Tag: toptentuesday

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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Top Ten Tuesday – New Releases I Am Excited About

Hi guys! Today’s Top Ten Tuesday post is quite an exciting one, as I am sharing my Top Ten new book releases I cannot wait to read! This is probably going to be a disastrous post for my never-shrinking TBR, but it’s always good to have something to look forward to!

New books… shiny books…

 

The Institute – Stephen King

Goodreads – The Institute

 

I have fallen in love with Stephen King’s writing and I have seen so many good reviews of this book in the blogosphere. I have plenty of King books still to read, but I am looking forward to this one!

 

The Burning White – Brent Weeks

Goodreads – The Burning White

 

Thus far, I have only read The Black Prism, aka book one of this series. This is the fifth and final instalment to the series, but I’m still looking forward to it. Now that I know the conclusion is near I’ll be more inclined to pick the rest of these books up!

 

Cilka’s Journey – Heather Morris

Goodreads – Cilka’s Journey

 

I loved The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris. It’s one of the best audiobooks I have listened to since subscribing to Audible. This was published only two weeks ago and I have already downloaded Cilka’s Journey to my library on Audible.

 

Imaginary Friend – Stephen Chbosky

Goodreads – Imaginary Friend

 

I was very lucky to have received a Netgalley download of the book, so I could be reading this in as little as two weeks time, my TBR permitting. The synopsis sounds so creepy and fantastic – I can’t wait to read it!

 

The Song of the Sycamore – Ed Cox

Goodreads – The Song of the Sycamore

After reading The Relic Guild series, I am really excited to read this latest novel by Edward Cox. I applied to sign up to the blog tour for the book, however, the tour was full. Gollancz was supposed to be sending me a copy to review anyway, but for one reason or another it didn’t turn up. Never mind I’ll just have to purchase a copy when the time comes to read it!

 

The Mothers – Sarah J. Naughton

Goodreads – The Mothers

I don’t know if this appeals to me for its sinister plot or because a couple of my friends have either recently had children or are expecting. Either way, this sounds like an exciting read! As I haven’t read any of her other books, this is a great way to try a new author.

 

An Anonymous Girl – Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

Goodreads – An Anonymous Girl

Psychology, ethics and morality are topics that go hand-in-hand, although a lot of people might not be aware of it. I loved studying psychology at school so books on the subject are always greatly received. The synopsis makes this experiment sound so personal… so I can’t wait to find out why!

 

Recursion – Blake Crouch

Goodreads – Recursion

I haven’t even read Dark Matter by Blake Crouch yet, although it is on my TBR. I’ll be adding this one too as it has elements of psychology in it as well. The idea of waking up one day with false memories is scary… but the brain is that suggestible in the right circumstances.

 

Starsight – Brandon Sanderson

Goodreads – Starsight

Starsight is the second book in the new Skyward series. Brandon Sanderson has become one of my auto-buy authors, so of course I am excited by any new book of his!

 

Howling Dark – Christopher Ruocchio

Goodreads – Howling Dark

I shouldn’t have to wait too long for this either, as the ARC is sat on my bookshelf in the spare room. It’s about time to read it too, having worked my way through previous ARCs. This might just end up on my TBR for next month. I haven’t decided yet.

Are you excited for any of these books or authors?

 

 

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Top Ten Tuesday – My Blogging Achievements

It’s Tuesday and Day 8 of Blogtober… so that can only mean one thing – it’s time for a Top Ten Tuesday Post!
Today’s post is all about celebrating my top ten achievements since starting my blog. It’s good to give ourselves a pat on the back sometimes. It’s also a great opportunity to talk about my blogging journey so far!

 

Starting a blog… and then sticking with it!

I will be the first person to hold my hands up and admit that I am TERRIBLE for starting projects and never seeing them through. I like to try new things and before I found my feet blogging, I was always abandoning one project or another.

Blogging is the exception to the rule! It was a slow start in the first four months or so whilst I got to grips with it. Once I had established a routine though, the whole experience became a lot easier and I have never looked back! Having never really done it before, it was a huge leap of faith. I think it helped that back then I was only doing it for me. It was my outlet to talk about books. Now, I still do it for me, but I do enjoy getting a like now and again! I can’t lie…

 

Getting onto Social Media

I have always been terrible at using social media. On a personal level, I hardly use it at all except to look at silly cat videos on the internet and the like. My Facebook profile picture gets updated maybe once a year. Yeah, it’s like that.
I never liked Twitter for a personal account. I had nothing to post, nothing to say. My blog changed that. I’m not the kind of person to take photographs all that often either… unless it’s books. That is a blog influence as well though. My personal Instagram account never took off either.

I wouldn’t call myself an expert – far from it! I have a reason to make an effort with it now, and that is the difference!

 

Engaging with a fabulous community of book bloggers

I started my blog as a means to talk about the books I love; it was primarily for me. By starting it, a new world opened up to me. Other bloggers with the same interests as me suddenly came to my attention and I had an audience to write to. Through bloggers, I have been introduced to more books, genres and authors.
Two and a half years on I still enjoy getting a like or a comment on my blog. I don’t think that will ever change. It’s nice to know that somebody cares to take the time to read something you have put effort into.

