Words That Make Me Want To Pick Up A Book

Hi guys, I hope you are all well. Today I thought I would share some key words that will immediately make me interested in a book. We all have certain things that make us what to read books and I have quite a few things that attract me towards books. Sorry for the long title but I couldn’t figure out a way of shortening it :). Now these don’t necessarily mean I will definitely pick up the book but these words will make me intrigued to check it out. Let’s get started.

 

General:
  • Hidden identities
  • Mythology
  • Strong group of friends
  • The author

 

Fantasy:
  • East Asia inspired
  • Animal companion
  • Strong female lead (especially if she’s good with a bow)
  • Great world building
  • Assassins

 

Historical fiction:
  • WW1 and WW2
  • Ancient China

 

Other things that may sway me to pick up a book include beautiful covers and/or a recommendation from someone I trust. I’m sure there are more but I can’t think of them right now :). What words or phrases make you want to pick up a book? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

Book Travelling Thursday

Hi guys, so today I thought I would try something new and participate in my first Book Travelling Thursday post I’ve been meaning to try out a new bookish meme and I really liked the idea of this one. It was created by Cátia @ The Girl Who Read Too Much and Danielle @ Danielle’s Book Blog. This weekly meme consists in picking a book related to the weekly theme that is announced in the group Goodreads page (if you want to join click here) at the beginning of each month. After that you can write a blog post where you explain why you choose that book and choose different covers from different countries. This weeks theme is to choose a book that you still want to read this year. I’ve gone with A Pale View of Hills by Kazuo Ishiguro. I am a big fan of this author and I’ve slowly been making my way through his books. It’s about time that I read his debut book. Onto the different book covers. Scroll over each book cover to see what country it’s from.

 

 

 

It’s kind of hard to pick a favourite, as I quite like a few of them. The UK edition is definitely one of them, but I also really like the Turkish edition and the French one. My least favourite is probably the Japanese edition. Anyway I’m excited to get to the book itself. It’s a pretty short book so I am sure I will be able to get to it by the end of the year. Have you guys read this book? Which edition is your favourite? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next.

 

Pippa

 

 

Author Exploration: Elizabeth Gaskell

Hi guys, how are you? I am actually in Greece right now, which is quite nice :). I flew over with my family on Saturday and we’ve now started our two week holiday. I made sure to have post scheduled for you guys so things should run smoothly while I’m gone. Anyway today I thought I would do another author exploration post about one of my favourite classics author – Elizabeth Gaskell. I picked up my first book by her while I was still at school and I have been slowly making my way through her other books.

 

North and South 
This is one of my all time favourite books and so I take every opportunity to recommend it :). This follows Margaret Hale and her family as they move from the countryside to a industrial town. Firstly I love the writing and found it so easy to get into. Secondly the characters are fantastic, even the secondary characters (Nicholas and Bessy are fantastic). Margaret Hale is one of my favourites and the romance in this book is done so well. The setting is a really interesting one and you get a great look into the society at that time. I just absolutely love this book and I cannot say enough good things about it. The BBC adaptation starring Richard Armitage and Daniela Denby-Ashe is amazing and I would highly recommend checking that out as well. This was the book I started with so I think this is a great place to start if you are interested in reading some Gaskell.

 

Cranford 

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This is definitely a bit of an odd one, but it is still well worth a read, especially if you are already a fan of Gaskell. What I mean by odd is the way it is written. It is a short book which is more a series of episodes, than a linear narrative, although there are plot points that run throughout the book. For this reason I think it would be a great place to start if you are new to Gaskell, or classics in general. Although I didn’t realise that going in so it took me a little while to get into the flow of the story, but I ended up really enjoying the meandering plot (realistically it doesn’t have much of a plot) and underlying themes. What really makes this book are the characters –  as I mentioned there is not much of a plot, but the character studies within the book are a pleasure to read. So if you like very character driven stories with meandering plot than I highly recommend this book, whether you’ve read Gaskell before or not.

 

Wives and Daughters 
I actually saw the BBC adaptation many years before reading this so I had a vague recollection of what happened. Luckily it didn’t take out any of the enjoyment for me. This is a rather lengthy book, at around 700 pages, and it can be a little slow at times but I found that the writing and characters pull it forward. Once again the characters are fantastic. Gaskell does a wonderful job of creating interesting and well written characters that you will come to really care for. Although some of the characters are pretty annoying. I also highly recommend the BBC adaptation which is very good.

