have read the most books by. I had a good idea of who the frontrunners were going to be when I picked the topic, but others towards the end of the list were a bit less prominent in my mind. Would you like to find out who my top ten are?

 

Terry Pratchett – 18 Books

I have a bit of a confession. Sir Terry had actually slipped my mind when I was having a casual think about my list. He is the frontrunner by far with my reading his Discworld books. How I could forget about him is beyond me!

I like the Discworld series for the variety of characters, and that whilst the storylines have different themes and topics, there is plenty of diversity. The characters do tend to pop up again as well. I doubt any of them could avoid mischief if they tried!

In addition to the Discworld series, I also tried Good Omens, a collaboration between Terry and Neil Gaiman. I didn’t really get on with that book though. If I’m honest, I think its Neil Gaiman’s twist on the tale. Terry’s humour was there, but I wish there was more of it.

 

Brandon Sanderson – 8 Books

Brandon Sanderson was the first name that popped into my head for this topic. It’s only fair really considering I’ve read three of his books this year alone.

The thing I love most about Brandon Sanderson is that you find all the great qualities of his writing in all his books and across vastly different series. The main one I have read is the Mistborn series, but I have also started The Stormlight Archives and I read Elantris last year. His writing is consistently good across all the books I have read so far. I also have many more on the TBR, which is testament to how highly I rate him as an author.

 

George R. R. Martin – 8 Books

George R. R. Martin was also bound to be high up on the list. The current count stands at 8 books – I have read all the books of his A Song of Ice and Fire series (more than once!) and a collection of short stories called Dreamsongs. I also have Fire & Blood on my shelves to pick up… and maybe I’ll even pick up some other GoT related books whilst I’m waiting for the next book in the series.

Whilst he isn’t the frontrunner on my top ten list, he is by far my favourite!

 

J. K. Rowling – 7 Books

J. K. Rowling is a standout inclusion on the list. No prizes for guessing that she features on the list as I have read all the Harry Potter books. What makes her the most unusual author on this list is that I haven’t read any of her books for a long time. I’ve picked all the others up a lot more recently. I’m trying to think back and honestly, I can’t remember how old I was when I finished this series. I was definitely a teenager and still in school. I can even remember the summer holiday we were on when I read it, but not the year. It’s a long time ago anyway.

I am seriously considering a re-read of these books, perhaps next year. I really enjoyed these growing up, but I wonder if I’ll read them differently now I’m older and know the story. Are there details I missed?

 

K. J. McGillick – 7 Books

 

I hadn’t realised I had read so many of K. J. McGillick’s books now, so this was a little bit of a surprise to me. I’ve taken part in the blog tours for all the books I’ve read and every book has been consistently good. As a lesser-known name than some of the others I’m featuring in this list, I’d like to take the opportunity to give her a shout out and recommend you to read her books. If you are a fan of thrillers, please check them out!

 

Stephen King – 6 Books

Stephen King was another name I was certain would be on today’s list. I’ve read a bit of a mix of his books and I have plenty more on the TBR. I originally read The Green Mile, which is one of my favourite books of all time. From there I tried The Gunslinger, the first book in his The Dark Tower series. As a blend with fantasy, it was the perfect book to read to try more of his works. I fell in love with his writing style and shortly after read my first horror novel, Pet Sematary. That was shortly followed by IT.

I plan on reading a lot more of his books. Again, Stephen King is a fantastically diverse author and I enjoy reading his completely different stories. I have some iconic books like Carrie and The Shining to read yet…

 

Laini Taylor – 5 Books

I’m glad Laini Taylor made the top ten because I always enjoy talking about her books. I bought a copy of Strange the Dreamer having heard fantastic reviews and let me say, I’m so glad I did! I remember I picked up the book on a whim one day – I must have been having a slow time with my current read at the time. It wasn’t on my reading list, and yet I read it from cover to cover in a matter of days! I was hooked from the beginning and so excited for Muse of Nightmares that I pre-ordered a copy. I don’t pre-order books that often so the fact that I did should say a lot!

