So lately I’ve been feeling overwhelmed with choosing my next book to read. I’ve been stressed out work this last two months so to make myself feel better I’ve bought a ton of books that I all want to read right now.
The tag guidelines are:
Choose 5+ books you’ve been meaning to read.
Read up to the first chapter, prologue included.
Decide if you’ll complete it or set it aside.
Now onto the books!
So I picked six books instead of the standard five because for the life of me I couldn’t narrow the list down anymore. The books I will be trying are:
- Now I Rise by Kiersten White
- Book of Colours by Robyn Cadwallader
- Beautiful Revolutionary by Laura Elizabeth Woollett
- The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker
- The Blood Miracles by Lisa McInerney
- The Ensemble by Aja Gabel
Now I Rise by Kiersten White
Lada Dracul has no allies. No throne. All she has is what she’s always had: herself. After failing to secure the Wallachian throne, Lada is out to punish anyone who dares to cross her blood-strewn path. Filled with a white-hot rage, she storms the countryside with her men, accompanied by her childhood friend Bogdan, terrorizing the land. But brute force isn’t getting Lada what she wants. And thinking of Mehmed brings little comfort to her thorny heart. There’s no time to wonder whether he still thinks about her, even loves her. She left him before he could leave her.
What Lada needs is her younger brother Radu’s subtlety and skill. But Mehmed has sent him to Constantinople—and it’s no diplomatic mission. Mehmed wants control of the city, and Radu has earned an unwanted place as a double-crossing spy behind enemy lines. Radu longs for his sister’s fierce confidence—but for the first time in his life, he rejects her unexpected plea for help. Torn between loyalties to faith, to the Ottomans, and to Mehmed, he knows he owes Lada nothing. If she dies, he could never forgive himself—but if he fails in Constantinople, will Mehmed ever forgive him?
Reading the first chapter reminds me just how much I adore this world and how much I have missed Radu and Lada. From the opening line — which has to be one of my favourite opening lines I must say — we are thrown into the political world Mehmed’s court as the new Sultan celebrates the new additions to his castle. The decedance of the Ottaman Empire is event from the stunning descriptions. I am excited to see what scheming Radu gets into next and also to find out what is going on in Wallachia and Lada.
Book of Colours by Robyn Cadwallader
London, 1321: In a small stationer’s shop in Paternoster Row, three people are drawn together around the creation of a magnificent book, an illuminated manuscript of prayers, a Book of Hours. Even though the commission seems to answer the aspirations of each one of them, their own desires and ambitions threaten its completion. As each struggles to see the book come into being, it will change everything they have understood about their place in the world. In many ways, this is a story about power – it is also a novel about the place of women in the roiling and turbulent world of the early fourteenth century; what power they have, how they wield it, and just how temporary and conditional it is.
I love Robyn Cadwallader’s writing! The time period and setting come to life. For this book I read the little prolog from Mathilda’s point of view and also the first chapter which follows Will as he tries to navigate the busy London streets. I’m interested to see just hoe these two character connect to each other. Also I would like to learn more about how this book of illumination adds to the narrative more then just being an object Mathilda commissions.
Beautiful Revolutionary by Laura Elizabeth Woollett
Following her conscientious-objector husband Lenny to the rural Eden of Evergreen Valley, California, Evelyn wants to be happy with their new life. Yet as the world is rocked by warfare and political assassinations, by racial discrimination and social upheaval, she finds herself disillusioned with Lenny’s passive ways — and anxious for a saviour.
Enter the Reverend Jim Jones, the dynamic leader of a revolutionary church called Peoples Temple. As Evelyn grows closer to Jones, her marriage is just the first casualty of his rise to power.
This book is one of my most anticipated reads of the year, I adore Laura Elizabeth Woollett’s short story collection, Love of a Bad Man and cannot wait to see what she can do with the space a novel has to offer. So far I am pretty hooked. Evelyn is an interesting character and I cannot wait to see how her and her fresh-out-of-college Husband, Leonard get caught up in Jonestown.
The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker
The ancient city of Troy has withstood a decade under siege of the powerful Greek army, who continue to wage bloody war over a stolen woman—Helen. In the Greek camp, another woman watches and waits for the war’s outcome: Briseis. She was queen of one of Troy’s neighboring kingdoms, until Achilles, Greece’s greatest warrior, sacked her city and murdered her husband and brothers. Briseis becomes Achilles’s concubine, a prize of battle, and must adjust quickly in order to survive a radically different life, as one of the many conquered women who serve the Greek army.
When Agamemnon, the brutal political leader of the Greek forces, demands Briseis for himself, she finds herself caught between the two most powerful of the Greeks. Achilles refuses to fight in protest, and the Greeks begin to lose ground to their Trojan opponents. Keenly observant and cooly unflinching about the daily horrors of war, Briseis finds herself in an unprecedented position to observe the two men driving the Greek forces in what will become their final confrontation, deciding the fate, not only of Briseis’s people, but also of the ancient world at large.
This is my first time reading Pat Barker. The opening was a refreshing scene for the Trojan War retelling, we’re in the city with the women and children, hiding in the temple as the sounds of war echo through the city. Right from the opening lines, I know that this book will show Achilles is a less shining light, which I cannot wait for. For the little we are told, Briseis has already had a difficult life in the palace so I wonder how she’s going to cope in the hand of Achilles. I believe that Barker isn’t going to shy about from the horrors of war and just want these women had to life for. I love a Trojan War retelling and this looks like it will offer up a different perspective.
The Blood Miracles by Lisa McInerney
Like all twenty-year-olds, Ryan Cusack is trying to get his head around who he is.
This is not a good time for his boss to exploit his dual heritage by opening a new black market route from Italy to Ireland. It is certainly not a good time for his adored girlfriend to decide he’s irreparably corrupted. And he really wishes he hadn’t accidentally caught the eye of an ornery grandmother who fancies herself his saviour.
There may be a way clear of the chaos in the business proposals of music promoter Colm and in the attention of the charming, impulsive Natalie. But now that his boss’s ambitions have rattled the city, Ryan is about to find out what he’s made of, and it might be that chaos is in his blood.
I loved The Glorious Heresies and Ryan was favourite from the cast. I’m glad we do get to see what happens to him after the events of the first book. Not sure if I’m really in the mood for a dark contemporary right now, but Lisa McInerney drew me into the book right away. Ryan’s voice is clear from the first lines. Maybe he will get is happily ever after at the end of this story.
The Ensemble by Aja Gabel
Brit is the second violinist, a beautiful and quiet orphan; the viola is Henry, a prodigy who’s always had it easy; the cellist is Daniel, the oldest, the angry skeptic who sleeps around; and on first violin is Jana, their flinty, resilient leader. Together, they are the Van Ness String Quartet.
In The Ensemble, each character picks up the melody, from the group’s youthful rocky start through to adulthood. As they navigate devastating failures and wild success, heartbreak and marriage, triumph and loss, betrayal and enduring loyalty, they are always tied together—by career, by the intensity of their art, by the secrets they carry together, and by choosing each other over and over again.
I got this book in a PageHabit book and I’ve been calling my name ever since. I can tell that we are going to explore the cutthroat nature of classical music. I loved that Aja Gabel used music terminology as description of both characters and action. In this first chapter we got to meet the quartet with where in Jana’s perspective. They are an interesting group and I’m interested to see more from the other three. I am definitely compelled to read more.
And the book I’m reading next is …
Okay so yes that is two books but I couldn’t pick between them!
That’s it for me. Comment down below and let me know if you’ve read any of these and what were your thoughts. Also if you like this tag *voila* I tag you!
Until next time, happy reading!