Category: book reviews

Book Review: The Thief Taker – C. S. Quinn

In today’s book review post I’m sharing my thoughts on a book that I read around the time I moved house last year. That seems crazy to me because that was well over a year ago! It just goes to show how far behind I am on some of my reviews. Needless to say that after today’s post I can take one more off my list and I hope you enjoy hearing my thoughts on this book.

The Thief Taker appealed to me for its setting. It seemed apt given that we were in the height of our first wave of the pandemic locally at the time I read the book. Maybe that isn’t the best choice for anyone who is superstitious; I am not however and I went on to enjoy this book!

 

The Thief Taker – C. S. Quinn

Goodreads – The Thief Taker

The year is 1665. Black Death ravages London. A killer stalks the streets in a plague doctor’s hood and mask…

When a girl is gruesomely murdered, thief taker Charlie Tuesday reluctantly agrees to take on the case. But the horrific remains tell him this is no isolated death. The killer’s mad appetites are part of a master plan that could destroy London – and reveal the dark secrets of Charlie’s own past.

Now the thief taker must find this murderous mastermind before the plague obliterates the evidence street by street. This terrifying pursuit will take Charlie deep into the black underbelly of old London, where alchemy, witchcraft and blood-spells collide.

In a city drowned in darkness, death could be the most powerful magic of all.

 

My Thoughts…

As I said in my introduction, the main reason I wanted to read this book was to indulge in the setting. British history ironically wasn’t touched on all that much as part of my education. It was there a bit, but I spent most of my time studying the world wars, the Cold War and the economic Boom and Bust in the 1920’s and 30’s. With that in mind, I wanted to try something new. This particular book appealed because in addition it also had an element of mystery – a murder to be solved. It’s a genre that I read from time to time and more often than not enjoy, so I felt it was a safe bet to try something new but equally with a touch of familiarity.

I really enjoyed the mystery element. Can I say that I expected the book and the plot would turn out the way you did? Absolutely not! The story had a far wider scope and I imagined but honestly, I really enjoyed that.

The book is brilliant in its description of London at its worst. If you don’t have a strong stomach then maybe take this with a pinch of salt. The narrative encourages the imagination to run wild with vivid descriptions of just how atrocious conditions were at the time. Imagine bodies rotting in the streets. People hiding themselves away and turning on anyone they think to be sick. The city turns into a cesspit; it’s one thing to have a vague understanding of how things happened in reality, reading a book such as this brings it into perspective.

With society in a state of breakdown and sickness everywhere, the book is full of tension. Where is safe? Who is lurking behind close doors or in the next alleyway – a criminal… or something worse? Our main character finds himself looking over his shoulder constantly and with London being incredibly unsafe, the narrative is full of action to keep us as readers interested.

There is definitely far more that can be added to the series. The plot has been left pretty wide open after this book so it will be interesting to see where the next instalment takes us. For historical fiction, I enjoyed the change of setting and pace and for anyone looking to delve into British history, or at least a very dark side of history, this may just be for you!

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Sunday Summary – 8th August 2021

Good evening everyone and welcome back to another Sunday Summary update post. I hope you’ve had a lovely week, whatever you have been doing! I have had a good one, albeit run-of-the-mill – work, home, eat and sleep… oh, and read!

In addition to that, I have shared a couple of blog posts with you. My first post of the week was my monthly wrap up for July. I can’t believe it’s August already! I feel like I say this all the time but honestly, where is this year going? In that post, I shared all the books I’ve been reading (and there have been a lot more than of late) as well as the posts I shared last month.

On Friday I shared my first Shelf Control post for a little while. It was lovely to go back and look at my TBR and talk about why I can’t wait to read the next book on my list. This week’s featured book was a non-fiction novel called Lunatics, Imbeciles and Idiots, and looks at the history of psychology and how patients were treated in the 19th century.

 

Books Read

As of last week’s Sunday Summary update I was around two thirds of the way through Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Although longer than its predecessors I didn’t struggle to make progress with this at all. I love these books and the series and I’m glad I took the plunge with reading this one. It’s encouraged me in that I know I can pick up something longer and not lose momentum. You’ll know that I haven’t been reading as much so far this year as I’ve been giving myself a little bit of a break. I’m just now getting back into the habit of reading more regularly and this series is helping me do so!

This book is so good that I finished the final third in one sitting. Yes, you read that right. Around 220 pages were read over a few hours on Tuesday evening to finish the book. It was a bit of a marathon session but it got to the point where I was so close to the end that I didn’t want to put it down! It was brilliant; I love the change in tone from the previous books. It’s a lot darker and a lot more interesting given that I’m now a slightly older audience than I was when I first read the book.

I loved it so much that I have dived into Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix already. Again, this is significantly longer than the Goblet of Fire, but I’ve already made a dent and gotten around 75 pages in.

 

Books Discovered

I met up with some friends earlier this week for a catch-up and my friend Natalie has kindly loaned me a book that she has talked about with me before. A few months ago she started reading Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo and she was keen to hear what my opinion was on the book. So, I’ll probably be picking this up shortly so that I can return it to her in good time.

 

Coming Up…

This week I want to share with you a book review for something I read last year. I’m gradually chipping away at the books I still owe reviews for and this week’s feature book is going to be The Thief Taker by C. S. Quinn. I enjoyed the setting of this book and the action within so I hope you can join me for my review and find out all my thoughts on the book.

Later in the week, I will return with another First Lines Friday post. As of writing this post, I haven’t got any particular book in mind, but I will come up with something during the week and fingers crossed this will appeal to you if you haven’t read it already!

Last, but not least, I’ll be back with another Sunday Summary post to round off the week.

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Blog Tour Review: Ruabon – Karl Drinkwater

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s blog tour review of Ruabon by Karl Drinkwater! This is my second blog tour review for this author in the space of a week! If you haven’t read my previous review of Clarissa, shared last Saturday, here’s a handy link so you can take a look. Don’t forget to check out my reviews of the earlier books in the series, Helene and Grubane too!

Today’s review is for the fourth short story in the Lost Tales of Solace series. As I said in my blog tour for Clarissa, I haven’t actually read the main series these books originate from. So, my perspective is from not having read them (yet!).

Before I share my review, I always like to take a moment to say thank you to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources and to the author, Karl, for organising the tour and giving me the opportunity to take part!

 

Ruabon – Karl Drinkwater

Goodreads – Ruabon

Welcome to Tecant.

Nothing ever happens here.

Until today.

Ruabon Nadarl is just another low-ranking member of the scan crew, slaving away for the UFS which “liberated” his homeworld. To help pass the time during long shifts he builds secret personalities into the robots he controls. Despite his ingenuity, the UFS offers few opportunities for a better life.

Then Ruabon detects an intruder on the surface of a vital communications tower.

He could just report it and let the deadly UFS commandos take over, while Ruabon returns to obscurity.

Or he could break UFS laws and try to capture the intruder himself. For the UFS, only the outcome matters, not the method. If his custom-programmed drones can save the day, he’ll be a hero.

And if he fails, he’ll be dead.

 

Purchase Linkhttps://books2read.com/b/Ruabon

 

Lost Tales of Solace Kickstarter Campaign

The Kickstarter has an option for someone to get EVERY Lost Solace book as an e-book; but also to get the new paperbacks that will be designed, if they prefer print.

 

My Thoughts…

I literally read Ruabon in a day.

I started reading the stories last Sunday morning, before visiting my parents for the day and finished it later that night after I came back. As all the other Lost Tales of Solace books, it is a very approachable read and is equally easy to binge or pick up and put down at leisure, whatever your preference.

Having read Clarissa recently, I was amazed to see the diversity between the different stories that stem from the same universe. It goes to show just how much thought and world-building has gone into the series overall (including the main one). Although they all interlink, the books could easily be completely different stories and so read independently. That said, there are some names that will make more sense if you have read some of the other books. It’s not a big deal, but I like the subtle inclusion of information from other books as well. They’re the sort of books that you can take from them what you will; you can read them independently and enjoy them that way, or you can read them all and read between the lines… so to speak!

I love how well written the different robot personalities are. They in themselves are extremely different and were really fun to read. I imagine getting across vastly different personalities with only the written word and a limited amount of space in the book to do so is a challenge. However, I think this was done brilliantly! I personally enjoyed each individual little drone and their unique personality. Not only that, but their own existence says a lot about our main character and supplement the main storyline and character building very well.

Ruabon is a story that tells how some people can bloom under pressure. What is supposed to be the equivalent of a quiet day in the office turns out to be anything but, and quiet, unassuming Ruabon steps up to the challenge in the time of need. The fact that he even sticks his neck out on the line shows that he is not the quiet timid man people think he is. It shows a degree of calculation and understanding of when it matters most to make a stand and take a risk. His intentions aren’t necessarily altruistic, however they are very relatable. Ultimately, he wants to make his family proud and respect his heritage as opposed to pleasing his new ‘overlords’.

Ruabon is packed full of action and if you enjoy a fast-paced narrative, this is definitely for you. Again, in a condensed storyline, the unravelling of the plot and the tension of events played out in a way that is very easy to read and keep the reader hooked. I literally only put this down because I was due to go out somewhere-if I haven’t been, I am pretty sure I would have read this all in one sitting.

 

Author Bio

Karl Drinkwater writes thrilling SF, suspenseful horror, and contemporary literary fiction. Whichever you pick you’ll find interesting and authentic characters, clever and compelling plots, and believable worlds.

Karl has lived in many places but now calls Scotland his home. He’s an ex-librarian with degrees in English, Classics, and Information Science. He also studied astrophysics for a year at university, surprising himself by winning a prize for “Outstanding Performance”.

When he isn’t writing he loves guitars, exercise, computer and board games, nature, and vegan cake. Not necessarily in that order.

Social Media Links –

Website https://karldrinkwater.uk

Twitter http://twitter.com/karldrinkwater

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/karlzdrinkwater

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/authorkdrinkwater/

Newsletter http://bit.ly/newsletterkd

 

Blog Tour Review: Clarissa – Karl Drinkwater

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s blog tour review of Clarissa by Karl Drinkwater! It has been a little while since I shared a book review for blog tour. For the most part, I have stepped back from doing these a little this year as I’m focussing on reading books currently on my TBR. I have been doing promo posts for books that I really like the sound of. However, at the outset of this year I said to myself that I would still take part in tours for authors I have read before and come to love, and Karl Drinkwater is one of those!

Today’s review is for his third short story in the Lost Tales of Solace series. Whilst it may be helpful to read the main series, my review is actually coming to you from the perspective of not having read them (yet!). I do have the books to read and my reviews will most certainly follow, but today’s review comes to you unbiased – and you can rest assured that even if you have not read them, it doesn’t matter; you can still pick up these books and enjoy them as I have.

Before I jump into sharing my thoughts, I always like to take a moment to say thank you to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources and to the author, Karl, for organising the tour and giving me the opportunity to take part! I really appreciate it and having enjoyed the first two books of the Lost Tales to date, I was really excited to see how Clarissa compared! 

 

Clarissa – Karl Drinkwater

Goodreads – Clarissa

If you’re reading this: HELP! I’ve been kidnapped.

Me and my big sister stayed together after our parents died. We weren’t bothering anybody. But some mean government agents came anyway, and split us up.

Now I’m a prisoner on this space ship. The agents won’t even say where we’re going.

I hate them.

And things have started to get a bit weird. Nullspace is supposed to be empty, but when I look out of the skywindows I can see … something. Out there. And I think it wants to get in here. With us.

My name is Clarissa. I am ten years old.

And they will all be sorry when my big sister comes to rescue me.

Purchase Linkhttps://books2read.com/b/Clarissa

 

My Thoughts…

I find myself reading more and more science-fiction, and the more I read, the more I come to love it! The books I have picked up to date prove that science-fiction doesn’t have to be too technical. I think when I was younger I always had this concern that as a not particularly science-y minded person, I just wasn’t going to understand it. That’s not true at all! I’m sure there are books out there that will float your boat if this is the sort of thing you enjoy, but equally science-fiction can be very approachable. Karl Drinkwater’s Lost Tales of Solace series definitely falls into this latter category.

Clarissa is the third book of the series. I have already read and reviewed the previous two books, Helene and Grubane. If you’d like to check out my thoughts on both of these books, I’ve provided a handy link to each of these. That’s not to say that the events of Clarissa depend on you having read these two books (or my reviews), because that’s not the case at all! It can be read standalone. Some of the characters or places might make a little bit more sense, but it’s definitely not required. I personally really like this. Adding to the ‘non-complexity’ point above, just being able to pick up a standalone is a great way of trying the genre without the commitment of a dense narrative and storyline.

