The Monthly Round-Up: March 2016


The Monthly Round-Up March 2Welcome to The Monthly Round-Up. Join me as I look back on the past month to see which books I’ve read, the reviews I’ve posted, the goals I’ve completed and my all important Book of the Month!


| The Monthly Round-Up: March 2016 |

This month has been so hectic I’m surprised I managed to get through as many books as I did! With work coming out of my eyeballs, a virus which feels like someone’s taken a sander to my throat, the death of my reading companion Felix – RIP Piggle 😦 – and two new guinea pigs springing into my life, I feel like I’ve barely touched ground this March. My review count has suffered a little and my posts have been somewhat erratic (or non-existent in the case of Bookish Beats!) but all in all, the books I’ve read have given me some much needed relief. So let’s take a look at the literary delights I’ve been consuming:

| Books Read |

| 1. |

Girl Waits With Gun by Amy Stewart

Read as part of the official blog tour, Girl Waits With Gun, with its gun-toting, feisty real-life heroine and its exciting storyline, was an excellent read with which to start my month.

| 2. |

A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

A Gathering of Shadows, the sequel to A Darker Shade of Magic, was most definitely a highlight of March. This was an excellent follow-up which, in my view, surpassed the first in terms of narrative and excitement. I certainly can’t wait for the third!

| 3. |

Envy of Angels by Matt Wallace

Envy of Angels, the first Sin du Jour novella, was a book I’d had my eye on ever since reading a review for it a few months back. It certainly lived up to expectations by proving itself to be tremendous fun and ever so slightly grotesque.

| 4. |

Stranger of Tempest by Tom Lloyd

Stranger of Tempest has been on my reading list ever since the wonderful cover reveal in January. Luckily for me, it proved just as good as its wrappings and has once more placed Tom Lloyd at the top of my reading list!

| 5. |

Skinshaper by Mark Gelineau and Joe King

Another day, another Gelineau and King novella!  These guys certainly know how to write a captivating piece of short fiction and Skinshaper is no exception. This novella, with its enigmatic characters and abhorrent creations, is one of the most disturbing and captivating to date.

| 6. |

The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter by Rod Duncan

The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter, a steampunk piece of alternative history, brought about a change of pace with its steady narrative and gorgeous prose. A surprising and delightful novel, I’m looking forward to my next venture into the Gas-Lit Empire.

| 7. |

A Local Habitation by Seanan McGuire

For March’s Read Along we returned to the world of October ‘Toby’ Daye in the second novel of the series by Seanan McGuire. After something of a rocky start, A Local Habitation turned out to be a rather enjoyable read and I cannot wait to get stuck into the third in the series this April!


Book of the Month2

A Gathering of Shadows

by V.E. Schwab


| March Goals |

To finish NOS4R2 and Emma before the month is out!

Yes, yes another roll over!

Status: Incomplete

… Perhaps it’s time to stop posting this goal and accept that they’ll be read when they’re read!  – I hate to think how many months it’s been rolling over!

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| Goals for 2016 |

Goodreads 2016 Reading Challenge: 25/100 Books Read (25%)

Status: +7% in March


| Reviews Posted |

The Copper Promise by Jen Williams

Legend - Gemmell

Legend by David Gemmell


Girl Waits With Gun by Amy Stewart

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Broken Banners by Mark Gelineau and Joe King


Occupy Me by Tricia Sullivan


| Other Posts From March |

This month ushered in a change to the schedule with The Friday Face-Off becoming a weekly meme! I love posting and comparing book covers every Friday and it’s fantastic seeing the covers other bloggers post! So thank you for joining in and long may it continue! 

Announcement: The Friday Face-Off – A Weekly Meme

The Friday Face-Off: March 04 – Dragon Hunters by Marc Turner

The Friday Face-Off: March 11 – First Friday Freebie

The Friday Face-Off: March 18 – Here be Dragons

The Friday Face-Off: March 25 – Green With Envy

The Monthly Round-Up: February 2016

The Month Ahead: March 2016

Cover Reveal: The Waking Fire by Anthony Ryan – US Edition

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Books When You’re in the Mood for Axe-Wielding Maniacs

Top Ten Tuesay: Top Ten… Books on my Spring TBR

Teaser Tuesdays: March 01 – A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

Teaser Tuesdays: March 08 – The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter by Rod Duncan

Teaser Tuesdays: March 15 – Envy of Angels by Matt Wallace

Teaser Tuesdays: March 22 – Under the Empyrean Sky by Chuck Wendig

Teaser Tuesdays: March 29 – Tomorrow the Killing by Daniel Polansky

Book Haul: March 02 – Swords of Good Men & Blood Will Follow

Book Haul: March 31 – Angel of Storms & Legion: Skin Deep

Read Along: A Local Habitation by Seanan McGuire – Week 1

Read Along: A Local Habitation by Seanan McGuire – Week 2

Read Along: A Local Habitation by Seanan McGuire – Week 3

Read Along: A Local Habitation by Seanan McGuire – Week 4

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Books on my Spring TBR


Top Ten TuesdayWelcome to Top Ten Tuesday – a weekly feature hosted by those lovely bookworms over at The Broke and the Bookish. Expect a new top ten list every week!


| Top Ten… Books on my Spring TBR |

This Tuesday I’m paying homage to all those books which have taken long term residence on my bookshelves; books which I fully intend to devour over the coming months! I’m late to the party on all fronts – yes my list even includes some of my favourite (if somewhat neglected) authors – but with these ten beauties to look forward to, it looks like spring is set to be a riot!heart

| 1. |

Gardens of the Moon

Book One of the Malazan Book of the Fallen

by Steven Erikson

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The Malazan Empire simmers with discontent, bled dry by interminable warfare, bitter infighting, and bloody confrontations. Even the imperial legions, long inured to the bloodshed, yearn for some respite. Yet Empress Laseen’s rule remains absolute, enforced by her dread Claw assassins.

For Sergeant Whiskeyjack and his squad of Bridgeburners, and for Tattersail, surviving cadre mage of the Second Legion, the aftermath of the siege of Pale should have been a time to mourn the many dead. But Darujhistan, last of the Free Cities of Genabackis, yet holds out. It is to this ancient citadel that Laseen turns her predatory gaze.

But it would appear that the Empire is not alone in this great game. Sinister, shadowbound forces are gathering as the gods themselves prepare to play their hand….

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| 2 |

The Man in the High Castle

by Philip K. Dick

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It’s America in 1962. Slavery is legal once again. The few Jews who still survive hide under assumed names. In San Francisco, the I Ching is as common as the Yellow Pages. All because some twenty years earlier the United States lost a war—and is now occupied by Nazi Germany and Japan. This harrowing, Hugo Award-winning novel is the work that established Philip K. Dick as an innovator in science fiction while breaking the barrier between science fiction and the serious novel of ideas. In it Dick offers a haunting vision of history as a nightmare from which it may just be possible to wake.heart

| 3 |

King of Thorns

Book Two of The Broken Empire

by Mark Lawrence

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To reach greatness you must step on bodies. I’ll win this game of ours, though the cost of it may drown the world in blood…

A six nation army marches toward Jorg’s gates, led by a shining hero determined to unite the empire and heal its wounds. Every omen says he will. Every good king knows to bend the knee in the face of overwhelming odds, if only to save their people and their lands. But King Jorg is not a good king.

Faced by an enemy many times his strength, Jorg knows that he cannot win a fair fight. But playing fair was never part of Jorg’s game plan…

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| 4. |

Shadows of Self

Book Five of the Mistborn Series

by Brandon Sanderson
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A bloody massacre, a hunt for an assassin.

An Invitation to the criminal elite of Elendel from the brother of the city’s governor to an auction for his vote in the senate becomes a death sentences for all involved when an unknown assailant slaughters everyone in attendance.

Waxillium Ladrian investigates and is shocked to discover that the perpetrator may be a kandra calling herself Bleeder. As the servants of Harmony, the god of the religion Wax himself adheres to, the kandra usually operate in secret, and many people think them merely a myth. Now one of the kandra has gone rogue, which shouldn’t be possible.

Wax, Wayne and the brilliant Marasi must track down Bleeder and keep her from assassinating the governor of Elendel and plunging the city into chaos.

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| 5. |

The Tower Lord

Book Two of the Raven’s Shadow

by Anthony Ryan
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“The blood-song rose with an unexpected tune, a warm hum mingling recognition with an impression of safety. He had a sense it was welcoming him home.”

Vaelin Al Sorna, warrior of the Sixth Order, called Darkblade, called Hope Killer. The greatest warrior of his day, and witness to the greatest defeat of his nation: King Janus’s vision of a Greater Unified Realm drowned in the blood of brave men fighting for a cause Vaelin alone knows was forged from a lie. Sick at heart, he comes home, determined to kill no more.

Named Tower Lord of the Northern Reaches by King Janus’s grateful heir, he can perhaps find peace in a colder, more remote land far from the intrigues of a troubled Realm. But those gifted with the blood-song are never destined to live a quiet life. Many died in King Janus’s wars, but many survived, and Vaelin is a target, not just for those seeking revenge but for those who know what he can do.

The Faith has been sundered, and many have no doubt who their leader should be. The new King is weak, but his sister is strong. The blood-song is powerful, rich in warning and guidance in times of trouble, but is only a fraction of the power available to others who understand more of its mysteries. Something moves against the Realm, something that commands mighty forces, and Vaelin will find to his great regret that when faced with annihilation, even the most reluctant hand must eventually draw a sword.

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| 6. |

Golden Son

Book Two of the Red Rising Trilogy

by Pierce Brown
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Golden Son continues the stunning saga of Darrow, a rebel forged by tragedy, battling to lead his oppressed people to freedom from the overlords of a brutal elitist future built on lies. Now fully embedded among the Gold ruling class, Darrow continues his work to bring down Society from within.

A life-or-death tale of vengeance with an unforgettable hero at its heart, Golden Son guarantees Pierce Brown’s continuing status as one of fiction’s most exciting new voices.

| 7. |

The Falcons of Fire and Ice

by Karen Maitland
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The year is 1539 and the Portuguese Inquisition ushers in an era of torture and murder. When the Royal Falconer is imprisoned on false charges to remove him from the inner circle of the boy King, the Inquisitors strike an impossible deal with his daughter, Isabela. Bring back two rare white falcons from Iceland within the year or her father dies.

Meanwhile in Iceland, a menacing stranger appears to have possessed the soul of a woman chained up in a volcanic cave and is threatening to destroy the community. The woman’s twin sister, Eydis, is desperate to intervene but vivid dreams suggest the twins’ only salvation lies with a young girl from afar, travelling in search of white feathers.

Isabela’s quest might hold a more crucial purpose then she could ever imagine and there are those among her travel companions who have an interest in doing her harm. But in order to fulfil her destiny, first she must reach Iceland’s shores. Alive.heart

| 8. |

Assassin’s Quest

Book Three of The Farseer Trilogy

by Robin Hobb
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King Shrewd is dead at the hands of his son Regal. As is Fitz—or so his enemies and friends believe. But with the help of his allies and his beast magic, he emerges from the grave, deeply scarred in body and soul. The kingdom also teeters toward ruin: Regal has plundered and abandoned the capital, while the rightful heir, Prince Verity, is lost to his mad quest—perhaps to death. Only Verity’s return—or the heir his princess carries—can save the Six Duchies.

But Fitz will not wait. Driven by loss and bitter memories, he undertakes a quest: to kill Regal. The journey casts him into deep waters, as he discovers wild currents of magic within him—currents that will either drown him or make him something more than he was.
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| 9. |

The Air War

Book Eight of the Shadows of the Apt Series

by Adrian Tchaikovsky
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All is in turmoil as the world moves towards war. In Solarno, the spies watch each other and ready their knives, while Myna sees the troops muster at its border and emotions run high as it vows never to be enslaved again. In Collegium, the students argue politics, too late to turn the tide. In the heart of the Empire, new pilots have completed their secretive training, generals are being recalled to service and armies are ready to march. Their Empress, the heir to two worlds, intends to claim her birthright. And nothing – either within the Empire or beyond it – will stand in her way. A conflict is coming, the like of which the insect-kinden have never seen.heart

And last but not least, a book which has been on my bookshelf since 2009…

| 10. |

The Gone-Away World

by Nick Harkawayheart

The Jorgmund Pipe is the backbone of the world, and it’s on fire. Gonzo Lubitsch, professional hero and troubleshooter, is hired to put it out – but there’s more to the fire, and the Pipe itself, than meets the eye. The job will take Gonzo and his best friend, our narrator, back to their own beginnings and into the dark heart of the Jorgmund Company itself.

Equal parts raucous adventure, comic odyssey and Romantic Epic, The Gone-Away World is a story of – among other things – love and loss; of ninjas, pirates, politics; of curious heroism in strange and dangerous places; and of a friendship stretched beyond its limits. But it also the story of a world, not unlike our own, in desperate need of heroes – however unlikely they may seem.
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What books are you planning to read this spring? If you would like to join in with Top Ten Tuesday, head on over to The Broke and the Bookish and sign up!

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Review: Girl Waits With Gun by Amy Stewart




Girl Waits With Gun

by Amy Stewart

Historical Fiction | Crime | 416 Pages | Published by Scribe in 2016


| Rating |


Welcome to the next stop in the ‘Girl Waits With Gun’ Blog Tour. Please check out the other fantastic blogs along the way!


The eye-catching cover and the headline title – Girl Waits With Gun – may have drawn me to Amy Stewart’s new novel, a work of fiction based on the life of the first female deputy sheriff in the US, but its contents have proven to be just as enchanting as its wrappings as Stewart recounts a vivid and decidedly captivating tale.

In this charming tale of the early twentieth century, feisty and formidable heroines are pitched against furtive criminal elements in the pursuit of reparations, peace and justice as three sisters are dragged into events which soon spiral out of control. In a narrative which skilfully captures the nuances of the time, an endearing historic figure is pulled out of obscurity and put into play on this marvellous fictional stage; a stage which echoes with a resounding and remarkable truth.

From the New York Times best-selling author of The Drunken Botanist comes an enthralling novel based on the forgotten, true story of one of the USA’s first female deputy sheriffs.

Constance Kopp doesn’t quite fit the mould. She towers over most men, has no interest in marriage or domestic affairs, and has been isolated from the world since a family secret sent her and her sisters from the city to the country fifteen years before. When a powerful, ruthless factory owner runs down their buggy, a dispute over damages turns into a war of bricks, bullets, and threats as he unleashes his gang on their farm. The sheriff enlists her help, and it turns out that Constance has a knack for outwitting (and disarming) the criminal element, which might just take her back out into the world and onto a new path in life.

Through Amy Stewart’s exuberant storytelling, Constance Kopp catapults from a forgotten historical anecdote to an unforgettable historical-fiction heroine — an outsized woman not only ahead of her time, but sometimes even ahead of ours.

1914, New Jersey -Whilst travelling into town, the horse drawn buggy driven by the Kopp sisters is hit broadside by a belligerent man in an automobile. But when Constance, the eldest of the Kopp sisters, seeks reparations for the damages, she soon realises that not everyone is driven by the same sense of honour and justice as her and her siblings.

As a case of simple payment turns into a battle of wills, threats and gun fights in the night, Constance Kopp is determined to do all she can to protect her home and her family, even if it means going after the criminals herself. With the aid of the Sheriff, and armed with a revolver, Kopp is one woman even the gangsters will be loath to cross.

Early twentieth century America is brought to life in this exciting depiction of Constance Kopp, a woman who continually questions the stereotypes forced upon her and shows the hidden strength and determination of a generation raised under a cloud of gender inequality and strict social etiquette. This is a novel which surprises with its storyline and spins a wonderful tale of one woman’s unrelenting pursuit of justice.

Amy Stewart creates a vivid stage on which to play her spirited cast of characters; from the rural farm in Hackensack, to the silk dyeing mills of Paterson and the crowded streets of New York City, each setting is brought to life with eloquence and humour, and the depth of history which inextricably goes before it. This is a novel which, despite the ever-present danger and foreboding potential, retains its quaint and charming outlook and benefits because of it.

The driving force behind the plot, however, are the three Kopp sisters and their consistently complicated relationship with their deceased mother, a woman whose strict upbringing still has an overbearing presence in their household, and their cloistered existence on the farm in Hackensack. Whether by poverty, the unwelcome attention of criminal gangs or by unpredictable change in circumstance, their lives are destined to change, but the determination and independence of these three women will see them fight for their continued survival no matter the obstacle.

Constance Kopp, our narrator and heroine, is a woman who brings a great deal of wit and vivacity to the role. Her personality is conflicted by both her modern ideals and her strict upbringing, but her inner strength shows that her lifestyle and unmarried status are a strength to her, fuelling her determination when faced with injustice. Her thought and observations maintain a steady balance of humour throughout the narrative and the revelations of her past injects a considerable amount of surprise and intrigue into the storyline.

Constance’s resolute personality is balanced by that of her younger sister Norma, a stern and direct character whose subtle eccentricities are full of dry wit. With a penchant for carrier pigeons and newspaper clippings which bear ill tidings, her steadfast and determined personality brings a solid dimension to a household which is in an almost constant state of flux and excitement.

Fleurette, the youngest of the three sisters, is responsible for a considerable amount of said excitement. A girl prone to wild bouts of imagination and with a remarkable capacity for exaggeration, she brings out a protective side in her sisters which would make them risk everything to keep her safe. Together, the three Kopp sisters are strong, wilful personalities and remain the most captivating and endearing element of a novel which also retains a flair for excitement and a good sense of humour throughout.Amy Stewart has brought early twentieth century America to life with her charming narrative and wonderfully depicted characters. Whilst aspects of the novel remain entirely fictional, the strength and determination of Constance Kopp remains without question. Girl Waits With Gun is exciting, endearing,  and altogether a thoroughly enjoyable read.

Amazon | The Book Depository | Goodreads

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The Month Ahead: March 2016


In The Month Ahead, I will be rounding up the books I am currently reading, the ones I will start this month, and the ones I intend getting my mitts on… if I haven’t already! I will also be sharing any news about features or posts on Books by Proxy, and anything in the book world that has me all excited!


| Currently Reading |

Having not even picked up NOS4R2 or Emma (if only I could find her!) for a considerable amount of time, I still find that I’m quite determined to get them off the currently reading pile! So here they shall remain as yet another reminder of my incomplete monthly goals. I’m sure they’ll magically find themselves read at some point in say… the next year or so. Add to that another three books on the currently reading pile and I’ve already a fair amount to get through! heart


| March Events |

A Local Habitation

A Local Habitation Read Along

Organised by Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow

Week 1 (Saturday 5th March)

Chapters 1-9 – hosted by Over the Effing Rainbow

Week 2 (Saturday 12th March)

Chapters 10-18 – hosted by Lynn’s Books

Week 3 (Saturday 19th March)

Chapters 19-25 – hosted by Books by Proxy (me!)

Week 4 (Saturday 26th March)

Chapters 26-End – hosted by The Bibliosanctum

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Following the Read Along for Rosemary and Rue, which turned out to be a wonderful start to this urban fantasy series, we’re forging ahead in March with a Read Along of the second October Daye novel, A Local Habitation. After the success of the first book, I have high hopes for the second so if you would like to join in, go over to Goodreads and sign up!
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Girl Waits With Gun Blog TourGirl Waits With Gun - Cover

Blog Tour: Girl Waits With Gun by Amy Stewart

Review scheduled for 09th March 2016

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March into Middle Earth

March into Middle Earth

Hosted by Rinn Reads, March into Middle Earth is a celebration of all things Tolkien. Expect many a Middle Earth related post!

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| Upcoming Events |

|May |

The Between Two Thorns Read Along

Organised by Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow

Week 1 (Monday 9th May)

Chapters 1-9 – hosted by Over the Effing Rainbow

Week 2 (Monday 16th May)

Chapters 10-18 – hosted by On Starships and Dragonwings

Week 3 (Monday 23rd May)

Chapters 19-25 – Imyril at OneMore.org

Week 4 (Monday 30th May)

Chapters 26-End – hosted by Lynn’s Books

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In May we’re going to be enjoying the first book in The Split Worlds series by Emma Newman, Between Two Thorns. I’d never heard of this series before the Read Along cropped up but I’m certain I’m going to enjoy it. If you’re interested in joining in with this read along, go over to the Goodreads group page and sign up!

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| Synopsis |

Something is wrong in Aquae Sulis, Bath’s secret mirror city.

The new season is starting and the Master of Ceremonies is missing. Max, an Arbiter of the Split Worlds Treaty, is assigned with the task of finding him with no one to help but a dislocated soul and a mad sorcerer.

There is a witness but his memories have been bound by magical chains only the enemy can break. A rebellious woman trying to escape her family may prove to be the ally Max needs.

But can she be trusted? And why does she want to give up eternal youth and the life of privilege she’s been born into?

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| March Goals |

To finish NOS4R2 and Emma before the month is out!

Yes, yes another roll over!

Status: 0 of 2 Complete

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Have you picked up any great books lately? What are your goals for the month ahead? 

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The Monthly Round-Up: February 2016


Welcome to The Monthly Round-Up. Join me as I look back on the past month to see which books I’ve read, the reviews I’ve posted, the goals I’ve completed and my all important Book of the Month!


| Books Read |

February 8

February has flown by in a torrent of amazingly bloody, beautiful and brilliant books. I only managed a respectable eight but every single one of them was fantastic – I expect that there won’t be less than a four star review amongst them! I may have completely ignored my goals of the month but never mind! February was a blast. It also featured a book so good it required its own rating!

Here’s the run down of the books I devoured last month:

| 1. |

The Tiger and the Wolf by Adrian Tchaikovsky

| 2. |

The Palace Job by Patrick Weekes

| 3. |

Broken Banners by Mark Gelineau and Joe King

| 4. |

Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan

| 5. |

The Grim Company by Luke Scull

| 6. |

Legend by David Gemmell

| 7. |

The Copper Promise by Jen Williams

| 8. |

Dragon Hunters by Marc Turner


Book of the Month


Promise of Blood

by Brian McClellan


| February Goals |

To finish NOS4R2 and Emma before the month is out!

Status: Incomplete (I haven’t even picked one of them up!)

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And to really challenge myself to be organised…

To post every day in February

Status: Incomplete (22 of 29 days Complete)


| Goals for 2016 |

Goodreads 2016 Reading Challenge: 18/100 Books Read (18%)

Status: +8% in February


| Reviews Posted |

5+

Promise_of_Blood

Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan


5 Stars

The Thief by Claire North


Faith and Moonlight by Mark Gelineau and Joe King

The Tiger and the Wolf by Adrian Tchaikovsky

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire


three point five

Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer


Rising Tide by Rajan Khanna


| Other Posts From February |

The Monthly Round-Up: January 2016

The Month Ahead: February 2016

Cover Reveal: Spiderlight by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Cover Reveal: Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho – Paperback Edition

Cover Reveal: The Waking Fire by Anthony Ryan

Bookish Beats: Bonobo – Black Sands

Bookish Beats: Massive Attack – Mezzanine

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Historical Settings

Teaser Tuesdays: February 02 – The Copper Promise by Jen Williams

Teaser Tuesdays: February 09 – Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan

Teaser Tuesdays: February 16 – The Grim Company by Luke Scull

Teaser Tuesdays: February 23 – A Fever of the Blood by Oscar de Muriel

The Friday Face-Off: February 05 – The Emperor’s Blades by Brian Staveley

The Friday Face-Off: February 12 – The Thousand Names by Django Wexler

The Friday Face-Off: February 19 – Vicious by V.E. Schwab

The Friday Face-Off: February 26 – The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

Book Haul: February 06 – The Frey and McGray Series by Oscar de Muriel

Book Haul: February 08 – Drake, Servant of the Underworld and The Crimson Ribbon

Book Haul: February 10 – Low Town Series and City of Bohane

Book Haul: February 13 – The Rats, The Folding Knife and The Electric Church

Book Haul: February 23 – The Raven’s Head, And Then There Were None and Ink and Bone

Book Haul: February 24 – Girl Waits With Gun by Amy Stewart

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Books When You’re in the Mood for Axe-Wielding Maniacs


Top Ten TuesdayWelcome to Top Ten Tuesday – a weekly feature hosted by those lovely bookworms over at The Broke and the Bookish. Expect a new top ten list every week!


| Top Ten… Books When You’re in the Mood for Axe Wielding Maniacs |

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is looking at a wondrous array of books for when you’re in the mood for… well just about anything really. So if you’re in the mood for some axe-wielding, blood-raging, battle-crying maniacs then look no further! Some of them may look nice, some of them may even be nice, but you sure as hell don’t want to be within arm’s reach of these bastards when all hell breaks loose. With more battle-axes, hand-axes and axe axes than you can shake a stick at, here is this week’s top ten:

| 1. |

JA 944076

Black Dow

The First Law

by Joe Abercrombie

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| 2 |

The Grim Company

Jerek the Wolf

The Grim Company

by Luke Scull

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| 3 |

Jean Tannen ( & The Wicked Sisters )

The Gentleman Bastard Sequence

by Scott Lynch

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| 4. |

Druss ( & Snaga )

The Drenai Saga

by David Gemmell
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| 5. |

Perrin Aybara ( & a Moon-Bladed Hand Axe )

The Wheel of Time

by Robert Jordan
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| 6. |

Barkus Jeshua ( & Brenda)

Raven’s Shadow

by Anthony Ryan
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| 7. |

Gothmog, Lord of the Balrogs

The Silmarillion & The History of Middle Earth

by J.R.R. Tolkien
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| 8. |

Fitz

The Farseer Trilogy

by Robin Hobb
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| 9. |

Shagga

A Song of Ice and Fire

by George R.R. Martin

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| 10. |

Dwarves

From Everything!

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Who are your favourite axe-wielding maniacs? If you would like to join in with Top Ten Tuesday, head on over to The Broke and the Bookish and sign up!

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The Month Ahead: February 2016


The Month Ahead - febIn The Month Ahead, I will be rounding up the books I am currently reading, the ones I will start this month, and the ones I intend getting my mitts on… if I haven’t already! I will also be sharing any news about features or posts on Books by Proxy, and anything in the book world that has me all excited!


| Currently Reading |

February promises to be a fantastic month of reading with two amazing books, The Tiger and the Wolf by Adrian Tchaikovsky and The Palace Job by Patrick Weekes, already under my belt (reviews to come!). NOSR2 and Emma are still on the currently reading pile and unfortunately Emma, it its teeny tiny format, has been missing since Christmas! To be located under a monstrous pile of books I assume.

The Copper Promise by Jen Williams and Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan have also made it to the top of my reading pile and have both got off to a brilliant start. I’m finding it increasingly hard to leave one to go to the other and fully expect these two books to become firm favourites. Happy February everyone!

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| Upcoming Events |

I’ve not hopped onto any events yet for February – it will be a month of catching up I think! However, there are a few Read Alongs coming up over the next few months so I’ll announce them now in case anyone is interested in joining in. If you want to find out more just follow the links in title to take you to the Goodreads group page.heart


| March |

A Local Habitation Read Along

Organised by Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow

Week 1 (Saturday 5th March)

Chapters 1-9 – hosted by Over the Effing Rainbow

Week 2 (Saturday 12th March)

Chapters 10-18 – hosted by TBA

Week 3 (Saturday 19th March)

Chapters 19-25 – hosted by TBA

Week 4 (Saturday 26th March)

Chapters 26-End – hosted by TBA

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Following the Read Along for Rosemary and Rue, which turned out to be a wonderful start to this urban fantasy series, we’re forging ahead in March with a Read Along of the second October Daye novel, A Local Habitation. After the success of the first book, I have high hopes for the second so if you would like to join in, go over to Goodreads and sign up!

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| Synopsis |

October “Toby” Daye is a changeling, the daughter of Amandine of the fae and a mortal man. Like her mother, she is gifted in blood magic, able to read what has happened to a person through a mere taste of blood. Toby is the only changeling who has earned knighthood, and she re-earns that position every day, undertaking assignments for her liege, Sylvester, the Duke of the Shadowed Hills.

Now Sylvester has asked her to go to the County of Tamed Lightning—otherwise known as Fremont, CA—to make sure that all is well with his niece, Countess January O’Leary, whom he has not been able to contact. It seems like a simple enough assignment—but when dealing with the realm of Faerie nothing is ever as simple as it seems. Toby soon discovers that someone has begun murdering people close to January, whose domain is a buffer between Sylvester’s realm and a scheming rival duchy. If Toby can’t find the killer soon, she may well become the next victim.

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| May |

The Between Two Thorns Read Along

Organised by Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow

Week 1 (Monday 9th May)

Chapters 1-9 – hosted by Over the Effing Rainbow

Week 2 (Monday 16th May)

Chapters 10-18 – hosted by TBA

Week 3 (Monday 23rd May)

Chapters 19-25 – hosted by TBA

Week 4 (Monday 30th May)

Chapters 26-End – hosted by TBA

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In May we’re going to be enjoying the first book in The Split Worlds series by Emma Newman, Between Two Thorns. I’d never heard of this series before the Read Along cropped up but I’m certain I’m going to enjoy it. If you’re interested in joining in with this read along, go over to the Goodreads group page and sign up!

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| Synopsis |

Something is wrong in Aquae Sulis, Bath’s secret mirror city.

The new season is starting and the Master of Ceremonies is missing. Max, an Arbiter of the Split Worlds Treaty, is assigned with the task of finding him with no one to help but a dislocated soul and a mad sorcerer.

There is a witness but his memories have been bound by magical chains only the enemy can break. A rebellious woman trying to escape her family may prove to be the ally Max needs.

But can she be trusted? And why does she want to give up eternal youth and the life of privilege she’s been born into?

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| February Goals |

To finish NOS4R2 and Emma before the month is out!

Status: 0 of 2 Complete

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And to really challenge myself to be organised…

To post every day in February

Status: 6 of 29 days Complete

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Have you picked up any great books lately or read any of those mentioned above? What are your goals for the month ahead? 

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Historical Settings


Top Ten TuesdayWelcome to Top Ten Tuesday – a weekly feature hosted by those lovely bookworms over at The Broke and the Bookish. Expect a new top ten list every week!


| Top Ten… Historical Settings |

Welcome back to another week’s Top Ten Tuesday. This week I’m looking at my favourite historical settings of both fact and fiction… but seeing as I love so many it’s a very tough call to make! So here is a by no means comprehensive list of some of my favourites!

| 1. |

Venice

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The Serpent

by Claire North

In 17th Century Venice exists a mysterious establishment known only as the Gameshouse.

There, fortunes are made and fortunes are broken over games of chess, backgammon and every other game under the sun.

But those whom fortune favours may be invited to compete in the higher league . . . a league where the games played are of politics and empires, of economics and kings. It is a league where Capture the Castle involves real castles, where hide and seek takes place on a scale as big as the British Isles.

Not everyone proves worthy of competing in the higher league. But one woman, who is about to play, may just exceed everyone’s expectations.

Though she must always remember: the higher the stakes, the more deadly the rules . . .

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| 2. |

World War Two

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Home Run: Escape from Nazi Europe

by John Nichol & Tony Rennell

Throughout the Second World War, thousands found themselves cut off behind the lines in Nazi-occupied Europe – soldiers were left stranded on beaches after the chaotic evacuation of Dunkirk, airmen flying operations against the Germans were blasted out of the sky by flak and fighters. They were alone and on the run in enemy territory with just one goal – to get back to Britain and to safety. Some made solitary treks through hundreds of miles of enemy territory, others attempted precarious sea crossings in stolen boats. Many placed their lives in the hands of brave civilians who risked the wrath of a brutal regime if they dared to offer assistance. Life for the evaders hung in the balance and if they were to survive they had to rely on guile and sheer luck. John Nichol and Tony Rennell tell the dramatic story of the heroes who made it home …and those who did not.

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| 3. |

Victorian Britain

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The Somnambulist

by Essie Fox

When seventeen-year old Phoebe Turner visits Wilton’s Music Hall to watch her Aunt Cissy performing on stage, she risks the wrath of her mother Maud who marches with the Hallelujah Army, campaigning for all London theatres to close. While there, Phoebe is drawn to a stranger, the enigmatic Nathaniel Samuels who heralds dramatic changes in the lives of all three women. When offered the position of companion to Nathaniel’s reclusive wife, Phoebe leaves her life in London’s East End for Dinwood Court in Herefordshire — a house that may well be haunted and which holds the darkest of truths. In a gloriously gothic debut, Essie Fox weaves a spellbinding tale of guilt and deception, regret and lost love.

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| 4. |

The Dark Ages

The Owl Killers

by Karen Maitland

England, 1321. The tiny village of Ulewic teeters between survival and destruction, faith and doubt, God and demons. For shadowing the villagers’ lives are men cloaked in masks and secrecy, ruling with violence, intimidation, and terrifying fiery rites: the Owl Masters.

But another force is touching Ulewic—a newly formed community built and served only by women. Called a beguinage, it is a safe harbor of service and faith in defiance of the all-powerful Church.

Behind the walls of this sanctuary, women have gathered from all walks of life: a skilled physician, a towering former prostitute, a cook, a local convert. But life in Ulewic is growing more dangerous with each passing day. The women are the subject of rumours, envy, scorn, and fury…until the daughter of Ulewic’s most powerful man is cast out of her home and accepted into the beguinage—and battle lines are drawn.

Into this drama are swept innocents and conspirators: a parish priest trying to save himself from his own sins…a village teenager, pregnant and terrified…a woman once on the verge of sainthood, now cast out of the Church.…With Ulewic ravaged by flood and disease, and with villagers driven by fear, a secret inside the beguinage will draw the desperate and the depraved—until masks are dropped, faith is tested…and every lie is exposed.heart

| 5. |

The (Almost) Roaring Twenties

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The Axeman’s Jazz

by Ray Celestin

New Orleans, 1919. As a dark serial killer – The Axeman – stalks the city, three individuals set out to unmask him…

Though every citizen of the ‘Big Easy’ thinks they know who could be behind the terrifying murders, Detective Lieutenant Michael Talbot, heading up the official investigation, is struggling to find leads. But Michael has a grave secret – and if he doesn’t find himself on the right track fast – it could be exposed…

Former detective Luca d’Andrea has spent the last six years in Angola state penitentiary, after Michael, his protégée, blew the whistle on his corrupt behaviour. Now a newly freed man, Luca finds himself working with the mafia, whose need to solve the mystery of the Axeman is every bit as urgent as the authorities’.

Meanwhile, Ida is a secretary at the Pinkerton Detective Agency.Obsessed with Sherlock Holmes and dreaming of a better life, Ida stumbles across a clue which lures her and her trumpet-playing friend, Lewis ‘Louis’ Armstrong, to the case and into terrible danger…

As Michael, Luca and Ida each draw closer to discovering the killer’s identity, the Axeman himself will issue a challenge to the people of New Orleans: play jazz or risk becoming the next victim. And as the case builds to its crescendo, the sky will darken and a great storm will loom over the city…heart

| 6. |

Tudor England

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Dark Fire

by C.J. Sansom

It is 1540, and Henry VIII has been on the throne for thirty-one years when Matthew Shardlake, the lawyer renowned as “the sharpest hunchback in the courts of England,” is pressed to help a friend’s young niece who is charged with murder.

Despite threats of torture and death by the rack, the girl is inexplicably silent. Shardlake is about to lose her case when he is suddenly granted a reprieve – one that will ensnare him again in the dangerous schemes of Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII’s feared vicar general.

In exchange for two more weeks to investigate the murder, Shardlake accepts Cromwell’s assignment to find a lost cache ofDark Fire, an ancient weapon of mass destruction. Cromwell, out of favor since Henry’s disastrous marriage to Anne of Cleves, is relying on Shardlake’s discovery to save his position at court, which is rife with conspiracyheart

| 7. |

Restoration England

A Conspiracy of Violence

by Susanna Gregory

The dour days of Cromwell are over. Charles II is well established at White Hall Palace, his mistress at hand in rooms over the Holbein bridge, the heads of some of the regicides on public display. London seethes with new energy, freed from the strictures of the Protectorate, but many of its inhabitants have lost their livelihoods. One is Thomas Chaloner, a reluctant spy for the feared Secretary of State, John Thurloe, and now returned from Holland in desperate need of employment. His erstwhile boss, knowing he has many enemies at court, recommends Thomas to Lord Clarendon, but in return demands that Thomas keep him informed of any plot against him. But what Thomas discovers is that Thurloe had sent another ex-employee to White Hall and he is dead, supposedly murdered by footpads near the Thames. Chaloner volunteers to investigate his killing: instead he is despatched to the Tower to unearth the gold buried by the last Governor. He discovers not treasure, but evidence that greed and self-interest are uppermost in men’s minds whoever is in power, and that his life has no value to either side. heart

| 8. |

The Regency Era

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Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

by Susanna Clarke

English magicians were once the wonder of the known world, with fairy servants at their beck and call; they could command winds, mountains, and woods. But by the early 1800s they have long since lost the ability to perform magic. They can only write long, dull papers about it, while fairy servants are nothing but a fading memory.

But at Hurtfew Abbey in Yorkshire, the rich, reclusive Mr Norrell has assembled a wonderful library of lost and forgotten books from England’s magical past and regained some of the powers of England’s magicians. He goes to London and raises a beautiful young woman from the dead. Soon he is lending his help to the government in the war against Napoleon Bonaparte, creating ghostly fleets of rain-ships to confuse and alarm the French.

All goes well until a rival magician appears. Jonathan Strange is handsome, charming, and talkative — the very opposite of Mr Norrell. Strange thinks nothing of enduring the rigors of campaigning with Wellington’s army and doing magic on battlefields. Astonished to find another practicing magician, Mr Norrell accepts Strange as a pupil. But it soon becomes clear that their ideas of what English magic ought to be are very different. For Mr Norrell, their power is something to be cautiously controlled, while Jonathan Strange will always be attracted to the wildest, most perilous forms of magic. He becomes fascinated by the ancient, shadowy figure of the Raven King, a child taken by fairies who became king of both England and Faerie, and the most legendary magician of all. Eventually Strange’s heedless pursuit of long-forgotten magic threatens to destroy not only his partnership with Norrell, but everything that he holds dear.heart

| 9. |

Twentieth Century Asia

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The Painted Veil

by William Somerset Maugham

Set in England and Hong Kong in the 1920s, The Painted Veil is the story of the beautiful but love-starved Kitty Fane.

When her husband discovers her adulterous affair, he forces her to accompany him to the heart of a cholera epidemic. Stripped of the British society of her youth and the small but effective society she fought so hard to attain in Hong Kong, she is compelled by her awakening conscience to reassess her life and learn how to love.

The Painted Veil is a beautifully written affirmation of the human capacity to grow, to change, and to forgive.heart

| 10. |

The 1930’s
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Murder on the Orient Express

by Agatha Christie

Just after midnight, a snowdrift stops the Orient Express in its tracks. The luxurious train is surprisingly full for the time of the year, but by the morning it is one passenger fewer. An American tycoon lies dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside.

Isolated and with a killer in their midst, detective Hercule Poirot must identify the murderer – in case he or she decides to strike again.heart

What are your favourite historical settings? If you would like to join in with Top Ten Tuesday, head on over to The Broke and the Bookish and sign up!

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The Monthly Round-Up: January 2016


The Monthly Round-Up - JanWelcome to The Monthly Round-Up. Join me as I look back on the past month to see which books I’ve read, the reviews I’ve posted, the goals I’ve completed and my all important Book of the Month!


| Books Read |

Well hasn’t January flown by! It feels like only yesterday I was putting together the end of 2015 post and here we are a month later. January has been a month of some fantastic reads, I only wish there had been time to write and post more reviews and continue with some of my more neglected features. Here’s hoping my scheduling will be a little better in February! (A wish that will no doubt be expressed at the close of next month!)

A definite highlight of this month was the exceptional crime thriller The American by Nadia Dalbuono, which had me on the edge of my seat and almost desperate for her next novel, along with Daniel Polansky’s brilliant The Straight Razor Cure. And of course there was the wonderful Read Along for Rosemary and Rue, the first book in the October Daye series by Seanan McGuire. This is a book which surpassed all my expectations and has more than peaked my interest in this urban fantasy series. A review will be forthcoming and a Read Along for book two, A Local Habitation, is planned for March.

Unfortunately I became far too distracted by other books to complete my personal goal of finishing all my ‘currently reading’ novels. I did however manage to cross two of them off my list! That means, yes! I finally finished The Daylight War! And it was certainly worth the wait. Whilst the first half had me a little nervous, the second half more than made up for it. The two preceding novels may have been incomparably stunning but The Daylight War certainly has its place as an (incredibly huge) intermediary novel. I just can’t wait to get stuck into The Skull Throne… and hopefully it won’t take me a year to read this one!

So let’s have a look at what literary delights consumed in January:

| 1. |

The American by Nadia Dalbuono

| 2. |

Occupy Me by Tricia Sullivan

| 3. |

The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding by Agatha Christie

| 4. |

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

| 5. |

The Master by Claire North

| 6. |

Faith and Moonlight by Mark Gelineau and Joe King

| 7. |

Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire

| 8. |

The Daylight War by Peter V. Brett

| 9. |

Low Town: The Straight Razor Cure by Daniel Polansky

| 10. |

The Strings of Murder by Oscar de Muriel


Book of the Month


The American

by Nadia Dalbuono


| January Goals |

To finish ALL of the poor neglected novels which I am currently reading

1 of 4 | The Adventure of the Christmas by Agatha Christie

2 of 4 | The Daylight War by Peter V. Brett

Status: Incomplete

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| Goals for 2016 |

Goodreads 2016 Reading Challenge: 10/100 Books Read (10%)

Status: +10% in January

More goals and challenges coming up in a separate post!


| Reviews Posted |

5 Stars

The American by Nadia Dalbuono


Rend the Dark by Mark Gelineau and Joe King


                  

Best Left in the Shadows by Mark Gelineau and Joe King


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The House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard


| Other Posts From January |

The Monthly Round-Up: December 2015

2015: A Year in Review

The Month Ahead: January 2016

Author Interview: Mark Gelineau and Joe King

Cover Reveal: Stranger of Tempest by Tom Lloyd

Bookish Beats: Moby – Play

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Bookish Resolutions for 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… 2015 Releases I forgot to Buy!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Classics I’ve Recently Added to my TBR

Teaser Tuesdays: January 05 – The Daylight War by Peter V. Brett

Teaser Tuesdays: January 12 – Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Teaser Tuesdays: January 19 – Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire

The Friday Face-Off: January 01 – The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

The Friday Face-Off: January 15 – The Heir of Night by Helen Lowe

The Friday Face-Off: January 29 – A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Read Along: Throne of Glass – Part 1

Read Along: Throne of Glass – Part 2

Read Along: Throne of Glass – Part 3

Read Along: Throne of Glass – Part 4

Read Along: Rosemary and Rue – Week 1

Read Along: Rosemary and Rue – Week 2

Read Along: Rosemary and Rue – Week 3

Read Along: Rosemary and Rue – Week 4