Hello everyone and welcome to this week’s Sunday Summary weekly update post. As always, I hope you’ve had a really good week wherever and whatever you’ve been doing!
There’s been a lot going on over here at Reviewsfeed. My blogging schedule has had a bit of a shakeup this week – I posted three times by Wednesday! Normally my posts are a lot more spread out, however, I was taking part in blog tours back to back on Tuesday and Wednesday. Furthermore, I also wanted to share my monthly wrap-up for April before those posts went live. So, my April Monthly Wrap-up was posted on Monday, my blog tour extract post for Glasshouse by Morwenna Blackwood published on Tuesday and my guest post for The Legacy by Alison Knight was shared on Wednesday. Phew!
Given that I’d had a busy beginning of the week I am glad I decided to leave it there until today’s Sunday Summary post.
It finally feels like I have an update I can give you this week! At last, I have finished Fire and Blood by George R. R. Martin! In last week’s Sunday Summary update post I only had a few pages left of the book. Finishing it was absolutely on the cards and I did this at the beginning of the week.
Since finishing Fire and Blood, I have picked up a book called You Are Not So Smart by David McRaney. This has been on my TBR for some time, partly because I am interested in the psychology aspect it covers, but also because it’s funny. I’ve made pretty good progress with this book this week as well. As of writing this post, I have read 35% of the book. I’m finding it easy to pick up and put down as the chapters are nicely separated and concise. This one definitely won’t be taking as long as Fire and Blood to finish!
I have also listened to a couple more chapters of A Clash of Kings this week. Nothing much to write home about, but progress is progress. With something as long as this, even chipping away a little bit at a time makes a difference.
Aside from buying my copy of You Are Not So Smart to start reading the book, there have been no other purchases or additions to my TBR this week!
This week I plan to feature a review for a book I read last year based on a recommendation from a work colleague, and I loved it! It’s had quite an effect on me; at times it the easiest, funniest book to read and yet the very next chapter can have some very hard-hitting content that opens your eyes to the truth behind the struggles of the NHS doctor. This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay was one of my favourite reads last year and I’m looking forward to sharing my full thoughts with you this week.
Later in the week my regular First Lines Friday feature will be back! I haven’t chosen this week’s featured book as yet but that’s half the fun and I hope you enjoy the post once it’s drafted and shared.
That’s it for today’s Sunday Summary post. What are you reading this week?
Hello everyone and welcome to today’s guest post by Alison Knight. Before we jump in to Alison’s post I just wanted to offer a quick introduction to say thank you to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising The Legacy’s blog tour and to Alison herself for providing today’s guest post.
It’s about an important topic as well. Gambling may seem a bit of fun to some, provided we know our limits. However, it can very quickly get out of hand and that is the subject of both The Legacy and today’s guest post.
I really hope you enjoy the below post. Don’t forget to check out the other posts and book reviews making up this tour as well (details at the end of the post). And now, over to you Alison!
I WOULDN’T LIKE TO BET ON THAT! By Alison Knight, Author of The Legacy
In these days of online gambling, there is a lot of concern about how easy it is for someone to lose everything on a virtual spin of a wheel or the turn of a card. This is a problem that has been with us for centuries. In Roman Britain, soldiers would wager their hard-earned cash on a game of Tabula – an early version of Backgammon; Henry VIII banned his soldiers from gambling, although he allowed it amongst his courtiers; the Victorians created the National Anti-Gambling League to campaign against it.
Thanks to the Betting & Gaming Act 1960, the sixties were a boom time for the gambling industry, seeing the creation of 15,000 betting shops, bingo halls and casinos. Working-class men and women, my parents included, enjoyed a flutter on the horses at the betting shop and nights out at the bingo, while the upper classes flocked to the casinos.
The legislation was so badly drawn, however, that it enabled organised crime to infiltrate the industry – the most notorious in London being the Kray twins and their associates. Various attempts to tighten the legislation did little to stop the influence of criminals in the West End casinos and many a fortune was lost at the roulette wheel.