 

Ruth 
This is one of Gaskell’s social novels, as it focuses on the idea of a ‘fallen woman’. It is an interesting look into this, as Gaskell forces society to question whether ostracising them is the only way forward, and whether all the fault should be placed on the women. As a modern reader it really makes you think about how quick we can be to judge people, even when we don’t have the full story and that there may be those that we judge more harshly then we should. While I did enjoy this novel, I personally didn’t enjoy it as much as her other works. I felt Ruth as a heroine was too perfect. I understand the point Gaskell was trying to get across of  judging ‘fallen women’ too harshly, but to me it just felt very heavy-handed. I personally also found that it was very heavy in religious thinking and scriptural references, which I wasn’t a huge fan of. Overall it was an interesting read, and I did enjoy it for the most part. However if you are new to Gaskell, I would maybe suggest starting with North and South or Cranford, instead of Ruth. 

 

Mary Barton 
 This is Gaskell’s first book and in my opinion it shows. Don’t get me wrong I did enjoy this book; I just had some issues with it. The pacing was abit off, the characters lacked depth and I thought the plot was abit lacking as well. However the setting is a very interesting one and I will always enjoy Gaskell’s work. I definitely recommend if you are a fan of Gaskell. I have a full review which you can check out here.

 

The Life of Charlotte Bronte / unread
Sylvia’s Lovers / unread

 

I hope to get to her other books soon, but you never know I might be distracted by other books :). I have enjoyed everything I’ve read by her so I fully expect to enjoy them too. Have you guys read any books by Gaskell? Or do you have any on your TBR? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

Author Exploration: John Scalzi

Hi guys, how are you? Today I thought I would do another author exploration post and I’ve chosen to talk about John Scalzi. To the best of my knowledge he has only written science books, but please correct me if I’m wrong. I read my first book by him a couple years ago when I was trying out more science fiction books and I always keep an eye out for any releases by him. I find his books so easy and entertaining to read. There is also some short fiction work he’s done but I haven’t included them here. Let’s get started.

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Old Man’s War / Old Man’s War series book 1 / 
The Ghost Brigade / Old Man’s War series book 2 / 
The Last Colony / Old Man’s War series book 3 / 
Zoe’s Tale / Old Man’s War series book 4 / 
The Human Division / Old Man’s War series book 5 / ★.5
The End of All Things / Old Man’s War series book 6 / ★.5
This is a fantastic science fiction series. The characters are fantastic, the plot is action packed and the writing is so easy to get into. I definitely think the first three books are the strongest but I did still enjoy the other books. For me the main characters of the first three are amazing and I kind of miss them in the later books. The fourth book (Zoe’s Tale) is just a retelling of the events of the third book from a different perspective. I personally enjoy the humour in these books and the action is done very well.  Overall this is a very fun and enjoyable series.

 

Fuzzy Nation 
This is the first book I read by this author and it is probably one of my favourites. I haven’t read the original this is based on so I can’t comment on any similarities but I loved this book. It was just such an entertaining read. Once again the writing is easy to get into and the plot is engaging throughout. As this was the place I started, I think this is a great book to read first if you are interested in reading Scalzi’s works.
Redshirts 
Again this is a enjoyable and entertaining read. There are definitely some problems with this one (abrupt ending, holes in the plot etc) but it is still an easy read. The writing is pretty simplistic and it’s a little lacklustre overall but it’s still a really fun read. I don’t really have much more to say about this one. It’s definitely not a favourite of mine but it was still good.
Lock In / Lock In series book 1 / 
Head On / Lock In series book 2 / unreleased
This one took me a little while to get into, as the person narrating is nameless, so it got a little bit confusing at times. Having said that I think the concept is a really interesting one and once you get into the flow of the writing it’s pretty easy to follow. I definitely didn’t enjoy this one as much as some of the others but I am still interested to read the sequel.
The Collapsing Empire / book 1 in a new series / ★.5
I only really realised how much I enjoyed this after I finished it. I think I read it when I was in a bit of a weird head space so I didn’t enjoy it as much as I might have while reading. Thinking about it now, I actually really enjoyed it. I think the concept of the Flow is really interesting and as always the writing is easy to get into. The excessive swearing got on my nerves a bit but it’s only a minor complaint.

