Reading roundup 07/02/19

Here is my delayed Reading Roundup! I put off writing it yesterday as I had procrastinated about reviewing my finished books on Goodreads and felt rather daunted by the task. This is because I have read so many books this week – four completed and well on the way with a fifth. It is a long time since I became so engrossed in a book series that I simply couldn’t stop reading! More about that series later in the post.

Changer’s Moon by Jo Clayton

Changer’s Moon by Jo Clayton

My first book was the last in the Duel of Sorcery series by Jo Clayton: Changer’s Moon. Here is the blurb:

The two contenders tossed the dice for the final contest. The Noris drew the Runner, the Sword, the Sorcerer, the Eye. He was pleased. The armies could march. The valley and all that was in it would be his.

The Indweller drew the Kingfisher, the Poet-warrior, the Priestess, the Magic Child. “The mix as before,” she said, “but with a change.” She pointed to the priestess. She still had a chance.

And the chance was Serroi, once the puppet of the Noris, now moving through the people like an electric current, against the patriarchs, to serve the Changer. For the Coyote was the one who could alter the rules – and make the incredible credible and the impossible possible…

Well, that is not the best blurb I have read! Anyway, here is my short review – I did enjoy reading the series, which I found on our library’s ebook catalogue:

This book nicely finished off the trilogy, although I have just seen that there are more books available that are set in this world. There was a rather odd inclusion of people from another world with newer technology. I am not sure that this was a good idea. The battle scenes were exciting enough and the ending of the book felt right to me.

 

Wolf’s Brother by Megan Lindholm

Wolf’s Brother by Megan Lindholm

I had two books on reserve at the library and collected them last week. The first of the two was the sequel to Megan Lindholm’s The Reindeer People, which I wrote about a few weeks ago, Wolf’s Brother. Here is the blurb:

The magic is strong in Kerlew. Every day it grows, reaching out to the Wolf spirit that will be his guide. But the magic in Kerlew that calls to the beasts and to the spirit world also calls to Carp, the evil old shaman, who follows Kerlew and his mother, Tillu, across the frozen wastes.

I gave the book three stars on Goodreads and wrote the following:

Like many other reviewers, I think that these two books should have been published in one volume. I really enjoyed reading about the background to the story – the author must have undertaken a vast amount of research into the life of prehistoric reindeer herders. The scene-setting is also excellent with details of the landscape, flora and fauna. Very interesting and enjoyable.

My second of the two reservations was part one of a new fantasy series. Regular library users will know the frustration of finding parts two and three of a series, but the first book being out on loan! Well, that happened to me and so I put in a reservation on our online system. And I am so glad that I did! This trilogy has had me gripped far into the evening – one of the “compensations” for being bedridden most of the week.

Age of Assassins by R J Barker

Age of Assassins by R J Barker

It was worth waiting for part one of The Wounded Kingdom series by R J Barker: Age of Assassins. This is the blurb:

Girton Club-foot, apprentice to the land’s best assassin, still has much to learn about the art of taking lives. But his latest mission tasks him and his master with a far more difficult challenge: to save a life. Someone, or many someones, is trying to kill the heir to the throne, and it is up to Girton and his master to uncover the traitor and prevent the prince’s murder.

In a kingdom on the brink of civil war and a castle thick with lies Girton finds friends he never expected, responsibilities he never wanted, and a conspiracy that could destroy an entire kingdom.

I loved this book so much that I gave it the full five stars, filed it under “favourites” and wrote this rather poor review (I am struggling to express myself adequately):

Wow! What a great debut. I was so gripped by this book that I simply couldn’t put it down and I read it far into the night. The characters and world building are superb. What looks on the surface like a typical swords and sorcery fantasy is developed into a far more complex and exciting tale. There is political intrigue, and a coming-of-age theme here too. Our “hero” is flawed and makes mistakes, but is also interesting. I can’t find much more to say without spoilers! Highly recommended.