More recently I have fallen in love with her Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy. You can find many posts on those on my blog so I won’t waffle about them here. I haven’t got any other books of hers on the TBR, but I’ll be watching closely for any new releases in case they catch my eye.

 

Jennifer Macaire – 5 Books

Jennifer Macaire was another surprise name on the list. To date, I have read four books from her The Time for Alexander series and another novel set in a different time period but linked to that series. I am always trying to broaden the topics and time periods featured in the historical fiction novels I read, although I will always have firm favourites as well. The Time for Alexander was a completely new setting for me and really fun to read.

Again as a lesser-known name, this is a shout out for historical fiction fans to check her out!

 

Terry Goodkind – 4 Books

Having gone through my read list, I had a few authors floating around the 4 books mark. It was a little difficult to choose who to feature at this point, but I felt it only fair to include Terry Goodkind. I discovered his Sword of Truth series in my high school library and I read the first few books whilst I was there.

Years later I picked up the fifth book of the series, Soul of the Fire, although since it had been such a long time since reading the previous books I struggled and eventually DNF’d it. I think I would like to try and get back into it again and finish the series – but it’s a long one!

 

Bernard Cornwell – 4 Books

For the same reason as Terry Goodkind, I included Bernard Cornwell on the list over other authors I have also read four books by because I am reading a fifth at the moment. I started The Burning Land, the fifth book in his Saxon Stories series just a couple of weeks ago and it’s on this month’s TBR.

So, there’s my top ten list! Have you read any books by these authors? Are any your favourite? Let me know in the comments?

 

 

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Top Ten Tuesday – Opening Lines

When I saw the topic for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday post, I knew I had to do it. I love sharing the opening lines of books in the hopes that it will encourage someone to try a new, different book. Regular readers will know I have a fortnightly First Lines Friday series, in which I choose a book and share the opening paragraph.

Today’s post is all about my top ten opening lines. To avoid regurgitating content and boring you all to death with a blog post thousands of words long, I’ve decided to be selective about my books and pick the best one (or two!) liner beginnings that appeal to me. I have read most of these books, but there are a couple that are still on the TBR.

Shall we dive in?

 

The Name of the Wind – Patrick Rothfuss

Goodreads – The Name of the Wind

It was night again. The Waystone Inn lay in silence, and it was a silence of three parts.

 

Dear Child – Romy Hausmann

Goodreads – Dear Child

On the first day I lose my sense of time, my dignity and a molar.

 

1984 – George Orwell

Goodreads – 1984

It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.

 

The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood

Goodreads – The Handmaid’s Tale

We slept in what had once been the gymnasium.

 

The Gunslinger – Stephen King

Goodreads – The Gunslinger

The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.

 

If We Were Villains – M L Rio

Goodreads – If We Were Villains

I sit with my wrists cuffed to the table and I think, But that I am forbid / To tell the secrets of my prison-house, / I could a tale unfold whose lightest word / Would harrow up thy soul.

 

Blackwing – Ed Mcdonald

Blackwing

Goodreads – Blackwing

Somebody warned them that we were coming.

 

The Testaments – Margaret Atwood

Goodreads – The Testaments

Only dead people are allowed to have statues, but I have been given one while still alive. Already I am petrified.

 

IT – Stephen King

Goodreads – IT

The terror, which would not end for another twenty-eight years – if it ever did end – began, so far as I know or can tell, with a boat made from a sheet of newspaper floating down a gutter swollen with rain.

 

Vox – Christina Dalcher

Goodreads – Vox

If anyone told me I could bring down the president, and the Pure Movement, and that incompetent little shit Morgan LeBron in a week’s time, I wouldn’t believe them. But I wouldn’t argue.

So, what do you think of this week’s Top Ten Tuesday post? Do any of these catch your eye? What are your favourite opening lines? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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Top Ten Tuesday – Last Ten Books I Abandoned

Welcome to today’s Top Ten Tuesday post! Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. This isn’t something I take part in every week so I always have a lot of fun putting these lists together when I do!

I quite often go it alone with topics rather than following the set topics for the week. That said, however, this week I am taking part in the scheduled topic, as I have DNF’d (Did Not Finish) a few books lately. I don’t do this very often though, so I am going to have two lists – books I DNF’d and then books I removed from my TBR before even beginning them.

Let’s check out the lists and why I abandoned them, shall we? Each list is in date order, from my most recently abandoned book in each category.

 

Boom Time – Michelle Lowe

Goodreads – Boom Time

Bootleggers, coppers, and no good, dirty gangsters! During Prohibition, the parties were wild, the alcohol was flowing, and danger was never far away. Pierce Landcross has been brought to the fast-paced future of New York City, 1926. His abductor, the Trickster, claims he’s hiding Pierce for his own protection, but cutthroats and femme fatales lurk around every corner. Lost in a strange land, Pierce vows to keep his nose clean, but that doesn’t last long when he falls into the bootlegging racket. Pierce has to quickly adapt to a world full of diesel-fueled machines, airships, moving picture shows, and clashes with rival gangs. At the same time, he has to elude a hunter from his own time sent to kill him!

 

This is my most recent DNF, and it was purely a matter of timing as to why I had to put this down. I signed up to review this and my review was due this month, but with the house move and all I was unable to honour that! I believe I can submit a real review later with the particular site I downloaded it from, so I might finish it later and do that.

 

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 was really disappointed to DNF this one, but I had to! I love Terry Pratchett’s humour, but the narrative felt comparatively dry to his usual books. You can tell this isn’t purely his writing style and that it’s a collab with another author. Unfortunately, my experiences with Neil Gaiman’s books are mediocre at best, and WTF at worst. I was hoping Good Omens would turn the tide on my experience with this writing, but it really hasn’t.

 

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 love epic fantasy books, but I just could not follow what was going on in this one. A lot of people rave about it, that it’s a classic etc, but I couldn’t get on with it. I would read a chapter and finally grasp who was who and what was happening… and then the book would cut to another completely different scene and character set. It was too choppy for me to get into. Sorry guys!

 

The Eye of the World – Robert Jordan

the eye of the world

Goodreads – Eye of the World

The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and go, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again. In the Third Age, an Age of Prophecy, the World and Time themselves hang in the balance. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.

 

My friend Rachael will dislike me for this, but my first experience of The Eye of the World wasn’t the best one. If you guys think The Lord of the Rings books are heavily descriptive then let me introduce you to this book! It was just a bit slow for me and even though I tried to stick with it, I had to give up. I might try again at some point when I am in a better mood for an (epic) epic.

 

The Seventh Scroll – Wilbur Smith

Goodreads – The Seventh Scroll

For 4,000 years, the lavish crypt of the Pharaoh Mamose has never been found…until the Seventh Scroll, a cryptic message written by he slave Taita, gives beautiful Egyptologist Royan Al Simma a tantalizing clue to its location.

But this is a treasure cache others would kill to possess. Only one step ahead of assassins, Royan runs for her life and into the arms of the only man she can trust, Sir Nicholas Quenton-Harper-a daring man who will stake his fortune and his life to join her hunt for the king’s tomb. Together, they will embark on a breathtaking journey to the most exotic locale on earth, where the greatest mystery of ancient Egypt, a chilling danger and an explosive passion are waiting.

Steeped in ancient mystery, drama and action, The Seventh Scroll is a masterpiece from a storyteller at the height of his powers.

 

I loved River God, and my friend who recommended these books to me loved this book best of all. You can imagine my disappointment when I just couldn’t get on with it at all. Unlike River God, The Seventh Scroll is set in modern-day. The story follows on from that first book, but I didn’t like the sudden switch of time setting. I tried to stick with it but ultimately had to DNF as I wasn’t enjoying it.

This next list is of books I have removed from my TBR. In fairness, a lot of these will have been removed as they were added many years ago and my reading tastes have changed quite a lot since then! So… here is the second list!

