Week in Review – 16 April 2017

Happy Easter everyone, I hope you are all having a lovely long weekend, and for those of you who eat chocolate I hope you are buried knee deep in it.

I’ve been a reading beast this week, I’ve read so much I’m a little confused how I’ve managed it as I’ve also been extremely busy! This is by no means a complaint mind you! I’ve also succeeded in acquiring less books than I’ve read which means my to read list is actually shorter now than it was this time last week which is the first time in about six months I can say that! (Hoorrraaayy!)

This week saw my second blogiversary, I can’t believe I’ve been at this book blogging game for two years now! I said this in my post but I want to repeat it here, a huge thank you to all of you who have supported me both from the beginning and along the way. The book blogging community is like no other blogging community and it’s not something I ever forget. To celebrate I pulled together some pretty nice giveaways, if you missed them I have links to them in the giveaways section below, or you can head to my blogiversary post to find out more details about the prizes on offer.

I also got to meet the lovely Laini Taylor this week. My review of her latest book, Strange the Dreamer, is linked below if you missed it. Laini was over here on a book tour promoting the new book and as she came to Bristol is was a great opportunity for me to stop by the signing and say Hi! Robin Hobb is over here and in Bath in a few weeks so I’m rather excited to be going along to that event, I must make sure I keep the fangirl under control or I may just end up being an incoherent imbecile!

So, onto my update this week…

Currently Reading

the-unlikeable-demon-hunter-deborah-wilde

What I’ve Read

  Right Here Waiting For you - Rebecca Pugh     

New Books

I’m still on a mission not to keep adding to my TBR right now…as you can see this is still not going so well! But I at least managed to read more than I acquired this week so that’s something and I never bought any books this week which is something of a miracle!

Competition Wins

  

Book Post

Master Professor - Tara Sue Me

eARCs

Reviews

I’ve been a little bit more proactive with the reviews this week, my new schedule seems to be working and I’m catching up on my backlog (insert happy dance here)!

Saving Mercy - Abbie Roads Strange the Dreamer - UK Cover Reveal My Beautiful Disaster - J.D. Hughes Right Here Waiting For you - Rebecca Pugh

Other Posts

This week was my Blogiversary and paranormal romance author, Catherine Green stopped by for The Bookshelf this week. Speaking of The Bookshelf, I don’t have anyone locked in for May yet so if anybody fancies it you can sign up here, it’s open to bloggers aswell as authors.

  My Beautiful Disaster - J.D. Hughes the-authors-bookshelf-logo

Giveaways

  • 5x Myths & Legends Boxsets and More from Myths & Legends (International) Rafflecopter
  • 2 x $25 Amazon Gift Cards with Saving Mercy (International) Rafflecopter
  • The Last Days of Magic Paperback & Tarot Cards – Blogiversary Giveaway (International) Rafflecopter
  • Caraval Novel & Second Place Prize of Caraval Goodies – Blogicersary Giveaway (UK Only) Rafflecopter
  • Bookishly Stationary Set & Second Place Prize of Book & Nook Candle – Blogiversary Giveaway (UK Only) Rafflecopter

#Review: Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor @lainitaylor @HodderBooks

Description

The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around – and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance to lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries – including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

In this sweeping and breathtaking new novel by National Book Award finalist Laini Taylor, author of the New York Times bestselling Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy, the shadow of the past is as real as the ghosts who haunt the citadel of murdered gods. Fall into a mythical world of dread and wonder, moths and nightmares, love and carnage.

Review

As I finish Strange the Dreamer I’m left overwhelmed with a feeling of loss, these characters have seeped into my psyche and become a part of me in the days I have been reading this book. It wasn’t a book I could speed through and read quickly as I often read books, I needed to take my time and absorb the words on the page and I did absorb each and every one.

