Top Ten Tuesday: You’re having a laugh

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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 :

Books That Made Me Laugh Out Loud 

I’ve gone for a mix of five fairly recent reads and five older reads this week.  Here they are:

  1. The Stranger Times by CK McDonnell
  2. Ink and Sigil by Kevin Hearne
  3. Stoker’s Wilde by Steven Hostaken and Melissa Prusi
  4. Hollow Kingdom by Kira Jane Buxton
  5. Where Gods Fear to Go by Angus Watson (this is the third book – I recommend the entire series – made me lol so much.
  1. The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett
  2. Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
  3. The Princess Bride by William Goldman
  4. The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
  5. The Serpent of Venice by Christopher Moore

The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse

Posted On 22 February 2021

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My Five Word TL:DR Review : My expectations were too high

TheSanatoriumThe Sanatorium was certainly not a bad story and in fact has some really great moments but at the same time I didn’t love this quite as much as I expected and I wonder if perhaps my expectations were ridiculously escalated for which I can only blame myself.  Still enjoyable though.

So, the premise for this one is really good. We have an excellent setting.  High on the mountains, bad weather looming, a former sanatorium converted into a 5* hotel and a meeting up of family and friends for a special occasion.  The hotel is only just opening and the pressure is intense.  A lot is at stake here and so when one of the party goes missing tensions run riot.  On top of the history with the place and the spooky feel there’s a good deal of history between some of the characters.

As the book starts there’s a great opening chapter which really sets the pulse racing.  We then jump forward a few months.  Elin is travelling to the hotel with her partner Will, they’re due to meet Elin’s brother Issac and his partner Laure to celebrate their recent engagement.  Unfortunately, Laure goes missing and this seems to be the catalyst for events.

Now the thing with this story is there’s a lot of history.  Both with the place and between the characters.  Elin and Issac’s young brother drowned in a tragic accident and his loss pushed the family apart.  Elin and Issac in particular have many issues unspoken between them and this has led to a build up in resentment.  Things fair little better between certain employees at the hotel and secrets are going to eventually spill forth. On top of that Elin and Will are struggling a little, Will is looking for commitment and Ellin is keeping him at arm’s length.and alongside Will exerting pressure on her Elin is also facing pressure from work.  She’s on an extended absence of leave following an incident and they’re keen for her to make a decision.  Elin is a detective who suffered a scary experience that has left her questioning her own judgement.

Then the story escalates, everyone needs to leave but a few remaining guests and staff are forced to remain behind when the road is blocked. Further avalanches threaten, and a dead body is discovered. The Swiss police can’t get to the hotel and Elin reluctantly steps in, without any real jurisdiction, to at least try to gain and preserve some semblance of order and the few snippets of evidence that can be found.

Okay, I didn’t dislike this.  It was an easy read and well written but I did have some issues.

After a rather quick start things do slow down considerably.  There are lots of different elements to discover about the characters and to some extent this slows things down a good deal in the first half while we take everything on board.  I didn’t really mind this build up in a lot of respects because it helps us get to know the characters a bit better and it would be difficult to care about all the outcomes without any sort of a connection.  However, in some respects I still found it difficult to connect, particularly with Elin and there’s an element of things constantly being ‘unspoken’ which I do find a little frustrating.

I did think that there was a good horror vibe going on and the former Sanatorium come hotel with it’s creepy backstory were interesting to read about.  Plus some of the scenes where the ‘baddie’ appears were definitely scary.  However, some of the tension was diluted somewhat by Elin acting like a headless chicken. Okay, that’s probably a little harsh.  She was trying her best at the same time as dealing with personal issues, but I felt that she walked heedlessly into situations that made me think she was auditioning for a short role in a horror movie.

My main criticism however has to be the eventual reveal which just didn’t sit right for me.  I don’t know why but I just didn’t buy it plus, there’s this slightly crazy ending that I didn’t really understand and had to go back and reread it – and I still don’t know what it signifies.  Now I realise that I’m probably being a little dense there so I hold my hands up.