 

The Sheep Look Up – John Brunner

Goodreads – The Sheep Look Up

An enduring classic, this book offers a dramatic and prophetic look at the potential consequences of the escalating destruction of Earth. In this nightmare society, air pollution is so bad that gas masks are commonplace. Infant mortality is up, and everyone seems to suffer from some form of ailment.

 

When I originally covered this in my Down the TBR Hole series (a couple of years ago now) I marked this as a keeper as I was interested in the dystopian aspect of it. I confess that since then this silently slipped off the TBR. Sure, I like dystopian books, but whatever appeal it had to me when I added it has now been lost. It sounds a bit depressing, to be honest!

 

The Just City – Jo Walton

Goodreads – The Just City

“Here in the Just City you will become your best selves. You will learn and grow and strive to be excellent.”

Created as an experiment by the time-traveling goddess Pallas Athene, the Just City is a planned community, populated by over ten thousand children and a few hundred adult teachers from all eras of history, along with some handy robots from the far human future–all set down together on a Mediterranean island in the distant past.

The student Simmea, born an Egyptian farmer’s daughter sometime between 500 and 1000 A.D, is a brilliant child, eager for knowledge, ready to strive to be her best self. The teacher Maia was once Ethel, a young Victorian lady of much learning and few prospects, who prayed to Pallas Athene in an unguarded moment during a trip to Rome–and, in an instant, found herself in the Just City with grey-eyed Athene standing unmistakably before her.

Meanwhile, Apollo–stunned by the realization that there are things mortals understand better than he does–has arranged to live a human life, and has come to the City as one of the children. He knows his true identity, and conceals it from his peers. For this lifetime, he is prone to all the troubles of being human.

Then, a few years in, Sokrates arrives–the same Sokrates recorded by Plato himself–to ask all the troublesome questions you would expect. What happens next is a tale only the brilliant Jo Walton could tell.

 

This is another book that discretely slipped off the list. The appeal for this one was in the combination of different time periods all coming together, but I’ve lost interest. It is as simple as that. There are so many books out there so why waste time trying to read one you aren’t fussed on?

 

India Black – Carol 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.

 

I added this because the plot sounded cool, but when looking at it again more recently, I’m not 100% sure I am going to get on with the narrative. Maybe I was prepared to chance the awkward cheesiness of the main character falling for ‘the handsome conspirator’ once, but I’m honestly just put off by that now.

 

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.

 

Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed reading Seraphina and Shadow Scale years ago. I liked the concept of dragons being able to disguise themselves in this world, but I’m not sold on this related book. I’ve heard that it’s not so good as those other books, and I think I’ve probably outgrown the series anyway.

 

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 feel like I originally added this to the TBR based on a review or recommendation because the synopsis doesn’t really sell it to me. That was several years ago now and I’ve no idea what the appeal was to add this to the list, so it dropped off again!

 

There you have it – that’s my Top Ten Tuesday post for today! Have you abandoned any books recently? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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Top Ten Tuesday – Books for a little escapism

Welcome to today’s Top Ten Tuesday post! I really like writing these posts and decided it was time for another. Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl.

I quite often go it alone with topics rather than following the set topics for the week. Sometimes the prescribed topics just don’t fit my blog at all! Instead, I have been having a think about an alternative topic for this week. I don’t know about you, but I read for a bit of escapism. I like to break away from the mundane routine. Well, normally. Fact is, the normal mundane routine has been ripped up and tossed out the window. It’s not a very nice situation we are in right now and more than ever I am looking for escapism. I’m sure others are too… and that’s what gave me the idea for this post.

I thought I might struggle to put this list together, but I had the opposite problem! I’ve had to cut it down quite a lot. I’ve excluded a lot of larger names that I would love to feature here because they’re well-known enough to recommend themselves. J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter, George R. R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones and J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings are great books – but you probably know about them already. In today’s post, I wanted to talk about books and authors that aren’t as well-known – although they deserve to be!

