Tuesday, 23 January 2018

TTT (22) - Books I Liked But Can't Remember Much About

Once upon a time Top Ten Tuesday was hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Now, it's moved to the wonderful That Artsy Reader Girl. The rules can be found here. And this week's post here.

This week the topic is Books You Liked But Can't Remember.

OMG! This topic is basically one of my main problems when it comes to book series. I read the two or three books that are available, love them, but either have to wait for the author to write the sequel or (for whatever reason) don't end up reading the next book just yet. Years later I feel like I have to re-start the series from scratch, because just reading a Wikipedia article would totally feel like cheating. And might even spoil me (Wikipedia has done that more than once!) But then the wait for the next book is even longer and a few years later I'm faced with the same dilemma once again!
This is why with Outlander (Diana Gabaldon) for example, I am now waiting until all books are published before I will read the entire series from scratch. I don't remember anything from book 4-6 even though I've definitely read them.

Mostly though this topic is about books I read in my childhood. I grew up in a no video games and almost no television environment and mostly just read books. My parents had an extensive library filled with the Classics and I read a lot of big books that I know I liked but don't really remember all that much.

  1. Stephen King's Bag of Bones. I remember for a long time telling everyone that this was my favourite Stephen King (besides It) during my King phase. I don't remember anything of the story though? I should probably re-read.
  2. Jane Austen's Mansfield Park. This was my least favourite Austen. I read all her other books at least five times. This one only once. I should probably see what I think of it today.
  3. Umberto Eco's Name of the Rose. It's too dense and I remember there was too much Latin for me to honestly consider re-reading it. But apart from there being a murder and monks nothing stuck.
  4. Dostoevsky's The Gambler. But also the other books I read by him: The Idiot and the Brothers Karamazov. I remember loving his writing and his books but I don't remember the story. What did stick with me was the story of Crime and Punishment.
  5. Ken Follett's Pillars of the Earth. I remember they built a cathedral. And I found the sex scenes exciting as a teenager. Nothing else stuck with me. I should probably give this one a re-read.
  6. Uncle Tom's Cabin by Stowe. Couldn't even have told you the author. Whoops. All of the plot has left my head.
  7. Charles Dickens' David Copperfield and Oliver Twist. I know I read them both. I remember gasping a few times. But I can't remember why the gasping happened or what the plot of either book was.
  8. Cooper's The Last of the Mohicans. I enjoyed it a lot, I remember that. But that's literally all I can remember. But when I see the title the soundtrack music starts playing in my head. Great, that's my ear-worm for the rest of the day.
A lot of these books look daunting to me as an adult. I guess I was a stubborn child with nothing else to do.

How about you? Let me know in the comments.

Monday, 22 January 2018

Sunday Post (27) - Getting Back on Track

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

If you participate (and you totally should because the community is amazing) don't forget to link up and if you leave me a comment, I will definitely check out your blog.

The Rules can be found here. And this week's post can be found here.

I'm slowly getting out of my reading slump. I'm reading a dozen books at the same time, just so I always find something I want to read. My very chaotic way to combat slumps.

I'm glad I'm slowly managing to pull myself away from Netflix and back to the books.
My blood results came back, and my GP almost had a heart attack at my cholesterol levels and immediately put me on Statins. I'm not too happy about that, but I'm also getting referred to a lipid clinic, so I can see a specialist. My diet is fairly healthy, but I'm going to try and approach this in a low saturated fat, low sugar way and will attempt to move more until I can see the specialist. My throat is feeling better, hopefully the ENT will give me a clean bill of health soon, and I can stop taking the anti-acid tablets.

Enough about health. I've booked cinema tickets for next week. Hopefully I get to go. I haven't been able to in a while and I miss it.

My kitchen will look sort of sad from now on, because I will mostly eat the healthy stuff...or whatever is considered healthy at the moment.

