Books

Cursed edited by Marie O’Regan and Paul Kane

Different from normal, I want to start this by just saying that I hope that you are all staying safe and well, and that you are all healthy in the current situation.

Now, I know this is the second short story collection for me to read this month, but they have been a real help to get me over my nearly year long reading slump! Having short little stories for me to dip in or out off, is perfect for getting back into reading. Although I think I am finally getting to the point where I want to pick up a novel.

But back to this book; I want to say a huge thank you to the lovely people at Titan for sending me a copy for review, I really do appreciate each and every book you send me. 48693975._SY475_

This whole book of short stories, are all around a theme of the dark side of fairy tales, and being a lover of fairy tales this just sounded perfect. There was definitely some in this one that I had not heard of before, so it was really refreshing for them to be predictable- to be fair even those I had heard of I didn’t even find to be predictable. I have added the Goodreads blurb for Cursed below for you to get an idea of what I mean by the premise.

Here in this book you’ll find unique twists on the fairy tale conceit of the curse, from the more traditional to the modern – giving us brand new mythologies as well as new approaches to well-loved fables. Some might shock you, some might make you laugh, but they will all impress you with their originality.

As with all short story books, there was some that I loved, and some that I could of left unread (one I actually moved on from after only a page or two). But I still stand by this doesnt mean those stories are not good, but rather that I do not get along with that authors writing style, or even just the way they wrote the story. To be fair I didn’t walk away from any of the stories thinking it was boring or uncomplete, but rather just overwhelmed through confusing writing style more than anything.

But thats enough negativity, as I really want to make the point that this is a fantastic collection of stories that I have really enjoyed. Even more so than previous short story collections that I have read.

By far my favourite of the stories was As Red as Blood, as White as Snow, but I am biased as it is written by one of my altime favourite authors, Christina Henry (to be fair I read the book because of knowing this story was in it!).

As with all Christina Henry stories, it was dark, and took a surprising twisted turn! It left me wanting more, but not in a bad way. In a way that I felt there was enough concept to make so much more out of this. Now this is no criticism for Christina, but rather a huge praise! Even when writing a short story, her writing just makes any story feel like it could go on for pages and pages and I’d happily sit and soak it all in!

The final story that stands out to me is Wendy, Darling by Christopher Golden. Having been a Peter Pan fan since a child, I was really hoping that there would be a take on this story within the collection, and it certainly did not disappoint. Although a lot of more deep and twisted than the story that is commonly known, this left me with a lump in my throat and a whole lot of thoughts and feelings. The thought of your actions haunting you like that, till they ultimately come back to bite you is definitely one to get anyone thinking. This has left me wanting to go and find other versions of Peter Pan, especially as they are going to be as dark as this, it was creepy, beautiful and oh so harrowing, and yet it was perfect!

All in all, this whole collection (bar a couple) is my favourite collection I think I have ever read, I do love short stories! For anyone who loves childhood fairy tales, or even horror stories, this is definitely one to give a try. I would say it is a good collection to read if you are new to short stories, as they dont all feel like a short story as they are all well rounded stories. I gave this a four star rating, as it was so close to perfect, but then I think it would be hard for a group of short stories written by various authors to be wholely perfect. There would always be an authors story that you don’t get along with. Hence why I think this is about as close as you could get to perfect for such a book!

I believe this is already out, so while we are all hunkered down in our homes, I definitely think you should give this one a try!!

Books

Wonderland edited by Marie O’Regan and Paul Kane

As with all of my reviews, I would like to start by sending out a huge thank you to Titan books for sending me a copy of this book for review.

Join Alice as she is thrown into the whirlwind of Wonderland

Within these pages you’ll find myriad approaches to Alice, from horror to historical, taking us from the nightmarish reaches of the imagination to tales that will shock, surprise and tug on the heart-strings. So, it’s time now to go down the rabbit hole, or through the looking-glass or… But no, wait. By picking up this book and starting to read it you’re already there, can’t you see?51490745._SX318_SY475_

Being a short story book it is always hard to say what I thought about it as a whole, there was some that I loved- and  read several times over- and some that I really could of done with having not read.  That being said -and Im not going to go into detail about those which I wasnt a fan of- I think that on the most part, I didn’t get on with them because I couldnt find a comfort with the writing style. You know how some writing styles can just feel like hard work to read? Yes well some of the stories from authors I had not previously read felt like this. I am sure that if you like those authors then those stories would be just as enjoyable as the rest were for me.

One particular story stood out as being a bit odd- not bad!- I actually loved the story and found it so thought provoking, but I just felt that it was a bit random in this particular anthology. The story was The White Queen’s Dictum by James Lovegrove, now I did see the Alice in Wonderland link, I just felt that it was a bit vague and a bit stretched. IF it was in any other anthology, I’m not sure I would of seen the link, and I feel that in many ways the link was not an essentail part to the story. But otherwise I did love it, very emotional and definitely left me thinking.

