Monday, 31 July 2017

New-To-Me July Challenge Final Update

I can't believe it is this far into the year already but it's time for an update on how my New-To-Me author reading month is going! I will be looking mainly at new-to-me authors that I haven't read before.

Kermit looks like he's going to cry but actually I'm happy enough with progress. 15/31 read and 8/31 DNFed. So I've dealt with 23/31 by the end of the month. Not bad considering all my tv time this month!


1) Matthew Reilly-Great Zoo of China
2) Patrick Sheane Duncan-Dracula vs Hitler
3) Ryan Graudin-Wolf By Wolf
4) KT Tomb-Dinosaur Island (1 star)
5) MV Stott-Underground Magic (4 star)
6) JA Cipriano-Wardbreaker (3 star)
7) David Bussell-Deathday (3.5 star)
8) Leigh Bardugo-Six of Crows (DNF)
9) Steve Alten-Meg (3.5 star)
10) Melinda Braun-Stranded (3.5 star)
11) Elizabeth Briggs-Future Shock (4 star)
12) Jordanna Max Brodsky-The Immortals (DNF)
13) John Ringo-Under A Graveyard Sky
14) Ann Charles-Dance of the Winnebagos (DNF)
15) Ann Charles-Nearly Departed in Deadwood (DNF)
16) Nicholas Erik-Paradise
17) Mira Gibson-Daddy Soda (DNF)
18) Renee George-Pit Perfect (3.5 star)
19) Ken Greenhall-Hellhound (2 star)
20) Cynthia Hand-My Lady Jane
21) Saul Tanpepper-Golgotha (2.5 star)
22) Erin Hayes-Damned If I Do (3 star)
23) Amy Hopkins-Dream Stalker (3 star)
24) RL King-Stone and a Hard Place
25) Orlando A Sanchez-Tombyards & Butterflies
26) HJ Lawson-New Order (DNF)
27) HD Lynn-The Corner Store Witch (DNF)
28) William R Forstchen-Day of Wrath (5 star)
29) SD Perry Resident Evil: The Umbrella Conspiracy (3 star)
30) Simone Pond-Hidden Sight (4 star)
31) Matthew Scott Hansen-The Shadowkiller (DNF)


32) Nicholas Sansbury Smith-Hell Divers
33) MJ Kraus-Death Magic (3 star)
34) Sonya Bateman-The Cursing Stones

Game of Thrones Review: Season 7 Episode 3

Welcome to my Game of Thrones reviews posts which are an episode by episode guide of season 7. The entire post will be nothing but spoilers so don't read it if you intend to watch it! The format will be done as a house by house analysis, not a minute by minute report. 

Jon and Ser Davos arrive at Dragonstone to be greeted by Tyrion and Missandei. Tyrion asks after Sansa and tells Jon that their relationship was unconsumated, and he watches as Drogon does a low fly past, scaring his visitors. Dany reminds Jon of a vow his ancestors made to bend the knee to the Targaryens and he reminds her that her father murdered his uncle and grandfather. Dany asks him to forgive her father's sins, saying he was an evil man. Jon accepts that and says he is not responsible for vows his ancestors made but they need each others help, which Dany is skeptical about. He points out that she is better than Cersei because she hasn't attacked King's Landing, knowing it will kill thousands of innocents. But when he tells her about what is coming from the north, she doesn't believe him or Davos. Varys brings news of Euron's attack.

Tyrion tells Jon that he does believe in what Jeor Mormont saw and what Jon saw north of the Wall but it will take longer to persuade Dany. He asks if there is anything else he can do to help and takes Jon's request about the dragonglass to Dany, urging her to do this favour to form an alliance with a potential ally. Dany tells Jon he can mine the dragonglass with no catches. Sansa takes charge when she sees that they are underprepared for winter and Littlefinger tells her they must be ready for Cersei as well as the White Walkers. Bran and Meera arrive at Winterfell and Bran tries to explain what he is now and Sansa can't handle it. Dany wants to take her dragons after Euron's fleet and The Unsullied arrive at Casterly Rock using Tyrion's sewer passages but find an easier victory than expected and not as many soldiers as there should be and Euron attacking their fleet.

Theon is picked up by one of his two remaining ships and his men are unhappy that he did not try to save Yara. Euron parades his three prisoners through the streets of King's Landing to cheers, which he enjoys. Cersei is pleased to be given Ellaria and her daughter and tells Euron he will get what he wants as soon as she wins the war. Jaime is furious when Euron asks him about Cersei's sexual preferences. Cersei begins her revenge on Ellaria by chaining mother and daughter in the dungeon, then kissing Tyene to infect her and telling Ellaria that she will watch her daughter die. Cersei is now happy to flaunt her relationship with Jaime to the servants and tries to persuade The Iron Bank to back her over Dany. 

The Archmaester examines Jorah and declares that he is no longer infectious. He tells Jorah that he is free to go. Jorah thanks Sam for saving his life and Sam says that Jeor Mormont saved him more than once and he was glad to return the favour. The archmaester knows what Sam did and is amazed that he suceeded where so many maesters failed and that he should be proud. Sam is not exiled but gets some punishment duty.

Melisandre watches Jon and Davos arrive from the walls, and Varys questions why she is hiding from them. She admits that she parted from them on bad terms because she made terrible mistakes. She is leaving but when Varys tells her to stay gone, she comments that she will return and that she and Varys must die in foreign lands.

Jaime's main forces have sacrificed Casterly Rock as a diversion while their main forces march on Highgarden and the Tyrell soldiers are easily stopped. Olenna greets Jaime with an enquiry as to how they fought, lamenting that her men were never very good at it. She tries to tell Jaime how evil Cersei is but sees that he loves her too much to care. As she ponders her death, Jaime confirms that Cersei had big plans for her but he is ready to let her drink poison to go quickly. Olenna gets confirmation that it would be painless and drinks, confessing that she murdered Joffrey but didn't expect his death to be so painful. Jaime is shocked by the news and Olenna asks him to tell Cersei that it was her.

My Thoughts:

I'm glad that Dany wasn't quite such a bitch this week with Jon but it frustrates me that she wouldn't listen to him about what is coming. Most people don't believe in her dragons, she has never been in Westeros since she was a baby but she knows better than the former Lord Commander of the Night's Watch about what is beyond the Wall? Come on Dany, get a grip! The diplomatic scenes were nicely done with Ser Davos stealing the scene as he always does.
Yea for Sam saving Jorah! I think he is the only man that Dany could ever love. Bran and Meera arrive at Winterfell to be reunited with Sansa and he is no longer the impatient boy who wanted answers. He is calm and emotionless and ready to learn to use his new powers which should be interesting, if a bit creepy. Loved Varys and Melisandre too.

I really thought that Tyrion would have worked out what Cersei was doing. Euron attacked to destroy Dany's alliance with Ellaria Sand and Yara did they not expect Olenna Tyrell to be attacked as well? Olenna said herself that her men do not fight well. I'm also surprised that Tyrion didn't suspect the Casterly Rock trap. The one good thing is that she now needs that alliance with Jon Snow so things will get interesting! Cersei has the upper hand at the moment and I'm not liking it at all. But on the Lannister side of things, I'm getting so frustrated with Jaime for sticking by his bitch sister. He's like a whipped dog and I want to see him leave her and join the real fight but I fear he will die protecting her. The only hope is that Cersei and Euron pair up quickly and Jaime is forced out to find new purpose.

On the down side, I was disappointed by the lack of battle in the battle scenes. I was expecting a big battle for Casterly Rock but it was a damp squib overall which was a pity. I also want to personally strangle the citizens of King's Landing who just cheer and jeer when they feel like it and switch sides, having no loyalty to anyone. Why would they cheer Euron for catching the one who killed Cersei's daughter? I wouldn't have thought they would have cared and maybe came to watch for curiosity. But I can't see them cheering Euron like some kind of hero and jeering Yara who has done nothing to them. That felt totally off as did Cersei flaunting her relationship with Jaime to a servant who could be a spy for someone.  Is she really that dumb? The Iron Bank are like pantomime villains and I can't take them seriously.

On the bright side I liked Olenna's last moment of revenge over her enemies!

Around The Blogs With Chuckles

We all enjoy snooping and lurking on other people's blogs right? Why not share those entertaining things you found with other readers and bloggers too! Welcome to Around the Blogs with Chuckles, where I take time out to show you some of my favourite blog posts from the previous seven days and link you up so you can check them out.

This Week! 

1) Game of Thrones Season 7 Episode 2
Greg at Book Haven reviews the latest episode and gives his thoughts. 

2) I Am So In Love With Books! 
Bark looks at the joy of browsing in a book store. 

3) Game of Thrones review 
Check out another view of what happened in episode 2 of season 7! 

4) Game of Thrones Recap
A third blog reviewing episode 2 of season 7. 

5) Freakin Fridays
Laura reviews some deadly sharks and mutant crocodiles! 

6) Book Review-The Punch Escrow by Tal M Klein
Mogsy takes a look at some 5 star sci-fi 

7) Top Ten Tuesday-Dog Related Books
Barb at Booker T's Farm looks at some new dog books on her shelves! 

8) Tips To Make Your Clothes Last Years
How to keep your clothes looking good for longer 

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Chuckles Goes Sampling #3

Seeing Kermit surrounded and almost buried in leaves kind of reminds me of my relationship with books. I'm pretty much buried in them too! I have no more space in my house for the books I buy and piles are sitting on the floor which isn't good and I can't read them quick enough because I keep buying!!! I've battled to reduce the tbr without success this year but now Kermit and I are embarking on a new plan to reduce the book buying and give me a chance to reduce the tbr at last. The Plan? Download samples instead of buying!

