Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Chuckles 2017 E-Book Blitz January Review

Owls are wise right? So when Mr Owl says that 2017 is time to tackle my e-book pile, I think I better listen to him! This year I really need to reduce the pile of bargain books so I'm having an ebook blitz through the entire year. It doesn't matter how many I finish or how many I DNF as long as I get them off the TBR!

Here is my final challenge update. I made huge progress and dealt with 66 ebooks. The first 35 were my original choices to start the month. The others were added through the rest of the month!

The Chosen Ones:
1 Justin Sloan-Teddy Bears and the Christmas Pirates (read-3 star)
2 Robert Hodam-The Ark (DNF)
3 James Hunt-Static #1 (DNF)
4 James Hunt-Static #2 (DNS)
5 Hugo Navikov-Spinosaurus (read-2.5 star)
6 Jason McPherson-Dead Ascent (read-3 star)
7 AR Shaw-The China Pandemic (DNF)
8 Sam Sisavath-Purge of Babylon (DNF)
9 Nathan Jones-Fuel (DNF)
10 Devon C Ford-Survival (DNF)
11 Joelle Charbonneau-The Testing Guide (read-1 star)
12 Lesley Jepson-The Secret (read-3 star)
13 Robert J Crane-Called (DNF)
14 Stephen Knight-Preparing for the dead (read-2 star)
15 Stephen Knight-Waiting for the dead (DNF)
16 Stephen Knight-Fighting the dead (DNF)
17 Jasmine Walt-Burned by magic (DNF)
18 Caethes Faron-Magic Born (read-3 star)
19 Tricia Owens-Descended from dragons (read 3 star)
20 Ella Summers-Magic Edge (DNF)
21 Rachel Rawlings-The Morrigna (DNF)
22 Ben Reeder-Exodus (read-3.5 star)
23 JR Rain-The dead detective (DNF)
24 LG Estrella-Unconventional heroes (read-3 star)
25 Alexandra Engellmann-Sky Ghosts (read-2 star)
26 Viktor Zarkov-Megatooth (read-4 star)
27 Boyd Craven III-Agony of the World (read-3 star)
28 George RR Martin-Knight of the Seven Kingdoms (read-2 star)
29 Eldritch Black-Night of the Christmas Letter Getters (read-2 star)
30 Morgan Nyberg-The Fixer (DNF)
31 Robert Brown-The last blade of grass (read-3.5 star)
32 Andrew Cunningham-Eden Rising (DNF)
33 David Nelson-The Journey (read-4 star)
34 Andrew Baze-The Road Home (read-3 star)
35 Albert Yates-The Dead Rising (DNF)

So after 17 days I was finished and picked another pile to tackle!
1 Owen Baille-Aftermath (DNF)
2 Matthew Gilman-After the Day (DNF)
3 David Nelson-Coming Together #2 (read-4 star)
4 David Nelson-A long road ahead #3 (read-3 star)
5 Stephen Birch-New World (DNF)
6 Devon Vondarin-The Crash (DNF)
7 JD McKenna-The Dead Familiar (read-4 star)
8 Kenneth Cary-Curtain Call (read-3 star)
9 Thomas Sherry-Deep Winter (DNF)
10 John Grit-Apocalypse Law (DNF)
11 J Walker-The Fortress #2 (read-2.5 star)
12 Belinda Frisch-Cure (DNF)
13 Eric Methven-EMP (read-4 star)
14 Josh Hilden-The Rising (DNF)
15 Dell Sweet-Earths Survivors Apocalypse (DNS)
16 Matt Wallace-Envy of Angels (read-3 star)
17 Alan Spencer-TRex (Read-2.5 star)
18 Andrew J Morgan-Noah's Ark (DNF)
19 Rick Chesler-Jurassic Dead (read-2.5 star)
20 K Gorman-Into the Fire (DNF)

And this is what I managed in my last week of the month:
1 Christopher Golden-Ararat (read-4 star)
2 Alison Weir-Anne Boleyn: A King's Obsession (read-5 star)
3 PA Douglas-Epidemic of the Undead (DNF)
4) RL Blalock-The Darkest Days (read-4 star)
5 Pippa DaCosta-Wings of Hope (read-3 star)
6 MD Massey-Druid Blood (read-3 star)
7 Z Rider-Insylum (read-2 star) 
8 Pippa DaCosta-Falling (read-2 star)
9 Sarah Dalton-My Daylight Monsters (read-3.5 star)
10 Matthew D Mark-Dark Days Rough Roads (read-4 star)
11 John Reece-World's End (read-3 star) 

Did you have a good reading month? Read anything really great so far?

Book Review: Staked by Kevin Hearne (Iron Druid #8)

When a druid has lived for two thousand years like Atticus, he's bound to run afoul of a few vampires. Make that legions of them. Even his former friend and legal counsel turned out to be a bloodsucking backstabber. Now the toothy troublemakers—led by power-mad pain-in-the-neck Theophilus—have become a huge problem requiring a solution. It's time to make a stand.

As always, Atticus wouldn't mind a little backup. But his allies have problems of their own. Ornery archdruid Owen Kennedy is having a wee bit of troll trouble: Turns out when you stiff a troll, it's not water under the bridge. Meanwhile, Granuaile is desperate to free herself of the Norse god Loki's mark and elude his powers of divination—a quest that will bring her face-to-face with several Slavic nightmares.

As Atticus globetrots to stop his nemesis Theophilus, the journey leads to Rome. What better place to end an immortal than the Eternal City? But poetic justice won't come without a price: In order to defeat Theophilus, Atticus may have to lose an old friend.

My Review: 
Atticus need to gain an advantage over his enemies by getting the location of all the vampires around the world for his allies to use which means a trip to a city which he has bad memories of. The down side is having to break into a bank vault to get the information and then trying to make peace with the dark elves. Owen starts training werewolf children to be druids but is going to have some troll trouble as well as Fand escaping prison, while Granuaile seeks help from Malina with the Loki situation. Atticus unites with an old enemy as the Pack regret ever getting involved with him.

Things are getting very dangerous for the druids on several fronts but having Rabbi Josef offer the services of his group is a welcome help. Malina's Coven are happy to try to help Granuaile with Loki if Atticus deals with the Polish vampires as he promised, as they are unhappy that he is instead stirring up the vampires in other parts of Europe. Atticus is reluctant to go to visit the dark elves but having one less enemy and a new ally against Hel and Loki means he has little choice but to try, especially with a vampire war to fight. However some of his actions turn out to be reckless and will visit trouble on his allies and friends.

"He's out there somewhere right now with his cheeky hound doing something dumber than eating a bowl full of llama shite."-Owen

On the personal side of things, Owen is adapting to a whole new life by planning to move in with Greta, who is moving to join Sam's Pack. Their home will become a training centre where Owen can train the children of werewolves to become druids which will help protect them. Owen knows when he sees the troll that this is connected to Fand and tricks the information out of him. When the vampires are next to come calling, Owen and the Pack are about to lose patience with the whole mess. Is it going to be safe to train anyone when more Atticus inspired trouble keeps coming their way?

One thing which left me cold though was when Granuaile decides to visit her stepfather and beat him up under the poor guise of 'defending the environment'. Yeah his company damages the environment so go and damage his business interests or help clean up the environment. Knocking ten bells out of him even if he is a douchbag is a personal vendetta against him, not helping the planet. I don't think a druid is supposed to attack people like that for personal reasons. Grow up Granuaile, you lose my respect with this stunt.

"What kind of extra special batshite is that right there?"-Owen witnesses Rabbi Yosef's bearded battalion for the first time!

