Monday, 19 November 2018

Book Review: The Saga Of Gunnlaug Serpent-Tongue; Unknown.

I have been eyeing up this short Icelandic saga for a while because I haven't really had a chance to read much in the way of really old literature!

TYPE: Paperback

TITLE: The Saga Of Gunnlaug Serpent-Tongue
AUTHOR: Unknown
SERIES: Little Black Classics (#3)
GENRE: Saga, Classics, Short Stories

RATING: 2.5/5 Stars

In this epic tale from the Viking Age that ranges across Scandinavia and Viking Britain, two poets compete for the love of Helga the Fair - with fatal consequences.

The Icelandic Sagas were oral in origin and written down in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Other Icelandic Sagas available in Penguin Classics include Njal's Saga, Egil's Saga, Sagas of Warrior-Poets, Gisli Sursson's Saga and the Saga of the People of Eyri, The Saga of Grettir the Strong, The Saga of the People of Laxardal and Bolli Bollason's Tale, The Vinland Sagas and Comic Sagas from Iceland.

What I Liked:
  • I really enjoyed the thorough saga education I received from this book, as well as the history lesson I get! I don't actually know much about Viking culture other than the stereotypes, but I learned here that there was much more poetry and flattery than I originally thought. This book is a very valuable insight into old-world Icelandic culture and I really enjoyed it for that reason.
What I Disliked:
  • Ancestry was also really important to the Vikings. Every character was introduced by the deeds of their forefathers and it made the act of learning their names very difficult. There was just too much info-dumping in this.
  • I already knew what was going to happen? The start of the story talks of a dream which reveals the plot in its entirety so there were absolutely no surprises here.
Overall Conclusion:
I can completely see that this was a little gem in terms of its historical importance. I learned so much about the Vikings that I didn't know just from this fifty-page snapshot of a story! I also liked that every time a character's role finished in the story, it was announced: '...has left the saga.' It made me laugh a lot! I really wish there had been a bit less info-dumping and that the plot was not so obvious. Also, the characters had very distinct personalities but were not all that interesting to me.

Last Week's Shenanigans (12th November - 18th November)...

It really struck me this week just how close Mat and I are to our wedding. Like, really close! It's only in June, which is about half a year away at this point and I'm really happy that we've got so much organised up until this point. There'll be more to sort in the new year of course, but for now, I'm feeling content.

I Read...


I Received...

- 'The Enchanted Sonata' by Heather Dixon Wallwork: NetGalley (12/11/18)
- 'The Poppy War' by R.F. Kuang: NetGalley (15/11/18)

Monday, 12 November 2018

Last Week's Shenanigans (5th November - 11th November)...

Mat and I have actually had a really nice week, particularly as we've ended up with a few days off. Guy Fawkes night was particularly fun, even though we didn't go out, as a friend from work came to see us and we spent the evening playing horror games! If anyone has ever heard of Outlast, then you'll know what I'm talking about! It's a terrifying video game, set in an Asylum where some crazy experimentation has gone on. We are really enjoying it so far and are really impressed by the quality of experience.

I Read...

I Received...

- 'Opposite Of Always' by Justin A. Reynolds: Netgalley (09/11/18)
- 'Enchantée' by Gita Trelease: Netgalley (09/11/18)
- 'Fierce Fragile Hearts' by Sara Barnard: Netgalley (09/11/18)
- 'Feminists Don't Wear Pink & Other Lies' by Scarlett Curtis et al.: Bought (09/11/18)


Top Ten Tuesday: Backlist Books Still Waiting On My Shelves

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: My picks for 'Backlist Books Still Waiting On My Shelves'.

Oh my goodness I could probably make a list of ten every week I have so many. It makes me very sad, but then also kind of excited because that means I have a ton of books to read! Yay! 


1) 'Temeraire' by Naomi Novik. I have a large number of Naomi Novik's books waiting to read, but I actually got this for free when I pre-ordered by copy of 'Inheritance' by Christopher Paolini, and like that book (more on that later), it stayed on the shelf. It looks really good though!

2) 'Inheritance' by Christopher Paolini. I'm actually so ashamed of this one. The problem is, it's been so long since I read the first three books that I'll need to at least read the synopsis for each one again before diving into this!

3) 'The Wise Man's Fear' by Patrick Rothfuss. A long time ago I read and adored 'The Name Of The Wind', then read it again after buying this so I'd be ready to read this book. But I never did and I'm definitely putting it off because of the same issue as Paolini's book!

4) 'Angela Carter's Book Of Fairy Tales' by Angela Carter. I think that I would really love Angela Carter's books if only I got round to reading them! I bought this ages ago in the hopes of this being the first one, but I still haven't managed it.

5) 'The Night Circus' by Erin Morgenstern. This book has a gorgeous cover, magical synopsis and looks right up my alley, and yet it remains on the shelf. I have no idea why. Maybe because it's a large book to look at?

6) 'Cruel Beauty' by Rosamund Hodge. I love fairy tale retellings, and 'Beauty And The Beast' is one of my all time favourites. This has been sitting on my shelf for such a silly amount of time, and every time I see it I get a little irritated at myself.

7) 'The Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harold Fry' by Rachel Joyce. I actually bought this as part of a deal in a supermarket quite a while ago, and I remember seeing it all over Goodreads at the time. Now, not so much, but I still think it looks like it will be a great read. When I get to it.

8) 'Half Bad' by Sally Green. The witch series that I never started. I've seen many mixed reviews on this set of books and I was definitely intrigued by the synopsis, but can't seem to bring myself to actually start!

9) 'The Scorpio Races' by Maggie Stiefvater. I would love to get myself to start a Maggie Stiefvater book at all. Any one. I've heard wonderful things about her 'The Raven Cycle' series. But this standalone also looks like an awesome place to start!

10) 'Red Ink' by Julie Mayhew. This always looks like such a summer read to me, and every year I promise I'm going to read it. Preferably while on holiday. Every year, I remember it when I've hit Autumn. But, I am going to Croatia for my honeymoon next June, so I'm going to give it a good go then!

Book Review: A Study In Charlotte; Brittany Cavallaro.

I had so much excitement for this book, and it was certainly well worth the wait!  I really enjoyed this retelling of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's famous 'Sherlock Holmes' series.

TYPE: Paperback

TITLE: A Study In Charlotte
AUTHOR: Brittany Cavallaro
SERIES: Charlotte Holmes (#1)
PUBLISHER: Katherine Tegen Books
PAGES: 321
GENRE: Young Adult, Mystery, Retelling, Contemporary

RATING: 4/5 Stars

The last thing Jamie Watson wants is a rugby scholarship to Sherringford, a Connecticut prep school just an hour away from his estranged father. But that’s not the only complication: Sherringford is also home to Charlotte Holmes, the famous detective’s great-great-great-granddaughter, who has inherited not only Sherlock’s genius but also his volatile temperament. From everything Jamie has heard about Charlotte, it seems safer to admire her from afar.

From the moment they meet, there’s a tense energy between them, and they seem more destined to be rivals than anything else. But when a Sherringford student dies under suspicious circumstances, ripped straight from the most terrifying of the Sherlock Holmes stories, Jamie can no longer afford to keep his distance. Jamie and Charlotte are being framed for murder, and only Charlotte can clear their names. But danger is mounting and nowhere is safe—and the only people they can trust are each other.

What I Liked:

  • I really enjoyed the mystery here, and found myself hooked from about a quarter of the way through. I seriously couldn't put it down! The plot felt very nicely paced (at least, from that point) and there were plenty of twists and turns to keep me interested.
  • The relationship between Charlotte and Jamie felt very much like a classic Holmes and Watson pairing but there was a little bit of romantic tension in there too which kept the dynamic interesting. I actually really liked their characters, especially Charlotte, and the characters they interacted with were interesting too.
What I Disliked:
  • I felt a little too 'dropped' into the story. There was no build up - a ton of crimes happen in the first few pages before I had time to really understand the implications. I like to build into backstory and character development slowly, not have it all dumped on me.
  • I also really wasn't a fan of a whole family of Holmeses and Watsons that are all supposedly alike to their famous counterparts in personality and ability, and revered around the world. I got the reasoning behind it but it felt a bit forced and cheesy.
Overall Conclusion:
This was a cracking read. I wasn't sure at first, I felt that I'd been dropped into the deep end with it a little bit. But I liked the sense of humour, the mystery, the comparisons to Arthur Conan Doyle's original works and it was good to see a well-written detective duo again. I hope that they don't make too much more of Charlotte's drug addiction in the next one and that we can get a little less focus on information and more on the story itself. I'll definitely be reading book two though!

Monday, 5 November 2018

Last Week's Shenanigans (29th October - 4th November)...

What a great week it has been! It started off so nicely because our wedding photographer was around in London and agreed to do a pre-wedding shoot for us in Richmond Park! She brought her adorable daughter along and it was a really fun, autumnal afternoon out! Here's a photo shot by a three year old child that makes any photos that I've ever taken completely redundant.

I Read...

I Received...

- 'Once Upon A River' by Diane Setterfield: Netgalley (02/11/18)


Top Ten Tuesday: Horror Books I would Love To Read [Part III]

I Posted...

October Wrap-Up
Planned Reads for November

Thursday, 1 November 2018

Planned Reads for November.

October may be over, but the beginning of November is still very Autumnal and a great time of year for some darker, spookier reads. I've got some exciting planned books coming up for this month!

I'm currently reading 'A Study In Charlotte' by Brittany Cavallaro, and I'm really excited about this retelling of Arthur Conan Doyle's classic 'Sherlock Holmes' series brought into a more contemporary setting. It will be interesting to see what she does with it!

I'm also a little way through 'The Corset' by Laura Purcell and loving it. Such intriguing characters and story so far, I can't wait to get to the bottom of the mystery! Also, I haven't read a book about a serial killer in a while and find it so fascinating!

I really did look forward to reading Kendra Leighton's retelling of 'The Highwayman', 'Glimpse' and the front of the book has a copy of the poem too which is awesome. I hope it lives up to my relatively high expectations!

If any cover screams Autumn, it's this one. Foxes are actually my favourite animal, so Lucy Jones's 'Foxes Unearthed' seems like a great read to learn more about them, and the folklore surrounding them, as well as an interesting insight into why people love/hate them.

Books involving witches are best read during the Autumn. At least, I think so. Irena Brignull's 'The Hawkweed Prophecy' certainly looks interesting, with a really pretty cover too. I can't wait to read it!

It's about time I went back to getting through some of the series I own and have slightly abandoned. I enjoyed 'Rebel Of The Sands' a lot, especially the first half. I'm hoping that the second book in Alwyn Hamilton's series, 'Traitor To The Throne' is also good and adds a lot to the plot.

'The Long Way To A Small, Angry Planet' by Becky Chambers has been on my TBR pile for a while, and I love how much the synopsis puts me in mind of a fantastic console game, Mass Effect. I'm actually so excited about this book!

I've been really excited about Erin Bowman's follow up to 'Vengeance Road', 'Retribution Rails'. It looks so exciting and I'm looking forward to more YA Wild West with strong heroines, sizzling romance and plenty of adventure.