Wrap Up – October

How is it November already?! I got a bit side tracked again this month so my reading was rather low compared to September, but that’s OK.

My Fav

Although The Finders surprised me, I also got to enjoy it in ways I wasn’t expecting!

I went in expecting the book to be focused on the dogs, and found it focuses much more on the murder and the mystery. Yes, the dogs play an important part of the story. But they aren’t the central narrative.

The cool thing is that it’s a series, so I’m hoping I can keep reading them as they come out.

My Least Fav

Legends Rise isn’t a bad book. I actually rated it 4 stars and can’t wait for the next one to come out. It just wasn’t QUITE as good as the others I read in October.

It just had the unfortunate luck to fall in the same month as a few others books that I really enjoyed.

If you haven’t read my reviews of the Venators series, you seriously should!

With the way things are going for me at the moment I’m wanting to hold off on scheduling any more reviews than I’ve already agreed to do this year as I have a few things I want to focus on and more reviews will make this difficult to do.

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Wrap Up – August & September

It’s been two months since I shared a Wrap Up with you and that’s entirely my fault coz I just got way too busy. How’d I get so busy in Stage 4 lockdown? No idea!

August Reviews

September Reviews

I think I made up for July’s lack of romance in these two months… I think they all have at least an element of romance in them. How’d that happen?

My Fav

I’ll be reviewing the Sea Dragons of Amber Bay trilogy in October, and I can assure you. Of the two I’ve read so far, they’re amazing!

I was blown away by this book and was IMMEDIATELY messaging Zoe asking when I’d get the second book, Ensnared, to read.

Please make sure you come back for this trilogy!

My Least Fav

I was actually broken hearted that this one was my least fav. I love Christmas and I really enjoy reading Lucy’s books so it really upset me that I didn’t enjoy this one as much.

I mentioned it in my review, but I do think I didn’t enjoy this as much as I could have because I was in a bit of a funk personally. We’ve all experienced the fatigue that lockdown has on us, and I read this during a period where we weren’t allowed outside for more than 1 hour and it really just got to me.

I honestly think if I tried this again when I’m in a better frame of mind I would enjoy it more. So this is totally on me, not Lucy!

My Goals

Yea can I skip this bit?

Other than having a stellar September (after following a dismal August) reading month, I haven’t really made any progress on any of my goals. This lockdown crap really sucks.

For anyone that might be interested, since July 3rd my city has been in lockdown. For the first 4 weeks it was Stage 3, then our COVID cases spiked so much we went into Stage 4. What is Stage 4 I hear you asking?

Well, that means we can:

  • Only leave our house for work or study if we’re a permitted worker or it’s unsafe for us to stay at home (nice of them to acknowledge the increase in family violence there)
  • Can’t move more than 5km (3 miles) from our homes UNLESS for permitted work or study (noted above)
  • Only 1 member of a household can go to the shops ONCE per day
  • No more than 2 people from a household can exercise together
  • You must remain on your property (curfew) between 8pm to 5am
  • You can only exercise for ONE hour a day (and apparently you were meant to stay near home… not drive to somewhere within your 5km radius and exercise there… not that they told us that bit…)
  • You can’t see any friends or family UNLESS you’re an official carer
  • Restaurants are open for takeaway ONLY and must close early enough to get everyone home by the start of the curfew

Are you beginning to sense why I went a little stir crazy in August and struggled?

Not to mention I swear everyone near me got dogs, don’t care about training them and they all walk their dogs at different times so it’s impossible for me to walk my poor baby at a time where he won’t have to come face to face with his biggest fears on a daily basis. I honestly can’t wait for this to be over.

I hope you’re all travelling safe and not feeling too down about all this. Remember, if we all look after ourselves, get tested, wear our masks etc we can get rid of this damned virus.

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Wrap Up – July

I should’ve had one more review this month, but I didn’t coz I just ran out of time to set it up!

Of the 6 reviews, 3 of them are me finishing off another series review for The Boys of Jackson Harbour. Go me!

My Fav

I really enjoyed this one! I didn’t have to wait long since the previous book which was great. But it also reminded me why I need to go back and read the first 3 book!

I promise, reviews for the full series of First Comes Love is coming!

My Least Fav

You won’t have to wait long for my review of this, it’s coming out tomorrow!

As much as I love Zoe’s books, there was just something about this one that wasn’t as great as the others. It’s not that it was bad, it just felt like it was missing something.

Something that I’ve chosen to do across the month of August is to participate in Pawgust.

Pawgust is a challenge to walk for 30 minutes a day for 30 days in the month of August. The goal is to raise enough money to raise and train 22 puppies to become Guide Dogs in Australia.

I know many of you aren’t from Australia, but if you can spare a few dollars you can donate on my Pawgust Page. You can even follow my progress at Bones’ Instagram page to make sure we actually do walk 30 minutes a day for 30 days!

Pretty please help me raise funds to help those with low or no vision so they can get around independently. Ever dollar really does help go towards the $55,000 needed to raise a single puppy.

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Author Interview: Shami Stovall

Hi Shami,

Thank you for taking the time to do a Q&A with me. I was a little upset I’d already committed to as many reviews as I could handle when Dave told me about your book, Knightmare Arcanist, coming on tour. It sounds fascinating so I wanted to get in the tour in any way I could.

I’m looking forward to hearing what you have to say, so I’ll kick off my questions now!

  1. You’ve released the first 4 books since June 2019, how long was this story in your head
    • First off, thank you for having me!
    • It’s a pleasure to be here! In terms of books? The series is set for 7 books and one spin-off of short stories from the viewpoint of other characters.
  2. What was the inspiration for these characters?
    • Each character is a little part of me, but it’s actually a bunch of archetypes I just love to see. Volke is filled with determination, and clashes with the haughty Zaxis. Illia is resourceful, and helps Volke whenever she can—the dynamics are what I love best!
  3. How did you come up with such a unique take on magic and mythical creatures?
    • I really love magical creatures, I have Pokemon to blame! Anything to do with creature companions as well. These are my jam. As for the magic system, I just thought it would be interesting to have magics based on the creatures themselves. Finding the biggest and best creature—the adventure of growing alongside them. So many possibilities!
  4. Which character is your favourite and why?
    • Volke and Zelfree are tied for me. Volke because of his personality. I adore it. And Zelfree because he gets lost in his own failings sometimes—very relatable, at least to me!
  5. Does this series have a finite number of books, or could it go on forever?
    • The series is planned for 7 (plus 1) but I’ve given thought to a sequel series already. Maybe it could go on forever?
  6. Have you got plans for more books in the series?
    • I’m currently writing the fifth book, World Serpent Arcanist. So, yes! Plenty more!
  7. If you could pick any actor to play Volke, who would it be and why?
    • I would probably go with Alex Landi—but maybe someone younger? I think he might be too old now.
  8. Does the cover artwork represent something significant in each book?
    • Yes, definitely! The cover of Knightmare Arcanist has the phoenix and Volke’s black sword!
  9. What are you currently reading? What do you think of it so far?
    • I’m currently reading A Daughter of Blood by Anne Bishop. I love it! This is the third time I’m reading through it.
  10. If you could sum up this book in one sentence to make people read it, what would that sentence be?
    • Probably: a coming-of-age fantasy filled with pirates, mythical creatures, and a plague most foul!

Thank you again for taking the time to answer my questions! I hope you had as much fun as I did. And I’m looking forward to reading your books in the future.

Anthea – Proud Book Reviews

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Mid-Year Freak Out Tag – the 2020 edition

I discovered this tag last year and the lovely ladies over at The Book Duchesses reminded me it’s time to do this one again. If I’ve reviewed the book the cover will link to the review while you’ll also find links to the series pages for quite a few of them as well. Just in case you’d like to check out my reviews for the rest of the series!

