2015: A Year in Review


2015


| Books by Proxy – A Year in Review |

Welcome to my first end of year post – and what a year it has been! I started this blog on the last day of July and, over the last half of 2015, have found myself as part of a wonderful community of readers and bloggers. In my albeit limited experience, we book bloggers are lucky to enjoy a very friendly and supportive community, where sharing our books, our reviews and our experiences is all done for a love of reading and can be enjoyed by many. So thank you readers and thank you bloggers for making 2015 such an enjoyable year. I hope you all have a fantastic 2016!heart


| A Year in Books |
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I think we can all agree these two very similar and equally profound books, Blood Song by Anthony Ryan and The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, deservedly made it into my longest and shortest book categories.heart


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Donna Leon

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Leon 10

with ten books in her Commissario Brunetti series

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2015 - 6

P.G. Wodehouse

with nine books in total including seven from his Blandings series

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Jim Butcher

with eight books in The Dresden Files series

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AC - 6

Agatha Christie

with six books in her Hercule Poirot series

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best fantasyBlood Song

Book One of the Raven’s Shadow Series

by Anthony Ryan

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Best SciFiRed Rising

Book One of the Red Rising Trilogy

by Pierce Brown

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best novellaThe SerpentThe Serpent

The Gameshouse I

by Claire North

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best crimeThe Few

A Leone Scamarcio Thriller

by Nadia Dalbuonoheart

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best historicalLamentationLamentation

Book Six of the Matthew Shardlake Series

by C.J. Sansom

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best classicSomething FreshSomething Fresh

Book One of the Blandings Series

by P.G. Wodehouse

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There were so many more amazing books which deserve to be on this list but then it would just be most of 2015’s books!

Thank you all for reading and have a wonderful 2016!

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Top Ten ‘X-mas’ Tuesday: Top Ten… Books I Wouldn’t Mind Santa Leaving Under My Tree


Welcome 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 I Wouldn’t Mind Santa Leaving Under My Tree |

Ahh it’s almost Christmas and for this week’s Top Ten we’re listing the books we wouldn’t mind Santa leaving under our trees. A mix of both old and new releases, this is a pile of books I absolutely can’t wait to read. So sit back, crack open the mulled wine and mince pies, and take a look at some of the goodies that may or may winging their way to me this Christmas.

| 1. |

The Aeronaut’s Windlass

by Jim Butcher

The Cinder Spires is set in a world “of black spires that tower for miles over a mist-shrouded surface” and follows a war between two of the Spires: Spire Albion and Spire Aurora.

It’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen meets Sherlock meets Hornblower. There are goggles and airships and steam power and bizarre crystal technology and talking cats, who are horrid little bullies.heart

| 2. |

Legion: Skin Deep

by Brandon Sanderson

Following the success of Legion, Legion: Skin Deep charts another fast moving and gripping adventure for Stephen Leeds, AKA Legion. Leeds is a genius, his mind contains too much information. And to cope it his split his skills off into individual personalities. They crowd his head and he lives with them in a vast empty mansion. While he can call on any one of them to solve a problem he also walks a line across an all-consuming madness.

Legion: Skin Deep is an all-new, action-packed novella starring one of the most fascinating and charismatic heroes ever.heart

| 3. |

Shadow’s Edge

by Brent Weeks

Kylar Stern has rejected the assassin’s life. The Godking’s successful coup has left Kylar’s master, Durzo, and his best friend, Logan, dead. He is starting over: new city, new friends, and new profession.

But when he learns that Logan might actually be alive and in hiding, Kylar is faced with an agonizing choice: will he give up the way of shadows forever and live in peace with his new family, or will he risk everything by taking on the ultimate hit?heart

| 4. |

Guns of the Dawn

by Adrian Tchaikovsky

A standalone, action-packed pseudo-Napoleonic historical fantasy adventure from the esteemed author of the Shadows of the Apt series.