Don’t count your chickens
In my new book, The Legacy, set in London in 1969, the main male character, James, has built up huge debts at a casino. He expects to inherit a fortune from his spinster aunt which will easily clear his debts and the criminals running the casino have allowed him to continue gambling on the strength of that. James is so confident of his legacy that when he is told that his aunt has died, he immediately resigns from his job and rushes over to his aunt’s solicitor to find out how much she’s left him.
Unfortunately, he’s in for a nasty shock. His aunt changed her will and left him ‘a pittance.’ It’s not even enough to pay off his gambling debts.
James is faced with rising debts, the threat of violence and a desperate bid to reclaim his inheritance by any means.
An innocent victim?
The fortune that James had expected has instead been given to his aunt’s god-daughter, Charlotte, a hard-working teacher who never expected to receive such riches. However, she is guarding dark secrets that James’s campaign against her threaten to reveal. The more that James tries to intimidate and discredit her, the harder she will fight back.
A pawn in a dangerous game
James’s failed attempts to get his hands on the money lead him into a dangerous situation. He must complete a ‘job’ for this creditors on the promise of his debts being cleared. He sets off to drive across France with his girlfriend, Fliss, to deliver a mysterious package and collect one in return. On the journey, James decides on one final gamble in order to escape his situation. Will he be able to pull off the deception, leave everything behind (including Fliss) and start a new life?
I didn’t bet on that!
Both James and Charlotte learn some harsh lessons as a result of the legacy. Will it prove to be a blessing that makes them stronger, or a curse that ruins their lives?
I suppose the moral of this tale is that you should never gamble, even if you’re convinced it’s a sure thing.
BLURB for The Legacy by Alison Knight
An unexpected inheritance. A web of deceit. A desperate escape.
James has his dreams of an easy life shattered when his aunt disinherits him, leaving her fortune to her god-daughter, Charlotte. He turns to his friend, Percy, to help him reclaim his inheritance – and to pay off his creditors. But when their plans backfire, James becomes the pawn of Percy and his criminal associates.
Charlotte is stunned when she is told of her windfall. After an attempt at cheating her out of her inheritance fails, James tries to intimidate her. But she is stronger than he thinks, having secrets of her own to guard, and sends him away with a bloody nose and no choice but to retreat for now.
Resigned, James and his spoilt, pampered girlfriend, Fliss, Percy’s sister, travel across France on a mission that promises to free James from the criminals for good.
But James isn’t convinced he can trust Fliss, so he makes his own plans to start a new life.
Will James be able to get away, or will his past catch up with him? Will Charlotte’s secrets turn the legacy into a curse?
Alison has been a legal executive, a registered childminder, a professional fund-raiser and a teacher. She has travelled the world – from spending a year as an exchange student in the US in the 1970s and trekking the Great Wall of China to celebrate her fortieth year and lots of other interesting places in between.
In her mid-forties Alison went to university part-time and gained a first-class degree in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University and an MA in the same subject from Oxford Brookes University, both while still working full-time. She signed her first three-book publishing contract a year after she completed her master’s degree.
The Legacy is her fifth novel and the second book published by Darkstroke Books. It is a drama set in 1960s London and France, exploring how we don’t always get what we want, with themes of greed, intrigue and desperation. Her previous Darkstroke book, Mine, is a drama also set in 1960s London, based on real events in her family, exploring themes of class, ambition and sexual politics. Some of the characters from Mine also appear in The Legacy, although this is a standalone story.
Alison teaches creative and life-writing, runs workshops and retreats with Imagine Creative Writing Workshops (www.imaginecreativewriting.co.uk) as well as working as a freelance editor. She is a member of the Society of Authors and the Romantic Novelists’ Association.
She lives in Somerset, within sight of Glastonbury Tor.
Hello everyone and welcome to today’s blog tour post for Glasshouse by Morwenna Blackwood. I’m excited to be taking part in today’s tour and I have an extract to share with you from the book. As always, a huge thank you to Morwenna and Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the tour and inviting me to take part.
Having read the extract below I’m really intrigued by the novel and I hope it piques your interest too! If you do enjoy today’s extract I’ll provide details of the book below so you can find out more about it and how you can get a copy! But for now, onto the extract.
