Top Ten Tuesday : Books I just bought

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme where every Tuesday we look at a particular topic for discussion and use various (or more to the point ten) bookish examples to demonstrate that particular topic.  Top Ten Tuesday (created and hosted by  The Broke and Bookish) is now being hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl and future week’s topics can be found here.  This week’s topic is :

 Books I Bought/Borrowed… because

Okay, so, I’ve gone for my most recent acquisitions.  Do I really need a ‘because’.  Yes? Well in that case – ‘because’ – books!

This is what I bought most recently – and this isn’t as bad as it looks, these are purchases spread over the last three months and all bought using gift cards – and in fact, I still haven’t used my last gift card up – so very happy about that 😀  See if you like the looks of any of these.  Unfortunately I didn’t make a note of where I saw these recommended but if it was you then thank you 😀  Now I just need to find some extra time in the day and all will be good.

the Broken girls
Stoker's Wilde
Circe
Finale
thewickeddeep
SongRising
Owlandthe
JarofHearts
Gideon the Ninth (The Locked Tomb #1) by Tamsyn Muir
Gideon
Hollow Kingdom by Kira Jane Buxton
Hollowkingdom
The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix
southernbookclub
I may have gone over 10 – shhh, don’t tell anyone.
Which do you recommend I pick up first??

A Time of Courage (Of Blood and Bone #3) by John Gwynne

A time of courageWow.  Yes, I thought I would be consistent – my reviews for the previous two books in the series started that simply and so in the interests of continuity I thought I’d conclude with the same note and, on an incredibly happy note I’m overjoyed to be able to conclude with such high praise.

This third book really blew me away.  I loved the first book, I adored the second book but this book, it made me cry, it made me laugh, it made me so annoyed that I wanted to rip a tissue.  It’s packed with feelings.  The tension is so intense, the battles are furious, the pacing is crazy.  I just loved it.  I would actually give this a higher rating than 5/5 if I could.  Well, who’s to say I can’t.  6 out of 5 stars – there, call the rating police.

Now, if you haven’t yet read this series but intend to do so then just be aware there might be spoilers below, although I highly doubt it as I’m planning on skirting around the plot.

This instalment, in a nutshell, is the perfect culmination to the series.  It brings everything together in one huge explosive battle (after a bit of to’ing and fro’ing that is), chucks the pieces into the air and then chops, shoots and stabs the whole lot as it falls to the ground.  Then stabs a few more things as well for good measure.  Seriously though, there is a lot of fighting in this instalment – and the thing is, I loved it all.  Well, apart from some of the deaths – but truth be told you couldn’t have a make or break situation like this without the loss of some favourite characters.

This final instalment is once again told with multiple POVs but this time an additional character is added. So we once again have Riv, Drem, Bled and Fritha but now Jin joins the storytelling and this adds a whole new world of ‘hell hath no fury’.  I have to say the characters in this series are absolutely awesome.  I love them, even when I really hate them!  Seriously this is top characterisation.  I was on the edge of my seat with worry.  I think I already mentioned I cried.  And some of the scenes made me almost cry with relief.  Particularly some of the scenes with Bleda.  In fact the chapters between Bleda and Jin are absolutely compelling.  And the relationships are like a masterclass in writing whether its friendship, love, hate, revenge or desire.

I don’t think I can really write too much more here and that isn’t because I don’t want to but because I’m in serious danger of gushing so much that it becomes simply embarrassing.

All I can say to conclude is that this entire series was perfect from start to finish.  I didn’t have any criticisms at all which is unusual to say the least and I read this final instalment with my heart in my throat.  I always pick up the last book and wonder if it will live up to the rest of the series and this one really does, in fact it goes beyond.  Gwynne doesn’t pull any punches to be fair and I have to applaud that.  In an end of the world style story where everything is on the line, lives are lost.  Bittersweet though.

If you like epic fantasy then I can’t recommend this series enough.  Do yourself a favour and read it.  My only regret is that I didn’t read the earlier series by Gwynne set in this same world and now I’ve read the conclusion it’s highly unlikely that I’ll go back, but it is what it is and you never know – one day.

Truth and courage.  The truth of the matter is that I loved this series, this story and these characters, as much as Lord of the Rings – there, I’ve said it, and that’s about as high praise as I can think of right now.  Tolkien might not be for you though so don’t be distracted by that comment – I’m talking about the pure joy of reading right now, not necessarily style.  Courage is something you’re not going to need because you will be hooked from the beginning to the end, although you might need some courage because this book feels like you’ve literally been sucked through some kind of tunnel and are living in this world, and seriously, it’s not a world in which I want to live – I’m an absolute lily livered coward and I have no shame at all about admitting it – and with monsters running and flying at great speed towards you, gnashing their teeth and swinging their war axes, well, a little courage couldn’t hurt – although, getting bumped up onto the shoulders of a huge white bear, who happens to be one of the good guys, makes it all kind of worthwhile.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  the above is my own opinion.