Denland and Lascanne have been allies for generations, but now the Denlanders have assassinated their king, overthrown the monarchy and marched on their northern neighbour. At the border, the war rages; Lascanne’s brave redcoats against the revolutionaries of Denland.

Emily Marshwic has watched the war take her brother-in-law and now her young brother. Then comes the call for more soldiers, to a land already drained of husbands, fathers and sons. Every household must give up one woman to the army and Emily has no choice but to join the ranks of young women marching to the front.

In the midst of warfare, with just enough training to hold a musket, Emily comes face to face with the reality: the senseless slaughter; the weary cynicism of the Survivor’s Club; the swamp’s own natives hiding from the conflict.

As the war worsens, and Emily begins to have doubts about the justice of Lascanne’s cause, she finds herself in a position where her choices will make or destroy both her own future and that of her nation. heart

| 5. |

Rise of Empire

by Michael J. Sullivan

A puppet is crowned. The true heir remains hidden. A rogue’s secret could change everything.

War has come to Melengar and once more Royce and Hadrian are hired to make a desperate gamble and form an alliance with the Nationalists whom are fighting the Imperialists in the south. As the power of the Nyphron Empire grows, so does Royce’s suspicion that the wizard Esrahaddon is using the thieves as pawns in his own grab for power. To find the truth, he must unravel the secret of Hadrian’s past–what he discovers may end their friendship and break Riyria in two.

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| 6. |

Angel of Storms

by Trudi Canavan

Tyen is teaching mechanical magic at a school respected throughout the worlds. News arrives that the formidable ruler of all worlds, long believed to be dead, is back and enforcing his old laws – including the one forbidding schools of magic. As teachers and students flee, Tyen is left with no home and no purpose… except the promise he made to Vella, the sorcerer imprisoned in a book. Tyen must decide what he is willing to do to free her.

After five years among the tapestry weavers of Schpeta, Rielle’s peaceful new life has been shattered by a local war. As defeat looms, the powerful Angel of Storms appears and invites Rielle to join the artisans of his celestial realm. But what will he require in return for this extraordinary offer?heart

| 7. |

Sorcerer to the Crown

by Zen Cho

In Regency London, Zacharias Wythe is England’s first African Sorcerer Royal. And that’s only the first of his problems. He must juggle the conflicting demands of a wayward Royal Society of Unnatural Philosophers, where a faction schemes to remove him from his position by fair means or foul. He must cope with the Fairy Court refusing to grant Britain the magical resources it needs. And now the British Government is avid to deploy this increasingly scare magic in its war with France. He must also contend with rumors that he murdered his predecessor and guardian, Sir Stephen Wythe. But this task would be easier if Sir Stephen’s ghost would just stop following him around. And now he has to deal with something even more outrageous than any of these things: a female magical prodigy. 

Ambitious orphan Prunella Gentleman is desperate to escape the school where she has drudged all her life, and a visit by the Sorcerer Royal seems the perfect opportunity. For Prunella has just stumbled upon English magic’s greatest discovery in centuries – and she intends to make the most of it.heart

| 8. |

The Traitor Baru Cormorant

by Seth Dickinson

The Traitor Baru Cormorant is an epic geopolitical fantasy about one woman’s mission to tear down an empire by learning how to rule it.

Tomorrow, on the beach, Baru Cormorant will look up from the sand of her home and see red sails on the horizon.

The Empire of Masks is coming, armed with coin and ink, doctrine and compass, soap and lies. They’ll conquer Baru’s island, rewrite her culture, criminalize her customs, and dispose of one of her fathers. But Baru is patient. She’ll swallow her hate, prove her talent, and join the Masquerade. She will learn the secrets of empire. She’ll be exactly what they need. And she’ll claw her way high enough up the rungs of power to set her people free.