 

Agent to the Stars / unread
The Androids Dream / unread

 

Scalzi writes entertaining and action packed science fiction books. I find his books easy to read and they are just a load of fun. I will say the characters are pretty similar through all of his books – they are basically the same characters but I can put that aside for the action, plot, humour etc. These books are definitely not perfect but I really enjoy them. Have you guys read any of these books? I’d love to know if you want any new posts or any requests for future posts. I hope you are having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

 

 

 

Author Exploration: The Bronte Sisters

Hi guys I hope you are all well. It is time for another author exploration post. Today I thought I would share my thoughts on the works of the Bronte sisters. I have read the majority of their books, I think, but I have read no poetry by any of the sisters. You probably all know of the Bronte sisters but if you don’t they comprise of three British sisters. The eldest was Charlotte Bronte, then Emily Bronte and the youngest was Anne Bronte. They lived during the 1800’s and between the three of them wrote 8 books (correct me if I’m wrong). I am a big fan of the sisters so I thought they would be perfect to be the topic of this author exploration. Let’s get started.
Charlotte Bronte:
  • Jane Eyre  ★ – first published 1847 – I have mentioned my love for this book before so I am going to keep this short :). It is one of my all time favourite classics. Jane is one of the all time favourite characters – her strength, her serenity, her intelligence and the journey of her growth is just a pleasure to read. The writing is wonderful. I think some would find the pacing a bit slow at times, but I personally never had this issue. For me it is engaging throughout and even when the pacing is slow the writing itself will keep you engaged. I also highly recommend the BBC TV adaptation starring Toby Stephens and Ruth Wilson – it is so good. I personally think this is the best place to start, if you are new to Charlotte or the sisters as a whole.
  • Shirley  ★.5 – first published 1849 – I found this one hard to rate as I appreciated the book more than I actually enjoyed it. It is a pretty dense read. The feminism in this book is a pleasure to read but the lack of a driving plot meant that it does drag abit. I had to push myself to read it as time because of it. It is a slow read, but it is well worth the time for the themes present.
  • Villette ★.5 – first published 1853 – Again this was a bit mixed for me. You can clearly see her skill as a writer, but something about this just didn’t quite work for me. Don’t get me wrong I did enjoy it, but not as much as Jane EyreLucy Snowe is quite an intriguing character, but I didn’t really care about any of the other characters. It is quite dense and slow moving but nothing that you can’t get into within a few chapters. To me it felt abit inconsistent – which is interesting as this book is based around her own experiences so perhaps she had difficulty melding fiction with reality. The characters also seemed quite inconsistent at times as well. I found it to be a bit confusing at times, and it took me a while to get into it. Overall I enjoyed this but I also had a few issues with it.
  • The Professor – first published 1857 – unread
  • Emma – first published 1860 – unread

 

Anne Bronte:
  • Agnes Grey ★ – first published in 1847 – In my opinion this is an underrated classic. The story is straightforward and engaging.  The writing is wonderful, the characters are well written and Agnes is a great female protagonist. This book also touches on some interesting themes and I think this is a great place to start with classics or if you are new to the Bronte sisters.
  • The Tenant of Wildfell Hall ★ – first published in 1848 – I think Anne is so underrated compared to her sisters. This book is definitely up there with Jane Eyre as one of my favourite classics – it may be my favourite book by all the Bronte sisters. The writing is phenomenal and the issues raised are so progressive for the time ( feminism, alcoholism, abuse). As I mentioned the writing is wonderful but it is also easy to read and it is engaging throughout.  Helen is an amazing female protagonist. I think this is a timeless piece of literature and I would highly recommend it, especially if you are a fan of classics in general.

