Confession Of A Bookworm: May

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At the start of this year I set myself the challenge of reading fifty books before 2016 was done and gone. You see, I’m very good at starting books, but finishing them within a set period of time is a trick I seem to have lost over time. I’m too easily distracted by shiny new covers in bookshops or fresh releases popping up on Amazon. The Goodreads Challenge seemed like a great way to push myself into focusing on my reading more and these WWW Wednesdays meant that I could share that progress with you all.

What Am I Reading?

I’m terrible at starting numerous books at once, so the other day I pulled out all of the books containing bookmarks and stacked them together on my bookshelf. I decided that until I had finished them all I would not pick up a new book, no matter how tempting.

I can’t say very much about any of them at the moment since I’m only a few chapters into most of them. I’ve got into the habit of snuggling up on settee on a Sunday afternoon and reading the hours away, so it shouldn’t take me too long to get through these.

Recently Finished:

This month I’ve managed to get through quite a few books and claw my way back towards being on track.

After You

Now I absolutely loved the first book by Jojo Moyes and this one was just as good. It’s not fantasy fiction so it might look a bit odd in the line up, but when you’re reading and writing in one genre, it is lovely to take a little break now and again. The characters in this piece were brilliant and it is funny in all the right places while maintaining a sense of seriousness when it needs to. It tackles how everyone, no matter how perfect they may seem, is generally ploughing their way through mess and confusion in the hopes of finding happiness at the end.

The Lies of Locke Lamora

This is a George R R Martin style book when it comes down to detail but it’s all focused in on a set collection of characters. You still have the bloodshed and the violence but in a much more compact storyline. It’s not a small book so you won’t finish it in one sitting, but if you’re looking for an epic fantasy fiction novel then this is one for you.

The Gathering Dark 

I like this book and I’ve bought the next two in the trilogy, I’m just annoyed about them changing the cover and the title of the first book but not doing the same for the others. While I enjoyed the story line, it doesn’t rate up to the rest of the books on this list. It’s a much shorter book and the length goes some way to explaining the lack of development for both the character and the plot line but I can’t help but feel that it could have done with being longer.

Desolation

Haha! I’m so happy right now. There are two books in this section that I had been waiting rather impatiently for, and Desolation by Derek Landy was one of them. The only gripe that I have with the book is that the relationship between the two main characters is very similar to the relationship between Skulduggery and Valkyrie Cain. There is even a car involved in the relationship. If it were anyone else then this would probably annoy me, but I love the way Derek Landy writes to the extent that I find it difficult to stay annoyed about anything in his writing for very long. It’s funny, dark and gory, everything you would expect from Mr Landy. This series is perhaps a little more grown up than his last, and I don’t have the same love for Amber as I did for Valkyrie. I mean Valkyrie! I suppose that’s the danger with writing such a good series of books, following it up will never be easy, so while Desolation and the rest of the Demon Road Trilogy is utterly entrancing in its own right, I’m stuck with the feeling of ‘but it’s not quite Skulduggery’.

Blackbirds

I’m not sure what to say about this book if I’m honest. It’s one of those where everything seems to happen in the last few moment and them bam! We’re done.

The Novice & The Inquisition

I’m really enjoying this series. I’ll admit, I read the first few pages of Taran Matharu’s first book ‘The Summoner’ and promptly put it back down on the shelf. It wasn’t the books fault, it just happened to be one of those days that I wasn’t in the mood to read that specific book at that specific time.

Last weekend I pick ‘The Summoner’ back up, polished it off and promptly pe-ordered ‘The Inquisition’ immediately.

‘The Summoner’ manages to do something spectacular. It comes to a satisfying conclusion but also manages to leave you with a massive cliffhanger where you find yourself clinging by your fingertips, really, really hoping that the next book is out soon because the suspense is gut wrenching.

Just as with ‘The Summoner’, I finished ‘The Inquisition’ in two days. It was face paced, interesting and I really like the characters that Taran has managed to create. He also managed to surprise me as a few chapters in I announced to my partner that one of the characters was no doubt the traitor only to be completely thrown at end of the book.