Lazlo Strange is a junior librarian, one who dreams vividly, he daydreams while reading, walking into walls and has built himself a reputation for his dreaming, so much so he is called ‘Strange the Dreamer’ and mocked for having his head in the clouds. Following Lazlo’s journey was a roller-coaster of emotions. He has so much fire and passion but at the same time he himself doesn’t understand what he can offer to the party he has joined. His dreams are so beautiful and I love that in a fantasy world where she could create anything she has drawn a line in the sand to then be able to create dreams where literally anything can and does happen. This is absolutely stunning.

Having two characters who are unable to meet in real life be able to meet in a dream was also a stroke of genius and I loved the dynamic between Lazlo, a human, and Sarai, a goddess. The pure, innocence of first love glows from the both and my heart broke for their circumstances over and over again while glowing for how they appreciated what they had.

The use of moths as representing Sarai’s consciousness was wonderfully done and whilst I don’t want to say to much and ruin it for others I (almost) forgot my phobia of moths reading this as they just felt so naturally a part of the story and as though they belonged.

I wish the general world-building had been a little stronger, I really wanted to envisage what the world around these characters looked like, I wanted a picture of the streets, the houses, the land and I didn’t get that. I would also have loved a map to help me place where all the cities were that were mentioned. It was clear Weep was a long way from where we started but it’s nice to get an idea of what the author envisaged when they started out.

I loved that this book explores the question “what makes somebody bad?”, it explores if somebody good can do a bad thing, and does this then make them a bad person. It’s a strong moral dilemma and one that readers need to consider carefully, I think different readers will draw different conclusions here but it’s a strong life question.

As a result of this question themes such as revenge, forgiveness, and guilt are strong throughout the novel and very relevant.

I highly recommend this novel, the character building is exquisite and such a pleasure to read, I would happily sit down and read this book again today.

With thanks to Laini Taylor and Vero at Hodder & Stoughton for the ARC so that I could read and honestly review this novel.

I read this novel as part of my Discoverability Challenge for April.

Rating

Book & Buy Links

TitleStrange the Dreamer
SeriesStrange the Dreamer #1
Author: Laini Taylor
Genre: Fantasy | Magic
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Publication Date: 28 March 2017
Review Format: Paperback
Other Formats: eBook | Hardcover | Audio
Pages: 545
BuyAmazon UK | Amazon US | Waterstones | FoylesBook Depository | SpeedyHen

Week in Review – 9 April 2017

I had such high plans for my reading this week but it all went a little pear shaped!

On Tuesday I went to see the rather wonderful Matthew Bourne’s The Red Shoes with my Mum. I’m a huge fan of Matthew Bourne’s contemporary ballet work, if you get the opportunity to see one of his ballet’s I highly recommend it. They are very modern, the dancers highly skilled and always exquisitely executed.

On the way home though we received a call that my Nan was very unwell so diverted to her house where after packing my mum home in a taxi, I waited with her for an ambulance then on to the hospital where I stayed until 3am, when they decided she was staying the night (of course it was one of those times I was wishing I had taken my book to the theatre!).

My Nan is OK and I spent all day yesterday at her house with her but I’m completely out of sorts and playing catch up with sleep, life, and reading! It was lucky all my posts for this week were pre-scheduled or the blog would have been a ghost town!

In good and interesting news, last night I took part in the Grimbold Books podcast The Grimcast. The focus was on book bloggers and the book blogging community so I will definitely let you all have a link to tune in when it goes live!

So, onto my update this week…

Currently Reading

Right Here Waiting For you - Rebecca Pugh

 

What I’ve Read

 Strange the Dreamer - UK Cover Reveal Rough - Sybil Bartel 

New Books

So I hit my personal TBR threshold on the number of books I can have before I stop buying and requesting books on NetGalley (unless they are by a favourite author of course) until I’ve brought the numbers down a bit…so in theory this section should be empty…of course, it’s not!