 

The Mistborn Series – Brandon Sanderson

It would be pretty sacrilegious not to include my current read on this list. I’ve devoured the last three books of this series with fervour over the past few months. The books published to date are split into two timelines. I loved the first trilogy years ago but recently, the later books set in the fictional city of Elendel have reiterated why I love Brandon Sanderson’s writing. The depth of history of the magic, the characters… it’s all fantastic.

I get lost in these books! They’re the kind you promise yourself ‘just one more chapter’ before bed and before you know it, it’s WAY past your bedtime. I don’t regret it either.

 

Rivers of London – Ben Aaronovitch

This is also a recent discovery. I think the fact that I listened to all of Rivers of London and a third of Moon over Soho in the past couple of weeks alone says it all! If it doesn’t, I don’t know what will!

I’ve been listening to these as audiobooks whilst crocheting. It’s nice to break up the format of ‘reading’ – but I have to praise the narrator Kobna Holdbrook-Smith. He manages to take the author’s already interesting and diverse characters and breathe life into them. The book also balances action, character development and sensory descriptions really well. If you like magical and supernatural mysteries or think you might, I would definitely recommend these books as a starting point! I suspect I’ll continue to binge-listen to these!

 

The Last Kingdom – Bernard Cornwell

Something for historical fiction fans here! I’m not even halfway through this series yet but I love it so much! It was recommended to me by a work colleague and friend. She is Danish, and it prompted some interesting conversation about the historical period. For those that don’t know, it’s set at the time the Vikings invaded Britain. The main character Uhtred is an Englishman, but living in the North, his village was raided when he was a boy and he was subsequently raised by Danes. His personal conflict between both sides runs throughout the books I have read so far and it makes for a really interesting perspective on the period!

 

Simon Says – Jo Wesley

If standalone books are more your thing, then Simon Says might be of interest to you. I’m going to be upfront and say that the storyline is based on the sensitive topic of rape, and the consequences of it. That might put some people off, and that’s fine! This book isn’t for you in that case. Considering the nature of it, I think that it is handled really well. I was really impressed with this book – so much so it made it on my top reads of 2019 list!

 

Daughter of Smoke & Bone – Laini Taylor

This book (and series) also qualified for the top reads of 2019 list! I love Laini Taylor’s style of writing and I’ve really enjoyed her Strange the Dreamer duology previously. The Angels vs Demons (monsters) baseline is plot is great because she breaks down the stereotypes of good and evil and tosses them out of the window.

 

Blackwing – Ed McDonald

Blackwing

If, like me, you love fantasy series with epic fantasy worlds with plenty of lore in a post-apocalyptic setting, then the Raven’s Mark series could be for you! Magic ravaged the world in a cataclysmic event and razed the landscape now known as the Misery. If that’s not interesting enough for you, then how does a plotline indicating that a similar event with even more catastrophic consequences sound?

It was a winner for me and I really, REALLY recommend this one to any and all fantasy fans!

 

Nevernight – Jay Kristoff

Nevernight

The Nevernight Chronicles is another great fantasy series for those that love fantasy novels with lots of history to them. Throw in a young girl who has had her family ripped apart since childhood, rare magic power and a terrible grudge… and you get an amazing, murderous and vengeful trilogy. Determined to bring down the institution that tried to have her murdered as a child, Mia Corvere is a force to be reckoned with. I also quite enjoy Jay Kristoff’s parallels between himself and Mercurio – that’ll make sense if you read the books.

 

The Wise Man’s Fear – Patrick Rothfuss

It has been a long time since I read these books, but they have definitely made a lasting impression! The first thing I love is the narration style. The tale is told from an older (and hopefully wiser) Kvothe, our main character. He is very candid over the past mistakes of his youth, which we learn about as he retells the tale.

Again, this is a series with a lot of development into the world and characters, so those of you that love that and all the action of the narrative should get on with this very well.

 

The Chalk Man – C.J. Tudor

Here is another standalone for those of you that don’t have the commitment for a series. The Chalk Man is a mystery thriller novel with a chilling premise and plenty of twists and turns to keep you on your toes! In their youth, Eddie and the gang drew chalk men as a means of communicating with each other secretly around town. However, twenty years on they reunite, and the chalk men have made a mysterious reappearance…

 

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle – Stuart Turton

The last book on my list is another standalone mystery. The premise of the novel is like a traditional murder mystery, only its groundhog day. The protagonist has seven days to relive the day in the bodies of each guest and then name the murderer.

I really liked this one – I thought it was really unique. It’s also very cleverly-written too!

Hopefully, you have found some inspiration from this Top Ten Tuesday list, if that’s what you’re looking for! If not, well I hope you enjoyed this post! Do you agree with any of my recommendations?

 

 

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Top Ten Tuesday – Reasons I Love Being a Book Blogger

Hello lovely readers and welcome back to another Top Ten Tuesday post! It’s been three months since I put together my last TTT post. They’re a favourite to read and a lot of fun to write!

Today’s post is all about celebrating what I enjoy about being a book blogger. If you think it’s easy, think again – it’s like a part-time job! I probably average around 6-8 hours a week writing blog posts, never mind the number of hours reading the books I feature. That being said, I love it. It doesn’t feel like a job when it’s something you love to do and it comes with a lot of perks.

Here are my favourite things about being a book blogger!

 

Lots of reading!

It goes without saying, but if you want lots of material for your book blog you have to read. The backlog of books you read as a child/teenager will only go so far. Talking about the same books all the time makes for stale content too.

I’ve always loved reading – a good thing, I suppose. It was actually my love of reading (and getting back into it after a long while) that prompted me to think about starting Reviewsfeed. I couldn’t tell you how many hours a week I spend reading. It’s such a habit that I couldn’t imagine not reading. I can probably count on one hand the number of days a year I don’t pick up a book all day.

 

Book recommendations EVERYWHERE!

The advantage of being part of a book-loving community is that we are all talking about fantastic books. Pretty much any blog hopping session results in stumbling across someone’s great review for a book that’s right up your street. I think it’s great. My TBR list not so much… but what book blogger doesn’t have a humongous list of books to read? It wouldn’t be natural…

 

Trying new things

Since starting my blog I have been a lot more adventurous in my choices in reading material. I basically only used to read fantasy novels… maybe the odd science fiction or rarely a historical fiction if I really wanted to push the boat out. Thing is, I’d get bored of the same old tropes and it felt like reading the same books over and over again. It’s one of the reasons I let my reading habit slip after I left school.

Before my blog started, I had never read a horror novel. Stephen King was a name I was well familiar with (obviously), but I hadn’t even entertained reading one of his books. I’m an idiot, I see that now! If you had told me I would go on to re-read books I hated at school, like Of Mice and Men and 1984, or I would read more such ‘classics’, I’d have laughed at you. Having an audience to write for, and encourage you, makes a huge difference. Without it I think I would be just as unadventurous as before.

 

Hot off the press

The great thing about working with publishers (or even just following them) is knowing what new releases are coming out, and when!

I hardly read them straight away, but there is the odd exception to the rule. My point is, I have the choice to drop every book on my TBR for a new one if I really want to. It has been known and I didn’t feel remotely guilty!

 

Taking part in blog tours

I’ve discovered a love for taking part in blog tours. That probably won’t come as a surprise to you if you know how many I take part in. This partly links to the above point, because it’s a great opportunity to try something new. Through taking part in tours I have read books that I wouldn’t have necessarily discovered myself.

I also enjoy tours as I get to support new or indie authors. I have many favourite big-name authors that I read as well, but I try to balance my content to feature lesser-known or upcoming names as well. They have great books and it’s a pleasure to recommend them to others with similar reading tastes to me!

 

Collaborating with authors

Honestly, working with indie authors is the best! I have worked with many authors through direct requests and through tours now. A good number of them have come back to me to ask for further reviews as well. It’s satisfying, and they are truly so grateful that you want to work with them. I love getting feedback from them.

