Reading Review: May 2017

Welcome to my Monthly Reading Review.
This post is my attempt to keep track of how I’m doing with my reading challenges and resolutions.

BOOKS I’VE READ

The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher

Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty

Total Library Books Read This Month: 2
Total Own Books Read This Month: 0
Overall Total Books Read This Month: 2

Total Library Books Read 2017: 12
Total Own Books Read 2017: 1
Overall Total Books Read 2017: 13

MY READ OF THE MONTH

The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher is May’s Read of the Month. It was unique, with some great characters, and the talking cats just added that little something extra.
Had I started See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt earlier in the month and had it finished in May I’m sure that would have been a contender too, because the writing so far is atmospheric and beautifully eerie.

BEAT THE BACKLIST

My total for this challenge is currently 9 books read. So far I’ve read:

Cell by Stephen King
Golden Hill by Francis Spufford
The Trees by Ali Shaw
The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler
The Muse by Jessie Burton
North and South by John Jakes
The Autumn Republic by Brian McClellan
The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher
Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty

I originally set myself a target of 8 books for this challenge, so this month I’ve actually reached and surpassed that target. I’m really pleased as I usually end up neglecting older books in favour of new releases, so I didn’t know how I would do when I first signed up for the challenge. I’m going to keep going and see how many I end up with. I think for now I’ll set a new target of 10 books for the year.

GOODREADS

I’ve set myself a low target for this year of 20 books. So far I’ve read 13 books.

GOALS

I participated in Bout of Books 19, which was really good, and am on the lookout for other reading events taking place.

I reached my initial Beat the Backlist target of 8 books, so I’ve now decided to try for 10 Backlist reads this year.

I’m keeping up with most of my reviews.


So concludes May’s Reading Review. See you again next month.

Book Review: The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher

Name: The Aeronaut’s Windlass
Author:
Jim Butcher
Number of Pages:
630 (Paperback)
Published:
29th September 2015 by Orbit
Genre: Fantasy

Goodreads

Jim Butcher, the number one bestselling author of the Dresden Files, begins a new series set in a gloriously imagined world of noble families, marvellous technology and magic-wielding warriors.
Since time immemorial, humanity has lived inside the Spires, habitats towering for miles over the dangerous, monster-infested surface of the world. Captain Grimm of the merchant airship Predator was dismissed from Spire Albion’s military in disgrace – now his ship and crew are all he has, and he’s fiercely loyal to both. When the Predator is severely damaged in combat, Grimm is offered a choice – take on a clandestine mission for Albion’s leaders, or stay grounded for good.
And even as Grimm undertakes this perilous task, he will learn that the conflict between the Spires is merely a premonition of things to come. Humanity’s ancient enemy, silent for more than ten thousand years, has begun to stir once more. And death will follow in its wake…     – from Goodreads

My Rating:

My Thoughts:

I’ve been sitting here for a while now, looking at a blank screen wondering, how on earth do I review this book? Where to start? There’s so much to say.

The story takes place around Spire Albion, and delivers action right from the first page.
People have lived on spires for years, since the surface became uninhabitable. The spires have several Habbles, and Habble Morning comes under attack from the forces of Spire Aurora, a rival Spire. The attack is planned with precision, which leads to the belief that an enemy may be within.
And so the Spirearch of Albion assembles a group to venture out to Habble Landing to try and find out more about the enemy.

The group at the heart of this story is an interesting mix.

Captain Grimm finds himself grounded after a skirmish with an enemy ship. Predator, his airship, needs vast amounts of repair, more costly than Grimm could possibly afford, so he finds himself with little choice than to accept the mission of the Spirearch, who offers to replace the power crystals that Predator so desperately needs.
Grimm is reluctant as he has a history with the Fleet that saw him discharged for cowardice. There’s clearly more to it, but Grimm doesn’t talk about his past, and doesn’t particularly want to get involved with serving again. He’s enjoyed his freedom as a privateer. Once he accepts the mission however, he’s fully on board, and willingly joins battle to protect those he is travelling with. These characters include…

Gwendolyn Lancaster, the only daughter of one of the most powerful Houses, who wants to join the Spirearch’s Guard. She’s pretty no-nonsense, and the type to shoot first and consider the consequences later. She’s proper and ladylike but doesn’t back away from a challenge or a fight, regardless who the opponent is.

Benedict Sorellin-Lancaster is Gwen’s Warriorborn cousin. The Warriorborn are great,  slightly feline in appearance (they have catlike eyes) and with great strength and agility. Benedict is a little older and more experienced in working for the Guard, and accompanies the group to Habble Landing in order to protect Master Ferus.

