Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Come on, Universe?

I feel like this year, the universe somehow doesn't like me an awful lot. After the dog vs. postman scare and the finding random lumps scare, I finally was all ready to start my July. I had a sports plan ready, to train for our Duathlon in September. My other half was off work (still between jobs) and we could have done a ton of day trips with the dogs. We could have enjoyed one glorious summer.
Instead... that first July Monday, I woke up in the middle of the night with extreme vertigo. The room was oscillating back and forth and would not stop. The nausea was unlike anything I'd ever experienced. Labyrinthitis or Vestibular Neuronitis were the two things the doctors came up with, after my other half drove me there, me lying in the back of her car draped over the seats, clutching a bucket in my tired hands.

We even got to see the ER because I was so terrified my body had finally given up on me, that my blood pressure was through the roof.

The first week I spent in a dark room without noise, just waiting for the room to stop spinning. The 2nd week was a bit better and I was able to read. Now, during this third week, I can do most things normally again, I just feel slightly drunk and unsteady.

And again, I've read books and am a million reviews behind and July is almost over. Oh well.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Sunday Post (21) - Writing, Reading, Running

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

If you participate, and you totally should because the community is amazing, don't forget to link up and if you leave me a comment, I will definitely check out your blog.

The Rules can be found here. And this week's post can be found here.

We've had pleasant temperatures, a bit of rain but also some sun, just the way I like it. We're busy with our running and cycling and yesterday Camp NaNoWriMo started, so I'm busy writing as well. Another doctor visit is scheduled for next Tuesday, so hopefully I can remove all the unnecessary anxiety from my life soon.
Here a picture of the brioche buns (recipe can be found here) I made last week, that I told you about:


Last week on my blog:
Last week in the cinema: It's sunny and warm and bright and I haven't been in weeks... I should really find the time to again, I miss films.

Last week in my kitchen: I found out that broccoli is so much better roasted than simply steamed. Probably taking a bit of the health away from the green vegetable, I'm sorry, but it's so delicious. Toss the florets in a bit of olive oil, add salt, and bake for 20-30 minutes (turn them once) until the broccoli is crispy on the outside and nice and soft on the inside.

Currently reading: Why can I not for once read just one book like a normal person? I'm reading the first book in the Riyria Revelations, plus Perdido Street Station, Gardens of the Moon, The Eye of the World and Watership Down (though I can't bring myself to care about those bunnies!).

Saturday, 1 July 2017

The Warded Man by Peter V. Brett

Book Title: The Warded Man (Demon Cycle #1)
Author: Peter V. Brett
Genre: Fantasy
My Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Source: Own a Copy

Amazon UK, Goodreads

Goodreads Summary: As darkness falls after sunset, the corelings rise—demons who possess supernatural powers and burn with a consuming hatred of humanity. For hundreds of years the demons have terrorized the night, slowly culling the human herd that shelters behind magical wards—symbols of power whose origins are lost in myth and whose protection is terrifyingly fragile. It was not always this way. Once, men and women battled the corelings on equal terms, but those days are gone. Night by night the demons grow stronger, while human numbers dwindle under their relentless assault. Now, with hope for the future fading, three young survivors of vicious demon attacks will dare the impossible, stepping beyond the crumbling safety of the wards to risk everything in a desperate quest to regain the secrets of the past. Together, they will stand against the night.
What did I think? A friend gifted me a copy of The Warded Man for my birthday, and I was worried I wouldn't like it. Demons? Meh. An orphan farm boy (sigh) who (conveniently) has the right skills to save the world? Meh. I wasn't excited by any of it and that wasn't helped by a rather slow start.

The novel focuses on three protagonists, Arlen, Leesha and Rojer. We meet them as children and watch them live their lives in this world where humans are being hunted by demons as soon as the sun sets.

As a reader you assume from the very beginning that all three protagonists will eventually meet and it takes Brett quite a while to get there, which is why almost 70% of this book feel like a set-up.

But I was never bored. Quite the opposite. I enjoyed watching them grow up and I slowly fell in love with them.

The worldbuilding is really intriguing and detailed. It's a dark world with almost no happiness and the three protagonists face tragedy wherever they go. This isn't a happy story and none of the protagonists get to live a happy life, even happy moments are rare.

The demons and the magic system feel well developed and the characters have a lot of depth. I will definitely continue to read this series.

