Url Phantomhive

Url Phantomhive

Trying to shed a light on the wonderful maze of books...

TBR Thursday

So, for starters I have a small confession to make. Taken together everything (including books that have been pressed onto me) I started 2019 with 1752 unread books. Last year this number increased with about 50 books, which already was the lowest in years. I hope to see a further decline in the rise of Mt. TBR, and maybe even end up with fewer books (though I can't make any promises, since I never now if Penguin decides to publish maybe a set of Little Purple classics, and I just have to get them all).

 

TBR as of today: 1744

Books read in 2019: 1

Pages: 185 (+ everything in the books I'm currently reading; pages are only counted once a book is finished)

 

What I've Read (Since Jan 1)

 

 

Currently Reading

 

On Paper

 

 

 

On eReader

 

 

                          

 

On Audio

 

 

Books added to Mt TBR

 

ARC

 

 

 

Have you read any of these books?

Review
4 Stars
The Hanging Tree
The Hanging Tree - Ben Aaronovitch


One of the things I really worry to much about when it comes to books is their height. I want my series to fit together and have on occasions taken a ruler into the bookstore to make sure I bought the right one. It completely beats me why there are so many different heights available or why this sometimes differs between UK and US editions. Usually, I'm most pleased by the standard 197mm edition, but these are for some reason often not brought onto the market for a full six to nine months after publication (sometimes even the MMP are released before!). I'm sorry for the rambling - what I wanted to say was that if you've been waiting for such a long time after publication, when the book finally arrives, it doesn't always scream as loudly as it did in the beginning, and in the case of The Hanging Tree, so many great book were passing by, I -shamefully- admit to forgetting about it until I saw the newest book in the series, Lies Sleeping, in stores recently. On the other hand, the series looks superbly in my book case.

The sixth novel in the Peter Grant series brings back a lot of old and new characters, ultimately centering once more on Peter and his, at this time grown into, arch nemesis. Since it was a while since I read the fifth book I was worried I would not get into the story easily, but I needn't worry. It was not hard to recognize why I like these books so much. The story is okay, but it is Peter's way of describing police procedural, diplomacy (with the Rivers) and life in general (which I can only describe as British) that really makes this series so wonderful. I mean, he uses the phrase 'hoi polloi'. Period.

Just an interesting side note to end this review with: The paperback edition of Lies Sleeping is currently planned for May 24th, and Book Depository describes the height as 198mm *inner scream*.

Review
4 Stars
Detective Stories
Rivers of London Volume 4: Detective Stories - Ben Aaronovitch, George Sullivan

The Rivers of London/Peter Grant is one of my favorite ongoing series and one of the things I like about it is the many different ways the stories are being told (novels, shorts, comics and there is also a free audio-exclusive). Also, it is British.

Detective stories includes four short stories of Peter's Falcon cases as he recalls them while being interviewed for a detective exam. I liked them a lot as they make the wait for the next novel more bearable.

Review
4 Stars
A Rare Book Of Cunning Device
A Rare Book of Cunning Device - Ben Aaronovitch, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, Audible Studios

A Rare Book of Cunning Device is a short audiobook free on Audible that is a part of the ever expanding universe around PC Peter Grant and his 'Falcon' adventures. I like how the series is spread across all different ways of reading (besides the main books and some short stories, the graphic novels - for me at least - have become an integral part of the series).

It's too short, but way too good to miss if you're into the series. It focuses on The British Library, which is a wonderful place by the way if you've never visited it.

Time To Wrap Up 2018

With the end of the year drawing near, it is time to make the balance. I told myself at the beginning of the year I wouldn't really set myself some reading goals I would have to struggle to fulfill, but it being me, of course I couldn't sit back and relax and have been reading like crazy for the last week and a half to get in some more books (in the end finishing 31 books this month, totaling over 8000 pages). Now I'm left with three more books, that I'm reading but won't finish this year, not in the least since they are all tomes in their own rights (Fire and Blood / Death's End / Iron Gold by George RR Martin, Cixin Liu and Pierce Brown, respective and all around 600-700 pages each). I do feel though that each of the three has the potential to have been my first and only five star read of the year.

 

The only reading goal I set myself at the beginning of 2018 was to read at least 50% books I owned from before the start of 2018 (For 2017 this was only around 20%). Since I've been said to hoard books like there is an apocalypse approaching, I wanted to prevent the Mt. TBR to reach heights I would not be able to scale in this lifetime. (Or end up being 30 with a house filled with unread books). I also have accumulated ARCs over the years, being the child in the proverbial candy story, so that was something that I also wanted to battle. Now, I hear you think, it can not be that hard to read just the older books, can it? I set myself to it and reach 61% this year. While more than reaching my goal, I was still surprised the number wasn't higher, considering I was thinking I was reading only ROOTs this year. Either way, I plan to continue on this road and keep giving priority to older books, while keeping in mind I will end up reading a lot of the new books also. But then, reading should be fun, and there are some books you just don't want to keep waiting.

 

Book wise, I finished 207 books, which is equal + 1 to what I read in 2014, but I'm happy with the number. I'm now a PhD student, and I've had the first real reading slump in years, so in the end it is not too bad, I assume. Besides, this years' books were on average over 20 pages longer than last years', were on average 245 pages, so I read almost 51.000 pages. Next year, I would like to try to read 208 books (# of this year +1) and preferably with more pages, but I will see how it goes and if necessary adjust on the way. In the gender war, I think it was a rather balanced year for me, reading 51%-49%. My books scored on average 3 stars out of 5, and while many were very enjoyable, I was missing anything that really stood out. I think it is probably the first year I lack a five star read. I don't know whether it is me being more critical than I used to be or that is was the books I read, but I hope to score at least one in 2019.

 

One thing I am lagging behind with at the moment is writing the reviews, I would really like to get this right in 2019. Since it is quite some work, I've been putting this off, but the only way to get it done is to actually do it... It's also been a while since I've had the time to keep the blog updated, but a new year is as good a chance as any to give it another try.

 

So, in conclusion I would like to do a little bit better in 2019, but in general I'm glad at the results of this year. As December 31 creeps in here, I will enjoy myself thinking some more about this year before it is gone.

 

I hope you will all enjoy this last day in 2018, and may you all have a grand year waiting for you around the corner!

Review
3.5 Stars
Rebel Of The Sands
Rebel of the Sands - Alwyn Hamilton

One of my resolutions was to be joining in more group reads, and Rebel of the Sands was one of those that I had selected. It is entirely my own fault for not really reading it in group though.

It was however nice that it has introduced me to this series. Amani, AKA the Blue-Eyed Bandit, lives near the end of the world and she wouldn't like anything better than to escape. So far, so normal. When her only chance proves to be joining a Rebellion this is where things get interesting. Without trying to spoil too much, what I liked best is that Amani is basically forced to choose between her powers and her gun-wielding skills.

The plot was not that special, but certainly good enough to keep me interested. My biggest fear at the moment is that Amani will become too special, I can't stand it when the main characters turn into something all the other characters can only admire but never reach.

Onto book 2!

Review
3.5 Stars
Book Towns
Book Towns - Alex Johnson

Book Towns collects, as the name would suggest, Book Towns from all over the world. It was an interesting little book for those of us who breathe books, so to speak. I couldn't help but be attracted to them and have added several (in Belgium and The Netherlands) that I would like to visit this summer. Others I would like to visit in the future.

Every town is featured with a story, and several pictures as well as some information. While in general this was really nice, it felt like some of the Book Towns didn't have enough information to really fill the pages. Also, it became repetitive a bit, as most book towns were generated from a Marketing/Tourism point of view and the story was often the same. Also also, it was sad to read that quite a few of them were way past their heyday.

Still a nice read for book lovers.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Review
3 Stars
Through The Fog
Through the Fog - Michael C. Grumley

This book is a show of unprofessionalism on the psychiatrist's side. When a new patient walks in who has been having strange visions after a bike accident, she only very mildly tries to put him off helping her solve the case of her missing daughter. Very mildly, and she risks the patient's life because he is certainly not doing well during these episodes.

This aside, it was a quick and easy read which didn't require a lot of thinking to stay with the story, which is sometimes nice for a change. The first half I liked better, since the conclusion I thought was rather too hurried and it was all too neatly fitting.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Review
4 Stars
Pluto Is Peeved
Pluto Is Peeved: An ex-planet searches for answers  - Jacqueline Jules

One of the most stupid decisions of all time is was of course to demote Pluto from planet to dwarf planet. Cixin Liu’s SF series even suggests it will still be spoken of in 200 years! I for one, strongly feel for Pluto, so when I came across this little booklet in which Pluto searches for answers and struggles with the anxiety caused by the sudden change, I just had to read it.