Overall I loved many of the stories within this anthology, but two stood out a lot more than others. There Were No Birds to Fly by M. R. Carey and Six Impossible Things by Mark Chadbourn. Could I say why these stood out, no Im not so sure I could. I am writing this review a good four days after finishing this book, and these are the two that I am finding Im still thinking back on. There Were No Birds to Fly was so dark and twisted and yet oddly metaphoical that you just got dragged into it all the way along, I would quite happily read a full length novel around this short story, and its left me eager to hunt out some more of there work. Six Impossible Things just touched me. It was really such a deep tale, and one that I did not see where it was going until the final few pages. I cant help but just think back over it and all the power it held. Again I will be looking to get hold of more from this author as this short story has stuck with me!

If you love Alice in Wonderland, or just short stories then you should definitely look at getting your hands on a copy! They are short quick, easy stories to read, and they are fabulous in the most part!

This has been out for some time now so you shouldn’t have any issues getting a copy, so what are you waiting for….

Books

March TBR ‘2020

So February followed on from previous months, and I didn’t manage to finish a single book!! However, I did really get into A Queen in Hiding, and think I have finally started to get back into reading! I actually want to be reading more now, and am managing a good few hours of reading each day.

That being said, I have a bit of catching up to do now in order to get back on track for my GoodReads goal. My aim is to try and read about four books in March, as that will nearly catch me up!

The First book has got to be A Queen in Hiding by Sarah Kozloff. I am incredibly thankful to Tor for sending me a copy of this, and so far I have really loved it. I have less than 100 pages left, so I am hoping to have this finished before this had even come out. This fantasy is the first in a four book series, and wow is it epic! I love it so far, though I do have my critics on it..

Following on from this, I should be getting my hands on the sequel, The Queen of Raiders, for my birthday in the first weekend of the month. I can not wait to jump straight into this one, and then probably going to want to marathon the entire series. I’m hoping that the sequel picks up where the first ended and keeps going at full speed! I just need to stay in this world!45046587

Following on again from last months TBR, I am going to stick to two of the other books on there.

The first is the Wonderland Anthology. I am still only about 150 pages into this, but I am absolutely loving the dark and twisted stories in this! I have just been picking it up every now and again for the odd story, rather than sitting and reading it all straight. That is probably why its been taking me a while to get through, but as I have a lot of appointments this month, I feel like I will get through more of it!

Then finally, I really really want to get round to The Stars we Steal by Alexa Donne. This came out last month, and I had intended to read it then, but as I haven’t I just have to get to it this month. This is another that the lovely Titan have sent to me, and I really do need to get my butt in gear and catch up with some of my reviews. So my TBR is written with that in mind. Stars We Steal_final[8603]

Engagement season is in the air. Eighteen-year-old Princess Leonie “Leo” Kolburg, heir to a faded European spaceship, only has one thing on her mind: which lucky bachelor can save her family from financial ruin?

But when Leo’s childhood friend and first love Elliot returns as the captain of a successful whiskey ship, everything changes. Elliot was the one that got away, the boy Leo’s family deemed to be unsuitable for marriage. Now, he’s the biggest catch of the season and he seems determined to make Leo’s life miserable. But old habits die hard, and as Leo navigates the glittering balls of the Valg Season, she finds herself falling for her first love in a game of love, lies, and past regrets.

So that is everything I hope to read this month, if I am right in thinking that I am getting out of my reading slump! Please keep your fingers crossed for me that I can get through all of this, and hopeful start to catch up with my reviews!

What are you hoping to read this month?

Books

A Queen in Hiding by Sarah Kozloff

The long and short of this review is that this book was a real treat! I want to thank Tor for sending this to me, I really do appreciate it and am thankful for every book I am sent.

Orphaned, exiled and hunted, Cérulia, Princess of Weirandale, must master the magic that is her birthright, become a ruthless guerilla fighter, and transform into the queen she is destined to be.

But to do it she must win the favor of the spirits who play in mortal affairs, assemble an unlikely group of rebels, and wrest the throne from a corrupt aristocracy whose rot has spread throughout her kingdom.45046606

My first point is actually my only negative, and to be fair it isn’t so much of a negative for the book but more for the blurbing of it. Through the first quarter of the book the storyline is long away from the description on the back, and takes a long while to even appear to be working in the direction of the blurb. It is not until around page thirty that Cerulia is orphaned. Now this takes away from the story a bit for me, as although I was engrossed, I knew what was coming, and that stops me from getting drawn in to the point that I cant put it down. But as Ive said this is less to do with the story or the writing but just the choice of what is on the back- going into book two I am not going to read the back.