 

Switching to Self Hosting

Probably one of the biggest things I did last year was move my blog and domain name to a self-hosted site. I have never done anything like it before, so it was a total learning curve. Thankfully, there are plenty of resources on the internet to make the process as straight-forward as possible!

It wasn’t hiccup-free, but I got there. Eventually. Those few days whilst my domain was being re-registered were the longest ever!

 

Going “public” to friends/family

I only did this a few months ago. For a long time, I kept my blog private from friends and family. I had no idea how they would react to my hobby (and having kept it quiet so long). In hindsight, I was daft to worry. I guess I was worried about how they would react to it, or that they wouldn’t and I’d be met with a wall of indifference. My family have been very supportive and I feel a lot better for being able to talk about what I am doing more openly. There were some happy moments but also some disappointments when it comes to friends. I had some great reactions from some friends I didn’t expect to back me at all. There are also friends that haven’t acknowledged it or supported me when I really thought they would. It was bound to happen I guess.

 

Getting onto Publisher Mailing lists

Receiving copies of books in exchange for a review is always an exciting time! Who doesn’t love book mail? When I first started my blog I struck up relationships with some smaller publishers. As I was relatively new to the scene, they were more willing to give me a chance. After about a year of blogging, I decided to chance my luck and contact Gollancz about a new release they were advertising having ARCs for. And I got one! I was expecting my request to go ignored, but no. I have received several other books since then and I am always looking forward to the next one that catches my eye.

 

Also… working with indie authors!

Working with indie authors is a completely different experience, but I would argue that it is a lot more rewarding. I have struck up some good relationships with indie authors for whom I have written reviews. Many have come back to me with new books to review as well. Indie authors offer a far more personal experience to the book reviewing process. Many of them don’t have the representation others benefit from, so anything you can do is so much more appreciated and ultimately, grants a greater sense of achievement in helping them.

 

Improved Writing

It may seem like a small thing, but I have noticed an improvement in my writing. Not only is it a lot easier to take those first steps and start a post, but they flow a lot better too. I have found my voice. It’s an invaluable skill and one I use a lot at work. Even my work colleagues have commented on how well I can draft an email.

 

Completing my Goodreads Reading Challenges

I don’t quite know how I have managed to complete every challenge I have set myself (so far)! Maybe it is because I can be stubborn when I want to be. In fact, for two years I have increased the number of books in my reading challenge, in 2017 and again this year. Equally, it could be that I am just getting quicker at reading or better at managing my time. I can’t pinpoint any one thing that decides how I manage, but it works, somehow.

 

Confidence

This has been saved for last because I think it is the most important achievement. It’s also been the longest journey as it starts in my childhood. I used to wear my heart on my sleeve; I couldn’t take criticism at all. Friend or stranger alike, I took people’s opinions to heart. In high school, I started Performing Arts lessons as a way of putting myself under scrutiny. It was a safe way of doing it and it taught me, gradually, to accept constructive criticism as advice, rather than someone being hurtful.

Look at me now; I couldn’t stand out any more on account of my green hair and how I pour my passion onto the internet, practically inviting people to disagree with me.

Confidence isn’t something you wake up with one day, but it builds with time. In its own way, starting my blog, sticking with it and sharing my love of reading has helped me discover a greater sense of self. I am happiest when talking about my blog, or what I am reading. I wouldn’t say I am reliant on it, but the acceptance and inclusion of many has helped. There has been the odd time when I have met with less favourable opinions (or a lack of opinion when I expected one) of my hobby. It doesn’t matter, in the grand scheme of things, because I am doing what I love to do.

I still wear my heart on my sleeve sometimes, proven by the fact that I have gotten a little emotional writing this section. I’m not invincible, as much as I try to be. So whilst I am feeling soppy, let me say thank you. Thank you to everyone who reads my posts and drops likes or comments. Thank you to the friends and family who listen to my rambling, whether you are interested or not. And lastly, thank you to those that reminded me that those who mind don’t matter and those who matter, don’t mind.

 

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Top Ten Tuesday – A Game of Thrones Characters

Now that the finale of A Game of Thrones has come and gone, I thought it the perfect opportunity to talk about my favourite characters of the series! There are a lot of mixed reviews about that last episode and I’m not surprised. I have no problem with the ending, but I feel there could have been a little more drama or tension in between. Nevertheless, it’s a fantastic series and for us book-lovers, it isn’t truly over yet!

I’ll be taking the books and the TV show into account for this list, (spoiler-free) since up until A Dance of Dragons, they are close to one another. I’ll also be ranking my characters from number ten to one… so here we go!

 

10.   Tormund Giantsbane

Source: HBO

Tormund Giantsbane… he’s not so much a friendly giant if you cross him. He is formidable to his enemies and fierce friends with those that see past the furs and wildling exterior. He’s a bit of a drunkard and apt to boasting, but if you can beat anyone who says otherwise into the dirt then why not?

We get to see an intimate friendship between Tormund and Jon. It’s the kind of friendship I think we all look for.