I could have smacked Atticus in the face for what he did in his fight against the vampires, especially when he didn't warn his friends what he was doing. He is reckless and overestimates his own ability while seriously underestimating his enemy. The shitstorm that he stirs up has long reaching consequences for his allies who are starting to wonder why they are helping him at all. Atticus is facing a whole new uncertain future, and he is unsure how to deal with it. This book really does leave Atticus and Granuaile at a crossroads with more trouble on the horizon.

I hope that if book nine is the last one that we get a satisfactory conclusion.  

Read November 2016. 
star rating photo: Four Star Rating 4stars.png

Book Review: Three Slices by Kevin Hearne & others (Iron Druid #7.5)

Three Slices presents three novellas by modern fantasy writers:

A Prelude to War by Kevin Hearne
After an old friend is murdered in retaliation for his mercenary strikes against the oldest vampires in the world, Atticus O'Sullivan must solicit the aid of another old friend in Ethiopia if he's going to have a chance of finishing a war he never wanted. Meanwhile, Granuaile MacTiernan starts a private war of her own against Loki, the lord of lies, and if it brings Ragnarok early—so be it. 

My Review: 
I got this book just to read the Kevin Hearne Iron Druid story as I don't read the other authors work.

Atticus is going to Africa to meet up with a powerful fortune teller who uses cheese production to map out the path of the person visiting her. He has need of important information and risks travelling to meet her, knowing that Werner is on his trail. She previously led led Atticus to his faithful hound Oberon and a safe haven in Tempe so he trusts her cheese to direct him. We learn of the other decisions that he made based on her information which have greatly affected his current situation, and Atticus is less pleased to learn that she has also assisted his enemies in learning things about him. I found this very interesting and it was good background to the ongoing plot and to things that have already happened.

While Atticus is hoping that the cheese will be ready before the enemy arrive, Granuaile is seeking advice of her own in Asgard about how to remove Loki's mark.

There are some short stories that can be missed in the series as they don't add anything to the current plot but this is not one to avoid. There is important information and I would suggest reading it before you get to Staked as it sets up the start of that book nicely and tells you why Atticus has returned to Toronto. 

Read November 2016.
star rating photo: Three Star Rating 3stars.png

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!  

Please note that I do not allow third party companies like DISQUS access to my blog or social media so if you use that, I can't follow you or comment on your blog or posts. Sorry! This is why I won't give DISQUS my details, for those who have asked:

"Authorize DISQUS to use your account? Disqus is a service and tool for web comments and discussions. This application will be able to:
*Read Tweets from your timeline.
*See who you follow, and follow new people. 
*Update your profile.
*Post Tweets for you." Um, NO WAY, NOPE, NEVER GONNA HAPPEN!

This week is ANOTHER topic that I'm not interested in: Graphic Novels, Comics and Picture Books. I don't read any of these genres and it's becoming quite annoying having to invent my own topics every darn week. I'm going with ten books made into films that I want to see.

1) Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them
The Harry Potter fan is me really wants to see the film, especially the nifflers which I've heard so much about! I have the screenplay but before I get to that I need to see the film when it gets its dvd release.

2) The Girl With All The Gifts
I really liked this book and was excited to know that it was going to be a film. I didn't know until Sunday that it is already out on DVD so I snagged my copy yesterday and hope to watch it sometime this week!

3) The Hunger Games
I have all the films but I've only actually seen the first film once! I plan to binge watch the four films over a weekend once I motivate myself to get on with it. It's going to make me want to reread the books as well...

4) Bigfoot Wars
Books with Bigfoot just greatly appeal to me and I've wanted to read these books for ages. I haven't had the chance but I just had to snag the film when it came out. Not sure whether to go with book or film first now but want to do both!

5) The Mist
I haven't read the book or seen the film but it is exactly the kind of thing that really appeals to me. I'm not sure that I have the book but I certainly have the film and hope to get to it at some point soon.

6) The 33
The story of the Chile miners trapped underground had me glued to the news watching their rescue. I haven't read the book but would like to and I certainly want to see the film. Plus, it has Antonio Banderas so what more could you want!