Rating 5 of 5 stars (6 if it was possible)

 

Friday Face Off : A Trick of the Eye

FFO

Here we are again with the Friday Face Off meme created by Books by Proxy .  This is a great opportunity to feature some of your favourite book covers.  The rules are fairly simple each week, following a predetermined theme (list below) choose a book (this doesn’t have to be a book that you’ve read), compare a couple of the different covers available for that particular book and choose your favourite.   Future week’s themes are listed below – if you have a cover in mind that you’re really wanting to share then feel free to leave a comment about a future suggested theme.  I’ve also listed events that take place during the year, that I’m aware of, so you can link up your covers – if you’re aware of any events that you think I should include then give me a shout.  This week’s theme:

A trick of the eye – a cover that is more than meets the eye.

A lot of the new themes are open to interpretation which might make choosing the covers and seeing other’s choices very interesting.  I can’t stress enough that this is all about your own interpretation and hopefully this new open feel to the meme will bring a larger selection of books and covers.  It’s not supposed to be hard work, there are no rules, just enjoy yourself.

I had a couple of books in mind for this week’s theme but in keeping with my desire to keep using my most recent reads I’ve gone with The Whisper Man by Alex North. I enjoyed this one.  My review is here and I have The Shadow Friend lined up to read in July.  Here are the covers:

My favourite:

I like the first cover with the butterfly that when you look closer is actually a handprint.  I also like the butterfly with the skull – but I’m a little odd like that.  I think my favourite though is:

Whisperman2

On the face of it a butterfly wing but when you zoom in, bones and skulls are the substance of the wing.

Do you have a favourite?

I’ll be updating the list in order to include forthcoming events that I’m aware of so that you can perhaps link your themes up where possible (if you know of an event you’d like to share then let me know in the comments).  As always, if you wish to submit an idea then leave me a comment – or if you’d like to host a week then simply let me know 😀

Next week – Moody – a cover that is atmospheric,

Future themes: (if you’re struggling with any of these themes then use a ‘freebie’ or one of your favourite covers) (I’ve added some new themes – some of these are slightly different, in order to avoid too much repetition I’m trying to make the themes more of a suggestion that everyone can interpret how they like.  

2019

10th April – Moody – a cover that is atmospheric,

17th April – out of focus – double vision or all a blur

24th April – Armour – ‘“Pretty armour doesn’t make a warrior.”

1st May – Canine – “And then there were cats, thought Dog.:

8th May – graphic novel cover – “Love belongs to Desire, and Desire is always cruel”

15th May – pink – as pink as cotton candy – any cover that is pink

22nd May – Sorrow – a cover that makes you feel sad

29th May – Silhouette – an island, a person, anything you like

5th June – Flight – any type of flight – to flee, to fly

12th June – The bodice ripper – exactly as it seems

19th June – Time – time waits for no one

26th June – Windows – windows to the soul?

#SPFBO Review : Blade’s Edge (Chronicles of Gensokai #1) by Virginia McClain

Blade's EdgeBlade’s Edge is one of the finalists for the SPFBO competition and my sixth book read and reviewed leaving four more contenders.

As we set out we meet Mishi and Taka, two young girls, living in an orphanage and sharing friendship and secrets.  The two of them have magical abilities that put their lives at threat but also means that the bond they share is strong.  Unfortunately the two are separated at an early age, both being taken to very different destinations and in fact spending the majority of the story apart from that point forward.

Mishi is taken to a school where warriors are trained. Her role is to be a servant by day and to secretly train as a warrior at night.  Taka finds herself in a midwifery school where she hones her healing abilities and uncovers the harsh secrets of those who rule the land. The two will eventually meet again and take a stand against the oppression they have encountered.

On the face of it this book has such a lot that I love going on.  A great setting with a Feudal Japanese feel.  Two characters learning of their own elemental magic with tree and dragon spirits (Kami) and a fairly straightforward struggle between right and wrong.  But, and I hate to have a ‘but’ as part of this review, I wasn’t as bowled over as I expected to be and I’m really struggling to put into words why that was, in fact I’ve been sitting on writing a review for a few days to see if I could unravel my feelings.

In terms of the writing.  I think the writing here is very good, it doesn’t go overboard on long, drawn out explanations or descriptions and there are no annoying info dumps. In some respects the writing style makes me ponder over whether this book is aimed at the younger side of YA, but don’t hold me to that because I might have missed things that could easily be inappropriate for a younger audience.  So, whilst I enjoyed the writing I felt like the pacing suffered for some reason and, again, I’m finding it hard to put my finger on why that is.  The only thing I can really come up with is that this jumps forward on a number of occasions and rushes over aspects of the story that I would have liked to spend more time on – which sounds very conflicted when I’m discussing pacing issues – I did say I was struggling here.

The characters.  Predominantly the story is told by Mishi and Taka.  Both girls are similar in a number of ways.  Both orphaned, both share strong magic and both are determined to uncover the untruths that govern the society in which they live.  I liked both characters, they’re both good characters, but, I wasn’t completely enamoured with them, I felt more that I liked them because they were on the side of ‘right’.  I found myself more drawn to the side characters who joined the story a little later on or at least their inclusion boosted the story a little for me.

The world building is interesting even if it does rely a little on the reader bringing some knowledge to the table.  It has a strong Japanese feel and an interesting magic system that uses the elements.  For many years only boys were believed to wield magic with any real degree of strength and those with the ability are trained as warriors and become Kisoshi.  However, as the story develops we learn that the Roju Council have been taking ‘steps’ to maintain strict secrecy around female magic.

In terms of criticisms. I think my main issue was a lack of attachment to the two main characters, I’m not sure why I didn’t become more attached to them – although I think it could be linked to the strange jumps forward in the storytelling which left me feeling as though I’d missed out on something somewhere along the line.  I also couldn’t help feeling that the two girls sometimes read too much alike which on a couple of occasions became a little confusing.

To be honest, I think this review feels more critical than I intended. This is in fact a good coming of age story, well written and with a dramatic ending. It didn’t quite work for me as well as I’d hoped but I think this could be because this is aimed at a younger audience.

Overall I would rate this as 7* out of 10.

My thanks to the author for a review copy.  The above is my own opinion.

 

Top Ten Tuesday. You book lover you.

ttt

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme where every Tuesday we look at a particular topic for discussion and use various (or more to the point ten) bookish examples to demonstrate that particular topic.  Top Ten Tuesday (created and hosted by  The Broke and Bookish) is now being hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl and future week’s topics can be found here.  This week’s topic is :

Ten Signs You’re a Book Lover

1. You pretend you haven’t seen people who you know so that you don’t have to stop reading and make polite conversation – or is this only me??  Please say it isn’t so.

2. You know your librarian so well that she’s actually your best friend (maybe even your only friend – see No.1).  P.S. You know it’s really bad if she was also your bridesmaid!

3. You smuggle books into the house – I used to do this, like a secret shopper, pretending I wasn’t continually buying yet more books, even though I had SO many already to read – this isn’t so much a problem now I have kindle and ‘one click’.  Yay.

4. Your books actually are part of the furniture.  They’re stacked like bedside cabinets and table legs and hold lamps and, yes, yet even more books.  Word to the wise, never, I say never, attempt to pull out one of those books from the middle or bottom of the stack.  It just doesn’t work.  Trust me on this.

5. You know the names of so many authors but forget the names of colleagues or people you’ve only just met – and you always say you’re bad at remembering names just to cover it up.  Yes, I do remember the names of my children.

6. You can’t help feeling really disappointed if people don’t buy you gift vouchers.  Come on people.  It’s so easy to give me a gift voucher.  Just DO IT.  I will not be let down. It’s an absolute no-brainer.

7.  You practically scramble, pushing people over in your haste, if you see a box of books on sale at a charity shop or jumble sale – let’s be honest though, what are the chances that you’re going to love the books inside!  It could happen though.  One day.  You just have to keep on checking, and then checking some more.  Never say never.  Never. Just don’t.

8. Book presents just make you happy, even if somebody buys you a book, and you already own that book, and have already read it a couple of times, a nicely wrapped, book shaped package is always a joy to behold.

9. You feel secretly irritated if you go for a night out and you’re not enjoying it – when you could be at home finishing a good book.  You know you do.  I know I’m not the only one.

10. You were so involved in your latest read that you totally missed your bus/train/tram stop – and everyone on there knows you just did so, but you have to calmly put your book down, maybe even letting a few stops whiz by, whilst you stride for ‘coolness’ in an attempt to make it all look deliberate.  Or you could madly scramble for the exit.  Both work equally well.

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