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Sunday Summary – 3rd July 2022

Good evening everyone – it is the end of yet another week and so it’s time for my Sunday Summary update! This week’s blogging schedule didn’t quite go to plan, for reasons I’ll explain below. However, all-in-all, it has been a very good week and I have some good personal news to share!

I sat an exam for a professional qualification on Wednesday this week, which I’m pleased to say I passed! Naturally, this meant that last-minute revision was my focus for the first couple of days of the week. Consequently, that means I haven’t gotten as much reading done as I normally do, but also, it threw off my blogging schedule a little.

I originally planned to share a book review at the beginning of the week, and a mid-year review later on in the week. In the end, my book review for Dune by Frank Herbert went out on Thursday, later than scheduled. This is purely because I ended up putting in some more revision time last minute, and then after I had sat the exam I wanted to give myself a bit of a well-earned break. As a result, my mid-year review has not been shared, but you can expect this very, very soon.

 

Books Read

For reasons explained above, I haven’t read as much as I would in a typical week. I am pleased to report though that I finished reading Skyward by Brandon Sanderson last night.

I really liked this book as it is very different from the other books I have read by this author. A lot of his other works have a lot of magic/fantastical elements interwoven into them. But where Skyward differs is that it leans very hard into the science-fiction genre rather than fantasy. That made it a completely different experience for me. You could also tell through the writing style that it is targeting a young adult audience, rather than an adult one. However, I really enjoyed this. I feel like a lot of young teenagers could really get on Spensa’s angsty teenager wavelength and relate to her as our protagonist.

Yet another five-star rating for a Brandon Sanderson novel!

I’ve also made some further progress with listening to Northern Lights by Philip Pullman. Most of my progress in this audiobook was made on Thursday and Friday this week. I have been doing some other bits and pieces after my exam and listening to this audiobook fit in nicely with that. I am now approximately halfway through this audiobook. It’s not a long one, so progress is going to be quite quick. I may not get it all listened to in the next week, but perhaps the following one.

The feelings I shared about this audiobook have not changed since last week. The casting of characters for this one just doesn’t see it with me, and Lyra’s voice actor is very frustrating to listen to. I’ve also seen a review of this audiobook in which somebody else says the exact same thing, so I’m not the only one!

 

Books Discovered

I’ve added one book to my reading list this week, having heard about it from Kaytee on the Currently Reading podcast. She has read this book recently, and her set-up of what the book was about really appealed to me! The book is set in Thailand and aimed at a middle-grade audience, but it has elements of magical realism (which appeals to my fantasy-loving self) and is loosely based on the story of Les Miserables. I thought that was a really unique combination, and the plot itself has drawn me in. I can’t wait to pick this one up for myself, as it’s very different from some of the other books I would usually read!

 

Coming Up…

Early this week I will be sharing my mid-year review post as originally planned last week. However, due to timing constraints, I’ve decided to combine this with my typical month-end wrap-up as well! The format will be much like my end-of-April review, in which I did my usual wrap-up and then inserted a commentary about my progress with my Goodreads challenge etc.

With it being the beginning of a new month I also have a Reading List to share with you. Now that my exam is over I am keen to dive into more books; I have quite a varied list to share with you this month, and I can’t wait for you to see it!

Next Sunday I will be back with my usual Sunday Summary wrap-up, talking about the books I’ve been reading/listening to and all my bookish updates.

For now, though, that’s all from me in today’s Sunday Summary. Have you been reading anything interesting lately?

 

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Sunday Summary – 26th June 2022

Hello and welcome to this week’s Sunday Summary post. I’m looking forward to sharing all my bookish updates with you from this week! I hope you have had a good one as well?

My first blog post of the week was a Top Ten Tuesday post. In that post, I talked about my top ten bookish wishes, or books that I have my eye on acquiring next. I really enjoyed writing about the books I have in mind, and also to set down how I want to acquire a copy of each book as well. It stops me buying them willy-nilly and in the wrong format.

Later in the week I shared a First Lines Friday post. I didn’t set myself a challenge for this week’s feature, but I enjoyed that. I had free rein to choose whatever I liked, and this week’s feature is one that also happened to feature in my top ten bookish wishes post. I’m also very particular on getting a physical copy of this book, as it’s not written in prose. It’s a compilation of various different types of documents, so there’s a lot more visuality to it. Can you guess the book from the opening lines?

 

Books Read

As of last week’s Sunday Summary update I had just started Skyward by Brandon Sanderson. I was a humble 36 pages in and already hooked by protagonist Spensa‘s history and upcoming struggles.

