The Unread Shelves Project 2018

So, for the beginning of 2018 I’ve decided to take part in the unread shelf project 2018 being hosted via @theunreadshelf on bookstagram. I’m really eager because I’ve been wanting to get down my owned TBR shelves for the longest time but just cannot stop buying books! This movement spread like wildfire on instagram and almost everyone I know is taking part so I feel it will be a good incentive to stick to the book buying ban this time. After sorting and counting I have 77 unread books I’m going to read before I may purchase anymore. This number includes maybe 5-8 books I intend to reread as part of the project just because. I have already started the project with my current read – Dune by Frank Herbert which I have intended to read for about three years, so FINALLY! 🙌🙌🙌

There are exceptions to this number – as a blogger and reviewer I will still accept and read ARCs and review copies during this time which will just be added to the overall number I have to read before lifting the ban. Also, as I turn 26 in February I am allowing myself to purchase FIVE BOOKS as a birthday treat and also allow myself to ask my family for books as birthday gifts. Other than these (and my monthly NRB subscription) I will not be reading/buying/loaning any other books until all 77(ish) books on my shelves have been read.

It’s going to be a fun ride and I’m excited to explore my shelves and see what’s been hiding away! I’ll be keeping a log of how I’m doing here so feel free to join me on my adventure!

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Maleficium by Gordon Napier

Author: Gordon Napier

Genre: Non-Fiction / History / Occult

Rating: 3.5/5 star

I received this book from the publisher, Amberley Publishing, in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affects my opinion of the book.

Maleficium is a book about the history of witchcraft and witch hunting in Western Europe during the times between 1500s and Early 1700s. The book is written very neutrally and looks very carefully at rumours, hearsay and facts without misguided opinions being placed. I was actually very very impressed with the way it was executed.

Napier presents the book beautifully using illustrations taken from historical texts and pamphlets in circulation at the time. I thought this was a lovely addiction that made the book that much more special. I also really enjoyed the fact that Napier looked at this subject from a purely historical view – focusing on the history – the way the people of these times viewed these people, how they were treated and why. I’ve found with most books relating to this subject that the authors tend to either portray the witchcraft as an evil and damned thing or they make the civilians of the time into monsters – hunting and violently murdering witches… which for the most part isn’t true, the women they killed where mostly just regular Christian women themselves or maybe pagans even but certainly not witches for the majority.

Anyway, without getting off on a tangent I just want to say that this book had it all for me. It was factual, neutral and well presented. It depicts the most honest view of witchcraft and witch hunting at this time without exaggeration or taking sides. It’s a good resource for modern witches wanting to learn the histories and it’s a brilliant resource for historians and history students looking at studying the history of witchcraft or these times.

I’d definitely recommend this book!

Animal Farm by George Orwell

Author: George Orwell

Genre: Classic

Rating: 5/5 star

I’m going to make this the last review of 2017. This is the first time I’ve read Animal Farm but not by any means my first Orwell. I had no idea what to expect from this one.

The title and the synopsis made this book sound so bizarre and so unusual that I actually put off reading it for years. I’m glad I finally gave in to it.

Orwell was a master at creating politically charged worlds within his novels. 1984 was a raw and fierce example of a government gone wrong and Animal Farm is no exception. Using farm animals against farmers was a clever and unique twist on what the story was about and I think it spread the message a lot better than it would have had it been your basic civilians versus the “man” type story. I was vastly impressed by the almost nightmarish quality the sentient animals gave the book as well.

There isn’t much else I can say about this book that millions of others haven’t already said so I’ll leave it here. But if you haven’t read this yet, pick it up and do so.

Thin Air by Michelle Paver

Genre: Ghost Story / Fiction

Author: Michelle Paver

Rating: 5/5 stars

This book was amazing! I’ve never read a modern book that was so quintessentially British before. The way the characters behaved, the things they said, the phrases they used… It felt so real and so homely to get absorbed into. Paver’s writing is just so beautiful. It was eerie and creepy all throughout and despite the quite quiet beginning you could just feel that something was wrong. I found myself anticipating the moment that everything went to hell because it was obvious that it was going too.

