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

 

 

Luna: New Moon / Ian McDonald

Title / Luna: New Moon
Author / Ian McDonald
Publication Date / 2015
Overall Star Rating / 
Goodreads synopsis: The Moon wants to kill you.
Maybe it will kill you when the per diem for your allotted food, water, and air runs out, just before you hit paydirt. Maybe it will kill you when you are trapped between the reigning corporations-the Five Dragons-in a foolish gamble against a futuristic feudal society. On the Moon, you must fight for every inch you want to gain. And that is just what Adriana Corta did. As the leader of the Moon’s newest “dragon,” Adriana has wrested control of the Moon’s Helium-3 industry from the Mackenzie Metal corporation and fought to earn her family’s new status. Now, in the twilight of her life, Adriana finds her corporation-Corta Helio-confronted by the many enemies she made during her meteoric rise. If the Corta family is to survive, Adriana’s five children must defend their mother’s empire from her many enemies… and each other.

 

I know I did a pretty detailed mini review in my March wrap up but I had some more thoughts to share so I thought I would do a full review too – I hope that’s alright with you guys. I didn’t know too much about this book when I picked it up but I thought the blurb sounded so intriguing. I fully expected to love this book. As you can see from the star rating, it didn’t quite work out that way. First off, the premise of this book is amazing, which is why I thought I would love it and I think generally it is done quite well. The idea of powerful, warring families and the politics between them is something that I enjoy, but this one didn’t quite work for me. I think that was mainly due to the characters. While I thought they were interesting, I didn’t really care about any of them and I thought they were  a little underdeveloped. Another issue for me was keeping track of all the characters. There are quite a lot of them, so it was abit confusing at times keeping track of them all, especially because of the constant changes in perspective and tense. I found these regular changes to be jarring and took me out of the story. On the other hand I thought the world building was pretty well done and is one of the main strengths of this book, although I think it definitely had some holes in it. There were just a few things that I found a little confusing.

 

For me, the plot was a bit mediocre. I wasn’t grabbed by it at all and had to push myself to finish it, even though it’s not a particularly long book. I think it was stretched a little thin over all of the characters. I found that it dragged and I had to push myself to finish it. Another point to be aware of is the pacing – for me it was pretty off. There is quite a lot of slow build up, then an abrupt climax followed by an abrupt ending. Generally I don’t mind slower plots, but as I just mentioned in this it dragged and I found myself skimming some sections. The last thing I am going to mention is the excessive amount of sex/sexual scenes. I know sex happens and I don’t mind sex scenes but I don’t really want to know that Ariel only has sex with herself and have a whole scene about it, especially because it bears no relevance to the plot. There are quite a few other sex scenes dotted through the book that also bear no relevance and I just don’t see the point of them – they don’t need to be included. It is something to be aware of though. If you are not a fan of reading explicit sex scenes, than this is definitely not for you.
Overall I think this has a lot of potential but in the end I was a little disappointed by it. I think this is still worth a read, especially if you enjoy science fiction books, and it does have a lot of good review on Goodreads too. I think this is one of those books that is a bit hit or miss with people. In my case it was a big ol’ miss. In theory the premise is amazing, but in practice it just didn’t work. Have any of you guys read this book? I’d be interested to see what you thought. I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

T5W: Favourite Minor Characters

Top 5 Wednesday was originally created and run by Lainey aka gingerreadslainey (Youtube channel) but it is now being run by Sam aka Thoughts on tomes (Youtube channel). Each week there is a different topic. You can check out the groups Goodreads page here for any more information and the future topics. This week’s topic is favourite minor characters. To be entirely honest I am completely sure about the difference so some may be considered side characters. It turns out I only came up with four but I thought I’d share them anyway. Let’s get started.
  1. Web from the Realm of the Elderlings series by Robin Hobb – I find this character quite intriguing and I would love to know more about him. He first appears in Golden Fool.
  2. Sanar and Ryelle from the Old Kingdoms trilogy by Garth Nix – I don’t know if these are considered side or minor characters, but I thought I’d include them anyway. Again I think they are really interesting characters.
  3. Risana from the Dandelion Dynasty trilogy by Ken Liu – I loved this character so much and wanted to see so much more of her in these books.
  4. Boo Radley from To Kill a Mockingbird – this is a tricky one as I think Boo can be seen as quite an important character, but as he is so reclusive I thought I would include him anyway.

 

That’s all I have to share with you guys for today. It was actually a little tricky coming up with answers this time as it’s tricky to decide whether they are considered a minor character or a side character. Anyway 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

 

 

3 Mini Reviews: Fiction

Hi guys, I hope you are all well. Today I have some mini reviews of three fiction book to share. I enjoyed all of these books and wanted to share some thoughts with you guys. I don’t think I have anything else to say so I’ll just get straight onto the reviews :).

 

The Help / Kathryn Stockett / ★ 
This is a fantastic historical fiction standalone. I first read this as part of my GCSE English literature course. It is set in the 1960’s in Mississippi and is told primarily from the point of view of three women. One of the main strengths of this book are the characters. The main characters of this book are so well written and you come to really care about them. It is also such an important book to read, in terms of its focus on racism and what black maids had to go through at the time. Having said that, I think it’s also important to note that there is a lot more to it and that this is a historical fiction, but perhaps it’s a good place to start if you don’t know alot about this time in history.The writing is easy to get into and it is engaging throughout. Overall I think this is a great book and I would definitely recommend checking it out.

 

The Bees / Laline Paul / ★ 
This is unlike anything that I’ve read before and I really enjoyed the uniqueness of it. Initially it was a little tricky to get into but after a few chapters I was really intrigued by the story. The world building, character development and level of detail are all fantastic. There is also some pretty good action in this book too. You can tell that the author did her research and really knows her stuff. If you are interested in bees than this may be something you enjoy. This will definitely not be to everyone’s taste (I think it has quite mixed reviews on Goodreads) but I personally really enjoyed this. If you are looking for a unique read with bees as the main characters, then you may enjoy this book.

 

Snow Country / Yasunari Kawabata / ★ 
This is quite an odd one. I appreciated it as a good book, more than I enjoyed the plot. It just didn’t quite work for me – somehow it didn’t speak to me, if that makes sense. That is entirely my personal preference and I do still think this is a good book. I thought this was very well written and the setting is so well done. The characters are all interesting and complex – they are definitely one of the main strengths of this book, but I didn’t really care about any of them. I did still find them intriguing. For me the main strength of this book was the setting and the atmosphere. If you are not fans of books with little plot than this probably isn’t for you, but if you are interested in reading Japanese literature and enjoy complex characters than you may enjoy this. I am definitely interested to try out something else by this author, but so far I haven’t decided which of his books to read next.

 

I recently saw that Laline Paull has another book coming out soon, so I’ll definitely be checking that out at some point. Have you guys read any of these books? What did you think? 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

 

 

Series I Want To Finish in 2017

Hi guys, I am you are all well. Today I thought I would share some series I want to finish this year or probably more realistically for some make some progress in reading these series. I’ve marked the books I haven’t yet read with an asterisks for you guys.
  • Raven Shadow’s trilogy / Blood SongTower Lord and Queen of Fire* / Anthony Ryan
  • Rain Wild Chronicles / Dragon KeeperDragon Haven*City of Dragons* and Blood of Dragons* / Robin Hobb
  • Commonwealth: Chronicle of the Fallers / The Abyss Beyond Dreams and A Night Without Stars* / Peter F. Hamilton
  • Eagles of Rome trilogy / Eagles At WarHunting the Eagle* and Eagle in the Storm* / Ben Kane
  • Poldark series / Ross Poldark, Demelza, Jeremy Poldark, Warleggan, The Black Moon, The Four Swans, The Angry Tide, The Stranger from the Sea, The Miller’s Dance, The Loving Cup, The Twisted Sword* and Bella Poldark* / Winston Graham
  • Shardlake series / Dissolution, Dark Fire*, Sovereign*, Revelation*, Heartstone* and Lamentation* / C. J. Sansom
I think I’ll also quickly mention some series I want to continue/finish that are currently unfinished, so basically not all the books are out yet. I will complete these series when all the books are out though. These series include the Bone Season series by Samantha Shannon, Echoes of the Fall series by Adrian Tchaikovsky, Gods of Blood and Powder series by Brian McClellan, the Winnowing Flame trilogy by Jen Williams, the Book of Ancestor series by Mark Lawrance, the Draconis Memoria series by Anthony Ryan, the Gentleman Bastard sequence by Scott Lynch and the Legends of the First Empire series by Michael J. Sullivan… I could go on but I think I’ll leave it at that :).
There are so many series out there, it is a little overwhelming really. These are series that I am definitely interested in finishing and I’m excited to see how they all progress. Let me know if you’ve read any of these series and what you thought. I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa