Books I Read During Lockdown

Here in Britain we were in lockdown from the end of March and this week I went back to work, so I thought I would list the books I read during lockdown and give them all a rating. All the books I read were a great escape from reality and I loved sitting outside in the sunshine with them.

50095371. sx318 sy475 The Garden of Lost and Found by Harriet Evans – 4/5 Stars

Blurb: Nightingale House, 1919. Liddy Horner discovers her husband, the world-famous artist Sir Edward Horner, burning his best-known painting The Garden of Lost and Found days before his sudden death.
Nightingale House was the Horner family’s beloved home – a gem of design created to inspire happiness – and it was here Ned painted ‘The Garden of Lost and Found’, capturing his children on a perfect day, playing in the rambling Eden he and Liddy made for them.
One magical moment. Before it all came tumbling down…
When Ned and Liddy’s great-granddaughter Juliet is sent the key to Nightingale House, she opens the door onto a forgotten world. The house holds its mysteries close but she is in search of answers. For who would choose to destroy what they love most? Whether Ned’s masterpiece – or, in Juliet’s case, her own children’s happiness.
Something shattered this corner of paradise. But what?

I read the end of this during the first week of lockdown. It’s perfect for anyone who loves historical fiction. My full review is here.

11735456A Feast For Crows by George R.R. Martin – 5/5 Stars

Blurb: The war in the Seven Kingdoms has burned itself out, but in its bitter aftermath new conflicts spark to life. The Martells of Dorne and the Starks of Winterfell seek vengeance for their dead. Euron Crow’s Eye, as black a pirate as ever raised a sail, returns from the smoking ruins of Valyria to claim the Iron Isles.

From the icy north, where Others threaten the Wall, apprentice Maester Samwell Tarly brings a mysterious babe in arms to the Citadel. As plots, intrigue and battle threaten to engulf Westeros, victory will go to the men and women possessed of the coldest steel and the coldest hearts.

I love this book so much, it’s my favourite in ASOIAF so far. Nearly all of my favourites have POV chapters and it’s incredibly dramatic.

27245960The Virgin’s War by Laura Andersen – 4/5 Stars

Blurb: It’s 1585, and the balance of European power is tilting dangerously toward war. It will take all of Elizabeth Tudor’s skill and wiles to defend England from the looming threat of the Spanish Armada.

Complicating matters is Elizabeth’s beloved daughter—the result of the Queen’s tempestuous marriage with her worst enemy: King Philip of Spain.

As Elizabeth commits her riches, her honor, and her people to the coming war, the Queen will risk everything—even her own life—to preserve England’s freedom.

This was a great finale to the Tudor Legacy trilogy. I still miss the characters now! My full review is here.

17452179Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty (Audiobook) – 3/5 Stars

Blurb: Yvonne Carmichael sits in the witness box. The charge is murder. Before all of this, she was happily married, a successful scientist, a mother of two. Now she’s a suspect, squirming under fluorescent lights and the penetrating gaze of the alleged accomplice who’s sitting across from her, watching: a man who’s also her lover. As Yvonne faces hostile questioning, she must piece together the story of her affair with this unnamed figure who has charmed and haunted her. This is a tale of sexual intrigue, ruthless urges, and danger, which has blindsided her from a seemingly innocuous angle. Here in the courtroom, everything hinges on one night in a dark alley called Apple Tree Yard.

The book was gripping because it started with a court case but we didn’t know what crime had been committed. Then it flashed back through the characters lives. I enjoyed it but it did drag slightly in the middle.

13337715A Dance With Dragons by George R.R. Martin – 4.5 Stars

Blurb: In the aftermath of a colossal battle, new threats are emerging from every direction.

Tyrion Lannister, having killed his father, and wrongfully accused of killing his nephew, King Joffrey, has escaped from King’s Landing with a price on his head.

To the north lies the great Wall of ice and stone – a structure only as strong as those guarding it. Eddard Stark’s bastard son Jon Snow has been elected 998th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. But Jon has enemies both inside and beyond the Wall.

And in the east Daenerys Targaryen struggles to hold a city built on dreams and dust.

This destroys me at the end. I just want The Winds of Winter to come out!

49794564. sx318 sy475 Sanditon by Jane Austen – 3/5 Stars

Blurb: Written in the last months of Austen’s life, Sanditon features a glorious cast of hypochondriacs and speculators in a newly established seaside resort, and shows the author contemplating a changing society with scepticism and amusement. It tells the story of Charlotte Heywood, who is transported by a chance accident from her rural hometown to Sanditon, where she is exposed to the intrigues and dalliances of a small town – and encounters the intriguingly handsome Sidney Parker.

I enjoyed this because Jane Austen’s style is great but I actually preferred the television adaptation. To be fair to Jane this is one of her unfinished works but I still really liked all the quirky characters.

23513349Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

Blurb: Milk and honey is a collection of poetry and prose about survival. About the experience of violence, abuse, love, loss, and femininity. It is split into four chapters, and each chapter serves a different purpose. Deals with a different pain. Heals a different heartache. ‘milk and honey’ takes readers through a journey of the most bitter moments in life and finds sweetness in them because there is sweetness everywhere if you are just willing to look.

A stunning collection of poems, I really related to them. I don’t usually read poetry but I’m glad I read these.

45858619The Strawberry Thief by Joanne Harris – 3.5/5 Stars

Blurb: Vianne Rocher has settled down. Lansquenet-sous-Tannes, the place that once rejected her, has finally become her home. With Rosette, her ‘special’ child, she runs her chocolate shop in the square, talks to her friends on the river, is part of the community. Even Reynaud, the priest, has become a friend.

But when old Narcisse, the florist, dies, leaving a parcel of land to Rosette and a written confession to Reynaud, the life of the sleepy village is once more thrown into disarray. The arrival of Narcisse’s relatives, the departure of an old friend and the opening of a mysterious new shop in the place of the florist’s across the square – one that mirrors the chocolaterie, and has a strange appeal of its own – all seem to herald some kind of change: a confrontation, a turbulence – even, perhaps, a murder…

I enjoyed this book, I liked reading about the subtle magic the characters could do and being transported to the small French village.

34466963. sy475 Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker (Audiobook) – 3.5/5 Stars

Blurb: Sleep is one of the most important but least understood aspects of our life, wellness, and longevity. Until very recently, science had no answer to the question of why we sleep, or what good it served, or why we suffer such devastating health consequences when we don’t sleep. Compared to the other basic drives in life—eating, drinking, and reproducing—the purpose of sleep remained elusive.

I love a non-fiction audiobook! This was really interesting and made me think about some of my harmful sleeping habits.

44147077. sy475 The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman – 4.5/5 Stars

Blurb: It is seven years since readers left Lyra and the love of her young life, Will Parry, on a park bench in Oxford’s Botanic Gardens at the end of the ground-breaking, bestselling His Dark Materials sequence.
Now, in The Secret Commonwealth, we meet Lyra Silvertongue. And she is no longer a child . . .
The second volume of Sir Philip Pullman’s The Book of Dust sees Lyra, now twenty years old, and her daemon Pantalaimon, forced to navigate their relationship in a way they could never have imagined, and drawn into the complex and dangerous factions of a world that they had no idea existed.
Pulled along on his own journey too is Malcolm; once a boy with a boat and a mission to save a baby from the flood, now a man with a strong sense of duty and a desire to do what is right
Theirs is a world at once familiar and extraordinary, and they must travel far beyond the edges of Oxford, across Europe and into Asia, in search for what is lost – a city haunted by daemons, a secret at the heart of a desert, and the mystery of the elusive Dust.

I’m so glad this book exists, I really enjoyed it, especially seeing Lyra as an adult. My full review is here.

50794839. sx318 sy475 The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins – 5/5 Stars

Blurb: It is the morning of the reaping that will kick off the tenth annual Hunger Games. In the Capitol, eighteen-year-old Coriolanus Snow is preparing for his one shot at glory as a mentor in the Games. The once-mighty house of Snow has fallen on hard times, its fate hanging on the slender chance that Coriolanus will be able to outcharm, outwit, and outmaneuver his fellow students to mentor the winning tribute.

The odds are against him. He’s been given the humiliating assignment of mentoring the female tribute from District 12, the lowest of the low. Their fates are now completely intertwined—every choice Coriolanus makes could lead to favor or failure, triumph or ruin. Inside the arena, it will be a fight to the death. Outside the arena, Coriolanus starts to feel for his doomed tribute . . . and must weigh his need to follow the rules against his desire to survive no matter what it takes.

I’m still reeling from this book. It’s so clever, I love a prequel and this exceeded all my expectations. My full review is here.

41728472. sy475 Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty – 4/5 Stars

Blurb: The retreat at health-and-wellness resort Tranquillum House promises total transformation.
Nine stressed city dwellers are keen to drop their literal and mental baggage, and absorb the meditative ambience while enjoying their hot stone massages.
Miles from anywhere, without cars or phones, they have no way to reach the outside world. Just time to think about themselves, and get to know each other.
Watching over them is the resort’s director, a woman on a mission. But quite a different one from any the guests might have imagined.
For behind the retreat’s glamorous facade lies a dark agenda.
These nine perfect strangers have no idea what’s about to hit them . . .

I really enjoyed this book, the psychological side of it was interesting. My full review is here.

I am thankful to these books for helping me escape reality during this scary and strange time. I also noticed that my reading speed has got much quicker as well!

Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty Review

“Frances felt hope rise in the room like a delicate mist. Oh, to be transformed, to be someone else, to be someone better.”

Nine Perfect Strangers is set in Australia. Nine people have signed up to a ‘life changing’ retreat. They think they heading to a normal health resort. But they are wrong.

It was interesting to see how the characters coped with the stress of not being able to talk for five days coupled with the fasting periods. I definitely couldn’t do either, if I’m not talking to others then I’m talking to myself!

The book shines a light on how rushed and superficial our society can be. I have learnt through this crisis that it is good to slow down and take in your surroundings.

Very cleverly done, the characters are detailed and completely believable. Liane Moriarty is very good at writing real people, all the characters are complex and flawed which is why this book works so well. I’ve always found human behaviour fascinating and this book definitely shows great insight.

I really enjoyed this book, it was interesting, clever, shocking and moving. I’m excited to read more of Liane Moriarty’s work.

“Nine people were depending on her. Nine perfect strangers who would soon become like family.”

My favourite characters in Lockdown

I saw this idea on the orangutan librarian’s post and it made me laugh and think about what my favourites would be doing right now if they had to stay at home.

Brienne of Tarth (ASOIAF) – Brienne would hate it, she is a practical person, she likes being able to help and she’s more comfortable outdoors, camping or exploring. I think Brienne would try to voluteer to help wherever she could. She would also come up with a home workout routine to keep herself in knightly shape.

Katniss and Peeta (The Hunger Games) – I think Peeta would enjoy the time to himself, he could do lots of art and baking. Katniss on the other hand would hate not being able to go out when she pleased. Only one hour of outdoor exercise a day would get on her nerves.

Cersei Lannister (ASOIAF) – Cersei would hate the lack of control that she has over the situation. Although she doesn’t mind staying in the Red Keep most of the time, I feel like the lack of choice would start to wind her up. Let’s face it she’d be drinking wine all the time because of the boredom.

Harry, Ron and Hermione (Harry Potter) – Hermione wouldn’t mind being indoors all the time, she could catch up on her reading and spend the time studying. Ron would probably not enjoy being stuck at home with all his siblings for three months! Luckily though they have a nice garden and lots of space around them so they’re not stuck indoors. Harry would hate not being able to help or do anything, although he would prbably stay with the Weasley’s so that would make it more enjoyable for him.

What would some of your favourites be doing during lockdown?

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins Review

“Nothing you can take from me was ever worth keeping.”

I was drawn in completely at the beginning. Of course we already know the Panem of the future, but this version of the Capitol still has rubble in the streets where the District 13 bombs hit. The citizens still remember the war and they are full of venom, full of bitterness. They still have their pride and now they have the power back. It was interesting seeing things from the Capitols point of view. I still didn’t sympathise with them because they disgust me. But a lot of people did object to the Hunger Games.

If starving to death was a natural cause. He wasn’t entirely sure. Was it natural if hunger had been used as a weapon?”

I loved Lucy Gray (Snow’s tribute) straight away, she is bold, sassy and wonderful. Snow is very clever and always eager to please but he still has compassion. I have no idea how it came about but I did start to feel sympathy for Snow. Despite knowing how he turns out, I found myself hoping that he would somehow not become the evil President of Katniss’ day.

We see the Hunger Games taking the shape of the ones we know. The spectacle, the show that the Capitol put on to subdue the Districts. It’s terrifying seeing all the horrible things that we know one day will harm countless children and make the whole event into a show rather than the slaughter that it is.

“If the people who were supposed to protect you played so fast and loose with your life…then how did you survive? Not by trusting them, that was for sure.

I loved all the little things that remind us of the original series. Like mentions of Mockingjays etc. The music that travelled down the generations, lullabies and nursery rhymes. Even some poems from before the apocalypse were made into songs by some citizens.

I didn’t want the book to end, because it was so brilliant and because I knew it must end in heartbreak somehow. Something must happen to Snow and I wasn’t in a rush to find out.

Truly an incredible read. Collins kept me on my toes the whole way through. Especially towards the end, I felt like I couldn’t dare to breathe. I am very emotional at the end of this book. The Coriolanus Snow we knew was cold, manipulative and evil. But we’re not born evil, and nor was he. If you like The Hunger Games series this is a must read.

“I think there’s a natural goodness built into human beings. You know when you’ve stepped across the line into evil, and it’s your life’s challenge to try and stay in the right side of that line.”

The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman Review

This book is set 10 years after His Dark Materials. Lyra is twenty years-old and studying at Oxford University. It still follows on from the first in the series La Bell Sauvage, we see Malcolm has grown up to be a professor at Oxford and he even tried to teach Lrya when she was a teenager. She didn’t know, of course that he saved her life when she was just a baby.

Lyra and Pan are launched straight into a mystery surrounding roses. Pan often goes out at night on his own and he witnessed a murder. Lyra and Pan always seem to attract trouble and they are still in danger from the Magisterium. The whole world is being dictated to by the Magisterium, they are scary people and their power is growing.

It broke my heart to see that Pan and Lyra are having trouble connecting. Ever since Lyra had to go to the Underworld in The Anber Spyglass, her and Pan have been able to move around separately but it also seems their relationship has suffered over the years since. Lyra has also lost the ability to read her alethiometer naturally, she now has to rely on books to tell her all the symbol meanings.

The Secret Commonwealth is the secret world of mythical creatures. Faries and many other creatures live in Lyra’s world but most people don’t know they exist or don’t believe in them. I love this idea, I think that’s what our world is like too.

I’m so glad we get to see more of Malcolm and more of the secret organisation he’s a part of. It was created to fight the Magisterium but their nunbers are dwindling. We get to see a lot more of the politics of Lyra’s world in this book. Everything is a lot more complicated.

The way that the humans without their daemons are treated and how they feel is like they have mental health issues. People avoid them unnecessarily, they’re afraid of them. And Lyra feels lonely and broken. Seeing Lyra go through this self loathing is tough, your early twenties are really difficult. I just wanted to give her a hug.

“She felt as if shed woken up in chains and couldn’t free herself, so she had to carry them with her wherever she went, like a badge of shame.”

An incrdible book, very emotional and thought provoking. At the beginning Lyra is reading a lot of philosophy books that question the existence of daemons but on her journey she finds out about the Secret Commonwealth. There is more magic around us than we think and we often forget that as we grow up.

The book ends on a cliffhanger of course! I don’t know when the next book will be published or even what it’s called, but I am eager to read it! Philip Pullman once again has drawn me in to Lyra’s world and I don’t want to leave.

“‘There are philosophers who say that the failure would be to believe, not to disbelieve.’ ‘Then they have separated their intelligences from their other faculties. And that is not an intelligent thing to do.’”

Summer TBR

Well it’s summer, but this will be the strangest one I’ve ever experienced I expect. We’re still in lockdown here in Britain with no true end in sight, the government are making no sense so who knows what is going to happen. Anyway because I’m at home I have taken to reading all the hardbacks and chunky books that I have on my tbr list so until I go back to work that is what I’ll be reading!

44147077. sy475 The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman – June

I have just started this, I’m loving it already. It has all the feels of His Dark Materials even though Lyra is now twenty years old and studying at Oxford University. There’s mystery, the Magisterium are still shady and terrifying. And the first book of this series which was a flashback to when Lyra was a baby gets tied in as well.

51901147. sx318 sy475 The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins – June

I am so excited to read this, normally I don’t read books when they’ve just been released because I tend not to but hardbacks but I decided to treat myself! This is still set in Panem, it’s the tenth Hunger Games and the vile Coriolanus Snow is trying to prove himself as a mentor. This will be so interesting, I’ve missed the dark and twisty world of Panem.

29766895The Lake House by Kate Morton – July

I always read a Kate Morton over the summer, they make me feel warm and the stories are beautiful and complex. This book begins with a summer party where a child goes missing. Alice was sixteen at the time and she has never stopped thinking about what happened to her little brother.

43528707. sy475 The Familiars by Stacey Halls – July

This is set in the 1600s, Fleetwood has had many pregnancies but none of the children have survived. Her husband is anxious for an heir but Fleetwood finds a letter from a doctor saying he doesn’t think she will survive another pregnancy. Fleetwood is already pregnant but when she meets Alice, a midwife her worries are soothed. Until Alice is accused of witchcraft, both women fight to prove Alice’s innocence. It sounds so good, I’m excited to read it.

41728472. sy475 Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty – July/August

Nine people gather at a remote health resort. Some are here to lose weight, some are here to get a reboot on life, some are here for reasons they can’t even admit to themselves. Amidst all of the luxury and pampering, the mindfulness and meditation, they know these ten days might involve some real work. But none of them could imagine just how challenging the next ten days are going to be.

6867Atonement by Ian McEwan – August

One of my favourites, always, I haven’t read it for a long time so I’m really looking forward to re-reading it, especially in the heat of the summer. This book breaks my heart but it’s worth it for the superb story telling.

43107933. sy475 Big Sky by Kate Atkinson – August

I have been looking forward to reading this for a while, it’s the fifth book in the Jackson Brodie series. Jackson is a retired police officer turned private investigator, Jackson always finds himself involved in deeper conspiracies and it seems this book will be no exception.

What is on your reading list this summer?

Top Five Tuesday – Summer Reads

A new Top Five Tuesday, the prompts are created by Bionic Book Worm. This week it’s summer reads. I can’t believe it’s nearly summer, what a strange one it will be.

136438851. The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton

Kate Morton is always on my summer reads list. Her books always remind me of summer and make me a part of the stories. The Secret Keeper begins at a summer party, Laurel sees a stranger approach her house and her mother speaking with him. Before the day is over she witnesses a shocking crime and challenges everything she knows about her family.

25394580. sy475 2. The Seven Sisters by Lucinda Riley

Most of this book is set in South America so it’s nice and hot. Maya goes to Rio to trace her roots. We also flashback to her ancestors and their lives in Rio. It’s a large book and set in a warm place, a perfect summer read. My full review is here.

4667024. sy475 3. The Help by Kathryn Stockett

I love this book, it’s so powerful and it’s set in Mississippi so it’s hot and it’s a very important read. It follows the lives of two women of colour who work as maids and nannies for white families in the 1960s, they meet a young journalist who grew up in Mississippi and was raised by her maid, she wants to tell their story.

39797816. sy475 4. Tangerine by Christine Mangan

Tangerine is set in the 1950’s in Tangier, Morocco. We meet Alice first, she followed her husband to Tangier but has struggled with the city. The stifling heat and the crowds cause her to panic. Then an old school friend arrives out of the blue and brings back dark memories. My full review is here.

5996120. sy475 5. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice reminds me of the countryside in the sunshine, it’s the perfect classic for the summer time. It’s also the only romance I will allow on my list!

What are some of your favourite summer reads?

Top Five Tuesday – Opening Lines

A new Top Five Tuesday, the prompts are created by Bionic Book Worm. This week we get to pick our favourite opening lines

1. “Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.” – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling – Just iconic, I can practically recite the first chapter but this will always be in my mind. It just sums up the Durley’s so well, who wants to be normal? Not me!

2. “If you are interested in stories with happy endings, you would be better off reading some other book.” – The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket – Never before had I read a book where the author tries to dissuade you from reading it, I love Snicket’s strange writing style.