My reading progress has slowed down a little bit this week, but I expected that. I have an exam coming up next week and I’ve been prioritising my revision for that. Even so, I’ve still managed to read a respectable 280 pages. That’s over half of the book, so I’m really happy with my progress. I’m hoping that I’ll still manage to get this finished before the end of the month, meaning that I will finish my first monthly TBR this year. We’ll see if that pans out though – I won’t be mad if I don’t quite get there. 

I have also made very good progress with audiobooks this week. I’ve talked about my hit and miss relationship with audiobooks, but I’m definitely in a phase of listening to them. This week I have been listening to a book that I wouldn’t have picked up if it had not been recommended to me. A colleague at work recommended Jeffrey Archer’s prison diaries to me. They were free to download from Audible at the time.

This week I’ve listened to the first book, Hell, in its entirety. Listening to this book really worked out for me. I am conscious of the fact I don’t read much non-fiction, and I’m trying to change that. Even then, I read or listen to any kind of biography even less often. I couldn’t tell you the last time I picked up a biography or autobiography. So, this gave me a great opportunity to break that habit. I’ll admit I didn’t have much prior knowledge of the events that happened in this book and so it was an eye-opener for me. It’s also a reasonably short listen (7 hours or so), which is why I managed to get through it in just one week.

I’ve also started a second audiobook this week, albeit a very different subject. Falling back into semi-familiar territory, I have started listening to Philip Pullman‘s Northern Lights, the first book of the ‘His Dark Materials’ series. I’m approximately 20% through this one as of this update post. I’m liking the story so far, although I have a couple of small gripes.

The book is predominantly narrated by Philip Pullman himself, but any character’s speech is narrated by somebody else (each character is separately cast). I would personally prefer for the audiobook not to have a full cast and to be narrated by just one person. Some people like audiobooks with a full cast as it helps distinguish between characters. However, it’s not working for me here. Not only that, but the person who is a voice actor for Lyra has a voice that really grates on me! I won’t let it deter me from the rest of the book though!

 

Books Discovered

I’m cursing myself once again for not making a note of where I’ve discovered this week’s addition to my TBR. I was convinced I had seen it on an email, but I’ve not been able to find my source again. Regardless, I added Against All Gods by Miles Cameron as I really like the sound of it! The synopsis of the book reminds me of Terry Pratchett, and I’ll explain why.

In the Discworld series, there is a bit of a parody with gods moving human beings like pieces on a chess board. If you read the synopsis of against all gods, then you’ll see why it reminded me of this: –

The gods play their games, looking down on the mortal realm and moving men as pawns. Sacrificing lives, towns, even civilisations as they make moves against each other, oblivious to and uncaring of the suffering it causes.

They are above it all: worshipped, emulated and admired.

Yet there is one among them who exists to sow chaos, to challenge the way of things, and to stir up trouble. One who sees the gods growing indolent and contented and selfish . . . and who is ready to meddle in the world of men. Not as part of the immortal game, but because they believe it’s possible for men to challenge . . . and even topple . . . the gods themselves.

An epic which draws on the Greek mythology of gods and heroes, this new trilogy is a must read for fans of Dan Simmons and Madeline Miller alike.

So, I am sure you can see why this appeals.

It’s an epic fantasy book that has just been released, and I also like that the gods draw on Greek mythology. I have read some other books based on Greek mythology before, so I do have a foundation of who the characters are. I’m looking forward to see how all these different elements mash together!

 

Coming Up…

I’d like to start off this week by sharing a book review with you; I have plenty of books that I am still yet to review. However, to make my life easier (because of the upcoming exam), I’m going to be reviewing something I’ve read this year. That way, my thoughts are fresh in my mind, but also I’ve been writing down my thoughts shortly after reading books. Therefore, I’ve got most of review already written and ready to go.

This week, I am going to be sharing my thoughts on Dune by Frank Herbert. My choice of reviewing this book is also because I have since gone on to read additional books in the series. I don’t want to get so far behind as I have with other series that I’m having to go back too far.

Friday is the 1st of July, and we will be over halfway through 2022! With that in mind, later this week I’d like to take a look at my reading progress throughout the year so far, review my reading goals and have a chat about my upcoming plans for the second half of the year.

And as always, I will be back this time next week with another Sunday Summary update post.

I hope you have enjoyed today’s update! What have you been reading?

 

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First Lines Friday – 24/06/2022

Welcome to today’s First Lines Friday post! First Lines Friday is a regular (typically fortnightly) series on my blog. It’s a fun way to share books I love, those I am interested in and/or are on my TBR… or even just to experiment with something new!

For this week‘s First Lines Friday post, I decided to keep my subject open. Whilst it is fun to set myself a challenge sometimes, I didn’t have any inspiration or idea as to what I wanted to do. So, I kept it open and I’ve had a good long think; I’m really happy with the book I’ve chose to feature today.

Can you guess what it is?