(In this extract, Lizzie is in psychiatric hospital, and has a conversation that will change the lives of everyone in the novel…)
I am mute until this girl called Kayleigh arrives. She’s really nice – she’s kind and friendly, and always gets me a cup of tea if she goes to get one for herself. She even picks the snails up when they come onto the path and puts them back in the garden so they won’t get eaten or stepped on. After few days of smiling at each other when we pass in the corridors or in the garden, she comes and sits next to me on the sunny bit of a bench one day, and offers me a cigarette.
On reflex, I start to say, “Thanks, but I can’t – I’m pregnant,” but stop myself after “Thanks”, and take the rollie she’s made for me. And then I can no longer pretend to myself that I have forgotten. I take a long drag on the rollie, and bite my lip to get control of myself. But Kayleigh starts crying before I do, telling me that they’re going to take her little boy away, when she hasn’t done anything wrong. I don’t know what to do, so I just touch her shoulder, and listen. She says that she’s bipolar, that someone set her up, and that the psychiatrist she’d been seeing for years suddenly went away, and some ‘posh new boy in a waistcoat’ gave the final order for her to be sectioned. Something clicks, and I ask her the name of her old psychiatrist. And then I really start listening to what she’s saying.
When she finishes her horror story, she asks me how I ended up here. I think about all the ways I could reply, but stammer out, “I ODd. Again.” I don’t need to say any more, and Kayleigh just smiles in sympathy. And then I go and get us some tea, and we have another rollie each, and just sit there until the sun goes down, sometimes chatting, sometimes silent.
The days pass. I eat my dinner like a good girl; watch some telly, like a good girl; have a little joke with the nurses when I’m taking my meds, like a good girl; and then I go to bed, like a good girl. One of the nurses calls after me, “Goodnight, Lizzie. Sleep well. And don’t worry, love, I’m sure you won’t be here long.”
She’s right – I won’t.
Now I don’t know about you, but I am intrigued to find out more about this book. The ending of the extract implies that our main character has a little secret something up her sleeve and I just want to know what is going on! If you do as well here are the details of the book and where you can get yourself a copy: –
‘Now if I carry out this oath, and break it not, may I gain for ever reputation among all men for my life and for my art; but if I break it and forswear myself, may the opposite befall me.’
~ from the Hippocratic Oath (translated by WHS Jones)
Psychiatrists, Drs Whittle and Grosvenor, have dedicated their lives to helping their patients, but their approach, and the complications it reveals, lead them into relationships that harm not only themselves.
As their lives entangle, both men find that doing no harm is not as cut-and-dried as they perceived.
Can the patients in their care really trust them? Or are more sinister motives at work?
Delve into the dark world of psychiatric institutions where doctors and residents play a dangerousgame where no one is infallible!
When Morwenna Blackwood was six years old, she got told off for filling a school exercise book with an endless story when she should have been listening to the teacher/eating her tea/colouring with her friends. The story was about a frog. It never did end; and Morwenna never looked back.
Born and raised in Devon, Morwenna suffered from severe OCD and depression, and spent her childhood and teens in libraries. She travelled about for a decade before returning to Devon. She now has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Exeter, and lives with her husband, son and three cats in a cottage that Bilbo Baggins would be proud of. Her debut psychological thriller, The (D)Evolution of Us, is published by #darkstroke, and has become an Amazon best-seller. When she is not writing, Morwenna works for an animal rescue charity, or can be found down by the sea.
Hi guys and welcome to today’s monthly wrap up post for April! I can hardly believe it is May already – where is this year going?
This month’s post is only a short one by comparison as I’ve been focusing on some different things this month. Still, I really enjoyed the books I have been picking up – and more of those below: –
This month has been a bit of a reading and listening fest for A Game of Thrones and George R. R. Martin. I’ve been reading Fire and Blood which is the prequel to the A Game of Thrones series and I’ve also been listening to A Clash of Kings, which is the second book of the main series.