These are a low calorie, high protein snack. Wilted spinach and red pepper cubes mixed with egg whites. Added some spices: black pepper, cayenne pepper and turmeric. Pour mix into muffin pan and bake at 350F/180C for 20-25 minutes or until the egg white is set. See, how sad my life is? Last week it was a mushroom cream sauce, this week we are looking at egg whites and spinach.

My current read has magic, pirate ships, a prince and betrayal.

I hope everyone else is doing well? Let me know about your week. Happy reading.

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

TTT (21) - Bookish Goals for 2018

Once upon a time Top Ten Tuesday was hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Now, it's moved to the wonderful That Artsy Reader Girl. The rules can be found here. And this week's post here.

This week the topic is Bookish Resolutions for 2018.

I always make resolutions and I often fail them, as most of us do. But I just really like the clean slate a new year brings. This year, I decided to be kind to myself and just try my best. On days where I can't work, can't read, or can't go outside for a run, I'll be kind to myself and I won't feel bad about staying inside and watching Netflix. However, of course when it comes to books, I do have some resolutions.
  1. Read more books from Peter Boxall's 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die. Because I tend to neglect literary novels and just dive into genre... and I want to at least balance that a bit. Last year I read 80% Sci-Fi and Fantasy. This year a few more Murakamis.
  2. At the same time: Read more Classics!
  3. Don't fall behind with book reviews.
  4. Blog at least three times a week.
  5. Donate the books I don't want to keep.
  6. Read two books a week and finish 104 in 2018.
  7. Only request ARCs I really want to read.
  8. Read what I really want to read and not force myself through books. This point might collide with my first resolution.
  9. Adding to the last one: allow myself to DNF books.
  10. Interact more! This community is amazing!
What are your resolutions? Let me know in the comments!

Monday, 15 January 2018

Sunday Post (26) - Health, Health, Health

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

If you participate (and you totally should because the community is amazing) don't forget to link up and if you leave me a comment, I will definitely check out your blog.

The Rules can be found here. And this week's post can be found here.

I've been a bad blogger. Mostly because I've been ill... we don't know yet what's going on. I've been seeing my GP, been on antibiotics, been referred to the ENT and am now waiting for blood results. It's made me anxious, so I've had a few non reading, non blogging weeks and instead curled up with Netflix. I hope I have good news soon.
I hope to write regularly this year about the films and series I'm watching (Elisabeth Gaskell's North & South BBC adaptation right this moment) and the books I'm reading.

I was also hoping that maybe I could share a few short stories with you?

For now let me share the dish I made last Saturday. It's a pork fillet with a leek & mushroom sauce over mashed potatoes.

If you're on Litsy, please add me? I can be found @Vinjii and if you haven't added me on Goodreads yet, please find me here.

Hopefully more to come soon. I hope everyone had a good start to 2018!

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Guns of the Dawn by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Book Title: Guns of the Dawn
Author: Adrian Tchaikovsky
Genre: Fantasy (theoretically it's Flintlock?)
My Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Source: Library

Goodreads, Amazon UK 
Goodreads Summary: First, Denland's revolutionaries assassinated their king, launching a wave of bloodshed
after generations of peace. Next they clashed with Lascanne, their royalist neighbour, pitching war-machines against warlocks in a fiercely fought conflict.
Genteel Emily Marshwic watched as the hostilities stole her family's young men. But then came the call for yet more Lascanne soldiers in a ravaged kingdom with none left to give. Emily must join the ranks of conscripted women and march toward the front lines. With barely enough training to hold a musket, Emily braves the savage reality of warfare. But she begins to doubt her country's cause, and those doubts become critical. For her choices will determine her own future and that of two nations locked in battle."
What did I think?

Imagine Elizabeth Bennet (yes, the one written by Jane Austen) is called to war...find this idea exciting? Then this is the book for you.

This is not your usual fantasy. Yes, there's some magic and a few warlocks but overall the supernatural is not the focus of the story and only plays a minor role. It may as well be historical fiction, with the history part totally made up. It's also a slow book, with gorgeous, elegant and witty prose. A bit in the style of Jane Austen, but still very much Adrian Tchaikovsky.