Bought

Bombshell - CD Reiss 

Competition Wins

 A Bed of Brambles - Sam Russell

Book Post

 The Dragon's Legacy - Deborah A. Wolf

eARCs

Into the Hall of Vice - Anabelle Bryant

Reviews

I’ve been a little bit more proactive with the reviews this week, my new schedule seems to be working and I’m catching up on my backlog (insert happy dance here)!

Hot Shade - Tamara Lush  the-last-days-of-magic Modern Girls Guide to Turning Into YOur Mother - Ada Adverse dragon-of-ash-stars

Other Posts

Fantasy author, J.C. Kang stopped by for The Bookshelf this week.

Saving Mercy - Abbie Roads The White Raven - Carrie D. Miller Standing Ground - Alice Rachel the-authors-bookshelf-logo

Giveaways

  • 5x Myths & Legends Boxsets and More from Myths & Legends (International) Rafflecopter
  • Dragon Bling and Angelbound Audiobook from Angelbound (International) Rafflecopter
  • Paperback Copies of the Under Ground Series & $20 Gift Card (International) Rafflecopter

Week in Review – 2 April 2017

So, this week I decided to finally join the ranks of bloggers take a break from social media and blog reading once a week to focus on my own reading and general life needs! I’ve chosen a Wednesday as this is my busiest day of the week anyway and having tried it out this week I had a far less stressful day.

Not much to say this week, so onto the bookish update…

Book of the Month

norse-mythologyIt’s that time again to name my book of the month, it will hardly be a surprise that for March I’m naming Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman my book of the month. This book met all of my expectations and beyond. It is also a beautiful book just to look at and will not be leaving my bookshelf any time soon!

If you want to read my full review, you can find it here.

Currently Reading

Strange the Dreamer - UK Cover Reveal

What I’ve Read

the-last-days-of-magic  Hot Shade - Tamara Lush   My Beautiful Disaster - J.D. Hughes

New Books

Ah sigh! A bunch of books on my wish list went on sale this week so yeah, I did really well with resisting…not! I also had a bunch of quite old NetGalley requests that I’d totally forgotten about approved (eeek!) If I go missing you can find me under book mountain.

Bought

     

Competition Wins

eARCs

      the-unlikeable-demon-hunter-deborah-wilde

Reviews

I’ve been a little bit more proactive with the reviews this week, my new schedule seems to be working and I’m catching up on my backlog (insert happy dance here)!

 Reborn - Jane Ederlyn meet-me-at-willoughby-close-kate-hewitt

Other Posts

Lots going on this week other than the reviews, had a few great guest posts, and a couple of blitz posts for some interesting looking books. The lovely Lynda Spiro stopped by for The Bookshelf this week.

  angelbound-christina-bauer the-authors-bookshelf-logo

Giveaways

  • 5x Myths & Legends Boxsets and More from Myths & Legends (International) Rafflecopter
  • Dragon Bling and Angelbound Audiobook from Angelbound (International) Rafflecopter

Week in Review – 19 March 2017

This has been a tough week, it started with some news which blew the stuffing out of me and I’ve spent a lot, probably too much time processing. It also meant that I have not been in the right frame of mind to read and so my reading has slowed dramatically.

I also realised that I’ve been really organised with my blog planning but had forgotten to keep time scheduled for my non-tour reviews so I have a backlog of books to review! I’ve now rectified this moving forward so my reviews should pick up over the coming weeks. Honestly I’m pretty sure I leave my brain in bed most days.

It was my Mum’s birthday this week, most of her Amazon wishlist is Kindle books and I’m again left wondering why Amazon in the UK hasn’t implemented Kindle book gifting like they have in the US? It’s utterly annoying…yes I said utterly. I’ve emailed them about it numerous times but they just ignore me.

I think most of my medication issues are now sorted and I’m starting to feel more human again now, at least until the bipolar slaps in the face again! We had a few hiccoughs this week and I managed to do almost 72 hours with no sleep at all which only feeds the mania but I’m through it and starting to get back into a pattern now.