It was a cutesy little book. Pluto, in a Science Museum, is looking why people would be investigating lots of things instead of him. Along the way he discovers that in science people have to changes ideas when new evidence arrives (think Galilei), and makes some friends. As a scientist I totally agree, as a person I feel for Pluto. Luckily its demotion doesn’t mean it will no longer be studied.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Review
3.5 Stars
The Last Donut Shop Of The Apocalypse
The Last Donut Shop of the Apocalypse - Nina Post

Like its predecessor, The Last Donut Shop of the Apocalypse is a lot of fun. Nothing complicated, but a fun bunch of characters, an absurd story and an urban fantasy that doesn't take itself too seriously. Two sisters, both Gorgons and owners of the two best Donut shops still standing in Pothole City, fight over a dispute, and Kelly, who now also happens to be the interim manager of Amenity Tower has to step in.

I won't write too much about it, for fear of spoiling the fun. But I found it a quick, fun and easy read, perfect to relax after a hard day's work.

Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Review
2 Stars
Destroyed
Destroyed - Nicole Hewitt, L.A Starkey

So, I read Deceived recently, and while it didn't really live up to my expectations, the immersion in Greek mythology kept me reading into the second book, Destroyed. It takes up right where the first book ended, and it basically continues the story. Marcus and Nick are still fighting over Sam, but there might be a way to change the prophecy, if only they can stop fighting long enough to look for it.

This book took forever, or so it seemed. The pacing was really slow and when I'm looking back at what happened in this book, I thought it was not so much. What also didn't help was that to me it seems like Sam made up her mind about which brother she likes ages ago, so that is not exciting to read either. This series isn't really for me, so with Destroyed it will end for me.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Review
2 Stars
Emissary
Emissary - Thomas Locke

This was a difficult read for me that I had a hard time getting into. Emissary felt at the same time too long and missing details about the characters, mainly the main character Hyam, who for some reason only at 21 finds out he has magical powers, after first enjoying his simple life as a farmer.

The rest is a pretty standard fantasy story, where Hyam will prove everyone rather quickly why he is such a special boy and fights some battles. The problem is that even though Hyam is really at the core of the story, I didn't feel like I got to know him at all. Also, the romantic angle I didn't care for.

I won't be continuing this series, it was not for me.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Review
2 Stars
Survival Kit's Apocalypse
Survival Kit's Apocalypse - Beverly Williams

Survival Kit's Apocalypse was nothing like what I expected, based on the title. The main character has a past which puts the Apocalypse to shame, and is first just kind of aimlessly walking about until she stumbles on a bunch of brothers who almost fall over each other to please and woo her as she is such a special snowflake.

Maybe, had I expected less an Apocalypse survival story, I wouldn't have minded so bad, but now I didn't really care for it. It was very easy for me to put away, and more difficult to pick it up again (always a dangerous situation). It just really wasn't for me, I'm afraid, so I won't be continuing the series.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Review
3.5 Stars
The Last Condo Board Of The Apocalypse
The Last Condo Board of the Apocalypse - Nina Post

This is one of the most absurd books I've read but I enjoyed it a lot.

Kelly hunts monsters and fallen angels for a living, but the job isn't the same any more and vampire hunting is the new best thing. When she takes a job to find a fallen angel in a large condo in Pothole City she does so in the most ridiculous disguises. Along the way she promotes several Cluck Snack products and meets a Condo board not only planning the next renovation but also the Apocalypse.

It is so weird, but so much fun. I can't really tell too much about it, because it won't make any sense unless you've read the book. The Single Purposes really stole my heart (some of them anyway). If you're looking for some rather absurd urban fantasy which is definitely different from the last thing you've read, give The Last Condo Board of the Apocalypse a try.

Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Review
3 Stars
Dragon Redeemer
Dragon Redeemer (World of Aluvia) - Amy Bearce

Dragon Redeemer is the third and final book in the World of Aluvia. This one focuses on Nell, who has been hearing voices and needs to save Magic and the World from a Dark Alchemist.  All the main characters from the first two books are also there.

Nell was a strong character, a real warrior. What I didn't like so much was the love interest. It felt a bit forced and unnatural, as now all three main characters have their tailor made love interests in the books where they feature as the main character. All in all, I'm not a big fan of the love subplots in most YA books these days anyway. Nevertheless, an enjoyable end to the series.

Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Review
3 Stars
Gears Of Fate
Gears of Fate (Forgotten Gods) (Volume 1) - Wilbert Stanton

My previous experience with Wilbert Stanton's work, The Artful, was not a good match, but how could I resist a book that mixes steampunk, Greek gods and Fey.

What I liked was that it tried to deliver something different, mixing a lot of things together and trying to be fresh in a genre where that is not easy. However, while some concepts where nicely worked out, the different Pantheons for example, the pacing felt off. There is a rather slow start with a lot of explaining and then, at the end, a lot happens in the final few chapters.

A nice concept, but the execution could have been better.

Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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