7) IT
A new version of my all time favourite book by Stephen King is being made and will be released later this year! Am I excited? Oh yes! Really looking forward to seeing what they do with it! I'm hoping for great things!

8) Meg
I haven't read the books but I do have them on my ereader ready to binge read but I am very excited about this one! I LOVE sharks and I can't get enough of books and films about sharks so looking forward to watching this.

9) The Hobbit
I've seen the first two films based on the book but haven't had the chance to watch the Five Armies one yet. I prefer the LOTR adaptations but still want to find time to get this watched. I've not got much time to spare at the moment!

10) The Forest of Hands and Teeth
Can I say how long I have been wanting to see this made into a film? At last it is in pre-production with Maisie Williams (Game of Thrones Arya Stark) in the lead role. I like the idea of her as Mary and just want to see it now!  

Monday, 30 January 2017

Book Review: Shattered by Kevin Hearne (Iron Druid #7)

For nearly two thousand years, only one Druid has walked the Earth—Atticus O’Sullivan, the Iron Druid, whose sharp wit and sharp sword have kept him alive as he’s been pursued by a pantheon of hostile deities. Now he’s got company. Atticus’s apprentice Granuaile is at last a full Druid herself. What’s more, Atticus has defrosted an archdruid long ago frozen in time, a father figure (of sorts) who now goes by the modern equivalent of his old Irish name: Owen Kennedy. And Owen has some catching up to do.

Atticus takes pleasure in the role reversal, as the student is now the teacher. Between busting Atticus’s chops and trying to fathom a cell phone, Owen must also learn English. For Atticus, the jury’s still out on whether the wily old coot will be an asset in the epic battle with Norse god Loki—or merely a pain in the arse.

But Atticus isn’t the only one with daddy issues. Granuaile faces a great challenge: to exorcise a sorcerer’s spirit that is possessing her father in India. Even with the help of the witch Laksha, Granuaile may be facing a crushing defeat.

As the trio of Druids deals with pestilence-spreading demons, bacon-loving yeti, fierce flying foxes, and frenzied Fae, they’re hoping that this time, three’s a charm.

My Review: 
Atticus has been reunited with Owen which is going to be a trial for both of them after so many years have passed and Oberon is also having to happily adapt to having a female hound around the place as a companion to Granuaile. A message about her father from Laksha prompts Granuaile to go solo with Orlaith on a mission to India to find him, which Atticus is uneasy about but he has his own problems with the police on his trail again over the death of a friend, Loki going after Granuaile and an unknown traitor close to him.

Atticus is still recovering from the shock of the gift that The Morrigan directed him to-the frozen in time Archdruid who mentored Atticus. Owen has been thawed out unscathed and has to adapt to a world of technology that baffles and horrifies him as well as learning that he can't just swear and grope women when he feels like it. While it is difficult to renew their old bond, it does mean that they have three fully trained Druids to fight their enemies. Atticus decides to limit Owen's contact with Granuaile until he can teach him about modern laws and behaviour, and seeks help from the local Packs to look after Owen while Atticus attends to business.

"You think I'm being a Drama Hound don't you?"-Oberon

Granuaile is delighted to have her own hound Orlaith to go with her to India. Laksha tells her that her father was there on a dig and became possessed by an evil spirit that summons demons and gives them local people as hosts. Getting rid of the demon in each person is going to take too long so an ice knife may be required if Granuaile can persuade the Yetis to make one for her. Owen is also snooping around to find out who is plotting with their enemies to betray them.

For me, this book falls flat compared to the other books. I found most of Granuaile's solo mission boring and I'm not sure what it was really adding to the overall plot in the series. We know she is capable of being on her own and tackling issues but other than giving her personal bonding time with Orlaith, I saw no point to it. The only good part of her story was the interlude when we met the wonderful Yeti pack who are related to Manannan MacLir and also addicted to bacon and ice hockey! I so much want to see more of them and found myself wishing that her mission was to rescue avalanche victims with the Yeti Pack instead of trudging around India looking for her father.