Ferus is an etherealist, and some say he is half-mad, but he’s also highly perceptive of the world around him and the nature of the Enemy, even if he does have great trouble with doorknobs. He has an apprentice, Folly, a young girl learning her skills and powers. Folly is charmingly odd, talking to her small jars of crystals rather than directly to other people. I loved her quirkiness and when her powers start to show, well, you wouldn’t want to mess with young Folly. She is also apparently able to glimpse future events, which is scary as her dreams show great destruction.
The etherealists have great powers, which some choose to use for less than honourable purposes whilst maintaining a highly respectable and socially graceful façade.

Also part of the team who travel to Habble Landing is Bridget Tagwynn, a young woman who reluctantly leaves her father behind in order to serve, and initially has little wish to go. She is mentored by Benedict and the two of them become close.
And I cannot mention Bridget with out mentioning…

Rowl. A cat. A… talking cat.
I was totally charmed by Rowl of House Silent Paws, who even has viewpoint chapters and clearly regards himself and the whole of cat-kind as far more intelligent and brave than any human. He calls Bridget ‘Littlemouse’, and they converse together as Bridget can speak Cat. For all the conflict between the humans, there is equally as much going on in the cat world.

I love the mix in this story. Airships of the Fleet go to war with cannons and muskets, which feels quite historical, but then there are crystals of power loaded into the weapons cannons, shrouds to shield the ships from enemy fire, ethersilk armour, and gauntlets containing crystals with destructive power.

There’s scheming and intrigue, and threats from both humans and creatures, as things from the surface are apparently finding their way into the spire. A silkweaver sounds like an innocent little thing, right? Um, possibly not…
The villain here really is something of a smiling assassin, and there are also greater powers at work, which I hope will be revealed a little more in further books.
I’ll definitely be looking out for the next Cinder Spires book.

Bout of Books 19 (May 2017) – Final Summary

Bout of Books

Bout of Books is over, and I had a good final day of reading.

I read 150 pages of Apple Tree Yard, which is the most I’ve managed to read in one go all week, so that’s quite a good end to the readathon for me.  I seem to read so much slower these days, I don’t know why.

Number of pages I’ve read today: 150

Total number of pages I’ve read: 375

I always set fairly general goals for the readathon (Original goals posted HERE).

I enjoy the ritual of daily blog updates during the readathon, and managed to (mostly) keep up with them this time around.
I don’t think I read quite as much as I would have liked to, but I did manage to complete one book and find myself something new to read, which was good as I was in one of those moods where I didn’t have a clue what to pick up next. Usually I’ll have the TBR pile in some kind of order with at least a little idea what I fancy once I’ve finished my current read. I hope this isn’t the beginning of the dreaded Reading Slump.

Thank you to everyone who visited my blog during the event. I hope everyone had a great week of reading.

The Week’s Progress Revisited…

Continue reading

Bout of Books 19 (May 2017) Goals and Daily Progress Updates

Bout of Books

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 8th and runs through Sunday, May 14th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 19 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team


Time for another edition of one of my favourite readathons.
Bout of Books is here once again and I cannot wait to share the next week of reading with everyone taking part in the event.

I’ll be using this blog for the majority of my updates during the read-a-thon, but you can also find me on Twitter (link in the sidebar).

Time Devoted to Reading

Half an hour per day, minimum. Maximum? Well, there’s no limit really.

My Goals

  • To carry on reading The Aeronaut’s Windlass
  • To maybe start a new read (but as yet I have no idea what that will be)
  • To keep track of my reading progress via daily blog updates
  • To visit other blogs and comment regularly

Books to Read

  • The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher
  • ???

Updates

Monday

Bout of Books time!  I’m hoping to get some reading time in this afternoon.

Tuesday (Monday’s Progress)

Had a decent afternoon of reading and managed to get through 50 pages.  I think I’ll probably finish The Aeronaut’s Windlass before the end of the readathon, but at the moment I have NO idea what I fancy reading next.  Hm…

Number of pages I’ve read today:  50
Total number of pages I’ve read:  50

Wednesday (Tuesday’s progress)

Not such a great reading for reading today, but at least I managed a few pages.

Number of pages I’ve read today:  10
Total number of pages I’ve read:  60

Thursday (Wednesday’s progress)

I’ve had so much to do today that I haven’t managed to read a single page.  I don’t think I’ve ever read so little during Bout of Books before!

Number of pages I’ve read today:  0
Total number of pages I’ve read:  60

Friday (Thursday’s progress)

At last, I have some reading progress to report. I finished reading The Aeronaut’s Windlass this afternoon, and really enjoyed it. Hopefully it won’t be too long before I have a review up on the blog.
And I finally settled on something new to read, based on nothing other than of all the library books I currently have checked out there is now a request on Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty, so I’d better get started on that as it will have to go back.

Number of pages I’ve read today:  65
Total number of pages I’ve read:  125

Saturday (Friday’s progress)

Another pretty slow day of reading.  At least I have the weekend to look forward to.