I also got a new phone this week, it’s my first new phone in six years! A bit of a shock to the system, I used to get a new phone every year so I don’t know what’s come over me going so long! It’s taking a bit of getting used to, I keep pressing things I’m not supposed to, so apologies if I do weird things in comments on your blogs but that will be why!

I went to see Gojira play in Bristol last night, I know most of you are going Goji-what?! They are a French heavy metal band. I absolutely love them, very melodic, they are also eco and political-warriors and it all comes out in their music so very on my wavelength. I saw them play at Bloodstock festival last year which was actually the first time I had seen them live despite buying their music for years and they blew the roof of the place (OK there was no roof it was an outdoor festival but you get the idea!).

So onto this week’s book activity!

Currently Reading

What I’ve Read

New Books

This week has been eclectic, I won a book from Lorraine over at The Book Review Café, I’d entered the giveaway knowing Hubs would really enjoy the book and he was over the moon when I gave it to him! I also received a proof copy of Strange the Dreamer which I can honestly say is one of the most stunning books I’ve ever handled. I also received a signed copy of The Last Days of Magic direct from Mark Tompkins which I am so grateful for, I have had this book on my radar for a while and I will be reading it very soon so watch this space!

Bought

Book Post

 Strange the Dreamer - UK Cover Reveal 

eARCs

   

Reviews

Only one review this week after my little scheduling slip up! That will be fixed next week!

celtic-fire-liz-gavin

Other Posts

Lots going on this week other than the reviews, had a few great guest posts, and a couple of blitz posts for some interesting looking books. Ann Troup stopped by for The Bookshelf this week.

  Soul Mates - Nadine Nightingale Ashael Rising - Shona Kinsella the-authors-bookshelf-logo

Giveaways

  • $10 Amazon or Nook Gift Card with Claimed by the Succubus (International) Rafflecopter
  • $25 GIFT CARD, Signed Copies of: Anarchy Found, Anarchy Missing, and SuperVillain Swag Pack with Anarchy Missing (International) Rafflecopter
  • 3x $25 Amazon Gift Cards from Celtic Fire (International) Rafflecopter
  • 5x Myths & Legends Boxsets and More from Myths & Legends (International) Rafflecopter
  • A Kindle Fire and $50 Amazon Gift Card from Soul Mates (International) Rafflecopter
  • A £20 Amazon Gift Voucher and an e-copy of Ashael Rising from Ashael Rising Rafflecopter

Flights of Fantasy Reading Challenge 2017

So, I came across the Flights of Fantasy reading challenge and thought this was another challenge that would be great to get my teeth into this year. To ensure I stick with reading some books off of my massive TBR and give myself some time with my favourite genre and don’t get too bogged down with ARC’s, which as we know, can happen!

What is it?

This is a challenge which is organised by Alexa Loves Books and Hello, Chelly. You set your own reading target but they also run giveaways and a kind of reading club within the challenge so I will certainly try and read some of the books I’ve not already read within those aswell, some of the books they have listed are on my TBR so it shouldn’t be too hard!

I will keep a list here of the Fantasy books I read throughout the year, with a link to my reviews, as I am doing with the Discoverability Challenge, and I will aim for half of my Goodreads Challenge Target of 100 to be fantasy, so 50 books!

Good luck to anybody else who is taking part!

  1. Fantastic Creatures – Fellowship of Fantasy
  2. Cruel Crown – Victoria Aveyard
  3. Runemarks – Joanne M Harris
  4. The Ninth Rain – Jen Williams
  5. The Art of Forgetting: Rider – Joanne Hall
  6. Seasons Within – Lele Iturrioz
  7. A Facet for the Gem – C. L. Murray
  8. Written in Red – Anne Bishop (Flights of Fantasy Book Club)
  9. Dark Promise – Nikki Landis
  10. Angelbound – Christina Bauer
  11. Siren’s Fury – Mary Weber
  12. Curse of Stars – Donna Compositor
  13. Norse Mythology – Neil Gaiman
  14. Celtic Fire – Liz Gavin
  15. When the Floods Came – Clare Morrall
  16. Reborn – Jane Ederlyn
  17. The Last Days of Magic – Mark Tompkins
  18. Saving Mercy – Abbie Roads
  19. Dragon of Ash & Stars: The Autobiography of a Night Dragon – H. Leighton Dickson
  20. Strange the Dreamer – Laini Taylor
  21. The Unlikeable Demon Hunter – Deborah Wilde
  22. The Dragon’s Legacy – Deborah A. Wolf
  23. Memortality – Stephen H. Provost
  24. Cry Wolf – Greta Stone
  25. Legion – Julie Kagawa
  26. Red Sister – Mark Lawrence
  27. Mother of Wolves – J. Aislynn d’Merricksson
  28. Skullsworn – Brain Staveley
  29. Alphabet of Thorn – Patricia A. McKillip (Flights of Fantasy Book Club)
  30. Shifter Clan Series – Tiffany Shand
  31. The Lost Sentinel – Suzanne Rogerson
  32. Nightseer – Laurell K Hamilton
  33. Fallen From Grace – Nikki Landis
  34. Godblind – Anna Stephens
  35. A Gathering of Ravens – Scott Oden
  36. The Gunslinger – Stephen King
  37. Wyvern Awakening – Joanna Mazurkiewicz
  38. Seduced By Moonlight – Laurell K Hamilton
  39. Pack Ebon Red – C.M. Stunich
  40. Made In The Image Of The Goddess – Chantelle Griffin
  41. Blackwing – Ed McDonald
  42. The Last Dragon Rider – Errin Krystal
  43. The Final Empire – Brandon Sanderson
  44. Darkfever – Karen Marie Moning
  45. Tipping Point – Terry Tyler
  46. The Dragon in the Garden – Erika Gardner
  47. Spring – Lele Iturrioz
  48. Raising Fire – James Bennett
  49. Firestorm – Rachel Caine
  50. Branded – Keary Taylor
  51. Damned – Alexandra Weis & Lucas Astor
  52. Elements of Mischief – C.M. Stunich & Tate James
  53. Seventh Decimate – Stephen Donaldson
  54. The Year of the Knife – G.D. Penman
  55. The Man in the High Castle – Philip K Dick
  56. Split Feather – Deborah A. Wolf
  57. The Vixen’s Lead – Tate James
  58. The Well of Ascension – Brandon Sanderson
  59. Dungari Rise – Nikki Landis
  60. The Dark Highlander – Karen Marie Moning
  61. Pack Violet Shadow – C.M. Sunich
  62. Full Moon Rising – Keri Arthur
  63. The Bitter Twins – Jen Williams
  64. Elements of Ruin – C.M. Stunich & Tate James
  65. Allison’s Adventure’s in Underland – C.M. Stunich
  66. Lindisfarne – Terry Tyler
  67. The Dragon’s Wing – Tate James
  68. Patient Zero – Terry Tyler
  69. Fractured – Nikki Landis
  70. Arcanum Unbounded – Brandon Sanderson
  71. The Tiger’s Ambush – Tate James

The Discoverability Challenge – 2017

I was looking to add a challenge to my reading this year in addition to the Goodreads Reading Challenge which is just about the number of books you read. I enjoyed keeping tabs on how Joanne Hall was doing with her Discoverability Challenge last year, a challenge to read more female authors, especially within the SFF genre. When she posted she was doing it again this year and within the post put a call out for others to join her this seemed the perfect challenge to join, especially as I have quite a pile of books waiting to be read by female authors I’ve not read before.

The rules are simple, read at least one book per month in any genre, fiction or non-fiction by a female author you’ve not read before. As I take part in blog tours and pick up books from NetGalley this will be easily achievable so I have set myself the goal of making sure that I read at least one SFF novel by a female author I’ve not read before each month to chip away at that pile I mentioned earlier!