Overall, this seriously wasn’t a bad read at all. In fact it was remarkably easy.  I just think I was expecting something slightly different.  I’m all for character depth but I think this one maybe needed less of the personal family drama going on at the same time as everything else, it felt like a lot to unload.

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

My rating 3.5 of 5 stars.

Booking Ahead/Weekly Wrap Up

Sunday PostI’m trying to get back into the habit of doing a round-up of the week just completed and also take a look at my plans for the forthcoming week.  I rather got out of the habit of doing this last year but I would like to reinstate this type of post as I feel it keeps me on track.  So, I’m linking up to The Sunday Post over at Kimberly’s  Caffeinated Reviewer.  Without further ado:

Last week

Not a lot happening.  The weather was a bit wet so I couldn’t get out in the garden so I decided to be naughty instead and try some baking – made a rather delicious lemon cheesecake which probably had about a thousand calories per slice!  Anyway, it was nice while it lasted but I need to start behaving.  In the bookish and blogging scene.  I read three books this week.  I completed Bjorn Larssen’s The Children and read The Echo Wife (which I loved) by Sarah Gailey and The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse.  I’ve made progress on my audio and so I’m about halfway through Devin Madson’s We Lie With Death, hopefully that will be finished this week and I can then start Paternus.

Next Week

This week I’m continuing with The Black Song.  I’ll also be picking up Witherward by Hannah Matthewson.  My SPFBO book is A Wind From the Wilderness by Suzannah Rowntree which I definitely need to squeeze in before the end of this month in order to stay on track.

Reviews Posted since last Sunday:

  1. The Moonsteel Crown (Dominion #1) by Stephen Deas
  2. The Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey

Forthcoming Reviews:

  1. Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marilier
  2. Children by Bjorn Larssen
  3. The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse

What’ve you been up to the past week?

#SPFBO – Not a Review : Finalist Reading Schedule, Book #5

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300 books           10 Judges            1 winner

The 1st of June marked the start of the sixth Self Published Fantasy Blog Off (details here.)  My Introductory post is here.  Stage 1 is now complete and the finalists can be found here .

During Stage 2 I will read, review and score the remaining 9 finalists as will the other judges until a winner is revealed.  As with previous years I have given each of the 9 books a number and randomly selected a reading order.  Today’s post is to highlight the fifth book I will be reading and provide information regarding that particular finalist.  The first finalist I read was Shadow of a Dead God by Patrick Samphire.  This was a great start to the finals and my review can be found here.  My second book was The Fall of Erlon by Robert H Fleming which I posted my review here.  My third book was Shaun Paul Steven’s Nether Light, my review for which can be found here. My fourth book was a Norse myth inspired story called Darkness Forged by Matt Larkin and my review is here..

My fifth finalist will be :

A Wind from the Wilderness by Suzannah Rowntree

A Wind from the Wilderness (Watchers of Outremer #1) by Suzannah Rowntree is the finalist selected this year by the Fantasy Hive and their review can be found here.  .Below is the description and author details:

WindFromHunted by demons. Lost in time.

Welcome to the First Crusade.

Syria, 636: As heretic invaders circle Jerusalem, young Lukas Bessarion vows to defend his people. Instead, disaster strikes.

His family is ripped apart. His allies are slaughtered. And Lukas is hurled across the centuries to a future where his worst nightmares have come true…

Constantinople, 1097: Ayla may be a heretic beggar, but she knows one thing for sure: nine months from now, she will die. Before then, she must avenge her father’s murder–or risk losing her soul.

Desperate to find their way home, Lukas and Ayla join the seven armies marching east to liberate Jerusalem. If Lukas succeeds in his quest, he’ll undo the invasion and change the course of history.

But only if he survives the war.

Only if his enemies from the past don’t catch him.

And only as long as Ayla never finds out who he really is.

A Wind from the Wilderness is Book 1 in the new Watchers of Outremer series. If you love stories full of dark magic, bloody warfare, and star-crossed love, then you’ll be spellbound by this sweeping historical fantasy!

