Reading List: May 2018

It’s May.
There – I said it. As much as we all wish for Summer and the warmer climes associated with it (somewhere… far, far away from here perhaps), I just have to ask the question… where has the beginning of this year gone?
We are fast approaching the fairer months of the year (allegedly). Here at home, you can always tell when the preparations begin for the prestigious road races that take place here… patching up near-pristine roads etc. Meanwhile, other roads not on the course are sorely neglected to the point in which they have more craters than the moon.
Ahem. Not that I’m bitter or anything… and that is not what this post is about! Today, I am publishing my reading list for the month of May… so let’s get stuck in!
 

Empire of Silence

Empire of Silence GR

Hadrian Marlowe, a man revered as a hero and despised as a murderer, chronicles his tale in the galaxy-spanning debut of the Sun Eater series, merging the best of space opera and epic fantasy.
It was not his war.
On the wrong planet, at the right time, for the best reasons, Hadrian Marlowe started down a path that could only end in fire. The galaxy remembers him as a hero: the man who burned every last alien Cielcin from the sky. They remember him as a monster: the devil who destroyed a sun, casually annihilating four billion human lives–even the Emperor himself–against Imperial orders.
But Hadrian was not a hero. He was not a monster. He was not even a soldier.
Fleeing his father and a future as a torturer, Hadrian finds himself stranded on a strange, backwater world. Forced to fight as a gladiator and into the intrigues of a foreign planetary court, he will find himself fight a war he did not start, for an Empire he does not love, against an enemy he will never understand.

Normally, I don’t include books that I end up carrying over from the previous month. Finishing these books should maybe take a day or two, so I usually chastise myself for frittering away time and struggle on to cram those extra pages in to another, normal month of reading.
I don’t think it’s fair to do this to myself this month, on account of having over three hundred pages of this mammoth book left! As much as I love reading, I don’t have a death wish. I know my limit and I am unlikely to finish this in the next day or so.
 

Eternity’s Echoes

Eternity's Echoes.jpg

Aaron was a promising software designer with an upcoming company. He shared a quaint house on the outskirts of town with his best friends; another young man and two girls.
They’d known each other since school, and lived together peacefully for years with few problems.
Travis the newcomer however had a dark way about him, and all of Aaron’s attempts to get along with him had failed.
But just as the household began to settle down again, a strange device with a peculiar attitude entered their lives.
Would it fulfill all of their dreams, or instead become a curse?

Judging by the synopsis, reading this book comes at a perfect time.
I was kindly approached by the author with an e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Whilst I enjoy science-fiction, I would say that out of all the genres I take the time to read, it is the one I pick up the least frequently. I worry that the technical knowledge (I distinctly lack) will intimidate me away from enjoying the narrative, but nine times out of ten this isn’t the case at all. It’s almost a bit of an irrational fear.
That being said, I have really enjoyed the Sci-fi books I have picked up in the last year, so I’ll be proud to add this to my collection!
 

Diana Christmas

Diana Christmas

In 1959, Diana Christmas – the beautiful, vivacious redhead – was a major star in Britain. It was her moment. She was on the cusp of making it big in Hollywood. Then, she simply walked away from the limelight. Vanished from an industry that adored her.
Twenty years later, Michael, a young film journalist, arrives at her suburban home and discovers the still vibrant and alluring Diana. Between her sheets, he hears for the first time the reason for her disappearance – a tale of coercion, shame and blackmail.
To his shock, he learns that those who destroyed her career and ruined her life still have their claws in her.
Totally smitten, he promises to help her. But Michael soon finds that the past doesn’t let go easily…
Diana Christmas – A new thriller of desire and betrayal from F.R. Jameson.

My third read of the month is also a review request, so a huge thanks to the author for a free electronic copy of this book to review.
The historical setting and promise of a tale portraying the less-than-glamorous side of fame is what attracted me to this book. If anything in the news over the last few months can be believed, then it would suggest that fame definitely comes with a price and abuse of power. Having not read the book thus far, I can’t truly compare the narrative to the stories we have heard ongoing… but there is enough of a correlation to have piqued my interest.
 

The Toymakers

The Toymakers.jpg

The Emporium opens with the first frost of winter. It is the same every year. Across the city, when children wake to see ferns of white stretched across their windows, or walk to school to hear ice crackling underfoot, the whispers begin: the Emporium is open!
It is 1917, and London has spent years in the shadow of the First World War. In the heart of Mayfair, though, there is a place of hope. A place where children’s dreams can come true, where the impossible becomes possible – that place is Papa Jack’s Toy Emporium.
For years Papa Jack has created and sold his famous magical toys: hobby horses, patchwork dogs and bears that seem alive, toy boxes bigger on the inside than out, ‘instant trees’ that sprout from boxes, tin soldiers that can fight battles on their own. Now his sons, Kaspar and Emil, are just old enough to join the family trade. Into this family comes a young Cathy Wray – homeless and vulnerable. The Emporium takes her in, makes her one of its own. But Cathy is about to discover that while all toy shops are places of wonder, only one is truly magical…

I was delighted to have been accepted for this read from Netgalley. This is the first book I have actually been accepted for on the site, and it’s about time I read it. Who doesn’t love a tale of childlike magic in the midst of war to lighten your spirits?
 

The Irrationalist

The Irrationalist

An historical murder mystery based on real events.
Who would want to murder the world’s most famous philosopher?
Turns out: nearly everyone.
In 1649, Descartes was invited by the Queen of Sweden to become her Court Philosopher. Though he was the world’s leading philosopher, his life had by this point fallen apart. He was 53, penniless, living in exile in Amsterdam, alone. With much trepidation but not much choice, he arrived in Stockholm in mid-October.
Shortly thereafter he was dead.
Pneumonia, they said. But who could believe that? There were just too many persons of interest who wanted to see Descartes dead, and for too many reasons. That so many of these persons were in Stockholm—thanks to the Gala the Queen was throwing to celebrate the end of the terrible Thirty Years’ War—made the official story all the less plausible. Death by poisoning was the unofficial word on the cobblestone.
Enter Adrien Baillet. A likeable misfit with a mysterious backstory, he arrives just as the French Ambassador desperately needs an impartial Frenchman to prove that Descartes died of natural causes—lest the “murder” in Lutheran Sweden of France’s great Catholic philosopher trigger colicky French boy-King Louis XIV to reignite that awful War. Baillet hesitatingly agrees to investigate Descartes’s death, knowing that if—or when—he screws up, he could be personally responsible for the War’s Thirty-First Year.
But solving the mystery of Descartes’s death (Baillet soon learns) requires first solving the mystery of Descartes’s life, with all its dangerous secrets … None of it is easy, as nearly everyone is a suspect and no one can be trusted. Nor does it help that he must do it all under the menacing gaze of Carolus Zolindius, the terrifying Swedish Chancellor with the strangely intimidating limp.
But Baillet somehow perseveres, surprising everyone as he figures it all out—all the way to the explosive end.

The synopsis for this book is incredibly long, but I think the first line sums up the book, and just why it is right up my street. An historical murder based on real-life events.
I have been provided with an e-copy of The Irrationalist by Open Books at my request, and I really can’t wait to get stuck in! I love historical fiction, I love political intrigue… and I love a good old whodunit. Check, check, and check.
So guys, those are my reads for this month! What are you reading?
Rebecca mono

Sunday Summary – 29th April 2018

This week has been a little bit special here at Reviewsfeed (nee Readers Online), because on Monday my blog turned 1 years old!
Now there are many veteran bloggers that may laugh at that small anniversary… but it means a lot to me. As someone who finds it very hard to stick to things, I’m proud of myself for that achievement. I found a hobby that I loved during a turbulent and uncertain period in my life. As a person that likes and sticks to routine, it’s hard to introduce new things. I think already having both my personal and work life unbalanced at that time opened the door to begin the blog, as a distraction if nothing else!
As time consuming as maintaining a blog has proven to be, I stuck to it! I think it helps that I don’t have many bookish friends on this side of the screen; by blog has become my outlet to talk to masses of wonderful, like-minded people. But of course, my blog would not be what it is without the support of followers and the community as a whole. Every like or comment is really appreciated. Sometimes it still baffles me that people are actually interested in my opinions. I reckon (allowing for overlaps across social media accounts) I have around 500 unique followers… that’s an astounding figure, so thank you to all of you! I am humbled.
Anyway, I think that’s enough commemorative, sentimental babble from me – let’s get on to why you are really here, yes?
 

Books Read

Empire of Silence GR
I’ve been focussing my attentions on Empire of Silence by Christopher Ruocchio this week. I received a copy of this book from Gollancz in exchange for a review and I am so grateful for the opportunity. When I posted last week I had read 128 pages; this week the page count falls slightly shy of 400, putting me exactly half way through the book.
I love the writing style and the manner in which the story is being narrated – it really does put you in mind of Patrick Rothfuss’ The Name of The Wind! Sometimes it can take a while for me to get used to science fiction novels and their techy language, but this isn’t unapproachable. I’ve had to re-read a couple of small sections to make sure I read it properly, but that’s probably due to my late-night reading habit and more as a result of being tired!
I haven’t read any other books this week, as I want to focus on getting this one read and reviewed as soon as possible!
 

Books Discovered


 
Both of these book purchases have been courtesy of advertising via Bookbub this week. I thought The Pharmacist’s Wife sounded both intriguing and dark, and it caught my eye with it’s Victorian setting. I am a sucker for historical fiction!
You can also tell I am really enjoying the science fiction genre at the moment, as I bought the third instalment of The Long Earth series, co-written by Stephen Baxter, one of my dad’s favourite authors, and Terry Pratchett, who happens to be one of mine. I purchased The Long War not that long ago (back in February – just checked), so what I really ought to do now is buy The Long Earth, the first book in the series, so I can actually start reading it!!
 

Coming Up…

Having taken on reading a large book like Empire of Silence, I am finding myself catching up on reviews. I like to have a little buffer for precisely this reason, so instead, I am scheduling a couple of different posts this week.
A new month is upon us so on Wednesday, I’ll be bringing to you my reading list for May. Gosh, isn’t the year just flying by? I’ve also been chewing something over for a little while now, so I’ve decided on Friday I am going to be posting about why I am considering calling it a day on using services like Netgalley.
If you have any comments on anything above, I would love to hear from you, as always. May this next year of blogging be as enjoyable as the last!
Rebecca mono

Book Review: Soul Music – Terry Pratchett

Hi everybody!

So after the slight change of scheduling this week as a result of taking part in a blog tour, today I am posting my review of my first read this month – Soul Music by Terry Pratchett. This is the sixteenth book of the Discworld collection, and the third book in the Death mini-series. Death tends to crop up at some point in most of the Discworld books (at least the ones I have read so far, anyway), but these books go into more detail about his existence, family, and all manner of time-related paradoxes.

Soul Music

Goodreads – Soul Music

Other children get given xylophones. Susan just had to ask her grandfather to take his vest off.

Yes. There’s a Death in the family.

It’s hard to grow up normally when Grandfather rides a white horse and wields a scythe – especially when you have to take over the family business, and everyone mistakes you for the Tooth Fairy.
And especially when you have to face the new and addictive music that has entered Discworld.

It’s lawless. It changes people.
It’s called Music With Rocks In.
It’s got a beat and you can dance to it, but…
It’s alive.
And it won’t fade away.

 

My Thoughts…

This book maintains the typical Pratchett style of humour, one I have come to know and love, from the very first page.

This is also a story about sex and drugs and Music With Rocks In. 

Well…. 

One out of three ain’t bad. 

Actually, it’s only thirty-three per cent, but it could be worse.

The concept behind the music is that magic guides the unsuspecting soul from making the ugliest noise humanly possible to give it life, the beat, the rhythm. Pratchett humorously makes it clear that none of our protagonists have a single clue about music; but the magic takes over and guides them into becoming the rock n’ roll stars they are. Managed by none other than Cut Me Own Throat Dibbler, the band tour the Disc chasing fame… and afterwards are chased off in style by a confetti of ladies underwear and the local guards!

Meanwhile, Death has taken a break from his regular duties and as ever, is trying to discover what it is to become more human. His granddaughter steps up to take his place and inevitably, things take a turn for the worse… again!

The Death series is one of my favourites in the Discworld books, second to the escapades of the Witches. Somehow, the musings of Pratchett with regards to the nature of time add another dimension to the quirky universe and the narrative. Of course, we were still treated to meeting some of the Ankh-Morpork regulars, as is only fitting.

I also liked the way the tone was set in relation to the music. It was written in a perspective from which one understands the presence and acknowledging other people’s reaction to it, without really understanding the hype behind it all. I’ll confess I’m not a particular fan of rock music myself. Unless it’s an iconic rock song from the 80’s…say, Summer of ’69 by Bryan Adams or Bon Jovi’s Livin’ on a Prayer (I am listening to this as I type), I’m not familiar at all. The rock music I do listen to is definitely my mum’s influence… they were songs she grew up with. It’s not my bag at all, so I found the viewpoint of the distant observer one I could relate to.

Whilst perfectly readable, this wasn’t one of my favourite books of the series. As mentioned above, the Witches books rank higher. Usually, if a couple of storylines are threaded together, they tend to work well with each other… but I find the storyline of Susan taking over Death’s duties and the existence of the music more… coincided than were dependent on each other. Although the book was funny and parodied the music industry (and the fame of the stars as part of it) it just didn’t quite come together in the way that I had hoped it would.
Rebecca mono

Blog Tour – The Ghost of Glendale by Natalie Kleinman

Good morning everyone!
I am delighted to be taking part in a Blog Tour today for The Ghost of Glendale, organised by Rachel’s Random Resources. Unfortunately due to my reading schedule I wasn’t able to read and review this title today, but I would encourage anyone interested in the book to check out the other stops on the tour!

About the Book

Ghost-EBOOK-cvr TGoG (3 MB)

At twenty-four years old, Phoebe Marcham is resigned to spinsterhood, unwilling to settle for anything less than the deep love her parents had shared. That is, until adventurer Duncan Armstrong rides into her home wood, larger than life and with laughter in his eyes and more charm in his little finger than anyone she’s ever met before. Far from ridiculing her family ghost, Duncan resolves to help solve the mystery which has left Simon Marcham a spirit in torment for two hundred years.

About the Author

Natalie is a published novelist and short story writer whose addiction to the books of Georgette Heyer and love of The Regency have been the inspiration for her latest book,Natale Kleinman - Author Photo The Ghost of Glendale.
Working on the premise that you never stop learning, she goes to any and every writing event and workshop she can. In addition she attends The Write Place Creative Writing School in Hextable in Kent, one of the rewards for which is an abundant supply of cream cakes to celebrate the frequent successes of its students.
Natalie is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association, The Society of Authors and the Society of Women Writers and Journalists. She lives with her husband in southeast London.

Blog      Twitter      Facebook

If you would like to find out more about the book, or if you are interested in purchasing a copy, you can do so via Amazon.
Don’t forget, there are a number of lovely blogs involved in the tour so please check out their posts and their thoughts about The Ghost of Glendale.
The Ghost of Glendale Full Banner
 

Sunday Summary – 22nd April 2018

Hi everybody! I hope you are all having a lovely weekend, whatever it is you are doing.
Without looking at any of the stats or details, I have a gut feeling that I didn’t make much progress with my reading this week. Things just got in the way, and when I did have time I didn’t feel all that inclined to read. It’s a real shame, because I am reading some great books at the moment!
It’s not you, fantastic pieces of literature, it’s me…
Rather than reflect on what I haven’t done this week, let’s take a look at what I have done instead! On Wednesday I posted my review of Ekata: Fall of Darkness by Dominique Law, which admittedly, was less than complimentary of my experience reading the book. I had some nice feedback from that review actually – it’s hard to write reviews about things you don’t like for fear of crossing the line, but so far the review has been well received. In one day it received as many likes as other posts have over time.
The following day I posted Top 5 Quotes from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld… so far! I’ve read a number of books from the collection now, so it was a lovely way to re-cap through some of the older books. Picking favourites out turned out to be a lot harder than I expected!
 

Books Read (or procrastinated over…)


 
I made a bit more progress with The Seventh Scroll this week, but I find it’s a book I cannot binge read. Some parts are great and others can be on the slow side, which results in me picking the book up and putting it down again a lot. It’s also quite a lengthy one at just over 600 pages, so I don’t think I should beat myself up too much. I’m now just over a quarter of the way through the book. Truthfully, I hope the story picks up a bit soon. It’s not that I am not enjoying it, it’s the flow and consistency that isn’t there for me at the moment.
Knowing that there were times I wanted a break from The Seventh Scroll, I started reading Empire of Silence by Christopher Ruocchio. I have taken to reading a chapter or two before going to bed at the very least, and I spent an hour or so reading yesterday. I’m currently 16% through the book; whilst that doesn’t sound much, that equates to 128 pages. This is also a mammoth book!
The one piece of good news is that I finished listening to The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris this week. I found myself so immersed in the story that until I got to the author’s note at the end, and the brief chapter written by the MC’s son, I had forgotten this is based on two real people’s experience of the camp! It’s a harrowing thought, the reminder that people were forced to live this way and suffer the way they did.

Books Discovered

A Brief History of Time.jpg
This isn’t usually the type of book I would attempt to read; whilst I like science-fiction, I’m not actually all that clued-up on the science. After his recent death, I decided that I had to at least try to read this book! All I have heard is positive things about his genius and wit, so I’ve finally added it to the list.
 

Coming Up…

Scheduling this week is going to be a little bit different! Normally I bring you a review on a Wednesday, but instead I am taking part in a Blog Tour for The Ghost of Glendale by Natalie Kleinman. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to review this book as part of the tour, but instead I’ll be bringing you the details so you can see for yourself what it is all about!
I will post my usual review on Thursday, and this week I am reviewing my first read of the month, Soul Music by Terry Pratchett.
I hope to see you around!
Rebecca mono

Top 5 Quotes from Terry Pratchett's Discworld… so far!

Hi everyone!
So today I promised you a slightly different blog post. I don’t write Top Five posts very often, even though they are good fun! I should probably make an effort to make them more regularly…
I actually found choosing my Top Five Terry Pratchett quotes harder than I expected! These quotes are based on the books I have read so far out of the Discworld series alone… but even though I have “only” read 16 so far (ONLY?!), I had plenty to choose from!!
So, without further ado, here are my Top Five quotes and why I love them!
 
TP 1 18.04.18
This is number five on my list, but whilst technically the last on the list, I still adore this quote.
It is an inspirational quote for me because identity is a very personal thing. Not to come across conceited, but I am proud of who I am. In my lifetime have come across far too many people who were quick to try and put me down. Once upon a time I wore my heart on my sleeve and they succeeded, but no more. In it’s own way, this has contributed to who becoming who I am, but being bullied and/or criticised (as I prefer to term the comments experienced in later years) isn’t the only thing that has shaped me to be who I am.
You can criticise my manner, my appearance or my hobbies, but those things don’t make me who I am. I can tell you what I am. I’m a hard worker. I always try to help people, even if that means putting myself out to do so. These are the things that matter.
 
TP 5 18.04.18
I love the wit and humour behind this quote and it’s completely true! There is a lot of ignorance throughout the world, but sticking your head in the sand doesn’t make a problem disappear. Instead, you are giving someone the opportunity to give you a free kick up the backside whilst you can’t defend yourself.
 
TP2 18.04.18
I relate to this quote so much! I have got to be one of the most unromantic souls on the planet.
I hate public displays of affection. I find the sight of new couples, dangling off of each other’s arm like they could disappear any moment, (I liken this in my head to limpets clinging on to a rock), cringey. Maybe this is because I am a very independent person? I don’t know. I’ve never been in a relationship or had someone like that to depend on, so I just don’t get it.
 
TP 4 18.04.18
This is less of an inspirational quote than the previous ones, but it takes its place on the list because both of these characters remind me of several women in my family, but particularly my mum.
Even going back further, the female role models in my life have been far from shy about dishing out their opinions, usually in some sharp, witty manner. Like mother, like daughter, as they say – I think it’ll take a few more years under my belt, but I can definitely see myself following in my mum’s footsteps. Granny Weatherwax and Gytha Ogg (and their whole dynamic) mirrors my family exactly; that is why I love these characters so much!
 
TP 3 18.04.18
This last one by comparison may perhaps seem a little morbid, but I love the idea that we all live on through the legacies we leave behind.
Linking back to the previous quote, one of the influences of my character is my nana on mums side. She was also just like mum and a true Yorkshire lass at heart. She was quick to love and had a warm heart, but if you deserved it you’d get a lash of the tongue too.
I am just old enough to remember her; she sadly passed away from illness when I was eight. Although she isn’t here anymore though, she lives on as a part of my family through memories and stories. And songs. She used to make up songs for anything and everything… and I’ve been treated to as many as my mum has been able to remember. There were one or two about the family dog, bless him. If only he knew.
 
So there you have it! What do you think of the quotes I picked out? Do you have any favourites, or do you have any alternative quotes you would have picked?
Rebecca mono
 

Book Review – Ekata: Fall of Darkness – Dominique Law

*** I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All views expressed are completely my own***

Ekata

Goodreads – Ekata: Fall of Darkness

On Ekata, a utopian world where violence is unthinkable, Asher has been plagued with visions of death and darkness since childhood. On his eighteenth birthday he is confronted with a life-changing prophecy which tells of a threat not only to his world, but to Earth as well.

Alexis has always felt she doesn’t belong. When an extraordinary stranger appears on her doorstep, it raises more questions than answers. If everything she thought she knew about herself was a lie, who is the real Alexis? And how could she possibly be part of an ancient prophecy?

Through startling transformation and grief, the pair defy all expectations. But when everything changes, can Asher’s humanity survive? The fate of both worlds may depend upon it.

 

I don’t think there is any way I can particularly dress up this review. I am, after all, in the business of being honest so I’ll just come out with it.

Overall, I didn’t like this book at all. I’ll start with what redeeming qualities the book did have, which brought my rating of the book up from a 1 star to a 2 star review.

I liked the concept of the world of Ekata – a world without violence. The main point of conflict within the story is a man’s desire to prevent violence on Earth… but to do so he would remove the free-will of all people. I like how the morality of such an action is called into question and how this drives the resistance party.

The tale was also well written; even if I didn’t think all that much of the content of the story all the time, what was on the page was outlined clearly so that the story was easy to follow. This also proved useful because I found myself picking it up and putting it down quite regularly, but I wasn’t hindered by this at all. I also quite enjoyed the descriptions of nature and the world-building.

Inevitably, we were going to get to the parts I didn’t like… fairly quickly, unfortunately.

This book features so many unoriginal fantasy tropes that it is not even funny. I feel like I talk about this a lot, but is it too much to ask for a little originality? This book has the classic Good vs Evil, the inexperienced young one(s) exploring their Coming of Age to face-off against the veteran… and a quest to fulfil a prophecy in order to achieve all this, tied in a neat little package with a double bow. Oh, and there’s a host of magic and a unicorn to boot! Hooray!
To say I didn’t know that some of these elements were going to play a part would be a lie; I knew it was a prophesised ‘coming-of-age’ type tale. For me though, the straw that broke the camel’ back was the budding relationship between our two MC’s.

Now, I’m a girl and I’ve been a teenager, I know how all this raging-hormone stuff works. You break out in a ridiculous amount of spots (always on the worst day imaginable) and have more mood swings than hot dinners. I can hand on heart say that if a complete stranger arrived on my doorstep, turned my world on its head and was claiming that the fate of another world rested on my shoulders, I would slam the door, bolt it and call the police I would not even remotely consider how attractive he was. Call me frigid, soulless, or even a liar if you like, but I wouldn’t… given that this is pretty much the first thought that pops into our second MC’s head from the moment we meet her, I didn’t like or relate to Alexis at all.

Unfortunately, whilst a lot of the personality traits Alexis shows in the book are indeed present in young, angsty teenage girls, the only depth of character to this tempest of emotion is a love of horses… and there is just something about girls that love horses that just smacks of “spoilt brat”. There is a quote by Terry Pratchett that I aptly read only recently, which I think sums up the whole situation entirely:-

“There is a type of girl who, while incapable of cleaning her bedroom even at knife point, will fight for the privilege of being allowed to spend the day shovelling manure in a stable.”
-Terry Pratchett, Soul Music

Asher was more tolerable than Alexis, although nothing particularly grabbed me about his personality either. I wanted to read his chapter POV’s instead of Alexis’ because I didn’t hate his, not because I was looking forward to them.

My final bugbear about the book is, as chronology would suggest, the ending. Given the whole prophecy and the weight resting on Asher and Alexis’ shoulders, you would expect something to happen, right? It has so obviously been set up for a sequel, but it felt like I endured 400 pages for nothing of consequence to happen. I was left sorely disappointed.

So, ladies and gentlemen, to summarise – if you like reading about moody, insecure and overly-hormonal teenagers, spending every free moment not training to save the world fawning over each other, then this book is definitely for you! I have no problem with negative emotions in books, if it is written well and you are truly immersed with the character. If, however, you find yourself carrying their emotional baggage like an albatross around your neck, or find them just plain bad company like the last party guest that just won’t leave, it makes for very difficult reading.

This book was not my cup of tea at all, which is a shame.
Rebecca mono

Sunday Summary – 15th April 2018

Good morning everyone!!
My Sunday Summary is coming to you a wee bit earlier today, as I have forcefully dragged myself out of bed to do so. I had a really exciting week – and not of it is all about the books! My sister is visiting from Uni this weekend for a family occasion, so I have been off work for a few days (always a bonus!) So, I have gotten out of bed RIDICULOUSLY early is for two reasons;

  • to make sure you wonderful fellows get this lovely update post from me before I go back to visiting my family. As Sunday Summary posts are the most popular on my site, I’d be foolish not to make one;
  • I have had so many lie-ins over the past few days – if I had another one today, I would not sleep AT ALL tonight and I would be dead when I get back to work tomorrow (I probably will be anyway, sigh).

 
So aside from family… what has been going on this week?
Well, knowing that I was going to be preoccupied with family for the latter stages of the week, I prepared and posted an audiobook review of The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins on Wednesday. Also, in the spur of the moment last week I said I would publish a post about my favourite Terry Pratchett quotes from the book so far, but admittedly I haven’t done this yet. I actually found a post I wrote a while ago – Top 5 Inspirational Quotes by Terry Pratchett. If you feel you are missing out, you could always check this post out? Sorry guys… maybe I can get this post to you next week. My schedule has been thrown off somewhat, but I’ll be back to the daily grind next week!!! (yay…)
On a cheerier note, let’s take a look at what I have been reading this week!
 

Books Read


 
When I left you last week, I had read about 75% of Soul Music by Terry Pratchett; finishing this book was how I kicked off my week. I love Pratchett’s humour and easy writing style, so whilst this wasn’t my favourite book of the series, it still made for an enjoyable read.
Next I started reading The Seventh Scroll by Wilbur Smith, and this book picks up the story where Taita left off in River God – only thousands of years into the future (modern day, to us folks). Royan and Duraid are trying to decipher the enigma Taita has left for them (the location of the tomb of Mamose), when disaster strikes. I wasn’t sure I would take to this change of perspective very well, but actually it isn’t as difficult to adjust to as I thought. I’ve only made a fledgling start on the book really, with my progress at 13%, but we have to start somewhere, right?
A couple of days into reading The Seventh Scroll I became conscious that time is not on my side this month. I have some pretty big reads ahead so I wanted to up my game. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne is also a library loan and I didn’t want to incur any fees for running over term on this one. Being only a couple of hundred pages long, I thought this would be a perfect speed read and would make me feel I am making progress. I finished this late last night. When I committed to reading the book I fully expected it would make me cry… but I didn’t! I love that it is written in such a way that you know what is going on, based on prior knowledge, but not in a harsh way.
Lastly, also on the slightly morbid subject, I have made more progress on listening to The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris. I am about half-way through this audiobook now, if memory serves, so I imagine this will be finished by the end of the month. Despite the content matter, I am really enjoying this book! Aren’t I such a cheery soul?
 

Books Discovered

This is a rare occasion indeed, for I have absolutely NOTHING to report this week! I’ve spent too much time playing Minecraft to look for new books this week…
Not that it’s a bad thing necessarily, I have more than enough to read. Yes, I’ve re-discovered my love of Minecraft lately… although I’m not particularly sure what’s brought it on. I’ve also been watching a lot of videos on YouTube…
Guys – I may have a problem, haha!
 

Coming Up…

So, normal scheduling resumes from next week.
On Wednesday, I will publish my review of my latest Netgalley read, Ekata: Fall of Darkness by Dominique Law.
I am going to write the post about my favourite Terry Pratchett quotes. Usually (I’ve noticed), if I don’t commit to a day that I’ll publish a post, it means I’m not sure I’ll get around to it. I shouldn’t do that really, so I’ll commit to a day. Let’s say Thursday.
Have you got anything exciting lined up for next week?
Rebecca mono

Audiobook Review: The Girl on the Train – Paula Hawkins

The Girl on The Train

Goodreads – The Girl on the Train

Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens. She’s even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses. ‘Jess and Jason’, she calls them. Their life – as she sees it – is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy. And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Now Rachel has a chance to become a part of the lives she’s only watched from afar. Now they’ll see; she’s much more than just the girl on the train…