In a final test of her loyalty, the Masquerade will send Baru to bring order to distant Aurdwynn, a snakepit of rebels, informants, and seditious dukes. Aurdwynn kills everyone who tries to rule it. To survive, Baru will need to untangle this land’s intricate web of treachery – and conceal her attraction to the dangerously fascinating Duchess Tain Hu.

But Baru is a savant in games of power, as ruthless in her tactics as she is fixated on her goals. In the calculus of her schemes, all ledgers must be balanced, and the price of liberation paid in full.heart

| 9. |

Ancillary Justice

by Ann Leckie

On a remote, icy planet, the soldier known as Breq is drawing closer to completing her quest. Once, she was the Justice of Toren – a colossal starship with an artificial intelligence linking thousands of soldiers in the service of the Radch, the empire that conquered the galaxy. Now, an act of treachery has ripped it all away, leaving her with one fragile human body, unanswered questions, and a burning desire for vengeance.heart

| 10. |

Old Man’s War

by John Scalzi

John Perry did two things on his 75th birthday. First he visited his wife’s grave. Then he joined the army.

The good news is that humanity finally made it into interstellar space. The bad news is that planets fit to live on are scarce– and alien races willing to fight us for them are common. So: we fight. To defend Earth, and to stake our own claim to planetary real estate. Far from Earth, the war has been going on for decades: brutal, bloody, unyielding.

Earth itself is a backwater. The bulk of humanity’s resources are in the hands of the Colonial Defense Force. Everybody knows that when you reach retirement age, you can join the CDF. They don’t want young people; they want people who carry the knowledge and skills of decades of living. You’ll be taken off Earth and never allowed to return. You’ll serve two years at the front. And if you survive, you’ll be given a generous homestead stake of your own, on one of our hard-won colony planets.

John Perry is taking that deal. He has only the vaguest idea what to expect. Because the actual fight, light-years from home, is far, far harder than he can imagine–and what he will become is far stranger.heart

Happy Christmas fellow bookworms! What books do you hope to find under your tree this year? 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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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Newly Read Authors 2015


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… Newly Read Authors 2015 |

For this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, we’re taking a look at some of my favourite newly read authors of 2015. From debut authors published in recent years to firmly established literary masters with a huge repertoire to their name, these are the writers whose work has crept to the top of my reading pile. In no particular order, here are ten of my favourites:

| 1. |

Michael J. Sullivan

with Theft of Swords

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| 2. |

Becky Chambers

with The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet

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| 3. |

Brent Weeks

with The Way of Shadows

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| 4. |

Pierce Brown

with Red Rising

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| 5. |

Bernard Cornwell

with Azincourt

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| 6. |

Victoria Schwab

with A Darker Shade of Magic and Vicious

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| 7. |

Helen Lowe

with The Heir of Night and The Gathering of the Lost

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| 8. |

Anthony Ryan

with Blood Song

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| 9. |

David Gemmell

with Morningstar and Knights of Dark Renown

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| 10. |

Kim Stanley Robinson

with Red Mars

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Who are your favourite newly read authors of 2015? 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: October 2015


The Monthly Round-Up - OctWelcome 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 |

October was one of those months that’s starts off well – in a bookish kind of way – and then real life happens and it gets far too busy to even pick up a book! Hopefully things will be settling down shortly but I’ll try and keep on top of things in the meantime… which would be far easier if I was remotely organised in the first place!

A highlight of this month was attending the Gollancz Book Festival – which I will get round to blogging about shortly – where I bought some awesome sounding books, saw some amazing authors and got many a book signed! My poor October Goals have suffered though which means, except for the one goal I completed, the rest will roll over to November! I am getting very close to completing my Goodreads 2015 Reading Challenge though so… hurrah! Here is the run-down of my October books:

| 1. |

The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch

| 2. |

Red Rising by Pierce Brown

| 3. |

Changes by Jim Butcher

| 4. |

Theft of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan

| 5. |

Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter

| 6. |

The Few by Nadia Dalbuono


Sci Fi Month 2015


Red Rising

by Pierce Brown


| October Goals |

To read at least two spooky books in time for Halloween

1 of 2  | Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter

2 of 2 | Incomplete

Status: Incomplete

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To read at least two books from this autumn’s TBR list