This is what I looked at last week:

1) Jon Hollins-The Dragon Lords: Fools Gold 
Will's farm is on the brink of financial ruin after having to pay crippling taxes. When soldiers arrive claiming he hasn't paid them, they are going to take away his farm and jail him so Will fights back and escapes to the forest as the barn burns. Taking refuge in a cave he is faced with unhappy creatures. The next chapter goes on to introducing different characters.

I felt in the first chapter that the author was trying too hard to make it funny and maybe, like the Discworld books, others would find it amusing but I didn't really. The only character I felt had real depth was Bessie the grumpy pig! It just felt kind of bland to me and I didn't find myself greatly interested in reading chapter two. Just wasn't my thing and I felt that it was probably going to be slow getting to the point with it having 516 pages.

2) Jae Vogel-Demon Hero 
Vee is a fae in hiding, working in a bar where humans her badly and talk about what they want to do to fae women. Talon is a regular customer and a fae so he outs Vee to the angry men to provoke a confrontation. It leads to police being called and her boss Sol being dragged into it trying to defend her while Talon and his friends put them all in danger. Vee then flees with her fae companions and abandons Sol. After escaping helicopters and hunters they stop in a place with sex workers where Onyx causes trouble and brings the police. This was where I stopped reading.

Frankly, I really didn't like this. Talon is a manipulative piece of filth who decides to destroy Vee's life and endangers Sol just because he feels it is time to fight back against the humans and use Vee as poster girl for the rebellion. I cannot stand him and I have no idea why he is our so called hero. I don't like Onyx much either. The only one I liked was Sol and he was left behind like a piece of rubbish. It's this kind of characterisation for the Fae that makes me dislike reading about them. I won't read on.  

3) TS Paul-Born A Witch
Aggy's grandmother Marcella and Aunt Camilla, both witches, argue about her while she spies on them. Camilla is angry that she misuses magic, attracting humans after turning all the squirrels purple, damaging a unicorn and causing Aggy's mother to collapse. Marcella counters by saying they had to homeschool Aggy because Camilla ensured she was blacklisted from all magical schools. That was the whole sample.

To be honest, there wasn't much of interest in this sample to make me want to read on. There is nothing wrong with the writing and the squirrel story amused me but it wasn't enough to take a chance on buying it. 

4) Brad Magnarella-Demon Moon  
Everson Croft is a Professor by day who gets rid of all the nasty things that amateurs conjure in New York. His family are from a long line of demon hunters and he spends his nights stopping creatures from Deep Down. Now he's on the trail of another conjurer but when he finds the man, he has summoned something demonic which is on the loose. After dealing with it, his strength is low, allowing the demon attached to him to take over. I wonder if we find out what happened when he partied that night with the punk band...!!!

This sample had action, had the amusing scene where he wakes up after the party, the myths in his college class and most important, I like the hapless Everson as a character. He is amusing and a demon fighter, and there was more than enough in the sample to make me want to read on with the book.

Chuckles Cover Love #36

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: Mari Mancusi

These are not the kind of books I read but hey, lets admire those covers eh?!!


Saturday, 29 July 2017

Chuckles Weekend Roundup

Welcome to my new feature Chuckles Weekend Roundup where I will be looking at what books I've received, anything interesting I've done or bought or watched and other random stuff. I'll be taking a look back at what happened in my blogging world too, sort of like The Sunday Post that some of you do! 

Please note that I'll be visiting your STS/SP as normal, but I don't follow or leave comments on blogs run by Google Plus or DISQUS as I refuse to join something just to leave comments, and I won't allow DISQUS to follow new people, update my profile or post tweets 'on my behalf'. I am the only one who does that on my social media! Sometimes, I have problems leaving messages on blogs hosted by Wordpress-they try to block me because I deleted my account with them but I will persevere as it only happens the odd time!
Another Saturday and the end of July approaches. This was a much better reading week. I deviated from my July reading list to mood read two short novellas which I enjoyed and it seemed to kick start me into a week of reading 3 further books I enjoyed and getting started on another. Details about that in my Currently Reading/Next Up section. But I'm feeling happy about my reading again which is a relief as last weeks pile of DNFs was threatening to put me into a slump! With a few days of the month to go I hope to fit in another book or two.

Thanks to everyone who took part in my blog survey! The responses you gave were really helpful and now I can go forward with the blog knowing that the things I enjoy posting most are the things most responders enjoyed the most. It also means I can ditch a feature I wasn't greatly enjoying posting as nobody had it on their favourite post list. I know where I'm going with the blog now and feel much happier about it! On the book buying side I didn't buy anything last week! Yeah I know, I'm shocked too! I do still have stuff to share that I found on my ereader that I haven't loaded on Goodreads yet...


I mentioned what my dad had bought me as an early birthday present and they arrived during the week! Excitement! Still have no idea where to hang the things... 

Chuckles Blogging World:
I was slow in replying to comments again this week but I think I'm fully caught up except for yesterdays posts which I'll answer today. I did get to visit some blogs but didn't get time to comment as much as I wanted to. I'm not sure why time is getting away from me this month but hopefully I'll do better this week. The one thing I never seem to get time for is to go back to blogs I've commented on to see if there are replies. I've never found time to do this so I need to do better! After doing my request for feedback this week I've finally stopped stressing about my blog content and accepted that the blog is doing fine as it is. Thanks to everyone who took part, you were all really helpful! As always, a link is provided for each blog post from last week to take you straight to anything you missed. Comments are moderated so it might take a day or two to see it on the blog! Check out my Next Week section to see what excitement is coming... 

Book Reviews: 
I found no time for writing book reviews AGAIN which is just so lazy of me! I have decided that I'm no longer going to just wade through the reviews in the order I read them-I'm going to mix and match several genres from books read the last three or four months so the reviews posted will vary and not be all the same genre. Hopefully that might be more interesting for everyone. I will keep series reviews together where possible as requested. I did manage to do a few retro reads this week for a fantasy series.

Morgan Howell-Kings Property (Queen of the Orcs #1)

Morgan Howell-Clan Daughter (Queen of the Orcs #2)

Morgan Howell-Royal Destiny (Queen of the Orcs #3)

Regular Features:
I'm three weeks ahead in most of my Regular Features which I'm happy with. It's going to be a big help in allowing me time to go lurking on your blogs and watching some Masterchef Australia which I LOVE! This week on Cover Love I featured Kasey MacKenzie, I brought you the best of the bloggyverse in Around The Blogs With Chuckles, Top Ten Tuesday continued my look at the Best Urban Fantasy Series, Can't Wait Wednesday was all about the apocalypse which looks great. I decided to drop Feed my TBR from the blog as nobody featured it in their favourite posts and it was pretty time consuming! I also continued with my new feature where I share a few thoughts on book samples I've downloaded, called Chuckles Goes Sampling. In that I looked at River of Teeth, Veil Knights, Gambit and Bait.

Chuckles Cover Love-Kasey MacKenzie

Chuckles Goes Sampling

Around The Blogs With Chuckles

Top Ten Tuesday-Best UF Series part 4

Can't Wait Wednesday-Solar Storm

Discussion Posts: 
Chuckles Chat this week looked at the ups and downs of ARCs, while  my Game of Thrones Gossip looked at Joffrey Baratheon! I also reviewed episode two of my Game of Thrones Season 7 analysis and did an extra post on The Prince That Was Promised.

Chuckles Chat-ARCs

Game of Thrones Gossip-Joffrey Baratheon

Game of Thrones Season 7 Episode 2

The Prince That Was Promised

Special Features: 
This week I asked my regular followers for feedback on aspects of my blog

Book Tags: 
none this week

Book Challenge Updates:
My Goodreads Challenge total currently stands at 155/250. I read and finished five books, DNFed one which was boring me plus I read more book samples.

TBR total of books I own but haven't read yet stands at 804. *grimaces* I hope the sampling for the second half of the year instead of impulse buying helps. My total hasn't gone up in two weeks which is something!

Currently Reading/Next Up: 
 I read the first two Crypto squad books by Eric S Brown and the three I set aside last week to read this week-Amy Hopkins 'Dream Stalker', Simone Pond 'Hidden Sight' and Elizabeth Briggs 'Future Shock'. All three earned 3.5 or 4 stars so I'm pretty happy with that.I'm currently reading Erin Hayes 'Damned If I Do' which I hope to finish tonight. Next up I plan to read these books which should finish the month nicely:

Next Week On The Blog? 
Chuckles Cover Love features Mari Mancusi, Top Ten Tuesday features part 1 of my Urban Fantasy TBR list, Can't Wait Wednesday features Graveyard Shift, Game of Thrones Gossip features Arya Stark, Chuckles Chat looks at Bad Reviews. There will also be a Game of Thrones special post on S7 Ep 3 to enjoy and reviews of samples from my ereader!

That's all for this week! Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to visit my blog and leave comments. You guys are great! 

Friday, 28 July 2017

Game of Thrones: The Prince That Was Promised

Now that Winter Is Here, I thought it would be fun to take a look at some plotlines of interest for the coming two seasons and get all your ideas and imput on them. Let's start with The Prince That Was Promised!

The Prince or Princess That Was Promised:
Followers of the Lord of Light believe in the prophecy of a saviour reborn amid salt and smoke, who pulls a flaming sword called Lightbringer from the flames to combat the darkness. It is said that this prince/princess will be from the Targaryen line. 

Shall we first look at the possible candidates? Yes I think so! 

1) Stannis Baratheon 
Melisandre believed that Stannis was The One and staged the flaming sword being pulled out of a fire to show it to her supporters. His grandmother was Targaryen which fits into the prophecy as does the beach ceremony featuring smoke and salt air from the sea. This was stage managed by Melisandre to fit her thoughts but I'm not as convinced. I also can't recall any special meaning to his sword other than Melisandre's stunt and her calling it Lightbringer. However, though Stannis is dead in the tv series, at the moment he is alive in the books and can't be discounted.

2) Jon Snow
Jon Snow is the alleged son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark, raised from the dead by Melisandre and the Lord of Light. Technically he was killed in the snow and reborn in smoke as fire is the power of the Lord of Light. He has a Valyrian steel sword called Longclaw, a gift from Jeor Mormont which allows him to fight White Walkers. In the North he is the best hope of defeating the White Walkers and the free folk are loyal to him.

3) Daenerys Targaryen 
Obviously Dany is Targaryen and was reborn on several occasions from the flames. The first time happened close to the sea so that gives you the salt and smoke. She may not have a flaming sword but she has three fire breathing dragons that could be Lightbringer, killing the wights in battle. But is Dany too obvious a choice?

4) Arya Stark 
Arya is mentally reborn as soon as she leaves King's Landing but her real transformation occurs in Braavos as a Faceless Man. It is beside the water for the salt but not too sure where the smoke fits in. She has Needle but I don't see that as the sword that could be Lightbringer and she is a Stark, not a Targaryen. Being an assassin doesn't lend itself to saving the world but she is taking out the trash!

5) Theon Greyjoy
No Targaryen blood to my knowledge and I can't see a Targaryen wanting to get involved in a relationship with an Ironborn. There is the Salt Throne and rebirth through The Drowned God and the reaving could link to the smoke but Theon does not strike me as the saviour of mankind in any way.

6) Euron Greyjoy
The Greyjoys were loyal to the Targaryens but I don't know if there is Targaryen blood. Euron is King of the Iron Islands and sits on the Salt Throne. He was resurrected by the Drowned God when chosen as King and you could say that his famous reaving creates smoke and flames wherever he goes which would fit the prophecy. He carries a battle axe and it is doubtful it is valyrian steel unless he stole it. He does have a fleet capable of winning sea battles and is ruthless and ambitious. I'm not seeing him as a saviour and he is loyal to the Drowned God.

7) Brienne of Tarth
I have no information on Brienne's extended family tree so I don't know if there is any Targaryen blood in it. At a stretch you could say her purpose was born again in the smoke of the monster that killed Renly and justice was served in the snow of Winterfell when she executed Stannis. Oathkeeper was made from the valyrian steel of Ned Stark's sword Ice, given to Brienne by Jaime Lannister to help her find the Stark girls. She is at Winterfell ready to fight for the Starks against the threats in the North.

8) Gendry 
As the bastard son of Robert Baratheon, Gendry also has Targaryen blood. As the bastard son of Robert Baratheon, he could perhaps rally some support from the right people. His redemption came when Davos set him free before his execution, escaping on the sea, his blood used in the flames and smoke to curse Joffrey, Robb and Balon. He has no great weapon but has skills as a blacksmith and could be taught in the free cities to make valyrian steel. If he married Dany, there could be a joint Baratheon-Targaryen dynasty. Perhaps their son could be the Prince...?

9) Yara Greyjoy
Again I don't know if the Greyjoys have Targaryen blood, but Yara is the alternative choice for the Salt Throne for those unhappy about Euron killing Balon. Ironborn are resurrected in the sea by the Drowned God so the ressurection and reaving link to the prophecy is just as relevant to her as it is to Euron.

10) Samwell Tarly
House Florent and House Tarly support House Tyrell in following Renly Baratheon before switching to follow Stannis. I don't know if they have Targaryen blood. Sam is intelligent and finds his bravery defending Gilly from a White Walker and Castle Black by killing a Thenn. Sam discovers that dragon glass kills White Walkers and there is plenty on Dragonstone. He is reborn from coward to brave in the snow and nearby fire from where he and Gilly sheltered. The crows warn him of the impending attack by White Walker. Is that a sign of his importance? His family sword, which he stole from his father, is Valyrian steel and is called Heartsbane.

11) Tyrion Lannister
This is where I go into theory mode. The Mad King took a liking to his mother Joanna Lannister so could Tyrion actually be a Targaryen son? Varys has always thought Tyrion had a role to play in the upcoming war so could he sit on the Iron Throne? OK he is not a warrior but his escape across the sea is really his rebirth and on his way to Dany he is spotted by a fire priestess, linking him to smoke. He has the brains and personality to rule and could defeat darkness using these qualities. I'm not so sure about the sword part though. 

12) Jaime Lannister 
This is probably stretching it a little as both Jaime and Cersei would also have to have been fathered by The Mad King for Jaime to have Targaryen blood. He has always been a warrior but now has limited capacity. He could pull a sword and fight darkness perhaps going out in a blaze of glory. His redemption came on his journey with Brienne so the campfire could be the smoke though I'm unsure about the salt part. It is believed that Jaime now uses Joffrey's valyrian steel blade Widow's Wail. 

13) Beric Dondarrion 
I do not know anything about his family connections for Targaryen blood. We do see Beric Dondarrion fight for the Lord of Light with a flaming sword against The Hound but his deteriorating physical condition may mean he is leading the Brotherhood to the true prince in the way that Jojen led Bran to his destination. His rebirths have been varied though and may fit the prophecy.

14) The Hound
I know nothing about his bloodline but unless he is a Targaryen bastard, I can't see him being of that bloodline. I'd love him to be Targaryen though as it would be a good twist! His real rebirth was the Battle of the Blackwater where he fought on the beach beside the water with fire raging everywhere. He first tried to help Sansa and then Arya before a second rebirth after his fight with Brienne. The interesting thing is that The Hound sees a vision in the flames about the fight in the North. Is he the Chosen One? That would be fun!

15) Podrick Payne 
Podrick does not appear to have any links to the Targaryens but his mother cared more about men than her children so anything is possible. He is brave and loyal and that comes out during the Battle of the Blackwater when he saves Tyrion. So Pod was reborn in the salt and smoke in a manner of speaking. He is being trained by Brienne and quite possibly has an important part to play in future events. 

The smart money would be on Jon or Dany I guess but I can't help feeling that GRRM has something more complex in mind. I like the idea of reborn as someone who becomes a new person after certain events change them and I'm leaning towards something like Tyrion, Sam or The Hound. What do you think?

Chuckles Chat #27 ARCs

Welcome to Chuckles Chat where great blogging minds unite to discuss the topics of the day mainly in the book and blogging world. I'll be sharing my thoughts on a topic and then inviting you all to share your thoughts. It's ok to disagree but PLEASE be respectful of each other's views! All of the comments on my blog are moderated and offensive posts ie racist, bigoted will not be published! 

This week I'm talking about ARCs.

Being in the UK, few publishers are willing to send paperbacks across the sea to us so most ARCS we get are by ebook from publishers, authors and places like Netgalley. ARCs are in plentiful supply in ebook form and in paper format at conventions so a lot of bloggers have easy access to them.

What is the attraction of ARCs? Well that is obvious really. Getting a free book before it is published allows us to read it early and give feedback that could influence the final edition of the book. We are reading before our non book blogger friends and waiting less time for the next book in a long awaited series. We can influence other readers with our early reviews and help to promote our favourite authors. We also get a chance to try and promote brand new authors first which is pretty exciting. We can use an ARC to decide whether or not we want to buy a copy for ourselves. Yes, there are many advantages to ARCs.

The question here is why are some of us not greatly interested in getting ARCs? Speaking for myself, there are several reasons. I like to read completed books not books that are uncorrected, or may be changed before publication. I'd rather wait and read the finished copy. It would be frustrating to read a book and like it then find a favourite few bits were changed or cut out of the final draft! What if you didn't like the finished copy as much as the ARC? I don't suppose that would happen very often but I have thought about it a few times!

I did try Netgalley briefly in 2013 but at that time as a new member, most of my requests were turned down except by one publisher. I read six books at that time and then had to take a blog break for personal reasons, so I never continued with Netgalley. I did request two books earlier this year but the quality was dreadful. The two files were in the dreaded pdf format and the writing was so faint and tiny that I was struggling to read it. You know what a bad pdf looks like-it's a nightmare even for those with great eyesight. It gave me a dreadful headache and of course I picked two books over 400 pages...ugh! After that struggle I stopped using Netgalley. If I keep getting files like that I'll have to struggle through them straining my eyes, or spend many days reading them on the computer which destroys my blogging time! Nope, I'll just stick with reading good quality epubs, Kindle files and nice paperbacks!

The temptation in having access to so many ARCs can of course lead to unlimited grabbing and a book pile the size of Mount Everest. If the unwary blogger isn't careful they will have a ton of books unread with limited deadlines and the chance that you might not get them all read before they are archived or time runs out. I've seen bloggers in a mad panic over having ARCs that are now unread beyond their publishing date. Bloggers are also admitting that ARCs might remain unread and reviews might never follow.

I have to ask, should there be a limit on Netgalley requests to ensure each book is being read and reviewed? I think maybe there should be. When an ARC is given to a blogger it is on the understanding that they will read and review it. For me it is like a contract y'know? If the publisher or author knew that you weren't going to read and review it would they send you a copy? No. So surely a blogger should follow through on this deal? If Netgalley only allowed a certain amount of ARCs to each blogger at a time, would more get reviewed? I do think that Netgalley needs to take responsibility for letting bloggers request too many things at one time or request more with an outstanding pile unread or publishers should maybe look at Netgalley stats before approving a blogger. Should you have a certain percentage of completed feedback on Netgalley before more ARCs are issued to you? Should there be a limit on how many requested books are sent to you? It would stop the understandable temptation to grab too much at one time.