Blood of Assassins by R J Barker

Blood of Assassins by R J Barker

I am so lucky to have borrowed the entire trilogy at one go! Patience is not my virtue at all. This is the blurb for the second book, Blood of Assassins:

The king is dead, long live the king…

The assassin Girton Club-foot and his master have returned to Maniyadoc in hope of finding sanctuary, but death, as always, dogs Girton’s heels. The place he knew no longer exists.

War rages across Maniyadoc, with three kings claiming the same crown – and one of them is Girton’s old friend Rufra. Girton finds himself hurrying to uncover a plot to murder Rufra on what should be the day of the king’s greatest victory. But while Girton deals with threats inside and outside Rufra’s war encampment, he can’t help wondering if his greatest enemy hides beneath his own skin.

If anything, I thought that this book was even better! Again, it was worth five stars and the following:

This is an excellent sequel to a brilliant first book. Barker will certainly be an author to watch for in the future. It is hard to write a review because of spoilers, but I will say that I like the fact that our main characters are not infallible. They make mistakes and are forced to learn from and accept their flaws. Larger scale battles and warfare are a major part of this book and the political machinations continue. Now looking forward to part three!

King of Assassins by R J Barker

King of Assassins by R J Barker

And here is the cover for part three, King of Assassins. I am about a third of the way through and cannot wait to return to it when I have finished writing this post.

Happy Reading to you all!

Best wishes,

📚📖📚📖📚

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Update 06/02/19 with musings about obligations

Yes, this should be a Reading Roundup post, but I am hoping to write that tomorrow. You see, that very word, “should”, is the cause of many/most of my mental health issues. I feel anxious because of “should”, I feel stressed because of “should” and I am having counselling because of the guilt and obligation I feel around “should”.

As this is only a blog that I write for my own amusement (I hope that it also amuses and entertains others), I can decide whether I want to write on any day. Today I feel ill after several days and nights of coughing and stress and I just want to read, not write.

So, that’s what I am going to do. After all, I should look after myself, shouldn’t I?

Best wishes,

💛🧡❤️💙💜💚

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Update 05/02/19

Yesterday was tough for a number of reasons and I have had to spend today in bed trying to recover. Not only was I very ill, but Elder Son decided that it would be a good day to upset his parents by having a classic meltdown, in fact two: one in the morning and another in the evening. Just before we all finally settled down to sleep, I had a huge coughing and choking attack with vomiting and loss of control.

I think that this may be the main topic of this week’s counselling session on Friday!

In between all of this “activity” I tried to distract myself by watching TV on my iPad. You may remember that I really enthused about The Expanse book series, which I borrowed from the library. I was thrilled when I discovered that the books have been turned into three TV series, so far, and I bought them to watch on Amazon Prime. Well, they have proved to be a fantastic adaptation of the story, although I would definitely recommend reading the books first. The TV version could prove to be a little confusing to those people who have no idea about the plot and characters.

Here is the cover of the first book in the series, as a reminder:

Leviathan Wakes by James S A Corey

Leviathan Wakes by James S A Corey

Right, I will now go back to reading my latest book so that I can continue to take my mind off more worrying matters.

Reading Roundup post tomorrow.

Best wishes,

💚❤️💙💜💛🧡

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Outfit of the day 04/02/19

I am trying to hold on to my sense of humour, although that is quite difficult at the moment. It feels as if my health is steadily beating me down; I have been very ill all weekend. But, life must go on! Well, that’s a saying anyway…

Outfit of the day 04/02/19

Outfit of the day 04/02/19

Today’s outfit:

  • Cobalt blue cotton and lace vest – Marks and Spencer.
  • Aqua cotton and white lace knickers – Sainsbury’s Tu.
  • Navy cotton socks – Sainsbury’s Tu.
  • Black modal and white satin trim pyjamas – Marks and Spencer.
  • Grey-blue, aqua and white velour dressing gown – Sainsbury’s Tu.
  • Aqua glass and silver heart shaped earrings.
  • Smile plastered on…

See, I can still list out my outfit!

Trying to keep my sense of humour during a bad time, trying to keep my sense of humour during a bad time, trying to keep my sense of humour….. (and repeat until I manage to keep my sense of humour)…

Best wishes,

😀😀😀😀😀

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Outfit of the day 01/02/19

Well, I did get to my counselling session today. Although I have been struggling, both physically and mentally, I was able to get up, have a shower, dress myself and get into the car without a serious cough. Lovely Husband did the driving and I then struggled up the staircases to the consulting room. I felt much better after the appointment and we then drove to the only pub we could think of that doesn’t have an open fire. I really enjoyed a small steak and kidney pie and a few chips with a delicious gravy and a cup of tea!

This feels like an achievement!

As most of my best cashmere is being washed, I dug out this old but well-loved cowl neck jumper in a heathered aqua colour.

Outfit of the day 01/02/19 with snowflake bling!

Outfit of the day 01/02/19 with snowflake bling!

Today’s outfit:

  • Heathered aqua cowl neck jumper – Marks and Spencer.
  • Navy cotton stretch cord trousers – Lands’ End.
  • Navy leather shoes – Sugar – Hotter.
  • Crystal and silver bracelet – present from Younger Son. No image.
  • Crystal and silver snowflake earrings – Etsy.
  • Crystal and silver snowflake brooch – present from Elder Son.

We still haven’t had any snow here today yet and I hope any readers who are struggling with it get a thaw very soon. Mind you, if you are enjoying sledging and building snowmen, then I hope you have a lot of fun!

Best wishes,

❄️☃️❄️☃️❄️

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Update 31/01/19

We have been quite busy today. This afternoon, Elder Son had an appointment at the local surgery for a vaccination booster. He is very nervous about needles and asked me to go with him to help keep him calm. Lovely Husband drove us and Younger Son was amazed that his parents were right after all! He hardly felt a thing and didn’t even realise that the nurse had finished the injection – she distracted him so well and with such expertise.

After that, we went to B&Q for a few items for DIY jobs that we have been thinking about sorting for ages, but have not actually done anything about, if you see what I mean. I got very tired in the shop, so we came straight home after buying what we needed.

Butterfly brooch - Sonrisa

Butterfly brooch – Sonrisa

I have been feeling very low about my appearance in the last few weeks. I am becoming reluctant to take my photos for this blog as I feel so ugly and unattractive. My hair is continuing to get thinner, although I had hoped that stopping the dye and going grey would help. I am also getting much fatter, despite trying to keep to a better diet. We did talk to the consultant at my last appointment and he said that the steroids are the issue, but I cannot cut them down any further as they help combat my lung problems.

All in all, I feel horrible when I look in the mirror. Lovely Husband is so kind and, yes, lovely when he tells me that I am beautiful to him, but I feel ugly to myself.

I don’t know what to do about these feelings.

Counselling tomorrow.

Best wishes,

🧡💛💜💙❤️💚

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Reading roundup 30/01/19

I have read three books this week and am well into a fourth. All have been ebooks, rather than the print books in my library pile. For some reason, I didn’t fancy any of the print books and turned instead to the fantastic digital offering from our public library service.

The Core by Peter V Brett

The Core by Peter V Brett

The first book of the week was the final episode in the Demon Cycle series by Peter V Brett: The Core. Here is the blurb…

For time out of mind, bloodthirsty demons have stalked the night, culling the human race to scattered remnants dependent on half-forgotten magics to protect them. Then two heroes arose—men as close as brothers, yet divided by bitter betrayal. Arlen Bales became known as the Warded Man, tattooed head to toe with powerful magic symbols that enable him to fight demons in hand-to-hand combat—and emerge victorious. Jardir, armed with magically warded weapons, called himself the Deliverer, a figure prophesied to unite humanity and lead them to triumph in Sharak Ka—the final war against demonkind.

But in their efforts to bring the war to the demons, Arlen and Jardir have set something in motion that may prove the end of everything they hold dear—a Swarm. Now the war is at hand and humanity cannot hope to win it unless Arlen and Jardir, with the help of Arlen’s wife, Renna, can bend a captured demon prince to their will and force the devious creature to lead them to the Core, where the Mother of Demons breeds an inexhaustible army.

Trusting their closest confidantes, Leesha, Inevera, Ragen and Elissa, to rally the fractious people of the Free Cities and lead them against the Swarm, Arlen, Renna, and Jardir set out on a desperate quest into the darkest depths of evil—from which none of them expects to return alive.

This was a five book series (apparently the “V” in the author’s name signals this) and I was pleased to be able to read until the end of the tale. Here is my four star review on Goodreads:

I feel that I have to give four stars to this book for the sheer effort and writing skill involved in finishing this exciting series. There are massive faults, of course, the biggest one being the need for better editing. The plot became so unwieldy, the characters so many, the setting so huge, that the author needed someone to help him pull all of this together. There are too many meanderings along the way, too many side-issues that are totally unnecessary in telling the tale. That said, I loved the adventure in this series and this final book brings it all to an end in a very satisfying way.

Moongather by Jo Clayton

Moongather by Jo Clayton

For my second book of the week, I had a browse until I found a trilogy by Jo Clayton. I have already read a few of her books from a different series, but was happy to find a complete trilogy available on the ebook catalogue – Duel of Sorcery. These books were originally published in the 1980s and the covers from then are truly awful! Here is the blurb for the first book, Moongather:

Serroi had been an outcast. She was a misborn of the windrunners, of small stature with pale olive skin and certain strangely heightened sensitivies. But now she was a meie – a woman warrior trained by an exclusive order. She had been with her shieldmate at the Plaz when she overheard the assassination plot against the Domnor. A murder was to take place at Moongather – that time of increased access to the demon world.

But while trying to escape with the information, Serroi broke her shieldmate oath, a breach of honor which made life unbearable for her, and forced her back – to search for her betrayed shieldmate and warn the Domnor, although the land itself seemed to be hunting her!

I read this book pretty fast and went straight on to the next one! This is the review that I have just posted on Goodreads for four stars:

I am rather surprised that I didn’t find this series in the 1980s, but, reading it now, in 2019, I think that it stands up very well. I love the strong female characters and the beautiful world-building writing. The adventure is great and the alternate chapters from differing timelines work very well. The only thing that grates on me is the use of so many new terms for animals, plants etc. This can get very confusing as you read through the trilogy.

Moonscatter by Jo Clayton

Moonscatter by Jo Clayton

The second book in the series, Moonscatter, has this blurb:

With skin as pale and eyes as black as death, a blood-red ruby depending from one nostril, he was Ser Noris, the most villanous wizard of all time. He had done it all – slain all adepts worth his scorn, attained immortality, become the dire tyrant of the Sorcerers Isles and a shadow of doom on the lands beyond. But it wasn’t enough…

There was yet one opponent he had not humbled – She whom men called Maiden; She who was implicit in the alternation of death and birth, the cycling of the seasons, the complex circling of the moons. She who was the phoenix – the spirit of the earth itself!

This is the novel of Serroi, brave warrior-woman of the meie, who knows she must overcome the ties set on her by Ser Noris, who raised her as his tool, or see her world crumble. But can she withstand being a pawn in a power game between the most virulent fiend of all time and the spirit of Nature herself?

These blurbs are not very well-written as they do not really reflect the story accurately. There are many other memorable characters in these books which play an equal part to Serroi. Anyway, here is my review:

The structure of the second book is very different as we follow the adventures of several groups. The setting becomes much clearer and plot more tightly focused. Again, the world building has moments of real beauty and lovely lyrical writing. In contrast, political machinations are very dark with violence and misogyny, religious fervour and bleak poverty.

Changer’s Moon by Jo Clayton

Changer’s Moon by Jo Clayton

I am now reading the third part of the trilogy, Changer’s Moon, and I will tell you all about it in next week’s Reading Roundup post.

Enjoy your reading!

Best wishes,

📖📚📖📚 📖

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