I will keep a list here of all the authors I read who qualify for the Discoverability Challenge, and for all the books I specifically read for the challenge I will tag them and link them back to this page. I’m looking forward to seeing how many new female authors I discover in 2017!

My 2017 Discovered Female Authors

  1. Victoria Aveyard – Cruel Crown
  2. Jill Mansell – Meet Me At Beachcomber Bay
  3. Sheila Norton – The Vets at Hope Green
  4. Anabelle Bryant – The Den of Iniquity
  5. Lele Iturrioz – Seasons Within
  6. Cassandra Piat – Stuck With Me
  7. Anne Bishop – Written In Red
  8. Judith Colquhoun – A Country Practice: New Beginnings
  9. Nikki Landis – Dark Promise
  10. Sarah Morgan – Sleepless in Manhattan
  11. Donna Compositor – Curse of Stars
  12. Liz Gavin – Celtic Fire
  13. Clare Morrall – When the Floods Came
  14. Jane Ederlyn – Reborn
  15. Tamara Lush – Hot Shade
  16. Abbie Roads – Saving Mercy
  17. H. Leighton Dickson – Dragon of Ash & Stars
  18. J.D. Hughes – My Beautiful Disaster
  19. Laini Taylor – Strange the Dreamer
  20. Sybil Bartel – Rough
  21. Harper Sloan – Lost Rider
  22. Deborah Wilde – The Unlikeable Demon Hunter
  23. Catherine Green – The Darkness of Love
  24. Deborah A. Wolf – The Dragon’s Legacy
  25. Lynda Young Spiro – There is Always More to Say
  26. Greta Stone – Cry Wolf
  27. Gail Marie Mitchell – Loving The Life Less Lived
  28. Rachel Burton – The Many Colours of Us
  29. C.M. Stunich – Groupie
  30. Cristina Hodgson – A Little of Chantelle Rose
  31. J. Aislynn d’Merricksson – Mother of Wolves
  32. Patricia A. McKillip – Alphabet of Thorn
  33. Tiffany Shand – Shifter Clan Series
  34. Lilly Bartlett – The Second Chance Cafe in Carlton Square
  35. Jaimie Admans – The Chateau of Happily Ever Afters
  36. Anna Stephens – Godblind
  37. Laurie Winters – Home Field
  38. Tani Hanes – Living In The Shallows
  39. Rachel Van Dyken – Cheater
  40. Joanna Mazurkiewicz – Wyvern Awakening
  41. Holly James – Worth Remembering
  42. Caitlyn Lynch – Ellie’s Encounter
  43. Chantelle Griffin – Made In The Image Of The Goddess
  44. A.L. Michael – Cocktails & Dreams
  45. Errin Krystal – The Last Dragon Rider
  46. Aimee Brown – Little Gray Dress
  47. Sarah Bennett – Wedding Bells at Butterfly Cove
  48. Karen Marie Moning – Darkfever
  49. Terry Tyler – Tipping Point
  50. Erika Gardner – The Dragon in the Garden
  51. Pepper Winters – Tears of Tess
  52. Brittainy C Cherry – The Air He Breathes
  53. Sylvia Ashby – The Sinking Chef
  54. Maxine Morrey – The Christmas Holiday
  55. J Kenner – Wicked Grind
  56. Nikki Sex – Abuse
  57. Natalie K. Martin – What Goes Down
  58. Keary Taylor – Branded
  59. Alexandra Weis – Damned
  60. C.M Stunich & Tate JamesElements of Mischief
  61. Violet Blaze – Biker Rockstar Billionaire CEO Alpha
  62. Summer Cooper – Professor Next Door
  63. Leigh LaValle – Breathless
  64. Allie Burns – The Lido Girls
  65. Lilac Mills – And A Sixpence For Luck
  66. Ellen Wiles – The Invisible Crowd
  67. J Mercer – Dark and Stormy
  68. Mhairi McFarlane – You Had Me At Hello
  69. Jackie Ladbury – Air Guitar and Caviar