 

 

9.   Brienne of Tarth

Source: HBO

I really love Brienne for her loyalty and her confidence to follow an unconventional path in life. Brienne is one of the few female warriors of the series, and she is frequently bullied for her choice. That, and her appearance. I guess I relate to her in a way because I have been in her shoes – not a sword-wielding knight, obviously, but I’ve been bullied for my appearance too. In my teenage years, I opted for similarly short hair (as Brienne in the TV series). I couldn’t tell you how many unpleasant comments and assumptions were made about me. I didn’t care all that much – I kept it for five years before I decided to grow it back.

If there is one thing I would like to have in common with Brienne more than anything, it’s the drive to do whatever you want regardless of other people’s approval. It’s too easy to fall victim to peer pressure. I think if we were all a little more like Brienne, the world would be a better place.

 

8.   Littlefinger

Source: HBO

Littlefinger’s cunning and intelligence win him a place on my top ten list. An advanced player in the political scene, Littlefinger came from pretty much nothing. He’s a self-made man… but not necessarily the type you want to be if you plan on making any friends in life.

Not all his personality traits are admirable by any means, but becoming the Master of Coin proves he has some skill. Deception and manipulation are never far around the corner where Littlefinger is concerned, but these don’t fail to stir up relations and events throughout the series!

 

7.   Samwell Tarly

Source: HBO

Sam is just so cute! He’s scorned by his father and forced into a life that without the help of his friends, he’d have no hope of surviving. Thankfully he is the type of person you cannot help but like. Before joining the Night’s Watch, he enjoyed singing, dancing and burying his nose in books… much to his father’s distaste. I don’t profess to be any good when it comes to the singing and the dancing (alcohol is required for the latter), but a serious love of books and studying is something we share in common.

Sam is a bit of a softy and socially awkward, but he is also very intelligent. He’s the type of man I’d like to meet really.

 

6.   Olenna Tyrell

Source: HBO

Perhaps there aren’t as many sword fighting women in A Game of Thrones, but plenty have other weapons of choice. Olenna is a wiser and more experienced player of the great game. She won’t have any trouble land on her doorstep, that’s for sure. With a look that could wither anyone less adept at dreading the murky waters of politics, she is a force to be reckoned with!

I love her ferocity in defending her own too! Nothing means more to Olenna Tyrell than looking out for her family, her granddaughter Margaery especially. In what is probably one of my favourite scenes ever, we find out what happens to those that threaten Highgarden’s little flower!

 

5.   Cersei Lannister

Source: HBO

Cersei Lannister is a character that we love to hate, wouldn’t you agree?! It’s easy to point out all her murderous, incestuous flaws, but the one thing we cannot discredit her for is her fierce love for her children. She is, above all, a mother.

Cersei’ s roots in one of the most powerful families make her a formidable foe. Being the Queen definitely has its perks. Being in the spotlight also has its dangers too; it can win you many enemies. Cersei is no stranger to this and uses everything she has about her in order to stay on top. Treading on a few toes to do so is child’s play, let’s put it that way!

 

4.   Jon Snow

Source: HBO

Jon is a Bastard by name, if not so much by his nature.

He has spent his life on the back-foot, all-too-aware that he doesn’t fit in. He has grown up believing that he embodies all that is wrong in a family, which I think is one of the reasons he is driven to always do the right thing. Jon will even sacrifice himself for the greater good – somewhat noble, but I wish he would have some self-worth. That said, however, I think we all love Jon’s almost constant state of brooding. Jon is inarguably one of the kinder, more honourable men in Westeros, but as Ned Stark learned very early on, that doesn’t always serve you well.

 

3.   Daenerys Targaryen

Source: HBO

Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen, the First of Her Name, Queen of the Andals, the Rhoynar and the First Men, The rightful Queen of the Seven Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm, Queen of Dragonstone, Queen of Meereen, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, the Unburnt, Breaker of Chains and Mother of Dragons. So many titles… all of them are applicable.

Dany is probably one of the better character arcs we follow throughout the series. We get to watch her blossom from a meek child into a strong, commanding, dragon-taming woman.

I wouldn’t want to cross her, just saying…

 

2.   Arya Stark

Source: HBO

Here is another lady I wouldn’t cross. Arya transforms from a young, wilful girl struggling to master the etiquette required to become a lady into a woman that re-writes the rules, her way. Arya isn’t one to be told what she can or cannot do – if she sets her mind to it, it’s as good as done.

In the beginning, Arya’s survival was a bit of potluck. She is lucky to fall into the hands of friends in the immediate aftermath of her world being turned upside down. Her fortune doesn’t last, however. She quickly learns how to defend herself after being thrust out into the wide world alone. It’s a learning curve that really defines her character. She is my second favourite character of the series. At one point reading the books I thought she had been killed. I had a tantrum for days and refused to read on, sulking. It was unfounded, but still.

 

1.   Tyrion Lannister

Source: HBO

Finally, we get to my favourite character in the series! A Lannister, I hear you gasp! Yes, you’re reading this right.

I’ve always enjoyed Tyrion’s wit and dry humour. There are so many great quotes in the books that are from this character’s lips. Aside from Arya, he is the only character I wanted to make it through the coming turmoil. As long as he lives, I’m happy.