I’ll hold my hands up and admit that I’ve not read as much as I would’ve liked to this month. Instead, I’ve ended up working on a lot more knitting. I had been making a birthday present for my dad at the beginning of the month and I finish this a few days ahead of time. After that I moved on to a project that I started in November last year and put on hold. I ended up getting a lot more done of this than I expected initially and in the last few days of April I was so close to finishing it that I just couldn’t leave it.
Still, Fire and Blood is a long book. I think when I picked it up this month I was about 250 odd pages in and as of the end of the month I had around 150 left (out of 700). If I’ve been reading shorter books and maybe I could be saying that I’d read a couple this month, but it is what it is and this is the only book I’ve been making progress on. Once I get this finished I’m going to try a lot harder to get more read.
In terms of progress with A Clash of Kings, I was around 20% through the audiobook in March is monthly wrap-up post. I’m now about 55% through and making good progress with this one. I definitely listen to audiobooks a lot less than I physically read and these are long ones as well. I’m actually really pleased with this progress and I look forward to carrying on with the book in the next month.
Blogging has definitely been a lot more fun and enjoyable since I switched up my way of working last month. Posting is a lot easier as I’m not struggling with an ageing laptop and all in all, I’m just enjoying the process of it a bit more.
In case you missed any of my posts over the course of the month, you can find a list of what I’ve shared below: –
I hope you have enjoyed this month’s wrap-up post! Apologies it is only a short one, however, I feel like I’ve had a good break and the opportunity to enjoy some different things. I’m definitely looking to start picking up more books and get back on the reading bandwagon more next month. However, until then, I hope to see you around on the blog.
Hello everyone and welcome to today’s weekly Sunday Summary update post. I hope you’re enjoying the lovely long weekend? I certainly am! It’s just a shame about the weather tomorrow really…
So, what have I been up to this week? At the beginning of the week I shared a post in celebration of four years of blogging. It’s weird to think that I started so long ago because it feels like it was only a few minutes ago at times. I’ve certainly learned a lot along the way and my Four Year Blogiversary post was really drafted to commemorate how far I’ve come since I started.
On Friday I shared a slightly hastily written Shelf Control post. With upcoming uncertainty over the weather and the need to get a few jobs done, I ended up drafting this about 9pm on Friday. I hope that hasn’t compromised the quality but this week’s featured book is a good one and I’d still like you to go over and read it if you haven’t already!
I didn’t quite get Fire and Blood by George R. R. Martin finished this week, however I have made good progress towards that aim (set in last week’s Sunday Summary post)! I’m going to be taking it to bed again tonight and with another day left of the weekend, I have plenty more time to chip into this and hopefully finish the book!
I ended up reading a couple of chapters of this yesterday morning in a slightly different setting. I had taken my car to the garage for a couple of new tires. Whilst waiting for that to be done, I went down to the promenade to sit and have a read with a cup of coffee. It’s not very often I take the time to sit and enjoy such views. Those particular ones aren’t on my doorstep anymore and that made me appreciate going all the more. The one thing I will say is that it was bloody cold though!
The main reason I didn’t get finished with this book though is because I had another project so close to completion but I just couldn’t leave it. You may be aware that I’ve become a bit of a knitter over the last year and I recently completed a couple of scarf projects. In order to complete those I actually put on hold a personal project (a jumper). Well, I was so close to finishing it this week that I just couldn’t leave it unfinished! It’s blocking at the moment so a picture will follow later; I just hope it looks good on!
It’s been another good week here and I have no new additions to my TBR. Since I’m getting through mine at a snail‘s pace here at the moment that is definitely a good thing! (I’m hoping to pick up the pace shortly)
My blog schedule is going to be a little bit different over the next week as I have signed up for some blog tours. As is the story this year, I haven’t signed up to review these books because I’m focusing on the ones on my TBR already. However, I am sharing an extract of The Glasshouse by Morwenna Blackwood on Tuesday and a guest post from the author of The Legacy, Alison Knight, on Wednesday. I hope you enjoy these posts; it will certainly be a pleasure for me to be able to feature new books and authors and have a little bit of variety in bookish content!
Before I even get to those, however, I will be sharing my monthly wrap up for April. Given the progress I’ve made I think it’s only going to be a quick one but still, I’ll be publishing that tomorrow evening sometime.
So, with three posts already going live by the end of Wednesday I’ve decided to skip my Friday feature for this week. I will be back with a First Lines Friday very shortly so don’t think these are going anywhere – it’s just a temporary break so I can manage my schedule!
That’s all from me in today’s Sunday Summary post. What are you reading?
Hello everyone and welcome to today’s Shelf Control post! I’m sorry if this post is a little brief, but I’ve spent the day at work, then done my weekly shop and come home to cut my grass before some bad weather comes in over the weekend. I first sat down at 9 o’clock this evening!
Shelf Control is a regular feature I started last year and I have got back into sharing these posts regularly again. It’s a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies. It’s a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up!
For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out Lisa’s introductory post linked above.
Read on to find out about today’s featured mystery novel!
Oliver Marks has just served ten years in jail – for a murder he may or may not have committed. On the day he’s released, he’s greeted by the man who put him in prison. Detective Colborne is retiring, but before he does, he wants to know what really happened a decade ago.
As one of seven young actors studying Shakespeare at an elite arts college, Oliver and his friends play the same roles onstage and off: hero, villain, tyrant, temptress, ingenue, extra. But when the casting changes, and the secondary characters usurp the stars, the plays spill dangerously over into life, and one of them is found dead. The rest face their greatest acting challenge yet: convincing the police, and themselves, that they are blameless.
I am a huge fan of theatre; something you have probably picked up from my blog before. If not then I’ll say it again now. As a former performing arts student (among other subjects as part of my A-levels) I have an appreciation for the art and I used to really enjoyed myself! I haven’t done it so much since I left school but I do like to go and watch. Having a book based around a set of performers is something that’s right up my street!
The one aspect that probably isn’t quite so ‘me’ is that the actors are studying Shakespeare. I really don’t get on with Shakespeare; it’s gobbledygook to me! Seriously though, does it make sense to anyone? I don’t think it will impact my enjoyment of the book though. It is obviously going to have some bearing on the narrative but I’m hopeful that this will be for the most part, minimal, and that you don’t have to understand too much about Shakespeare and his plays itself to know what’s going on! The premise of the book sounds really interesting and I can imagine the character relationships getting quite complex. We’ll have to see, but I can’t wait to pick up and find out.
I’ve almost picked this book up a couple of times, but experimentally only to see whether I’m going to get on with it or not. From what I read I’m hopeful! Have you read If We Were Villains? If so, what are your thoughts? As always, I would love to hear from you!
I can hardly believe I celebrated my four year blogiversary last week. Sometimes it feels like I set it up yesterday… and yet it also feels like a significant part of my life at the same time. When I was younger I was terrible for starting projects and never seeing them through. When I started Reviewsfeed I had no idea if this was going to be one of those projects. I’m glad to say that’s not the case and I have learnt a lot over the last four years… About blogging in general and about myself!
I will admit that when I started out, I didn’t really have much of a clue about what I was doing. I was reading other blogs in the run-up to setting my own up, but ultimately everyone has their own style. So, I had to take the plunge and find my own way of doing things. I also wasn’t very regular in posting for the first few months – but that’s okay because I was just finding my feet then. It has been a steep learning curve but also lots of fun. If anyone is considering setting up a blog then I really recommend it… providing you know what you’re signing up for!
Running a blog is a huge commitment. A book blog even more so.
Aside from the several hours spent drafting, editing and publishing posts a week, there’s also all the reading to go along with it! If you love it like I do then it doesn’t feel like much of a chore, but it does demand a lot of your time. If you’re only looking for a casual hobby then maybe this is worth thinking twice about.
I love my blog. To look back at the content I’ve created, all the reviews I’ve written and the interactions I’ve had with other readers and authors alike is a pleasure, and I hope it will continue to be so. I may have slowed down a little this year but that’s only to avoid burnout. I ended up taking on a lot last year with the house move and subsequent renovation, exams for work and keeping full pace on the blog. That’s a lot to take on! Towards the end of the year I was growing a little tired of juggling it all and I don’t regret the decision to slow down with my reading. I’m still blogging regularly and I hope you are enjoying the content I’m creating?
I don’t regularly look at my stats but to look at how far I have come in the last four years honestly amazes me! I would never have thought that many people would want to engage with my writing and to actually consciously choose to read my opinion on something. So, to find that I’ve had over 13,000 views in the last four years is crazy!
It was hard work in the early days. I had to actively go out and interact with other people to draw them to my blog and so every view was hard earned. Now I am a lot luckier and that I get at least one or two passive views a day without having to go out and find people. That’s not even something I try to do anymore. I engage with the content I’m interested in and ultimately I want other people to do the same with my blog.
So, 13,000 views and nearly 600 posts later, what have I learned?
Blogging is something you really have to want to do. There will be times when you don’t feel like it, or you will struggle to write a particular post. The underlying love for sharing my views and hoping to inspire other readers to pick up a book is what keeps me going. More than that though, I do it for me. I enjoy reading and taking the time to put my thoughts together on a book. It’s almost a way to relive the narrative and enjoy it for a second time.
Having stopped taking review requests over the last few months I can honestly say that I actually prefer not taking them. Don’t get me wrong, I have enjoyed some great books from authors who have approached me for a review. But equally, taking them on can result in a bit of pressure. Not only is there a time pressure to get it done and reviewed, but there’s also the difficulty if you don’t enjoy it as much as you hoped. I’ve been reading books that I wanted to pick up over the last few months and I found the experience a lot more enjoyable. Free books aren’t the be all and end all. Whilst I will still take the odd one here and there, I will be taking on less in future.
Access to free books is honestly the wrong reason to be a book blogger. You can put in a lot less time and effort by signing up to a library! When you first get started and get your first advanced reader copy it’s really exciting… but personally I think the novelty wears off. I do like to sign up to blog tours though. These are quite good because you don’t necessarily have to read and review book in order to contribute to the tour. Typically, I used to always try and review a book and rarely did I share an alternative feature post. However, I’ve been doing this more this year and I think the variety is honestly better for my blog. So, don’t be frightened to ask to just share a promo if you don’t have time to read and review a book – no one thinks any less of you for it!
Blogging is a labour of love. It’s not always easy but it’s something I look forward to doing every day. Whether it is picking up a new book to share my thoughts on or finding new ways to share book related content, I love posting it for you!
I hope you guys really do enjoy the content on my blog – here is to the next four years!
Hi everyone and welcome to today’s Sunday Summary update post. As always, I hope you’ve had a really good week whatever you have been up to!
I have been back to work this week for the first time in nearly two months and I’ve enjoyed it more than I expected. Don’t get me wrong, I love being at home but I like the separation of work and home life. Going back into the office this week has given me the opportunity to catch up with all my colleagues and of course, get on with my work in a better environment.
It feels like it’s taking a long time, but I have made more progress with Fire and Blood this week. It is a very long book and I’m not reading anywhere near as much as I have previously. I’ve been taking the time to enjoy other hobbies, such as knitting but also just to sit and watch TV of an evening. It’s not something I do a lot of, but it’s nice to give myself the choice… which before I didn’t. Still, I am well on the way to finishing this shortly. The book has a total of 706 pages, so that means I only have about 150 left. Depending on how I feel I might make a bit more of a push with this this week. It’ll be nice to see the end of it (as much as I am enjoying it, I do want to finish it soon and move onto something else)!
In last week’s Sunday Summary update post I told you that I was planning on having a skeet in my local branch of a certain book retailer now that the store was open. I did indeed go and have a look and to my amazement, and I’m sure yours, I walked out empty-handed. I had a good look around but nothing really caught my eye and I didn’t want to spend frivolously for the sake of it. It’s better to save my money for something I really want.
However, I have received a couple of recommendations this week and so added two books to my TBR. My sister’s boyfriend has recently read Barack Obama‘s autobiography and he said it is really good. I couldn’t tell you the last time I read an autobiography, but if it’s about someone I am interested in then it’s definitely something I want to pick up. A Promised Land will be a good read and the variety of picking up my first autobiography in years appeals to me.
I also received a second recommendation/suggestion this week. As I mentioned in my First Lines Friday post, I quite often have a chat with my boss about books. We will quite often chat about a wide variety of books and genres too. Whilst the post featured in my First Lines Friday post (inspired by this conversation) is a fantasy book, we also discuss classics or non-fiction for example. He recommended that I pick up The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis. I’d mentioned that I hadn’t read any of his books and my boss said he would be really interested in my thoughts on it. He is right in that it is a short book, that could be read in an afternoon and so I might pick this up shortly!
I had my four year ‘blogiversary’ notification this week and to celebrate I would like to share a post about my experience of blogging, the things I’ve learned and some advice I would give to new or would-be bloggers out there.
Next Friday I will be back with my regular shelf control post. This week’s featured book is one that I have on my shelves upstairs and I have contemplated picking up a couple of times before already. I really like the sound of the premise and although it has loose links to Shakespeare (which I don’t really get on with – frankly I just can’t understand it) I don’t think this will impact my enjoyment of the book at all!
That’s all I have for you in today’s Sunday Summary post. What are you reading?
Hi guys and welcome to today’s first First Lines Friday post!
I’m back to posting my First Lines Friday feature on a regular basis and I am thrilled to be sharing today’s featured book with you. Today’s feature was actually inspired by the conversation I had at work today. We have just come out of lockdown this week and I’ve enjoyed being back in the office and able to have a chat with my colleagues. I quite often end up having bookish chats with my boss. It’s quite a small company and we all know each other really well. He knows about my blog and how much I read and we often talk about our current reads or compare notes on books we have both read.
Today we ended up talking about a book series we are both part way through. It’s written by a very well-known author. The conversation reminded me of how much I am enjoying the particular miniseries of which today’s featured book is a part of. We both enjoy the series as a whole for it’s lightheartedness and satirical nature. I love the silliness and laugh out loud humour, particularly from the characters introduced in the below quote.
Here is today’s First Lines Friday feature: –
The wind howled. Lightning stabbed at the Earth erratically, like an inefficient assassin. Thunder rolled back and forth across the dark, rain-lashed hills.
The night was as black as the inside of a cat. It was the kind of night, you could believe, on which gods move men as though they were pawns on the chessboard of fate. In the middle of this elemental storm a fire gleamed among the dripping furze bushes like the madness in a weasel’s eye. It illuminated three hunched figures. As the cauldron bubbled an eldritch voice shrieked: “When shall we three meet again?”
There was a pause.
Finally another voice said, in far more ordinary tones: “Well, I can do next Tuesday.”
Through the fathomless deeps of space swims the star turtle Great A’Tuin, bearing on its back the four giant elephants who carry on their shoulders the mass of the Discworld. A tiny sun and moon spin around them, on a complicated orbit to induce seasons, so probably nowhere else in the multiverse is it sometimes necessary for an elephant to cock a leg and allow the sun to go past.
Exactly why this should be may never be known. Possibly the Creator of the universe got bored with all the usual business of axial inclination, albedos and rotational velocities, and decided to have a bit of fun for once.
Kingdoms wobble, crowns topple and knives flash on the magical Discworld as the statutory three witches meddle in royal politics. The wyrd sisters battle against frightful odds to put the rightful king on the throne. At least, that’s what they think…
I love Terry Pratchett. And it was actually his Discworld novels that got me into reading regularly and ultimately into blogging as well. His satirical writing style was something that I came to depend on at that time.
The witches series is my favourite, with the death series not far behind. Truth be told, there aren’t many that I haven’t enjoyed. They all have their good elements, although some shine brighter than others and this can definitely be said of the witches series in my opinion.
The antics they get up to are hilarious, but probably the thing that draws me to the stories the most is Granny Weatherwax herself. I absolutely love her character! She is hilarious, sarcastic and truth be told a bit of a bossy boots, but she is a real driving force to be reckoned with. I wouldn’t like to cross her, put it that way!
I hope you enjoyed today’s First Lines Friday feature! Have you read Wyrd Sisters, or any of the other Discworld novels? If not, does this intro entice you to give it a go? Let me know in the comments!