I listened to this audiobook back in February, after listening to The Stand by Stephen King. I decided that listening to this book was probably going to be better than reading it; after listening to a sample, I knew it was the right decision!
The narrators for Rachel and Megan did a fantastic job of the perspective they represented – Rachel was my favourite in particular. So as not to spoil anything, I will be vague and say that they each have a uniqueness about them… an experience or two that has coloured their view of the world, or changed them. The voices, tones and expressions used embodied these characters perfectly and brought them to life.
That probably sounds daft – “you can’t hear expressions!” I hear you say! Having dabbled a little in Performing Arts and created a radio drama as one of my projects, I actually think you can. It is impossible to express joy or sadness with a neutral expression on your face. You can still call me daft if you like – I’m sticking to my guns.
In fact, being entirely dependent on audio to convey these things, I think it is even more important to do this well. The narrator for Anna didn’t really do it for me at all. I found myself wishing her chapters passed quickly. Her narration felt clinical and disassociated with her character, which for me broke the flow.
I struggled to relate to Rachel, but so do a lot of characters in the book, so perhaps as a reader, we are not meant to. Her perception and her actions more often than not leave you shaking your head in disbelief, or cringing on her behalf. Plenty of the latter! Her life is the type that you can observe at a distance and determine what has gone wrong, but you find it hard to imagine yourself in the same shoes if you were to experience the very same thing. I would like to think I wouldn’t, at least…
Whilst the story itself had plenty of twists, turns and unexpected surprises, I think I would have gotten bored reading the book. Whilst I was listening to this I was completing a project, so I was always concentrating on something else at the same time. I think that kept me going. It had a great ending (loved the ending) but I think I would have struggled to get past the many embarrassments of Rachel to read this… especially since it takes really good while to get to the point where the plot starts to unravel.
I have mixed feelings about the book and if I am honest, I don’t really see why the book had as much fuss as it did. That being said, crime/psychological thriller isn’t my favourite genre, so maybe that’s why I don’t appreciate it hugely. I find myself on the fence about it really – I don’t think it is all that often I write a review from such a mediocre standpoint.
I am glad I have listened to it, but that is as far as it goes. It is time to move on to something else.
Rebecca mono

Sunday Summary – 8th April 2018

Happy Sunday!
How has everyone’s week been? Mine has been pretty good overall! It got off to the best start with a bank holiday too – what a shame!

Source: Giphy
Source: Giphy

Okay, a little optimistic perhaps! But not having to get up at 6:45am is a win – right?
I took the opportunity to publish my Reading List for April on Monday, which I have been looking forward to sharing with you. This month I am switching it up a little and instead of reading a mixture of ARC’s and traditionally published books… the intention was to give the ARC’s a wee break. Then I received an ARC I requested which changed the plan SLIGHTLY. Just a little bit, okay? I broke the ARC-only plan for March with Strange The Dreamer, so it’s all good!
Speaking of which, I published my review of this amazing book on Wednesday! I can’t wait until October for Muse of Nightmares! If you haven’t checked out my review yet, you can find a cheeky little link here.
 

Books Read


 
I finally finished reading Ekata: Fall of Darkness by Dominique Law at the beginning of this week. I mentioned in my previous Sunday Summary that I was struggling with this book. The situation of the relations between characters got a little better, enough to finish the book.
Next, I picked up Soul Music by Terry Pratchett. At the time of writing this post I am 74% through the book. I am enjoying the book, but I don’t think it is going to be one of my favourites of the series. That being said, there are some great quotes I have pulled out of this one. My favourite has to be this one:-

‘Glod Glodsson,’ said the dwarf. ‘You just play the harp?’
‘Anything with strings on it,’ said Imp. ‘But the harp is the queen of instruments, see.’
‘I can blow anything,’ said Glod.
‘Realllly?’ said Imp. He sought for some polite comment. ‘That must make you very popullar.’

Such is Pratchett’s humour. Sure, there are more sophisticated quotes about the nature of existence and suchlike, but when it comes down to it, it’s these quotes I find the funniest! All the quotes I come across on my Kindle are shared on Goodreads, so if you want to look at any others, you could read them there!
Lastly, I started my next audiobook this week. I am listening to The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris. The story so far is both compelling and harrowing in equal measure. It is awful to think that people were actually forced to lived in concentration camps and were treated no better than cattle. Between this and The Boy in The Striped Pyjamas, a book I am reading later in the month, you can tell I enjoy historical fiction. It’s a morbid month in terms of subject matter!
 

Books Discovered


 
It’s a very Pratchett week! I received an e-mail from Bookbub to tell me that The Fifth Elephant (Book 24) of the series was on sale, so I bought it! I already know I’ll be reading it at some point, so it was a no-brainer!
The Foes Between Us by J M Robison is a pre-order. I was introduced to the author when I read The War Queen for her in exchange for a review! As I really enjoyed this book and I want to support her, I pre-ordered this next one!
 

Coming Up..

I listened to The Girl on The Train by Paula Hawkins back in February, so I will be sharing my thoughts on this audiobook with you on Wednesday! I am catching up with myself on the books/ebooks I am reading, so I am going to give myself some breathing room by reviewing this for this week!
Writing this post has inspired me to write another one, so later in the week I am going to share my Top 5 Terry Pratchett quotes from the books I have read so far!
Until next time!
Rebecca mono