Hello everyone and welcome to my March wrap-up post. When drafting my Sunday Summary post yesterday I completely forgot to mention this post coming up this week!
I’m enjoying writing these retrospective posts rather than a TBR post upfront. It means I can work at a more relaxed pace without the pressure of a list. So, without further pre-amble, here are the books I’ve been reading this month!
Most of this month has been spent reading The Book Thief by Markus Zusak on and off. It’s a long book at around 550 pages and I will admit that my reading did taper off in the early stages of this month. I think in part that has to do with some other hobbies, as well as the new lockdown. However, I did pick up more later on and I went on to finish this near the end of the month.
I picked up Fire and Blood by George R. R. Martin again in the very last few days of the month. Having finished The Book Thief and in general just getting back into reading a bit more habitually, I have taken this to bed and have also gotten out into the garden to enjoy a bit of a read. This is also a large book and taking on such a big read when you’re struggling with being in the mood for it is a challenge. That said, I’ve thrown myself back into it and I’m really looking forward to reading more of this in April!
I have been a bit better than usual on the audiobook front, as I have listened to The Toll by Neal Shusterman this month. Normally my audiobook progress is a lot slower than reading, however spending increased periods of time at home, I am able to play audiobooks on various devices I have around the house. Listening to them whilst I’m doing other jobs is very accessible. It’s also a good alternative I find to watching television if I am working on some craft – it means I can focus on my project and not the TV.
Once I finished listening to The Toll I must admit I felt a bit bereft that night. It was such a good audiobook and series and I had no idea what I could follow up with that would be just as good. I ultimately decided to listen to A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin. Not only are these books firm favourites, I also haven’t actually listened to them yet. I read them in every other format so far so why not complete the set? I listened to about 20% of the audiobook throughout the course of March and I will definitely be continuing this through into the next month.
In the second half of March I feel like I have done better and certainly enjoyed blogging more. Without going into specifics I was having some technical issues with the laptop I’ve logged on and I’ve ultimately decided to change the way I block. That has been working out for me very well and I say they’re probably has been a slight increase in the number of posts I’ve been sharing. I’ve certainly been enjoying doing it more, if nothing else. 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! I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I will have plenty of news to share with you in next month’s wrap up post. However, until then, I hope to see you around on the blog.
Unlike last week’s Sunday Summary update post, today’s is being posted on time! I hope you have all had a good week and an enjoyable Easter weekend?
I’ve certainly been making the most of the weekend by catching up with some jobs that for various reasons I’ve been putting off. Our local amenity site has been shut due to the current coronavirus lockdown, however, they reopened earlier this week (with restrictions). It meant that I could get out and get the first grass cut done and tidy up my garden.
I also decided to move around some furniture to make way for some new flatpack I bought for the spare room. It probably doesn’t sound too bad when I phrase it that way. I’ll spare you the details of my hour and a bit struggle, but after doing both of these physical jobs I’m certainly feeling it now!
That’s not to say that my week has been all hard work though. I have spent more time recently out in the garden enjoying some sunshine – and getting more reading done than I have done in previous weeks. I spent about four hours out in the garden yesterday in all, but the last hour and twenty minutes or so was spent sat on the decking with a cup of coffee and my current read. Now that finer weather is coming (hopefully more long-term), I’m looking forward to being able to make the most of my outdoor space a bit more this year.
In terms of blogging, I have shared a couple of posts with you this week. My first post of the week was a really fun one to write! Whilst the topic proved a little more difficult than I expected, I still managed to come up with ten places in books I would love to live. Granted, some of them have the caveat that I wouldn’t like to live there at the time of the events of the book. But still, I have some great featured locations on that list! If you haven’t checked out that post already there is a link above so you can do so.
My second post of the week was a First Lines Friday regular feature post. This week’s feature is a little unusual in that I have chosen it from a genre that I don’t read very often at all. However, I have read the book on a couple of occasions previously and I love the humour. I think a lot of working women can relate to our main character and the scenario in the opening lines may be one you are familiar with in some sense.
If my progress update on Fire and Blood by George R. R. Martin on Goodreads was accurate before I picked it up again, then I have read around 200 pages of this book this week. I haven’t picked it up for several weeks now; it’s huge… and partway through reading this I decided I needed a smaller book to pick up. However, I’m back from my break and it is safe to say that I have thrown myself back in. Fortunately (or sadly, depending on your opinion) I have a reasonable knowledge of the history of the realm from the main series. So, getting back into the tale didn’t take long and I was able to pick up where I left off quite easily.
I’ve enjoyed getting back into George R. R. Martin’s writing style and the detailed narrative. I’m planning on seeing Fire and Blood through to the finish now with no more breaks. I seem to have got my mojo back a bit more with reading and I would like to make a good amount of progress again next week. I don’t want to jinx it, but as long as I pick it up at least a couple of evenings I’ll be happy!
I am glad to say there is nothing to add here this week. I think the world and his brother knows at this point that I have more books on my to be read pile than I know what to do with. Whilst I’m sure that I will never get this list down to 0, like ever, that doesn’t mean I can’t try and attempt to control it.
Who am I kidding?
I have another book review lined up for you for this week and it’s from one of my favourite authors. Those of you who follow my blog may remember that I went through a phase of reading the ‘second series’ of the Mistborn books by Brandon Sanderson last year. I love them and to date, I have reviewed The Alloy of Law and Shadows of Self. I plan to complete my reviews and share my thoughts on the third book, The Bands of Mourning, this week. If you are as much of a fan of Brandon Sanderson as I am then I hope you can check out my thoughts – and let me know what you think of the book as well!
Later in the week, it is the turn of my Shelf Control feature post. This coming week‘s featured novel is a science fiction young adult book – one whose plot is based around class division in an unequal society. I added the book to my list a few years ago now and having just read a sample, I am looking forward to sharing the details with you! I hope you can join me for that post on Friday.
As always, I’ll be rounding up the week with another Sunday Summary post.
For now, that’s all from me in today’s Sunday Summary update. I hope you enjoy the rest of your Easter weekend, have a good week in general and I look forward to seeing you around soon!
Hi guys and welcome to today’s first First Lines Friday post!
I’m back to posting my First Lines Friday feature on a regular basis and I am thrilled to be sharing today’s featured book with you. It will probably surprise you that this is something I have read and enjoyed previously, as it doesn’t fall into my typical genre choice. I’m not a big reader of chick-lit, however this book is absolutely hilarious and I loved it! I first picked this up as a young teenager from my school library. Although I didn’t finish it all before I handed it back, it stuck with me enough to make me get myself a copy and read it again later. I hope you enjoy today’s opening lines as much as I did!
Do you recognise this introduction, or more likely, can you relate to it?
1:37 am: How did I get here? Can someone please tell me that? Not in this kitchen, I mean in this life. It is the morning of the school carol concert and I am hitting mince pies. No, let us be quite clear about this, I am distressing mince pies, an altogether more demanding and subtle process.
Discarding the Sainsbury luxury packaging, I winkle the pies out of their foil cups, place them on a chopping board and bring down a rolling pin on their blameless, floury faces. This is not as easy as it sounds, believe me. Hit the pies too hard and they drop a kind of fat-lady curtsy, skirts of pastry bulging out at the sides and the fruit starts to ooze. But with a firm, downward motion – imagine enough pressure to crush a small beetle – you can start a crumbly little landslide, giving the pastry pleasing home-made appearance. And home-made is what I’m after here. Home is where the heart is. Home is where the good mother is, baking for her children.
Delightfully smart and heartbreakingly poignant, Allison Pearson’s smash debut novel has exploded onto bestseller lists as “The national anthem for working mothers.” Hedge-fund manager, wife, and mother of two, Kate Reddy manages to juggle nine currencies in five time zones and keep in step with the Teletubbies. But when she finds herself awake at 1:37 a.m. in a panic over the need to produce a homemade pie for her daughter’s school, she has to admit her life has become unrecognizable. With panache, wisdom, and uproarious wit, I Don’t Know How She Does It brilliantly dramatizes the dilemma of every working mom.
Having read I Don’t Know How She Does It, I can only look to role models like my mum and marvel at how they managed so well. Now that I’m a twenty-something-year-old woman I would like to say that I’m a bit less of a burden on my parents… Although perhaps not. I’m not going to ask! The prospect of having to spend so much time and energy keeping my head above water as a working mum is daunting. However, it is something I would like to do one day if I can. I think children are a reward in themselves – even if they can be trying at times (sorry mum)!
I don’t think I could not go to work, at least not for any length of time. But still, it’s a lot to manage and if anyone ever needs convincing of that I honestly stress you need to pick up this book. Kate Reddy deals with all these trials and tribulations on a daily basis. Her sense of humour is absolutely fantastic and it is because of the humour that I love this book! As I said, chick-lit isn’t normally something I would pick up and read. However, I’m glad that I made the exception for this one!
I hope you enjoyed today’s First Lines Friday feature! Have you read I Don’t Know How She Does It? If not, does this intro entice you to give it a go? Let me know in the comments!
In today’s Top Ten Tuesday post, I am featuring my top ten places in books I’d love to live. I really liked the idea of this topic – which is why I’m taking part in it! Having said that, I did struggle to come up with ten. It’s not that I have a lack of books to choose from, but rather the events that take place in the book are more often than not unpleasant and consequently I wouldn’t want to live there!
