Reading roundup 27/10/21

This has been a really interesting week in terms of reading. Whilst the real world has been very tense, upsetting and fraught, my reading has taken my mind away from all of that!

A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J Maas

My first book was the fourth in Sarah J Maas’s series A Court of Thorns and Roses: A Court of Silver Flames. Here is the blurb:

“Nesta Archeron has always been prickly-proud, swift to anger, and slow to forgive. And ever since being forced into the Cauldron and becoming High Fae against her will, she’s struggled to find a place for herself within the strange, deadly world she inhabits. Worse, she can’t seem to move past the horrors of the war with Hybern and all she lost in it.

The one person who ignites her temper more than any other is Cassian, the battle-scarred warrior whose position in Rhysand and Feyre’s Night Court keeps him constantly in Nesta’s orbit. But her temper isn’t the only thing Cassian ignites. The fire between them is undeniable, and only burns hotter as they are forced into close quarters with each other.

Meanwhile, the treacherous human queens who returned to the Continent during the last war have forged a dangerous new alliance, threatening the fragile peace that has settled over the realms. And the key to halting them might very well rely on Cassian and Nesta facing their haunting pasts.

Against the sweeping backdrop of a world seared by war and plagued with uncertainty, Nesta and Cassian battle monsters from within and without as they search for acceptance-and healing-in each other’s arms.”

After the first three books, I was really looking forward to immersing myself in this one. This is the review that I wrote on Goodreads:

A ​Court of Silver Flames (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #4)A ​Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Well, I almost gave this two stars, but decided on three in the end. There were some interesting and exciting parts to the book, after all, but far too much that was annoying, boring and whining!

I found Nesta a really irritating and negative character and disliked the way that Maas seemed to turn her previously positive and good characters into unpleasant unlikeable monsters. I don’t know where this series is heading, but I will struggle to continue with it. This is so disappointing after the promise of the first two books.

Can Maas’s editors please help her out of this Mire of Misery?

View all my reviews

I expect that all of the young fans of this series would probably shoot me down in flames for this response! Anyway, I decided to try a completely different genre for my next read…

We Are Not Like Them by Christine Pride and Jo Piazza

Browsing through the Library’s ebook catalogue, I came across a book that intrigued me: We Are Not Like Them by Christine Pride and Jo Piazza. First we have the blurb:

Told from alternating perspectives, an evocative and riveting novel about the lifelong bond between two women, one Black and one white, whose friendship is indelibly altered by a tragic event—a powerful and poignant exploration of race in America today and its devastating impact on ordinary lives.

Jen and Riley have been best friends since kindergarten. As adults, they remain as close as sisters, though their lives have taken different directions. Jen married young, and after years of trying, is finally pregnant. Riley pursued her childhood dream of becoming a television journalist and is poised to become one of the first Black female anchors of the top news channel in their hometown of Philadelphia.

But the deep bond they share is severely tested when Jen’s husband, a city police officer, is involved in the shooting of an unarmed Black teenager. Six months pregnant, Jen is in freefall as her future, her husband’s freedom, and her friendship with Riley are thrown into uncertainty. Covering this career-making story, Riley wrestles with the implications of this tragic incident for her Black community, her ambitions, and her relationship with her lifelong friend.”

It was really interesting to read something so different and difficult. I must admit that I struggled to write a review and actually read a few others first. I don’t usually do this as I find that other people’s responses sometimes override or re-shape my own. Anyway, this is what I eventually wrote:

We Are Not Like Them: A NovelWe Are Not Like Them: A Novel by Christine Pride
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a difficult and interesting book and I found myself immersed in the story to the point that I couldn’t stop reading. I like the idea of alternating points of view and feel that this worked well. However, I am not sure about the main characters. I definitely learned something about black people’s experience of racism by reading the parts from Riley’s point of view. The chapters from Jen’s side were more problematic as she seemed to be so blinkered. Surely, growing up with a black friend would have given her more insight?

I also agree with many of the comments on here that the whole book felt as if it had been written to be used as a teaching guide. It would probably be useful for the discussion points. As to how authentic it is I cannot comment as a white woman from the UK! Well worth reading, though, despite my reservations.

View all my reviews

I am now reading another book from a different genre! But you will have to wait until next week to see my response.

Until then:

Happy Reading to you all!

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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Update 25/10/21

Hello, everyone! We are having a lot of “family problems” at the moment, which I won’t bore you with, but this means that I can’t write a full post today. Our issues have exacerbated my ill health and I am feeling very weak, stressed and tired. I hope that everything improves during the week so that I can write the usual Reading Roundup post on Wednesday and an Outfits of the Week post on Friday.

I saw this lovely set of photos on Twitter over the weekend and must share them with you:

Collage by the photographer Josef Morgoš

Isn’t that beautiful?