Number of pages I’ve read today:  0
Total number of pages I’ve read:  125

Sunday (Saturday’s progress)

Managed a lovely long reading session today, which saw me through the first 100 pages of Apple Tree Yard. I missed this when it was on tv, so have little idea what to expect as the book synopsis was pretty vague. Hopefully I’ll be able to read for a long time on the final Bout of Books day and really get into my book.
How is everyone else doing so far?

Number of pages I’ve read today:  100
Total number of pages I’ve read:  225

Monday (Sunday’s progress and final thoughts)

Final Summary posted HERE.

Booking Ahead: May 2017

Booking Ahead is a feature on Pages and Tea where I glance through my never-ending TBR list/pile and select a few potential reads for the coming month. If I’m not reading books I love talking about books I’d like to read, so this post is a perfect excuse to do just that.

Welcome to Booking Ahead. As always I’m picking a mix of newer books and books from the TBR list as I’m doing Beat the Backlist and have almost reached the original target I set myself. It was a very low target, but I’m usually so bad at picking up the books I already have that I was really surprised when I realised how close I was to it.

New Books

I’m totally in the hands of my local library this month, so my reading is going to depend how quickly they receive their stock of new books. Assuming it’s quite soon I hope to read…

The Boy on the Bridge by M. R. Carey – I am so excited for this one! I have lost count of the number of times that I’ve said how much I enjoyed The Girl With All The Gifts (you can check out my review here), and this book is set in the same world. So. Excited. I guess I shouldn’t get too hyped up, but sometimes you can’t help it.

The Ninth Rain by Jen Williams – Imagine my reading delight when this appeared on the library catalogue whilst I was browsing recently. I’ve started reading more Fantasy lately, and I’ve seen some good reviews for this book.

Books from the Backlist

The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher – I can say with confidence that this month will definitely be the month I (finally) read this book, because I started the first few pages recently. Talking cats? I’m in. I’m fairly new to all things Fantasy but talking cats is one I’ve not come across before.

And I think I’d better stop now because as always the books that have captured my attention are pretty long, so I’ll do well if I manage to read these three this month. Hopefully by the time Bout of Books comes around, which is one of my favourite readathons, I’ll be totally engrossed in one of these reads.


What are you hoping to read this month, and are you taking part in Bout of Books?
Have you read of my picks, and if so what did you think?
See you again next month for another Booking Ahead.

Monthly Summary: April 2017

Welcome to another Monthly Summary on Pages and Tea.
I read two books this month, both by the same author, and they were both really good. As always it seems I’m sticking with longer books at the moment.
I’ve done a couple of Book Tags and participated in Top Ten Tuesday, although I couldn’t really think of enough specific things that would make me not pick up a book, so I didn’t join in last week.
Here’s what’s been happening on Pages and Tea…

Book Reviews

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

The Autumn Republic by Brian McClellan

Sins of Empire by Brian McClellan

Featured Posts

Top Ten Tuesday

I Will Instantly Read That Book If…

Book Tags

The Spring Has Sprung Book Tag – 2nd Edition

The School Subjects Tag

Reading Review

Reading Resolutions 2017

April Progress

Beat the Backlist Challenge Progress

Reading Review: April 2017

Welcome to my Monthly Reading Review.
This post is my attempt to keep track of how I’m doing with my reading challenges and resolutions.

Books I’ve Read

The Autumn Republic by Brian McClellan

Sins of Empire by Brian McClellan

Total Library Books Read This Month: 2
Total Own Books Read This Month: 0
Overall Total Books Read This Month: 2

Total Library Books Read 2017: 10
Total Own Books Read 2017: 1
Overall Total Books Read 2017: 11

My Read of the Month

How can I choose? Really? It’s an impossible task this month.   I’ve read two books, both by the same author.
The Autumn Republic was the conclusion of the Powder Mage trilogy and was a wonderful way to wrap up that series.
Sins of Empire is the start of a new series set in the same world but years later and it was also a great beginning. There’s just no choosing between them.

Beat the Backlist

My total for this challenge is currently 7 books read. So far I’ve read:

Cell by Stephen King
Golden Hill by Francis Spufford
The Trees by Ali Shaw
The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler
The Muse by Jessie Burton
North and South by John Jakes
The Autumn Republic by Brian McClellan

Goodreads

I’ve set myself a low target for this year of 20 books. So far I’ve read 11 books.

Goals

I’m sticking making a decent effort at my main reading challenge for the year, Beat the Backlist. My current total stands at 7 books read.

I’m keeping up with most of my reviews.

I’ll be taking part in the next Bout of Books, which I’m looking forward to (I love a good readathon).


So concludes April’s Reading Review. See you again next month.