 

 


Memorandum for: Executive Director Frobisher

From: Ghost ID (#6755–4181–2584–1597–9 87–610–377-ERROR-ERROR…)

Incept: 01/29/76

Subject: Alexander dossier

___________________________________________________

So here’s the file that almost killed me, Director.

I won’t bore you with the tally of databases plundered, light-years jumped, or cute, sniffling orphans created in its compilation – our fee already reflects Level Of Difficulty. But this dirt is out there, if you know where to look. It seems your cleanup crews weren’t quite as thorough as you’d like, and your little corporate war isn’t quite a secret as you’d hoped.

 

 

 

Illuminae – Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Goodreads – Illuminae

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival mega-corporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than a speck at the edge of the universe. Now with enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra — who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to evacuate with a hostile warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A plague has broken out and is mutating with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a web of data to find the truth, it’s clear the only person who can help her is the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents — including emails, maps, files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more — Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

 

My Thoughts…

I’ve had my eye on this book for some time. The story is told through a compilation of correspondence and documentation as opposed to traditional prose, which interests me. This is something I’ve read and enjoyed recently (The Appeal by Janice Hallett). Given that I liked this one as much as I did, I can’t wait to try another book in this format. I’ve already decided, given the format, that I want a physical copy of this book/series. I talked about this in my top ten bookish wishes post earlier this week

I’m also a fan of Jay Kristoff. I first listened to his Nevernight Chronicles trilogy, and from there fell in love. I’ve gone on to purchase physical copies of these books to read again, and more recently, purchased and read Empire of the Vampire. This is my favourite read of 2022 so far, so I’m really excited to pick up something new by him.

Collaborations with other authors can be a bit hit and miss, but as I haven’t read anything by Amie Kaufman yet, I don’t feel like I can judge. I will just have to see how this goes! If I go on to enjoy these books then I have another series I can pick up that is co-authored by this duo. It’s a young adult science-fiction novel, which I feel like will be up my street! Especially considering I am reading a young adult science-fiction book by Brandon Sanderson at the moment, and really enjoying it. 

 

I hope you have enjoyed today’s First Lines Friday post! Have you read Illuminae, the rest of the series or any of the other books also written by these authors? I’d love to know in the comments!

 

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Sunday Summary – 19th June 2022

Good evening and welcome to my Sunday Summary update post! I hope all you amazing Dads out there have had a lovely Father’s Day and been spoilt!

I started off this week with sharing a discussion post, the topic being about getting out of your comfort zone when reading. It has been a little while since I drafted a post of this type and I enjoyed doing so. It ended up being quite a long post, in which I discussed ways you could push your boundaries, shared why that’s benefited me and how I plan to continue getting out of my comfort zone.

Later in the week, I returned to my usual Friday feature posts. This week, I shared a Shelf Control post and featured a book that has been on my TBR since 2018. It is a ‘new to me’ author, even though they are prominent in the genre. If you want to find out more, you can do so with the link above.

 

Books Read

As of my last Sunday Summary update I had just started The Appeal by Janice Hallett. I was approximately 25 pages in and really looking forward to diving into this book.

I read the book in its entirety in four days! The format of the story was fantastic! I love how it was told through correspondence between characters. As a reader, it makes you read between the lines and try to decipher the subtext. After all, we only see the online interactions and not what happens in person.

I also really enjoyed the complexity of the characters and the storyline. As far as the murder mystery goes, this kind of book shows you that it can be very obscure. Every character had a motive or a reason to be involved or not trusted. The story was very complex, but at the same time easy to follow and very intriguing! The way it has been written was very cleverly done and I personally enjoyed the change of pace!

I had a little break from reading for a few days, however I started my next and last ‘official’ book on my TBR today. For half an hour or so before going to visit my parents, I read the 36 pages of Skyward by Brandon Sanderson. It’s a solid introduction to this book so far and I can’t wait to see how the story progresses.

In the prologue and first three chapters, the history of the main character Spensa has been established, and from there I expect a wonderful story of what is apparently a very stubborn girl determined to fight against the prejudice she experiences. I can’t wait to dive into this one more and I’ll have more to tell you in next week’s update.

Lastly, I finished Knight’s Shadow by Sebastien de Castell this week. I have gone from listening to practically nothing to a complete switch around and managed to finish an audiobook! I really enjoyed this second instalment to the series. I had no idea how some of the complications the characters were having were going to resolve themselves, But I really enjoyed how this was done!

 

Books Discovered

I have added a couple of books to my TBR this week. Both are very different from each other, which only goes to show how different my reading taste is.

The first book is written by Margaret Atwood, called Alias Grace. I’ll admit that I hadn’t heard of this book before until I discovered it in a video by @schulerbooks on TikTok. Yes, I have joined TikTok for the bookish community there! I really like the description of the book and the video I found prompted me to find out more. Consequently, I added this to my reading list as I think I’ll really enjoy this one. I like the unreliable narrator trope, which is a prominent feature in this book.

After some consideration I have added The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake to my reading list. I’ve seen quite a few people talking about this book, but most prominently from one booktuber I follow who really enjoys the dark academia theme/genre. This book falls into that category and as she loves it so much, I’m willing to give it a go!

 

Coming Up…

I like the idea of this week’s Top Ten Tuesday post, which is top ten bookish wishes. The idea is to share the top ten books you would like to own and if you set up a Wishlist on Amazon, provide a link to it so people can get a copy to you if they want to purchase it for you. I’m not going to do this; if I want a book I’ll buy it myself, or ask for a copy from family as a gift for an occasion. So, I won’t be adding the wish list, but I will be talking about the top ten books on my TBR that I want to own next!

On Friday I will be sharing a First Lines Friday post. The last few times I have done this type of post I have set myself a challenge. I don’t have anything in particular in mind and so this week I’m going to keep it open and decide which book to feature later in the week.

And last, but certainly not least, I’ll be back with a Sunday Summary post this time next week with all my fresh updates for you!

That’s all from me in today’s Sunday Summary. What are you currently reading?

 

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Monthly TBR – June 2022

Hello and welcome to my June Monthly TBR post!

I had a fantastic month of reading in May and I’m keen for the run to continue. Last month I put one less book on my list, purely because one of the reads I planned to pick up was over 700 pages long in its own right. I’m glad I picked this up and read it though because it has become my favourite read of 2022 so far! It’s going to be a tough one to beat, but I’m not averse to finding something even greater.

I can’t lie, I’ve had a bit of a challenge setting myself a TBR. I had one all planned out that I was excited for, but I’ve changed it several times since. Clearly I’m in a very changeable mood at the moment. I don’t want to stifle myself by committing to a list of books that I then lose enthusiasm for as I pick them up, so I’ve made a decision to have a very flexible TBR this month. So, most of my reads are going to be mood reads. As you know, I normally only set a couple of those a month, but I feel like it’s the right thing to do with my mindset at the moment.

This may also work in my favour. I have an exam to sit at the end of the month that naturally I am revising for more than ever, so having less commitments can only be better for me in that sense.

 

Fixed Reads

Wolf of Mercia

I’m only setting one fixed read this month because I’m taking part in a blog tour for this book on the 10th of June. That’s only really just around the corner, and so I picked this up in the last couple of days already to really try and make progress with it.

So far I’ve been successful and as of writing this post I am just over 70% of the way through this book. I’m really enjoying how it’s going and the character progression that has taken place since Son of Mercia, the first book in the series, that I reviewed earlier this year. I can’t wait to bring my full thoughts on the book to you in my blog tour post on the 10th.

 

Mood Reads

Norse Mythology

I have a bit of a rocky relationship with Neil Gaiman, however I’m going to give him one last try with his retelling of Norse myths. I feel like this is fairly safe territory, but we will have to see. If I don’t get on with this book then I’m pretty much going to swear off Neil Gaiman completely. He is quite a big name in the fantasy genre but the highest rating I’ve ever given him is a three star. I didn’t like another book of his even though I finished it and I’ve DNF’d others. I actually bought this copy of North Mythology several years ago before I went on to read some of the books of his that I didn’t like, so that’s how I ended up having a copy. We’ll see how this goes!

 

Assassin’s Apprentice

Not long ago I shared the First Lines Friday post in which I gave you insight into a book I was going to read later this year. Robin Hobb has been on my radar for such a long time and having sampled Assassin’s Apprentice on more than one occasion, I’ve decided now is the time to read it. I’ve seen a couple of booktubers (book bloggers who review their reads on YouTube, in case you aren’t familiar with the term) talking about later books in the series/universe and that has prompted me to decide to pick this one up now. I always knew I was going to pick it up later this year, but I think it’s going to be sooner rather than later.

As this is a mood read this is subject to change, but I’m hoping not! I’m quite excited for this one! 

 

Skyward

I’m a huge fan of Brandon Sanderson and having copies of both Skyward and Starsight on my bookshelves has prompted me to think about picking up the series.

I’ve also heard a little bit about it recently as well, and I’m ready to give this new one a try. What I really like about Brandon Sanderson so far is that I have enjoyed every one of his wide catalogue of books. They are all different, unique and have their own magic systems and plotlines, but it doesn’t matter. He has a way of writing them in such a way that every single one is enjoyable for their uniqueness and I can’t fault him.