As short stories, each of the Lost Tales of Solace books have been really easy to pick up. Clarissa is no exception. I managed to read this in no more than two sittings. I’ve actually been reading a lot less than normal, but was still able to read this book very quickly despite my reduced reading time. It is the perfect length to be able to enjoy a full narrative, but not too long either.

The thing I loved the most about Clarissa is that it is written from the perspective of a 10-year-old child. Children’s perspectives are very under-represented in literature. There aren’t many books I have read that have them, but almost all that I have, I’ve loved! I think there is a misconception that a narrative from a child’s perspective won’t be detailed or comprehensive enough, but children are very clever. They may not understand the subtleties of some of the things going on around them, but as adults, we can still interpret that from the clues left by the author. Clarissa in particular is very clever, so the telling of her story in the universe, and the strange goings on, does not leave us readers left wanting.

Fun, approachable and a pleasure to read, Clarissa is a fantastic way of delving into science-fiction for anyone of any age. The story is engaging whilst fitting into the wider Lost Tales of Solace narrative. I think I’ve made it abundantly clear, I really enjoyed reading this short story and I hope I can convince you to pick it up for yourself!

If you want to find out more about the book, or check out some other reader’s opinions, please make sure to check out the other stops in the blog tour. I’ll provide a full list of the names of blogs and date they are touring (or have toured) below!

Finally, if you want to find out more on the series, I’m taking part in the blog tour for the fourth book of the series next week. Again, I am providing a review so stay tuned for it!

 

Author Bio

Karl Drinkwater writes thrilling SF, suspenseful horror, and contemporary literary fiction. Whichever you pick you’ll find interesting and authentic characters, clever and compelling plots, and believable worlds.

Karl has lived in many places but now calls Scotland his home. He’s an ex-librarian with degrees in English, Classics, and Information Science. He also studied astrophysics for a year at university, surprising himself by winning a prize for “Outstanding Performance”.

When he isn’t writing he loves guitars, exercise, computer and board games, nature, and vegan cake. Not necessarily in that order.

Social Media Links –

Website https://karldrinkwater.uk

Twitter http://twitter.com/karldrinkwater

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/karlzdrinkwater

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/authorkdrinkwater/

Newsletter http://bit.ly/newsletterkd

Book Review: Sleeping Giants – Sylvain Neuvel

I read Sleeping Giants in August of last year and it is a really enjoyable science-fiction novel to dive into. With an interesting storyline and characters to invest into, this book ticked a lot of my boxes. I will definitely be continuing with the series!

Today’s post is all about my thoughts on the first instalment of the series; I hope you enjoy and that you can consider picking up the book as well!

 

Sleeping Giants – Sylvain Neuvel

Goodreads – Sleeping Giants

A girl named Rose is riding her new bike near home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth. She wakes up at the bottom of a square-shaped hole, its walls glowing with intricate carvings. But the firemen who come to save her peer down upon something even stranger: a little girl in the palm of a giant metal hand.

Seventeen years later, the mystery of the bizarre artifact remains unsolved – the object’s origins, architects, and purpose unknown.

But some can never stop searching for answers.

Rose Franklin is now a highly trained physicist leading a top-secret team to crack the hand’s code. And along with her colleagues, she is being interviewed by a nameless interrogator whose power and purview are as enigmatic as the relic they seek. What’s clear is that Rose and her compatriots are on the edge of unravelling history’s most perplexing discovery-and finally figuring out what it portends for humanity. But once the pieces of the puzzle are in place, will the result be an instrument of lasting peace or a weapon of mass destruction?

 

My Thoughts…

I find myself reading more and more science-fiction. I’m really enjoying branching out into the genre, and what I like about Sleeping Giants is that it felt like a combination of science-fiction with a bit of fantasy. All in all, the book wasn’t what I expected, but that was for the better! It was a really fun book to pick up and read and I’m interested to see whether rest of the series takes it.

Sleeping Giants is narrated in the form of interviews with characters and the odd news article. It’s an unconventional style, but I enjoyed how different it was to typical novels. Each interview marks progress within a scientific project-the finding of metal body parts across the globe and humankind’s quest to understand and assemble technology far more advanced than their own.

Sleeping Giants has a diverse range of characters that are easy to get on with. I really enjoyed the dynamic between them and I don’t feel like the interview style narrative conflicted with getting to know each character. I personally found that having the one on one interaction with them and an interviewer and they’re being questioned on their relations with others helps us understand them better.

The narrative is far darker than I expected it was going to be. From the synopsis I expected quite a light-hearted science-fiction mystery novel, however I didn’t really find that to be the case at all. Although it wasn’t what I expected, I really enjoyed sleeping giant. Whilst the tone is more sinister and events in the book take at times and unpleasant turn, I think that makes the book far more interesting than I ever expected it to be! I don’t always like surprises, but sometimes they can’t be good if well written-and for me this certainly was! For that reason I think the narrative has a lot more to offer and I will definitely be continuing with the series see what happens next!

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Sunday Summary – 23rd May 2021

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s weekly Sunday Summary update post! I hope you’ve had a really good week wherever you are and whatever you have been doing.

Aside from the usual 9-to-5 grind and the usual reading/blogging, I’ve been doing some work on my knitting and crafting projects. This week’s focus has been working on a dotty cardigan I’m making. I also recently finished a lovely crochet blanket (that has been over a year in the making now) and I’m really pleased that I’m putting aside time to do these. Some people may laugh, but I find it very therapeutic. I’ve always been a crafty person – I don’t think that will change. 

On the blogging front, I have shared a couple of posts with you this week. My first post of the week was shared on Thursday. Last week I decided I wanted to share a Discussion Post on why I think reading books from multiple genres is of a benefit. I still really think this is the case and I would be interested to hear your thoughts as well!

On Friday, I took part in a blog tour for A Knot of Sparrows by Cheryl Rees-Price. The post is a promo of the book and I hope you can check that out. I’ve also included links to some of my favourite reviews from the tour so far too. If you want to find out more, you can do so using the link above. 

 

Books Read

My first priority of the week was finishing You Are Not So Smart by David McRaney. I did in fact finish this at the very beginning of the week as planned in last week’s Sunday Summary post. I had around 30% left to read and I really enjoyed picking up this book. It has elements of humour and the psychology featured really does make you think about yourself, and opens your eyes to the psychological tricks that you yourself are prone to. It was both entertaining and insightful and honestly, it was nice to pick up a non-fiction for a change!

Later in the week, I read the first 50 or so pages of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. I’ve really enjoyed picking up this series again. I haven’t read the books since I was a teenager and it’s really nice revisit. Looking back, they are quite easy reads (at least so far!) but there’s also a lot of detail I have forgotten since reading the books and watching the films when I was younger. I’ve only read 50 pages or so in one sitting, but I will definitely be picking this up more next week. If my experience of the first couple of books is anything to go by, I won’t be reading this one for long either.

I have listened to a little more of A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin, however not too much. I must confess I’ve spent more time watching TV of an evening and so I haven’t really done too much in the way of listening to audiobooks.

 

Books Discovered

A nice and quiet report this week-quite simply, there is nothing to add!

 

Coming Up…

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday post is one where I have a little bit of choice. The topic is ‘quotes from books fitting a theme’ – a theme of my choice. I haven’t chosen one yet, but I’m going to have a look at the quotes that I’ve saved on the likes of my Kindle and Goodreads and I will draft a post depending on what I have! It will be interesting to see where this post takes me.

Later in the week, I will be returning with a regular Friday feature. This was temporarily put on hold this week as I was taking part in the blog tour for A Knot of Sparrows. This week it is the turn of my Shelf Control feature post. For those of you who don’t know, in this particular post I take a look at a book on my TBR and review/discuss why I like the sound of the book, why I want to read it and generally just get myself hyped for it! I hope you can join me for that post.

That’s it for today’s Sunday Summary post. What have you been reading this week?

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Book Review: This is Going to Hurt – Adam Kay

Today’s book review is for one of my top reads of 2020. It wasn’t a book I expected to pick up; in fact, it was a an impromptu loan from a work colleague after they read it and enjoyed it in lockdown. 

And boy, am I glad I took them up on the loan! It’s not often that I read non-fiction, or anything even remotely like this book. But sometimes, branching out pays off and honestly I loved loved loved this book! There is a definite British pride in the NHS but I think it often under-appreciated how much has to go into it in order for us to be able to access it. This book rips away the veil and gives an honest insight into what it means to be a doctor… what it costs to be a doctor, and I don’t just mean financially. You would be wrong to think that this is a dry, one interesting diary of the slog that is the medical profession. Oh no. Adam Kay is absolutely hilarious and as I’m sure you can imagine, his experience as an Obs and Gyn doctor provides no end of humour along the way!

 

This is Going to Hurt – Adam Kay

Goodreads – This is Going to Hurt

The Sunday Times Number One Bestseller and Humour Book of the Year

Winner of the Books Are My Bag Book of the Year

Winner of iBooks’ Book of the Year

Welcome to the life of a junior doctor: 97-hour weeks, life and death decisions, a constant tsunami of bodily fluids, and the hospital parking meter earns more than you.

Scribbled in secret after endless days, sleepless nights and missed weekends, Adam Kay’s This is Going to Hurt provides a no-holds-barred account of his time on the NHS front line. Hilarious, horrifying and heartbreaking, this diary is everything you wanted to know – and more than a few things you didn’t – about life on and off the hospital ward.

As seen on ITV’s Zoe Ball Book Club

This edition includes extra diary entries and a new afterword by the author.

 

My Thoughts…

I would never have thought that a book could be tearjerking and completely hilarious all at the same time. Each daily chapter is different to the next, as can be expected really. Every day is different and brings along new patients and challenges. Probably one of the most common challenges of the job are the patients themselves, and the stupid things they have done to themselves to land them in the care of the NHS. Slightly red-faced, no doubt!

The book isn’t all humour though. It’s gritty, and it’s real and unfortunately in such a profession there are bad days as well as good days. Some patients get to walk out a little embarrassed but otherwise well, and yet others have far more to worry about. This book did make me cry. At one time the author was looking after a patient who found out they were terminally ill. He spent several hours of his day after he clocked off helping patient come to terms with their diagnosis and to help them make a plan for the inevitable. In his own time. If that doesn’t make you realise the kind of people the NHS is made up of then nothing will.

This is going to hurt is truly an emotional rollercoaster. Yet between the humour and the sad stories lies the bigger truth that the service we all rely on is understaffed and underfunded. Those in the profession often work ridiculous hours and overtime on top for the good of their patients. They have little to no social or personal lives themselves (over the course of the book and seven Christmases, the author got just one year off duty…)

What this book makes clear is that the staff who keep the NHS going sacrifice themselves for the benefit of others. In the wake of the events of the last year and the ongoing pandemic across the world, it’s all the more important to remember their sacrifices and to appreciate them! Adam Kay continues to campaign to raise awareness of the state of the NHS and his afterword tries to rally people to the cause. It is a topic that is being discussed now. Those of you who watched the BRIT awards recently will have heard the first of Dua Lipa’s acceptance speeches, in which she highlighted that it was one thing to clap for the NHS staff and another to pay them!

In a way, This is Going to Hurt is a call to arms, but it’s also an absolutely hilarious read. It’s a complex book, because on the face of it, it appears to be a light-hearted humorous account of Adam Kay’s time is a junior doctor. Yet under the surface, there is a poignant message that can also be taken from it. I love the book for both sides and I hope other readers out there do too.

This is Going to Hurt, rightfully so, was one of my top reads of last year and it is a book I know I will pick up again and again and again. And I’m sure I’ll have the same rollercoaster journey each and every time. I’m looking forward to it!

 

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Monthly Wrap-Up – April 2021

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: –

 

Books Read

 

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.

 

Blog Posts

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.

What books did you read in April?

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Audiobook Review: Moon Over Soho – Ben Aaronovitch

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.

 

Moon Over Soho – Ben Aaronovitch

Goodreads – Moon Over Soho

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.

 

My Thoughts…

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.

 

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Book Review: The Bands of Mourning – Brandon Sanderson

Today’s book review for The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson is one I am excited to share! You may already be aware that I am a huge fan of Brandon Sanderson. I have read and started a number of different series written by him and honestly, I’ve loved them all. They are all completely different, with a vague commonality in that they have their own really unique magic systems. The Mistborn series is the one I have read the most of and these books were my introduction to the author. To date, the series consists of an initial trilogy and there are a further three books published in a later timeline. I am excited as there is an expected fourth book to this later series… but I’m also sad as I’ve caught up and I now have to wait for it to be published!

In the grand scheme of things it’s a small problem – and I’m willing to wait for the next instalment as it’s a fantastic series. Before jumping into today’s review of The Bands of Mourning, please go and check out my reviews for The Alloy of Law and Shadows of Self. These two books precede this third book of the later series.

 

The Bands of Mourning – Brandon Sanderson

Goodreads – The Bands of Mourning

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson, the Mistborn series is a heist story of political intrigue and magical, martial-arts action.

Three hundred years after the events of the Mistborn trilogy, Scadrial is now on the verge of modernity, with railroads to supplement the canals, electric lighting in the streets and the homes of the wealthy, and the first steel-framed skyscrapers racing for the clouds.

The Bands of Mourning are the mythical metal minds owned by the Lord Ruler, said to grant anyone who wears them the powers that the Lord Ruler had at his command. Hardly anyone thinks they really exist. A kandra researcher has returned to Elendel with images that seem to depict the Bands, as well as writings in a language that no one can read. Waxillium Ladrian is recruited to travel south to the city of New Seran to investigate. Along the way he discovers hints that point to the true goals of his uncle Edwarn and the shadowy organization known as The Set.

 

My Thoughts…

The second Mistborn series continues with The Bands of Mourning and we are treated once again to an interesting and action-packed plotline, hilarious characters with a great dynamic and even a flashback to the original Mistborn series. As in the previous books, I am really enjoying the mash-up of an industrial revolution int the middle of a Western civilisation setting. That’s one combo I don’t think I have ever read to date and honestly, it really works! Don’t ask me how… I’m not sure that it should and yet it really does and I’m in love with it!

As always, the dynamic between Waxililam and Wayne makes the book. They are absolutely brilliant together despite being like chalk and cheese in personalities. So now, they work really well together and I just love them. There’s nothing more I can say other than they are probably one of my favourite character duos ever! Wax is a brilliant character for his upstanding moral nature. As characters go, he’s pretty altruistic. Not perfect, to say the least, but not for a lack of trying.

Wayne on the other hand is far more of a loose cannon. His ‘trading’ habit (stealing but leaving something in return – often dross) and ability to blend into a crowd come in very useful to the team… but he’s less than honest. He has good intentions for the most part and he is fiercely loyal to Wax, which makes him quite a loveable rogue.

It’s a good job our characters thrive on chaos, because there is plenty of it in their world! Where Wax and Wayne go with the flow, Steris thrives off trying to bring order to the chaos. I must admit I didn’t think too much of her when she was first introduced in The Alloy of Law.  But, I have warmed to her a lot. She’s a great compliment to Wax as well. I’m not big on couples and relationships in books, but they work well together!

I was excited by this second Mistborn series as it expanded on the magic system from the first; instead of being able to use magical power relating to one metal, the book introduced individuals who have the power to use two. What really sold me on this instalment of the series is that a third element was introduced. Whereas previously an individual has to consume metal in order to wield their specific powers, this book introduces the concept of powers being held externally via relics and able to be used by anyone!

I love that Brandon Sanderson isn’t afraid to explore new options in his worlds. Whilst he is very good at creating a consistent setting and building a detailed plot and magic system, I love that he is able to branch out and make a success of re-writing the rulebook, so to speak. So far in this series it has worked very well and makes the novels very interesting to read and invest into. But, it also reassures us as readers that there is a lot more that we can expect!

I really enjoyed how events of this book concluded. Without giving any spoilers, a certain character from the first series that has a presence in this book. It’s been that long since I read the first series that I had completely forgotten about this character! It made for an interesting twist to the plotline and I’m glad they were included. Suffice to say, I’m excited to see where the next book of the series takes us. Sadly, I have to wait for it to be published as I’m now caught up with the series… but at least it’s not over yet!

 

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