Anyway, that’s all for now…

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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Outfits of the week 22/10/21

In today’s post I have a couple of outfits to show you from the last few weeks. Unfortunately, there is nothing from this week as I have been really struggling, but I am pleased that I did manage to put two rather nice ensembles together from my wardrobe.

Here is the first one:

Outfit of the day 16/10/21 with Hermès’ Plumes en Fête shawl

Outfit details:

  • Mid-grey cashmere v-neck jumper – Marks and Spencer.
  • Grey cotton jeans – Lands’ End.
  • Grey crystal and gold earrings – Swarovski.
  • Multi-colour enamel and rose gold Hera bangle – Liberty of London.
  • Pewter leather white soled trainers – Hotter.
  • Cashmere and silk 140cm shawl in grey, purple, pink, blue and orange – Plumes en Fête by Hermès.

We were only leaving the house to have our flu vaccinations, but I have to take any opportunity to wear “proper” clothing and accessories! In addition, I carried my gorgeous Massaccesi handbag, which toned nicely with my new trainers from Hotter. Perhaps the handbag’s style is a little too elevated to be worn with such footwear, but the colours were spot on.

What do you think?

Diane handbag by Marco Massaccesi
Switch II in pewter by Hotter

The second outfit:

Outfit of the day 17/10/21 with Liberty’s Morris scarf

Outfit details:

  • Navy cashmere v-neck jumper – John Lewis.
  • Navy stretch cord trousers – Lands’ End.
  • Blue, navy, black and white enamel and rose gold Ianthe bangle – Liberty of London.
  • Cobalt blue crystal and silver earrings – Sonrisa Boutique.
  • Navy, blue and white silk chiffon scarf – Morris by Liberty of London.

Whilst writing this post, I have been glancing back through the blog to see how I wrote about some of these accessories in the past. It certainly made me think how fortunate I am to be able to afford such beauties!

Now, I just need to find enough energy to wear them more often.

On that note I will wish you all a very Happy Weekend!

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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Reading roundup 20/10/21

This week’s reading has been a feast of the Fae, a festival of fantasy! Yes, I have immersed myself in further books from Sarah J Maas’s series: A Court of Thorns and Roses. Fine fun and fierce frivolity?

What the f…?

OK, that’s enough!

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J Maas

My first book of the week was the third in her series, titled A Court of Wings and Ruin. Here is the blurb:

”Looming war threatens all Feyre holds dear in the third volume of the #1 New York Times bestselling A Court of Thorns and Roses series.

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit-and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.

As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords-and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

In this thrilling third book in the #1 New York Times bestselling series from Sarah J. Maas, the earth will be painted red as mighty armies grapple for power over the one thing that could destroy them all.”

Once again, I devoured this book quickly in an attempt to distract myself from my situation. I must admit that this series is doing a pretty good job on that front! This is my review written on the Goodreads site:

A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #3)A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Well, how do I write this review? After my rather hyperbolic responses to the first two books, I am a bit stuck this time.

First of all, I did enjoy the read and the ride. There were many satisfying moments and scenes and several loose ends tied. Other storylines were left open for further books, although I think this series should have ended here. As this is such a long book, perhaps it could have done with some further editing and pruning to improve the pace. Some of the early chapters did drag a bit and the finale was wrapped up too quickly.

In addition, a good editor needs to get to grips with Maas’s repetitive use of phrases. Yes, we know that Fayre is Rhys’s “mate”. I think we have been told this often enough. Her coy language in the sex scenes is quite funny – perhaps this is to keep the books under the Young Adult label?

Anyway, I shall continue to read on. Books of this type really help with my current poor situation. Onwards to the next one!

View all my reviews
A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J Maas

While I was waiting for my reservation of book four in the series, I decided to read the novella, which is 3.1, fitting between three and four: A Court of Frost and Starlight. This is the blurb:

”Months after the explosive events in A Court of Wings and Ruin, Feyre, Rhys, and their companions are still busy rebuilding the Night Court and the vastly-changed world beyond. But Winter Solstice is finally near, and with it, a hard-earned reprieve. Yet even the festive atmosphere can’t keep the shadows of the past from looming. As Feyre navigates her first Winter Solstice as High Lady, she finds that those dearest to her have more wounds than she anticipated–scars that will have far-reaching impact on the future of their Court.”

I enjoyed this book also and here is my response:

A Court of Frost and Starlight (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #3.1)A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

OK, so this was just a filler book between volumes 3 and 4. I am reading this series for pure escapism and I don’t expect high literary merit. Very simply, I enjoy reading about these characters and settings. The books take me away from my daily worries and concerns and succeed very well at those tasks.

So, read and enjoy if you like this series. Now, on to book 4!

View all my reviews

So, that is all for this week. I am now going to return to my new book and try to fill my head with that. Today has been tough so far and I need to escape >>>>>>>>>>

Happy Reading to you all!

