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?