Thursday, 29 June 2017

What Makes You Rate a Book Five Stars?

I was browsing through my books on Goodreads the other day and realised, I seldom rate books five stars. It's almost as if I think those stars are rare or precious and if I award all five of them too often, I'll run out.

According to Goodreads, I've read about 450 books in my life, which is definitely not accurate, but a lot of the books I've read were in German during my childhood and I don't remember all of them. (Sometimes I regret that I didn't keep a reading journal as a child.)
I also suffered from a bad case of re-reading.What's bad, you ask? I'm pretty sure that when I was about ten years old, I kept re-reading the same adventure novel over and over again, possibly twenty-five times or more. Later, as a romantic teenager, the same happened with Pride and Prejudice.

Anyway, back to my bookshelves.  I've given thirty out of my 450 books a five star rating. Ten are because I absolutely loved those books when I was a child or a teenager and possibly wouldn't receive the same rating today. Three are Jane Austen and another three are Harry Potter.

Six in the last five years. SIX! IN FIVE YEARS!

Am I too harsh? On the other hand I dish out four stars without hesitation. Anything, I remotely enjoy receives at least three stars and as soon as I feel emotionally attached to the story in any way, it definitely receives four stars.

But, whenever I consider giving it five, I think... really, this book couldn't have possibly been better? Obviously, that's a question not many books survive. Maybe that's why I'm always grumpy. Imagine only reading one five star book a year!

How do you handle five star ratings? Do you award them freely? Or are you as conservative as me?

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

TTT (18) - Best Books I read in 2017

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Follow the link to know more about the meme and join up, it's a great way to find out more about the book blogging community.

This week the theme is best books we read in 2017, at least so far, and this week's post by The Broke and the Bookish post can be found here.

We're halfway through the year so this is a great moment to look back and choose a few books that I loved so far. I've been reading quite a bit. More or less two books a week is my goal and so far I've kept up with that.
Please let me know in the comments what your favourite books are so far in 2017, because my tbr list desperately needs to grow (not really, but also yes, it does!)

Please don't make me choose my favourite.

  

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North (review here) is an amazing novel with an interesting spin on time travel.
The Lions of Al-Rassan is a historical fantasy novel and broke my heart.
N. K. Jemisin's The Fifth Season (review here) is a gorgeous read with fantastic prose in a post-apocalyptic world.

  

Golden Son by Pierce Brown (review here) is the second book in the Red Rising trilogy and made me want to eat my pillow.
Moroda is L. L. McNeil's debut (review here) and has dragons and wonderful grey characters plus women kicking ass.
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty (review here) had me on the edge of my seat. I could not stop reading this suspense novel.

  

The Warded Man by Peter V. Brett has a lot of demons and an orphan destined to save the world but it grabbed me from the very first page.
Robin Hobb's Royal Assassin (Farseer Trilogy #2) broke my heart.
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell is a wonderful and whimsical read.

I can't wait to discover more books!

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Sunday Post (20) - Almost July

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

If you participate, and you totally should because the community is amazing, don't forget to link up and if you leave me a comment, I will definitely check out your blog.

The Rules can be found here. And this week's post can be found here.

Doctor visit #3 and #4 are done and I continue to receive good news. Everything my body decides to grow (mostly cysts) is benign (until now) and nothing has to be removed unless it starts to hurt... almost done with the yearly check-ups. Two to go, four down. I also found a really nice specialist who manages to make me feel comfortable, so that's a plus.
It's cooler again, thankfully. This week has been mostly uneventful. Mostly writing and reading. We're still running and it's time to start preparing for our Duathlon in September. We'll be expected to run 5K, then bike 22K and run another 5K. The second 5K is the one that hurts the most.
The first time I participated in this event in London was two years after undergoing two knee surgeries, and I was still quite slow. It took me 2 hour and 34 minutes, because my 5K time was a very slow 40 minutes. Last year I was 10 minutes faster and this year I'm hoping to maybe manage to do it in 2 hours. Still slow, but I'm improving.

Last week on my blog:
Last week in my kitchen: If you've ever looked for a burger bun recipe that tastes delicious with both burgers and pulled pork, look no further: these are amazing. In this heat we ate a lot of salad, so my kitchen life was quite uneventful.

Upcoming: I need to get back in the habit of dragging my ass to the cinema. I've not watched a lot lately. And I still have a ton of reviews to catch up on. I'm currently reading China MiƩville's Perdido Street Station and enjoying it a lot while also dipping into Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb.

I hope everyone has a great week :)

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

Book Title: Dark Places
Author: Gillian Flynn
Genre: Thriller
My Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Source: Library

Amazon UK, Goodreads

Goodreads Summary: Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice" of Kinnakee, Kansas. She survived—and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, the Kill Club—a secret secret society obsessed with notorious crimes—locates Libby and pumps her for details. They hope to discover proof that may free Ben. Libby hopes to turn a profit off her tragic history: She’ll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings to the club—for a fee. As Libby’s search takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to abandoned Oklahoma tourist towns, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started—on the run from a killer.
What did I think? Gillian Flynn must have such a dark and twisted imagination, I wouldn't want to visit her mind. I find her books downright terrifying because she portrays the worst in humans in such a detailed manner.

Dark Places is so much better than her first book (Sharp Objects) and possibly even better than Gone Girl. The novel is told primarily in first person through the eyes of the protagonist but we get to see the day of the massacre from the point of view of Libby's mother and Ben as well.

I wasn't entirely happy with the ending to the mystery because once you find out what actually happened, it feels a bit unrealistic and it left me thinking: really??

But, despite a somewhat unbelievable ending I was in awe throughout this novel because Flynn is such a master at blending the macabre and grotesque with family dysfunction, personality disorders and the typical small town mentality.

The characters are complex and well developed, though I would suggest you read this surrounded by people who make you happy unless you want to lose whatever faith in humanity you have left.

If you love dark and twisted characters, can stomach brutality and murder, definitely pick this one up, yes, even if you didn't enjoy Gone Girl.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North

Book Title: The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August
Author: Claire North
Genre: Science Fiction
My Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Source: Library

Amazon UK, Goodreads

Goodreads Summary: No matter what he does or the decisions he makes, when death comes, Harry always returns to where he began, a child with all the knowledge of a life he has already lived a dozen times before. Nothing ever changes.
Until now.
As Harry nears the end of his eleventh life, a little girl appears at his bedside. ‘I nearly missed you, Doctor August,’ she says. ‘I need to send a message.’
This is the story of what Harry does next, and what he did before, and how he tries to save a past he cannot change and a future he cannot allow.
What did I think? What a wonderful, wonderful premise, right? A man who always returns to where he began, a child but with all memories of his previous lives intact. Harry is a kalachakra. Every time he dies, he is reborn as himself and he lives his own life over and over again. Harry August is a fascinating character. He's good and bad and everything that is grey as well.

The novel tells of Harry's first fifteen lives and explores the culture of the kalachakra in the first half, then in the second half Harry has to try and save the world.

I especially loved the way Claire North imagined time travelling. The kalachakra can pass messages to the future or to the past. A message for the future is easier as you can simply leave it in a permanent medium like a stone tablet for future generations to find. A message for the past requires more time as a young kalachakra must give a message to another kalachakra who is at the end of their life, so that when they are born again they can in turn pass the message on to another kalachakra at the end of their life and so on until the message reaches the intended century.

The book is told in a non linear way, almost disjointed in places, but I never got confused. The pacing is slow (some people called it glacial) as we get to see bits and pieces from Harry's different lives, told in a subtle almost poetic manner. (The writing style reminded me a bit of Station Eleven.) Despite being slow, I found it compelling and was never bored.

I'm sure after all my gushing you wonder why I didn't give it five stars. Sadly, I was disappointed by the ending. See, whenever I come across such an amazing premise that includes potential plot holes, (and time travel always does) I'm worried how the author will manage to tie up all the loose ends. Claire North doesn't do a bad job, but sadly it was disappointing nonetheless. I can't say what bothered me without spoiling the plot, but it involves a villain with a momentary lapse of judgement.

Still, I highly recommend this book if the premise sounds fascinating to you. I loved it a lot.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

TTT (17) - Top Ten Series I've Been Meaning To Start But Haven't

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Follow the link to know more about the meme and join up, it's a great way to find out more about the book blogging community.

This week the theme is top ten series I've been meaning to start but haven't and this week's post by The Broke and the Bookish post can be found here.

Series. My weakness. My main problem is that I start a million of them and struggle to finish them or someone (*cough* George R.R. Martin *cough*) takes ages to bring out the next book and I feel like I've forgotten what happened so far and have to start from scratch.
Now, let's look at the ones I haven't yet started.
  • Otherland by Tad Williams
  • Shadows of the Apt by Adrian Tchaikovsky
  • A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
  • The Faithful and the Fallen by John Gwynne
  • The Ryria Revelations by Michael J. Sullivan
  • The First Law by Joe Abercrombie
  • The Gentleman Bastard by Scott Lynch
  • The Black Company by Glenn Cook
  • The Magicians Trilogy by Lev Grossman
What series would you like to start?

Monday, 19 June 2017

Sunday Post (19) - Hot, hot, hot!

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

The Rules can be found here. And this week's post can be found here.

If you participate, and you should because the community is amazing, don't forget to link up and if you leave me a comment, I will definitely check out your blog!

Doctor visit #2 is done and they confirmed the first of my troubles is only a cyst. The downside is because of its location they can't remove it without general anaesthesia and I said, I'd prefer to keep the cyst thank you very much. Hopefully by next weekend doctor visit #3 will be done with good news as well. Then #4 is left. Sigh.
It's hot here in England. Over 30 degrees and humid and these people build houses without AC, so it's not very pleasant. Thinking of just moving permanently into the bathtub to keep cool!

On the weekend I had a visitor and we ended up strolling around the Kew Gardens in London. Let me show you a few pictures.




Last week's books: I'm still reading Stephen King's It and also read Thinner by King's pseudonym, Richard Bachmann. Quite a disturbing book.

Last week on my blog:
Last week at the cinema: Wonder Woman! Oh, wow. If you haven't seen it yet and you even remotely like superheroes, give this one a try. It's super entertaining and good fun. I had a blast!

Next week on my blog: Again! Catching up on a million reviews!

I hope everyone is having a great week :)

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

TTT (16) - Father's Day and Father's in Fiction

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Follow the link to know more about the meme and join up, it's a great way to find out more about the book blogging community.

This week the theme is a Father's Day Freebie and this week's post by The Broke and the Bookish post can be found here and it's all about the best and worst father's in fiction.

I thought about the topic and realised that most fiction I read has no fathers. If anything they tend to die in the beginning of the story so the hero can set out and conquer or save the world. Or if they do exist, they are sort of in the background and forgotten. Poor dads!
Because of this I'd like to first speak about my own father. I remember not wanting to read. In fact, I was extremely opposed to reading and refused to even learn how to do so until I was about 7. He was a huge reader and I think it frustrated him a tiny bit. To combat his daughter's rebellion he started reading books to me.


He started with Nils Holgersson, a story that most Europeans probably know, not sure if its popularity ever made it to the other continents. He read me a chapter every night before I went to sleep until he was done. Then he picked the next book.


Treasure Island. He read the first chapter to me and I wanted to know how the story continues. There was a dead pirate, a treasure map and a young boy. I NEEDED TO KNOW HOW IT CONTINUES. The next day I got up, grabbed the book and finished it. In the evening my father wanted to read me the next chapter, but I told him, I was already done.


Robinson Crusoe was next. Same thing. He read me the first chapter and by the end of the day I was done. He stopped reading to me from then on, because I just started eating the books. All of them. He introduced me to my favourite adventure novel as a child.


Indians vs. Cowboys vs. the Wild West written by a German author who had never been to the Wild West and considering today's standards was (possibly) quite racist... written in the 1920s. But boy, did I love these books...

And when I was 8, just 8, I asked for a book that would scare me because I'd read a Grimm Fairy Tale which was titled: The Story of a Youth who Went Forth to Learn Fear.
Me too, I wanted to learn fear. He brought home "scary stories for children" and they weren't scary and I told him so... and I don't know who he asked for advice (and whether or not he told them the person it was intended for was a small girl) ... but the very next day this lay on the dinner table and to this day I doubt he knew what he was giving me. But, I WAS SO HAPPY TO FINALLY KNOW FEAR.


To this day I love books and it's thanks to him!

Now, if you ask me about dads in fiction? Lucius Malfoy and Tywin Lannister won't win any awards. Atticus Finch, Arthur Weasley and Mr. Bennet just might!

Can't wait to so everyone's lists!

Monday, 12 June 2017

The Beat on Ruby's Street by Jenna Zark

Book Title: The Beat of Ruby's Street
Author: Jenna Zark
Genre: Middle Grade
My Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Source: A review copy provided by the author

Amazon UK, Goodreads

Goodreads Summary: The last thing eleven-year-old Ruby Tabeata expected to happen on her way to a Jack Kerouac reading was to be hauled to the police station. It’s 1958 and Ruby is the opposite of a 1950s stereotype: fierce, funny and strong willed, she is only just starting to chart her course in a family of Beat Generation artists in Greenwich Village.
Ruby dreams of meeting famous poets while becoming one herself; instead, she’s accused of trying to steal fruit from a local vendor and is forced to live in a children’s home. As Ruby struggles to return to family and friends, she learns her only choice is to follow her heart. Join Ruby’s journey as she finds unexpected friendships, the courage to rebel against unjust authority and the healing power of art in this inspiring middle-grade novel by Jenna Zark.
I would like to thank the author, Jenna Zark, for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

What did I think?


This was a read completely out of my comfort zone. I don't often read children's fiction and I'm not particularly interested in the 1950s... but, I ended up falling a bit in love with this one. It's a sweet story told in an unique and charming way.

Ruby grows up as part of the "Beat Generation" and I wasn't at all familiar with this part of American history. I found that aspect of the book particularly interesting and enjoyed learning about the culture through Ruby's eyes.

It is an easy read, told in first person and is definitely geared towards a young reader, and while I think a 9 or 10 year old could easily read this one, I also believe it can be thoroughly enjoyed by adults.

Jenna Zark has a unique writing style and I love how well she captures the voice of a young girl growing up in Greenwich Village during the 50s. Ruby feels real at all times. Ruby also wants to be a poet and her voice is actually very poetic but still feels like the voice of a 12 year old.

The book deals with lots of issues and some of them might be a step above Middle-Grade but Jenna Zark brings those subjects across in a sensitive and heartwarming way that can easily be understood by a young reader.

Visit Jenna Zark's website here to find out more about the author.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Sunday Post (18) - I'm Back!

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. 
The Rules can be found here. And this week's post can be found here
If you participate, and you should because the community is amazing, don't forget to link up and if you leave me a comment, I will definitely check out your blog! 
I'm back, I hope. I have a few doctors visits ahead of me and the job hunt is still going on, but I've at least managed to beat some of the anxiety and get back onto my feet and write again. I broke my "writing every day" streak during the last month and I spent more time than I'd like to admit painting horror scenarios in my mind, but one thing I kept up was the movement streak. I went out there every day! I'm quite proud of that.
Let me tell you about my dog. This is the little man. He barely comes up to your knee (Mini Aussie) and if  you're a stranger he will be very suspicious of your intentions. He's quite anxious and takes a good fifteen minutes to warm up to visitors, once he does though, he'll sit on your feet and you're his new best friend forever.

Blue

Now just imagine... the postman shows up and is about to push a letter through the door and we open the door to leave the house and we all jump surprised at suddenly coming face to face with another human being and my dog thinks we're under attack and just bolts to chase the poor man off our driveway... he's not dangerous, he just barks and circles around you like a good sheepdog would around a sheep, only someone forgot to tell Mr. Blue Eyes that the postman is not a sheep. The postman, of course, did get scared and fell over and scraped his elbow. I was mortified. We didn't know if he or the post office would take it to the police and were very worried for a bit. Thankfully they didn't. That chap deserves a bottle of wine (and I don't mean the dog.)

Last week's books: I'm reading Stephen King's It and tackled Cloud Atlas and Steinbeck's East of Eden.

Last week on my blog: 
Last week in my kitchen: I accidentally food poisoned us with either the rare steak or the homemade mayonnaise, whoops. Don't do it!  (Or we got a really weird 48 hour bug, also possible.) The entire thing resulted in chicken breast, plain, with brown rice. It was a sad meal.

Next week on my blog: Catching up on a million reviews!

I wish everyone a lovely week!

Friday, 9 June 2017

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Book Title: When Dimple Met Rishi
Author: Sandhya Menon
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
My Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Source: Netgalley

Amazon UK, Goodreads

Goodreads Summary: Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?
Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.
Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.
 I received a copy from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

What did I think?

It's just so damn sweet. The entire book is made of sugar. Both Dimple Shah and Rishi Patel are genuinely beautiful characters and they both won me over within the first few pages. They're just so damn precious! The two have quite a bit of chemistry and and sparks fly almost immediately.

When Dimple Met Rishi does not have a groundbreaking plot and it's predictable, with the coming of age tropes all neatly placed in the right spots, but it's a joy to read nonetheless.

This novel isn't just diverse and full of delightful humour, but the protagonists are also quite geeky and smart. Dimple is into coding and programming and Rishi is a comic book artist. The story is told from both point of views and both have an unique and captivating voice. They're both fleshed out and have a lot of depth.

If you're looking for a light and sweet romantic beach read, look no further and give this one a try. You'll probably be reminded of the first time you fell in love and will read the entire thing with a goofy grin on your face.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

When Life Gets in the Way

Sometimes life knocks you down and it's impossible to get back up without first taking a few deep breaths. We're all okay, the snail, the dogs, the girlfriend and I but we had a pretty difficult May with lots of small problems that snowballed into a period of anxiety for me. I'm not very good at dealing with anxiety, for the most I sit down in a corner and weep, rocking back and forth. I'm not really an anxious person in day to day life but I dislike having to deal with problems I have no control over. At the moment we are facing some job issues that require hunting for a new job, a small health scare and a stupid incident with our nervous dog and the postman. I withdrew for a bit while I sorted doctor visits etc. but I'm now back and will hopefully review many, many books in the next few days and weeks.

I hope everyone is well!

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

TTT (15) - Things on my Reading Wishlist

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Follow the link to know more about the meme and join up, it's a great way to find out more about the book blogging community.

This week the theme is: things on our reading wish list. Tropes, characters, settings etc. This week's post by The Broke and the Bookish post can be found here.

Lately I've had the impression that I'm not really sure what I want more of. I seem to read 8 books at the same time and depending on mood will jump from one to the next only to change books again after reading a chapter. But there's definitely a few things that I can think of to put on this list.
  • Morally Grey Characters. Battlestar Galactica did this so well. And to a certain extent Game of Thrones.
  • Well Developed Villains (that are maybe even super likeable). I like to root for a villain.
  • Anti-Heroes. They're much more complex and interesting than the simply good ones.
  • Defrosting the Ice Queen. I like when the protagonist has to work their way through some walls to get through to their love interest.
  • Parallel Worlds. I love stories with alternative versions to our own world.
More like these, please.

  

What are things you want to read more of? Share your lists with me!

Monday, 8 May 2017

Sunday Post (17) - May is Meh

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

The Rules can be found here. And this week's post can be found here.

If you participate, and you should because the community is amazing, don't forget to link up and if you leave me a comment, I will definitely check out your blog!

I didn't have a good week, sadly. I should see a doctor regarding a small health problem that 99% will turn out to be nothing but in my mind I'm (obviously, what else?) dying. So, I feel hiding under a blanket is a much better option than closing my eyes and calling my doctor? And then I end up being an anxious bundle of anxiety. Which is why I didn't blog much last week. Nor did I do much in the range of productive things in general. I'm a bit mad at myself but at the same time I'm also aware that anxiety is anxiety is anxiety and is a bitch.
Last week I reviewed Moroda by L.L. McNeil which was a great fantasy with dragons that I immensely enjoyed. The review can be found here.


And we had a very interesting Top Ten Tuesday and the theme was COVERS. I love covers.

Would someone please come to the cinema with me?



I hope everyone else is having a great week and that I have more time to focus on blogging and reviewing and reading. I'm currently reading The Warded Man by Peter V. Brett and have a ton of reviews to do!

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Moroda by L.L. McNeil

Book Title: Moroda
Author: L.L. McNeil
Genre: Fantasy
My Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Source: Paperback ARC
Amazon UK, Goodreads

You can order paperbacks from the author's website here.

Goodreads Summary: Moroda’s life is thrown into turmoil after she is publicly arrested—her city is destroyed and she narrowly escapes the chaos on a sky pirate’s airship. But she finds no salvation outside the blackened city walls; a vigilante from an exiled race has left a trail of destruction everywhere his growing army has travelled. With compulsion at his fingertips, he strengthens his hold over Linaria’s people by stealing the power of dragons. It’s only a matter of time before she, too, is forced to submit.
With war nipping at her heels and danger lurking in her companions and adversaries, Moroda must quickly learn about herself, her world, and the dragons so intent on reducing it all to ash.
I received an ARC of the paperback from the author in exchange for an honest review.