 

The Appeal

The last book I’m going to put on my mood read list is The Appeal by Janice Hallett. I received a copy of this book for Christmas from my sister’s boyfriend Chris and what interests me about this book is that the story is told in different mediums. Rather than the typical prose we are used to, the story is told through the likes of emails, text messages and letters between characters. It’s a unique way to tell a story and I think it will be good for me to have a little bit of change and pick up something different.

 

If I get through all these books this month, then great! I’ll continue with the reading and keep you up-to-date with my Sunday Summary posts as to what I pick up next. I may not though… and that’s fine. I do have the likes of preparing for my exam to think about (and that comes first)! Once that’s done I’ll have plenty of time and opportunity to carry on reading.

I honestly can’t predict how progress with my June TBR is going to go. So far things are looking really great as I’ve nearly read my first book of the month already. That may change depending on what I pick up or what demands I have personally that I need to deal with first. I’ll just have to go with the flow this month. I definitely think that going with a more fluid monthly TBR this time is the way to go… And at the end of the month I can reflect on that and we can see whether this is something I want to adopt a little bit more permanently or not.

For now, that’s all for me in today’s June TBR post. What are you reading this month? Have you read any of the books on this list and if so, did you enjoy them? I’d love to know what you think!

 

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First Lines Friday – 20/05/2022

Welcome to my First Lines Friday post! First Lines Friday is a regular (typically fortnightly) series on my blog. It’s a fun way to share books I love, those I am interested in and/or are on my TBR… or even just to experiment with something new!

I knew I wanted to set myself another challenge for this post. Sometimes it’s nice to have the freedom of choice to be able to pick up anything at random and feature it. However, I do relish a challenge. I was in the mood to set one for myself when I drafted my last Sunday Summary post… so here we are! The challenge I set for myself in today’s post is to feature a book I plan on reading sometime this year. It’s a fun topic because it gives me a way of getting excited for the book in advance, but the best thing about it is that I get to share some of my reading plans with you!

But, before we jump right into the spoilers, shall we check out today’s intro and see if you can guess what it is?

 

A history of the Six Duchies is of necessity a history of its ruling family, the Farseers. A complete telling would reach back beyond the founding of the first Duchy, and if search names were remembered, would you tell us of Outislanders raiding from the sea, visiting as pirates a shore more temperate and gentler than the icy beaches of the Out Islands. But we do not know the names of these earliest forebears.

And of the first real king, little more than his name and some extravagant legends remain. Taker his name was, quite simply, and perhaps with that naming began the tradition that daughters and sons of his lineage would be given names that would shape their lives and beings. Folk beliefs claim that such names were sealed to the newborn babes by magic, and that these royal offspring were incapable of betraying the virtues whose names they bore. Passed through fire and plunged through salt water and offered to the winds of the air; thus were names sealed to these chosen children. So we are told. A pretty fancy, and perhaps once there was such a ritual, but history shows us that this was not always sufficient to bind the child to the virtue that named it…

 

 

Assassin’s Apprentice – Robin Hobb

Goodreads – Assassin’s Apprentice

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

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

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

 

My Thoughts…

If you know your fantasy books, then you may have picked up a hint from the first sentence of today’s extract, even if you don’t recognise it in its entirety. The keyword was Farseers. Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb is the first book in the Farseers trilogy and I am finally going to start it this year!

I’ve sampled reading this book a couple of times – the first on my phone years ago and another time I think I started reading it on an iPad. But here’s the thing, I don’t read that way. I think I wanted to try the book out, to sample it and see what I thought. I was excited enough about it to go out of my way to try it, but it never quite made it to be my current read. It’s my own fault. I was always trying it at a time when I was reading something else, and it wasn’t really a priority.

But I’m going to make it a priority.

I love fantasy and I have great hopes for this series and this author. One of my friends with whom I have a similar reading taste is a fan of Robin Hobb and she has recommended these books to me in the past. I really liked what I’ve seen based on the first of chapter or two I’ve tried, and this year I swear I’m going to start in earnest.

I wouldn’t be surprised if this is a book series that makes it onto my bookshelves. My copy of Assassin’s Apprentice, the first book, is currently on kindle, and I will read it that way for the moment. If I love it as much as I think I’m going to, then I’ll end up buying a paperback copy and purchasing the rest of the series that way as well!

I can’t wait to invest time into this properly. It’s full of potential and I am looking for a new fantasy series and author to dive into! I feel like this is going to be the right time to give this a go!

 

This has been quite a long First Lines Friday post, but I hope you can tell how excited I am for this book! Have you read Assassin’s Apprentice, the rest of the trilogy or even any of the other books also written by Robin Hobb? I’d be really interested to see how you feel about the books and her writing, so please drop me a comment below and let me know what you think!

 

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Monthly TBR – May 2022

Hello and welcome to my Monthly TBR for May! It’s the beginning of yet another month and so it’s time to share what I plan to read over the next few weeks with you! I have some great books on the list and as always, I’m going to try and give myself time to fit in a couple of mood reads. Even just one would be nice. I haven’t managed to get to any over the last couple of months, so I’m setting myself a slightly reduced fixed list in the hope that I can get there this month!

 

Fixed Reads

Crowfall

It feels kind of weird to feature this book in a way, because not only has it been on my last few TBR’s, but also because I am over two thirds through the book as of writing this post. I picked up Crowfall right at the beginning of this month after just finishing Ravencry, its predecessor. We are now a few days into May and I’ve been flying through this book – so much so that I’m hoping to finish this one very very soon!

So yes, it feels a bit strange, because I’m featuring it at a time when I’m about to finish it!

 

The Duke and I

The Duke and I was on my ‘mood read list’ last month, but as you know, I didn’t get round to it. That’s not the end of the world, because what I’ve taken to doing (if I can) is bump my mood reads up onto my fixed list if I still want to read them the following month. And I really do want to give this ago!

I’m still not 100% sure if this will be my cup of tea as it’s more of a romance than I’m used to reading. But, I do enjoy historical fiction and so I’m willing to give it a go for that reason. I have also really enjoyed The Netflix TV shows based on these books, so I’m hopeful that this will be an exception to the rule instead of a DNF! Having not long taken part in a contradictions book tag, that post has reminded me that sometimes we can be surprised by what we like when we don’t expect to, but also vice versa!

 

Empire of the Vampire

Another reason why I am setting a slightly smaller reading list this month is because I am picking up this chunk of a book.

At over 700 pages in its own right, this is going to be a substantial read. Maybe not quite enough to equate to 2 books of average length (for me), but it’s still plenty to be sinking my teeth into. The pun was fully intended!

As a general rule, I’m not big on vampire stories either, but that’s not to say I can’t enjoy them. I have enjoyed elements of them in the past, and frankly, I’m willing to overlook the fact because this is written by Jay Kristoff. I loved his Nevernight series and I autobought this book on that basis – that’s how much I loved them! I’ve also seen reviews that it has a very Patrick Rothfuss-y ‘The Name of the Wind’ vibe about its narration, and I’m all for that too!

 

Mood Reads

Dune Messiah

I just bought myself a copy of Dune Messiah at my local Waterstones the other day (not a spoiler because I’ve already shared it on my Instagram) and I want to read it – soon!

I saw this on a whim, but as I have the first book in paperback, I decided to pick this up, as well as the third book of the series (Children of Dune), with some vouchers I had. Not only have I watched the new film recently, but I did also read that first book of the series earlier this year. And I really enjoyed it, so whilst it’s fresh in my mind I’m thinking this might be my next good book to read. It’s also comparatively short at around 300 pages, so quite digestible. It will be a good one to pick up if I want something more concise.

 

Death of Kings

I’ve started watching the fourth series of The Last Kingdom in the last week, and it’s reminded me that I have the next book in the series yet to pick up. Technically the events in this book cover what occurred at the end of the last series, but I really don’t mind! I want to keep going with the series because I’m really loving the setting, the characters and the overall conflict that keeps rearing its head. As a fan of historical fiction it ticks a lot of boxes for me. And, it’s been awhile since I picked the last one up… so it’s about time I got stuck back in!

 

I may have pencilled in what I think my mood reads are going to be, they are precisely that – mood reads. That means that whilst these are books I want to pick up now, I might change my mind when it comes to it. If I want to pick up something totally different then that’s okay. I find giving myself the time to pick up something on a whim suits me. It keeps my reading motivation up and keeps it fun. It’s only my hobby, after all!

Have you read any of the books on my TBR? What are you reading this month? Let me know in the comments or on social media!

 

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Monthly Wrap-Up – April 2022

Welcome to today’s Monthly Wrap-Up for April 2022! We are already a third of the way through the year and honestly, time is flying once again! In today’s post I want to talk about the books I’ve been reading throughout the month of April, as well as provide a little commentary on where I’m up to with my 2022 Goodreads Challenge.

Get yourself a cuppa and make yourself comfortable!

 

Books Read

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

My first read of the month, carried forward from March, was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling. This is the longest read on my list so far this year; even having started and read a couple of hundred pages in March, I still had around five hundred to go to get to the end of this epic! And epic this story is! I’m glad that I’ve completed my reread of the Harry Potter series; it’s one that I loved as a teenager as I grew up with them. I’m pleased to say that even reading them through the perspective of somebody little bit older, they still have all the appeal they did when I read them first.

 

The Thursday Murder Club

Next, I moved on to something a lot more lighthearted, and a book that I was recommended to read. The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman was a completely different ballpark, but I loved every second of this one as well! I say this one was lighthearted, but there was one section in the story really took me by surprise. There are a couple of chapters in the book that take a very sudden turn, and whilst their inclusion in such a generally lighthearted book meant that the chapters had more impact, they made me cry.

This was another fantastic read overall. I loved the characters and the story in general, because I had me questioning everybody and their motive to see if I could get to the bottom of the story before the end of the book. The writing had me questioning pretty much everybody had some point, so it was really good in that respect! I’m definitely going to continue to read more of these books. If you like the idea of a whodunnit, but with a private investigation being led by more geriatric members of society, then you’ll enjoy this one as much as I did.

 

Ravencry

Ravencry

Lastly, I read Ravencry by Ed McDonald in the month of April. Having read and loved Blackwing at the end of February/early March, I knew I wanted to continue the trilogy in full. I read these books originally over 3 years ago now and loved them – so much so that I’ve gone on to gift two copies of this trilogy to friends.

Picking this up again has been great for me. I have enjoyed having the confidence in knowing that I’m going to enjoy a book, especially at a time where things aren’t exactly all that great in the world, and a guaranteed pick me up is a blessing. You have probably gathered that my overall reading speed isn’t the same as it was a couple of years ago either, and whilst I’m certainly not trying to break any records or push myself too hard, I would like to be reading a little bit more than I am.

Picking up books by fantastic authors such as Ed McDonald really help motivate me to do so!

 

Ideally, I would’ve liked to have picked up Crowfall, the last book on my ‘set list’ before the end of the month. I set myself another ambitious list last month with the aim of trying to pick up my books. But, the beauty of having mood reads is that it doesn’t matter so much if I don’t get round to them. Naturally, I would like to get to a point where I have a little bit of freedom of choice with my reading (because that’s the format I’m setting myself this year – a fixed reading list and then potentially a couple where I have flexibility if I complete the set list).

At the same time, I’m not beating myself up about it either. You may not know, but I am currently studying for an exam that I’m sitting at the end of June. Whilst it’s not a large one by any means, I’ve been working through the content nice and early so I’ve got plenty of time to iron out the kinks and work out what I need to work on a little bit more. I’ve put in a lot of hours this month towards studying. In reality, if I had put that time into reading instead I would have completed my reading list very early this month. But, priorities are priorities. The fact that I’ve achieved both, as well as continuing to blog, is something I’m proud of!

 

Goodreads Challenge Update

In my monthly wrap-up posts, I am yet to comment on where am I with regards to my Goodreads Challenge for this year. I’ve therefore decided to add this review to this post, and I will also be looking at my progress in my August month-end review, and finally again at the end of the year.

As I say above, I’ve not been reading as much as I have historically, but the great news is I am perfectly on track with my Goodreads Challenge. As of drafting this post I am neither ahead nor behind. At this stage it’s a great confidence booster, because it means I don’t have to put any pressure on myself to catch up, but equally I’ve not set myself a challenge that is too easy. There have been a couple of years where I have set myself challenges and then up to them at a later date as I underestimated my capabilities. So far, it doesn’t look like I have to do that this year.

For a quick recap, here is a list of books I have read so far this year: –

  1. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
  2. The Feedback loop
  3. Dune
  4. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
  5. Clockwork Magpies
  6. Son of Mercia
  7. The Diary of a Young Girl
  8. Blackwing
  9. Keep You Safe
  10. Lean In
  11. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
  12. The Thursday Murder Club
  13. Ravencry

What I hope this list also demonstrates is that I am picking up a variety of books. There is fantasy and science fiction, mystery and thrillers, as well as historical fiction and even a couple of non-fiction books. For someone who doesn’t read a lot of non-fiction generally, I’m really happy that I’ve managed to squeeze two into such a short list!

So there you have it – my monthly wrap-up post for April 2022! I hope you enjoyed today’s post and you are looking forward to finding out what I’m going to be reading in May. If you are, keep your eyes peeled for a post going live in the next couple of days!

What have you been reading? Have you got any good book recommendations? As always, I’d love to hear from you!

 

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First Lines Friday – 29/04/2022

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s First Lines Friday post! First Lines Friday is a regular series on my blog. It’s a fun way to share books I love, those I am interested in and/or are on my TBR… or even just to experiment with something new!

For today’s post I have set myself another challenge. My last couple of posts have been challenge-free, and so to keep the content fresh I wanted to bring this back. I am, however, bringing back a challenge I have done before, purely because I have so much content I can cover on it that it makes sense to use it. And what is that challenge you ask? To feature a book I read before I started my blog over 5 years ago now.

Shall we check out today’s intro? Can you guess which book it’s from?

 

When I wake up, the other side of the bed is cold.

