Blog Tour: Old Cases, New Colours – Madalyn Morgan

Hi guys and welcome to today’s blog tour post for Old Cases, New Colours by Madalyn Morgan.

I’m really excited to be taking part in today’s blog tour. It’s been a few months since my last one and I always like to feature new books and authors. As always, a huge thank you to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the tour and giving me a spot in order to share today’s extract with you and to the author, Madalyn Morgan!

Before we jump into the extract of Old Cases, New Colours, here is a brief note on the events of the book: –

Intro: Paintings are being stolen and replaced by forgeries. When a Hogarthpainting goes missing en route from the Savoy Hotel to the art gallery and later turns up at Bow Street police station, Inspector Powell who Ena has known for many years asks if she and Henry would attend a pre-auction night at an art gallery owned by Giselle Aubrey, the goddaughter of a friend of his. While Henry, who was an artist before the war, authenticates the Hogarth Ena mingles.

Extract

Casting her gaze around the room, Ena noticed a middle-aged woman lift the glass lid of a display cabinet and take out a brooch. She then looked around and, unaware that Ena was watching her, unclipped the fastener on her evening bag and dropped the brooch in. Ena couldn’t believe anyone would be so brazen as to steal a valuable piece of jewellery in front of dozens of people. She stood open-mouthed looking at the woman when she realised she herself was being watched by an elderly man with silver hair. He smiled at her, creating soft creases at the corners of startling blue eyes.
The man’s smile made Ena feel awkward. She felt as if she had witnessed something very private – had been a fly on the wall of someone’s bedroom – instead of the theft of an item of jewellery. She turned away from the man’s gaze and, feigning interest in the paintings on the wall nearest to her, made her way across the room to Giselle.
As she approached the gallery owner, she heard Henry assuring her that the painting taken to Bow Street Police Station, was a genuine Hogarth.
Giselle threw her arms around Henry’s neck. ‘So, can I display it?’ Henry nodded. ‘Thank you,’ she gushed.
The Hogarth being genuine didn’t make sense to Ena. Had whoever stole the painting got cold feet and purposely left it at the back of The Savoy, hoping it would be found? Was it a bungled theft, or a genuine oversight? She didn’t believe for a second that the men transporting the painting from The Savoy to the gallery had left it behind by mistake. What then?
‘Ena?’ Giselle gave her a broad smile. ‘Did you want me or your wonderful husband?’
‘Well done, wonderful husband,’ Ena said with a twinkle in her eye. Henry lifted his glass to her. ‘It was you who I wanted to speak to.’ Ena wished she’d been able to tell Henry what she’d seen before speaking to Giselle. It was too late now; both her husband and the gallery owner were looking at her expectantly.
‘I’m sorry to have to tell you, Giselle, but I’ve just seen a woman in a turquoise dress -early fifties, plump with a pretty face and short fair curly hair -steal a brooch from one of the display cabinets.’
‘Did you see which brooch she took?’
‘I wasn’t close, but I could see it was a coral stone and there were other stones around it.’
‘I know the brooch you mean. It’s one of the most expensive pieces in the gallery. It was made by the French designer, Gilou Donat.’ Giselle looked past Ena. If the woman you described wants the brooch, her husband will buy it for her. I assure you she has no need to steal anything. He is very wealthy. And,’ Giselle said, ‘he is besotted with her.
He must be Ena thought. His wife did steal the brooch, both she and the woman’s husband saw her. Ena was fascinated to know why someone would steal something that they could so easily have bought, or asked for as a gift.
Giselle moved deftly among clusters of people standing around admiring the paintings, sculptures and jewellery on show. ‘Charles,’ she said, kissing the distinguished looking man with silver hair and the kind of tan you get from spending long periods in the South of France, not south London.
This is my friend, Ena. Ena, these lovely people are Priscilla and Charles. Can I help you with anything?’
‘Priscilla has taken a shine to the coral and pearl brooch.’
‘As always, you have impeccable taste, Priscilla. It is the only one of its kind. There have been no bids made on it, so it’s all yours. Would you like to take it with you tonight, or shall I have it sent to you tomorrow?’
The woman’s husband looked at her, a smile on his face and love in his eyes.
‘I’ll take it tonight, please, darling.’
’Giselle looked around the gallery, put up her hand and the man who had met Ena and Henry at the door and checked their tickets, made his way across the room to her.
‘Victor, would you take the Donat brooch form the showcase and put it in a presentation box.
‘I’d like to wear it now,’ Priscilla said.
‘Even better. It will look beautiful on your dress,’ Giselle turned to Priscilla’s husband.
‘I’ll have Victor bring the box to your office tomorrow with the invoice.’
‘Thank you,’ he said.
Certain that the case was already unlocked, Ena watched as Victor took a small key from his waistcoat pocket. He inserted the key in the lock, turned it and the case opened. As big as he was, Victor skilfully lifted up the brooch and gave it to the woman who passed it to her husband. He lovingly pinned the brooch of coral and pearls onto her turquoise dress and stepped back. He exclaimed how beautiful she looked and she giggled like an excited child.
Victor, his job done, locked the cabinet. After returning the key to his waistcoat pocket, he straightened his jacket, gave a short nod to his boss and went back to his post by the door.
‘I’m going to powder my nose, darling,’ Pricilla said to her husband, ‘I won’t be long.’
I need to spend a penny too, Ena thought and followed her.