What did I think? 

4.5 Stars.

Moroda is L.L. McNeil's debut novel and I was excited when I found out that it's an epic fantasy with a female protagonist and dragons. Who doesn't love dragons?

It's an easy read that starts a bit slow but quickly turns into a gripping story about a young woman who sets out to save her world, Linaria, from a war. On her journey she meets a varied bunch of characters. They all feel authentic and have interesting pasts and promising futures.

The world building is creative, yet straightforward making this a good book for someone who does not usually read fantasy and might shy away from the sheer complexitiy of some of the work out there. The different races in Linaria are fresh and well imagined and I especially hope to see more about the Varkain in the sequels.

It took a while to get into the book. The first chapter sets everything up nicely and is certainly intriguing but Moroda is young and reluctant, even a bit shy at first and it takes a few chapters before her character fully blossoms and starts kicking ass.

L.L. McNeil has created several strong female characters, but the one I enjoyed most was Amarah the sky pirate with her airship. The book also has an interesting villain and some compelling morally grey characters I found myself rooting for halfway through.

I would recommend Moroda to anyone who is looking for a new twist in epic fantasy with a character driven plot and dragons.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

TTT (14) - COVERS

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Follow the link to know more about the meme and join up!

This week the theme is a freebie as long as it includes covers. Their post is about covers that depict food and drink and can be found here.

I've been blog hopping for about an hour now (instead of writing or doing any of the other chores I should be doing today) in an attempt to find an idea for today's theme. Something original. Something exciting. Isn't 'covers I love' a bit boring? But that's what I'm coming back to: covers I love.

So without further ado I present you books that I picked up because of the cover and not because of the author or blurb.
  
I'm starting to think that there's probably a slight colour preference visible in my choices and that it's obvious I like both blue and purple. I've seen that Annette Marie's sequels in the Red Winter Trilogy are out, so I'll have to pick those up.

Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones I haven't read yet but the cover is simply gorgeous. Claire North's Harry August has a very intriguing cover as well with the mirrored images.

I haven't yet read anything by Laini Taylor but I keep hearing that her books are filled with wonderful prose and I'm very curious to read one.

Also Tom Toner uploaded the three covers of his series next to each other to Twitter the other day and I can't find any information about book 3 yet and Goodreads doesn't even have it listed. But they all look gorgeous.
I was so annoyed when I found out that the first book and the second book hadn't been printed in the same format though, so they don't match. Is anyone else bothered when books in a series don't match on the shelf?

I hope everyone is having a great week! Link me to your lists! I'm a sucker for covers!

Monday, 1 May 2017

Sunday Post (16) - Long Weekends are the Best

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

The Rules can be found here. And this week's post can be found here.

If you participate, and you should because the community is amazing, don't forget to link up and if you leave me a comment, I will definitely check out your blog!

This week wasn't particularly eventful. I've been running after my Goodreads reading goal all week and somehow never really managed to catch up with it. 5 books behind, tssk! But it's a Bank Holiday weekend in the UK and that means Monday is off as well... more time to read! I'm almost done with editing my children's fantasy and am hoping to edit my adult contemporary novel (with a bit of a speculative twist) in May.

The snail is doing well, the dogs are doing well (the Aussie stopped limping, but I'm not letting him jump after frisbees for another few weeks.) For now, everyone is happy and the cold snap seems to be over. Summer is hopefully coming soon.
Last week on my blog:
Last week in my kitchen: I stuffed a pork tenderloin with a homemade pesto paste (mushrooms, spinach, pine nuts, lemon zest, goat cheese, garlic and some herbs and spices with a bit of olive oil). It turned out amazing. I also made both beef ribs and pork ribs and ended up having to eat them on my own (not complaining) because they were too fatty for my girlfriend. I wonder if I braise the beef for longer if more of the fat would render out.

Next week on my blog: Still years behind my reviews, or so it seems. I have yet to review The God of Small Things, The Lions of Al-Rassan, I Let You Go, Dark Places and Truly Madly Guilty. That's without the two SF books I've read last week, which were The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August and The City & The City.

I wish everyone a lovely week.