I am really looking forward to reading more of Paver’s books in the future. It was a wonderful experience.

(Apologises for the super short review – but words can’t express how I felt about this book, I may update it at another time)

Kin by Kealan Patrick Burke

Author: Kealan Patrick Burke

Genre: Horror

Rating: 4/5 stars

Kin by Kealan Patrick Burke is very unique novel. It’s in the vein of Texas Chainsaw Massacre and 2001 Maniacs and it’s just as graphic too! I brought this book after seeing it literally all over bookstagram and let me tell you – I can understand why it’s so popular! I thought this would be the book to pull me out of my NOS4R2 hangover but it didn’t – it put me in a further hangover! How can anything top these two books!?

I was really sucked in to the style of this book right from the start. The torture and murder is seemingly in the past and we start the story at the end – after the escape. Where will go from here ? I’ve honestly never read a book with such a unique plot line before. One point for Burke. I found it impossible to put this book down. Even when the details so gore-filled and graphic that I was literally cringing as I read it … I could not put it down! This book is filled with read-from-between-your-fingers horrors.

I’m not going to lie, at one point about 70-80 pages in I did consider the book might be toooo graphic and thought about putting it aside but two points to Burke – I couldn’t do it. I NEEDED to know what happened next. I need to know where this ended. By the end of the book I was officially a member of the Kealan Patrick Burke fan club. I am so glad I didn’t give up on it.

Basically, this book is very graphic – definitely not something I’d recommend for those under 18, but I would definitely say don’t let the gore put you off – the story and writing is much much much to amazing to miss out on.

Greener Pastures by Michael Wehunt

Author: Michael Wehunt

Genre: Horror

Rating: 500/5 star

Where to even begin with this!? I am not what you’d call a big fan of short story collections. I tend to find in 70% Of cases that after the first(or title) story I get bored or don’t enjoy the rest of the stories. There are exceptions of course – Edgar Allen Poe, HP Lovecraft, The King… but mostly I just really don’t get on with them. I went into this book hoping it would be good because I’d heard amazing things about it, but was expecting to like maybe one or two of the stories. I have never been so wrong in my life!

Greener Pastures is one of the best short story collections I have read in the last TWO YEARS! Every single one of the stories are unique, eerie and fascinating. The writing is beautiful and immersive. The characters are gripping and I could not put this down. My favourite stories were Onanon and Greener Pastures but every one of them was brilliant in its own way and form.

If you like eerie and suspense-filled horror then this collection is certainly for you. If you like short stories then this is for you and I’d even say if you didn’t that you’d still love these! Its probably one of the best books I’ve read this year and one I’ll definitely be reading again and again.

Mass Effect Andromeda: Initiation by N. K. Jemisin

Author: N. K. Jemisin

Genre: sci-fi

Rating: 4.5/5 star

I received this book from the publisher, Titan Books, in exchange for an honest review. This in no way effects my opinion on the book.

Mass Effect Andromeda: Initiation is book two of a three part series based on the Mass Effect Andromeda game. I haven’t yet had chance to read book one but as a fan of both sci-fi fiction and the Mass Effect games I couldn’t pass up this opportunity. As it stands you don’t need to have read the first book or even played the games to enjoy this book. Jemisin’s writing is crisp, fresh and draws you right into the world he’s embellishing. The Mass Effect creative director Mac Walters helps Jemisin write this book so every last detail and background is spot on and consistent if you have played the games.

The characters are brilliantly done. Cora Harper is a flawed but fierce and realistic character that you root for right from the start. She’s a sparkling main character and has all the sass and kickass you’d expect from a Mass Effect character. The side characters are all as amazing. As with what I expect from Mass Effect they all have their own backgrounds and detailed personalities that are independent of the story and add depth to the book. It takes a good writer to create side characters as alluring as the MCs but Jemisin has had no troubles there.

It was so so good to be back in and around Alliance space after not playing a Mass Effect game since 2014. It’s wonderful that there are novels based on this game and I certainly look forward to reading the others. If you’re a fan of the game or sci-fi stories then you definitely need this book.