3. “This is the bright candlelit room where the lifetimers are stored – shelf upon shelf of them, squat hourglasses, one for every living person, pouring their fine sand from the furture into the past.” – Mort by Terry Pratchett, I love the image this conjures up, and Death keeps an eye on all our hourglasses and comes to get us when our time is up.

4. “The shape of power is always the same; it is the shape of a tree. Root to tip, central trunk branching and re-branching, spreading wider in ever-thinner, searching fingers.” – The Power by Naomi Alderman, this opening line changes how I see power, as corrupting. The image of the tree is clever, trees are vital to our survival.

5. “The play – for which Briony had designed the posters, programmes and tickets, constructed the sales booth out of folding screen tipped on its side, and lined the collection box in red crepe paper – was written by her in a two day tempest of composition, causing her to miss a breakfast and a lunch.” – Atonement by Ian McEwan, I love how quick and almost frantic this is, it sums up Briony so perfectly, full of energy, creative and slightly obsessive.

I found this slightly harder than I thought but it was great getting half my books down to see if they had good openers! What are some of your favourites?

A Song of Ice and Fire Re-read – A Dance With Dragons

This post will contain spoilers for A Dance With Dragons!

As I suspected I was not as into this book as I was AFFC. I enjoyed meeting Griff and Quentyn but some of the chapters at the beginning started to bore me a bit. Also please get Stannis away from me. In the middle it gets more exciting as everyone closes in on Meereen.

At the beginning it appears that both Tyrion and Jon have changed for the worse. Tyrion is horrible, all he thinks of is violence, he scared a girl half to death in his first chapter. Jon is making cruel decisions like sending Gilly away without her baby and sending Maester Aemon to his death to ‘protect them’. Just tell Stannis to go away, he’s a sociopath, you don’t have to be one too Jon!

Bran’s chapters end early on, we barely hear anything from him. He is still trying to learn how to use his gift. But there is a chapter with Theon where he is in Winterfell’s Godswood, he hears whispers and thinks he can see Bran’s face in the weirwood tree so clearly our boy is getting better.

I enjoyed reading about all the characters converging on Meereen. Quentyn, Griff, Aegon and Tyrion all trying to get to Dany and trying to navigate around all the armies headed for the city. Dany is in real trouble, she has about ten armies heading for her city. While inside the city walls her people are being murdered. It’s an absolute mess and I still don’t fully understand her decision to stay there rather than head for her ‘home’ in Westeros. Not that I want her to attack my babies but I am worried for her.

The biggest game changer in this book is finding out that Rhaegar’s son Aegon is still alive. Jon Connington, one of Rhaegar’s childhood friends somehow swapped the boy for another and has kept him hidden in Essos all this time. They have been plotting with Varys to get Aegon to marry Dany. Another Targaryen changes everything, ‘the dragon has three heads.’ Aegon is the second. But he decided to go in a different direction on Tyrion’s advice, Aegon takes the Golden Company across the sea himself to take Westeros. They don’t have any dragons but they do have the element of surprise and a war torn country to prey upon.

Tyrion gets his humour back later on. He also saves Jorah from being sold to a woman who kills her slaves for meat. They end up escaping their masters and joining the Second Sons. Tyrion is trying to convince them to join Team Dany again when we leave them. But Dany has gone, she has disappeared with Drogon so who knows if she will ever see Jorah again.

Jon also chills out slightly. He sasses Stannis’ wife and her stupid guards. It’s hilarious how up their own arses they are. Jon thinks Arya is riding to the wall fleeing Winterfell and the Boltons but it’s actually Alys Karstark who is running from her uncles and an unwanted marriage. As we know Arya is in Bravos learning how to become an assassin! I am proud of Jon, he made sure all the wildlings could come through the Wall and help protect themselves from the White Walkers. But some of the Night’s Watch loathed him for it. My Jon died alone in the cold, betrayed and stabbed by his own men.

The only Theon chapter I could read without wanting to throw the book across the room was quite late on. The Bolton’s and their allies are all snowed in at Winterfell, waiting for Stannis’ army to arrive. But men keep turning up, murdered, the storm is only getting worse. The North Rememberers.

Jaime only has one chapter, he’s just wandering through the Riverlands, in no haste to get back to King’s Landing where his sister is imprisoned! Thanks bro. But before he can get home he comes across Brienne. Usually this would be great, but she has been tasked with bringing Jaime to Lady Stoneheart. I don’t know how Jaime is going to talk himself out of this, I just really don’t want him to die!

Cersei’s chapters broke my heart. I hate seeing her suffer like that. The whole time she is imprisoned she still has faith that Jaime is coming with his army to save her. But we know that is not true. I am so in awe of her strength, even when faced with the humiliation of the walk of atonement, she is fierce and strong and knows that this is the only way to reach Tommen. I was sobbing through the whole chapter but she has her champion now, the Sparrows’ days are numbered.

This is a re-read but I completely forgot what happened in the epilogue! Kevan Lannister is now acting a regent. He is trying to make the chaos around him better. But he is doing too good a job. He was summoned to Grand Maester Pycelle’s chambers, only the old man is dead and Kevan gets shot in the chest with a crossbow. Varys has somehow managed to get back into to capital. He’s determined to have chaos so that Aegon can swoop in and take the throne. Kevan was the Lannister’s only hope, I have no idea what is going to happen in The Winds of Winter but it doesn’t bode well for most of my favourites.

On my kill list: Stannis, Melisandre, Theon, The Boltons, Walder Frey and all of his offspring, The High Sparrow and all his followers, the Ironborn, Jon’s murderers and Varys.

Let me protect them: Cersei, Jaime, Brienne, Arya, Tyrion, Jorah and Dany.

Heartbreaking death: Jon Snow

Some people believe that Jon isn’t dead or that he will be brought back in TWOW but to me it was clear that Jon died in his last chapter. I will never forgive those traitorous pieces of shit for killing Jon. He was the kindest and most intelligent person at the Wall. Jon was the only person who could see that by protecting the wildlings he was stopping the Wights army of the dead from growing stronger. The betrayal is the worst part, Jon put everything into being the best Lord Commander of the Nights Watch he could and they stabbed him in the back, literally. I am so sorry Jon.

Favourite quotes:Men are beasts, selfish and brutal. However gentle the words, there are always darker motives underneath.” – Vagarro’s Widow

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, the man who never reads lives only one.” – Jojen Reed

“I rose too high, loved too hard, dared too much. I tried to grasp a star, overreached and fell.” – Jon Connington, this quote breaks my heart. He’s spent most of his life in love with Rhaegar and hoping some day to avenge him.

“I am a lioness, I will not cringe for them.” – Cersei Lannister

“However bright a torch might burn it could never match the rising sun.” – Kevan Lannister, thinking that if Rhaegar had married Cersei the prince would not have turned to Lyanna.

That’s all we have for the moment, most of my favourites are in peril and I am patiently waiting for The Winds of Winter to be published!

Top Five Tuesday – Worst Rulers

A new Top Five Tuesday, the prompts are created by Bionic Book Worm. This week’s topic is so fun, five terrible rulers! I wasn’t sure if we should do real or fictional so I did a mixture, there is a fair amount of ranting in the post so be warned, also the numbers don’t mean much because I hate them all.

NPG 157; King Henry VIII - Portrait - National Portrait Gallery1. King Henry VIII of England (1509-1547)

My hatred for this guy runs deep. I mean where do I start, in my opinion the reason Henry was so unfit to rule is because he was brought up as a second son. His older brother Arthur was the Prince of Wales so Henry got away with doing what he liked, that is why he was so arrogant and had no way of coping with the pressure of ruling. The real reason I hate him so much is because of how he treated his wives. Catherine was a loving and loyal wife and he humiliated her and ruined her life. After the divorce, Catherine was not allowed to see her daughter Mary and died alone. But of course Henry would never be content, the woman that he had turned the entire country upside down for, also displeased him. Anne Boleyn did in no way deserve the end she got. I don’t believe that she would have been stupid enough to have affairs with anyone under Henry’s nose. Anne gave birth to one of our greatest monarchs Elizabeth I but never got to see her grow up, thanks to Henry. The real reason he wanted to get rid of Anne was because he had fallen for one of her ladies in waiting, Jane Seymour. Then Anne of Cleves was humiliated by Henry but had a narrow escape. Young Katherine Howard was not so lucky and again was executed on claims of adultery. Catherine Parr understandably didn’t want to marry this repulsive man and spent most of her marriage to him paranoid that she would also be killed. Thankfully she survived him and went on to look after Elizabeth and Edward. Henry also spent stupid amounts of money, his father had saved well during his reign but Henry was a disaster with money, even after he seized all the churches and monastries lands and money, he still didn’t have enough to keep up with his lavish lifestyle. Historians predict that anywhere from 57,000 to 72,000 people were executed during his reign. A great portion of which were the people that got close to him and those of Catholic faith. My only consolation is that Henry had a terrible wound in his leg from a jousting accident in 1536, the wound festered and never healed for the remainder of his life. He was in pain all of that time and that my friends is karma.