Tyrion is very intelligent but massively underappreciated. The vitriol and scorn he experiences as a result of his deformity have instilled in him a strength that few characters can match. He is also a great lover of books, which always gets you brownie points with me.

 

So there you have it – my top ten characters of the series! What do you think? Do you agree with me? Who is your favourite character, and why?

 

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Top Ten Tuesday – Struggles of being a book blogger

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme, originally created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

Don’t get me wrong – I love being a book blogger. Having the opportunity to talk about books I love is an absolute privilege. My blog has always been about me (sorry that probably sounds really selfish, but it’s true!) Likes, comments and follows are an amazing perk, but my goal with my blog has always been about channelling my passion for reading and writing.

Nearly two years on, I still have a lot to learn about blogging. I’m still not very good at some things; I can be honest with myself about that. Whether you are new to blogging or a veteran, there’s a lot of juggling to do. Taking on such a hobby is a steep learning curve, but it’s achievable if you have the will and the motivation to make it. There are difficult days though. It’s not always going to be plain sailing. Here are my top ten struggles as a book blogger:-

 

Time

The largest commodity you have (and lose) when it comes to book blogging is time. A review post, when you take into consideration the time taken to read the book in question, can take several hours to produce. On average, for a 300-page book, I probably spend around four hours reading it and at least an hour and a half on my blog post itself. That’s quite a lot, right?

But of course, there is more to life than blogging. We need to eat, sleep, go to work (boo!) or meet friends from time to time etc. All these things snatch an awful lot of time off your hands. You’d be surprised how quickly it disappears!

 

Motivation

Sometimes, things are great! You can devour a book in two hours and get a review chucked together pretty damn quickly. It doesn’t always work that way though. If you’ve been slogging away and making slow progress for a little while, you feel the need for a break. There’s nothing wrong with that. My main hobby outside of the blog at the moment is playing Minecraft (such a nerd, I know). If I need a break from books, I’ll either try to build some new structures in my survival world; go explore some caves and/or strip mine or try (and usually fail) to build a redstone contraption. For those that don’t know, redstone is Minecraft’s equivalent of electricity. I’m not very good with it right now.

 

Being active on Social Media

For some people, this comes as naturally as breathing. On the other hand, I am terrible at it. I’m not religious with posting on my blog accounts (when I probably should be) and I pretty much never post on personal ones. It’s just not natural to me. Some people like to photograph every meal and post it online before they touch it (if there’s no proof it didn’t happen, one may argue). Not me though – I’d rather just eat it…

 

 

Reading Other Blogs

As a blogger, you would like to think I would read other people’s blogs. We’re all part of the same community; it’s only natural, right? Yes, you’re right, and again this is something I am prepared to admit I am terrible at.

I have to make a conscious effort to remember to read other blogs. I’m not in the habit. I even tried to incorporate a section in my Sunday Summary post to appreciate the best posts I’d read that week as an incentive. It’s not worked as well as I’d have liked, but I’m working on it. Promise!!

 

SEO / Marketing

Like, I get the concept, but this whole business is just a whole lot of complicated. I’m never going to be an expert at it so I’m not going to try. If Yoast’s little icon goes green, then I’m happy.

 

 

Over-commitment

It is far too easy to agree to every blog tour, review request and ARC that comes your way. That’s the quickest way to land yourself in a shit-storm. I’ll be frank. I’ve almost done it. When you sign up for too much or have too many imminent deadlines, the danger is you’ll shut down and maybe even turn away from blogging completely. The best thing to do is try not to take on too much. Learn what you are capable of managing and learn to say no. It’s hard, but you’ll thank yourself later. Trust me.

 

Writing posts last minute

This is kind of a drawback as last minute PC updates and blog downtime can put a spanner in the works. You might not even be in the right headspace to write that review that’s due to be published tomorrow. I’ve been here too. Whilst it’s a drawback in a way, I also couldn’t plan these things too much in advance. Firstly, I don’t have the time to write material to give myself a buffer, not even for a week. Secondly, I wouldn’t feel the payoff like I do now. By the time a post goes live, it won’t be fresh in my mind; I’ll have lost my connection to it or even forgotten it entirely.

 

Anti-socialism

This one sounds a little paradoxical – how can someone who publishes their thoughts and feelings openly online and interact with others about that be anti-social? By this, I’m talking about my people circle here at home. My friends and I aren’t the greatest at making plans anyway, but there are times when I don’t even want to go out and socialise – especially if I know I have a busy stint coming up blog-wise. Sorry guys…

 

 

Graphic design/ imagery

I admire people that can put so much time and effort into graphic design. I enjoy doing it, but being my usual last minute self, I don’t have time to produce new graphics for every blog post. I recycle where possible (a lot) and I should probably pull my finger out and try to mix things up a bit more.

 

 

 

Posting reviews to other sites

I know posting reviews to sites like Amazon and Goodreads are so helpful to authors, but I’m not the quickest in getting around to doing it. I tend to do it in batches where possible, but only semi-regularly. I’m just as bad at updating my review index too if that’s any consolation? No, I didn’t think that was going to work, but God loves a trier.

