Monday, 2 June 2014

June Reads!

I have quite an ambitious TBR this month because in the first two weeks of June I don't have any seminars, meaning I have two weeks to keep myself occupied with constant reading, writing and television watching.

Some of them I'm reading for the sake of my MA portfolio, and some of them I'm reading because it's summer and I'm in the mood for some romance/happy reads!

by Mira Grant

Shaun Mason is a man without a mission. Not even running the news organization he built with his sister has the same urgency as it used to. Playing with dead things just doesn't seem as fun when you've lost as much as he has. 

But when a CDC researcher fakes her own death and appears on his doorstep with a ravenous pack of zombies in tow, Shaun has a newfound interest in life. Because she brings news-he may have put down the monster who attacked them, but the conspiracy is far from dead. 

Now, Shaun hits the road to find what truth can be found at the end of a shotgun.

I'm already over half-way through Deadline, so I'm pretty certain this is going to be the first book I complete this month. I'm loving what I've read so far and I can't wait to see what happens!

by Mira Grant

Rise up while you can. - Georgia Mason

The year was 2014. The year we cured cancer. The year we cured the common cold. And the year the dead started to walk. The year of the Rising.

The year was 2039. The world didn't end when the zombies came, it just got worse. Georgia and Shaun Mason set out on the biggest story of their generation. They uncovered the biggest conspiracy since the Rising and realized that to tell the truth, sacrifices have to be made.

Now, the year is 2041, and the investigation that began with the election of President Ryman is much bigger than anyone had assumed. With too much left to do and not much time left to do it in, the surviving staff of After the End Times must face mad scientists, zombie bears, rogue government agencies-and if there's one thing they know is true in post-zombie America, it's this:

Things can always get worse.

Continuing with last month's heartbreak, this month I'm hoping to read Blackout and complete the Newsflesh trilogy! If you're a fan of zombies and you haven't checked this trilogy out yet then do! Alternatively, if you're not the biggest fan of zombies I'd still recommend this trilogy; it focuses more on the impact of the virus on society as a whole, particularly in regards to politics and journalism, and less so on the blood and gore.

by Rainbow Rowell

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan...

But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words... And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

I was supposed to read Fangirl alongside my lovely friend Laura last month, but once I'd finished Feed all I wanted to do was dive straight into the sequel. This month I'm determined to finally tick this book off my TBR list!

by Maeve Haran

Ann More, fiery and spirited daughter of the Mores of Loseley House in Surrey, came to London destined for a life at the court of Queen Elizabeth and an advantageous marriage. There she encountered John Donne, the darkly attractive young poet who was secretary to her uncle, the Lord Keeper of the Great Seal. He was unlike any man she had ever met—angry, clever, witty, and in her eyes, insufferably arrogant and careless of women. Yet as they were thrown together, Donne opened Ann’s eyes to a new world of passion and sensuality. However, John Donne—Catholic by background in an age when it was deadly dangerous, tainted by an alluring hint of scandal—was the kind of man her status-conscious father distrusted and despised.

As you all know by now I love my historical fiction, so when summer comes around I start getting in the mood for some historical romance. I've owned my copy of The Lady and the Poet for a few years now; I came across a brand new copy at a second hand stall at a time when I was studying some of John Donne's poetry. It felt like too much of a coincidence to pass up, and this month I'm finally hoping to read it!

by Victoria Lamb

Meg Lytton has always known of her dark and powerful gift. Raised a student of the old magick by her Aunt Jane, casting the circle to see visions of the future and concocting spells from herbs and bones has always been as natural to Meg as breathing. But there has never been a more dangerous time to practise the craft, for it is 1554, and the sentence for any woman branded a witch is hanging, or burning at the stake.

Sent to the ruined, isolated palace of Woodstock to serve the disgraced Elizabeth, daughter of Henry VIII and half-sister of Queen Mary, Meg discovers her skills are of interest to the outcast princess, who is desperate to know if she will ever claim the throne. But Meg's existence becomes more dangerous every day, with the constant threat of exposure by the ruthless witchfinder Marcus Dent, and the arrival of a young Spanish priest, Alejandro de Castillo, to whom Meg is irresistibly drawn - despite their very different attitudes to her secret.

Witchstruck is a very recent addition to my book collection, and I found a second hand copy in really good condition over on Abebooks. This is one of the books I'm hoping to read for the sake of my portfolio because, like my current WIP, it's a novel about witches set in England in 1554. If I like this book then I'm sure I'll carry on with the trilogy!

by Eva Ibbotson

Twenty-year-old Ruth Berger is desperate. The daughter of a Jewish-Austrian professor, she was supposed to have escaped Vienna before the Nazis marched into the city. Yet the plan went completely wrong, and while her family and fiancé are waiting for her in safety, Ruth is stuck in Vienna with no way to escape. Then she encounters her father’s younger college professor, the dashing British paleontologist Quin Sommerville. Together, they strike a bargain: a marriage of convenience, to be annulled as soon as they return to safety. But dissolving the marriage proves to be more difficult than either of them thought...

I have a feeling I've mentioned The Morning Gift on my blog several times before, and this is another book I've owned for a few years which falls into the historical romance category. Unlike The Lady and the Poet, however, Eva Ibbotson's historical fiction novels also tend to fall into the YA category.

Eva Ibbotson is one of the authors I turn to when I want to read something nice. I read A Company of Swans during my early teens and I loved it, and I've been meaning to read The Morning Gift for years as I believe it's one of her most well-known novels. Not only that, but 'arranged marriage/fake married' is one of my favourite tropes when it comes to romance in fiction, so I'm excited!

by Tanya Huff

The Empire has declared war on the small, were-ruled kingdom of Aydori, capturing five women of the Mage-Pack, including the wife of the were Pack-leader. With the Pack off defending the border, it falls to Mirian Maylin and Tomas Hagen—she a low-level mage, he younger brother to the Pack-leader—to save them. Together the two set out on the kidnappers’ trail, racing into the heart of enemy territory. But with every step the odds against their survival, let alone their success, grow steeper...

Tanya Huff is one of my favourite fantasy authors. I love her Blood Books, the series that follows Vicki "Victory" Nelson, and I'm eager to see her take on werewolves in this book; I enjoyed her take on them in Blood Trail. I'm also fairly sure I haven't read any steampunk before, and that's something I definitely need to change!

by Hannah Kent

Set against Iceland's stark landscape, Hannah Kent brings to vivid life the story of Agnes, who, charged with the brutal murder of her former master, is sent to an isolated farm to await execution. 

Horrified at the prospect of housing a convicted murderer, the family at first avoids Agnes. Only Tóti, a priest Agnes has mysteriously chosen to be her spiritual guardian, seeks to understand her. But as Agnes's death looms, the farmer's wife and their daughters learn there is another side to the sensational story they've heard. 

I've wanted to read Burial Rites since the first time I heard about it, and I finally picked up a copy of it over Easter. For a long time I wanted to wait until I could afford a pretty hardback edition, but the more I waited the more the paperback grew on me; it's a really gorgeous shade of blue and I love the design on the cover. I can't wait to get stuck into this novel!

by Ian Mortimer

We think of Queen Elizabeth I as 'Gloriana': the most powerful English woman in history. We think of her reign (1558-1603) as a golden age of maritime heroes, like Sir Walter Raleigh, Sir Richard Grenville and Sir Francis Drake, and of great writers, such as Edmund Spenser, Christopher Marlowe and William Shakespeare. But what was it actually like to live in Elizabethan England? If you could travel to the past and walk the streets of London in the 1590s, where would you stay? What would you eat? What would you wear? Would you really have a sense of it being a glorious age? And if so, how would that glory sit alongside the vagrants, diseases, violence, sexism and famine of the time?

I mentioned The Time Traveller's Guide to Elizabethan England in my 2014 Booket List as the non-fiction book I'd most like to read this year. This is the other book on this list I'm reading for the benefit of my portfolio as well as for my own personal enjoyment. As I'm sure most of you know by now I love history - I especially love Tudor history - but when it comes to non-fiction, history books often tend to focus on the lords and ladies and kings and queens. Ian Mortimer, however, has written this book to teach his readers what life was like for the Average Joe in Tudor England, and as someone who likes to write historical fiction about Average Joe's I'm sure I'm going to find this very useful!

What are you planning to read in June?


  1. I read all three Newsflesh books back to back in May. I couldn't put them down. Such a great take on zombie fiction :D

    1. I'm really loving them so far. :D I'm so eager to pick up her Parasitology books, too!