"There has to be a Poodles Anonymous meeting somewhere."-Oberon

I did enjoy the addition of Owen which added extra humour to the book with his foul mouth and inability to adapt to a new world. I loved his interactions with the Pack, especially the bear wrestling scene where Atticus manages to upset everyone! I think the addition of Owen is going to be great for the series. It was also fun to have Orlaith come into the story, both as hound to Granuaile and finally, a girlfriend for Oberon! The Yeti Pack were fun and we need to see more of them, and if Laksha is going to come back, I hope her storyline is a bit stronger.

While I had issues with the India parts of the book, I did enjoy the traitor storyline and I had correctly guessed who it was going to be. I enjoyed the big reveal with civil war erupting in Brighid's domain when it all kicks off. It was an exciting battle scene which the author writes nicely as usual. I enjoyed the humour as I always do though I prefer the Druids and hounds to be together instead of off doing seperate things for so much of the book. There are still strong elements that keep you enjoying the series but it isn't the best book in the series.  

Read November 2016.
star rating photo: Three Star Rating 3stars.png

Book Review: Hunted by Kevin Hearne (Iron Druid #6)

For a two-thousand-year-old Druid, Atticus O’Sullivan is a pretty fast runner. Good thing, because he’s being chased by not one but two goddesses of the hunt—Artemis and Diana—for messing with one of their own. Dodging their slings and arrows, Atticus, Granuaile, and his wolfhound Oberon are making a mad dash across modern-day Europe to seek help from a friend of the Tuatha Dé Danann. His usual magical option of shifting planes is blocked, so instead of playing hide-and-seek, the game plan is . . . run like hell.

Crashing the pantheon marathon is the Norse god Loki. Killing Atticus is the only loose end he needs to tie up before unleashing Ragnarok—AKA the Apocalypse. Atticus and Granuaile have to outfox the Olympians and contain the god of mischief if they want to go on living—and still have a world to live in.

My Review: 
Atticus is congratulating himself for finding a solution at last to the Bacchus problem but is shocked to discover that Artemis and Diana have joined forces to kill him and Granuaile, with only The Morrigan coming to aid him in battle, as her agreement with Atticus provides. When she tells them they cannot shift and the only choice is to run, they take her advice and have to flee across the whole of Europe to try and seek safety in an English forest where an ally lives. It is a long journey and they still have to worry about dark elves, Loki, vampires and how to get across the English Channel with Greek and Roman water gods perhaps assisting the Goddesses.

"Side effects from doggie joy may include face lube and leg humping."-Oberon

Atticus is pretty shocked by the events at the start of the book as he had never planned to upset the Greek or Roman Gods yet somehow, he managed it. Not being able to shift and evade means that the only option left is to run, using the earth to keep their strength up, and hope for help from allies. The help is going to come from a couple of surprising places as Odin agrees to assist with the dark elf problem while Leif tries to warn of danger ahead-but can they both be trusted? He is more reassured by Malina's coven in Poland doing what they can to stop Loki from causing mayhem everywhere if Atticus will help them with a vampire problem later. Others with an interest in Atticus are trying to get rules set out for the chase to ensure it is fairer but nobody is able to call the goddesses off.

I thought that just running endlessly across Europe might get boring but I didn't find that at all. Instead of relying on being able to shift out of trouble, Atticus instead has to use every bit of guile and Druid magic that he has to try to save himself and his companions. It was also nice to get a bit of travel tourism along the way although Oberon was more interested in sausage sampling! Oberon is still able to bring the humour but there is a sense of danger and impending doom hanging over the trio as they flee for their lives. It is like the games you would see in the old Greek mythology films where gods try to manipulate the game in favour of their champions.

"Poodles would demand a Hump Me Oberon."-Oberon

Something horrible happens in this book which did bring tears to my eyes as I wasn't expecting it to happen. Darn you Kevin Hearne! It was a very touching and emotional scene that was beautifully written and gave me an ache in my chest. If you've read this book, you will know what I am talking about but please don't put any spoilers in the comments as a few friends have not started the series yet and I don't want anything spoiled for them. Barb, Oberon is ok, just thought you'd need some reassurances!

Details on this book have to remain limited as I don't want to spoil what happens but there are a couple of interesting twists, new enemies to fight and a hint of changing storylines to come. It was interesting to see Atticus being hampered by having his transportation options cut off from him and I liked seeing him having to adapt and use other resources as well as every ally he can find. I enjoyed the mixture of different mythologies in the book and as usual great character interaction. The series continues to deliver.

Read November 2016. 
star rating photo: Four Star Rating 4stars.png

Chuckles Cover Love #11

If there is one thing that makes a great book even better, it is when it has a cover that we love! The cover design is what catches the eye as we browse through a bookstore shelf or check out the Amazon or Goodreads recommendations. The right cover makes me look closer at a book, to read the blurb and maybe make a purchase. A poor cover might mean I never look at the blurb at all. 

This week I'm looking at a really beautiful set of fantasy books. I haven't read them but I do have the first book and plan to give the series a try! It's a departure from the usual books I read but I want to love them so I can buy these gorgeous books in paperback...

Have you read the series? What do you think of the covers? Which do you like the best?                                                                    

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Lunar New Year Book Tag

So, Saturday, Jan 28, 2017 is Lunar New Year.   Happy Year of the Rooster!  Millions of people around the world celebrate Lunar New Year, mostly in Asian cultures.

To celebrate the Year of the Rooster this year, Tiff @ Mostly YA Lit teamed up with  Joey @ Thoughts and Afterthoughts  to bring you the Lunar New Year Book Tag!  Instructions, downloads, and a link back are at the bottom of Tiff's post HERE.
Which Chinese zodiac animal you are?
  • Click over here for list of dates. Match up your birthday to the corresponding year, and that’s your animal.
  • Or if you’re good at math, try this handy trick from TravelChinaGuide.com: Divide your year of birth by 12 and read the remainder. If the number of the year can be divided with no remainder, take the remainder as zero. Each remainder corresponds to an animal sign.
0: Monkey 1: Rooster 2: Dog 3: Pig
4: Rat 5: Ox 6: Tiger 7: Rabbit
8: Dragon 9: Snake 10: Horse 11: Sheep

Got it? You can read more about the different signs here, or below in each of the graphics!

Hmm, I want to finally get my hands on Patricia Briggs Mercy Thompson book 9 which gets its paperback release in the next week or two. I hate waiting a year for paperback editions! Also looking forward to the Kevin Hearne's Iron Druid anthology in the summer. But the one I REALLY want is Craig Oliver's Brexit behind the scenes book Unleashing Demons in June!

It's always Harry Potter! If I'm in a reading slump or just want something nice to cuddle up with I turn to this series either in paperback or the Stephen Fry audio books. It always gets me out of the slump and ready to read again.

When I get a new obsession I go a bit mad. Recently, it might be that gorgeous hardback Harry Potter set I got in the 2015 Black Friday sales when I already had the paperback editions. Or it might be the Game of Thrones bag I got this year...I don't even USE shoulder bags!

I read a lot of Indie and self published so I have hundreds fit the bill! For horror try JG Faherty's Carnival of Fear, for urban fantasy Judith Post's Wolf Bane, for paranormal go with DelSheree Gladden's Wicked Hunger. Ignore the dreadful cover to Wicked Hunger-it's a good dark fantasy series not fluffy romance!

So many I could pick here...but I'm going with Zoey from the Monster Haven books by RL Naquin. She is kind, caring and helpful, trying to solve the problems of her monster guests. You would want her to be your friend and she always tries to do the right thing.

I don't really read 'issue' kind of books! I think I'll go with Wendy Jean-Stolen, a good contemporary which shows the issues surrounding child abduction, with the media spotlight, the family falling apart and how everyone copes with it.