 

 

BLOGGERS – How long have you been blogging and what are your top struggles? Drop me a comment below and we’ll see if we have anything in common!

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Top Ten Tuesday – Book Recommendations

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl.

The thing I enjoy the most about blogging and reading blogs is book recommendations. Whether giving them myself or getting them by reading reviews online, it’s fun. I’m always looking to increase my reading repertoire. I hadn’t ventured into reading horror books until I started my blog and up until that point, I have missed out on enjoying a wide range of authors!

Today I am taking the opportunity to give YOU some book recommendations, but if you have any for me based on my list, then I would love to hear some of your recommendations in the comments!

I’m going to keep this list short and snappy so you can scan through if you want. Where I have reviewed a book on the list, I’ll provide a link to my review in the title. That way you can choose whether you wish to read it or not. I mean OBVIOUSLY, you do… but hey, I want all the views I can get haha!

 

My Top Ten Book Recommendations

 

A Game of Thrones – George R. R. Martin

I would only recommend this for fans of fantasy who aren’t intimidated by larger books and complex plot lines. Isn’t that a given? I think the largest books I read are typically part of the fantasy genre. There are a couple of notable exceptions though. It’s worth the time though – this is by far my favourite series of all time and I will recommend this book again and again until I am blue in the face.

 

Pet Sematary – Stephen King

This was the first horror I read of Stephen King’s. It wasn’t the first of his books I read – that accolade goes to The Green Mile. This was the first in the horror genre though. Since then I have gone on to read IT and listen to The Stand and add many other books to the list.

 

The Discworld Series – Terry Pratchett

What is great about the Discworld series is that it doesn’t matter how many of these you read. You could read them all if you want to, (a feat I am slowly creeping towards), or you could just pick up one to enjoy. The stories are all largely independent of each other and so you’re not committed to a mass reading expedition trying these. They have characters, places and comical themes in common, but they stand alone too. I have read too many of these books to link here, and some before my blogging days. Please search on my blog if you’re interested.

 

The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive #1) – Brandon Sanderson

As with A Game of Thrones, this is another epic read worth the investment. I have only read the first book so far, but the fact that I am willing to recommend the series based on that should say it all…

 

The Green Mile – Stephen King

If this book doesn’t make you ball your eyes out … ahem, upset, then you are not human. I was introduced to the film many years ago but due to the nature of the topics concerned, I hadn’t really watched it in full. The book is even more profound than the film and it is one I will re-visit again and again.

 

The Last Kingdom (series) – Bernard Cornwell

This is a recommendation for anyone who enjoys reading historical fiction. Again, it’s tricky to link the reviews. I love the characters and the narrative is so well written… these books are easy to get lost in. I have read the first three books of the series so far in addition to having watched the first two seasons of the TV adaptation. Muppet here has only JUST realised that Season 3 was released in November last year, but only on Netflix. I’ll have to buy the DVD for it. Next month…

 

Raven’s Mark series – Ed McDonald

Another fantasy series I know, but wow! I love Ryhalt and his sassiness; I relate to his sarcastic outlook, I really do. Ryhalt is almost a bit of an anti-hero – the kind of guy that does what he does to save his own skin MOST of the time. There is a glimmer of humanity in there somewhere though. We need to see more of these characters in books. Let’s face it, not many people are as altruistic as book heroes are!

 

An Almond for a Parrot – Wray Delaney

This book makes it to the list for the comedy factor. It has a blend of fantasy in there too, but my favourite part by far is how it handled the, erm… saucy bits. As a general rule, I don’t like books that go into that much detail in THAT regard. I find it cringe-worthy. So was this one in its own way, but that somehow made it funnier? I couldn’t have “read” this in the traditional way. I listened to the audiobook and the narrator did a fabulous job. It made the story.

 

Strange the Dreamer (series) – Laini Taylor

I recommend this duology for anyone who enjoys magic, YA style. I’m not a huge reader of YA on the whole, but I really enjoyed these. Sometimes I can find the characters immature, but the storyline behind them “finding themselves” after their world is turned upside down both makes sense and drives the plot nicely. There’s a little bit of a romance which is kind of cute. Again, I’m not really a HUGE fan generally but it isn’t overplayed.

 

Code Name Verity – Elizabeth Wein

I want to recommend this historical fiction book to anyone who loves this genre because I did NOT see the plot twist in this one coming. Not only is the character engaging, but we are able to sympathise with her predicament. The level of detail is fantastic and I was blown away by the ending!

 

I’ve tried to vary up my recommendations based on different genres, although Fantasy does prevail a little here! Have you read any of these books?

Do you have any recommendations for me?

 

Top Ten Tuesday – Bookish Pet Peeves

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 was actually inspired to write this post based on a very similar post published when the meme was still hosted at The Broke and The Bookish. You can find their Bookish Pet Peeves here.

So, want to find out what gets my goat?

 

People presuming I’m lonely, antisocial or boring because I want to stay home and read

If it isn’t your hobby, don’t make the above assumption. I go to work for 8 hours a day, five days a week. Looking forward to the moment I can go home, lock the door and have some peace and quiet time is what gets me through my day. I live for and actively look forward to it. Don’t think so little of me.

