Today I thought I give a little update my reading challenges for the first quarter-ish of the year.
book reviews and other bookish content
Today I thought I give a little update my reading challenges for the first quarter-ish of the year.
The Readathon To Rule Them All was awesome two week, all fantasy reading challenge. The challenge rans from Sunday 29 April to Saturday 12 May. There was 8 challenges all up but the main aim of the readthon was to read as much SFF as you can cram into 14 days.
The Readathon To Rule Them All is an awesome two week, all fantasy reading challenge. The challenge runs from Sunday 29 April to Saturday 12 May. There are 8 challenges all up but the main aim of the readthon is to read as much SFF as you can cram into 14 days.
Author: Krissy Kneen
Publisher: Text Publishing
First Published: 31 August 2017
Rating: 5 stars
“I shellfish down into myself, now as I did them when I met her, curling up into the calcium carbonate whorls of me.”
Author: Mirandi Riwoe
First Published: 24 August 2017
Rating: 4.5 stars
“In vain, her eyes search beyond the other houses and palm trees for a glimpse of the sea. She will run away. She will flee to the water’s edge and the Ocean Queen will tell her what to do”
I am here with my December 2017 Wrap Up! These are the book I read in December.
I read a total of 6 books—2 YA, 3 Historical Fiction, and 1 Fantasy.
Onto the ratings!
The Constant Queen (Queens of Conquest #2) by Joanna Courtney
I love Elizaveta has a character. She is strong willed and determined to live beyond the societal restrains placed on women—it’s nice to know that women have been fighting for equality for a few centuries now. I will admit that this book does focus more on the romance side of things, which I think comes down to the fact that Elizaveta and Harald’s married was first and foremost a love match. So I would’ve loved to see more of the culture of Russ and the Norsemen along with this key events in Harald Hardrada life, but again he’s not the focal point of the books so it didn’t bother me too much.
The way Courtney handles Hardrada’s other marriage was something I was interested in. This had to be a tough situation without adding the stubborn and headstrong nature of Elizaveta’s personality. And I think Courtney does a wonderful job. While there is some jealously and power plays between the two women at the start of their marriages, overall they became close friends and learned to live in harmony.
With this series overall, I think Courtney does a fantastic job over portraying and giving life to historical figures who are remember predominantly for a) who their husband was, b) who their father was and c) who their children are.
The Conqueror’s Queen (Queens of Conquest #3) by Joanna Courtney
I love how this books seems to round out the whole series. Courtney has done an amazing job of showing us just how connected these three kings were are just how dangerous it can be for you when Fortune’s Wheel turns. I would love to see another novel that goes in William and Mathilda’s reign, but hey I greedy like that. Mathilda is an amazing character, she wasn’t the wilting flower that we seem to think of medieval women has. She chose her husband and ruled in her own right beside him. I think she’s amazing and would love to read more about her. Also I enjoyed seeing a slightly softer side to the Bastard Duke.
So many of the characters of the first book, The Chosen Queen, feature in this one that I almost want to start the series again so see what I missed the first time around. Overall I adore these books and they’re definitely ones I will revisit time and time again. The best thing about this series as since it’s so interconnected and runs over the similar span on time it doesn’t matter which you read first.
Stalking Jack the Ripper (Stalking Jack the Ripper #1) by Kerri Maniscalco
I have a full review for this one so I’ll keep my thoughts short here. This book was a big surprise for me. I’d originally planned on reading it just to get to the squeal. I enjoyed Maniscalco’s twist on Jack the Ripper. For me, since I’m not a mystery reader, I didn’t see who Jack the Ripper was until the big reveal and I was pleasantly surprised. If you love well-written historical fiction with strong female characters and a dash of murder I think this one is for you.
The Christmas Court (Queens of Conquest #3.5) by Joanna Courtney
This was the perfectly little story to rear on Christmas Day. You get a look into how we celebrated Christmas in the 11th century—a part form the no electricity and the mandatory church not too much has changed. This book focuses on the Christmas in 1051 where William Duke of Normandy is invited to Edward the Confessor’s court. And where it is claimed the English King names his Normand cousin as his heir. What I liked about this novella is that is told from the perspective of a English lady—who does make a brief appearance in The Conqueror’s Queen. I enjoyed seeing these events unfold from an outside and more bias point of view. I love Courtney’s writing and an very sad that I seem to have read everything she’s written. I can’t wait to see which era she tackles next.
Hunting Prince Dracula (Stalking Jack the Ripper #2) by Kerri Maniscalco
Since this is a sequel I will keep this review short, I might do a spoilery review on it so I can talk about all the things I loved.
I adore this just as much as the first book. An Indian Jones styles mystery in Vlad the Impaler’s gothic castle is exactly what this reminded me of. Hells yes for kick ass females, I really hope we see more of Daciana and Ileana. Can’t wait to see what gothic adventure comes next!