There is an all action series with lots of shifters, magic, monsters which also features a romance I enjoyed! Yes it did happen! The romance is background to the action but I liked the way it was done. Deacon and Tiff are sweet together. Try the Deacon Chalk series by James R Tuck! 

I have to go here with something from my Tudor collection as I love that time period. Favourites are Philippa Gregory's two Boleyn books, Emily Purdy's Tudor Wife, Alison Weir's Anne Boleyn which is due for release in a couple of months. Also like Jean Plaidy, Margaret Campbell Barnes, Ella March Chase, Judith Arnopp...

A good manipulative character would be Albus Dumbledore. He manipulates so many people around him, setting Harry on the path to defeat Voldemort, using Snape's love for Lily to get him positioned as a spy, ensuring Voldemort falls into the trap of using Harry's blood...He never gives Harry enough information to do the job yet means him no real harm and is doing all these things for the Greater Good!

A good stand alone book for dinosaurs is Rick Jones-The Valley, for zombies VM Zito-The Return Man, for vampires William Massa Fear the Light is a good choice.

I love this Harry Potter set of covers so much! Here are my favourite three from it to drool at!

There is no doubt about this one. It has to be the sausage obsessed poodle fancier who loves quotes and social experiments...yes it is the best dog ever, Oberon from Kevin Hearne's Iron Druid series! 

This one was a lot of fun so thank you to Lisa over at Lisa Loves Literature-find her here: https://misclisa.blogspot.co.uk/  for an open tag which let me take part in this. I never name people for tags so if you like this, please consider yourself tagged! If you take part, please tell me in the comments so I can come over to see your choices!

Game of Thrones Gossip #3: Robert Baratheon

Welcome to my Game of Thrones Gossip, where all of us fanatics get the chance to discuss everything we love about this amazing TV series. I did a few spoiler free posts about the series last year but I found that there were other bloggers out there who were also itching to talk more freely about favourite characters and events without spoiling things for those visiting the blog. So I decided to do a whole series of these discussion posts that let us say everything we want and enjoy every second of it! The topics may talk about a death, an event, a character or be season reviews and so on. Please feel free to comment fully and without restriction!

I have to warn you that it is important that you have seen all six seasons because these posts and blogger comments will be oozing and exploding spoilers all over the place. If you haven't watched the series and plan to, be warned that it's a bad idea to be here right now! I take no responsibility if you read on and things are spoiled for you nor do I take responsibility for any mistakes on the pages I link you to.

"I'm not trying to honour you. I'm trying to get you to run my Kingdom while I eat, drink and whore my way to an early grave."

Robert Baratheon was renowned as a great and brave warrior in his youth, leading the rebellion against The Mad King, Aerys II Targaryen. Aerys son Rhaegar had kidnapped Robert's betrothed, Lyanna Stark, sister of Ned Stark. Taking the Iron Throne after victory, he also agrees to marry Cersei Lannister and believes that he has fathered three children with her-Joffrey, Myrcella and Tommen, along with many bastards. His best friend and the man he sees as his true brother, Ned Stark, becomes Warden of the North with trusted friend and mentor Jon Arryn as his first Hand of the King.

When we meet Robert in season one of Game of Thrones he is basically a drunken slob who cares little about anything except drinking, women and hunting. He is far from what you expect of a King and makes no attempt to rule or look after the Kingdom. He does not teach Joffrey anything about being a man or future King and the deathbed scene between them is rather telling as he finally realises how he has failed Joffrey over the years. He is not a good friend to Ned, forcing him out of Winterfell to take up a job he doesn't want in King's Landing which will cost Ned his head, and causing years of misery for Sansa Stark by betrothing her to Joffrey. He is selfish and throws his considerable weight around, with poor decision making and spending his way into massive debt. Indeed, his decision, against Ned's advice to try to murder Daenerys Targaryen is to have far reaching consequences.

