#SixforSunday, spoiler free

S4S – Perfect Pool Reads

I LOVE swimming and reading poolside or with my legs dangling in the pool is one of my favourite ways to read although one I do seldom nowadays as I’m usually chasing after a four-year-old and we’ve not been on holiday for a good few years, nor are we likely to do so anytime soon so I’ll just have to use my imagination. As usual, a big thank you to Steph from A Little But A Lot for the wonderful weekly prompts.

Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman
This one is probably a little obvious, it’s a beautifully sad book but it has such a lovely beach vibe going through it I think it would fit lovely around a poolside.

To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo
Sassy pirates, a siren princess who rips princes hearts out of their chests? Absolutely PERFECT poolside reading if you ask me?

Heartstopper by Alice Oseman
A nice happy sunshiney read for chilling out between swimming, yes, please.

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
I could read this book anywhere okay and I don’t need to have a reason okay? There’s just something about having the time to sit by the pool rereading your favourite book that says relaxation. Of course, when that favourite book is Illuminae there is no such thing but you get the idea.

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
Despite most of my other choices being quite short books I actually tend to read longer books because if I’m reading at the side of the pool it’s usually been when I’m on holiday and I tend to take thick books on holiday because I’m more likely to get through them, granted last time I went on holiday Nate was a lot smaller and slept a lot more though to be fair so there was much more time to read. A Discovery of Witches is a thick book but not one that’s painful to hold so it fits the bill perfectly.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Another thick book that’s still small enough to be comfortably read. I still need to finish Six of Crows and I could think of nowhere better to do so than relaxing after a nice swim in the afternoon. Fun Fact: I read almost all of A Dance with Dragons (G.R.R Martin) poolside on my last holiday in-between swims.

Okay so not everyone probably looks at all of these books and thinks “oh yes, that’s obviously a poolside read” but these are ones that feel perfect to me, let me know which ones suit you!

 

 

#SixforSunday

S4S – Favourite LGBT Characters

This week has gone so unbelievably fast, still, Sunday has arrived and that means another Six for Sunday post. Following the LGBT theme for the month Steph from A Little but a lot has chosen a prompt of “Favourite LGBT characters” this week. As with last week I’ve found this a little difficult because of the lack of LGBT rep in a lot of the things I had (not on purpose as I”m LGBTQ myself), the fact that sometimes I just forget who is canonically LGBTQ because honestly, I assume everyone is bi or pan unless stated somehow, as to be honest as that’s the sexuality I identify with and that to be a characters sexuality doesn’t define a character. I apologise for those of you who read last weeks post as this will feature books from a few of the books I mentioned so these may not be a surprise but I hope you’ll still enjoy! Some small spoilers below, I’ve tried to mention they’re incoming with italics beforehand to help you get through without spoiling anything you don’t want spoiled.

Ballister Blackheart from Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
As mentioned last week, there are a lot of different relationships in Nimona Blackheart has been in one of those that at the beginning of the story is not in a good place, especially when they’re trying to kill or have each other arrested. Blackheart deals with feelings he still clearly has the same way I probably would if I was an eccentric type supervillain – petty revenge and name calling with a side of longing glances He’s a fantastic character and he has some great sides to him.

Magnus Bane from the Shadowhunter books by Cassandra Clare
At the risk of repeating myself from lasts weeks post, Magnus helped me to realise my own sexual identity and that it had a name etc and I think he’s been a great form of rep for those of us out there who needed that. In addition, however, he’s also a great character who has flaws like any other but he ultimately goes out of his way to help those he loves and cares for and protects those who can’t help themselves. He’s also fun and very and open about his sexual orientation and past relationships over his very long life, not to mention he’s super sassy and I’m all for that.

Clove from The Last Beginning by Lauren James
(Spoilers for The Next Together below)
I adored Kat and Matthew in The Next Together and although they are featured this book focuses on one thing better, their daughter. Clove embodies the best (and worst) attributes of her parents. She’s smart and impulsive, quick-witted, curious and confident and does what she needs to do to make sure things are right. She’s a fantastic character and I hope we might get some more cameos from her in Lauren’s future books.

Kit Thornwood from Overlord by Sian Jefferson
Kit is adorable and full of hidden courage and I love him. Even when he’s technically a dark Overlord with a grand tower and an army of minions at his command he somehow he still manages to be an absolute cinnamon roll who just doesn’t feel like he fits in. I genuinely just want to keep him safe forever.

Stormer from Jem and the Holograms
(slight relationship spoilers)
I already went on and on about how much I love the relationship between Stormer and Kimber and this week I want to show my appreciation for Stormer. Despite the girl she likes being in a rival band she (quite rightly) doesn’t let this deter her and even when they aren’t together Stormer keeps the rest of her bandmates in check and tries to get them to act like decent human beings, she’s such a lovely character with a brilliant heart who feels the conflict between bands deeply, not just because of her feelings towards Kimber but because of the way it changes her friends too.

Emily Mather from A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
I’ve only read the first book in the all souls series but in it, we’re introduced to Dianas’s Aunt Sarah and her partner Emily and Sarah is an enjoyable firecracker of a character but it’s Emily I really love. She’s a brilliant yin to Sarah’s yang and she doesn’t try to change Sarah but loves her for who she is and weathers her moods more than tries to temper them. She also clearly loves and cares for Diana as if she were her own child and when they begin to get a lot of company at the Bishop household she still manages to be warm and welcoming, she’s a brilliant spark of light and one of my favourite side characters in the series so far.

book reviews, spoiler free

A Discovery of Witches- Spoiler Free Review

10459837A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

Rating: XXXXX

Published September 29th 2011 by Headline

“It begins with absence and desire.
It begins with blood and fear.
It begins with a discovery of witches.”

A world of witches, daemons and vampires. A manuscript which holds the secrets of their past and the key to their future. Diana and Matthew – the forbidden love at the heart of it.

When historian Diana Bishop opens an alchemical manuscript in the Bodleian Library, it’s an unwelcome intrusion of magic into her carefully ordered life. Though Diana is a witch of impeccable lineage, the violent death of her parents while she was still a child convinced her that human fear is more potent than any witchcraft. Now Diana has unwittingly exposed herself to a world she’s kept at bay for years; one of powerful witches, creative, destructive daemons and long-lived vampires. Sensing the significance of Diana’s discovery, the creatures gather in Oxford, among them the enigmatic Matthew Clairmont, a vampire geneticist. Diana is inexplicably drawn to Matthew and, in a shadowy world of half-truths and old enmities, ties herself to him without fully understanding the ancient line they are crossing. As they begin to unlock the secrets of the manuscript and their feelings for each other deepen, so the fragile balance of peace unravels…

Having brought this last year at the great advice of one of the booksellers at my local Waterstones I had planned to join in with a readathon before the fourth book in the series was released, I did start this but with life and other things getting in the way I fell behind and decided I would come back to it at a later date and that later date happened to be in October. I watched the first episode of the TV show that aired this Autumn assuming I had read enough to get me through the episode without any huge spoilers and I was mostly right but by this point I was utterly hooked and started reading again. I had to stop just over half way through to read some books that I had to review by particular dates but with the last one done for the year I dived straight back into this book and finished it off in no time.

The best way I feel I can describe A Discovery of Witches is Twilight for adults, now I know Twilight gets a lot of stick and it’s not the most amazingly well written book in the whole wide world but, for me at least and some others it was enjoyable. A Discovery of Witches is more adult, not just in its characters but in setting and content which keeps it much more entertaining and more accessible for older readers but not inaccessible for the younger.

As characters go I found each memorable and particularly like Diana who is stubborn and strong but also has fragile moments as well, she doesn’t just take Matthews alpha male act at its word either which is refreshing for female main characters in books featuring paranormal romances. There are too many to list to be able to name my favourite things about all the characters but I do feel that despite the varied ensemble we get a nice amount of them, their back story, quirks and views etc making them easy to enjoy and remember, there are very few books, especially of this length where I can remember not only the names of characters but also details about them as well.

On reflection it feels amazing how much was crammed into this book and done well, it is certainly a sizeable book but one that I found very easy to work my way through with speed due to the not overly simplified but comfortable writing style that I found easy to devour. I wouldn’t say it is a book filled with great tension, other than the odd sensual (but not steamy) scene but there is definitely enough action and magic spread throughout to keep it interesting. I especially liked the first and last halves, the first half focusing very much on Diana and how her life begins to change as events unfold and the third being the part of the book where everything really culminates. The middle is still a good read and interesting, I could honestly read an entire series on its own about sept-tor but those parts I particularly enjoyed immensely.

I wouldn’t say this isn’t an epic read but absolutely an enjoyable one, especially if you enjoy paranormal romance, this isn’t quite the overly steamy, sex scene every chapter, heroines clad in leather that some PR caters to but is a little more stereotypically refined and feels like a nice mix between PR and general paranormal fantasy which I hadn’t known I had needed. What I mean by saying this isn’t an epic read is that this is very much a starting book, it’s certainly good and everything begins to get set into place, we get some answers and a fairly satisfying ending but it is very much a starting point and a great, addictive one at that. I’ve already started the second book and I’m pretty sure this is a series I will happily see through to the end.

Just an additional note I also listened to a good half of this book as an Audio-book read by Jenifer Ikeda who I feel embodies Diana well and is especially fantastic at all of the different accents and voices, if you’re looking for a good Audio-book, A Discovery of Witches is definitely a great example and I’ll be listening to the others alongside reading depending when opportunity dictates.