Aerys II Targaryen - A Wiki of Ice and Fire2. Mad King Aerys II of Westeros (262-283)

Aerys Targaryen is from A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin. When we say mad, it’s almost an understatement. Aerys was paranoid and cruel, towards the end of his reign he became convinced that his own son Rhaegar was plotting against him. The court was split in two, there was talk of another civil war, but thanks to Rhaegar’s idiotic actions the North and the Stormlands rose up in rebellion instead. Aerys had become obsessed with wildfire, a powerful potion which creates a fire that burns through everything, even water. He hatched a plot and had pots of wildfire planted throughout his capital city. “Let him be King of the Ashes.” He was reported to have said about Robert Baratheon, he would rather burn 250,000 people alive than loose the war. Aerys also had some of his enemies burned alive. Rickard Stark demanded a trial by combat to defend his honour but the King chose fire as his champion. Rickard was burned alive by wildfire as his son Brandon was forced to watch, strapped to a wall at the neck, he strangled himself in his attempts to save his father. That was when four of the Seven Kingdoms rose up against Aerys, the North, the Stormlands, the Riverlands and the Vale. Before his death Aerys ordered his pyromancer to burn the city as the war was lost. But thankfully Jaime saved the city and killed both men.

King John (King of England) - On This Day3. King John of England (1199-1216)

What a mess John’s reign was! Before he even became King he was causing trouble, Richard the Lionheart was John’s brother but spent most of his time fighting in the Crusades. While he was away John tried to take his throne, foolishly Richard forgave his brother. During his time as king, John lost England’s lands in Normandy, he also had countless affairs with his nobleman’s wives, which was a pretty bad idea. He fought with France, Scotland and the Pope. The people were sick of John spending all their tax money on pointless wars in France. The Magna Carta was created to protect ‘the rights of free men’. It promised the protection of church rights, protection from illegal imprisonment, access to swift justice, new taxation only with baronial consent. A council of twenty-five barons would be created to monitor and ensure John’s future adherence to the charter. But John refused to have the barons monitoring him so the rebels waged war against him. He was incredibly unpopular, his people didn’t trust him, he over taxed them and has been portrayed for years as a villian and a fool.

RobertBKingMagali Villeneuve.jpg4. King Robert Baratheon I of Westeros (283-298)

Robert is also from ASOIAF. Robert was an awful person but the reason he was such a terrible ruler is because he literally did nothing. He let his council do all the work while he drank, ate, had countless affairs and spent way too much money. He was abnoxious, gluttoness, lazy and arrogant. And he really reminds me of Henry VIII. When he won his throne there were two Targaryens that escaped, they were very young children and he sent assassins after them. He was happy for children to be murdered because they happen to be Targaryens. I hate this guy! He met his end via boar, he was hunting it and got very drunk and the boar gave his a grievous injury. Did Cersei have a hand in it, yes. Do I blame her for getting rid of his abusive arse, no!

5. Cornelius Fudge, Minister for Magic (1990-1996)

I don’t hate Fudge as much as the others and he was a pretty good Minister until things got dangerous in the Wizarding World. When Harry and Dumbledore told him that Voldermort was back, Fudge was so scared he accused them of lying and being mad and buried his head in the sand. He only believed them when he saw Voldermort for himself and by that time it was too late to stop him. Fudge lost his job as soon as the Wizarding community found out about his incompetence. He wasted a whole year when they could have been preparing for Voldermort’s take over. Fudge was weak and afraid and he inflicted Umbridge on the students of Hogwarts, a true crime!

I really enjoyed making this post, I hope it hasn’t got too much ranting in it! Have a good week everyone, stay safe.