 

Cracked book spines

Books, naturally, are meant to be opened and read. Why are book spines made so inflexible that you cannot open them without creasing / cracking it? I love to look after my books as much as possible and they are scarred by use – their purpose!

 

When a book ending just flops and drags the book down with it

How many of us have invested time into a book or series that ended up disappointing us? *raises hand* Not only am I disappointed that the book/series could have been so much better for itself, but the selfish part of me also regrets the time I won’t get back from reading it.

 

Annotating in books (especially in PEN?!)

Some people might actually love this. I know people at school used to fight over and jealously guard the annotated copies of books. It meant they didn’t have to read it for themselves or make their own mind up. For the true reader, having these notes just spoils the chance to make their own, unadulterated conclusions from the original text. Doing so in pencil is bad enough, but spoiling a book permanently in pen?! Are you Satan?

 

Disruptions when reading

I don’t mind a little brief conversation or question when I am reading at my desk, but try to tell me your life story and I will GLARE YOU DOWN. I also can’t read with music or my TV on. I’ve had to get used to listening to my neighbours TV. He lives in a separate, soundproofed flat downstairs but he is so hard of hearing, I can tell you what he is watching sometimes.

He likes to watch Countdown at 7am when I am getting ready for work.

 

Switching POV’s mid-chapter

This happens for more than I would like. I have no problem with books with multiple POV’s… if they are separated into different chapters. If I have to work out whose head I am in every few paragraphs, it can get confusing.

 

Folded corners for bookmarks

Again, for book aesthetic reasons. You can use literally ANYTHING as a bookmark!! Paper, card, hell even bookmarks themselves are cheap! Just don’t… I repeat – Don’t. Fold. The. Corners.

 

Shallow characters

If a character does nothing to move the plot along or impart some message to the reader, then they are a waste of space and energy. Get rid of them.

 

Overly specific and long-winded descriptions

Tolkien, I am looking at you here. As beautiful as the Lord of the Rings series is, it isn’t the easiest to read at times. There are lots of feasts with lots of food, all vividly described in detail. It contributes nothing to the plot and only serves to emphasise how greedy hobbits are.

 

Genre snobbery

I know some readers of YA literature feel ‘looked down upon’ by others for their reading choice. Personally, I think it goes both ways. I have previously gotten the impression that YA readers look down on those that don’t for not wanting to read the popular genre and almost label them as uncool. That’s just my interpretation – don’t bite my head off for it.

I can dip into the genre myself, but neither do I read a lot of it nor feel the need to for popularity sakes. Ultimately, we read the books we think we are going to enjoy for our own sakes. Let’s not judge each other for our own preferences.

 

What are your Bookish Pet Peeves? Do you agree with me?

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Favourite Authors

Any reader will tell you that over time, you will discover favourite authors.

Whether entrusting them to guide you through a lesser favoured genre, or you love their writing style, every author and their novels are different experiences for each of us.

I have been reading for many years, branching out more recently to try new books, authors and genres. Based on that, here are my Top Ten Favourite Authors:-

 

Stephen King

The Green Mile was the first book I picked up by Stephen King… and it kindled a real love for his writing. I have since gone on to read Pet Sematary, IT, The Gunslinger (book 1) and listen to The Stand as an audiobook. I have loved each and every one. Obviously The Green Mile is a little different to the majority of his writing. If anything, introducing myself to this author with this book made it easier for me to step into reading horror. It’s a genre I never thought I would like, but I have been proven wrong.

 

 

 

JK Rowling

It would have been criminal not to include J K Rowling on this list. I grew up with the Harry Potter books. They will forever be cemented as a part of my childhood/teen years. I read the last book of the series on holiday as a teenager – I think it was the last year I took physical books on holiday. I must have had four or five books in the suitcase (at least two were hardback; the weight must have been half books). This was the last book I was reading, and it was so good, I physically couldn’t put it down to pack the case to go home.

These will definitely need a re-read in the future!

 

 

Brandon Sanderson

Having read and LOVED the first Mistborn trilogy, I went on to read The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archives). I thought it would be difficult for Sanderson to best those books, but he did. It is taking all my efforts not to binge read the other two books that begin the series. Otherwise, I will be in for a VERY LONG WAIT for the remaining seven.

I am at the point now where I have added more of his books, just because they are his. I don’t know too much about them, but I am willing to give them a try regardless.

 

 

Laini Taylor

I have only read one of Laini Taylor’s books so far. I think it speaks volumes that I read the book outside of my TBR… and very quickly. I’ve also pre-ordered Muse of Nightmares ready for its release in October. Her writing is beautiful, her characters adorable and I just want more! I’ve also added Daughter of Smoke and Bone to the reading list because I loved Strange the Dreamer so much. This book also seems to have a lot of love, so I can’t wait to read this!

 

 

 

Terry Pratchett

I have become a Discworld nerd… that’s for sure. One of my friends in particular had read Pratchett’s work and raved about him a lot. I didn’t really get into the idea… but I think that is because she usually talked about it to one of her other friends. Let’s just say the friendship isn’t mutual and leave it there.