There are bits where I found the book strayed too closely into ‘Lord of the Rings’ territory. The breeding of Orcs and Gremlins to form Goblins brought vivid visions of watching The Two Towers back to me but apart from that I thought the book did well.

Similar to ‘The Inheritance Cycle’ by Christopher Paolini, the book tackles issues of race and prejudice, a topic that at the moment is perhaps more relevant than ever. Not only does it tackle this subject masterfully but it also touches on gender equality.

Overall I’ve been really impressed by Taran Matharu and I can’t wait to read the next book in the series. Let’s hope it’s out soon.

A Court Of Mist And Fury

This book six hundred pages of pure joy and I cannot wait to read the next book in the series. Sarah J Mass always amazes me with her writing and I spent my Sunday curled up with this book, devouring every chapter. I love the relationship between Rysland and Feyre and I’m so impressed with the way that Sarah J Mass tackles emotion in the books. There is no ‘and now everyone is magically over that horrible, traumatic event that took place. Yay!’ Instead, you get to see them working through it and in some cases, how it utterly breaks characters.

This books tackles a new treat, and the tension is there all the way through the book. Not only that, you have this amazing dynamic between Rysland and Feyre and as always, the message that women are strong and powerful in their own right. I am really impressed recently by authors who tackle this subjects and handle them with such finesse. The do not make an example, they make it normal.

What I’m Reading Next:

The God of Small Things is still very much on my to read list, as are the sequels to The Gathering Dark and The Lies of Locke Lamora. The author of Rise Of The Sparrow, Sarina Langer, was wonderful enough to write a guest post for Writing and Works so I’m also keen to read her new book. I’m only one book behind track for my Goodreads challenge now and if I keep up the steam I’ll be laughing come November.

If you have any recommendations based on the books listed above then please do let me know in the comments below, or perhaps leave your own mini review. I love hearing from readers and an important part of reading is sharing your thoughts after and working out what you can take from a book.

So, until next month happy reading!

 

Confessions Of A Bookworm March 2016

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I know, I know, I know. This post was meant to go up on Wednesday and now it’s Saturday instead. I also managed to miss February all together so this post will include some of the books that I read over that month as well.

What Am I Reading

So there are a couple of books that have been lurking around on the ‘Currently Reading’ list for a while. As a compulsive book hopper I tend to put a book down for a few weeks and then return to it later if it hasn’t completely got my attention or if a new book turns up that I’m desperate to read. So for the purpose of this post I’ll focus on the newbies on the list.

‘Glass Sword’ and ‘After You’ are both sequels and both books have only just turned up on this list. I’m most of the way through ‘After You’ already as I really love Jojo Moyes’ writing style. It’s a very easy read despite tackling tough topics. I fell in love with the main character Lou in the first book ‘Me Before You’ and the ‘After You’ is just as engaging. It helps that the world Jojo writes in is very human and familiar. While I love fantasy and scifi, sometimes a break is good.

‘Glass Sword’ is the follow up to ‘Red Queen’ and is another dystopia world with significant social divides and a trodden down heroine desperate to save her family. It’s not by any means the only book of its kind but I’m enjoying it all the same. I’m not very far in so I won’t say very much about it.

‘Blackbirds’ is the last book I’m going to talk about in this section and that’s because once this post goes up I’m going downstairs, cooking a bacon sandwich, and sitting down with that flipping book and getting it read. My aim for the end of April is to have finished all these books lurking around on my currently reading list and get some fresh blood on there. ‘Blackbirds’ will be the first one I tackle.

 

Recently Finish

I’m aiming to read fifty books this year and currently I’m two books behind target so this section will have to start getting a bit bigger each month if I want to stay on track.

I’ll start with ‘The Restaurant At The End Of The Universe’. I have Douglas Adams’ whole series sat on my bookshelves. They are the sort of books that I keep telling myself I should read, but never seem to get around to. ‘The Restaurant At The End Of The Universe’ was me doing such that. Despite being set in space, it has the same familiar feel to it in places as ‘Me Before You.’ Arthur Dent’s obsession with a decent cup of tea wins me over almost immediately and it’s a fun book. I’m not sure I’d go back to it, but I enjoyed it all the same.