1 of 2 | The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch

2 of 2 | Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter

Status: Completed

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September Roll-over: To finish The Daylight War by Peter V. Brett

Status: p. 302 of 808 (37%)

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| Goals for 2015 |

Goodreads 2015 Reading Challenge: 97/100 Books Read (97%)

Status: +6% during October

Dragons and Jetpacks 2015 Reading Challenge: 41/50 Books Read (82%)

Status: +6% during October


| Reviews Posted |

The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch

Red Rising by Pierce Brown


4 and a half Stars

The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks


Azincourt by Bernard Cornwell


The Few by Nadia Dalbuono


                  

Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter


| Other Posts From October |

The Monthly Round-Up: September 2015

The Month Ahead: October 2015

Cover Reveal: The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson

Cover Reveal: Calamity by Brandon Sanderson

Cover Reveal: The Tiger and the Wolf by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Tough Travelling: Well Travelled Roads – A (Tough) Traveller’s Guide to the Roads of Middle Earth

Tough Travelling: Creative Cursing

Tough Travelling: The Good Thief

Bookish Beats: Assassin’s Creed III

Bookish Beats: Enigma – The Cross of Changes

Bookish Beats: Audiomachine – Phenomena

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Bad Bookish Habits

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Author Duos Which Should Exist

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Wishes for the Book Genie

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Homicidal Inanimate Objects

Teaser Tuesdays: October 06 – The Daylight War by Peter V. Brett

Teaser Tuesdays: October 13 – NOS4R2 by Joe Hill

Teaser Tuesdays: October 20 – Theft of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan

Teaser Tuesdays: October 27 – Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch

Tough Travelling: The Good Thief


Tough TravellingJoin me each Thursday for some Tough Travelling with the Tough Guide, hosted by Fantasy Review Barn. Inspired by ‘The Tough Guide to Fantasyland, we will set out on a quest to track down the biggest tropes and clichés in fantasy fiction.


| The Good Thief |

Sure they may pocket things that don’t belong to them.  And yes, anything that can be wiggled loose isn’t really locked down and may be fair game to them.  And if they put half of their intelligence into legit trades instead of long cons they would probably be pillars of fantasyland’s community.  But damn it, some thieves are still good people.

Fantasyland is filled to the brim with liars and cutthroats, murderers and rogues, but no ne’er-do-well is so beloved as the humble (or not so humble, as the case may be) thief. With a surfeit of thieves *cough* Skyrim *cough* to choose from, here are this week’s five fabulous filchers:

| 1. |

Magician
Jimmy the Hand

The Riftwar Cycle by Raymond E. Feist

Jimmy the Hand is an exceptional thief whose nimble fingers have picked many an unsuspecting pocket. With a talent for making strange (and distinctly royal) connections, Jimmy is a good egg who is, despite his apparent kleptomania, determined to do the right thing – even if he has to pay the price. In later life he is sure to be known as Jimmy the Foot, for being such a goody two-shoes!

| 2. |

Locke Lamora & Jean Tannen

The Gentleman Bastard Sequence by Scott Lynch

The infamous Locke Lamora and his loyal sidekick Jean Tannen started off their dastardly (Gentleman) bastardly lives under the watchful eye of Father Chains. Known to have pulled off some of the most audacious cons to be found between the pages of a book, they revel in schemes and plots which earn them wealth, a lack of health and a whole host of trouble. But no one does it quite like The Thorn of Camorr.

| 3. | 

ADSoM

De(Lila)h Bard

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Lila Bard is a cross-dressing, knife-wielding, pick-pocketing ferocious female with piratical aspirations and an appetite for adventure. She’s also the most wanted thief in all of (Grey) London. Fortunately for those her cross her path, Lila is all about making her own choices, and if she chooses to help you that’s damn well what she’s going to do.