Do you make use of ARCs? What do you like about them? If not, why do you not request ARCs? What is your Netgalley ratio and do you worry about it being too low? Do you struggle to get your ARCs read because you keep requesting more? Do you review all the books you request or run out of time? Does your pile of ARCs stop you reading your own books?

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Game of Thrones #26 Joffrey 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 before reading any of these posts 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.

For those of you who stuck with me through my season one posts, thank you loads! Now I'm going to look at the main characters introduced in season two, what our season one characters were doing in season two and looking at all the bests bits. Enjoy the season two posts! 

Joffrey Baratheon was the firstborn son and heir of Cersei Lannister and Robert Baratheon-at least this is the lie that Robert and the Seven Kingdoms were told. In fact his father is his uncle Jaime, the result of a union of incest between Cersei and Jamie. He has withering patience for  sister Myrcella and brother Tommen and utter hatred for his uncle Tyrion, who in turn also despises his nephew. It would be true to say that he might fear Tyrion a little but the only one who he is scared of is his grandfather Tywin.

The first sight of Prince Joffrey is when he rides into Winterfell in the Royal Party and exchanges interested glances with Sansa Stark. Robert is determined to join his house with Ned's and proposes an union between Joffrey and Sansa, to her delight and Ned's dread. It doesn't take long for Joffrey to show himself as a vain and self obsessed idiot when he refuses to give his sympathy to Catelyn after Bran's accident. It was satisfying to see Tyrion slap him several times for his trouble! That is the first moment when we see that Joffrey will not be Sansa's dream prince after all but at this stage he looks like a whiny mummy's boy.

We see how truly nasty he is when he and Sansa find Arya sparring on the riverbank with the butcher's son Mycah. Seeing a chance to bully Mycah, it is obvious that he loves scaring the boy. When Arya intervenes his anger explodes and only the intervention of her wolf stops Arya being hurt by him. The anger drains from the injured Joffrey and he begs Arya not to hurt him as she holds his sword, as a cowardly bully reacts to losing a fight. By the time he gets back to his parents he is making up stories about being attacked by clubs, leading to the murder of Mycah and Sansa's wolf Joffrey. I was truly furious with Sansa for not backing up her sister and siding with the evil little monster!

Ned, following in the footsteps of Jon Arryn, discovers that Joffrey is Jaime's bastard and tries to stop him taking the Throne by informing Stannis Baratheon that he is the rightful heir. His attempt to foil the Lannisters earns him a cell in the dungeons. Cersei sees the opportunity to exile him to Castle Black out of the way but even she is shocked when Joffrey ignores her plan and demands that Ned is beheaded, causing the North to rise in a fury and ending any chance of Jaime being traded for Ned in a prisoner exchange. I don't actually belive that Joffrey even gave a damn about Jaime and his safety. He begins to exert his evil nature on the Court, taking Sansa to view the heads of her father and his servants, unaware that The Hound stops Sansa from pushing him to his death for it.

Tywin sending Tyrion to be acting Hand of the King infuriates Joffrey as Tyrion is not at all intimidated by him and steps in every time he sees Sansa being abused by his nephew in public. He cannot, however, stop Joffrey from slaughtering all of his 'father's' bastards who could lay claim to the Throne, perhaps aware by this stage that rumours of his parentage may be true. Bronn suggests giving the boy a couple of prostitutes to curb his aggression but Joffrey forces one to torture the other as a message to his uncle about his interference. The people don't like their new ruler either, throwing cow dung and calling him bastard as he returns from seeing his sister off to Dorne. His angry outburst, telling his guards to kill everyone, starts a riot that leads to death and almost kills Sansa, which he cares little about.

As Stannis lands at King's Landing, Joffrey goes quickly from boasting Prince to whining Prince as he questions Tyrion's battle plan, finally showing that he is a coward by fleeing into the Castle to hide while they fight. Only Tyrion's intervention stops them from deserting and saves King's Landing from falling to the enemy. It is suspected that it was Joffrey who told Ser Mandon Moore to murder Tyrion during the battle, instead falling to Tyrion's squire Podrick Payne. In the aftermath of the battle everyone except Tyrion is honoured and Joffrey takes the chance to dump Sansa and become betrothed to Margaery Tyrell. She is a lot smarter than Sansa and her influence will change many things in season three.There will be more about Joffrey in my season three posts!

Chuckles Retro Reads: Royal Destiny by Morgan Howell (Queen of the Orcs #3)

A delicate alliance between human and orc has been achieved. Now Queen of the Orcs, Dar works toward making that peace last. Her position has helped her to finally feel part of a community, to find a life to call her own.

But sudden, strange outbreaks of unrest and ominous signs throw both realms into turmoil. Dar must draw on her knowledge and skills to confront a merciless long-time enemy–and an evil she once only barely survived. To keep human and orc from destroying one another, Dar risks everything on a desperate gamble–and her own future on a heartbreaking sacrifice.