I’ll cover ‘The Fire Prince’ and ‘The Blood Curse’ in one. For starters, I did not expect Emily Gee to rival George R R Martin on the bloodthirsty scale! I have never read a series quicker, terrified on every page that the characters I’d really come to invest in were about to get a throwing star to the temple. The whole series was engaging and by the end of it I wished she had written more books.

‘Me Before You’ will make you cry, there is no two ways about this. The trailer for the movie came out a couple of months back and Lou’s character leapt out at me then. I ordered the book and thought I might read it before going to see the film, it turns out that I couldn’t put it down once I’d picked it up. Within two days I had finished ‘Me Before You’, had a good cry and ordered ‘After You.’ As I said earlier, Jojo’s writing has a wonderfully familiar tone to it. Lou’s home town reminds me a lot of the town near to my childhood home and the whole book has this English quirkiness about it that I loved from page one. Lou’s mother who is so house proud it’s insane, her father who makes endless bad jokes, and her grandfather who’s just muddling along in the background. It felt real and the romance in the story was so beautifully heartbreaking. Check out the trailer for the film here.

‘Night Study’ and ‘Daughter Of The Blood’ were two books that I pre-ordered and couldn’t wait to get my hands on. Both are fantasy fiction, both have strong female characters and both are books that I get way too excited about.

One of the things I like most about The Wall of Night series is that while love and relationships take place in the book, they are never the main plot-line. The focus is always on saving Harth and the people in it. Friendship in some ways replaces romance in these books, playing its part among duty and honour.

This instalment of the series doesn’t feature Mailin as much as the previous two, looking more at Kalan and his part in the storyline instead. This is another strength in Helen Lowe’s writing as she managed to write both female and male story lines while building up this great sea of flesh out, full bodied characters. The names can sometimes be a little confusing as some are very similar but other than that I find it hard to criticize her work. I enjoy reading it too much.

‘Night Study’ is the fifth book in the ‘Poison Study’ series. I’m going to admit that ‘Night Study’ isn’t my favourite book in the series however. It’s very much a set up for the sixth book and reading it I could see that very little would be resolved before the book ended. All the characters I love were still there and it was a great read by an author I greatly admire, but it just wasn’t as good as it’s counterparts.

Finally, ‘Red Queen’ by Victoria Aveyard. My Amazon account has been recommending this book to me for months but it never really caught my attention that much. As I said about ‘Glass Sword’, the plot-line itself isn’t that original, but it’s still pretty well written and I enjoyed reading it. I was a little disappointed in Mare. Throughout the book she is fighting to control her own destiny but it’s quite clear she’s being pulled along by everyone else. I’m hoping that she will come into her own in ‘Glass Sword’ but at the moment I’m finding her somewhat lacking. She doesn’t demand respect like Celaena or Mailin. She doesn’t invoke any real change, stuff just happens to her. Once again though, it’s still a pretty readable book. Victoria Aveyard writes it well and I didn’t get bored reading it or want to put it down. All in all I was pretty happy with my choice to read it.

 

What I’m Reading Next

 

‘Desolation’ will be in my hands by Thursday which I’m pretty excited about. Other than that I’m not sure what I’ll be reading next. I’m mainly focusing on clearing out my currently reading list and getting on with the books already on my bedside table. I have six hundred books in my house and great chunks of them are only half read. I doubt that will stop me buying more though. I picked ‘The God of Small Things’ up from an Oxfam shop in Nantwich and the woman at the till recommend as I was paying which is always a good sign so I want to read that soon as well.

So there you have it. February and March’s books. Let me know in the comments if you have any thoughts on the books and what you’re reading at the moment. Are you a book hopper too or do you stick to one book and see it through to the end? Perhaps you take part in WWW Wednesdays too!

Confessions Of A Bookworm January 2016

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So far this year I’ve managed to get through four of the books on my last list of do here is this month’s update on what I’ve been reading, what I’m about to read and what I thought of the books I actually finished.

What Am I Reading

I’ve knocked some books off my ‘currently reading’ list this month. I wanted to try and focus on the books that I want to finish during February. I’m a few chapters into ‘The Lies of Locke Lamora’ ‘Magician’, ‘Blackbirds’ and ‘America Gods’ but the other two are pretty much untouched. If I’m honest, ‘Go Set A Watchman’ is the lowest down on the list at the moment, but that’s just because I’m enjoying the others too much. I keep finding myself debating over which one to pick up.

Recently Finished

I’m trying to focus in on the books I’m reading and reduce the number of ones that I have lurking around half-read.

While I liked ‘Dodger’ well enough, I felt that it lacked any real motivation behind the story. While ‘The Colour of Magic’ is whimsical and fun, ‘Dodger’ is a weird mixture of history and imagination. While Dodger amused me, I never felt any real connection with Simplicity. The ending seemed rather convenient as well and the final chapter, well let’s not even go there. It was very much a ‘meh’ book. ‘The Colour of Magic’ on the other hand was everything I’d expected from a Pratchett book. It was an utter joy to read. I’ve managed to hold off buying the next book in the Diskworld series just because I’m trying not to divert too much off my current reading list, but I’m not sure how long that resolution will last.

‘A Dance of Chaos’ was brilliant. It was the perfect ending for David Dalglish’s series and it had all the same face pace, break neck action as the rest of his books. I won’t say any more for fear of spoiling the earlier ones but if you like action, sword fights and criminal underworlds then you have to read this series.

Finally we get to ‘The Sentinel Mage’. I’ll admit that I got a few chapters into this book and put it down. I thought the Prince was a prat, the main characters while nice enough seemed to innocent, and I lost interest. It turns out that this is another one of those books that grows on you as you get further. At ten past twelve this morning I was busy telling myself, just one more chapter, just one more chapter. The book does end with a conclusion of sorts, but it also left a lot of questions to be answered in the next book. I went from being two chapters in to finishing it in three days.

‘The Sentinel Mage’ has a really interesting chapter structure as well. Lots of short chapters, interspersed with some longer ones. It made me think about my own writing and how I’m structuring it. I felt less inclined to put the book down mid chapter and I’d defiantly say that this was an enjoyable read. For those who like the fantasy genre, I would recommend it.

What I’m Reading Next

Both of these books are released next month with ‘Daughter of Blood’ set to land on my doorstep TOMORROW! I’m so happy and I can’t wait to read it. I raved about ‘The Gathering of The Lost’ in my last Confessions of a Bookworm post. Both the series and the writer have me under the spell.

‘Night Study’ is set to be out the end of February but I’m also super excited to have that winging it’s way towards me. The first half of 2016 is filled with released from writers that I adore so you’ll be seeing them pop up now and again, knocking some of the older ‘currently reading’ books out of the way as those pre-ordered copies zoom through the letterbox. ‘Poison Study’ which was the first book in this series became on of my favourite books in the fantasy genre from the moment I read it. The fact that Maria V Snyder has returned to these characters is wonderful and the ending of ‘Shadow Study’ has me practically scrabbling for the opening chapters to ‘Night Study.’ Luckily I won’t have to wait much longer.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some reading to do. This list won’t get any shorter by itself.

Confessions Of A Bookworm

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So the last time I wrote one of these posts was at the end of September which was three months ago. Not great for someone planning to try and write one of these a month but oh well.

What Am I Currently Reading:

A couple of these books have been carried over from September I’ll admit. ‘Between Silk and Cyanide’ and ‘Go Set A Watchman’ just haven’t been grabbing my attention in the last few months and as such they’ve sat lonely on the bookshelves with their bookmarks gathering dust. I will get back to them, I just don’t know when. Hopefully soon.

‘Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell’ by Susan Clarke is something of a mammoth read. I borrowed a copy from someone at work to read but I’ve decided to buy my own as it’s taking me forever to get through it and I feel bad hanging into their book for so long. I’m making my way through slowly but I doubt I’ll be finished with it any time soon.

‘A Dance of Chaos’ is the sixth book in David Dalgish’s beautifully violent series ‘Shadowdance’. The previous book in the series was on my September reading list and now this one is on my December. I started reading yesterday and to be honest, I’ll probably finish it before any of the others currently on this list.

I’m only a couple of chapters into ‘The Sentinel Mage’ and I’m finding it tough. The story line has so far failed to grab me and while it’s not a bad book I’m reading it more out of stubbornness than love. Who knows, it might get better as it goes on.

I’ve been meaning to read ‘Blackbirds’ for a while as Chuck Wendig is one of my favourite bloggers on wordpress. I’m a chapter in and so far I really like it. It’s dark and funny which is what I love about he’s blog pieces so I’m looking forward to reading more.

‘Magician’ looks like it’s going to be one of those books that I’ll have to work to get into. It’s nice enough but a bit slow to start.

Finally, ‘The Colour of Magic’ and ‘Dodger’. I have never read a Terry Pratchet book before. Well I did read ‘Good Omens’ but that was joint between him and Neil Gaiman so I thought it might be time to read something purely Pratchet as well. I’m ‘The Colour of Magic’ enjoying it well enough. The idea of a chest with hundreds of little feet protruding from beneath it gives me the shudders but other than that the book occupies the same style of fantasy world that I love. It has the same dry wit that I adore in Gaiman’s writing and it’s just nice to read. Next to ‘A Dance of Chaos’ it’s one of my favourites on the list. ‘Dodger’ is good as well. Pratchett has jammed all these various London based stories that everyone knows into one book and there at the centre is charming Dodger and the extraordinary Charles Dickens.

 

Recently Finished

Over the last few months I have read some fantastic books. Books that have made me genuinely happy to hold in my hands.

Firstly! ‘Snow Like Ashes’ and ‘Ice Like Fire’ by Sara Raasch. The moment I finished ‘Snow Like Ashes’ I was on Amazon to buy ‘Ice Like Fire’. Granted, I saw the revelation of the first book coming long before the end, but the second one had me practically screaming at it by the last chapter. In some ways I’d say the second is better than the first just because it managed to keep me in the dark so much longer.

‘The Ocean At The End of The Lane’ by Neil Gaiman. Do I need to even explain why this book makes me happy? Granted, it’s not quite the same as ‘Stardust’ or ‘Neverwhere’, but for me it was a great book. I love that it started out as a short story for his wife to try and show her what his childhood was like and by the end he’d accidentally written a novel. Reading it brought back a few memories of my own childhood, and as always, magic was woven through every page. Neil Gaiman is very much one of my favourite authors of all time.

Helen Lowe’s ‘The Gathering of the Lost’ and David Daglish’s ‘A Dance of Ghosts’ are the only two books on Septembers ‘I am reading’ list that actually got read. I spent the first half of ‘The Gathering of the Lost’ a bit confused and the second half raving about how cleverly it was written. I have never seen the a writer write in the same way as Helen Lowe does in this book and it was nice to read something unique.

David Daglish’s ‘A Dance of Ghosts’ has the same fast paces, brutal attraction to it as all his other works. Whenever I’m stuck writing a fight scene I refer back to him, which often means I’m a couple of hours from returning to writing, but I’d say it’s worth it.

I put of reading ‘A Court of Thorns and Roses’ by Sarah J Mass and I’m not sure why. I love her ‘Throne of Glass’ series but I never felt the need to pick up this book of hers. Once I did I couldn’t put it down. It’s been a while since I was as genuinely excited to get home and dive into a book as I was when reading this one. I was counting down the hours at work so I could get home and read another chapter. I adored it. Even better was the fact that when I reached the end I realised it wasn’t a stand alone and there would be even more! Sarah J Mass, I don’t know how you do it, but your books make me so happy.

‘City of Heavenly Fire’ by Cassandra Clare.

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Hay Festival 2012?

Okay, this was another mammoth book and the last in a series as well. At over 700 pages long you have to be willing to put in the time for this one.

Cassandra Clare’s books are another favourite of mine but this one had been sat on the shelf for a few month with the book mark only about 100 pages in. This week I decided I was going to get it read. It took two days of curling up on the sofa with more pillows and blankets than normally socially acceptable and many, many cups of tea. It was bliss.