Hello everyone and welcome to today’s audiobook review of Moon over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch. I started listening to this series last year and to date I have listened to over half of it. As you can tell, I’ve really gotten into it! If you would like to find out my thoughts on the first instalment of the series, you can find my audiobook review of Rivers of London here.
The song. That’s what London constable and sorcerer’s apprentice Peter Grant first notices when he examines the corpse of Cyrus Wilkins, part-time jazz drummer and full-time accountant, who dropped dead of a heart attack while playing a gig at Soho’s 606 Club. The notes of the old jazz standard are rising from the body—a sure sign that something about the man’s death was not at all natural but instead supernatural.
Body and soul. They’re also what Peter will risk as he investigates a pattern of similar deaths in and around Soho. With the help of his superior officer, Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, the last registered wizard in England, and the assistance of beautiful jazz aficionado Simone Fitzwilliam, Peter will uncover a deadly magical menace—one that leads right to his own doorstep and to the squandered promise of a young jazz musician: a talented trumpet player named Richard “Lord” Grant—otherwise known as Peter’s dear old dad.
Rivers of London felt like it could’ve been a good standalone novel. However, Moon over Soho in my opinion, has more of a series vibe and does a good job of setting the scene for the series as a whole. In this particular book we start to see some longer plot elements coming into play and I really enjoyed how it picked up on the events from the first book.
The series is told from the perspective of rookie Detective Peter Grant. He operates in the only division of the police force that deals with the supernatural. His days on the beat are far from ordinary. Peter is a very typical young man raised in Britain and he is no stranger to English charm. He is very much in tune with the darker side of people, especially in a large city such as London. Growing up in such a setting it can only be expected that he has a typical British sense of humour and I really love that! The dry humour adds a lot to the narrative and keeps the reader engaged.
Moon over Soho has a quirky plot line and I enjoyed how Peter’s family are introduced in further detail. It adds a lot of depth to Peter’s character and I feel like we get to learn a lot more of his family dynamic than the first book. By including them, more we get to explore a brand-new set of characters as well as firm favourites from Rivers of London.
I have one pet hate about the female characters in these novels so far, as it is very clear that a lot of them are sexualised – especially young ones. Take Simone for example. Like Simone, I am a larger lady. As a larger lady, I can promise you that we would never, ever deliberately wear underwear too small for sex appeal. This book portrays it as sexy, with lumps and bumps exploding curvaceously in all the right places. You can tell she has been written by someone who has never had to wear an ill-fitting bra for a single day in his life. Women know the truth of how bras fit… or more importantly, how they don’t! Wearing bras that are too small emphasises back fat, underwires dig into your armpits and small straps can rub the skin off your shoulders, to name but a few issues they cause. That kind of pain is not something that women would deliberately choose to inflict upon themselves!
Still think this is sexy, Mr Aaronovitch? My point is it isn’t a realistic expectation of what women should look like or how they do look. In a world full of body dysmorphia I think it’s important to emphasise this. Women should absolutely not do it and frankly it’s not attractive!
Okay, rant over.
Don’t get me wrong, this hasn’t impacted how much I’ve enjoyed the book but it is becoming apparent that the author does have a penchant for sexualising female characters. I’ve gone on to listen to more of the audiobooks so clearly it isn’t a huge issue for me, but I wish that he didn’t. It hardly encourages anyone to see anything in women beyond the physical appearance, which at least is shallow and at most, well, insulting.
As this is an audiobook review it’s only fair to mention the format itself and how much I enjoyed this second audiobook being narrated by the same person. I’ve already raved about how good he is at bringing life to an already interesting character and to have the consistency in this book as well (and the rest of the series I’ve listen to to date) is very satisfying.
As with Rivers of London, the author’s love of the city shines through the narrative. I’m not one with much experience of London but I didn’t find the descriptions and geography of the city confusing. Honestly, I didn’t let myself get bogged down into it because I knew I wouldn’t have a hope of understanding it anyway! It has no impact on the enjoyment of the book and honestly, I think anyone can pick this up. You don’t have to be familiar with London in any way to be able to read and enjoy the series.