So, that’s today’s extract from Old Cases, New Colours! I hope you enjoyed reading this extract as much as I did! If you want to find out more about the details of the book and the author, you can find them below: –

Old Cases, New Colours (A Dudley Green Investigation)- Madalyn Morgan

Sick of working in a world of spies and bureaucracy, Ena Green, nee Dudley, leaves the Home Office and starts her own investigating agency. Working for herself she can choose which investigations to take and, more importantly, which to
turn down.
While working on two investigations, Ena is called as a prosecution witness in the Old Bailey trial of a
cold-blooded killer who she exposed as a spy the year before.
Purchase Links –    Amazon UK     Amazon US

Author Bio

I was bought up in a pub in a small market town called Lutterworth. For as long as I can remember, my dream was to be an actress and a writer. The pub was a great place for an aspiring actress and writer to live with so many characters to study and accents to learn. I was offered Crossroads the
first time around. However, my mother wanted me to have a ‘proper’ job that I could fall back on if I needed to, so I did a hairdressing apprenticeship. Eight years later, aged twenty-four, I gave up a successful salon and wig-hire business in the theatre for a place at East 15 Drama College and a career as an actress, working in Repertory theatre, the West End, film and television.
In 1995, with fewer parts for older actresses, I gave up acting. I taught myself to touch-type, completed a two-year correspondence course with The Writer’s Bureau and began writing articles and presenting radio.
In 2010, after living in London for thirty-six years, I moved back to Lutterworth. I swapped two window boxes and a mortgage for a garden and the freedom to write. Since then, I have written nine
novels. The first four, The Dudley Sisters’ Saga, tell the stories of four sisters in World War 2. My current novel, Old Cases, New Colours, is a thriller/detective story set in 1960. I am writing Christmas book – Christmas Applause – and a Memoir; a collection of short stories, articles, poems, photographs and character breakdowns from my days as an actress.

Social Media Links –
Madalyn Morgan’s books- https://www.amazon.co.uk/Madalyn-Morgan/e/B00J7VO9I2

Blog – https://madalynmorgan.wordpress.com/
Facebook – www.facebook.com/madalyn.morgan1

Twitter – www.twitter.com/ActScribblerDJ
Pinterest – www.pinterest.co.uk/madalynmorgan
Instagram – www.instagram.co.uk/madalynmorgan1

Shelf Control #28 – 26/03/2021

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s Shelf Control post! As you may recall, this is a regular feature series I started last year and I am looking to get back into sharing these posts regularly again. With my emphasis on clearing some of the old books on my TBR pile, I think it’s all the more important to keep checking on the books on my list. By doing so I am making sure the books on my list are still relevant to my reading preferences, whilst also giving me the opportunity to get excited about reading them in the near future!

Shelf Control 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.

This week‘s featured book it’s almost a book of books, so to speak. It is a collection of curiosities and lesser-known facts brought together in one 250-page novel. That to me is interesting in its own right, but as I’m trying to read more in the way of non-fiction, this is definitely something I want to pick up soon.

Read on to find out about the book!

 

The Secret Library – Oliver Tearle

The Secret Library cover

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29501619

A fascinating tour through the curious history of Western civilization told through its most emblematic invention – the book.
As well as leafing through the well-known titles that have helped shape the world in which we live, Oliver Tearle also dusts off some of the more neglected items to be found hidden among the bookshelves of the past.
You’ll learn about the forgotten Victorian novelist who outsold Dickens, the woman who became the first published poet in America and the eccentric traveller who introduced the table-fork to England. Through exploring a variety of books – novels, plays, travel books, science books, cookbooks, joke books and sports almanacs – The Secret Library highlights some of the most fascinating aspects of our history. It also reveals the surprising connections between various works and historical figures. What links Homer’s Iliad to Aesop’s Fables? Or Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack to the creator of Sherlock Holmes?
The Secret Library brings these little-known stories to light, exploring the intersections between books of all kinds and the history of the Western world over 3,000 years.