| 4. |
Retribution

Darian Frey

Tales of the Ketty Jay by Chris Wooding

Darien Frey is the Captain of the Ketty Jay – pirate, smuggler and thief, womaniser and general rogue; he and his crew make their living smuggling contraband and raiding airships – and there’s nothing quite like an air-heist. Except when it all goes tits up of course. Frey may be somewhat deficient in having ‘a good name’ but he’s sure as hell going to stop it from getting any worse.

| 5. |

riyria

Royce Melborn & Hadrian Blackwater

The Riyria Revelations by Michael J. Sullivan

Royce Melborn could walk through the shadows and slit your throat whilst Hadrian Blackwater lops off your head with one of his many, many swords; they’re not fussy who they work for and they’re as likely to stab their clients as they are their mark. Luckily for many a poor unsuspecting bastard, Hadrian Blackwater has conscience enough for the both of them, and no matter how much they rail against it, they always do the right thing.

Yes, I know that was seven (safecracking sneak-thieves?) but it’d be cruel to split them up. Like taking candy from a baby or Gandalf from his beard comb.

Who are your favourite thieves in fantasyland? If you would like to join in with Tough Travelling, head on over to the Fantasy Review Barn and sign up!

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Teaser Tuesdays: October 20


Teaser TuesdaysWelcome to Teaser Tuesdays – a weekly feature hosted by A Daily Rhythm. Expect a new teaser every week!


| Teaser Tuesdays: Theft of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan |

tos


“As they stepped through the doorway, Hadrian heard a sound like singing, a faint mournful song as if a thousand voices joined in a somber dirge. The sad, oppressive music brought to mind the worst memories of his life and filled him with a misery so great it sapped his resolve.”

~ p. 146, Theft of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan


| Join In |

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Please leave a comment with either the link to your own Teaser Tuesdays post, or share your ‘teasers’ in a comment here!

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The Month Ahead: October 2015


The Month Ahead OctIn 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 |

The Daylight War by Peter V. Brett is still there looking forlorn as it rolls over for yet another month. I’m sorry Mr. Brett! I am genuinely a fan of your work and will extract The Daylight War out from under the dust-sheet as soon as I’ve finished this post! This time it’s in the illustrious company of Red Rising by Pierce Brown which has gotten off to an excellent start. I keep hearing nothing but good about it and expect it to be a thoroughly entertaining read. And then there’s The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch; I’m only two hundred pages in and it’s already mind-blowingly good! I might be taking my time with it but this is one book which deserves my full and undivided attention. Seriously, too good! My teeny tiny pocket (and most importantly travel) sized book is Emma by Jane Austen. This is technically a re-read but it’s been so long since I read it that it might as well be a new one! heart


| Book Haul |

A much smaller haul than last month’s (phew)! I can’t have my TBR pile growing even more wild before I’ve made a dent in it! Ilium by Dan Simmons, Theft of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan and NOS4A2 by Joe Hill are the science fiction, fantasy and horror books of the month for Dragons and Jetpacks. I’ve been meaning to read Theft of Swords (or let’s be honest – any Michael J. Sullivan) for a while now so I didn’t need much prompting to get my hands on this novel. And finally! I purchased the next book in my long list of Jim Butcher reads with Changes, the twelfth book in The Dresden Files – so excited! Last but not least there’s Blood and Beauty: The Borgias by Sarah Dunant, a work of historical fiction based on the lives of the Borgia family. Certainly enough to keep me going!

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| October Goals |

To read at least two spooky books in time for Halloween

Status: 0 of 2 Complete

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To read at least two books from this autumn’s TBR list

Status: 0 of 2 Complete

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September Roll-over: To finish The Daylight War by Peter V. Brett

Status: p. 286 of 808 (35%)

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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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