Best book you’ve read so far

This book was so great. So many great characters and such a great story. Camilla did do well with this one that I decided I needed to go back and buy the first few books I haven’t read yet. Reviews for those will be coming once I’ve read them!

Best sequel you’ve read so far

It was a long two year wait for this one but man it was worth it! Sean definitely knows how to write suspense and thriller! The Circle-A Killings title didn’t make sense to me until I read it. But it fits perfectly and such a great follow up!

New release you haven’t read yet, but want to

I totally forgot this one was coming out until I saw someone’s review of it! It’s one both my partner and I want to read. Maybe we’ll read it this yr. Maybe not?

Most anticipated release for the second half of the year

Definitely Our Time! I haven’t even read the second or third book but I’m already looking forward to this one!

Biggest disappointment

I was really disappointed with this one. I loved Kristin’s books last yr, but Rise of Gaia just didn’t do it for me.

Biggest surprise

I’m not really a fan of YA but Devri Walls totally surprised me with Venators! To me it read more like a NA rather than YA which explains why I liked it.

I’ve already read the sequel and the third book is coming out shortly so hopefully I’ll get to read that one this yr too.

Favourite new author (debut or new to you)

I had quite a few new authors this year, but DL Orton tops the cake. So much so I’m planning to read the next 3 books in the series this year!

But I also wanted to give Darryl A. Woods and Devri Walls shout out’s coz I really enjoyed their books!

Newest fictional crush

Jamie Carter from If I Never Met You. He’s what my partner would say is a guy that has “just the right amount of ass hole”. That guy that is nice, friendly, caring etc but at the same time not 100% PC in a way that makes him amazing.

Newest favourite character

This one was so hard!!! I like characters for different reasons. I decided to go with When Adam Met Evie because it’s set in Australia, reminded me so much of our beautiful country and at the same time stayed down to earth.

With everything Adam has going on in his life, he still managed to make his own decisions and do what was best for him. To me, that says a lot about his strength of character.

Book that made you cry

The whole Lisa Miller and AJ Williams series made me cry. Although I read Lisa’s trilogy last year and AJ’s this year so I guess his is the one I’m putting here.

Favourite book to film adaptation you’ve seen this year

I’m not sure I can count Lord of the Rings so I’m going with this. But we also re-watched LOTR a few weeks ago and I do love those movies.

Favourite review you’ve written this year

I loved Of Night and Dark Obscurity and I’m really happy with how I was able to write about it without ruining the story. Because that would’ve been too easy to do!

I might also be super proud of the banner I made for it! I mean, look at how pretty this is! This book’s cover is just amazing and made it so easy to make a pretty banner!

Most beautiful book you’ve bought or received this year

I don’t really buy many physical books so I don’t see many pretty covers. But I did buy this so I could read and review it (eventually) and it is pretty nice.

What book(s) do you need to read by the end of this year

OMG! So many! I’ve committed to the Aussie Author Challenges and I still need to read:

  • The Alchemist’s Key
  • Stray
  • Thief’s Magic
  • Ballarat Character Vol 1
  • The Landing
  • The Time Traveller’s Wife
  • Altered Carbon (need to finish it, I’m about halfway through)
  • Thirty-Eight Reasons
  • And an unknown book that has a main character who’s name starts with “U” (I need help with this one, any suggestions please give them to me!!!)

So I might have totally forgotten how difficult this is! For some of them I felt like I had too many choices, while for others I didn’t have enough!

I hope you had fun playing along with me!

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Wrap Up – June

This month has only been reviews but I’m so glad I was able to keep up with my schedule. I’m slowly getting back on track so hopefully I’ll get back to being about 3-4 weeks ahead so I don’t have to stress soon!

Out of 9 reviews I’m actually surprised only 3 are romance given my penchant for reading romance since blogging. You’ll hopefully continue to see a good mix of genres in the future, but you never know!

My Fav

This was so incredibly close to Crossing in Time but If It’s Only Love only just won out. Probably because it’s the end of the series. It wow’d me in so many good ways and I just loved every minute of it!

My review for this is coming in June so you’ll need to come back then to see all my thoughts. Sorry!

But please also check out Crossing in Time coz I’ll be reading the rest of the series (what’s available) in the next few months so I’ll be sharing those reviews closer to the release date of the next book to be released.

My Least Fav

I’m actually hating that I have to put The Summoned Ones as my least fav book for this month. Like, I gave it 4 stars! That’s not a bad book!

It just happened that I liked the others a smidgen more than this one.

Darryl is a debut author and I’ve given him some feedback above what I’ve written in my review because I really want to see him succeed and continue to publish books. They were all minor things that many authors publishing through publishing houses could improve on too.

Please go and read my review, check out his site and show some support coz I really wanna read the next book and I know a few of you would enjoy this as well.

Bookish Goals Progress

I’m kicking butt at reading more sci-fi. Found a new series so be prepared for the rest of the series coming to you in the coming months!

My GoodReads goal is going well. I’ve read 42 books this year out of the 80 I said I wanted to read. So at halfway through the year I’m just over halfway through my goal! YAY!

My Aussie challenges aren’t going as fast as I thought they would. I really need to make time to read those books! I’ve read 30% of the Aussie Author Bingo (no change since last month) and 72% of the A-Z of Characters challenge (up from 64% last month).

Although I’m almost at the point of asking if I can use a character with U in the name somewhere rather than as the first letter of their first or last name. I just can’t seem to find a book I want to read, or plan to read that fulfils this one!

Personal Goals Progress

Yea these are pretty much on hold. LOL!

Running has stopped for a few reasons. 1, it’s too bloody cold and my treadmill isn’t good for my running program and 2, I don’t trust the morons out with their dogs to keep away from Bones.

Because of said morons I’ve had to pull his walking back all the way to our street and I’m only just starting to venture out to our block. We’ve had a lot of set backs thanks to COVID-19 with his anxiety and stuff. But we’re making progress again so I’m hoping I can keep that forward momentum.

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Wrap Up – April and May

It’s been two months since I’ve done one of these so I’ll be doing a wrap up for both April and May today. In that time I’ve done 14 reviews and 2 posts

I had planned on having a few more come out, but I got caught up in 50+ hour working weeks and… you know… things happened!

My Fav

Song of the Soul was the last book in the series. I enjoyed every book in this series and it was a REALLY close call between this one and Venators: Promises Forged (review coming in June).

I know not every series ends well. But Lisa didn’t let that happen this time!

You can see reviews for all seven books in the series on the Muse Chronicles page.

My Least Fav

Overall, I enjoyed Holding out for a Hero. I just found parts could be improved upon to make it amazing. It just wasn’t quite there enough for me to fully engage with it and love it like I’ve loved other books.

Check out my review to see why I thought it could be improved.

Bookish Goals Progress

Well I FINALLY finished reviewing all the books in one of Tamora Pierce’s books. I think I’ll wait until I’ve actually written all the reviews for the next world before scheduling those reviews. That way you won’t have to wait so long and with random gaps between reviews to see what I thought.

I nailed all the series reviews I had planned (Time for Alexander and the Muse Chronicles) YAY! I even have a few more planned. Some I’ve read most of, some I’ve read a couple and want to finish. But you’ll see those coming over the next few months.

I’ve read 30% of the books for the Aussie Author Bingo and 64% of the A-Z of Characters. I’ve got a few of those planned to be reviewed in the next month or so, so that number will keep going up! I’m slowly getting there!

Other than the fact I’m stuck on a book with a character whose name starts with U. I mean seriously. How have I not come across a single book where a character’s name starts with a U this year?!

Otherwise, I’m not doing so great at my reading goals. Does anyone want to help me with my book database? It’s just data entry! lol…

Personal Goals Progress

Well with this damned coronavirus going around my gym has shut down. And since I have asthma that’s triggered by the cold and we’re coming into winter where I live, I won’t be going back for a bit once it’s allowed to reopen. Coz you know. Compromised respiratory system and respiratory virus isn’t really a good mix.

I have been able to keep up my running though! I’m now up to Week 6 Day 1 (5 mins jogging, 3 mins walk, 8 mins jogging, 3 mins walk, 5 mins jogging) and going strong. I stay on the same day until I feel like I can do it comfortably before moving on.

Otherwise I’ve just been working like crazy for 2 clients. One we’re still working on the prototype (once we’ve got the template nailed they’ll be super quick to make in the future) and one is a contract where I’m employed as an individual. But it’s still doing the same work I do as my business so I’m super happy!

Anyway, assuming I can remember (and feel like looking at a screen) to schedule all my reviews as I’ve got planned, you’ll be getting one or two reviews each week until end of August.

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Altered Carbon – The Wrong Man (Season 01 Episode 05)

  • Episode length: 53 minutes
  • Number of pages: 49
  • Number of chapters: 4

We’re back to the show and the book falling in line with each other. Kind of.

I had a few issues figuring out where to stop reading since a fair few things that happened in the show haven’t happened in the book. And I don’t mean like the single event that the episode ended on. I mean like 3 different things.  

SPOILERS AHEAD – WON’T RUIN THE SHOW BUT WILL TELL YOU SOME THINGS YOU MIGHT NOT WANT TO KNOW BEFORE WATCHING/READING IT

SHOWBOOK
The interview with Kadmin was done illegally in a real bodyThe interview with Kadmin was done legitimately in virtual reality
The Raven finds out about Bancroft being at the fight ring and Kovacs tells OrtegaThe visit Kovacs and Ortega pay to Kadmin’s lawyers is how they find out about the fight ring
The fight ringleader shows them footage of Bancroft getting into a fight with his son in the standsThe fight ringleader answers some questions but has no footage to show them and appears to be holding back on info
Ortega is badly wounded while Bautista is killed after interviewing KadminThis doesn’t happen in the book at all

I didn’t find too many similarities in this section of the book as we seem to be getting more and more variations. As more and more little things change the flow on effects mean more changes need to be made as well.

We may see some things circling back and being shown/read later down the line but I’m not going to know until I get to them.

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Altered Carbon – Force of Evil (Season 01 Episode 04)

  • Episode length: 53 minutes
  • Pages read: 32
  • Chapters read: 3

As I continue my comparison of the book to the TV show, I’ve found that they are in line again. But will it continue?

SPOILERS AHEAD – WON’T RUIN THE SHOW BUT WILL TELL YOU SOME THINGS YOU MIGHT NOT WANT TO KNOW BEFORE WATCHING/READING IT

SHOWBOOK
Kovacs wakes up in his own body with no enhancements and some defaultsKovacs wakes up in a female body with no enhancements
Kovacs remembers his training with Falconer to beat the virtual tortureKovacs remembers his friend Jimmy to beat the virtual torture
Kovacs gives the speech after waking up that convinces them to unlock himKovacs gives the speech in virtual that gets him released from the torture
Kovacs kills everyone in the facility after getting free and before leavingKovacs leaves with an escort then kills them while in the flying car
Kovacs leaves with Kadmins headKovacs leaves with a doctor’s head
Kovacs sees Ortega at the hotelKovacs goes back to kill everyone after escaping the car and avoids the cops as they arrive

Although Kovacs was tortured in both the book and the show, the show was much more graphic and detailed. Which explains why the book was short compared to it being so accurate to the show. Given books generally have more time and space to be more graphic I was a little surprised that this was the case.

The overall feel of the episode followed the book; however, I’m starting to see more and more differences. Which is ok!

Adapting a book to a film version does mean changes will happen. Which is great coz we get to see the writer’s interpretation of the book. And I’m excited to see what those changes will include!

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