Author: Thor Hanson
Genre: Non-Fiction / Natural World
First published: 10 July 2018 by Basic Books
Edition: E-book, courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher
This was just the type of non-fiction book I like reading, which meant that I learned a lot from it without having the feeling I am being lectured to.
Thor Hanson has a wonderful way of explaining the world of bees, as if he is telling the reader about his discoveries as he delves deeper into this fascinating (and essential) group of insects. The passion the author has for his subject is clear and he explained things very well without getting too preachy or scientific. I loved the way he involved his young son occasionally in the narrative, as it is so important we teach our children the importance to take care of the world around us. Teaching our children to love nature is to teach them to love the world.
I enjoyed finding out about various types of bees, their behaviours and the way small changes to their environment can have major consequences. What I took away from this book is that the issues bees seem to have around the globe can be fixed if we only put a bit of effort in.
I read a similar book, Our Native Bees (Paige Embry), last year, which ended up being one of my favourite reads of the year and this one was pretty special as well. I seem to like the subject of bees!
6 out of 7 stars
Title: Bloodfire Quest (The Dark Legacy of Shannara #2)
Author: Terry Brooks
Genre: Fiction / Fantasy Pages: 465
First published: 2013
Edition: Paperback, published by Orbit in 2013
There is something about Terry Brooks’ writing that I really love. I love his way of telling a story and the way he manages to keep things light even when the tale is dark. When I have been reading other fantasy books, coming back to the Shannara world always feels refreshing somehow. I have been reading about that world since I was a teenager and now, after all these years and those books it feels familiar to me like no other fantasy world does.
There is a lot of death in this book, but in true Brooks style, none of it is too graphic or lingered on. The characters are always moving forward, taking action. Many of the elements of this series are elements that have been told before, ie the dying Elcryss, venturing in to the Forbidding, demons, The Federation, an assassin. It is all classic Terry Brooks fare and nothing new, but man, do I enjoy that stuff! The only thing that bugs me slightly is that I don’t feel as much of a connection to Railing and Redden Ohmsford as I have done to the Ohmsfords that have gone before. I also did not quite love the way the Elcryss was written in this book. However, I love Alphenglow Elessedil and the overall storylines.
A lot happens in Bloodfire Quest without much getting resolved, but it had a awesome cliffhanger and I cannot wait to continue the series. Witch Wraith is the final book in this trilogy and is already waiting on my shelves.
5 out of 7 stars
Title: Lord of Chaos (The Wheel of Time #6)
Author: Robert Jordan
Genre: Fiction / Fantasy Pages: 1010
First published: 1994
Edition: Mass Market Paperback, published by Orbit in 1999
It took me a while to get into this re-read of the sixth instalment of The Wheel of Time. I guess going into a big book like this there is some apprehension at the start, a feeling of climbing a mountain. I started out reading only about 20 pages a day, which is not many considering I had 1000 pages ahead of me!
However, about a third into the book it started to change and although I still skimmed some of the less interesting/less important parts (which I figured was allowed since it was a re-read) I got more and more invested into what was happening. By the end I had stopped skimming altogether and really got into the story. Jordan is so good at painting a vivid picture of what is happening, that I did feel myself getting sucked in.
Having said that, I did feel myself being annoyed at several of the characters in this book. I have heard many people complain about Rand, but I don’t actually have an issue with his character development. My main issue is the way Jordan portrays any characters that are either falling in love or already in love. They all seem to turn into simpering idiots and stop behaving like they did before they were in love. It really annoyed me throughout the book. This goes for Perrin and Faile, Min, Elayne, Aviendha and yes, also Rand to a smaller extent. I wish someone had told Jordan that falling in love does not equate to turning into an absolute idiot.
Of course I want to avoid spoilers, but at times I was not quite sure why certain events went the way they did, or why people were put in the positions they were. On some occasions it simply did not make sense.
Overall, I think this sixth book was slightly weaker than the first four books, but a bit stronger than the fifth book. I still enjoyed large parts of it, but there were bits that could have been left out to make it a more condensed and more exciting to read, but this may be because I already know the outcome.
I was going to give four stars, but I sped through the last 100 pages. Jordan knows how to end a book.