I’ve given up tagging well-established authors in posts unless it’s for a tour because it won’t get acknowledged anyway. They don’t ‘need’ your publicity. Indie authors are the complete opposite end of the spectrum though. They’ll keep re-posting your material for months afterwards – and not necessarily just your reviews of their book(s). They are the heart of the community.

Collaborating with authors is just part of the process. This point is more broad-based though. By supporting authors, I mean helping them to by sharing my reviews on other sites than my blog. The more reviews a book has on Amazon and the like, the more likely they are eligible for promotions and increased exposure.

 

Being part of an amazing community

Sticking with the theme of community, everyone’s great really! There’s no rivalry or bitterness over viewer numbers or content. Everyone is so supportive and engaging with your content as well as their own. Sure, you get the odd spanner making ridiculous claims that book bloggers aren’t ‘real readers’ and such, but they are few and far between.

We are all around because we are doing something we love – sharing our love of books with each other!

 

Getting the odd “free” book

I say “free”, but they aren’t really free. There are two main ways of getting books for no cost in this community – winning it in a promotional competition or by receiving it with the expectation of a review. It might not seem like much, but it’s actually several hours of my time in reading the book before spending a couple more drafting and editing my post before it goes live.

Everyone likes a freebie, I’ll be honest. However, I take issue with those that automatically assume that a review following receipt of a “free” copy is a dishonest one – that I’ve been bribed with it. I’m looking at you Amazon. My hobby is all about sharing my honest thoughts about (and recommending) books with a community of readers. If I lie and my opinions can’t be trusted by the very people I am putting them too, I’m ruining my reputation and integrity. It does me literally no favours to lie.

 

Freedom to speak my mind

It’s not very often that you can speak your mind freely about something. I try my best in everything I do, but sometimes there’s a time and a place and it’s not it. The advantage of having my own little corner on the internet is that I can share my thoughts freely. Fact is, I like offering my opinion (whether you like it or not). Here, no one tells me to shut up or keep my opinions to myself!

 

Sense of achievement

I’ll be the first person to hold my hands up and say that I am awful for starting new things and not seeing them through for very long. I get bored or lose interest. My blog is the exception to that rule. Even when I started it, I didn’t know how long I was going to stick at it for. I started with a completely free one at first while I tested out my initial commitment. As I found my feet, I decided to invest in it and it’s taken off from there.

I couldn’t tell you how much of my time I have funnelled into my reading and my blog to date. A lot! It’s rewarding though. To be able to say I stuck at something, and to be proud of my blog is a great feeling. If even one person reads my content and decides to buy a book based on it, that’s all the satisfaction I need.

Are you a book blogger? What are your favourite things about being one?

 

 

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Top Ten Tuesday – Changes in My Bookish Life Since 2017

Hi guys and welcome back to another Top Ten Tuesday post! This is one of the less regular features on my blog – I don’t think I have written one of these for a couple of months or so.

The topic I have chosen is one I saw posted by Jana at The Artsy Reader Girl, published last month. I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the Top Ten Changes in My Bookish Life. Jana begins her list from the commencement of blogging, so I’ll do the same too!

 

Firstly, I read a lot more!

My previous record number of books read in 2017 (60 books) has been beaten; with a couple of weeks to go, I’ll set a new record of 70-something books.

 

I read a greater variety of genres

I used to read a pretty much only fantasy, both before and at the beginning of my blogging adventure. Now I read a lot of genres, often switching between them for variety. I have diversified A LOT since then.

 

…And read new genres too!

I had never read a horror novel until I started blogging. Pet Sematary was my first horror novel, swiftly followed by IT less than two months later!

 

I read less on Kindle than I used to

I used to read nearly 100% on Kindle. However, now I am earning a little more I am buying physical copies of books I love. I also get physical review copies from publishers too!

 

I have a significantly longer TBR…

Perks of being part of a book blogging community: you have lots of amazing people to talk to and discuss books with. Also, you get to hear about all the books and consequently there aren’t enough hours in the day to read them all…

 

I started self-hosting my blog in June 2018

I love the freedom this allows me. Mostly. I have wanted to throw my computer out of the window on one or two occasions with it, but in the grand scheme of things it’s great!