I must admit that I had some sympathy for Cersei in being married to him. There is little doubt that he made no effort as a husband and her joy over the wedding soon turned to misery as she competes with the ghost of his dead love Lyanna. It looks to me as if losing her made Robert pretty much give up on life and just behave like an idiot. Cersei tells Ned during the confrontation over the parentage of her children exactly what her wedding night was like and what a nightmare Robert was. I can well believe it! I also had sympathy for his squire Lancel Lannister-to say that Robert is a mean bully is putting it mildly. His erratic behaviour certainly explains why Ned had no intention of ever telling Robert that Jon Snow is Lyanna's son by Rhaegar. I can well imagine that he would have murdered Jon in his rage, which might be why Ned offered Cersei a way to escape King's Landing with her children before he told Robert the truth about her and Jaime. 

I want to find out more about Jon's conception-did Lyanna actually go willingly or was she kidnapped? Was Jon the result of rape or love? I wonder if there is anything about this in the relevant book? Or has it not been written yet?

Robert's death was one of the things that I WAS expecting in series one. Either he and Ned died or the Lannisters would lose everything, so I did expect the former to happen. The manner of his death seemed somewhat fitting-a hunting accident while drunk. The final insult to him would be if the pig was female...

So what are your thoughts on Robert Baratheon? Feel free to discuss any aspect of his life from the books or TV series!

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Stacking the Shelves #166

Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks! Click on the link under the book to find its page on Goodreads or Smashwords. 

Please note that I always leave a message on your STS/SP if you visit me, but if you use DISQUS or a similar third party I will not be able to leave a comment on your page. I don't allow any company access to my social media accounts and I certainly don't allow them to edit and take over the way DISQUS does. So if you use DISQUS, I can't leave comments on your page so I can't follow you back, sorry! (see below why I say NO)

Authorize DISQUS to use your account?
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This application will be able to:
*Read Tweets from your timeline.
*See who you follow, and follow new people.
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I'm noticing that some blogs set with Google Plus are trying to force you to open a Google Plus or Facebook account before you can leave a comment. Well, I have no interest in rejoining Google Plus or joining Facebook so if your blog uses this set up, I won't be following it or commenting! And sometimes, I have problems leaving messages on blogs hosted by Wordpress-they try to block me so there might not be a message from me some weeks or you might get a double message sometimes! Blame them, not me but I will persevere as it only happens the odd time!
This has not been the greatest week for getting things done. The trouble I had with Netgalley this week (see the Netgalley post for details) meant I had to read the 550 page book they sent on that Adobe Digital Editions piece of rubbish on the computer. I had to abandon three whole mornings that I usually use for answering blog comments, blog visits and putting together posts for my blog to get it read. I also lost some afternoon time trying to get the book finished in three days so I could get back to normal. Gah! The two books sent were good but it was not worth a whole week of hassles getting ADE set up and reading one poor pdf copy with a magnifying glass on Kobo and the other having to be read on ADE. Not worth it for a free copy! So sadly there was no Cover Love, Game of Thrones gossip or discussion post this week and not much in the way of reviews! This coming week will be back to normal!
On the reading side of things, I'm still going along at great pace as I plough through the ebooks this month and the tbr is dropping! Not a great drop but it's going in the right direction! As you expect with freebies and bargain books from various sites, there were a lot of disappointing reads but the good ones made up for it. I have also reigned in my book buying for the moment and I'm starting to look at all the author newsletters I subscribed to as part of the giveaway competitions, unsubscribing from those who only write contemporary romance, teen angst YA or sex filled paranormal romance as those aren't my genres. Those who write urban fantasy, dystopia, horror, sci-fi or fantasy I'll keep getting the newsletters until I read the books and then narrow it down a bit for less email! As we approach February I will continue my ebook blitz but will also get started on a series catch up. Yea!
Thank you to the authors for providing these books through their email offers-some were free and the rest discounted but I don't remember which is which!
And I also grabbed a few books I wanted to read in the apocalypse and monsters genres! These were grabbed free or cheap on Amazon and other sites!