5 out of 7 stars
Title: The King’s Witch ( The Frances Gorges Trilogy #1)
Author: Tracy Borman
Genre: Fiction / Hstorical Fiction
First published: 14 June 2018 by Hodder & Stoughton
Edition: E-book, courtesy of NetGalley and Atlantic Monthly Press
Set against the backdrop of the political turmoil that was the reign of King James I in the early 1600s, Borman has created a novel that is full of intrigue, yet manages to make it very human.
Frances makes a strong heroine that you cannot help but root for amidst historic figures. You can feel Frances’ frustration as her fate is always decided upon by others and yet she knows her duty and I found myself admiring her for her loyalty to those she holds dear.
Because this is a story created within the confounds of historical events, you already have a sense what will happen with certain storylines and the ending was predictable, but Borman managed to keep it fresh and interesting and I did not really mind.
Overall, this was a great read and I am looking forward to future books in the trilogy.
Highly recommended if you like historical fiction set during this time period. You will not be disappointed.
6 out of 7 stars
Title: The Fox of Richmond Park
Author: Kate Dreyer
Genre: Fiction / Animal Fiction
First published: 2017
Edition: e-book, published by Unbound Digital
I do like a bit of animal fiction and this one caught my eye as I used to live near Richmond Park, which is south west edge of London. I even got married in Richmond Park!
For the first couple of chapters I was a bit worried that I was not going to like this novel. The fact that the foxes cried tears and sobbed like humans bothered me, but it remained the one thing from the book I disliked. Other than that, the characters and story itself are really solid. This is a tale of a journey full of adventure and I enjoyed it a lot.
The park politics were definitely something that we as people should take note off, as unfortunately it is not that far from the truth in our every day human lives. There are always groups of people who believe they are better than everyone else. Whether the author meant it as a commentary on current world politics I am not sure, but it was certainly pretty apt.
If you are into animal fiction you are sure to enjoy this book. At the moment it is only available as e-book, but in my humble opinion it definitely deserves publication in a physical format. If they could edit out the animals crying tears I would add a star, as that really bothered me.
5 out of 7 stars
Title: Windsworn (Gryphon Riders Trilogy #1)
Author: Derek Alan Siddoway
Genre: Fiction / YA / Fantasy
First published: 2017
Edition: e-book, courtesy of the author
This YA fantasy took me on quite some ride! It took me a couple of chapters, but once I was hooked, I was hooked!
In the beginning I was worried that this would be like any other ‘chosen one’ YA book, and maybe in some ways it was, but it was so full adventure and colour that I sped through the pages. I loved Eva’s character, who was both scared and brave. Her emotions and actions were believable. The love interest was not overdone and did not rule the story, which is something I appreciate. I loved the gryphons and I am hoping we will find out more about these creatures in subsequent books. I loved the climax and for a change I had not guessed who the baddy was, which is always a bonus!
Overall, I was really impressed with the writing. There were a few bits where I was like ‘hold on, what?’ and I had to retrace a moment because it felt a bit rushed, but overall I think this was a really good read and I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone who enjoys YA fantasy.
6 out of 7 stars
Title: Before We Met
Author: Lucie Whitehouse
Genre: Fiction / Domestic Thriller / Psychological Thriller
First published: 2014
Edition: paperback, published in 2014 by Bloomsbury Publishing
Domestic thrillers are not my usual reading fare and this one is classed (apparently) as a marriage thriller. I picked it up on a whim when I had a spa day with my best friend and I fancied something a bit different. I was actually pleasantly surprised how quickly I got caught up in this what-the-hell-is-going-on type of book. I found I would rather sit and read this book than sweat away in a sauna!
I liked Hannah’s character a lot (on a side note I never thought she came a across as a ‘Hannah’, if you know what I mean). Her actions and thoughts were relatable and I really felt myself rooting for her. I found the male characters a little less so, but not problematic. The way the author used flashbacks felt a bit untidy, but I think they really built a good base for the events taking place in the present. This was a good book, without it being amazingly written and in a way I kind of liked that.
The figured out the twist quite early, but I do not think it took away from the fact that I do think Before We Met was a real pageturner.
This is a great book to read when you’re lounging by the pool or on a beach somewhere, especially when you normally enjoy chick lit, but you fancy something a bit darker.
5 out of 7 stars