I read seven books this past month.
Not my best or worst month.
The star of the month was by far finishing The Sunne in Splendour. By far. Just an excellent book.
Artemis was also enjoyable.
Cremains of the Day and Cheddar off Dead were my weakest reads.
I read mostly on my Kindle. An adjustment I am trying to make having such limited shelf space in my apartment.
I want to at least get my books up to 8 a month - two a week. Hopefully I can do that in December.
Author: Mark Noce
Series: Queen Branwen #2
Rating: 4 stars
I received this book free in exchange for an honest review.
Book Blurb: "Three years after uniting the Welsh to defeat the Saxons and settling down with her true love, Artagan, Queen Branwen finds her world once again turned upside down as Pictish raiders harry the shores of her kingdom. Rallying her people once more, she must face her most dangerous foe yet, the Queen of the Picts. Ruthless and cunning, the Pictish Queen turns the Welsh against each other in a bloody civil war.
All the while Branwen is heavy with child, and finds her young son’s footsteps dogged by a mysterious assassin who eerily resembles her dead first husband, the Hammer King. In the murky world of courtly intrigue, Queen Branwen must continually discern friend from foe at her own peril in the ever-shifting alliances of the independent Welsh kingdoms.
Branwen must somehow defeat the Picts and save her people before the Pictish Queen and the assassin destroy their lives from the inside out. Just as the Saxons threatened Branwen’s kingdom from the landward side of her realm in Between Two Fires, now the Picts threaten her domain from sea in this thrilling sequel. But she soon finds that the enigmatic Picts are unlike any foe she has faced before."
This was a pretty good follow up to Between Two Fires.
This time around Queen Branwen is pregnant and fighting. In short, the story is someone is threatening her baby boy and her lands so its time for her to step up and save the day. There is definitely a women empowerment feel to the entire story, with women basically solving problems/fighting/kicking butt and taking names while their male counterparts hit things and ask questions later. Meh - I dinged it a star for that. No need to stereotype to make a point. Women rock - we know. We don't need to knock men to realize it.
That being said the story was enjoyable. There is a mystery in this one as there was in Fires. It is not as good. But the tension of the Welsh vs Saxons/Picts carried the story along nicely. One thing about these books is they are compulsively readable and an enjoyable way to spend a few hours. I finish Noce's books in a matter of days. Also, the characters are good. They stay true to form and he keeps a few shady ones around throughout the books to keep you on your toes. You never know whom to trust.
Looks like first person present tense is here to stay. I still don't like it, but again I enjoy this series and stories set during this time period. If another book comes out I will definitely be reading it.
This weekend will be COLD. At least Saturday will be. So I hope to get some reading in. No real plans which is fine by me. My hubby, Kindle, hot chocolate, and slow cooker are all I need this weekend. Oh and Dr. Who. We have to be caught up before the Christmas special.
Anywho, I am re-reading Between Two Fires before starting the sequel which is due out next month. I was able to get a copy of Dark Winds Rising through Netgalley. This re-read proves I am one moody reader. I remember feeling mildly enthused about Between Two Fires. This time around I cannot put the thing down. I read half of it in one day. I had planned on reading the sequel next month but I figured I will ride this binge and just segue into the sequel this weekend. Oh and Mark Noce needs to shake the hand of whoever does his covers. LOVE THEM.
If I'm really ambitious I will dive into Artemis. I was a huge fan of The Martian- the book and the movie - so I know Weir has a gift for riveting sci-fi. Looking forward to reading it.
I hope you guys have great weekends and I look forward to reading your reviews during reading breaks.
The one big wish Will Stanton has for his 11th birthday is a snowstorm. And does he get it! And a lot more than this too. He and his older brother, James, note the strange behavior of frightened animals who seem to know something wicked this way comes. Will sees an old man from a distance. James thinks it's just a tramp, but a neighboring farmer knows otherwise, "So the Walker is abroad. Ah. He would be." Just as mysterious as these words is the curious birthday gift the farmer gives to Will: an iron circle quartered.
That night, Will is alone in his attic bedroom when a overwhelming fear grips him. He wakes the next morning to the sound of music and a landscape drenched in snow. But he does not wake in the same time period he feel asleep in. For whatever reason, he has entered a different one. He leaves home and walks along paths, familiar and strange at the same time. He encounters a blacksmith he knows and a mysterious horseman who waits while the smith shoes his animal. Twice the horseman tries to trap Will with words and once tries to grab him. Will's wits rescue him from the first two instances, and the smith comes to his aid in the third. To Will's own amazement, he says he is there to seek out the Walker, who he encounters shortly after leaving the smith.
The horseman finds him again, but this time a white horse rescues him. It leaps through a patch of blue sky to transport him to another land. There Will discovers two doors standing alone on a hill. He steps through them into a great hall and meet an old woman and a tall man, adversaries of the horseman. The tall man identifies himself as Merriman Lyon, the formal name of Great-Uncle Merry in the first book, Over Sea, Under Stone. He says he and the woman have awaited Will for a long time and reveal to him his special gift and destiny: he is an Old One, beings charged with finding six Signs of the Light to battle the Darkness as it again spreads through the world. Will has the first Sign already, which the horseman recognized, and which places the young boy in terrible peril.
Merriman returns Will to the present day without a moment lost. The dark forces arrayed against him have made their first assaults against him, and it only gets worse. This is much better than the first volume. Only Merriman repeats here, while all else is new and more exciting and dramatic. The vividness of the Dark and the battle against it are the best parts. Susan Cooper can write!