Angels’ Blood (Guild Hunter #1) by Nalini Singh
Since we all know just how much Singh’s other series I thought I would give this one ago and overall is was a pretty entertaining read. I really enjoyed the world, in particular how the angles created vampires and enslaved them. Overall there was something that didn’t quite gel with me. The romance between hunter, Elena and Archangel, Raphael, moved quickly from no-thank-you-I-am-not-interested-lets-keep-this-professional to I love you and didn’t work for me. I am not sure if I will carry on with this series.
That’s it for me. Comment down below and let me know what you’re favourite read in December was.
Until next time, happy reading!
Today I thought I’d give an update my Around the Year in 52 Books reading challenge.
I first did this challenge last year, and read 42 out the 52 books I planned to read. Even though I didn’t finish the challenge it was so much fun that I thought I’d give it another go.
Around the Year in 52 Books as the title suggests, the goal is to read 1 book for every week of the year. The Goodreads group has set a different challenge for each week – for example, a book with blue on the cover.
Listed below are the books I’ve either read or am planning to read. The images that are black & white, along with the bolded prompts are the books I still have to get to.
1. A book from the Goodreads Choice Awards 2016
The Star-Touched Queen by Roshanni Chokshi
2. A book with at least 2 perspectives (multiple points of view)
The Sultan, The Vampyr and The Soothsayer by Lucille Turner
3. A book you meant to read in 2016
The Rose & The Dagger by Renee Ahdieh
4. A title that doesn’t contain the letter “E”
Why God is a Woman by Nin Andrews
5. A historical fiction
Days Without End by Sebastian Barry
6. A book being released as a movie in 2017
The Gunslinger by Stephen King
7. A book with an animal on the cover or in the title
The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
8. A book written by a person of colour
Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh
9. A book in the middle of your To Be Read list
The Gods of Olympus: A History by Barbara Graziosi
10. A dual-timeline novel
Tony & Susan by Austin Wright
11. A category from another challenge (Booktubeathon – Hyped Book)
Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh
12. A book based on a myth
Cassandra by Kerry Greenwood
13. A book recommended by one of your favourite authors (Kirsty Logan)
The Comet Seekers by Helen Sedgwick
14. A book with a strong female character
Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Lani Taylor
15. A book written or set in Scandinavia (Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Iceland)
The Constant Queen by Joanna Courtney
16. A mystery
Live by Night by Dennis Lehane
17. A book with illustrations
Hansel and Gretel by Neil Gaiman
18. A really long book (600+ pages)
A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
19. A New York Times best seller
Caraval by Stephanie Garber
20. A book that you’ve owned for a while but haven’t gotten around to reading
Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief by Rick Riordan
21. A book that is a continuation of a book you’ve already read
Visions of Heat by Nalini Singh
22. A book by an author you haven’t read before
Kingmaker: Winter Pilgrims by Toby Clements
23. A book from the BBC “The Big Read” list
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
24. A book written by at least two authors
Loki’s Wolves by K.L. Armstrong and M.A. Marr
25. A book about a famous historical figure
A Knight’s Tale: a Novel by Edward John Crockett
26. An adventure book
The Odyssey by Homer
27. A book by one of your favourite authors
Caressed by Ice by Nalini Singh
28. A non-fiction
Bad News by Anjan Sundaram
29. A book published outside the 4 major publishing houses (Simon & Schuster; HarperCollins; Penguin Random House; Hachette Livre)
The Battle for Troy: An Adaptation Homer’s Iliad by Alan Whiticker
30. A book from Goodreads Top 100 YA Books
The Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Lani Taylor
31. A book from a sub-genre of your favourite genre
Moon Chosen by PC Cast
32. A book with a long title (5+ words, excluding subtitle)
Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops by Jen Campbell
33. A magical realism novel
One Hundred Shadows by Hwang Jungeun
34. A book set in or by an author from the Southern Hemisphere
Skylarking by Kate Mildenhall
35. A book where one of the main characters is royalty
The Stolen Queen by Lisa Hilton
36. A Hugo Award winner or nominee
The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle
37. A book you choose randomly
Lucky Us by Amy Bloom
38. A novel inspired by a work of classic literature
The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood
39. An epistolary fiction
Dracula by Bram Stocker
40. A book published in 2017
Daughter of a the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller
41. A book with an unreliable narrator
The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O’Neil
42. A best book of the 21st century (so far)
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
43. A book with a chilling atmosphere (scary, unsettling, cold)
See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt
44. A recommendation from “What Should I Read Next”
Days of Blood and Starlight by Lani Taylor (recommended from The Wrath and the Dawn)
45. A book with a one-word title
Riders by Veronica Rossi
46. A time travel novel
Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon
47. A Book with a title, setting or subject having to do with a museum
The Museum of Modern Love by Heather Rose
48. A banned book
In Cold Blood by Turman Capote
49. A book from someone else’s bookshelf
The Hate Race by Maxine Benabe Clarke
50. A Penguin Modern Classic – any edition
Bonjour Tristesse by Francoise Sagan
51. A collection (e.g. essays, short stories, poetry, plays)
Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
52. A book set in a fictional location
Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson
So I think I’m doing pretty well, if I do say so myself! Comment down below and let me know if you’ve set any reading challenges for the year and how you’re going with them!