My fingers stretch out, seeking Prim’s warmth but finding only the rough canvas cover of the mattress. She must have had bad dreams and climbed in with our mother. Of course she did. This is the day of the reaping.

I prop myself up on one elbow. There’s enough light in the bedroom to see them. My little sister, Prim, curled up on her side, cocooned in my mother’s body, their cheeks pressed together. In sleep, my mother looks younger, still worn but not so beaten-down. Prim’s face is as fresh as a raindrop, as lovely as the primrose for which she was named. My mother was very beautiful once, too. Or so they tell me.

 


The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins

Goodreads – The Hunger Games

Could you survive on your own in the wild, with every one out to make sure you don’t live to see the morning?

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister’s place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before—and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weight survival against humanity and life against love.


My Thoughts…

The Hunger Games is a fantastic trilogy for anyone who likes fantasy, dystopian fiction, or most importantly, a bit of both! As a huge fantasy reader, this really appealed to me as it was slightly different from the plethora of other fantasy books I was reading at the time.

The Hunger Games and the characters within offer a little bit of everything. Fantastic character development really starts with this book and blossoms throughout the trilogy. It’s the kind of book that shows you what humankind is capable of at its worst, but also can bring out the best in people as well.

I’m glad I read this trilogy. It’s a book series I really appreciate. I also really like the films made based on these books! I think it’s one of the few exceptions to the rule where the film has done the books justice.

If, like me, you have found yourself in a bit of a fantasy rut and are desperate to try and find something a little bit different in the overcrowded genre, then give this one a go! I read this at a time where I had gotten a little bit bored of fantasy because I read that much of it. The Hunger Games offers something a little bit different, and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!

I hope you have enjoyed today’s First Lines Friday feature! Have you read The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, or any of the other books in the series? I’d love to know what you thought!

 

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Book Review: Shadow and Bone – Leigh Bardugo

In today’s book review I’m sharing my thoughts on the first book of the Shadow and Bone series. I picked up this book having watched the related Netflix series. This book was already on my radar because I had read and loved the Six of Crows duology, also written by Leigh Bardugo. I had already said then that I wanted to read this series, and I’m glad I have started at last.

If you are unfamiliar with the book, here’s a little bit about it below: –

 

Shadow & Bone – Leigh Bardugo

Goodreads – Shadow and Bone

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

 

My Thoughts…

Based on the Netflix series, this book lived up to my expectations. When I went into it, I knew that I wasn’t necessarily going to love every single aspect of it. There is an element of romance to the story which I didn’t particularly like in the Netflix series either, and inevitably I was going to come across it again in the book. That said, it didn’t detract from the rest of the story in the slightest.

But I am just going to take a minute to talk about that romance, because if I can’t have a whinge on my own little space on the Internet then where can I? Why do men wielding dark and mysterious powers have to ALWAYS be drop-dead gorgeous? Can fantasy writers please have a little bit more imagination and a perspective a little more true to reality for a minute? I know it’s a fantasy book, but there’s a difference between fantastical and delusional.

People are attracted to power. I can’t deny that. But every single fantasy villain is somehow both more powerful than anybody else in the world and just as beautiful… apparently. And that annoys me. Not only is it unrealistic, but the only real way that would actually be true is if they’re also narcissistic. There are a lot of narcissistic people in the world, but does it have to be every single fantasy villain?

I love the fantasy genre, but not all of the tropes that you see time and again. It gets boring. Even reading the tropes I like again and again it gets boring. Ones that I’m not keen on in the first place can definitely go in the bin. Like this one. Anyway, disparaging comments aside, that’s not to say that my grievance with this particular element of the book took away from the rest of the story. It definitely didn’t! On the contrary, I rated this book 4 stars out of five on Goodreads. It’s still a great book!

One of my favourite things about the Six of Crows duology what was the magic system and the lore behind the Grisha. I knew straightaway that it was an element I wanted to explore in more detail, and I’m really glad I did. There is still much to be learned about these people and their magic, and so I want to pick up the rest of the series to pursue this further.

Equally, the world building and the dynamic between those of different regions in the world adds a lot to the storyline. As someone who is very uninterested in politics in real life, I like to see it play out in books. If you follow my blog you know I’m a huge fan of the likes of Game of Thrones etc, in which politics is a huge element. It definitely comes to into play in Shadow and Bone as well. Both the dynamics between characters and those of other regions are attributable to how well this is portrayed within the narrative, and it makes for an interesting division that will no doubt come to the fore in future books.

The one thing I didn’t like about the Netflix series is that it merged the story lines of Six of Crows with this book. Both are fantastic stories – but in their own right! I’m glad the author has chosen to explore these separately, because there are so much of scope and I’m looking forward to see where the rest of the series leads.

 

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