 

Emily Bronte:

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  • Wuthering Heights  – first published in 1847 – This book is definitely one that you will either love or hate. You won’t like any of the characters, especially the two main characters, but I think that showcases Emily’s skill at creating screwed up characters. It is a great look into human nature. So if you are the type of reader who doesn’t enjoy reading about unlikeable characters then this really is not the book for you and I would avoid it at all costs. However if you can appreciate unlikeable characters, than you need to check this book out. The setting of this books is one of my favourite things about it – I love the wilderness of the moors and it is a perfect backdrop to the story. However it did take me a little while to get fully engaged with the plot, so definitely try to make it past the first 100 pages or so.
I think it is safe to say I am a big fan of the Bronte sisters and I look forward to completing all of their books in the future :). Jane Eyre and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall are definitely my two favourite books by these three authors. Let me know your thoughts on the sisters – what is your favourite book by them? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

Author Exploration: Michael J. Sullivan

Hi guys, I hope this finds you well. Today I thought it was time for another author exploration post. You can tell by the title that I am going to be talking about Michael J. Sullivan :).  He is an American writer, primarily of fantasy. I first came across his works in early 2015 and I am excited to see what he releases in the future. To the best of my knowledge, I have read most of his books. I think there is one that I haven’t read that is released and also some short stories I haven’t read. As always, I have linked each book to their Goodreads page as well as link to Wordery using my affiliate link so you can buy them if you want to. Let’s get started :).
In terms of a place to start, I think any where is a good choice. I know that’s not particularly helpful, but it’s the truth :). You can start wherever really. I personally started with the Riyria Revelations series and I was very happy with that – it’s was a good place to start. I think Sullivan writes books that are really easy to get into so it doesn’t matter where you start.

 

Riyria Revelations – As mentioned above this is a six book fantasy series. In book one we meet Royce and Hadrian, who are both about to be framed for the murder of the King. This is just such a entertaining and engaging series. I enjoyed reading every second of it. It is quite traditional in terms of the fantasy genre as there is nothing new or groundbreaking about this series. However Sullivan kind of twists that and does some different things as well. I love the bromance of the two main characters – it is one of the best things about this series. It is just great fun to read and I highly recommend it.

 

Riyria Chronicles – This is a prequel series to the Riyria Revelation series. A third book, The Death of Dulgath, is released but I read it on my kindle so it is not included in the picture. A fourth book is yet to be released. If you enjoyed the first series, then you will definitely enjoy this series too. It is so great to find out where these characters came from and how their relationship started.

 

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The Legends of the First Empire – There is currently only one book out in this series. The second book (Age of Swords) is scheduled to be released June 28th 2017. Age of Myth was a solid introduction to this new series. It was not perfect, but once again Sullivan has written a very enjoyable reading experience. The whole feel of the book is quite familiar, especially if you read alot of epic fantasy, but that never bothered me. The characters are well written, the writing is so easy to get into and the plot although a little predictable at times was engaging and entertaining. I especially loved the characters of Suri and Minna. I am excited to see where this story goes. I cannot wait for the next book in this series. Side note, I think the cover design of this book is stunning.

 

I hope to read Hollow World soon, but so far I just haven’t gotten around to getting my hands on it. I am a big fan of this author so of course I would recommend his books. I find them really easy to read and enjoy. Let me know if you’ve read any of these books and your thoughts on them. I’m interested to see what you thought of them. I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

TTT: New To Me Authors

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Day 5 of blogmas – it is that time of the week for another Top Ten Tuesday. It is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish in June 2010. This week I am sharing my top ten favourite new to me authors of this year. I am also going to share what I have read by each author and linked to any reviews I’ve written for the books. Lets get onto the new authors.
  • Kij Johnson – Fudoki,  At the Mouth of the River of Bees, The Fox Woman and The Dream Quest of Vellitt Boe.
  • John Flanagan – The Ranger’s Apprentice series (first 6 books)
  • Ken Liu – The Grace of Kings and The Wall of Storms 
  • Anthony Ryan – The Waking Fire
  • Lian Hearn – Emperor of the Eight Islands
  • Adrian Tchaikovsky – Children of Time and The Tiger and The Wolf
  • Carlos Ruiz Zafon – In the Shadow of the Wind
  • Leo Tolstoy – War and Peace
  • Sebastien de Castell – The Traitors Blade
  • Paul B. Kohler – The Hunted Assassin
That’s it for this week. It’s great finding new authors and I hope that I will be trying out even more. I very much enjoyed the books by these authors. I know that quite a few of these authors have more books out and I look forward to reading more from them. Let me know if you guys have any new favourite authors! I hope you are having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa