August Wrap Up and September TBR

Hi guys, I hope you are all well. It’s the end of the month so it’s time to talk about all the books I’ve read. I am pretty happy that it’s now going into the autumn months as autumn/winter are my favourite seasons :). Anyway I read 6 books this month, which isn’t that much compared to previous months. I didn’t have a lot of motivation to read this month, so I’m pretty happy that I still read 6 books.  As always I have linked each book to Wordery using my affiliate link, so you can get yourself a copy of any of these books if you want to. Let’s get started with my mini reviews.

 

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Stranger of Tempest / Tom Lloyd / ★★
This was very much a case of it’s not you, it’s me. It had a lot of potential but I personally felt it fell a little flat. My only small complaint was that the characters lacked some depth and the pacing wasn’t quite right. The plot felt a little aimless at times and the pacing suffered a little bit. Apart from that, this was a good book, but I just never got invested in it. If you like fantasy and the synopsis interests you I would still recommend checking it out. I have a full review of this coming soon.

 

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Child of the Prophecy / Juliet Marillier / ★★★
Of course the writing was fantastic. If you’ve been following my blog for a while you’ll know that I discovered Marillier this year and I think her writing is great. I do think that this was the weakest of the Sevenwaters trilogy so far. To be entirely honest I wasn’t a huge fan of the main character, Fainine – I found her quite frustrating a lot of the time. In my opinion there were also a few holes in the plot and I just didn’t find it as compelling as the previous two. Overall still a good book but definitely not my favourite.

 

A Pale View of Hills / Kazuo Ishiguro / ★★★
I’m a big fan of this author and I’ve been meaning to check out his debut book for a while now. As with his other books, memory plays a part in this book and there is an unreliable narrator. I found this to be a very intriguing story. This is definitely one of those books you will pick up more from rereading it. I will say that this is quite a vague book in some ways, so if you are a fan of straightforward plots and neatly solved mysteries than this may not be for you. You are given the bare bones of plot and it is up to you interpret the events of the book. Of course the writing is great and the characters are well written. I have enjoyed everything I’ve read from Ishiguro, so I would definitely recommend checking him out.

 

Germinal / Emile Zola / ★★★★
This is definitely not an easy read, in terms of the conditions of the characters during a miners’ strike – there is a lot of suffering and hardship in this book. It is a very interesting read, but it is very grim. The writing is fantastic, although there are quite a lot of long descriptions. It did take me some time to read it but it is quite dense and long (not in a bad way though). It did also take me some time to get used to all of the characters and to remember who’s who. I don’t have alot more to say about this. I would highly recommend reading it.

 

Empress of Bright Moon / Weina dai Randal / ★★★★
This is the second and final book in the Empress of Bright Moon duology. I thought this was a fantastic conclusion and it has definitely made me want to check out more historical fiction set in Ancient China. I found these books so easy to get into and as they are compelling they are quite quick reads. Basically I really enjoyed this book and the duology as a whole. I highly recommend checking this out, especially if you enjoy historical fiction.

 

Servant of the Empire / Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts / ★★★★
This is the second book in the Empire trilogy. I’m going to start this review by saying that this trilogy is fast becoming a new favourite of mine. As with the first book, this was very compelling.  Even though my copy was around 820 pages I flew through this book because I wanted to know what was going to happen next. Once again the politics and intrigue were a highlight of this book. This is not an action packed fantasy book, but if you enjoy intrigue than you need to check out this trilogy. It is so good. I am very excited to read the third and final book. Clearly I would highly recommend this book, especially if you like your fantasy books filled with intrigue.

 

I’ve decided I’m not going to set myself a TBR for September. I’m just going to read what I want to at the time. I am currently reading Artemis by Andy Weir, which I am liking so far.  Other than that I’m not really sure – I have quite a few books on my TBR :). What was your favourite book in August? Mine was definitely Servant of the Empire. I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

It’s Monday… What are you reading?

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week.  It’s a great post to organise yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment, and er… add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date. And here we are!

 

So I’m currently reading two books, although I’ve only just started both of them. The first is The Reluctant Queen by Sarah Beth Durst, and the second is A Pale View of Hills by Kazuo Ishiguro. Both of which I am very excited to read. I also kind of want to get to The Power by Naomi Alderman by the end of the month but I haven’t started it yet.
Goodreads synopsis of A Pale View of Hills: In his highly acclaimed debut, A Pale View of Hills, Kazuo Ishiguro tells the story of Etsuko, a Japanese woman now living alone in England, dwelling on the recent suicide of her daughter. Retreating into the past, she finds herself reliving one particular hot summer in Nagasaki, when she and her friends struggled to rebuild their lives after the war. But then as she recalls her strange friendship with Sachiko – a wealthy woman reduced to vagrancy – the memories take on a disturbing cast.
I’m not going to give a synopsis of The Reluctant Queen as it is the second book in the Queens of Renthia trilogy and I don’t want to spoil it. I loved the first book in this fantasy series so I am very much looking forward to reading it’s sequel. I have a spoiler free review of The Queen of Blood (first book in the trilogy) which you can check out here.

 

There are so many books that I want to read but these are the two that I am currently reading. Hopefully I can read a few more books by the end of the month. Have you guys read either of these books? I’d love to hear your thoughts. I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

 

July Wrap Up and August TBR

Hi guys, it’s time for another wrap up. I’ve had a pretty good reading month. I read 10 books – only one of those was under a 3 star rating and I had a 5 star read this month too. I’m also pretty happy that I am now on track for my Goodreads challenge. At the time of writing this, I am 5 books ahead of schedule so that’s good :). Anyway, I don’t think I have anything else to report to you guys, so I’m just going to start with my mini reviews.

 

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The Tiger’s Daughter / K. Arsrenault Riveria / 
* I received a digital copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
I will update this mini review closer to the release date, but basically this one didn’t work for me. It does have a lot of good reviews on Goodreads though.

 

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn / Mark Twain / 
I realised when I was about 100 pages in that I should have read The Adventures of Tom Sawyer before reading this. You can still read it but things are mentioned that presumably happen in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer so for a full understanding it’s probably best to read them in chronological order – Sawyer first, than Finn. Anyway it took me quite some time to get into this – mainly due to the writing style and dialect. It’s also written in quite an episodic way, so if that’s not your thing than I would avoid this book. It was a good story of friendship, although some things that happened seemed a little over the top. I felt that I appreciated this book more than I actually enjoyed this, if that makes sense. Overall I thought this was a good book but I won’t be adding it to my list of favourite classics.

 

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Betrayal / Fiona Mcintosh /
This is the first book in the Trinity trilogy. This one is a bit of a tricky one to rate because although I did end up enjoying it, I did also have quite a few issues with it. I’ll start with some positives – I thought this was a good introduction to this trilogy, the characters were a little cliched but they were pretty well written, the plot is engaging and compelling and the writing is quite easy to get into, although clunky at times. You can tell that this was her first book, but I didn’t dislike the writing. Now onto some negatives – it contains the extremely overused (at this point) trope of ‘The One’/’The Chosen One’. I don’t mind this if it is done well but I think in this book I think it didn’t quite work. This was mainly due to Tor’s development of his powers – one chapter he’s discovering that he has magic, and then after a couple of chapters he seems to be in full control of his powers with little to no training… what? How can he suddenly be so adept at magic? I just didn’t make sense to me. For me the character development was also lacking. Don’t get me wrong we do get development we just don’t see it. Five years past at some point in the book so we don’t get to see how the characters develop into adults, if that makes sense. I wanted more depth from the characters too – I felt what we got from them was quite surface level. One thing I really didn’t like was the girl on girl hate for no obvious reason other than they are female – not a fan of that at all. The plot probably could have been shorter. Other than that, it was a good read, but as you can see it wasn’t without flaws.

 

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street / Natasha Pulley / 
This was a good debut novel but I also feel it had a lot of potential that wasn’t fully used. At times it felt quite confusing and although the characters are quite well written they lacked some depth. The plot is pretty vague as well, so if you like very structured, plot driven books than this probably isn’t for you. The concept is an interesting one and is one of the main strengths of this book  – I want a Katsu for myself :). I did find it a bit odd that no one ever seemed to really react to the fantastical elements – they just kind of accepted it, which didn’t seem to completely match with the setting. I enjoyed the setting of this book and I thought the atmosphere was done quite well. Overall I enjoyed this book but I think it could have been even better. I would still recommend checking this out, especially if you are a fan of magical realism.

 

The Sound of Waves / Yukio Mishima / 
This is basically the story of a young fisherman and a young woman who fall in love but are separated by their class. Now I’m not normally one for romance books but this one worked quite well (maybe because it’s pretty short).  This is a classic look into the trials of love.  The main thing I enjoyed about this book was the descriptions of life on this small rural island. The details in this book are fantastic and create such an amazing look into their lives. Overall I thought this was a great book and I’m definitely interested in reading more from this author.
City of Dragons / Robin Hobb / ★.5
This is the third book in the Rain Wild Chronicles. This was a good continuation of this series but in my opinion it is probably the weakest of the books so far. Hobb is still a fantastic writer though and it was still a great book.

 

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Eagles in the Storm / Ben Kane / 
* I received a digital copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
The third and final book in the Eagles of Rome trilogy. With this book, the trilogy ended fantastically. You can clearly see the research the author has undertaken to create an authentic feel to these books. The characters are well written, the plot is compelling and the writing is easy to get into. If you are interested in this time period and/or love historical fiction then you should definitely check this trilogy out.

 

Kings of the Wyld / Nicholas Eames / 
This is the first book in the Band series. I had seen this around quite a bit and a friend of mine recommended it to me, so I decided to pick it up. I thought this was a very enjoyable read, although the ending could have been done better. The characters are well written, the plot is engaging and the writing is easy to get into. I think Moog and Kit were my favourite characters in this book. Some of the humour wasn’t to my taste but that’s just personal preference and it didn’t detract from my overall enjoyment. I will say that I wanted more from the ending. It’s built up so much throughout the book that it was a little anti-climatic when you got it the end. I also felt that it was a little confusing about what happened to certain characters. Overall this was a very entertaining book and I would recommend it, especially if you enjoy fantasy. I definitely plan on checking out the next books in this series whenever they come out.

 

A Tale for the Time Being / Ruth Ozeki / 
I’ve had this on my TBR for quite some time now, so I’m very happy that I’ve finally picked it up. I thought this was a fantastic book. I definitely found Nao’s narrative more compelling than Ruth’s, but both perspectives are equally important and I understand why they are both used. I also found Ruth a little frustrating at times. I didn’t find that it detracted from the story though, as all of the characters are very well written. The writing was great and easy to get into. I definitely recommend checking this book out, especially if you are interested in aspect of Japanese culture. I plan to check out her other books too. Trigger warning for suicide and bullying.

 

Accusations / Bandi / 
This book is very interesting, as well as being pretty scary. It is a collection of stories that have been smuggled out of North Korea. If you are unfamiliar, North Korea has a terrifying regime that doesn’t particularly care about human rights – that’s putting it very briefly, there is a lot more to it than that but otherwise we’d be here all day. I personally find this area of the world fascinating so I thought this book was fantastic and is well worth a read.

 

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In terms of my August TBR I have a few books that I want to get to. There are also two readathons that I am thinking of taking part of – Tome Topple readathon (4th-17th) and Bout of Books readathon (21st-27th) so look out for there separate TBR posts. I definitely want to read Servant of the Empire by Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts – I’m think of reading this over the Tome topple readathon. My classic pick of the month is going to be Germinal by Emile Zola. Other books I’m thinking about trying to get to include A Pale View of Hills by Kazuo Ishiguro, The Loving Cup by Winston Graham, Empress of the Bright Moon by Weina dai Randel, The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen and The Reluctant Queen by Sarah Beth Durst. There are just so many books I want to read :). Hopefully I’ll at least get to some of these.

 

How was your reading month? What was your favourite book of the month? I’d love to know. In unrelated news, I am getting quite excited that it is getting closer to autumn and winter now! I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

TTT: Series I’ve Been Meaning To Start But Haven’t

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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 weeks topic is your top ten series I’ve been meaning to start but haven’t. I hope to get to at least some of these series at some point but there are so many books to read :)… Let’s get started.
As I’ve said hopefully I will start these series at some point. I’m hoping to get to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo soon but I don’t know when I’ll get to the others yet. Have you guys any read of these series? What series have you meant to start but haven’t? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

May Wrap Up and June TBR

Hi guys, it’s time for another wrap up. I actually had a pretty good reading month. I read a total of 11 books – 6 of which were 4 star reads, so I am quite happy with that. I was definitely in more of a reading mood this month and there was some fantastic fantasy books. Let’s get started.

