Monday, 20 January 2014

75 Books in 2014 Challenge

Time for an update on how this is going! Hopefully this year I will succeed having failed last year.. so I reduced the challenge from 100 to 75..

1) First up a Christmas present introducing me to a new fantasy author:

The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive, #1)The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The opening book in a series so it has to establish the main characters and the background to the plot. Had me finding it hard to put down at times despite the high body count. Leaves me wanting to go out and get the next one to find out what happens next..

2) Then revisiting an old favourite but in audio form from audible:

The Colour of MagicThe Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have always loved this book and having listened to one Discworld CD I was keen to start using my Audible account to get more. Great story but not as keen on Nigel Planer as narrator..

3) Next the latest in a children's fantasy series:

The House of Hades (The Heroes of Olympus, #4)The House of Hades by Rick Riordan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

We have been waiting to see what would happen after Percy and Annabeth fell into Tarturus after defeating Arachnae and saving the Athena Parthenos. The 5 remaining demi gods and a satyr on Argo II must get to Greece and the House of Hades to reach the Gates of Death. They hope to stop Gaia releasing more monsters into the world and save Percy and Annabeth. They will each have to learn how to harness their various talents and powers in order to succeed as they battle a range of monsters and gods whilst meeting some intriguing allies.

Meanwhile Percy and Annabeth have to safely cross Tarturus facing enemies old and new plus an unexpected appearance from an old adversary turned friend... Will they make it to the Doors of Death...

Plenty of fascinating mythology, battles plus each individual has plenty of story to keep you reading. Another ending leaving us waiting until October 2014! Great part 4 of the series.

4) I waited to spend my birthday book token in the sales to get the latest book from one of my favourite historical fiction authors:

The Pagan Lord (The Saxon Stories, #7)The Pagan Lord by Bernard Cornwell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Uhtred is a far from ideal hero but he always stands up for his adopted kingdom even after he has been exiled and threatened with execution.

This part of the series covers a huge swathe of what is now England from Bamburgh (Bebbanburg) in Northumbria across to Chester, down to Gloucester and London. Facing his old enemies Cnut and Siggurd, the uncle who stole Bebbanburg from him and angry Christians in Wessex it's another epic story.

A great insight into history in the dark ages. Plenty of minor skirmishes and then a huge battle at the end - it's not a book for the squeamish.

Cornwell is a marvellous story teller and this is another brilliant book. Can't wait for book 8!

5) A browse in the fantasy section of the library to find something new:

Drakenfeld (Lucan Drakenfeld, #1)Drakenfeld by Mark Charan Newton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book is an intriguing mix of fantasy and murder mystery. Lucan is summoned back to his home city following the death of his father. He replaces him as the local agent for the Sun Chamber. He finds his birthplace much changed from when he left it.

Summoned to investigate a royal murder he is also being attacked by local villains. With a rising body count he must solve the murder before someone kills him.

There were plenty of twists in this book and I enjoyed reading it. The last few chapters don't seem quite as well written as the rest of the book though.

6) My daughter loves having some proper books at bedtime so we enjoyed this one together:

Demon DentistDemon Dentist by David Walliams
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another brilliant book by David Walliams. Loved reading it to my daughter at bedtime.

Had us laughing at times and scared at others. Why does know one believe the children that the new dentist is a witch?

A bitter sweet comedy that runs you through a gamut of emotions. Some great characters and once again with Raj the newsagent.

7) I realised that I hadn't read the last Game of Thrones paperback and it didn't take me long to make up for lost time:

A Dance with Dragons: After the Feast (A Song of Ice and Fire #5, Part 2 of 2)A Dance with Dragons: After the Feast by George R.R. Martin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Great to realise that you hadn't quite finished the most recent book in a series! This one has strands relating to all the main surviving characters.

Jon Snow at the Wall dealing with the conflicting needs of the Black Watch, the wildlings and King Stannis. Stannis himself facing harsh weather in his attempt to take Winterfell and free the girl they believe is Arya Stark. The real Arya still in the house of the god of many faces and learning their ways. Theon Greyjoy battling his internal demons and his fear of the Bastard of Bolton.

Down at King's Landing Cersei is being held on charges of fornication and treason as is Margarey. The power struggle round young King Tommen will claim more victims yet. His uncle Jaime and Brienne are searching for Sansa Stark who is masquerading as Littlefingers daughter.

Over the sea will Daenerys marry for passion or politics and master her dragons? Tyrion is now a slave so how can he regain his freedom. Other kingdoms send their princes to claim the hand of the dragon queen. Meanwhile is the true heir Aegon returning to the 7 kingdoms with a company of exiled mercenaries.

Lots more blood and intrigue in this story. Plenty of twists and turns. And we have to wait over a year to find out what happens next!

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