My Review:
Dar has been made the new Queen but her injuries make it a desperate rush to return to the Orcs home so she can be kept alive long enough to select a new Queen. The Orcs are split on having a human ruling them even temporarily and she may be forced to risk her life in a ceremony designed to test how worthy she is. Plots are taking place around her as each clan wants their representative to be Queen, and the old enemies are once again plotting against Dar and her Orcs.

It was an interesting twist to have the Queen select Dar as being worthy to be the new Queen and to possess all the learning of the Orc World. It is an added burden that Dar does not need, especially when she knows that many are against her. Knowing her enemies makes it easier to make plans though. Dar pines for Kovok-mah and her handsome soldier friend tries to persuade her to start a new life with him instead. There is plenty going on to keep this book interesting but I was just obsessed with wanting Kol to DIE!

One thing that bugged one? The damn ending! Come on, you just can't leave it like THAT!!!

3 stars. 

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Chuckles Retro Reads: Clan Daughter by Morgan Howell (Queen of the Orcs #2)

Enslaved by King Kregant’s army, Dar survived by befriending the fierce orcs who were also forced to serve. Now she has escaped–only to find that the price of freedom may be her destiny.

Calling on her untried leadership abilities, Dar guides the surviving orc soldiers to the safety of their homeland–but the clan leaders refuse to accept her unless she can release their queen from Kregant’s fortress. Shaken by her growing gift for dark prophecy and a fate she feels unprepared to accept, Dar must infiltrate the very heart of the despot’s empire. There she will discover unexpected treachery and an ancient power that threatens the future of all.

My Review: 
Having escaped from the army, Dar uses her visions and leadership skills to try to safely guide the Orcs to their homeland, hoping that she can live there with Kovok-mah, though not all the Orcs trust her or approve of taking her along. Her welcome once there is mixed and Kovok-mah's family want them seperated. Fearing for the future Dar goes on a quest to find and release the Queen of the Orcs from the very army that she has just escaped from, aware that her mortal enemy is looking for revenge.

Dar's relationship with Kovok-mah develops into a love affair that horrifies some of the Orcs and there can be no future for them without the approval of his family, which he believes will not come. Dar is in despair and when the Orcs are sent back to fight with army, she decides she must go and find the Queen, to persuade her not to send the Orcs to their death in the human King's war. Trying to get to the Queen unseen by her enemy is going to be a challenge...

Readers of this book seem to fall into two categories-those who are for the relationship and those who are against. I was in the 'for' category as I love Kovok-mah and it seemed obvious to me in book 1 that the friendship was going to become love. The new characters throw up some interesting plot twists and the tension filled rescue plan was well written and exciting. I'd love the chance to read these books again and see if I put my rating up to 4 stars but sadly I read them in a bookcrossing book ring so I don't have my own copies!

3 stars. 

Chuckles Retro Reads: King's Property by Morgan Howell (Queen of the Orcs #1)

Born into hardship, Dar learns to rely on herself alone. When her family betrays her, Dar is conscripted into King Kregant’s army and its brutal campaign to conquer a neighboring country. Now she is bound as a slave to a dreaded regiment of orcs, creatures legendary for their savagery and battle prowess. 

Rather than cower, Dar rises to the challenge. She learns the unique culture and language of the orcs, survives treachery from both allies and enemies, and struggles to understand a mystical gift that brings her dark, prophetic visions. As the war escalates–amid nightmarish combat and shattering loss–Dar must seize a single chance at freedom.

My Review: 
Dar's family abandon her to a group of soldiers where she is branded and forced into slavery. Part of the job is to serve the Orc Army who also fight for the King and his troops and who can only be served by women according to Orc Law. When a commanding officer decides to claim Dar as his, she seeks protection from Kovok-mah, an Orc with a sympathetic attitude who is willing to risk a split in the camp to keep her safe.

Dar is a good strong character who does make mistakes. She goes against all the rules to shun being a man's mistress to befriending an Orc. The women call her an Orc whore, thinking there is a sexual relationship with Kovok-mah, the shunned man is determined to get Dar at all costs and the Orc clan also disapprove of this new friendship. As the fighting grows more intense Dar has to keep her wits about her to stay alive.

This is certainly dark fantasy, and a very grim world for the female slaves. There are the women who betray their kind to tell tales to their soldier lovers, the soldiers who are evil rapists and the brutal fighting Orcs with their own rules that are greatly feared. But the author paints the picture of the Orcs as a race who are unaware that their strength is being used to save soldiers risking their own lives, and we start to see the different personalities of the Orcs coming through in their interactions with Dar. The monsters have feelings and the true monsters are the soldiers themselves.

This was different from anything I had read before and it doesn't go too heavily into the fantasy side. It is more character based than that which is why I liked it.

3 stars.