The length of the books means that there was more than enough time for everything to happen that needed to happen. There was no rushing and unlike some shorter books, I didn’t put it down and feel that overwhelming sadness that the series had finished. In some ways the length of the book allowed me to come to terms with the collection ending. I felt satisfied with how everything ended and I admired how not everything was tidied up with a neat bow. It was a realistic ending, not a fairy tale one.

I tend to think that I prolong reading final books just because I don’t want a series to end. There is always something slightly traumatic about saying goodbye to the characters you love.

 

What I’m Reading Next

I’m not 100% what I’ll read next. There are a number of books coming out in 2016 that I’m desperate to get my hands on but whether or not I’ll finish my current reading list and have time before they arrive is another matter. At the moment these ones are the ones I’m most keen to get on to next:

Books, Books And More Books!!!!

What Am I Currently Reading:

I’m one of those people who always has about twenty books on the go, so here are the top four books on my ‘Currently Reading List’. I’m most of the way through A Dance of Ghosts so that one is the one I’m focusing on at the moment. I should have it finished in the next couple of days and next up will probably be ‘Go Set A Watchman’ and then I’ll dive back into ‘A Code Maker’s War’. I like to keep some variation in the books I’m reading and not have two of the same one after the other, otherwise it’s too easy to get bored.

Recently Finished:

Haha! I’ve been good in the last three weeks. I’ve managed to start and finish a few books instead of leaving them on the shelf half-read to come back to later. It’s helped that three of my favourite authors brought out books at about the same time. The divine Derek Landy brought out the first book in his new series ‘Demon Roads’, which on reflections bares some similarities to Skulduggery Pleasant. A dry humoured male with a mysterious past driving around in an awesome car encountering supernatural weirdness along the way. I’d say ‘Demon Roads’ is a bit darker though, and definitely has its own unique attraction.

‘Queen of Shadows’ is the fourth book in Sarah J Mass’s amazing Throne of Glass series. Celaena Sardothia is one of my all time, favourite characters and up there next to Valkyrie Caine, she’s busy showing the sci-fi/fantasy world just how bad-ass female leads can be. Book four makes up for the lack of progress in the third book and defiantly marks a return to form for Miss Mass. The only question! Will there be a fifth? There is a resolve of sorts, but the ending definitely left room for another book to follow on.

‘The Heir Of Night’ is the first book in its series and I really enjoyed it. I’m finding the second book a little slower to get through, but in the second book the focus drifts away from the main character, the heir, and I’m just not as interested in that right now. There’s a bit of a time jump between the two books and I’m impatient to see how Milain has changed.

Last of all, and do not judge me, ‘How To Fight A Dragon’s Fury’. I fell in love with Cressida Cowell’s How To Train Your Dragon series back at the beginning of secondary school and that love has never waned. This final instalment was long awaited and I was so happy when it finally landed on my doorstep. If you’ve seen the films then I’ll warn you, the books are vastly different. They hold the same essences, but the actually storyline is off on completely different tangents. I have to admit that I love both the films and the books though. Being so different, for once, is great since it means I can look at them and enjoy them as individuals and not as a thing of a thing. Anyway, back to the book. Cressida. You did not let me down!

Reading Next:

These are the next five books highest up on my ‘To Be Read At Some Point’ list. As you can see it’s a little fantasy heavy, but I am currently redrafting Darkened Daughter and I like to read a lot of the genre that I’m working on.

Terry Pratchett has always been on this list, I’ve just been lazy about reading his work. Then I read ‘Good Omens’ and realised that under no circumstances whatsoever could I continue to somehow miss out on reading his novels.

Peter Ackroyd’s book I’ve technically started but since it’s a history, I’ll dip in and out of it between books a chapter at a time. I always find that’s the best way to read academic books, it makes them easier to digest and gives you more time to mull over what you’ve read.

‘Sleeping Angel’ and ‘Dance of Chaos’ are both series books and once I’m invested I rarely give up until that series ends.

‘The Sentinel Mage’ is just a book I heard a good review on.

I’ll let you know what I thought once I’ve read them.

If you want to have a go at this Book Obbessed Blog Prompt, check out it’s host at ‘Taking On A World Of Words’.

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