 

The Cossacks and Hadji Murat / Leo Tolstoy / ★★★
To be completely honest I wasn’t blown away by either of these stories. Having said that Tolstoy’s writing is fantastic and the characters are all complex. I just didn’t love it quite as much as the other books I’ve read from Tolstoy. You can’t deny that Tolstoy is a great writer though.

 

All for Nothing / Walter Kempowski / ★★★
While I did end up liking this, I didn’t love it. The narrative style is a little jarring and so it took me some time to get into it. The characters are well written but I had very little connection with any of them. It is an interesting read as you get a look into the life of a German family during the last years of the war, but although it was interesting I didn’t find it particularly engaging at times. I found it dragged at certain points. Overall I thought this was a good book but I didn’t love it. If you love historical fiction set in this time period, I would definitely recommend checking this out.

 

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Vanguard / Jack Campbell / ★★★
Book 1 of the Genesis Fleet series. It took me a little while to get into this book, but I ended up enjoying it. I thought it was an entertaining read and the plot was mostly engaging. The characters were a little flat at times and I wanted a bit more character development. Having said that, I did still like them. I haven’t read the other series set in the same world, so I don’t know how they relate but I didn’t feel like I was missing anything significant, if that makes sense. Basically you can read this without reading the other series. I think it was lacking a little bit in explanations at times (in terms of the world, technology etc), but generally it’s an interesting world. The action was done well and I enjoyed the battle scenes. Overall I thought this was an enjoyable science fiction book and I am interested to see how things progress.

 

The Goddess Chronicle / Natsuo Kirino / ★★★.5
Although I did think this was a good book, I think the premise worked better in theory than in practice. I loved the idea of this book but something just didn’t quite work for me. The characters were well written, the writing is good and as I’ve already mentioned the premise is great. From what I understand this is a retelling of two deities from Japanese mythology – Izanami and Izanagi. Perhaps if I had prior knowledge I would have enjoyed this more. Having said that, I did still think this book was great and was an interesting look into Japanese mythology.

 

Words of Radiance: Part 1 / Brandon Sanderson / ★★★.5
This is part 1 of the second book in the Stormlight Archives series. I think I would actually rate it somewhere between 3.5 stars and 4 stars. I thought this was a great continuation of this series. It was a little slow to begin with and it took some time to get into it. For me, Kaladin’s perspective was the best and I sometimes struggled a bit with Shallan. Having said that I thought the character development was well done. So far I definitely haven’t loved this series as much as other people but it is still really good. I would recommend this series to any fantasy lover and I’m looking forward to see how things progress in part 2.

 

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd / Agatha Christie / ★★★★
This is the third book by Christie that I’ve read and like the two others I really enjoyed this book. I really enjoy Poirot as a character and the mysteries are always fun to read. I definitely had some suspicion about the killer in the book and I was right in the end, but it didn’t take anything away from the enjoyment to seeing it all unfold. I’m looking forward to reading more from this author.

 

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Heart’s Blood / Juliet Marillier / ★★★★
I didn’t know much going into this so it surprised me to realise this is a Beauty and the Beast retelling. I think Marillier’s writing is great and it is so easy to get immersed in the worlds of her books. Having said that I found this one a little slow to start but not necessarily in a bad way. The characters are all well written and they are some really intriguing ones. Overall I thought this was great and I look forward to reading more from this author.

 

The Moon in the Palace / Weina Dai Randel / ★★★★
This is a fantastic historical fiction set in Ancient China – it is loosely set around the only female in Chinese history to rule as an Emperor, Empress Wu. I don’t know alot about Chinese history but I find it fascinating so when I saw this was set in Ancient China I was sold. I thought the writing was great and so easy to get into. I will definitely be checking out the second and final book in this duology, The Empress of Bright Moon. I highly recommend this, especially if you love historical fiction. Full review to come soon.

 

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Knight’s Shadow / Sebastien de Castell / ★★★★
This is the second book in the Greatcoats series and I enjoyed it just as much as I enjoyed the first book. I find these books so easy to read and they are just so entertaining. If you are looking for a fun, light fantasy read then you should definitely check these books out. I don’t know how long this series is but I am so excited to continue on with these books.

 

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The Legion of Flame / Anthony Ryan / ★★★★
This is the second book in the Draconis Memoria series and it is one of my most anticipated releases of this year. For anyone interested, it is being released in the UK on 6th July in hardback. I thought this was a fantastic continuation of this series. It was great to be back with these characters. Full review to come closer to the release date.

 

Sons of the Shadow / Juliet Marillier / ★★★★
I thought this was a fantastic continuation of this series. I don’t think it was better than the first book but I think it was just as good. Once again the characters were great and the writing is fantastic. I am very excited to continue on with this trilogy. Full review coming soon.

 

I don’t really know what I’m going to be reading in June. I’m actually going away at the start of June for two weeks in Greece, so I don’t know if I’ll be reading much or what to put on my tbr. My classic pick will probably be Sylvia’s Lover by Elizabeth Gaskell or The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. Other than that I’m just going to read what I want. I am currently reading Hunting the Eagle by Ben Kane and Saint’s Blood by Sebastien de Castell so hopefully I’ll have them finished by the end of the month too, or at least before I go away. What was your favourite book you read in May? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

It’s Monday: What are you reading?

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week.  It’s a great post to organise yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment, and er… add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date. And here we are!

 

So I am currently reading three books, which is a bit weird for me. Normally I like to concentrate on one books, or two at most but not this week apparently. The one I am concentrating most on right now is Vanguard by Jack Campbell. I’m currently about 50% through on my kindle and so far I am enjoying it, although it took a little time to get fully into it. Hopefully I’ll finish that in the next few days as it’s quite a quick read. The other book I’m reading is Words of Radiance: Part 1 by Brandon Sanderson. I’m currently only about 100 pages and it’s about 650 pages long. Finally the book that I hope to start today is The Goddess Chronicle by Natsuo Kirino. I read Out by her last year (I think) and while it is pretty dark I did enjoy it so I was interested in trying out more from her.
Once I’ve finished Vanguard, I’ll just concentrate more on the other two books. I know I enjoy Sanderson’s books but I’m interested to see what I think of The Goddess Chronicle. Have you guys read any of these books? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

All Of My Unread Books

Hi guys, to be honest I wasn’t sure what to post today so I thought I’d share all of my unread books. These are all the books I own that I haven’t read yet – I currently have exactly 30 of them. I definitely want to get this down and hopefully read a lot of these before buying any more books :).

 

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  • Little Women / Louisa May Alcott
  • The Blind Assassin / Margaret Atwood
  • Accusations / Bandi
  • Greenmantle / John Buchan

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  • Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy / John le Carre
  • Call for the Dead / John le Carre
  • Little Dorrit / Charles Dickens
  • Crime and Punishment /  ‎Fyodor Dostoyevsky

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  • The Man in the Iron Mask / Alexandre Dumas
  • Birdcage Walk / Helen Dunmore
  • Tess of the d’Urbervilles / Thomas Hardy

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  • Dragon Haven / Robin Hobb
  • A Pale View of Hills / Kazuo Ishiguro
  • Hunting of Eagles / Ben Kane
  • All for Nothing / Walter Kempowski

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  • The Good People / Hannah Kent
  • The Wake / Paul Kingsnorth
  • The Poisonwood Bible / Barbara Kingsolver

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  • The Jungle Book / Rudyard Kipling
  • The Goddess Chronicles / Natsuo Kirino
  • Son of the Shadows / Juliet Marillier
  • The Sound of Waves / Yukio Mishima

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  • The Refugees / Viet Thanh Nguyen
  • Nineteen Eighty-Four / George Orwell
  • A Tale for the Time Being / Ruth Ozeki

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  • Words of Radiance: Part 1 / Brandon Sanderson
  • The Makioka Sisters / Jun’ichirō Tanizaki

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  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn / Mark Twain
  • Germinal / Emile Zola
  • I am the Messenger / Markus Zusak

 

There are so many more books I want to read, but these are the ones that I currently own and have not read yet. I do also have some on my kindle but I thought I’d stick with the physical books today. I don’t think 30 books is too bad, but I would like to get it down a bit. Have you guys read any of these? I’d love to know any thoughts you have on them. I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa