Month: October 2021

Sunday Summary – 31st October 2021

Hello everyone and welcome to another weekly update in today’s Sunday Summary post! I’ve had a great week, albeit a busy one, as I’ve been off work and doing jobs around the house. There is no rest for the wicked, even when the weather doesn’t work in our favour. So, I haven’t done too much in the way of reading. However, more on that later.

At the beginning of this week, I finally shared my thoughts on Whispers Under Ground by Ben Aaronovitch. It’s only my third attempt at sharing this post… On a serious note, I’m glad I finally got this done and in a position where I was happy to share it with you. It’s a fantastic book (audiobook as that’s the format I read listened to) and if I’m going to write a review I want to do it right.

On Friday I shared a discussion post in which I talked about my thoughts on being a structured reader or a mood reader. Having done both I have ample enough experience to give you the pros and cons for both. Also, I share with you my favourite method in that post. If you haven’t checked it out already please feel free to do so using the link provided.

 

Books Read

Despite not being at work I’ve managed to keep myself busy. My main job of the week was to cut down two rather large hedges in my back garden. The weather wasn’t particularly on my side however, so I’ve only managed to complete one and start the other. Even on the days when the weather wasn’t so good I had errands to run or other smaller jobs to do around the house.

This isn’t to say that I didn’t manage to do any reading because that’s not the case. One evening this week I picked up a book that I’m reviewing for a blog tour soon. It meant taking a brief break from Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson, however I will have plenty time to pick up later.

I’ve managed to read about a quarter of Million Eyes II by C. R. Berry. As with the first book of the series, this is proving an easy read and the premise is as intriguing if not more. The nice, super short chapters are great and easy to follow. Since one more chapter doesn’t take very long, it’s very easy to find yourself saying that again and again and again ! I’m confident and I’ll make a lot more progress with this next week in time for the blog tour post on the 10th November. 

With being at home, I had thought that I was going to make more audiobook progress. However, that turned out not to be the case. I did still listen to some of The Hanging Tree by Ben Aaronovitch, but I haven’t finished yet like I expected to. Music is a better motivator for me, depending on what kind of jobs I’m doing and that turned out to be the case this week. There’s even less to listen to now so perhaps this time next week I’ll be telling you that I’m done and dusted.

 

Books Discovered

When I shared last week’s Sunday Summary post I hinted that I might have an addition to the list this week. I wasn’t wrong, although I haven’t gone too mad either! Whilst running some errands I had the opportunity to go and have a mooch in a certain chain bookstore here on island. When I was there I picked up a completely new book to me; it wasn’t even on my TBR yet. If you know me you know I love history and I don’t really know very much about the Salem witches. This book aims to change that!

I also picked up a second book, although it’s not really a book to read per se. I have a goal that I want to learn how to knit socks and so I bought myself a copy of 52 weeks of socks… Just in case you’re interested!

 

Coming Up…

It’s back to the daily grind for me next week, although you’re not going to see any changes as a result of that. It just means I have to start getting up early in the morning again… Lucky me eh?!

It’s officially the beginning of November next week. I’ll just let that sink in for a minute. Can someone please tell me where this year is going? So, with this little factoid in mind it stands to reason that within the next few days will be the best time to share my monthly wrap up for October!

Later in the week I will return with my usual regular Friday features. This week it’s the turn of a First Lines Friday post. To keep it interesting I’m going to set myself a challenge for Friday‘s post – to feature the opening lines of a book I read before I started my blog.

As always I hope you’ve had a great week and maybe even discovered some great reads for yourself. If you have let me know what you’re reading in the comments and in the meantime, have a great one and I’ll see you in the next post!

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Discussion Post – Structured or Mood Reader?

How do you read best? Are you a mood reader, or do you like to have a set list? There is no wrong answer to this question and in today’s discussion post I talk about the pros and cons of each. Having done both for a prolonged period of time I have a good deal of experience in both. I started with one several years ago but have recently transitioned into the other.

 

Structured Reader

When I started reading and blogging regularly I opted for the latter of these methods. I like to be organised and so setting myself a list at the beginning of the month gave me an idea of how much I have to read to meet that goal.

This works for people who like a sense of order in their lives. It’s particularly good if you have a longer-term reading goal as it can help you keep on track. It’s not foolproof because ultimately what matters is how much you actually read rather than what you plan. However, it gives you the opportunity to split your reads out in such a way that you can manage the load. You can plan to read a longer book in several shorter in a month, for instance.

I also found it very handy for blog tours and organised posts in which I had to schedule a post on a certain day. Doing a monthly TBR post ahead of time gave me a deadline in order to read the book and also to get the post prepared. It also serves as a good reminder that I had to do it! Whilst I like the pretence of being organised I will admit to being forgetful! Writing these posts made sure I couldn’t forget!

 

Mood Reader

Over the last year I have switched to being a mood reader. For 2021 I haven’t set myself a reading goal and neither have I set myself definitive lists that I have to read in a given month. As and when I finish a book I can decide what I feel like next. It might sound daft but that freedom is liberating when you have spent so long structuring your reading! There are times when a book just isn’t right for your mood, and that can make the overall experience more difficult and less enjoyable. Given that someone like me spends so much time on the hobby, why should I force myself to read something that I’m not in the mood for? I’ve done it before and it doesn’t pay off. Maybe that’s a topic for another discussion post. 

That’s not to say the being a mood reader means that you cannot meet your reading goals. You absolutely can – but it’s just not quite so easy to visualise your progress. And if you’re in the mood to read quite a few longer books in succession, then progress is going to seem slower than if you spread them out over the course of the year, or read a series of shorter books.

 

There is no right or wrong way to do it. There isn’t even any harm in blending these methods. If you wanted to read four books a month for example, you could ‘set’ two of them and leave the other two to be decided at the time (i.e. your mood read picks).

But even then, do the numbers really matter? Yes, it’s nice to have a reading goal to keep you motivated. But, does the number of books you read in the course of a year decide how much you’ve taken from them? Is quality not better than quantity? That’s what I’ve taken away from my year of mood reading. It doesn’t matter how many I read; it’s the fact that I pick up a book and read at all, and enjoy that book that matters!

Everyone is different and we all have our own strengths and weaknesses to play to. I have enjoyed becoming a mood reader though. Do you have a favourite method? Is it mentioned in today’s discussion post? How do you manage your reading list, or don’t you bother at all? I’d love to hear from you in the comments to see how diverse our methods are!

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Audiobook Review: Whispers Under Ground – Ben Aaronovitch

In today’s audiobook review I’m featuring a book that I listened to well over a year ago! It’s scary that time has flown so quickly. I distinctly remember listening to this during the time when I was doing a lot of redecorating. I spent a week painting and this was one of the audiobooks that got me through.

After listening to Rivers of London and Moon over Soho, I had high hopes for this audiobook. The previous two were brilliant and I’m pleased to say that Whispers Under Ground lived up to expectations!

 

Whispers Under Ground – Ben Aaronovitch

Goodreads – Whispers Under Ground

In Tufnell Park, North London, a pair of railway tracks diver under a school, taking train to and from Kings Cross. Wet, filthy, dangerous. Lovely place. And one Sunday before Christmas a sweet (sort of) kid called Abigail took me and my long suffering colleague Lesley May down there to look for a ghost.

We found one.

And that was that, I thought, because come Monday I get to do some proper policing. Person Unknown has been stabbed to death on the tracks at Baker Street tube. Magic may have been involved. And sure enough, in the blood; vestigia, the tell-tale trail magic leaves.

Person Unknown turns out to be the son of a US senator and before you can say ‘International incident’. FBI agent Kimberley Reynolds and her firmly held religious beliefs are on my case.

And down in the dark, in the tunnels of London’s Underground, the buried rivers, the Victorian sewers, I’m hearing whispers of ancient arts and tortured, vengeful spirits…

 

My Thoughts…

Ben Aaronovitch has a fantastic way of melding magic and the real world together seamlessly. You wouldn’t think the two would go together so well, however, the magic in his Rivers of London series is so ingrained into its society that it’s very normal. Ghosts and magical deities governing the waters through London are all part of the day job for Peter Grant. It would be ludicrous in any other circumstance, yet somehow it just works! And you know me; I love magic in novels! What makes this a real winner for me is how even something so abstract can be written with rules that govern it. Things don’t just disappear because it’s convenient. There’s almost a degree of science behind it, which gives it some tangibility in our very black and white idea of reality.

I am enjoying the underpinning story that is developing throughout the series, but the charm of Whispers Under Ground lies in the smaller story of this book itself. In terms of the bigger picture, I feel like Whispers Under Ground is setting the scene for the later books to pick up from. There is nothing wrong with that and it is still enjoyable to see play out in the background.

The biggest selling point for me though is Peter Grant’s character. Telling an already fantastic story from the perspective of a funny, charismatic narrative voice, who isn’t shy with the dry self-depreciating wit or nerdy references just works! And props to the narrator for pulling off this character so well! I feel like I said this in every audiobook with you I’ve written so far, but it’s absolutely true! I also like that there is the consistency within the series; it would just be wrong otherwise.

As a general rule urban fantasy isn’t a branch that I read much of. However, it’s books like this series that prove why it’s good to push your boundaries. I’m really enjoying it so far and I can’t wait to see where the rest of the series takes us!

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Sunday Summary – 24th October 2021

It’s time for another Sunday Summary update once again! These posts seem to roll around very quickly. No sooner have I written one than I’m preparing the next! It’s no surprise it’s nearly the end of October already!

I started this week with a top ten Tuesday post. I liked the idea of this week’s theme, which was sharing my top ten online resources for book lovers. Not only was it fun to write, but I hope it proved useful and gave you some insight into the tools I use for my hobby!

I have an apology to make. I decided last week to switch up my blog posting schedule, and I didn’t fulfil my end of the bargain. I was supposed to share my already late review of Whispers Under Ground by Ben Aaronovitch yesterday. But, I’m a bit of a dozy cow. Changing up my routine is dangerous; I’ll be the first person to hold my hands up and say that I’m forgetful! I remembered that I was supposed to be sharing this post yesterday at 10:10 pm. Needless to say, I postponed this once again, and I’m sorry about that! It will be coming to you next week – I promise!

 

Books Read

Last week I started reading Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson and had made progress by reading a few chapters. There was a lot to take in and getting started was a little bit slow. I have persevered this week and I feel like I’m coming out the other side now. I’m eight chapters through and I have picked up what I need to know in order to carry on. It’s getting a lot easier to read, which is great news! Eight chapters is about 10% of the way through the book, in case you’re interested. Yeah, it’s a long one…

I’ve also listened to roughly a couple of hours of The Hanging Tree by Ben Aaronovitch. In terms of progress that’s about half again from last week, putting me at about 75% of the way through! I’m really enjoying this and since I have next week off work I expect to finish this in the next few days.

 

Books Discovered

Once again no updates to add here this week! However, as I have an errand to run next week that involves going into a certain bookstore, I make no promises for a similar update in next week’s post!

 

Coming Up…

I will publish my review of Whispers Under Ground next week. I WILL publish my review of Whispers Under Ground next week. As I said above, I’m off work for a break next week and so I have absolutely no excuse.

None.

I am still going to take a brief break from my regular Friday features next week. It’s nice to have a little bit of variety on the blog, and so I’m going to share a discussion post with you instead.

If you read my blog you may recall that I have changed my stance on how I read this year. Previously, I’d share a reading list at the beginning of the month. This year I’ve adapted to be more of a mood reader. I didn’t want to set myself goals that I couldn’t achieve and as I burned out a bit after last year, I needed the break and a more relaxed pace. In my discussion post I’m going to be talking about the pros and cons of each approach and sharing which is my favourite.

Until next time, happy reading!

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Top Ten Tuesday – Online Resources for Book Lovers

I hope that today’s Top Ten Tuesday post is as informative for one of my readers as I know it would have been for me as a fledgling reader/book blogger. I like today’s subject matter, as not only is it a good way to highlight potentially useful resources to you that you don’t know about, but it is a good way to compare how other people manage their reading hobby!


Goodreads

Whilst I feel that this is an obvious place to start in today’s top ten Tuesday post, it is one of the main online resources I use.

If, on the off chance, you aren’t aware of what this site offers, it is essentially a huge database online in which you can not only discover new books, read (and leave) thousands of reviews, but you could also sort books into lists and record those you have read, want to read and are reading right now using some of their preset options. Your shelves are completely customisable however so you don’t just have to sort them by these criteria. I know people who have shelves set by genre or record it down as the year they read them… The options are endless!

Goodreads also hosts an annual reading challenge. So if you need some motivation, it can be a good way to push you to your next reading goal.

 

Audible

If you are the kind of person who doesn’t have time to sit down and commit to a book, it doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy one anyway. I subscribed to Audible a couple of years ago and I haven’t looked back! It’s not my main way of consuming books, however they are great for times when you can’t necessarily sit down and pick up a book in the conventional way.

I personally enjoy listening to audiobooks while knitting or crocheting, but they are also a great companion when doing household chores, decorating (I can attest from experience) or any physical activity. I have a friend who listens to audiobooks whilst she is out looking after horses. There really are no rules and I enjoy the change in medium from time to time.

 

Spreadsheet

The resources used don’t necessarily have to be anything fancy, and this is one of those. I use Goodreads to manage my reading list, however the CEO at my work uses a spreadsheet to mange his list!

I use them for more blog orientated things, such as recording the books I have yet to review and keeping a calendar of any blog tour dates. I appreciate these don’t apply to every reader, but as mentioned above they can be used by anyone. Ultimately, the most important thing is to use resources that work for you.

 

Notes app

It’s no secret that I enjoy sharing my thoughts on the books I read of love. You don’t have to be a blogger to do this as there are plenty of available places to share your thoughts on a book without hosting your own site. Be it Goodreads, Amazon, or any known bookstore, there are plenty of sites in which you can review or recommend a book to others.

I like to jot ideas down for a post before I write it. It helps give me a little bit of structure, and if you’re writing a review then you’ll probably want somewhere to write that down. Again, going back to the fact that it doesn’t have to be fancy, any note taking app on your phone will do. I say this because most people probably have a smart phone nowadays and it’s the kind of device you’ll have on you at all times. It’s accessible and easy to use and it’s what I use to plan and draft my book reviews (and blog posts in general).

 

Netgalley

Books cost money, and not everyone can afford to read as much as they physically want to. The good news is there are plenty of free books out there, but there are also sites that will provide you with a copy of the book in exchange for a review.

Netgalley is probably one of the biggest of these and most well-known to bloggers certainly. It’s great if you are of a mind to provide a review anyway. But if that’s not your bag then this isn’t for you. Whilst you can get away with not reviewing the odd book, the idea behind giving you one is that you do share your thoughts. Even then you can’t access anything and everything. Certain publishers will put books out there for review without any particular stipulation on who can get a copy. However, books by household authors or larger names in general do have criteria you’ll have to meet in order to stand a chance of getting a copy, so keeping that feedback ratio up is crucial.

 

Blogs

Obviously I’m a little biased when I say this, but blogs are a great resource. Not only can they provide you with book reviews and recommendations… but they can even provide useful resource posts like this one!

 

Social Media

Social media is a great resource. It is “THE” place to share your opinion on the internet and you won’t find many other sites that give you access to so many different opinions in one place.

The different platforms also allow you to do you bookish material in different ways. Let’s be honest, we do judge a book by its cover, so social media sites like Facebook and Instagram are great as they’re very photo-content orientated. Twitter on the other hand is traditionally more word-based so it’s a good place to get more in the way of opinions.

Don’t get me wrong, social media has its downsides too. Whether you choose to use it or not is entirely up to you. Generally if you want to avoid any potential drama that goes with sharing your opinion online, I suggest you stick to the likes of Goodreads.

 

Kindle app

I typically read either a physical book or on my kindle, however the kindle app has come in useful. Sometimes I end up reading somewhere unexpected, or on a tablet as my kindle has run out of battery. Whatever the reason, the accessibility of being able to have a book on your phone or tablet is great! Although, I have the habit of starting or sampling a book on it and never quite getting round to actually reading the whole thing…

But that’s just me! There are plenty of people out there who read exclusively using the kindle app and that’s fine too!

 

Libby/OneDrive

Both of these apps are great. A lot of libraries (and my local included) may use either of these sites, or equally an alternative, to host their e-book library. I’ve used these apps in order to access books I’m borrowing rather than buying for myself and they are very user-friendly. Using Libby as an example, I know they can host both audiobook and e-book, so if you like having both of those in one place then it may just be worth seeing what your library has to offer.

 

Local Library!

And of course, at last but not least, check out what your local library has online! Even if you like physical books rather than an e-book library (as above), your library may have a database online of what they have available and whether it’s on loan or not currently. I know mine certainly does, and if ours can do it then I’d be very surprised if yours doesn’t!

You may have a lot more services than I do so it’s hard to tell you to use something when I don’t know it’s available. The best thing you can do if you are unsure is to have a go and look for it. You’ll never discover anything new unless you try!

 

I hope today’s Top Ten Tuesday post has been useful for you and perhaps you’ve discovered a new resource that you’d like to try. Do use any of the resources I’ve mentioned today? Let me know in the comments, and if you have any alternative recommendations please share them here so we can all learn something new!

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Sunday Summary – 17th October 2021

Hello everyone and welcome to this week’s update in today’s Sunday Summary post. As always, I hope you’ve had a great week! Mine has ended up being quite busy as I’ve been out a couple of nights this week socialising. I had a really good time, but consequently, this impacted my blogging schedule a little.

I was supposed to share a review of Whispers Under Ground by Ben Aaronovitch this week, however, this post didn’t go live. I’ve got it prepared to a certain extent, but it was this time that the socialising events I went to ate into. I hope to be able to share this with you next week instead and I am very sorry that this didn’t go ahead as planned!

Later in the week, I was able to publish the planned Shelf Control post. In this week’s post, I featured a book that I remember talking about with my dad after I added it to my TBR. Turns out he has read this book so I’m interested to see how my thoughts compare to his!

 

Books Read

My reading has also been impacted a little by the social events I ended up going to. However, I will admit that I have lacked a little motivation as well this week. I’m starting to think that perhaps I’ve taken on a lot by jumping into a Brandon Sanderson novel. At over 1000 pages Words of Radiance isn’t a small read. As it’s been a while since I read the first book, it’s been a bit of a learning curve picking the series back up. I have, however, read a few chapters and I am starting to pick it back up.

I’ve also been listening to an audiobook this week for the first time in quite a while.

I wasn’t particularly enamoured by A Suitable Lie by Michael J. Malone so I decided to stop listening to this one. It’s okay, but I really don’t like one of the characters and as a result I’ve lost motivation with it. Perhaps inspired by my intended review, I decided to pick up The Hanging Tree by Ben Aaronovitch. It’s a series I know and love by now and consequently I’ve listened to around half of this audiobook (about 5 hours worth) this week alone. Audiobooks are a great knitting companion too, in case anyone is interested!

 

Books Discovered

I have absolutely no news on this front this week, which is always good news when your list to read is as long as mine!


Coming Up…

I like the idea of next week’s Top Ten Tuesday post. It’s a little bit different as the feature topic is sharing my top ten online resources for book lovers. I think it’s a great one because it can be useful for absolutely anyone to read. As someone who reads more than most, I probably have more experience with using some of these things, or even just knowing that they exist, and it may help you out!

I’m in the mood to change my post order a little. I’ve been following the same structure for a few weeks now and I’m thinking it’s getting a little bit stale. So, with that in mind, I’m giving my usual Friday features a brief break and instead I’m going to share a post on Saturday. Seeing as how I wasn’t able to get my review of Whispers Under Ground ready in time this week, I’ll be sharing this with you then. I hope it’s worth the wait.

However, that is all for me in today’s post. As always I hope you enjoyed today’s Sunday Summary update, and I look forward to seeing you in my next post!

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Shelf Control #37 – 15/10/2021

Happy Friday everyone and welcome to my Shelf Control post! Shelf Control is a regular feature here and is 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.

I’ve been sharing these posts regularly so I can continue to review the books on my TBR and decide if I still want to read them. Over the last couple of years my reading taste has changed. A book on my list, added a couple of years ago, may no longer for me. I have genuinely taken a few books off this list by doing these posts. It’s a productive exercise and gives me some bookish content to share with you. And who knows, by featuring those books I still want to read, maybe I can introduce you to something that will take your fancy as well!

This week’s featured book is : –


Soul Identity – Dennis Batchelder

Goodreads – Soul Identity

You can’t take it with you… but what if you could? Most people believe their souls outlive their bodies. Most people would find an organization that tracks their souls into the future and passes on their banked money and memories compelling. Scott Waverly isn’t like most people. He spends his days finding and fixing computer security holes. And Scott is skeptical of his new client’s claim that they have been calculating and tracking soul identities for almost twenty-six hundred years. Are they running a freaky cult? Or a sophisticated con job? Scott needs to save Soul Identity from an insider attack. Along the way, he discovers the importance of the bridges connecting people’s lives.


My Thoughts…

I’m reading more science-fiction than ever before. It’s a genre I’ve always enjoyed but in the past I tended to read more fantasy. This is something I’m actively looking to change, and this change started a couple of years ago when I started adding more science fiction books to my list. Soul Identity is one of those books. I really like the sound of the book and I don’t think I’ve seen anything like it to date!

This has a lot of elements to it. It seems like one of those books that is very difficult to pigeonhole into a certain genre because it has so many overlaps. There is an element of mystery here, perhaps even crime. Because of that though, I’m confident that I’ll enjoy it and that many others will too! I enjoy most genres and so something in this book will appeal to me.

Have you read Soul Identity? Would you recommend it? As always I would love to know!

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Sunday Summary – 10th October 2021

Sunday evening can only mean the end of another week… and that it’s time for my Sunday Summary post! It also means I have to get up early for work in the morning, but let’s not dwell on that bit! Instead, let’s look at what I’ve done this week! 

Earlier this week I shared my Monthly Wrap-Up post for September 2021. This type of post has replaced my previous reading list; instead of sharing my planned reads for the month ahead of time, I’m recapping what I have read instead. I currently prefer this format as it puts less pressure on me to get through a certain number of books a month. In that post, I also take the opportunity to share links to the posts I’ve shared on my blog over the period. So, if you want a reminder of what I’ve read this month, and want to make sure you haven’t missed any blog posts, go and check out that post now!

On Friday I shared a First Lines Friday post. For this post, I hadn’t set myself a challenge to feature a certain type of book. Instead, I had a full rain did use whatever I like, and I ultimately chose a book based on a recommendation on my Goodreads discover tab. Whilst the book isn’t on my TBR, I have considered it. I like the sound of the premise and it’s recently been made into a popular film. Can you guess what it is based on the shared introduction?

 

Books Read

As of last week’s Sunday Summary update post, I was a third of the way through Red Rising by Pierce Brown. It’s fair to say from the pace in which I read the book that I really enjoyed this, because I finished this on Thursday! The next book in the series is already on my list to pick up. I really enjoyed the narrative and the combination of science fiction, action and it’s dystopian vibe.

After Red Rising I was at a bit of a loss as to what to read next. After reading such a great book it’s intimidating to find something else that will live up to it. After some deliberation I decided to turn to a firm favourite. I had to read a little reminder as to what happened in the previous book first, but I have decided to pick up Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson.

I deliberately didn’t read this too quickly after the first book. The Stormlight Archives series is planned to be ten books and currently only four (or so) are published. I didn’t want to read this too quickly and end up waiting a long time for the subsequent books. However, I think it’s been a couple of years since picking up The Way of Kings. That’s a decent amount of time to wait to be able to enjoy the next book. And it’s an epic. I’ve just over 1000 pages I have plenty to dive into!

 

Books Discovered

Aside from adding Golden Sun (the sequel to Red Rising), there’s nothing to add here. And since I ticked Red Rising off the list when I finished it, does this count as it nets off?

 

Coming Up…

It has been a few weeks since I shared an audiobook review with you, and so my plan is to share my thoughts on Whispers Underground by Ben Aaronovitch this week. I remember listening to this last year whilst I was doing some redecorating round the house. Sometimes this doesn’t feel like it was over a year ago and yet it certainly was! So it’s definitely time for me to share my review with you.

Later in the week I’ll be back with a Shelf Control post. This week’s featured book has a sci-fi theme with an interesting premise. I can’t wait to share with you!

However, that is all from me in today’s post. As always, I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s Sunday Summary update, and I look forward to seeing you in my next post!

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First Lines Friday – 08/10/2021

Today I’m sharing another First Lines Friday post with you! If you are new to my blog, and this is a regular (fortnightly) series in which I take the opportunity to share the opening introductions of a variety of books. These may be books I’ve already read, are looking to read, or am even just a little bit intrigued about.

Sometimes I set myself a challenge with these posts, however this week I decided to leave it open. Sometimes it’s nice to have full creative freedom with my choice, and I hope this week’s featured book does not disappoint!

Shall we get into it?

 

Everyone my age remembers where they were and what they were doing when they first heard about the contest. I was sitting in my hideout watching cartoons when the news bulletin broke in on my video feed, announcing that James Halliday had died during the night.

I’d heard of Halliday, of course. Everyone had. He was the videogame designer responsible for creating the OASIS, a massively multiplayer online game that gradually evolved into the global network virtual reality most of humanity now used on a daily basis. The unprecedented success of the OASIS had made Halliday one of the wealthiest people in the world.

At first, I couldn’t understand why the media was making such a big deal of the billionaire’s death. After all, the people of planet Earth had other concerns. The ongoing energy crisis. Catastrophic climate change. Widespread famine, poverty, and disease. Half a dozen wars. You know: “dogs and cats living together… Mass hysteria!” Normally, the newsfeeds didn’t interrupt everyone’s interactive sitcoms and soap operas unless something really major had happened. Like the outbreak of some new killer virus, or another major city vanishing in a mushroom cloud. Big stuff like that. As famous as he was, Halliday’s death should have warranted only a brief segment on the evening news, so the unwashed masses could shake their heads in envy when the newscasters announced the obscenely large amount of money that would be doled out to the rich man’s heirs.

But that was the rub. James Halliday had no heirs.

 

Ready Player One – Ernest Cline

Goodreads – Ready Player One

IN THE YEAR 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them.

But when Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win—and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

 

My Thoughts…

Did you recognise today’s feature? Whether you’ve read the book or watched the recent film made based on it, you may recognise it.

I’ve personally heard of Ready Player One, and based on the synopsis and the intro this is definitely something that would appeal to me as a reader. I’m in love with science-fiction right now, and the premise is an interesting one.

Not only does it have good reviews, but a couple of trusted book reviewers I follow have also read and highly-rated this book. If the premise wasn’t enough then their views lend a hand into convincing me to pick this up someday.

I hope you have enjoyed today’s First Lines Friday post! Have you read or watched Ready Player One? What did you think? Let me know if this is something I should add to my TBR!

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Monthly Wrap-Up – September 2021

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s wrap up post for September 2021.

I feel like I’ve achieved a good balance in both reading and other hobbies. For the most part, I’ve been enjoying the books I’ve picked up and I’ve been doing so at a pace that suits me!

 

Books Read

As of my last monthly wrap-up post, I was halfway through Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I’m pleased to say that I went on to finish this before we were halfway through the month, so pretty quickly. Although it’s the longest book of the series I didn’t let that daunt me in anyway. On the contrary, I was looking forward to picking this up each and every time!

After reading this I decided to pick up something different. I’d been recommended The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S.Lewis to read by my boss at work. I’m obviously familiar with the story, but I’ve never picked up the book itself. I managed to borrow a copy of this electronically from my library and I read it all in one sitting. That wasn’t particularly the plan, but it just worked out that way! Needless to say, I definitely enjoyed it (despite the slightly sexist views of the author dropped in… and not so subtlety).

After that I struggled a little to choose what my next reach should be. I wanted something different again, and so I turned to a genre that I pick up rarely – non-fiction. One of the earliest books on my TBR to read was The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson. I picked this up with enthusiasm and I didn’t take long to read this either! Whilst it’s not a genre I pick up often I admonish myself for that fact. I really do need to pick it up more often and the fact that I enjoyed this book so much is testament to that. Even if you think you have nothing to learn about yourself, you should challenge yourself on that because books like that prove to you that’s not the case at all.

Open till this point I was making really good progress. But alas, I fell a little flat at the end.

The next book I picked up was Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo. I was loaned a copy of this book by my friend who has also read it recently. I really wanted to like it. Truly, I did. I like the idea of it, however, in the practical sense the narrative style and the characters were not working for me at all. I’m sorry to say that I wasn’t enjoying reading this, and that’s ultimately why I made the decision to DNF this. There’s no point trying to force myself to read something if I’m not enjoying it. And it’s not like I didn’t give this a chance either. Whatever it was, this just wasn’t working for me.

Don’t worry though, I haven’t lost my mojo! The reading progress that comes next will fall into next month’s monthly update, but all is well; I haven’t been put off.

Blog Posts

Over the last month I’ve shared a variety of blog posts with you. If you have missed any of my content and see something you like the look of, you will find a handy link here!

 

That’s all from me in today’s wrap up post for September.

What good books you have picked up, or is there anything you’re currently reading that you would recommend? Let me know in the comments!

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