17 Feb 2018

If a genie were to grant me three bookish wishes...

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 If a genie were to grant me three bookish wishes...
 
I would be in trouble, guys.
 
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 My initial reaction would be: 
 
Who? Me? Really?????
 
 
 
And then my brain would do this:

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I'd be excited, of course, but I have a lot of bookish wishes... A LOT, and it would be insanely hard to prioritize.
 
The three wishes I'll list here for you are my decisions at this very moment but if you asked me tomorrow, I'd probably come up with new ones.
 
So here's my here-and-now-list of potential wishes:

 
1. To have an only-English library in my town full of books from my TBR.

I've recently moved back to Hungary from England and even though there are a few English books in my local bookshops, they are expensive and not the ones I'd like to own. If I purchase a book online, it takes two weeks for it to get here. So yeah, I wish I'd have the luxury of having an only-English library or bookshop nearby. It might seem to be a small thing, but it'd make me very happy.


2. To spend an afternoon with Neil Gaiman

He is my favourite contemporary writer. It would be nice to have a coffee with him, chat, ask him to give me some writing advice, have my copy of Stardust signed etc.

I once heard him speak about his work in person at an event (he was touring with his non-fiction book, The View from the Cheap Seats you can read about that amazing evening here), but there was no opportunity to have a conversation with him there unfortunately. Anyway, just to hear him talk was a treasured experience for me.


3. To have enough money to go on a literary tour in England.

I like visiting places where famous writers/poets lived, because in many cases I'm interested in their lives as well as their work. I'd be so excited if I had the opportunity to visit Haworth (where the Brontë sisters lived) or go on a guided Jane Austen tour. The village of Helpston where John Clare, the 'peasant poet' lived is also on my list of places to visit. 

I know that in time I'll be able to make this wish of mine come true, but I am so impatient, I want to go now, haha.


That's three, and now I have to stop my hands because they want to go on writing...

What would YOUR three wishes be? You can let me know in a comment or if you like challenges you can write a similar post yourself. I'd be happy to read it!
 
Have a nice weekend!

16 Feb 2018

Book Beginnings on Friday and the Friday 56 #4


Book Beginnings on Friday and The Friday 56 are weekly memes hosted by Rose City Reader and Freda's Voice.

Rules: 

Book Beginnings: Share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. 

The Friday 56: Grab a book, turn to page 56 or 56% in you eReader. Find any sentence (not spoilery) and reflect on it if you want.

The book I'm currently reading is:


Division 1: The Berkano Vampire Collection
by Leigh Anderson and Rebecca Hamilton


Synopsis:

In the Division of NOLA, Catheryn Beauregard fears her burgeoning magical powers. Hiding as just another slave in the home of the Hoodoo Queen, Catheryn hopes her simplistic powers will simply go unnoticed. And her plan seems to be working...until the Hoodoo House is attacked by a ruthless band of vampire pirates.

Captain Rainier Dulocke and his crew need humans to feed on. In an act of desperation, they beset the Hoodoo House and take ten slaves to sustain them. Rainier takes a girl named Catheryn for himself, but her blood is giving him terrible side effects. Still, he refuses to give her up. Even when the Hoodoo Queen demands her return.

The NOLA Division is in danger. The waters are rising. Food is running out. And the Hoodoo Queen is about to destroy everything that's left if the pirates don't meet her request. Now Catheryn must choose who will die: the humans who sold her, the witches who bought her, or the vampires who stole her. If she fails to decide, everyone could die.


Book beginning:

Don't breathe, Catheryn thought. If you breathe, you're dead.

I like a good in medias res start when we land right in the middle of a tough situation. The main character's Catheryn's life is already in danger at the beginning of the story. There is a good chance that the girl is a real trouble magnet.

The Friday 56:

Rainier kicked the body over the side of the ship but picked up the head by its hair and showed it to the crew. 

"Who's next?" he asked.

This vampire pirate captain isn't joking. That's just as well, because I expect the vampire pirates to be fearsome. Since they are vampires AND pirates anything less wouldn't do.


What do you think of these lines? Do you have a similar post? Please share it with me by leaving a link below.

15 Feb 2018

(Short) Review - The Dark Unseen by Andrew C. Jaxson

Title: The Dark Unseen  (Unseen Series #0.5)

Author: Andrew C Jaxson

Rating: 5/5 

Synopsis:

Hud and his friends are camping in the mountains to celebrate finally finishing school. Tonight, he can finally make his move on the girl he’s been in love with for four long years. But something lurks in the darkness, something Hud has encountered before and can't quite remember. When tragedy strikes the night turns to chaos, and Hud makes a terrifying and world-shattering discovery. As the teens run for their lives, old memories resurface, and an impossible evil will reveal itself. 