 

My Thoughts….

If there is one thing that can be said of me, it’s that I love to learn new things. Whether it’s a new skill or reading about a different topic, I don’t shy away from what I don’t know. This book appeals to me for its sharing of lesser known knowledge. I’m also trying to read a lot more in the way of non-fiction, having read and enjoyed a few books in the genre last year. Combining these two things together make this an exciting addition to my TBR!

The fact that this is from an author whom I haven’t read anything by doesn’t scare me off either. I pick up books by new authors just as regularly as those I do by firm favourites. I’m pretty much always willing to give anything a go. The book also has a number of good reviews, so I’m confident that I will enjoy reading and taking the opportunity to try something new.

Have you read The Secret Library? If so, what are your thoughts? As always, I would love to hear from you!

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Audiobook Review: Rivers of London – Ben Aaronovitch

Before I even took the plunge with listening to Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch, I had looked at the book previously and decided against reading it; it’s more of an urban fantasy as opposed to my preference of an epic fantasy. When it comes to audiobooks I am definitely more flexible on genre then I am regarding physical books. Don’t ask me why – maybe it is the different medium that makes it easier for me to listen to? I don’t know, but anyway I’m glad to say how wrong I was about passing up reading this book at first!

The fact that I went on to ‘read’ the next four books of the series in a three month period should tell you a lot! I’ve only really given it a rest so that I could enjoy listening to some different books for a change and so I haven’t caught up with the series. Then I’d be left waiting too long for the next instalment… and that just won’t do!

Would you like to find out more details about the book?

 

Rivers of London – Ben Aaronovitch

Goodreads – Rivers of London

Probationary Constable Peter Grant dreams of being a detective in London’s Metropolitan Police. Too bad his superior plans to assign him to the Case Progression Unit, where the biggest threat he’ll face is a paper cut. But Peter’s prospects change in the aftermath of a puzzling murder, when he gains exclusive information from an eyewitness who happens to be a ghost. Peter’s ability to speak with the lingering dead brings him to the attention of Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, who investigates crimes involving magic and other manifestations of the uncanny. Now, as a wave of brutal and bizarre murders engulfs the city, Peter is plunged into a world where gods and goddesses mingle with mortals and a long-dead evil is making a comeback on a rising tide of magic.

 

My Thoughts…

Not reading or listening to Rivers of London would have been a huge mistake. To try to encapsulate the book in one sentence, I would summarise it like this – the plot is interesting and easy to invest into, the characters are frankly hilarious and the narrative style of the book makes sure you never want to put it down! That’s a big sentence and full of praise but I can assure you that it is justified.

My favourite aspect of the novel has to be Peter Grant’s character. As I have said he is absolutely hilarious; I get on with his sarcastic wit – typical British humour – and his eye for detail. Through his perspective we get a lot of information and description of the city of London as Ben Aaronovitch has sculpted it. From the foundations of London as we know he has built a whole new city within London. Magic and history of the magical and mysterious who dwell the municipality are chronicled and shared in captivating detail. Those who know me know that this is a big plus for me – the more detail the better in my eyes! What’s also relevant is that the information is relevant to the story. It doesn’t feel like it’s been added as filler and given that there is a mystery element to the book you never know which parts actually becomes relevant until later so you pay attention to it all. For that reason I’m always looking at those details to try and fit them into the wider picture.

One of the other things I love about Peter Grant’s character, and the wider book in general, is that his character ticks box for multicultural inclusion… without actually making a point of being a multicultural inclusive book. Now hear me out, I know that might sound a little bit contradictory. I love that this book isn’t a typical British magical realism with white race characters dominating the scene laced throughout. I think sometimes being ‘British’ can be inadvertently stereotyped as that. However, more so than ever Britain is far more multicultural and Peter’s family history being diverse, but not heavily made a point of makes our character feel far more relevant in the modern world. I love that it doesn’t scream its inclusion of multiple ethnic groups from the rooftops as if it’s a huge thing – because while to an extent it is, the fact is it shouldn’t be! It’s perfectly commonplace. I personally think Ben Aaronovitch got the tone just right with this one. Are some of the characters stereotypical in their writing? Undoubtedly. Other people may disagree with me, but I enjoyed how they are written into the book.

As this is an audiobook review it’s only fair to also comment on the narration. Kobna Holdbrook-Smith narrates rivers of London (and the rest of the series I have listened to to date – again a big plus in my opinion) and I think he does an excellent job of bringing the character of Peter Grant to life and telling the story through his eyes. As a character I think Peter is quite expressive and Kobna does a very good job of portraying this. I don’t know how to put it into words other than to say that he doesn’t just read what’s in front of him. In my days of studying performing arts we would call it ‘getting into the character’… and Kobna has definitely done this!

Last, but certainly not least, it is clear from the narrative and events from the book that the author has a detailed knowledge of London and a vivid imagination in building the events of the book into the city. It isn’t so much that the setting of the events is a coincidence; London is built into the heart and soul of the story – it just wouldn’t be the same anywhere else! That definitely shows. No landmark is too big and no sidestreet too small to have escaped the notice of Ben Aaronovitch; each winding alley has its history carved into the book. I am not going to pretend that I know London well – truth is I’ve only visited briefly twice. That being said, it didn’t impact my enjoyment of the book at all. I don’t think it matters if you know the geography of the city because ultimately that’s not the point. It’s how this comes together with the story of Rivers of London to create a fun, quirky urban fantasy novel that paves the way for a fantastic series! Does it help? Quite possibly, but equally it doesn’t matter if you don’t.

 

So perhaps now you see why I binged the next four books of the series within three months after listening to Rivers of London. If you haven’t read it yet, or question whether it might be your cup of tea I ask you to throw your misconceptions out the window. I am certainly glad I did!

 

 

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Sunday Summary – 21st March 2021

Hi guys and welcome to today’s weekly Sunday Summary update post!

As always, I hope you have had a good week. Personally, I have had a pretty good end to the week at least. Having mentioned only a few weeks ago that the island didn’t have a covid ‘bubble’ facility for different households, rules that came into effect yesterday now allow me to legally go and visit my parents! I have also had my first covid vaccine this week. I’m really looking forward to the end of all this I have to say! The sooner we all get the vaccine the better. Anyway, enough of the doom and gloom going on in the world right now and my little victories against it and onto more bookish themes.

I am pleased to share that I drafted and published both of the posts I had planned for this week. It may not sound like much, however, I did let myself get a bit slack with this. That being said I am making more of an effort to stick to my posting schedule in recent weeks!

My first post of the week we shared on Tuesday. This week’s Top Ten Tuesday post was all about my spring TBR, and the books that I am likely to be choosing to read over the next couple of months. My second post of the week brought back a series that I haven’t shared for several months now! It’s a series that allows the featured book to speak for itself – if you want the chance to sample a book before committing, or would like to read a paragraph without any prejudice as to the title, author or genre then my First Lines Friday post is for you!

 

Books Read

I must confess that this week’s progress is a little on the light side. I have read around 10% of The Book Thief by Markus Zusak this week. It’s not much, I know. Well, 50 pages probably sounds like a lot to some but to a regular reader like me, it’s not a massive amount. I will however be taking this to bed tonight and so I will be making more progress shortly!

Even my audiobook progress dropped off this week. Instead I found myself listening to more music and ironically, the Game of Thrones soundtrack whilst I was working some days. At most I have probably listened to a chapter or two of A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin, but that’s it!

 

Books Discovered

One section I am grateful to have little to report on is this one. Once again I haven’t discovered any new books or added anything to my TBR pile this week!

 

Coming Up…

I plan to begin the week with a book review. Since I didn’t post one last week and I am eager to share my thoughts on what I’ve been reading – after all, that is what I set up this blog for in the first place! This particular review is an audiobook review for Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch. To give you an idea of how much I came to enjoy this book, I went on to binge read (listen to) just over half of the series in a three month period last year. If you like urban fantasy, magic and a little bit of criminal investigation then this is review that I strongly recommend you check out!

I am keen to keep up with the revival of my Shelf Control feature post. With that in mind, I will be taking a look at the next book on my TBR pile and sharing the details, as well as the reasons why I really love the sound of this book and want to read it!

Next Sunday I will be posting my weekly Sunday summary update post later than usual. Instead, I will be publishing it on Monday as I am taking part in a blog tour next Sunday. It feels like a good while since I last took part in one – which I suppose it has been considering I used to take part in them all the time. This particular blog tour isn’t even a book review; normally if I feature a book I like to review it. However with my priority on reading books from my TBR and in general taking a more flexible approach, I’m instead sharing an extract for a historical thriller novel – Old Cases, New Colours by Madalyn Morgan.

 

But for now, that’s all from me in today’s Sunday Summary update post! Have a good week and I’ll see you in the next one!

 

 

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First Lines Friday – 19/03/2021

Hi guys and welcome to today’s first First Lines Friday post for a number of months!

It has been a long time since I posted this series in any regularity and that is something I’m looking to change. I really enjoy featuring these posts as they great fun to write (I confess they’re also quite easy to write!) But most of all give me the opportunity to allow the featured book to speak for itself!

For me, the first impression of a book comes from the opening pages. More important than the cover, the blurb and even the author who wrote it; the opening paragraph will make or break a book for me. I can’t get on with the narrative voice that’s a significant problem. I’m open to trying a lot of new things and so it’s all the more reason why the first impression counts.

Today’s featured book really does speak for itself and paves the way for a fantastic series I have come to love. I’m sure there are many people out there who also will have read and loved the series, but if you haven’t, it’s a pleasure to introduce you. So, without further ado, here are the opening lines to today’s featured novel.

 

People often shit themselves when they die.

Their muscles slack and their souls flutter free and everything else just… slips out. For all their audience’s love of death, the playwrights seldom mention it. When our hero breathes his last in his heroine’s arms, they call no attention to the stain leaking across his tights, or how the stink makes her eyes water as she leans in for her farewell kiss.

I mention this by way of warning, oh, my gentlefriends, that your narrator shares no such restraint. And if the unpleasant realities of bloodshed turn your insides to water, be advised now that the pages in your hands speak of a girl who was to murder as maestros are to music. Who did to happy ever afters what a sawblade does to skin.

She is dead herself, now – words both the wicked and the just would give an eyeteeth smile to hear. A republic in ashes behind her. A city of bridges and bones laid at the bottom of the sea by her hand. And yet I’m sure she’d still find a way to kill me if she knew I put these words to paper. Open me up and leave me for the hungry Dark. But I think someone should at least try to separate her from the lies told about her. Through her. By her.

Someone who knew her true.

A girl some called Pale Daughter. Or Kingmaker. Or Crow. But most often, nothing at all. A killer of killers, whose tally of endings only the goddess and I truly know. And was she famous or infamous for it at the end? All this death? I confess I could never see the difference. But then, I’ve never seen things the way you have.

Never truly lived in the world you call your own.

Nor did she, really.

I think that’s why I loved her.

 

Do you recognise this intro at all? If not, here are the details of the book! 

 

Nevernight – Jay Kristoff 

Nevernight

Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle, #1) by Jay Kristoff | Goodreads

In a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.

Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.

Now, Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic—the Red Church. If she bests her fellow students in contests of steel, poison and the subtle arts, she’ll be inducted among the Blades of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the vengeance she desires. But a killer is loose within the Church’s halls, the bloody secrets of Mia’s past return to haunt her, and a plot to bring down the entire congregation is unfolding in the shadows she so loves.

Will she even survive to initiation, let alone have her revenge?

 

I hope you enjoyed today’s First Lines Friday feature! Have you read Nevernight? If not, does this intro make you want to pick up the book? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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Top Ten Tuesday – Spring 2021 TBR

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday post is all about my Spring 2021 TBR.

If I’d have been writing this post this time last year, I would’ve been picking the ten books that I absolutely would be reading during spring. However, now I have changed to a more relaxed approach, today’s list is my top ten books that I will be choosing from rather than just reading the lot. It could well be subject to change. If there’s one thing I am enjoying this year it’s having the freedom to choose what I read when I want rather than setting rigid reading lists that I didn’t always stick to.

So, which ten books on likely to appear on my Spring 2021 TBR? Read on below to find out!

 

The Book Thief – Markus Zusak

Easter is around the corner and the daffodils are out in force, despite the cold weather persisting. So, I suppose I should count now as spring and in that vein, I am featuring my current read on this list. I’m about halfway through The Book Thief right now and I’m really enjoying it so I hope to have it finished soon!

 

Fire and Blood – George R. R. Martin

Fire and Blood is also a current read. I’m a couple of hundred pages in at the moment and I’m intending on picking this up again as soon as I have finished The Book Thief. It’s a heavy read in case you haven’t seen it before. If you have you’ll know it weighs in at about 700 odd pages. It’s a big one but you know me – I love the realm of Westeros and all the history that goes with the Game of Thrones series.

 

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – J. K Rowling

I’ve read the first couple of Harry Potter books this year to date. If you follow my blog you’ll know that I committed to doing a re-read of the series this year! The first couple of books have been really easy to pick up and get back into the story from the start. I haven’t read these books since I was a teenager so going back to them is truly a blast from the past. I’m keen to keep up the momentum with this and so I’m fully intending on reading this next instalment very shortly!

 

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – J. K. Rowling

And following on from my last book on this list, depending on how quickly I get around to reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, I may just get around to reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire before the summer. Maybe, we’ll see.

 

A Clash of Kings – George R. R. Martin

Similar to my featuring The Book Thief and Fire and Blood, it’s only fair that I feature my current audiobook as well. I really love the Game of Thrones series (as I’m sure I have established by now) and so I have been listening to this audiobook as a way to touch base with the series. This is also a long one and so I don’t really expect to get this listen to too much. I don’t want to commit to it just in case I don’t!

 

The Psychology Book

This book is one I have picked up previously and made a degree of progress with, however, I ultimately ended up putting it down and I haven’t read it in its entirety. It has been on my TBR for a number of years now and so I want to set aside the time to pick this up. As a former psychology student, I do find the content quite interesting and I like the diversity within this book!

 

Dune – Frank Herbert

I was gifted a copy of Dune years ago for my birthday by work colleagues and I think it’s about time that I get around to giving it a go! I love the sound of the premise and given that I’ve been reading more science fiction in recent years, I’m hoping that I really get on with this one. Only time and picking up the book itself will tell, but I’m optimistic.

 

Silverthorn – Raymond E. Feist

I first read Magician, the first book of the series, as a teenager. A couple of years ago I revisited this first book in an attempt to make a more serious go off reading the series. As with my first attempt, however, I didn’t really follow through and pick up this next book. I do plan on doing the shortly though, although I won’t be picking up the first book a third time – at worst I will have to try and recap the events of the first book online.

 

Words of Radiance – Brandon Sanderson

I am a huge fan of Brandon Sanderson and a reading list wouldn’t feel right without a book of his on it somewhere. I read The Way of Kings, the first book of this series (that is ultimately going to be around ten books long), a couple of years ago. Since then I have been deliberately putting off delving into this series further, despite the fact I really want to do having loved the first book. Brandon Sanderson has only published four of the ten at the moment I don’t want to be disappointed by catching up and having to wait for the last few to be published. As it stands book five scheduled for publication in two and a half years time! With that in mind, I think I have left at a decent time to be able to pick up the next book and halve another break before the next; it gives him a chance to keep writing the series so I don’t catch up before he finishes it!

 

If We Were Villains – M. L. Rio

I’ve owned a copy of this book for quite a few years now and it’s one of the older books on my TBR. So, this is another book that I intend to read shortly. Realistically, being at this end of the list, it is more likely being a summer read. That’s not the end of the world though, as it’s quite a nice manageable length it could make for quite an easy light read! Maybe in the garden –  although thoughts like that whilst it’s a tropical 8°C currently feels a little optimistic…

 

So, these are my top ten books I’ll likely be choosing from for my Spring 2021 TBR! Have you read any of these? Let me know in the comments. 

 

 

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Sunday Summary – 14th March 2021

Would you believe it is Sunday again, and not just any old Sunday – but Mother’s Day! Happy Mother’s Day to all the mum’s out there, but more importantly (to me at least), my own mum. I couldn’t spend the day with her like I had wanted to today but I will to make it up to her once lockdown 3.0 here on the Island is over. Unlike the UK we don’t have a ‘bubble’ arrangement and households can’t mix.

Instead I have spent the day doing a bit of cleaning, washing and building some furniture of all things. Again not what I imagined I would be doing today but at least it was productive!

As for the rest of this week I’ve been keeping busy as well. In terms of blogging I have shared two posts with you this week. I’m actually happy that I stuck to publishing both posts that I committed to in last week’s Sunday Summary post. I haven’t been the best at that lately but in the circumstances I think I can be forgiven. I’ve certainly forgive myself for it so, hey. My review of Head On by John Scalzi was published on Thursday and my Shelf Control post went live on Friday. If you haven’t checked out either of those post yet please do so using the links above!

 

Books Read

I have definitely swayed more in the direction of audiobooks again this week. As of last week’s Sunday Summary post, I was listening to The Toll by Neal Shusterman and I had a few hours left to go. I finished that a few days ago and whilst I was really satisfied with the ending, I had that feeling that good book series leaves; I didn’t know what to pick up next because I was worried it wouldn’t live up to it!

In the end I decided to go to an old favourite to avoid the disappointment. I am carrying on my Game of Thrones binge as I have started listening to A Clash of Kings, the second book in the series. I’m a few chapters in at this point but they are very long so it’s going to take me a while to get through it. Since I won’t be going anywhere I shouldn’t think it will take as long to get through as it would under normal circumstances!

I have also been making more progress with The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak this week. I’m now near halfway through the book rather than a third – given that it’s a long one I’m happy with that result!

 

Books Discovered

I’ve been keeping my head down this week and so there is nothing to add to my TBR this week! Given last week’s binge, I think it’s only fair…

 

Coming Up…

It has been a few weeks since I featured a Top Ten Tuesday post and so I’m going to revive it this week with the topic of Spring 2021 TBR. As you guys know I’m taking a far more relaxed stance over my reading this year, however I’d like to use this post as a casual not to some of the books that I would like to read in the near future. It’s not an absolute list, but it’s a fun opportunity to think about some upcoming reads.

Later in the week I am going to return my first line is Friday post. I really enjoyed drafting the shelf control post this week and I’d like to bring back this regular series! It’s a fun way to feature books on my blog and who knows, you might just find on the catches your eye!

Then last, but not least, I’ll be wrapping up the week with another Sunday Summary post.

But for now that’s all from me – happy reading and I’ll see you in the next one!

 

 

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Shelf Control #27 – 18/03/2021

It’s officially Friday and welcome to my first Shelf Control post in about three months! It has been such a long time since my last post that I’ve had to go digging through the previous posts I’d written just to work out where I was up to with this series.

Shelf Control 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.

Today’s featured book interests me because I have very literal knowledge when it comes to American history. In school, I learned about the roaring ’20s and the following depression in the ’30s. We didn’t touch on anything like the civil war or deal with topics such as slavery. Reading this book will, I hope, fill that gap.

Want to find out more?

 

The Floating Theatre – Martha Conway

Floating Theatre

The Floating Theatre by Martha Conway | Goodreads

In a nation divided by prejudice, everyone must take a side.

When young seamstress May Bedloe is left alone and penniless on the shore of the Ohio, she finds work on the famous floating theatre that plies its trade along the river. Her creativity and needlework skills quickly become invaluable and she settles in to life among the colourful troupe of actors. She finds friends, and possibly the promise of more …

But cruising the border between the Confederate South and the ‘free’ North is fraught with danger.

For the sake of a debt that must be repaid, May is compelled to transport secret passengers, under cover of darkness, across the river and on, along the underground railroad.

But as May’s secrets become harder to keep, she learns she must endanger those now dear to her.

And to save the lives of others, she must risk her own …

A gloriously involving and powerful read for fans of Gone With The Wind and Tracy Chevalier’s The Last Runaway

 

My Thoughts…

I haven’t read any books by Martha Conway to date and I’m intrigued by how I’ll take to this novel. It has good reviews from other readers and the subject matter is unlike anything I have ever read before.

Although the book has some heavier content, namely slavery and people-smuggling, I am hoping I’ll also enjoy the theatrical aspect of the setting.  I studied performing arts for the last four years of school and I loved it! It was the thing I looked forward to in amongst all the boring exams and revision. I am optimistic that just like for me, the theatre is the life and colour in an otherwise dark and strenuous setting.

If you want to learn more about The Floating Theatre, I featured the opening lines of the novel in a First Lines Friday post. If you are interested, please check that out!

Have you read The Floating Theatre? What did you make of it? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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Audiobook Review: Head On – John Scalzi

Today’s audiobook review of Head On by John Scalzi has been on the list for review for some time. I listened to the audiobook just less than a year ago as of writing this review. I listened to this second instalment of the Lock In series having loved the first book.

 

Head On – John Scalzi

Head On (Lock In, #2) by John Scalzi | Goodreads

John Scalzi returns with Head On, the standalone follow-up to the New York Times bestselling and critically acclaimed Lock In. Chilling near-future SF with the thrills of a gritty cop procedural, Head On brings Scalzi’s trademark snappy dialogue and technological speculation to the future world of sports.

Hilketa is a frenetic and violent pastime where players attack each other with swords and hammers. The main goal of the game: obtain your opponent’s head and carry it through the goalposts. With flesh and bone bodies, a sport like this would be impossible. But all the players are “threeps,” robot-like bodies controlled by people with Haden’s Syndrome, so anything goes. No one gets hurt, but the brutality is real and the crowds love it.

Until a star athlete drops dead on the playing field.

Is it an accident or murder? FBI Agents and Haden-related crime investigators, Chris Shane and Leslie Vann, are called in to uncover the truth―and in doing so travel to the darker side of the fast-growing sport of Hilketa, where fortunes are made or lost, and where players and owners do whatever it takes to win, on and off the field.

 

My Thoughts…

I was taken with the idea of Hilketa immediately. In what other world could a sport be made out of attacking robots, or threeps controlled by humans? To recap from the first book, the people controlling the threeps are those with Haden’s Syndrome, a severe medical condition where people are ‘locked in’ to their bodies. They are fully aware but have no control of their bodies at all. It only affected a small number of those who contracted the contagious virus (1%), but for them, it had devastating consequences. The development of the technology to allow them a semblance of a real-life via threeps was a long time coming afterwards.

Agent Shane also has Haden’s and growing up he was a poster child for the technology. Now he is a detective investigating any crimes with a Haden link. He and Leslie Vann have their work cut out for them in this latest case.

I went into Head On with high expectations. Lock In was the first book I had read/listened to by John Scalzi and honestly, I wasn’t disappointed! The book followed on nicely from Lock In and the narrative was easy to follow. I daresay that you could even listen to Head On independently; reminders as to certain aspects of Haden’s and events in the first book of the series are re-capped. Obviously, reading Lock In first is an advantage as the events of the first book are alluded to, but equally, I wouldn’t say it was essential either.

The dynamic between Agent’s Shane and Vann is just as good as in the previous book. Chris Shane is a witty character and I enjoyed his perspective on events in the book. Despite his privileged background, his understanding of society, human nature and how the world works makes him a great detective. Agent Vann is her usual blunt, abrasive self. If there was a character I had to name who hates people the most, she would be top of the list! She’s so to-the-point with her bluntness that it’s hilarious!

The depth and detail that has gone into the planning of each book is both brilliant and unnerving all at once. When I reviewed Lock In back in 2019 I said that the virus was so well-developed in its history and the impact it had on the world as a whole and that it could easily be real. In 2021, that’s not a thought any of us will want to particularly entertain, but I stand by what I said!

 

 

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Sunday Summary – 7th March 2021

Hello everyone and welcome to another weekly update Sunday Summary post! It has been… a week. If you read my post on Friday you will know that the Isle of Man is now back in lockdown again and frankly I’m thoroughly sick of it at this point. But, what can we do!? We are very lucky really so I shouldn’t complain, but I’m going to anyway!

I had planned on sharing my monthly wrap-up post earlier this week, but with the upcoming news that we were going to go into lockdown, this didn’t happen. In the end, I shared this post on Friday. I can’t say I felt particularly motivated to spend my evenings sat at a laptop when I’ve spent my entire day at home sat on another laptop for work. But, oh well, late is better than never right?

I have also started the review post I was going to share for Head On by John Scalzi, however, I got halfway through that last night and ran out of time. I promise I will get that shed early next week.

 

Books Read

I haven’t really picked up much in the way of physical reading this week. In fact the only night I picked up my kindle was last night, Saturday. I had a brief read of The Book Thief by Markus Zusak and I enjoyed picking this up again as I haven’t for a brief stint.

Where I have been lacking in physical reading, I have been making up for it via audiobooks. They are very come and go for me; I won’t listen to them for ages or in any great quantity, but when I pick them up again I go hard at it. As of last week’s Sunday Summary update, I had just started the toll by Neal Shusterman and as of this post, I only have a few hours left of the audiobook! To give you some context, that means I’ve listened to about 10 hours this week alone! I knew I had listened to it quite a lot, but even that figure astounds me!

 

Books Discovered

Whilst I am on an audiobook binge, I had a look at audible today as I’ve had an email about a sale they have on. I’ve been building up a few credits and I thought I’d have a look to see if anything caught my eye. You could say that!

I ended up using almost all of my credits towards the sale, with just one being used to buy the first book of a series as Books Two and Three were on sale (because that makes sense)…

So now I have audiobook copies of Heresy, Prophecy and Sacrilege by S. J. Parris, Traitor’s Blade and Knights Shadow by Sebastien Del Castell and A Little Hatred by Joe Abercrombie and last but not least, The Plague Charmer by Karen Maitland.

I told you-when I hit the audiobooks I hit them hard! Especially now I’m going to be home for the next two weeks (minimum!) I can see myself finishing my current audiobook and moving on to more.

 

Coming Up

As I said earlier in this post, I didn’t get around to finishing drafting my audiobook review of Head On by John Scalzi. I hope to have this finished in the next couple of days. I will have to see how I get on as I’m still going to be having the battle of motivation to spend my evening is exactly as I have spent my whole day. I’ve actually done something slightly different with this post and I have done it on one-off occasions before… I’m drafting this verbally on my phone. It is a little bit of variety, it’s actually quicker than typing (even taking into account having to fix all the typos and grammar) and it reduces the amount of time I’m actually sat physically on my laptop as I only use this to edit and publish the post once it’s written. If all else fails I will try and do this next week in an attempt to keep the content coming to you guys! I have been quite unreliable over the last few weeks in getting things published when I say I’m going to.

Later in the week, I’m going to go back to an easy regular post that I shared fortnightly last year – Shelf Control. I haven’t taken a look at some of the older items on my TV are for a good few months now. Given that my goal is to get through more of these this year, it makes sense to start looking at the books on the list and to get myself excited for getting round to them!

So, that’s all from me in today’s Sunday Summary post! Have a good week and I’ll see you around!

 

 

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