20 Apr 2020

Down the TBR Hole #1

The Royal Bookshelf showed me this wonderful idea that will help me shorten my TBR pile.


   1. Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
   2. Order on ascending date added.
   3. Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
   4. Read the synopses of the books
   5. Decide: keep it or should it go?

I'll try to go through 5 books every week from my Goodreads TBR and decide whether I still see any hope I'd get to those books sooner or later.

Let's see the first five!

by E. M. Forster

This might be the only E. M. Forster novel I haven't read yet and he's one of my favourite writers.


by John Green

This one was extremely hyped back in the day and I'd still like to know what the hype was about.


by Christopher Isherwood

Recently I DNF-ed A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood and despite the fact I own a copy of Christopher and His Kind it's unlikely I'll soon be in the mood to pick it up.


by Edward John Trelawny

 I still haven't read my fill of the 2nd generation romantic poets.


by Andrew Motion

This is a beast of a book (though 'only' 636 pages, it looks longer) but it's said to be one of the best biographies about Keats so I don't want to miss out on it.



I've let 1 book go out of 5, my TBR is reduced to 421 books (it's still ridiculously long, but if I'll keep this up, I might see it being lowered to a more reasonable number).

16 Apr 2020

Review - White Lotus by Libbie Hawker

  Title: White Lotus (White Lotus Trilogy #1)

  Author: Libbie Hawker


  In the sixth century BCE, Egypt is the greatest civilization known to mankind. But with a foolish king on its throne, the Nile Valley is ripe for conquering.

Amid this climate of danger and strife, in the alleys and brothels of Memphis, an extraordinary young woman comes of age. To spare her siblings from starvation, Doricha is sold into prostitution. But she has gifts beyond mere beauty. Through wit and determination, she works her way into the realm of the hetaerae—courtesans of exceptional refinement.

As a hetaera, Doricha has access to the schemes and negotiations that shape the world. But the rich and powerful also have access to her, and Doricha soon finds herself in the Pharaoh’s harem, caught up in his reckless plans. When the Pharaoh sends her off to his fiercest enemy, thinly cloaked by a dangerous ruse, Doricha must become a double agent if she hopes to survive. Caught between the Pharaoh and the Persian king Cambyses, it is Doricha—once a slave, now a woman of great but secret power—who will determine Egypt’s fate.

Blending ancient fable with true history, White Lotus brings Egypt’s downfall to life.

My Thoughts:

I don't know what it is with me and books about strong ladies breaking their way out of sex slavery (or at least making the best of their situation by manipulating powerful men), but this theme seems to stick with me, I enjoy these kinds of books a lot. 

"However great Iadmon deems my value, he cannot value me more than I do myself." 

In White Lotus we follow Doricha, a young girl who's sold to be a prona (the name for prostitutes at the time) because her family is starving. However, her fate turns to the better when her master starts seeing potential in her and instead of turning her into a common prona, he decides to train her to be a hetaera. 

Hetaerae were highly cultivated courtesans in ancient Greece and later when Greek culture seeped into Egypt these girls were present there too to provide intellectual as well as physical entertainment for wealthy men.

Doricha's story is interesting because there are twists and turns along the way that you don't expect (in the beginning she doesn't have much control over her fate, and you can't help but feel for her because of her vulnerable situation). The majority of the novel is about her training through which we see what a hetaera was supposed to do or not do in the company of men and what the hetaerae's attitude was like towards one another (you can expect a lot of intrigue).

I loved the historical setting and how it came to life through Libbie Hawker's words. The tension between Egyptians and Greek people was seething at the time (we are in the 6th century BC just before the Persian conquest). The streets were dangerous because the two parties were wont to provoke fights and Egyptians were extremely dissatisfied with the Pharaoh, Amasis II, who enthusiastically embraced the Greek traditions and culture.

In these uncertain times Doricha meets friends like Aesop, the cunning servant who mastered the art of manoeuvring from the background and she also has to face some foes who slyly betray an initially well-forming friendship.

Doricha is very young, by the end of the book she's only 14 but she's got a quick mind and adapts easily. She's a charming character and I can't wait to see how she matures into a strong woman who's not afraid to play the hard games of politics to earn her freedom. 

I should also mention here that Doricha later goes by the name Rhodopis, and according to my research in real life there was a hetaera with that name indeed, who is associated with the origins of the fairy tale Cinderella. How cool is that?

The only thing that could have been better in the book was the editing; unfortunately there were typos here and there... It didn't ruin the whole reading experience but still... I'd have preferred if there hadn't been any.

This book became a new favourite of mine, naturally I'll read the second book in the trilogy too.

Next in the series:

15 Apr 2020

Easter Readathon Wrap-Up

Here are the final facts in connection with the Easter Readathon:

I finished 1 book, White Lotus by Libbie Hawker (expect a review up on the blog soon).

I read 80% of My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell (I've finished that one on Tuesday, my review is coming soon).

I've started reading The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham, I'd only read some 30 pages by midnight on Monday.

Big thanks to Kate @ Reading Through Infinity for hosting the event, I enjoyed this reading weekend a lot!

What did you read during the weekend?

14 Apr 2020

Excerpt - Dreams of Thunder by Christian Cura

Let me introduce you Dreams of Fire , which is an urban fantasy novel by Christian Cura. Its sequel, Dreams of Thunder is coming out this year, you can read an excerpt from it below.


Meet Kara Hartman, a young painter living and working in D.C. She would love to let you believe she is just an ordinary young woman with a dream of sharing her art with the world. But she is hiding an astonishing secret: Kara can wield magic, the most powerful force in the universe. Traumatized by the loss of her brother, she wants nothing more to do with magic. But when an old foe resurfaces, hellbent on destroying all that she loves, Kara has no choice but to embrace the only power that can stop her.

 Author Bio

Christian Cura is a new author who just recently published his debut novel Dreams of Fire.
Ever since he read Lord of the Rings as a teenager, it has been his dream to write and publish a
novel of his own. His favorite authors include J.R.R. Tolkien, J.K. Rowling and Robert Jordan.
Christian lives in Northern Virginia where he lifts weights at home and creates artwork.
When he is not writing, he can be found drawing or getting beaten up at his MMA gym.

And now on to the excerpt from Dreams of Thunder, which was provided by the author himself:

Happy Reading!

12 Apr 2020

Happy Easter! - Easter Readathon Update


I wish all of you a blessed holiday, I hope every one of you will find some joy in it even if we have to stay at home this time.

I've come with an update about my progress in the Easter Readathon that's hosted by Kate @ Reading Through Infinity

So far I've participated in one reading sprint per day on twitter,  which is funny because sometimes I feel like a tortoise among the others with my leisurely reading speed (I've read a lot about tortoises in My Family and Other Animals in the past two days, I just couldn't pass up on this simile, sorry...) 

I confess I cheated a bit because I didn't stick strictly to my TBR. I've read some of White Lotus by Libbie Hawker too and have finished that book during the readathon so I'll count that as part of my reading list (just to pretend I'm able to finish a book during a readathon, haha). 

I'm halfway through My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell. It is extremely entertaining when the protagonist kid tells stories about the family, less so when he talks about his insects, so it only partly won my heart so far. 

I aim to finish this book by then end of Monday, we'll see how I fare.


What are you reading this weekend? 

Are you bothered we have to spend the holiday inside?

10 Apr 2020

Book Beginnings and the Friday 56 #38

 Book Beginnings on Friday and The Friday 56 are weekly memes hosted by Rose City Reader and Freda's Voice.


Book Beginnings: Share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. 

The Friday 56: Grab a book, turn to page 56 or 56% in you eReader. Find any sentence (not spoilery) and reflect on it if you want.

This week I'm featuring the book I'm starting the Easter Readathon with:

My Family and Other Animals 
(Corfu Trilogy #1)
by Gerald Durrell


Escaping the ills of the British climate, the Durrell family - acne-ridden Margo, gun-toting Leslie, bookworm Lawrence and budding naturalist Gerry, along with their long-suffering mother and Roger the dog - take off for the island of Corfu.

But the Durrells find that, reluctantly, they must share their various villas with a menagerie of local fauna - among them scorpions, geckos, toads, bats and butterflies.

Book Beginning:

 July had been blown out like a candle by the biting wind that ushered in a leaden August sky.

This is quite a beautiful sentence.

 The Friday 56:

Having slept for the better part of three hours in the fierce sun, she found her eyes so puffy and swollen that she could hardly see out of them. The wind and spray had made them worse, and by the time she reached the jetty she could hardly see at all. She was read and raw with sunburn and her eyelids so puffed out that she looked like a particularly malevolent Mongolian pirate.

Someone took sunbathing to another level, haha.

What are you reading this week? Share your Friday post with me by leaving a link below.

8 Apr 2020

Easter Readathon TBR

Kate at Reading Through Infinity is organizing an Easter readathon and since I've got my weekend free (which when the world is normal barely happens), I'll join in the fun.

I'll choose only 2 books as my TBR since I'm a slow and fitful reader (and window cleaning is on the task list this weekend too ugh). Both will match one of the prompts Kate has suggested:

Read a book involving family/friends:

(Corfu Trilogy #1)
by Gerald Durrell


When the unconventional Durrell family can no longer endure the damp, gray English climate, they do what any sensible family would do: sell their house and relocate to the sunny Greek isle of Corfu. My Family and Other Animals was intended to embrace the natural history of the island but ended up as a delightful account of Durrell's family's experiences, from the many eccentric hangers-on to the ceaseless procession of puppies, toads, scorpions, geckoes, ladybugs, glowworms, octopuses, bats, and butterflies into their home.

I always long to travel and now that it's not possible, even more so. This book will transport me to Greece at least in mind.

Read a book that's under 250 pages:

by John Wyndham


In the sleepy English village of Midwich, a mysterious silver object appears and all the inhabitants fall unconscious. A day later the object is gone and everyone awakens unharmed - except that all the women in the village are discovered to be pregnant.

The resultant children of Midwich do not belong to their parents: all are blond, all are golden-eyed. They grow up too fast and their minds exhibit frightening abilities that give them control over others. This brings them into conflict with the villagers just as a chilling realization dawns on the world outside...

A modern classic sci-fi, simply because I haven't read sci-fi for months.

 What are you planning to do on Easter weekend? What are you planning to read?

If you feel like joining Kate's readathon make sure you comment on her blog post to be eligible for participating in her giveaway too.