It’s bad that I let that reason put me off trying the books. I regret it now… but better late to the party than never, yes?

 

 

Terry Goodkind

I began reading the Sword of Truth series as a teenager, thanks to stumbling across Wizard’s First Rule in the school library. I’ll admit, since leaving school I haven’t really made much further progress with these books. That doesn’t mean I don’t intend to though! I love the characters and the world-building, but most importantly, the writing style. I think I am part way through book 5 of the series. I’ll have to give myself a re-cap and start that one again probably.

 

 

 

Bernard Cornwell

It is one of the rare occasions in which I had watched The Last Kingdom before I discovered it was based on a book series. When unveiling this “grand revelation” to a colleague who I knew had also watched the series… it turned out not to be a revelation to her at all. My disappointment at her knowing this already was short-lived, however, as she loaned me a copy of the book.

The rest, as they say, is history. Excuse the pun.

I have only read the first four books of the series so far, but Bernard Cornwell has plenty of other works. Irrespective of whether I have an established interest in the historical period they are based in already, I’ll read them anyway.

 

J. R. R. Tolkien

I don’t think I need to go into any particular detail when telling you which books this author is famous for. If you don’t know, then I wonder which rock you have lived under all your life.

I have read the most famous books of his, with the exception of The Silmarillion. There are an ample number of books that are based about the characters and history of the main series though. I hope to go on to read some of those. Unlike the other authors, his work is a little less diverse, but that is no criticism. It must have taken a lot of time and effort to develop Middle Earth to be the fantastical realm it is today.

 

George R R Martin

George R. R. Martin has written many works in his time. Most notably is he known for the Song of Ice & Fire series, (aka A Game of Thrones to those not familiar), he developed a lot of his writing skill in producing short stories.

I read A Game of Thrones first, before I realised many of his short stories were in anthologies and other publications. I went on to read those based on my love of this series. All I knew was that he wrote science-fiction, and not much else. I love some of those stories though – the first that comes to mind is Sand Kings.

If there is one thing I have learned, it is that I will read pretty much anything this God of literature sees fit to put on paper. Whether my genre or not, I’ve enjoyed reading his works so far. Long may it continue!

 

Patrick Rothfuss

I cannot tell you how much I love this man’s series, The Kingkiller Chronicles. The narrative is beautiful. He is a master storyteller through and through.

I haven’t yet read anything else other than the above series… but the principle is the same. Patrick Rothfuss is basically an “auto buy” author. It doesn’t matter what he writes, I want it.

I’m quite intrigued by The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle series. These are in the format of children’s books… but are NOT children’s books. I am lead to believe they are quite dark, which I am curious to see. I must be a not-so-secret sadistic person!

 

 

Whose books do you love? Are there any authors you auto purchase books for? Let me know in the comments!

Sunday Summary June 2018

Sunday Summary – 10th June 2018

Even the Sunday Summary post is late this week. Fabulous.

This week has been really topsy-turvy, and I feel like I’m apologising all the time for late posts. I’m probably the only person that notices. So yeah, sorry (again) for the late post. You can blame Windows updates on my laptop for this one – only after all the time and effort, it failed! That’s technology for you eh?

Anywho, here we are. Have you had a good reading week?

 

Books Read

I didn’t read as much as I would have liked this week. Again, I’ve been plagued with IT issues in getting my blog set up on a self-hosted site. Don’t get me wrong, the upgrade is certainly worth it and I’d do it all again, but I still have a number of broken links (250…ish) to fix, and that’s all after a very impatient wait to get my site transferred in the first place!

So, has the hard work paid off? What do you think of the new site?

In the moments I haven’t been inches away from throwing my laptop out of the nearest window, I been buried in one book or another. I’ve been making further progress in reading The Irrationalist by Andrew Pessin – if you want to know a little more of the story you can either check out my comments in last week’s Sunday Summary post or alternatively via OpenBooks. I would have liked to make a bit more progress on this one, but I am aiming to finish this by next Sunday’s post.

I have a Blog Tour coming up for Chilling Tales of the Unexpected, so I have also been reading the first couple of stories (out of the four within). That post is actually coming up next week, so finishing this short book is a priority for the next day or two. So far I am finding these reads really easy to either pick up as a break from heavy material or even in the few minutes before starting work. I don’t think it will take long to read the remainder of the book.

Lastly, Nevernight. Again, this is a book I am listening to and chipping away at in the mornings. I love the tone and humour in it – it really does brighten up my day! I’ll be needing the lift when the alarm goes off at 6:40 tomorrow morning, believe me.

 

Books Discovered

I have seen this book around for a while, but I confess I hadn’t read much about it or the reviews for it until last week. It has been displayed in my local *large chain bookshop* – so I decided I’d see what it was all about.

Aside from the vodka at weekends, this is just me. Routine 9-5 job, run-of-the-mill weekends… week in and week out. I think I will relate to this so much; I only wish I had looked at this sooner.

 

Coming Up…

This week, I think I am going to treat you to a Top Ten Tuesday post! We have had some absolutely fabulous weather over here – it must be a record for the longest dry-spell we have had. With that in mind, I am going to put together my Top Ten Summer reads. Maybe we’ll have some books in common!