Cerulia or Wren as she is referred to, is by far one of my favourite characters. Seeing her grow is really rather fascinaing through the story. IT does not always feel like she a ‘main’ protagonist as such, but that doesn’t bother me. Overall its definitely a story of many sides, and each of the ‘main’ characters all carry their own weight rather than one taking precident. However, personal preference is that Cerulia is the most engrossing to read from her point of view. Her character has such depth and you can see how her personality has evolved as she has grown.

The writing style through the whole book is just so beautiful. I found it to be very easy to read, and the description gave a great visual image of the world. As someone who can get very confused within epic fantasy novels, I found this one to be rather easy to follow along with. I think I only ever had one section where I had to refer back to appendix to work out who it was referring to- for me that is not at all bad within a fantasy novel.

I think the biggest thing to say is that this book has left me wanting to dive straight into the sequel, and isnt that the best thing to say about a book in a series? I actually have recieved a copy for my birthday so will be diving straight back into the world.

Now as this review is a tad late, the book is already out, and so is the sequel. I highly recommend grabbing your copy and enjoying both of the first two in preparation of the third coming out at the start of April. I have that and the fourth on order already!

So what are you waiting for?

Books

February TBR ‘2020

In typical me fashion, I have started off the year rather terribly. That’s right you guessed it, I finished a grand total of ZERO books this month!

Do I have an excuse? No I’m not so sure I do, I just need to get my life together!

The only good thing I can say about my reading for this month was that I did make some progress on Wonderland, and wow am I loving these short stories! I feel like there was no reason I couldn’t of finished it, I just didn’t do it…

So that’s it for my failure of January, and now lets move onto February- it HAS to be better!!

Because of having such a bad month, in order to stick to my Goodreads goal, I need to get through three books, in the shortest month of the year. Yes, I know that it is possibly the least smart thing ever…

Now one of the books on this TBR is sticking the same, and that is the Wonderland Anthology. I am a good way through this and absolutely loving it, its so dark, but metaphorical, its simply beautiful so far. I am hoping to get this finished over the course of the month as it is nice to be able to pick up the odd short story here and there.

But my first focus for the month is A Queen in Hiding by Sarah Kozloff, a book I have been lucky enough to be gifted by the wonderful TOR. This is the first in a fantasy series where they are releasing the books one each month I believe, meaning you could finish the whole series by April! 45046606

Orphaned, exiled and hunted, Cérulia, Princess of Weirandale, must master the magic that is her birthright, become a ruthless guerilla fighter, and transform into the queen she is destined to be.

But to do it she must win the favor of the spirits who play in mortal affairs, assemble an unlikely group of rebels, and wrest the throne from a corrupt aristocracy whose rot has spread throughout her kingdom.

Its said to be for fans of Naomi Novik and Victoria Aveyard, authors who I have really enjoyed previously, so I am so confident that I am going to love this one!

Then finally, I really want to get to The Stars We Steal by Alexa Donne which is due to be released by on 4th of Febuary. The lovely Titan have gifted me this, and I can not wait to get to it. Especially since reading the Selection last year, as this sounds like its got a very similar vibe- which is something I am really in the mood for!Stars We Steal_final[8603]

Engagement season is in the air. Eighteen-year-old Princess Leonie “Leo” Kolburg, heir to a faded European spaceship, only has one thing on her mind: which lucky bachelor can save her family from financial ruin?

But when Leo’s childhood friend and first love Elliot returns as the captain of a successful whiskey ship, everything changes. Elliot was the one that got away, the boy Leo’s family deemed to be unsuitable for marriage. Now, he’s the biggest catch of the season and he seems determined to make Leo’s life miserable. But old habits die hard, and as Leo navigates the glittering balls of the Valg Season, she finds herself falling for her first love in a game of love, lies, and past regrets.

Keep your eyes open for reviews to come later this month.

With those books in mind, there may still be others that I pick up if I fancy them- at this point I just need to get back ino my rythm of reading!

Other books that may be picked back up are Fate of the Fallen by Kel Kade, and The Elite by Kiera Cass. These were both on my TBR in January but we both know how that month ended up…

What are you planning to read this monht? Have you got anything you are really looking forward to for the month?

As I seemed to of lost my mojo with reading, does anyone have any book reccommendations for someone who NEEDS to get back to reading?

 

 

Books · Health

Bed Rest 2.0 2020

I am sad to sat that this isn’t even a record, but from the third week of the year I am on bed rest.

Only difference with this bed rest experience is it has not got all that much to document! I have been in bed now (Saturday) since Monday, and this is the first time I have even felt like picking my laptop, or a book, or literally anything that wasn’t medication.

For the entirety of the past five days I have been working on the routine of sleeping for 3 hours and then awake for one. This has been a constant cycle, night and day for the last 5 days. Its only really been today where I managed to sleep 14 hours straight- bar waking after 9 hours for some more medication- which has allowed me to be awake for a while, and actually have some small amount of brain energy.

So, whats led to this bed rest? Its been a horrid virus, that has felt like a real combination of glandular fever and the flu. It has a 100% wiped me out, and left me too tired and drained to do anything but sleep! I’ve not eaten anything in this time, my partner has been getting me to eat juice lollies when I am awake in order to keep my sugars up, but that has been about it.

Today, I’m still very rough and stuffy, still using paracetamol and morphine to try and control my pain and swollen glands, and naproxen to try and control gland and tonsil swelling so that I can manage small amounts of food. Although this is just a virus, its playing up my chronic illnesses and weakened immune system, something chronic!

Next, what have I been up to today? Well, I’ve still been feeling rather naff as I said, so I have been continuing my marathon re-watch of Chuck on Amazon Prime. If you have never watched this then you really do need to! It is an amazing (although somewhat old) spy comedy action tv series that has 5 series- making it the perfect binge watch programme! I watched it when I was younger but I couldn’t help myself what I found out it was on amazon prime.

As for reading I have been doing some today. I have read a couple of the short stories in Wonderland the Anthology- the perfect book kind of book to pick up when you aren’t feeling all that great as you can get through one of the little stories before you get tired and want to put it down to rest. I am absolutely loving this book as a whole, so keep an eye out for my review in the coming weeks.

Now for a final comment, not so much to do with my bed rest, but something that has made today a little brighter. I woke up to two lovely packages from Tor and Titan. From Tor, I received a copy of A Queen in Hiding by Sarah Kozloff, the first in a new fantasy series. This will definitely by jumping onto my TBR as I can not wait to read this one! I think this will be one to get me completely back into reading! Then from Titan, to satisfy any Thriller cravings, I have a copy of All the Best Lies by Joanna Schaffhausen. I’m not 100% if I’ve read her debut, it doesn’t jump out as a book I remember for some reason, but this one I am definitely looking forward to. I love a good thriller relating to family history!

On a positive note, I think it will be a few more days before Im back to strength to get out of bed, so at least this will give me time for reading and some more Chuck watching!

So that’s what my week on bed rest has been like this time around. How has your week been? Have you been effected by this awful virus that has been going around?

 

Books

January TBR ‘2020

These are one of my favourite blogs to write, and I will definitely be having this post up each month- hopefully be the first post for each month! Please let me know if you think I should combine it with what I had actually read the previous month.

My aim for the 2020 is read a minimum of 20 books! Now I know that is a super low target, ah its less than 2 books a month! But after the failure I had last year with moving out and helping care for my step daughter, I decided to set my sights low this year- as I have even more busy things planned.

That being said, I think how my TBR’s are going to work is I will pull out 3 books each month for that I plan to read- but not that I nessacarily plan to get through them all! This way it gives me options, plus its so hard to narrow it down to the correct number! Any books that I do not have hold of at the time of writing these TBRs wont be included, however that does not mean that I wont read them if they do arrive! Its just easier for me to determine my TBRs just from looking at my shelves for the time being! I will then tell you in the next month what I actually ended up reading- tell me how you like this done., Either in a separate post or as part of the TBR the following month?

Now with all my questions and explanations out of the way, I will get into the three books I have pulled out for this month.

The first is a book I started over the Christmas period when it first got sent to me. A fantasy sent to me by the lovely Tor, and one I definitely want to finish off at the soonest opportunity. Fate of the Fallen by Kel Kade- I am a just under 100 pages in currently, and its definitely one that got me hooked very quick!

Not all stories have happy endings.

Everyone loves Mathias. Naturally, when he discovers it’s his destiny to save the world, he dives in head first, pulling his best friend Aaslo along for the ride.

However, saving the world isn’t as easy, or exciting, as it sounds in the stories. The going gets rough and folks start to believe their best chance for survival is to surrender to the forces of evil, which isn’t how the prophecy goes. At all. As the list of allies grows thin, and the friends find themselves staring death in the face they must decide how to become the heroes they were destined to be or, failing that, how to survive.

Another which I have already started is my kindle book for the month, The Elite by Kiera Cass. This is the second book in the Selection series, and one that I just had to buy after I finished the first, I think Ive read the first chapter but that about it. It is proving to be an amazing series to reread.

Then finally is a short story collection,as I felt that this would be a good between appointments and just generally good for the busy month I have this January. Wonderland: An Anthology, is a collection of Alice in wonderland inspired short stories. Once again I have already read the first from this as well, and it certainly does not disappoint! This one is going to be staying in my handbag for me to take with me to my appointments and the like this month.

What are you reading this month? Are you doing any rereads, and what made you decide to reread them?