 

I actually have a blogging schedule

When I first started blogging I basically posted when I felt like it. I was far more sporadic than I am now. Now I am drafting and publishing content regularly!

 

I have a community to talk to/with!

I have branched out with a lot of social media and as such, I have a lot more people to talk to. It’s rare I get to have a bookish conversation offline.

 

I’m no longer afraid to ask publishers for review copies

This came with confidence and the growth of my blog. Now I have a bit of a following, it’s worthwhile for publishers to send me books to review.

 

I am very lucky to be on publishers mailing lists

Over time I have gotten myself on various mailing lists, giving me greater access to books and new authors.

It’s fun to look back and consider how you started out and compare it to the present day. How has your reading life change recently or over time?

 

 

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Top Ten Tuesday – Bookish Worlds I Love

It’s Tuesday, so guess what guys… it’s another Top Ten Tuesday post I am sharing with you today!

This week’s theme for the post is Bookish Worlds I Love. I am a sucker for world-building so there are going to be some brilliant names on the list! Just because I love these worlds doesn’t mean I would necessarily want to visit them… but yeah!

 

Westeros (& Essos) – A Song of Ice and Fire series

For obvious reasons I love these… but I wouldn’t like to visit. Knowing my luck, I’d turn up and immediately get run over by a dung cart. That’s probably the best I could hope for. These worlds aren’t exactly known for their smothering kindness to its citizens.

 

Middle Earth – The Lord of the Rings series

Tolkien paints such a magical and vivid setting in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I would love to see the Ents and the power of nature in force. Hobbiton would be pretty quiet and quaint too. It’s just a shame I’ll be too tall to move in…

 

The Labyrinth – The Relic Guild series

Again, this wouldn’t be the most pleasant place to find myself in, but spectacular again for the magic. I wouldn’t really like the idea of being cut-off from society either.

 

Valengrad – Raven’s Mark series

Again, a dark world to want to visit, but the fabulous descriptions in the Raven’s Mark series mark this on my map! This is an unusual place on the list, as a wasteland known as the Misery in particular would be an amazing (and amazingly difficult) place to traverse. With a shifting landscape as a result of corrupt magic and few unmoving landmarks, it’s not your typical world.

 

Roshar – The Stormlight Archives

I’ve only read one of these books so far and already I have fallen in love with Roshar. It has such a depth of history and is so beautifully described. I cannot wait to see how the rest of the books live up to the first in this!

 

The Discworld – Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series

The Discworld is the fictional setting of 41 novels; it is a flat, circular world, balanced on the back of four elephants who in turn stand upon the back of the Great A’Tuin – a turtle. Yep. That pretty much sums up how crazy this place is, but even still I love the real, everyday problems that are encountered here. The Discworld books are really entertaining!

 

The Sollan Empire (and beyond!) – Sun Eater series

This world is so expansive that I don’t even truly know how to quantify it! I feel this series has a lot more to offer too; I haven’t read Howling Dark yet so I’m sure my horizons will be broadened even further after this book. It has so many unique systems, worlds and civilisations.

 

Orisha – Legacy of Orïsha series

Children of Blood & Bone

My favourite element of the world of Orïsha is the cultural aspect. I feel it truly celebrates a unique culture and consequently has a completely new insight into the world and the beauty of it.

 

Weep – Strange the Dreamer series

The narrative of Laini Taylor’s Strange the Dreamer makes Weep sound hauntingly beautiful in its desolation. All her descriptions are vivid and amazing, but the sense of mystery about the lost city makes it all-the-more appealing.

 

Temerant – The Kingkiller Chronicles

I need to re-read these books and appreciate them again. It has been a really long time. The sophistication of the world-building in this series is why it makes its way onto the list. These books are some of my favourites in the fantasy genre.

Which book is your favourite bookish world from? Do you share any of these?

 

 

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