 

 

 

So guys, as I mentioned earlier, I’ll be partaking in a Blog Tour this week for Chilling Tales of the Unexpected by Ann Girdharry. I am really looking forward to sharing my thoughts with you about this collection of short stories, so please tune in on Thursday.

 

 

 

And last, but not least, I’ll be wrapping up the week with my usual Sunday Summary post. I have actually quite enjoyed writing this post a little later in the day (writing a weekly wrap up and posting for midday on day seven seems a little strange, thinking about it). I’ve also found it a bit easier to write as I am not so time-pressured. Basically, I’m saying I am going to try this again next week.

 

I hope the wait has been worthwhile and I look forward to seeing you around! If you have a minute to drop me a line, your comments are always appreciated!

Top Ten Tuesday – Books of the Year

Hi everyone!!
So I figured it was about time I shared my top reads of the year with you, as we are fast approaching the end of the year (and those all-important reading challenge deadlines!) I’m pleased to say I am so close to mine, being on the LAST BOOK of my challenge, Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein.
I’m keeping matters brief here, but if you want to read more of my thoughts about any of these book, I have linked my reviews to each title for you.
So, without any further preamble (to which I am apt), here are my Top Ten Reads of the Year:-

10 River God – Wilbur Smith

River God
River God was recommended to me by a work colleague and I am glad I have started the series. The writing style is wonderful, and I am also blessed to know that a dear family member of mine used to love the works of Wilbur Smith. Knowing that gives me another little thing to remember them by. I can’t say I love all the characters all the time, but I can’t wait to see where the rest of the series takes us.
 

Lord of the Rings: Return of the King – J. R. R. Tolkien

LOTR Return cover
I am both sad and gladdened to have finished this series this year. That probably sounds odd to some, but there is nothing quite the same about reading a book again for the second time. That won’t stop me, but it doesn’t have that magic spark you get when you don’t know what is going to happen and the suspense is killing you. Admittedly, you probably pick up on more subtle hints when you read again… I’ll have to find out when I revisit.
 

The Last Kingdom – Bernard Cornwell

The Last Kingdom
Here is another series started on the basis of both watching the TV series and on a recommendation. Cornwell’s writing is also fantastic and he succeeds in writing Uhtred’s character in such a way that he is loveably arrogant – and that is hard to do. I also love the historical fiction element, and with the filming of the next series starting next year, I’ll have to get reading!!
 

Witches Abroad – Terry Pratchett

Witches Abroad.jpg
This is, so far, my favourite book by Terry Pratchett. I love the fairytale theme and the messages he so often likes to portray. Greed and vanity can be your downfall if you let it rule you. I also love to see the development of Gytha Ogg’s character. In the prior Witches books, she takes more of a backseat and that doesn’t suit her. I love the bawdy jokes, her huge personality and “don’t give a monkeys” attitude. Witches Abroad is satire at its best.
 

Making History – Stephen Fry

Making History
I didn’t expect to love this book as much as I did. Again taking a leaf out of History’s book, it considers what might have happened had Adolf Hitler not been born and the impact on the rest of the world. It is an entertaining, fictional read, with our main character progressing from bumbling through life to changing the course of History rapidly, and each of the characters are very relatable.
 

To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee

To Kill A Mockingbird.jpg
I’m glad I tackled this classic this year. It is a book that was available to study through school, though it wasn’t one I was ever fortunate enough to read there. I’m glad I took the plunge though, as it makes for provocative reading in terms of educating ourselves on the injustice of the system in place not all that long ago. Makes you think, huh.
 

The Green Mile – Stephen King

Green Mile
I have lost count of the number of excited rants I have had about this book, and I am not going to go into another one because we could be here all day! Again, as in with To Kill a Mockingbird, The Green Mile is a real eye-opener as to how segregated society was (and arguably, still is). I won’t get into it though. If you want to read more, check out my full review by clicking on the title.
 

IT – Stephen King

IT
This is the longest book I have read all year. Not only that, it captures your attention and stirs your imagination, wondering what could be so terrible as to haunt the town of Derry so brutally. The fact that a book can be so long and both 1) popular and 2) keep your attention throughout, says a lot about Stephen King’s writing. What a legend this man is.
 

2     The Way of Kings – Brandon Sanderson

The Way of Kings 2
If I have one regret about this book, it is that I haven’t picked it up sooner. I literally only started reading this in October and I can testify it promises to be a fantastic series! Book 3 0f 10, Oathbringer, has only just been released, so I am going to have to pace myself I think.
Who am I kidding, I am not going to pace myself at all…
 

1     Thank you for review requests!


Lastly, I want to say a HUGE thank you to all you independent authors that approached me with review requests this year. I am very humbled that each of you took the time to read my blog and chose to approach me for a review. I couldn’t possibly pick any one of these over the others as a favourite, as I have read such wonderful and diverse books, so I wanted to take the time to celebrate them all.
 
I truly have been able to read some fantastic books this year and I hope to have as much success next year. What have you been reading and absolutely loved? If you have any recommendations for next year I would love to hear them!!
Rebecca mono