My surgery went well this week, but the after effects knocked me for six. Luckily Hubs managed to get some last minute compassionate leave and took the rest of the week off of work so I wasn’t struggling around the house.
Recovering has also meant taking a bit of a break from blogging which I’ve really needed. I think with some bad experiences the past few weeks things were getting on top of me and taking a few days out helped me find my mojo again. I realised I’d become really negative and that’s not at all who I like to be.
Walking out of Darkness the 10-mile hike I’m taking part in, to raise funds for Bipolar UK has been postponed, this works out quite nicely for me as I will now be in full health when it happens in September rather than just getting back on my feet in a couple of weeks time. If you would like to sponsor the details are in the sidebar.
I had a nice chunk of money in my gift wallet on my amazon.com account so decided to treat myself to the US versions of Jen Williams’ Copper Cat books. I absolutely adore the US covers and really wanted to add them to my shelves. They arrived this week and they are even better in person than the pictures give them credit for.
Deep inside a palace on the edge of the world, the orphan Nepenthe pores over books in the royal library, translating their languages and learning their secrets. At sixteen, she knows little of the outside world. But when a young mage gives Nepenthe a book that has defied translation – a book written in a language of thorns – it speaks to Nepenthe’s soul, and becomes her secret obsession. As the words escape the brambles they reveal themselves – and begin to reveal Nepenthe’s destiny …
I bought and read this as it was the most recent pick in the Flights of Fantasy book club and I have been determined to stick with the reading for this, especially with books like this that weren’t even on my radar. Aside from a few chapters where I started it really late at night I read Alphabet of Thorn in one day but I did have my issues with it.
Nepenthe is a transcriptor within the Royal Library, she works in return for the care they have given her all her life since finding her abandoned as a baby, an orphan. When she collects a book from the nearby mage school she becomes deeply connected to both the mage who hands her the book, Bourne, and the book itself which seems to enchant her.
As time goes on we start to see a dual timeline story emerge telling us the story of the centuries old legends Axis and Kane, as we discover why the book is so enchanting to Nepenthe and nobody else, we find out more about the new Queen of the Twelve Crowns, Tessera.
Throughout this book I felt the story was well developed, there could have been a little more world building to help with understanding of how the world was laid out and had grown but for the most part is was adequate. Characterisation was great and I felt connected to multiple characters as we moved around different character point of views in each chapter.
There weren’t any big battle scenes this wasn’t that kind of book, there weren’t even any little battle scenes. This was a quest and magic based fantasy about love and loyalty and how it can span time and space, very clearly placed in the high fantasy genre. The writing was beautiful and addictive and Nepenthe as a protagonist was pure and special yet she had no special powers or skills other than her ability to translate the written word.
What disappointed me and where I felt I missed out was at the end, there was a huge book long build up to the final scenes, and then in a page it was over. I felt quite let down that after such a huge build up what we receive is quite an anti-climax. I also felt the sub-plots relating to individual relationships were left unresolved and I felt disappointed that the closure you look for in a standalone novel wasn’t there with these.
Overall, this was a great book, it just didn’t quite give me what I look for in terms of closure.
I’ve had a bad week this week, the dark cloud of depression has knocked me for six and a few things have made me doubt blogging. I had an author ask me to change my rating on their review which hurt more than I thought it would when I’d heard other people talking about similar encounters. I obviously said no, I think it’s safe to say as bloggers we all value our integrity and to do something like this undervalues all of our reviews not just that one.
My infection didn’t shift with the antibiotics so I’ve been given another, longer course of antibiotics which will run into my operation next week, it always makes me really angry and moody which is not helping my depressive mood or my reaction to negative situations any! I also ended up in hospital again on Friday with suspected Lithium Toxicity (which is a kind of blood poisoning) so I’m starting to feel like a real frequent flier in that place at the moment! All being well, my operation is next week, I have posts scheduled to go live while I’m away but I will likely be AWOL for a few days at least. So please don’t take it personally if I don’t visit you or don’t reply to any messages. I will be back!
Then there is my ongoing drama of trying to get a ticket to BristolCon a fantasy/sci-fi convention in October. On their website they say they offer an unwaged “membership” (their form of a ticket). I’ve been trying to get one for about 3 weeks now and it’s impossible. Last year I couldn’t go because I couldn’t afford it, this life on benefits is hard but I’ve tightened my belt a lot and have a bit to spare so could afford the early bird unwaged membership and with Jen Williams one of their guests I was well chuffed to go.
You can’t change the ticket option on the website so I tweeted them and sent an email to the address on the ticket page, after a few days I put a message up on my facebook page as I know a few people who go every year and know the people who run it and asked them if they could help me out with a contact. A few days later I got a reply on Twitter with a different email address and a promise someone would reply. I sent the email and nothing, nada, nil. And on June 1 the prices went up so I guess I won’t be going after all, which sucks! I have to say though they shouldn’t offer alternative prices if they aren’t going to honour them…that is really, truly, crap! I also won’t be trying to go again, even once I’m back in work and can afford full ticket price, I’ll go elsewhere.
Finally, in more positive news I’m taking part in Walking out of Darkness at the end of the month, it’s a mental health awareness event, walking ten miles in Weston super Mare. I’m taking part with my Brother and a mutual friend of ours and we are raising money for Bipolar UK. We have a fundraising page where you can donate if you feel so inclined or details of our text to donate are in the sidebar. We are grateful for anything you can spare for this amazing charity. Although as it’s just a couple of weeks after my operation I may be biting off more than I can chew! HAHA!
So, onto my bookish update this week…
Book of the Month
I swear I only did this last week! How has it come around so quickly?!
I had a few books that were in the running this month with 5* reviews but only one stood out hands and feet ahead of them all and that was this one.
Red Sister by Mark Lawrence
Red Sister was the kind of read that glues you to the page from the first word to the last. It was enthralling and fantasy writing at it’s very best. If this doesn’t become a classic in the genre then I will eat my fluffy hat.
“I ended up spending the last hundred pages or so with my breath held, toes clenched, and grinding my teeth, there was just so much tension.”
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
It’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.
What I’ve Read
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.
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)!
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.
5x Myths & Legends Boxsets and More from Myths & Legends (International) Rafflecopter
Dragon Bling and Angelbound Audiobook from Angelbound (International) Rafflecopter
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!