SRAuthor:

Hi! I live in a big house in rural Australia with my awesome parents and siblings, writing historical fantasy fiction. You can visit me online at https://suzannahrowntree.site

​If you like the mythic fantasy of Stephen Lawhead, S. A. Chakraborty or Naomi Novik, you’ll probably like my stories too!

Website : https://suzannahrowntree.site

Twitter : suzannahtweets

Friday Face Off : Serpentine – could be a snake, could be a snake-like font, could be a snakeskin style cover

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:

Serpentine – could be a snake, could be a snake-like font, could be a snakeskin style cover

I didn’t have a particular book in mind for this but I felt sure I could come up with something.  As it happens, I’ve gone for  a book I own but haven’t read yet: The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry

My favourite:

Essex2

I’ve updated the list now to include themes for next year.  If you know of an event that’s coming up let me know and I’ll try and include covers that work for the event itself so that you can link up to the Friday Face Off and, 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.  Also, I would just mention that it’s very possible that some of these might be repeats from previous FFOs although I have tried to invent more ‘open ended’ prompt that can be interpreted differently and also prompts that relate to emotions.  Finally, don’t struggle with any of these, this is meant to be a fun way of highlighting books.  If you can’t come up with a book you think fits for a particular week use a freebie – perhaps a recent read for example:

Next week – A book with ‘Magic’ in the Title

2021

February

26th – A book with ‘Magic’ in the Title

March

5th – March is named for the Roman God of War – a Roman style cover or a cover with a God or Gods or simply a book about war

12th – Middle Grade – choose whatever pleases you

19th – Ruin or derelict, old and worn, could be the book itself, a building, a place

26th – A picture within a picture

April

2nd – A train or tram – travelling down the track, could be old style, futuristic, overhead, down below.

9th – Cartoonish or graphic

16th – I have to have it – a cover that gave you ‘grabby hands’

23rd – Your current read (if it has covers to compare) or any recent read

30th– A series that you love – highlight all the books in the series

May

Month of Wyrd and Wonder

7th – A Series where the cover changed midway through – which style do you prefer most

14th – The earliest fantasy you recall reading – or the first fantasy book you really loved, maybe the book that kickstarted your love of fantasy

21st – The Top Hat

28th – The Hood

June

4th – The nose boop – any animal, or human, with a close up shot.

11th – A cover that annoyed you and why

18th – Out of Perspective, or make you feel a bit dizzy

25th – Upside down, back to front or topsy turvy

July

2nd – A book with a landscape you’d like to visit

9th – A Wicked Grin

16th – Books with ‘book’ in the title

23rd – A Black Hole – could be in the universe or going deep into the ground

30th – Chaos – maybe too much going on in this one

August

6th – “They cluck their thick tongues, and shake their heads and suggest, os so very delicately!” – The Motel

13th – A favourite holiday read

20th – Dressed to kill (could be literally someone dressed to kill, or someone dressed up for a big night out

27th – Sunbathing or on the beach

September (RIP event)

3rd – 1920s feel, noir detective

10th – I’m Henry the Eighth I am – let’s look at Kings or other Emperors/rulers

17th – Books with ‘Murder’ in the title

24th – A favourite thriller

October

1st – A Halloween read

8th – Chills – anything at all that almost makes you too scared to pick up the book (your own pet hate)

15th – Your favourite book of magic

22nd – Books with ‘Queen’ in the title

29th – Must be gothic

November – Sci Fi Month

5th – Your earliest sci-fi read or the first sci-fi you reviewed

12th – A book with ‘star’ in the title

19th – Futuristic vista

26th – A Black Hole – in the universe or going deep into the ground

December

3rd – Windswept, the classic figure, stood majestically, with wind blowing out in a fetching way

10th – A fairytale retold

17th – Winter Solstice approaching – anything cold and seasonal

24th – All things fire – red hair, red covers, fire breathing dragons, simply fire?

31st – What’s your catnip – if it’s on a cover you have to pick it up

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