The plot is entertaining, the characters are well developed and I devoured Guns of the Dawn in one weekend. It has a good dash of romance, like you'd expect from a book featuring a musket wielding version of Elizabeth Bennet and I adored the love story just as much as the parts with action and war.

This made me laugh and cry and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. If the blurb is at all interesting to you, do yourself the favour and pick this one up. It's worth your while.

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

The Summer Tree by Guy Gavriel Kay

Book Title: The Summer Tree
Author: Guy Gavriel Kay
Genre: Fantasy
My Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Source: Kindle

Goodreads, Amazon UK

Goodreads Summary: It all began with a lecture that introduced five university students to a man who would change their lives, a wizard who could take them from Earth to the heart of the first of all worlds—Fionavar. And take them Loren Silvercloak did, for his need—the need of Fionavar and all the worlds—was great indeed.
And in a marvelous land of men and dwarves, of wizards and gods—and of the Unraveller and his minions of Darkness—Kimberly, Dave, Jennifer, Kevin, and Paul discovered who they were truly meant to be. For the five were a long-awaited part of the pattern known as the Fionavar Tapestry, and only if they accepted their destiny would the armies of the Light stand any chance of surviving when the Unraveller unleashed his wrath upon the world.
What did I think? 


I've read The Lions of Al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay earlier this year as my first GGK read. Here's my review. I really enjoyed it and wanted to read more books written by him. He usually writes light fantasy which I'd describe more as historical fantasy or maybe even alternative history. GGK takes an era and a region and tells his own alternative version of history. The Lions of Al-Rassan is set in medieval Spain and Tigana is set in Renaissance Italy.

Now, The Summer Tree is traditional epic fantasy. The kind where a small group of people get swept away through a portal into a fantasy land and become heroes and have to save the place from evil. I got lost in this book and couldn't stop reading.

The prose is lyrical and it was a pleasure to read every single sentence... I got lost in it. It was almost like sitting around a camp fire and listening to a poet. Marvellous experience.

I recommend this book to anyone who loves Tolkien and traditional epic fantasy. It does show its age (it's as old as me, eek) but I fell in love with all the characters and can't wait to read the rest of the trilogy.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

Book Title: Nevernight
Author: Jay Kristoff
Genre: Fantasy
My Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Source: Library

Goodreads, Amazon UK

Goodreads Summary: Destined to destroy empires, Mia Covere is only ten years old when she is given her first lesson in death.
Six years later, the child raised in shadows takes her first steps towards keeping the promise she made on the day that she lost everything.
But the chance to strike against such powerful enemies will be fleeting, so if she is to have her revenge, Mia must become a weapon without equal. She must prove herself against the deadliest of friends and enemies, and survive the tutelage of murderers, liars and demons at the heart of a murder cult.
The Red Church is no Hogwarts, but Mia is no ordinary student. The shadows love her. And they drink her fear.
What did I think? Oh boy. Mostly. Even though the main character is a girl. So, first of all I read a few reviews that stated the prose is unbearable, but for me the prose was quite the opposite: bloody fantastic.

There's a narrator. I love narrators. The narrator uses footnotes to build the world. I love footnotes. (I really need to tackle Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell.) The narrator is snarky. Brilliant.

Mia is an anti-hero and there's probably a lot of women I'd rather meet in a dark alley late at night, if possible I'd like not to meet Mia under such circumstances. She's quite deadly but so well developed.

All characters are well developed and the story is uplifting in places, downright depressing in others, always bloody, always a bit scary and mostly laced with 'what the hell?' THESE ARE CHILDREN YOU MONSTER. (Looking at the author here.)

The plot is filled with twists and is interesting throughout, there wasn't a single slow moment. The romance is amazing. Did you hear that? For once the romance is amazing!

This is a brilliant book and I highly recommend it to all fantasy fans that don't mind a young protagonist. If you're worried about the narrator and the somewhat purple prose, just read the first chapter, it'll tell you everything you need to know.