Shelf-Love Reading Challenge

I love my ereaders, I truly do. However, it has to be said that the ability to download a book and start reading it instantly (or maybe later, when I have time) has done nothing for my pile of books-to-be-read. Of course, it’s now a virtual pile, instead of physical, but still…

And, as an author, I would encourage people to buy more books. Obviously, it’s better if people read them, but buying is a good start!

However, here is the list of books which have been liberated from the To-Be-Read pile and set free into the glorious fields of I-Have-Read:

  1. Last Argument of Kings, by Joe Abercrombie. A truly excellent book which languished on my shelves for eight years. Admittedly this is because I didn’t feel quite able to cope with Abercrombie’s level of writing until I ditched my horrible stressful job.
  2. Bushido, the Soul of Japan, by Inazo Nitobe. An essay on the meaning of bushido, written to explain it to Westerners. A very interesting read, not least because of what it betrays about the author.
  3. Dracula, by Bram Stoker. The seminal vampire story. Been  meaning to read this for years, and never quite got round to it. Finally managed it this year.
  4. London Calling, by Sara Sheridan.  Murder mystery set in post-World War II Brighton.
  5. England Expects, by Sara Sheridan. More post-war Brighton.
  6. British Bulldog, by Sara Sheridan. More post-war Brighton – and Paris.
  7. Lost Christianities, by Bart Ehrman.  I’m counting this because I definitely had it before this year, and even started reading before this year. However, it took me until this year to finish it. Not because it wasn’t good – it was; it’s just that I prefer to read on an e-reader, and this was a paper copy.
  8. The Blood Whisperer, by Zoe Sharp. I’ve read and loved all Zoe Sharp’s Charlie Fox thrillers; this one is a stand-alone about a crime scene technician who gets fitted up for murder. It’s well up to Sharp’s usual standards and I find myself hoping that there will be a sequel.
  9. At Risk, by Stella Rimington. The first in Stella Rimington’s Liz Carlyle series. Liz is an MI5 agent charged with finding an  “invisible”: an enemy agent who is dangerous due to being a native of the target country. Since Rimington was the first female head of MI5, it’s not surprising she knows what she’s talking about.
  10. Guns of the Dawn, by Adrian Tchaikovsky. A fantasy novel set in a napoleonic-type world. The main character is a young woman called up to fight for her country against the invaders. She has to learn many things, from how to fire a musket to how to lead troops – and finally, how to decide her country’s ultimate fate. An excellent book.
  11. Sovereign, by C.J. Sansom. This is another book I’ve had on my shelf for… nine years. There’s a confession to make! I did start reading it (nine years ago) but didn’t really get into it. This time around, I had no problem. Don’t know why. But it was really, really good, and it’s fired me up to read the last three books in the series.
  12. Britannia, by Simon Scarrow. Only just qualifies for the challenge since it came out in November 2015, and I got it then. Macro and Cato are involved with the Legate’s plan to sort out the troublemakers in Britannia by exterminating the druids on Mona (Anglesey). The trouble is, the druids also have a plan for sorting out the troublemakers in Britannia…
  13. The Hangman’s Daughter, by Oliver Pötzsch.  I haven’t had this hanging around for quite as long as Sovereign, but still several years. A nice start to a series – I’ve reviewed it here.
  14. Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel. I’ve had this on my TBR pile since 2009. One of those books that you think you ought to read, but somehow you never get around to – too many pencils to sharpen and teaspoons to clean, important stuff like that (since it’s a Booker prizewinner, this put me off rather). But, due to the Shelf Love Challenge, I finally took the plunge – and found myself enjoying it – though it would have been improved by not having the currently-fashionable present-tense narration. Reviewed here.
  15. The Restorer, by Amanda Stevens. I’ve had this on my TBR pile for a couple of years, and got around to it due to reading The Caffeinated Book Reviewer‘s review of the latest in the series. What do you do if you can see ghosts and are in danger of having your life force sucked away by them? Work as a cemetery restorer, so you can spend most of your time on hallowed ground, and it’s nice and peaceful and not exciting at all, definitely with no corpses that shouldn’t be there. So thinks Amelia Gray, but since the poor woman’s the main character in a book, you just know it isn’t going to work out for her. Reviewed here. I’ve just bought No. 2 in the series (The Kingdom), to replace No. 1 on my TBR list… (Somehow, I don’t think that’s supposed to be the deal, but what the hell…)
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