My Thoughts:

The Dark Unseen is a teaser novella that introduces Andrew C. Jaxson's new series, The Unseen. And what a fantastic prequel it is! It will chill you to the bone and once you are finished with it, you will want to seek answers!

Hud goes camping with his best friend and the girl of his dreams but he never dreamed the night would end the way it does. Something is out there; among the trees, in the night something unexplainable with an unappeasable hunger.

I am hooked! I guess these days I'm craving horror, I can't help it. This little taste of Andrew C. Jaxson's writing convinced me I need to read the first book in the series. The way the night was described, how he built the tension slowly, then led us through a series of unexpected actions... it was like a roller coaster ride that you want to repeat over and over again. It sure gave me an adrenaline rush... I loved it!



Good news!

This prequel novella is now available for free on the author's website!


Next in the series: 

The Fire Unseen


Happy reading!

14 Feb 2018

Review – The Desert Spear by Peter V. Brett

Title: The Desert Spear (Demon Cycle #2)

Author: Peter V. Brett

Rating: 3.5/5 

Synopsis:

The sun is setting on humanity. The night now belongs to voracious demons that prey upon a dwindling population forced to cower behind half-forgotten symbols of power.

Legends tell of a Deliverer: a general who once bound all mankind into a single force that defeated the demons. But is the return of the Deliverer just another myth? Perhaps not.

Out of the desert rides Ahmann Jardir, who has forged the desert tribes into a demon-killing army. He has proclaimed himself Shar'Dama Ka, the Deliverer, and he carries ancient weapons--a spear and a crown--that give credence to his claim.

But the Northerners claim their own Deliverer: the Warded Man, a dark, forbidding figure.

Once, the Shar'Dama Ka and the Warded Man were friends. Now they are fierce adversaries. Yet as old allegiances are tested and fresh alliances forged, all are unaware of the appearance of a new breed of demon, more intelligent—and deadly—than any that have come before.
 

My Thoughts:

This was a fun ride again, however a bit bumpier than I expected.  

Demon Cycle is a high fantasy series in which humanity fights against demons for survival. I adored the first book, The Painted Man, for its interesting characters, the deliciously detailed fantasy world it presented to me and how it could spook me out occasionally despite not being a horror novel.

The Desert Spear delievered everything its predecessor did, so in a sense there is nothing to complain about. Having said that I have to add right away that it was still lacking somehow: lacking in progress.

The only area where I felt the evolution was the character-writing of Mr. Brett. There was a lot of character developement indeed. Leesha herb gatherer and village leader became more badass (if that's possible), Rojer did everything to get over his unrequited feelings for a certain person, and Arlen (the main character of the first book) reached another level of self-knowledge by the end of the story. I have to say I appreciated the signs of inside growth my beloved trio showed.

The plot was not so strong. The first third of the book was practically a retelling of the same events that took place in Krasia (the Desert Land) in the previous book, only now from Jardir's point of view. And even later, when I was past that part I didn't feel we were moving anywhere plot-wise. 

At the end of the book we still had the same unresolved situation: two man standing against each other, both rumored to be the Deliverer, both hating the other. The only difference was that Jardir left the Desert Town with an army (which we knew he would, it wasn't a big surprise).

Since I've heard that the third book starts yet again with telling the same events from another character's POV, the question rises: what does the second book add to the grand scheme of things?  Does it add anything at all? I'm sure it does and I'll see it in retrospect...

Altogether let me say again that I don't mind at all that I continued with the series. The writing is still superb, I basically fly through the book and, since I care about the characters, I like reading the more character-driven parts. Hopefully I'll see more action in book three, and then I can give The Daylight War a higher rating.


Read my review of the first book in the series, The Painted Man, by clicking on the image below!


Next in the series:

The Daylight War

13 Feb 2018

Tell Me Something Tuesday #1


'Tell Me Something Tuesday' is a weekly discussion post at Rainy Day Ramblings.

Today's topic is Romance Recommendations, as Valentine's Day is quickly approaching.


I'd be happy to read all the books below for the first time again without knowing anything about them in advance. They are all perfect Valentine's Day reads, since they all include awesome love stories. Feel the love!

by Diana Gabaldon

I wouldn't be true to myself if I didn't start with Outlander. I've read the first four instalments from the series, but the first will forever remain my favourite. Claire and Jamie is a solid pair, I like how much they learned from one another as their relationship matured throughout the books, but their initial awkwardness and curiosity for each other was so cute, it had the deepest impression on me back when I had the pleasure to start the series.

by JoJo Moyes

You should try to live life to the fullest each day, because who can tell what will prevent you to do so tomorrow?

There is a reason why this book became a bestseller, but be warned: it is a tear-jerker too!




by Lecia Cornwall

A clever Snow White retelling featuring a scot as the main male character (I might have a thing for scots?)

I really liked how the story was written, how the writer used the original fairy tale to create somthing imaginative and new.

Read my full review of The Lady and the Highlander here.


But between reading and sharing kisses, don't forget what Valentine's Day is really about:

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Do you have Valentine's Day recommendations too? Let me know in a comment below what you think are the perfect reads for the Day of Love!

12 Feb 2018

Goodreads Monday #5

Hello, Lovelies! I'd say have a happy Monday morning, but then I'd be throwing a paradox at you, thus all I'll say is I hope you're dealing with the first day of the week valiantly so far.

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The weekend might be over, but the countdown till the next one has already started, so... stay positive and rock!

Since it's Monday, I'll intorduce you to another book from my Goodreads TBR. Let's do it!




Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme hosted by Lauren @ Lauren’s Page Turners. To participate, choose a random book from your TBR and show it off! Don’t forget to link back to Lauren’s Page Turners and link up to the inlinkz so others can see what you picked!

I'd like to put a smile on your face, so go on, read the synopsis of this intriguing book!

by Forrest Leo


Synopsis:

When Lionel Savage, a popular poet in Victorian London, learns from his butler that they're broke, he marries the beautiful Vivien Lancaster for her money, only to find that his muse has abandoned him.

Distraught and contemplating suicide, Savage accidentally conjures the Devil -- the polite "Gentleman" of the title -- who appears at one of the society parties Savage abhors. The two hit it off: the Devil talks about his home, where he employs Dante as a gardener; Savage lends him a volume of Tennyson. But when the party's over and Vivien has disappeared, the poet concludes in horror that he must have inadvertently sold his wife to the dark lord.

Newly in love with Vivien, Savage plans a rescue mission to Hell that includes Simmons, the butler; Tompkins, the bookseller; Ashley Lancaster, swashbuckling Buddhist; Will Kensington, inventor of a flying machine; and Savage's spirited kid sister, Lizzie, freshly booted from boarding school for a "dalliance." Throughout, his cousin's quibbling footnotes to the text push the story into comedy nirvana.

Lionel and his friends encounter trapdoors, duels, anarchist-fearing bobbies, the social pressure of not knowing enough about art history, and the poisonous wit of his poetical archenemy. Fresh, action-packed and very, very funny, The Gentleman is a giddy farce that recalls the masterful confections of P.G. Wodehouse and Hergé's beautifully detailed Tintin adventures.


Whoever this Lionel Savage is, I sure as hell haha, see what I did there? don't want to be him.

First he learns from his butler that he is broke. (Money comes and goes, eh? He must be such a dandy.) Then he accidentally conjures the Devil (oops), then he finds out he inadvertently sold his wife to him (how do you do that by accident??)... Poor unlucky fellow.

I can't wait to know how the strange companions he gathers for the rescue mission work together and the Devil character fascinates me as well.

No doubt that this will be Victorian social caricature at its best and that I'll roll with laughter once I dive into this book.

Do you think you'd like this novel? What book did you feature in you Goodreads Monday post?

11 Feb 2018

Favourite places to read

It's time for a more personal post, a glance behind the scenes. Today I'll show you where I like to curl up and read the most.

This comfy armchair is where I do most of my reading. My surroundings are never quiet, there's always one or two family members around, but I'm used to the background noises, it would be strange if they weren't there, really.

There's a little glass table in front of the armchair, that's where I put my cup of coffee or tea that I sip occasionally while reading.















I have lots of favourite mugs, this cutie was a christmas present and is my official winter mug now :) As you can see I cannot resist whipped cream...



This is my second reading nook, where Lord Byron looks over me... or...well, stares into the distance, rather bored, while I'm having the time of my life in fictional realms. The chap likes to sulk...


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If I'm not home, the best place to read for me is on the underground. It's nice to fill the empty time gaps in my day with a bit of fun. It makes me happy to see books in the hand of fellow travellers too.

What about you? Where do you like to read? Let me know in a comment below! :)

10 Feb 2018

Some books I've read, loved, but do not own a physical copy of yet


I'm sure each and every one of us has some books on our wishlist that we have already read but never owned a copy of. I'd like to share three of such books with you, that I can't wait to have in my library at home.

by Diane Setterfield


Synopsis:

Reclusive author Vida Winter, famous for her collection of twelve enchanting stories, has spent the past six decades penning a series of alternate lives for herself. Now old and ailing, she is ready to reveal the truth about her extraordinary existence and the violent and tragic past she has kept secret for so long.

Calling on Margaret Lea, a young biographer troubled by her own painful history, Vida disinters the life she meant to bury for good. Margaret is mesmerized by the author’s tale of gothic strangeness — featuring the beautiful and willful Isabelle, the feral twins Adeline and Emmeline, a ghost, a governess, a topiary garden and a devastating fire.

Together, Margaret and Vida confront the ghosts that have haunted them while becoming, finally, transformed by the truth themselves.

I read the e-book version of this curious tale, and soon after I made my mum read it too. We both loved it. It's a family story; very gothic, very gripping and there is a mystery in it with a hard-to-guess solution that blew me away.

I'd really like to know if I liked this novel for the second time around as much as I did for the first time and I'm determined to get a physical copy and give it a re-read to find out.


(The Empress of Rome #2)
by Kate Quinn


Synposis:

This sweeping, powerful epic tells the story of one of the bloodiest years in Rome's history through the eyes of two remarkable women fighting for survival

A.D. 69. The Roman Empire is up for the taking. The Year of the Four Emperors will change everything - especially the lives of two sisters with a very personal stake in the outcome. Elegant and ambitious, Cornelia embodies the essence of the perfect Roman wife. She lives to one day see her loyal husband as Emperor. Her sister Marcella is more aloof, content to witness history rather than make it. But when a bloody coup turns their world upside down, both women must manoeuvre carefully just to stay alive. As Cornelia tries to pick up the pieces of her shattered dreams, Marcella discovers a hidden talent for influencing the most powerful men in Rome. In the end, though, there can only be one Emperor...and one Empress.

Daughters of Rome is the second book in a series and yet I read it first, interestingly. I found it in the library while I lived in London and realised it'd been a long time since I read anything set in ancient Rome. It seemed to be able to work as a standalone and it did, giving me so much pleasure and sleepless hours; I was extremely pleased with this book. Later I purchased the first instalment, Mistress of Rome, that was just as good, and so I really would like to own the whole series. One day...


by Zora Neale Hurston


Synopsis:

At the age of 16, Janie is caught kissing the shiftless Johnny Taylor, so her grandmother quickly marries her off to an old man with 60 acres. Refusing to compromise in spite of society's expectations, Janie endures two stifling marriages before meeting the man of her dreams.

 The language in this book is truly enchanting. I borrowed it from the library too, but it wasn't a chance find, I heard about Zora Neale Hurston's novel at uni while completing my American Studies. It is a coming of age story: a girl matures into an incerdibly strong woman through adventure, love and calamity. A must read for everyone and a must-put-my-hands-on-again for me.


So these are some of the books I've read but do not own yet.

Have you read anything that you don't have a physical copy of, even though you want to? Tell me in a comment below which novels you'd put in a post like this!

9 Feb 2018

Book Beginnings on Friday and the Friday 56 #3


Book Beginnings on Friday and The Friday 56 are weekly memes hosted by Rose City Reader and Freda's Voice.

Rules:

Book Beginnings: Share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. 

The Friday 56: Grab a book, turn to page 56 or 56% in you eReader. Find any sentence (not spoilery) and reflect on it if you want.

Today the book on display is:
by Peter V. Brett 


Synopsis:

The sun is setting on humanity. The night now belongs to voracious demons that prey upon a dwindling population forced to cower behind half-forgotten symbols of power.

Legends tell of a Deliverer: a general who once bound all mankind into a single force that defeated the demons. But is the return of the Deliverer just another myth? Perhaps not.

Out of the desert rides Ahmann Jardir, who has forged the desert tribes into a demon-killing army. He has proclaimed himself Shar'Dama Ka, the Deliverer, and he carries ancient weapons--a spear and a crown--that give credence to his claim.

But the Northerners claim their own Deliverer: the Warded Man, a dark, forbidding figure.

Once, the Shar'Dama Ka and the Warded Man were friends. Now they are fierce adversaries. Yet as old allegiances are tested and fresh alliances forged, all are unaware of the appearance of a new breed of demon, more intelligent—and deadly—than any that have come before.
 

Book beginning:

It was the night before new moon, during the darkest hours when even that bare silver had set.

Now this is a very unoriginal, generic beginning that the author can get away with only because this is the second book in the series. Partly it is forgivable, because he's already put something down on the table, but it still strikes me as lazy, not to try to hook the reader all over again with something more striking in the first line.

The Friday 56:

Neither boy had ever been so close to a demon, and while the sight filled Abban with obvious terror, Jardir felt only rage.

I like this line, because it reflects the oh so obvious differences between these two. Their story is one of the most interesting plotlines in this novel.


Read my review of the first book in the series, The Painted Man, by clicking on the image below!


Did you like these excerpts? What are you reading at the moment?  Please leave your comments and links below.
 

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