Until next time, happy reading
These are the books I got through during #TheReadingQuest, which took place between Sunday 13 August to Sunday 10 September.
#TheReadingQuest is an awesome four week reading challenge based on video games that was hosted by Read at Midnight. The challenge runs from Sunday 13 August to Sunday 10 August. The challenge runs like a bingo board with each title representing a stage (reading prompt) you must complete. The difference is that you’re starting point on the grid depends on the character class you chose.
I chose the Mage and I was able to get through 4 of the mage quest and 1 side quest. I would’ve liked to have got through more books but a reading slump hit week 3.
Difficult Women by Roxane Gay – Open World
I have done a full review for this one if you want to know more of my thoughts. This collection is filled with hard hitting and dark theme. It’s not one I can say I enjoyed reading, in the tradition sense on the word. These stories opened my eyes to worlds I’m lucky enough to not have experienced—sexual assault, abortions, losing a child, mental and physical abuse. This collection with tear out your heart, make your skin crawl but ultimately leave you more empathic.
The Firebrand by Marion Zimmer Bradley – A Book Based on Mythology
I am looking forward to reading The Mists of Avalon but my love of the Trojan War myth made me pick this one up first. The Friebrand looks at Kassandra and the people of Troy from her brith to the horrific fall of the city. I did enjoy this, but I think having read a few Trojan War retellings in quick succession meant that this isn’t a favourite of mine. I adore how Bradley portrays her female characters, Helen in particular. I also loved the female friendships in this books. I wasn’t a big of fan of her portrayal of Hector, but I understand why she chose to show him as less of a hero. The narrative sticks quite close to the original myth but nothing felt forced. If you’re a fan of myth retellings, in particular retellings of Troy I would highly recommend.
Windwitch by Susan Dennard – A Book With Magic
I have mixed feeling on this book, most of which I won’t go into as it is the second book of the series. I still adore Safiya and Iseult’s friendship and I love that we got to see more of the world and the different cultures. For me it was a bit of let down. The first book ending on such as high that I immediately pick Windwitch up. However, I found it really hard to get into. It took about 100 pages for me to want to keep reading I think there was one narrative, Merik’s, I didn’t gel with and wished got less page time. I do still love this world and these character so I will continue this series.
Loki’s Wolves by K.L. Armstrong & M.A. Marr – First Book in a Series
This book was a lot of fun and I’m excited to get to the other two in this trilogy. In modern day South Dakota there is a town, Blackwell, where all the people are direct descendants of Norse Gods, Thor and Loki, including our three protagonists Matt Thorsen, Fen and Laurie Brekke. The adventure beings when rune readers reveal that Ragnarok is coming and the kids, led by Matt, must stand in for the gods. I adore these characters and love that they each have their own voice. I didn’t want to skip over any. The addition of the illustrations worked really well. These pages are filled with all the humour, confusion and fear of having to stop the end of the world at 13. I highly highly recommend for fans of Rick Riodran
Truthwitch by Susan Dennard – A Book Set in a Different World
This wasn’t a series I was really excited about when it first came out. I picked up the books because a friend one mine really loved it and I trust her judgement when it comes to YA Fantasy.
I love this world and magic system, it is nothing like anything I’ve read and Dennard has done a really fantastic job at making this world visceral and fully formed. I adore that the main relationship in this book is a female friendship. I was getting so sick of girls competing against each other for a boy. Safiya and Iseult are amazing. I love that their differences aren’t stereotyped. For example just because Safiya’s outgoing that means Iseult has to be more reserved. There personalities are so well developed and complex that I feel like I know these girls and at times I relate to both of them. This is a fantastic start to the series, I didn’t give it 5 stars because I felt a little lost about the magic system, it took 100 pages or so for me to feel like I knew what was going on but at the same time I enjoyed that there was no info dump.
The Quest Board artwork has been created by the wonderful CW of Read, Think, Ponder.
That’s it for me. Comment down below and let me know how your reading challenge went.
Until next time, happy reading!
I enjoyed the BookTubeATon so much that I’ve decided to take part in #TheReadingQuest! See my TBR on Instagram @wordsoftheroses!
Let me know if you’re joining it and what character you’ve chosen!
Welcome to #TheReadingQuest! I invite you to join me on a reading adventure based entirely on a video-game quest. In this challenge, you’ll be embarking on a journey to conquer your TBR pile through a series of stages. You’ll read new stories, gain experience, and level up a character of your choosing.
The quest will take place between Sunday 13th August to Sunday 10th September, 2017. All adventurers are encouraged to register their interest in the sign up form below, which will be open from now until Sunday 13th August.
I want to give a huge thank you to CW of Read, Think, Ponder. She is the amazing artist behind all of the character illustration you’ll see within this post. You can find her on Instagram, Twitter, and her stunning blog! Please go give her all your love, because I cannot think of…
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