Top Ten Tuesday: Books for Reading the Day Away

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  Each week they provide a prompt and other lovers of listmaking join in with their own top ten list.  Click on the link for more info and to find out about future topics.

This weeks theme is:   Read In One Sitting Theme.


How I love the idea of reading an entire book in one sitting.
It’s never going to happen when I keep choosing all these 5/600+ page reads but I can’t seem to resist really long books.
For that reason, this week I’m going for books that may make you read the whole day away.  (You still won’t have reached the end of the book by the end of the day, but you might have managed a good chunk of the story).

A Game of Thrones by George R R Martin – First in the Song of Ice and Fire series. It may be several hundred pages long but I soon became engrossed in the goings on in Westeros.

Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling – I guess the first two or three books may be read-in-one-sitting length.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon – First in the series of time travel stories featuring Claire, who finds herself going back 200 years in the Scottish Highlands where she becomes involved with a certain red-haired Scotsman. It took me a while to get into this actually, but once it hooked me that was it, and I’ll definitely be reading the rest of the series.

The Muse by Jessie Burton – A recent read featuring two narratives, both of which were really engaging. History, art, a good mystery at the central of the tale, The Muse kept me reading for a good stretch of each day.

The Girl With All The Gifts by M R Carey – This one usually finds it’s way onto many of my Top Ten Tuesday posts.

IT by Stephen King – I can’t recall how many days I spent totally absorbed in the world King created in this book, but some of it was so vivid I can still remember it clearly years after I first read it.

The Trees by Ali Shaw – I couldn’t put down this post-apocalyptic read where the world becomes overrun by a mass of trees in an instant. The journey of a group of survivors is really good.

Christmas Under the Stars by Karen Swan – This one was a change from my usual reading choices and I really enjoyed the story of two people who meet under some pretty unique circumstances (I won’t say more and give it away). Although Christmas is in the title the majority of the story isn’t particularly Christmas-themed, so it’s one to pick up any time of year.

Any of the Jeeves books by P. G. Wodehouse – One of the few entries on my list that you actually may just about finish in one sitting, and have a good laugh during your reading as well.

The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry – This has such a lot to offer; great story, descriptive writing and strong characters. I really enjoyed reading The Essex Serpent and lost many a day lost to its pages.


Have you read any of the books in my list this week, and can you recommend me any one-sitting reads?  As always, talk to me in the comments!

Top Ten Tuesday: My Spring TBR List 2017

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  Each week they provide a prompt and other lovers of listmaking join in with their own top ten list.  Click on the link for more info and to find out about future topics.

This weeks theme is:   Top Ten Books on my Spring TBR


The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher – I can’t believe this one is still making my TBR-type posts because I’ve had it on my pile for the longest time. I’m in the mood for some Fantasy so I think this will have to be one of my first Spring reads.

The Ninth Rain by Jen Williams – As I mentioned before I’m in the mood for a good Fantasy novel and this one caught my eye a little while ago, so definitely adding it to my TBR.

Hold Back the Stars by Katie Khan – This story is about characters trying to survive in space with only 90 minutes of air remaining.

The Autumn Republic by Brian McClellan – This is the final book in the Powder Mage trilogy and I can’t wait to find out how it all ends. I’ve waited months for the library to get this one, so I was really pleased when I received the email saying it had arrived. Now to find out the fate of my favourite characters.

American Gods by Neil Gaiman – I recently finished Norse Mythology and decided I wanted to read more Gaiman so  I’ll probably check this out over the coming months. I bet I’ll end up watching the new series of American Gods too.

The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O’Neill – The Bailey’s Prize longlist was released recently and I noticed this book had made the list. I’ve seen the book compared to The Night Circus but I’m never sure whether that’s a good thing because I loved that book so much that it always leaves me with high expectations.

Hidden Killers by Lynda La Plante – I don’t really read much crime, but I am enjoying Tennison, or Prime Suspect 1973 as it’s known now there’s a tv series (which I haven’t started watching yet), so I’ll give the next book a try too.

Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth – I’ve only read one book by this author so I’m looking forward to giving this one a try.

Carnivalesque by Neil Jordan – The cover caught my eye in the first place, I loved the contrast of the colours. Then I read what the story was about, carnivals and a boy caught behind a magic mirror, and I had to pick this one up.

Fingersmith by Sarah Waters – I read this one a few years ago but for some reason it’s back in my mind and I’d like a re-read. Not sure whether I’ll get round to doing that because I already have such a massive TBR pile, but this book makes the list because the intent to read it is there 😀


Have you read any of the books that made my list?  If so, what did you think?
What are you hoping to read over the next few months?

Book Review: The Fireman by Joe Hill

Name:  The Fireman
Author:  
Joe Hill
Number of Pages:
  768 (Hardback)
Published:
7th June 2016 by Gollancz
Genre:  Post Apocaplyse

Goodreads

No one knows exactly when it began or where it originated. A terrifying new plague is spreading like wildfire across the country, striking cities one by one: Boston, Detroit, Seattle. The doctors call it Draco Incendia Trychophyton. To everyone else it’s Dragonscale, a highly contagious, deadly spore that marks its hosts with beautiful black and gold marks across their bodies—before causing them to burst into flames. Millions are infected; blazes erupt everywhere. There is no antidote. No one is safe.
Harper Grayson, a compassionate, dedicated nurse as pragmatic as Mary Poppins, treated hundreds of infected patients before her hospital burned to the ground. Now she’s discovered the telltale gold-flecked marks on her skin. When the outbreak first began, she and her husband, Jakob, had made a pact: they would take matters into their own hands if they became infected. To Jakob’s dismay, Harper wants to live—at least until the fetus she is carrying comes to term. At the hospital, she witnessed infected mothers give birth to healthy babies and believes hers will be fine too. . . if she can live long enough to deliver the child.
Convinced that his do-gooding wife has made him sick, Jakob becomes unhinged, and eventually abandons her as their placid New England community collapses in terror. The chaos gives rise to ruthless Cremation Squads—armed, self-appointed posses roaming the streets and woods to exterminate those who they believe carry the spore. But Harper isn’t as alone as she fears: a mysterious and compelling stranger she briefly met at the hospital, a man in a dirty yellow fire fighter’s jacket, carrying a hooked iron bar, straddles the abyss between insanity and death. Known as The Fireman, he strolls the ruins of New Hampshire, a madman afflicted with Dragonscale who has learned to control the fire within himself, using it as a shield to protect the hunted . . . and as a weapon to avenge the wronged.
In the desperate season to come, as the world burns out of control, Harper must learn the Fireman’s secrets before her life—and that of her unborn child—goes up in smoke. – from Goodreads

My Rating:

4ddiamonds

My Thoughts:

 

The Fireman is a great end of the world tale with an imaginative cause at it’s heart – Dragonscale. It’s a spore which eventually causes the carrier to burst into flame, burning down to ash and taking out life as we know it as they do so. People are afraid, and understandably so, but that doesn’t help, as stress and fear only seem to cause the ‘scale to ignite more rapidly. The world is literally burning.

In this grim scenario we follow Harper Grayson, a nurse who discovers she is pregnant almost at the same time that she discovers the first telltale inky markings on her body that mean she is infected with Dragonscale. To say her husband doesn’t react well to any of this news is an understatement, and I can’t recall the last time I disliked a character so much and so quickly as I did with Jakob Grayson.

Fleeing her home and her increasingly deranged husband, Harper finds the Fireman, and a group of survivors who have apparently learned to control the Dragonscale. She goes to Camp Wyndham, a supposedly safe haven for those afflicted with the spore.
CampWyndham harbours all manner of characters, some good, some not so good, and the story follows the group dynamics and power plays amongst this relatively small group of people drawn together at an awful time. The increasing paranoia of some of the members, the lengths they go to to establish control, and the group mentality that allows certain things to happen makes for great and sometimes claustrophobic reading.
Needless to say, in the end the ‘perfect’ sanctuary starts to fall apart from within, and with Harper ever nearer to giving birth, it becomes apparent Camp Wyndham may not be her long-time home. Fear and suspicion drive the group to break into factions, and that’s not the only threat to their safety.

There are some great characters in this book, and the Dragonscale itself becomes something more than just the spore that will end humanity as we meet the Fireman, who has apparently mastered control of the fire that could burn him alive at any moment. He has some impressive tricks thanks to the ‘scale, and is the first to admit he loves to be the centre of attention, so expect fireworks.
Nick and Allie are the Fireman’s accomplices when he first meets Harper, and I liked both of them, especially young Nick, the deaf boy who becomes a good friend to Harper.
On the side of the villains is Harper’s husband Jakob. It must be a sign of good writing that I loathed him within a very few pages of his appearance. Then there’s the Marlboro Man, who takes great delight and pleasure in hunting down people affected with Dragonscale, whom he calls ‘burners’.
Others fall into a more grey area, such as Carol Storey and Ben Patchett, two of the main players at Camp Wyndham.

This is the first Joe Hill I’ve ever read, and I would definitely seek out other stories by this author, and look out for future releases.

Book Review: Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

Name:  Norse Mythology
Author:  
Neil Gaiman
Number of Pages:
  299 (Hardback)
Published:
7th February 2017 by W. W. Norton & Company
Genre:  Fantasy, Mythology

Goodreads

In Norse Mythology, Gaiman stays true to the myths in envisioning the major Norse pantheon: Odin, the highest of the high, wise, daring, and cunning; Thor, Odin’s son, incredibly strong yet not the wisest of gods; and Loki, son of a giant, blood brother to Odin and a trickster and unsurpassable manipulator.
Gaiman fashions these primeval stories into a novelistic arc that begins with the genesis of the legendary nine worlds and delves into the exploits of deities, dwarfs, and giants. Once, when Thor’s hammer is stolen, Thor must disguise himself as a woman, difficult with his beard and huge appetite, to steal it back. More poignant is the tale in which the blood of Kvasir, the most sagacious of gods, is turned into a mead that infuses drinkers with poetry. The work culminates in Ragnarok, the twilight of the gods and rebirth of a new time and people.
Through Gaiman’s deft and witty prose emerge these gods with their fiercely competitive natures, their susceptibility to being duped and to duping others, and their tendency to let passion ignite their actions, making these long-ago myths breathe pungent life again. – Goodreads

My Rating:

4ddiamonds

My Thoughts:

Norse Mythology is a collection of short stories featuring characters already familiar through various means, whether other books or recent movies and tv series. Familiar characters include Odin, Thor and Loki.
I was pretty much hooked from the outset after reading the introduction in which Gaiman imagines a long ago time when these stories were told ‘under the glow of the Northern Lights’ during a winter night, or ‘sitting outside in the small hours, awake in the unending daylight of midsummer.’ Such descriptions set the tone right away.
The writing is conversational and draws you in easily, making the subject really interesting and adding humour too.

I’ve only a passing knowledge of the tales featured here, so I found the whole collection really interesting. Particularly fascinating is Ragnarok, the final destiny of the gods. What a tale is told of that final battle to come, in which the gods fight the armies of the dead. Loki and his monstrous children fight on the opposing side to Odin, Thor and the rest, which I guess shouldn’t have been that much of a surprise. And when it’s all over the cycle of life will begin again.

I really liked Loki as a character; he usually features at the heart of many troubles that visit the gods. He eventually resolves many of these situations, but he also usually has something to do with causing the trouble in the first place.
I also liked the children of Loki. Hel is the girl with a face of beauty and death who comes to preside over the dead who have not died gloriously in battle. There’s also the Midgard Serpent, with whom Thor with eventually do battle, and Fenrir the wolf, who will be there at the end of days. I could have read a whole collection featuring those characters, and their mother, the giantess Angrboda.

There are tales of love and hate, deception and competition, power, magic and monsters. Something for everyone, I think, and I enjoyed learning something of a mythology I knew just a little about.
I really enjoyed my first read by Neil Gaiman and am going to read more of his books in the future.

Booking Ahead: March 2017

Booking Ahead is a feature here 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 back to Booking Ahead. Time to choose some more potential reads for the month, both from the TBR pile and from the new books that caught my eye recently. No matter how much I want to read my ‘already-have’ books I still can’t seem to keep away from the new ones. I’m still doing Beat the Backlist, so once more I’ll be dividing this post into two sections…

New Books

Hold Back the Stars by Katie Khan – This book is making a reappearance as I didn’t manage to fit it in during last month’s reading. It features people trying to survive in space, with 90 minutes of air left.

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman – This might actually be my first book by this author. I know I’ve seen the movie version of Stardust but I’m pretty sure I’ve never read any of his books. I’m looking forward to giving this a try as I’ve been watching Vikings recently, so I’m sticking with a theme here.

Books from the Backlist

Tennison by Lynda La Plante – I picked this one up in the library ages ago, and I keep seeing features about the upcoming tv series, so I have a feeling it will end up on a few request lists once the show starts; I want to give it a try before it has to go back. I don’t read much in the way of crime or police stories, even though I quite enjoy watching such shows on tv, so am looking forward to something different in my reading.


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

Monthly Summary: February 2017

Welcome back to another Monthly Summary here on Pages and Tea.
I know February is a short month but it still went by SO QUICKLY.
I’ve had another good month of reading and have really enjoyed my time lost in books.
Here’s what happened on the blog…

Book Reviews

The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler

The Muse by Jessie Burton

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

The Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King

Featured Posts

Book Tags

The Anonymous Bookaholics Tag

Reading Review

Reading Resolutions 2017

February Progress

Beat the Backlist Challenge Progress

Reading Review: February 2017

Welcome back 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 Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler

The Muse by Jessie Burton

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Total Library Books Read This Month: 3
Total Own Books Read This Month: 0
Overall Total Books Read This Month: 3

Total Library Books Read 2017: 6
Total Own Books Read 2017: 0
Overall Total Books Read 2017: 6

My Read of the Month

The Muse by Jessie Burton.
This read was a totally unexpected surprise. I wasn’t sure what to read next, the book was at the top of my pile and the striking cover caught my eye so I thought I’d give it a go.
And from those very first pages I was totally engrossed. What a great read!

Beat the Backlist

btbchallengeslider

My total for this challenge is currently 5 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

Goodreads

I’ve set myself a low target for this year of 20 books. So far I’ve read 6 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 5 books read.

I’m still posting my reviews fairly soon after finishing the book.


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