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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Update 18/10/21 with something shiny!

Hello and welcome to a new week on this blog. Apologies for the lack of a proper post on Friday, but I hope I can continue as usual this week. My health is even worse than normal at the moment and I seem to be spending most of my time in bed. I have got a few posts planned, though!

Today I have some nice and shiny items to show you. They arrived last week and I wore them on Saturday when I went to the medical centre for the annual flu vaccination. In fact, I put together a really nice outfit, even though I would only be out of the house for a short while. I have to take any opportunity I can get! I will show you the full outfit in Friday’s Outfits of the Week post, complete with handbag and shoes.

Anyway, here are the new items…

I think these are a great colour and I love the metallic shine! OK, Hotter (link in the sidebar) may have a reputation for selling “granny” footwear, but, to be honest, I don’t care. Their shoes are comfortable and well made. If you choose carefully, you can find some nice designs. These looked great with one of my handbags!

They have a sale on at the moment…

Well, that’s all for today. See you on Wednesday for the usual Reading Roundup and on Friday for Outfits of the Week. Don’t forget that this is the fifth year of the blog, so there are a lot of other posts to explore, if you are interested.

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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Update 15/10/21 – Taking a short break

I had planned to write a proper “Outfits of the Week” post for this evening. Unfortunately, I have been very weak and ill for a while and feel particularly bad today. So, I will postpone that post until next week and hope that I feel stronger on Monday.

I do hope that you all have a good weekend!

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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Reading roundup 13/10/21

Hello to all of you keen readers! I must admit that I have only finished one book this week – but what a book!!!

You may remember that Joe Abercrombie is one of my most favourite authors of all time. In fact, I believe that I have read just about all of his books to date and this one, The Wisdom of Crowds, is his latest…

The Wisdom of Crowds by Joe Abercrombie

The book is the final part of his The Age of Madness trilogy. Here is the blurb:

Chaos. Fury. Destruction.

The Great Change is upon us . . .

Some say that to change the world you must first burn it down. Now that belief will be tested in the crucible of revolution: the Breakers and Burners have seized the levers of power, the smoke of riots has replaced the smog of industry, and all must submit to the wisdom of crowds.

With nothing left to lose, Citizen Brock is determined to become a new hero for the new age, while Citizeness Savine must turn her talents from profit to survival before she can claw her way to redemption. Orso will find that when the world is turned upside down, no one is lower than a monarch. And in the bloody North, Rikke and her fragile Protectorate are running out of allies . . . while Black Calder gathers his forces and plots his vengeance.

The banks have fallen, the sun of the Union has been torn down, and in the darkness behind the scenes, the threads of the Weaver’s ruthless plan are slowly being drawn together . . .”

I really took my time to read this as I love Abercrombie’s work so much. None of that “skipping through to get to the good bit”  – all of the “bits” are good! This is my review as posted on Goodreads:

The Wisdom of Crowds (The Age of Madness, #3)The Wisdom of Crowds by Joe Abercrombie
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

OMG! Wow! Amazing! I simply can’t believe it! Phew!

Right, now that my first reactions are out of the way, what can I say about this book? Well, it was certainly packed full with brilliant writing, as I have come to expect from Joe Abercrombie. I love his dark and gritty humour, his beautifully written settings, his clever plot twists and his well-drawn characters. Reading the Kindle edition, it was so interesting to see other people’s highlights of particularly witty sections. But amongst the humour there is always tragedy and some of the worst traits of human nature.

For once, some of the plot twists had me gasping with surprise. With other authors, I usually spot them coming long before they arrive. In this book, there are some really shocking and, yes, bleak moments, but always leavened with that tone of sardonic amusement.

The characters are interesting and well-developed throughout all three books. I like the way that Abercrombie rarely writes wholly evil or totally good characters. Most are leavened with opposite traits, so that they appear like true human beings, flawed as we really are. Some of his characters may surprise the reader with unexpected good actions or, more often, the total reverse!

Now that I have finished the book, I am going to look through the list of Abercrombie’s work and make sure that I have read everything published to date. When I have done that, I will have to occupy myself with lesser writers until he gives us his next work.

I can’t wait!

View all my reviews

I am so fortunate that there are so many other fantastic books to keep me busy! My life seems very dark and grim these days, so fantasy, thrillers and science fiction really help to take my mind away from my troubles. I have already started a new book and I will tell you which one next week (or you could just have a look at the Goodreads widget in the sidebar, which tells all!).

Happy Reading to you all!

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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Update 11/10/21

I do hope that you all had a good weekend. Lovely Husband and I are enjoying a few days of peace and quiet whilst Elder Son is away. I had hoped that we could take the opportunity to go out together, but, unfortunately, a very bad relapse has meant that I have had to stay in bed nearly all of the time. LH is being patient and kind, but is very worried about me. At least I have managed to keep myself entertained with my trusty (I hope) iPad!

Over a couple of days, I binge watched the brilliant BBC series Vigil which was amazing television. It nearly triggered my claustrophobia, but I managed to cope! I have also been reading a great book, which I will write about in Wednesday’s Reading Roundup post.

Now, I need to have another rest so I will leave you with the image below. Sometimes I find fashion totally baffling – perhaps this is intended!

Design by Christopher Aatonio,
found on Facebook

And, no, this is not a new venture for my wardrobe!!! 😂🤣😂🤣😂

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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Outfits of the week 08/10/21

Apologies for the short post! I must admit that I was enjoying reading my latest book so much that I forgot that it is Friday. And Friday means an “Outfits of the Week post. I did actually manage to dress properly earlier in the week but, as I haven’t time to make a collage, I will show you the quick photo…

Outfit of the day 05/10/21 with Hermès’
Lazy Leopardesses scarf

Yes, we had intended to go out and I had a lovely outfit planned around my gorgeous pink bordered Lazy Leopardesses scarf. Unfortunately, I was very ill at the last minute. So, what I have decided to do is wait until next week and wear the whole outfit again then. And I will take another photo and make a proper collage to show you all of the elements, as they include a particularly lovely handbag and a beautiful coloured jacket!

Phew! Well, that’s all for this week. I do hope that you have a good weekend. Lovely Husband and I will have a nice peaceful time as Elder Son is going away on a short holiday. We both badly need a break!

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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Reading roundup 06/10/21

I have really enjoyed reading this week. My first book was great and I can’t wait until I can get my hands on the next one in the series…

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas

It took me quite a while to read Sarah J Maas’s second book in her A Court of Thorns and Roses series: A Court of Mist and Fury. It is a very long book, but I also took my time as I loved it so much! Here is the blurb:

”Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.

With more than a million copies sold of her beloved Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas’s masterful storytelling brings this second book in her seductive and action-packed series to new heights”

This has been a very popular book on Goodreads and won their “Goodreads Choice 2016” badge. This is the review that I wrote on their website:

A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #2)A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow! Wow! Wow! I have just finished this book and I can hardly breathe and my heart is beating like a drum! Better than the first book, this one has such pace, charging along from one event to the next, with passion, violence, beauty, dark horror and sheer excitement.

I am so glad that I found this series. It may be aimed at a Young Adult audience, but this aged crone has really enjoyed it, revelled in it and will, hopefully, continue to do so.

Thank you, Sarah J Maas, for creating this wonderful, magical, exciting world with such amazing characters and gripping plot. This book has helped me to forget my various health issues and immerse myself in fantasy.

I can’t wait to read on!

View all my reviews

Well, I think that shows what I thought of it!! 😁😁😁

Wild by Kristin Hannah

My second book of the week was another by Kristin Hannah, the third that I have downloaded from the Library’s ebook platform. First, we have the blurb!

”In the rugged Pacific Northwest lies the Olympic National Forest—nearly a million acres of impenetrable darkness and impossible beauty. From deep within this old growth forest, a six-year-old girl appears. Speechless and alone, she offers no clue as to her identity, no hint of her past.

Having retreated to her western Washington hometown after a scandal left her career in ruins, child psychiatrist Dr. Julia Cates is determined to free the extraordinary little girl she calls Alice from a prison of unimaginable fear and isolation. To reach her, Julia must discover the truth about Alice’s past—although doing so requires help from Julia’s estranged sister, a local police officer. The shocking facts of Alice’s life test the limits of Julia’s faith and strength, even as she struggles to make a home for Alice—and for herself.”

And here is my response. I gave the book three stars on Goodreads:

WildWild by Kristin Hannah
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I found this book quite enjoyable in many ways. The central plot was very interesting and intriguing. Some of the characters were also. However, I didn’t think that the romantic sub-plots were at all necessary. Many of the characters were stereotypes and their personal quirks were too repetitive throughout the book.

In fact, the author seemed to be too repetitive in her writing in general with several scenery and character descriptions appearing again and again. In addition, the whole premise of “curing” the girl was squeezed into a shortened timeline. Surely, it would take far longer?

Like other reviewers, I was disappointed with some of the wording around autism. Kristin Hannah should research the topic more thoroughly before she uses the condition in her work again.

View all my reviews

Anyone who has been following either these posts or my Goodreads feed may have realised that one of my favourite fantasy authors is Joe Abercrombie. I am so pleased that I now have a new book of his to read next: The Wisdom of Crowds (The Age of Madness #03). As soon as I have finished this post, I am going to pick up this book!

The Wisdom of Crowds by Joe Abercrombie

And on that note, I will end this post and sign off until next week’s Reading Roundup!

Happy Reading to you all.

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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