For example, Westeros and Essos, the two main landmasses famous in the Game of Thrones series are notably not on here. If any of you follow the series I’m sure it’s not a huge stretch of the imagination to wonder why…
But, alas, I did come up with ten in the end. Some of them still have caveats that I wouldn’t want to live that in the circumstances of the book necessarily, but they are all lovely places but I think I could live in in more pleasant climes.
So, shall we jump into the list?
The Shire: Lord of the Rings Trilogy – J. R. R. Tolkien
The Shire has to be the top entry on today’s Top Ten Tuesday list. Maybe it is because of Tolkien’s beautiful descriptions, or perhaps it has more to do with the fact that The Shire is similar enough to where I actually live. I live in probably one of the smaller villages on the island. Whilst I certainly don’t live in a hobbit-hole, I do have the benefit of a small community and country views, just as hobbits do. For context as to just how small the villages, we have one convenience shop and one pub – you’ll be pleased to know that we’ve at least got our priorities right!
Prague: Daughter of Smoke and Bone – Laini Taylor
It would be a very far cry to describe myself as a city girl. In fact, the thought is ridiculous – I just not a fan of being around people! However, the descriptions of the city of Prague are absolutely beautiful in Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone series. So, I concede that I would be willing to give it a go. Even if I only survived living there a day, it still counts, right?
Deserted Island: Circe – Madeline Miller
This may seem like a strange addition, but I have my reasons. In Circe, the title character is banished to a deserted island. No spoilers as to why, but sometimes there is a great appeal to just have my own space. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a complete social recluse, but on a Friday evening after a full week at work, there is nothing I love more than locking my front door and just shutting the world out! I’m a very independent person and I benefit from being by myself to recharge my batteries. So, perhaps you can see the appeal of being left to one’s own devices sometimes!
The Labyrinth: The Relic Guild – Edward Cox
I can’t wholly put my finger on it, but there is something about the Labyrinth that appeals to me. Aside from the danger of magic and the quest of a small guild to save the inhabitants, there is something I like about the idea of living in a secluded area (as we’ve already covered!). For context, there is only one gateway into the Labyrinth; none who live there can leave. I hear you ask – why does that appeal? Well I suppose it’s again much like where I live. Obviously I can leave… unless you lived on the Isle of Man you won’t understand. The island is very static; the town that I grew up in hasn’t changed since my mum was a child. In some aspects I suppose there is a reassuring element to that which does not change, however equally progressive change is also somewhat lacking. Swings and roundabouts, but the concept of the Labyrinth does remind me of home. There may be a boat in the morning here yessir, but that entirely depends on the weather.
Weep: Strange the Dreamer – Laini Taylor
Weep is a legendary city in Laini Taylor’s Strange the Dreamer duology. For this particular entry, my preference would be to visit the city before the events of the books. Cataclysmic events render the city of Weep destroyed before the books begin. However, the descriptions of its beauty even afterwards are in themselves legendary and on those alone, I would like to live in and admire the fabled city before its disaster.
The Misery: The Raven’s Mark Trilogy – Ed Macdonald
Of all the places to appeal to me in the Raven’s Mark series, it is the wasted, warping desert known as the Misery that strangely appeals. It goes to show that a fantastic description of a setting can go along way to influencing your perception. In the books it is an awful place; it is ravaged by monsters and there are no fixed landmarks as magic warps the landscape constantly. It is easy to get lost. If I remember rightly there is just one location/residence in the Misery that remains a fixed point. I’d have to make my base there… but at least I would wake up to new scenery every day!
London: Rivers of London – Ben Aaronovitch
I don’t profess to be an expert on modern-day London; the fact is I’ve only visited twice in my life. I visited once with my grandparents as a child and once again more recently, albeit for the more mundane reason of a training exercise for work. Still, there is a sense of excitement and appeal to the idea of there being more behind a modern-day setting. The unknown and the magical living on your doorstep is utterly fantastical and yet my whimsical brain loves the idea! If it could happen in London it could happen anywhere. I suppose we have our kind of ‘magical inhabitants‘ here on Island if you want to call them that. If you don’t say good morning or good afternoon to the fairies when you go over the Fairy Bridge, you can expect to be asking for trouble!
If anybody reading this thinks that the last sentence was a joke… It wasn’t entirely. It is tradition to bid the fairies good day when crossing the bridge. As to whether any ill-fortune becomes of you if you don’t is entirely speculative… But who wants to be taking that chance?
Elendel: Alloy of Law – Brandon Sanderson
The Alloy of Law is a rather steampunk setting and so living in this book would be a step backwards technologically. That would be a huge adjustment, however, the industrial revolution-esque advancements the city is gradually undergoing means that it wouldn’t be uninhabitable. And as a bonus, the city has its magical protector by the name of Waxillium – I can think of far worse choices for places to live!
The Emporium: The Toymakers – Robert Dinsdale
Do I even have to elaborate on this one much? Who wouldn’t want to live and work in a magical toy shop… especially when it only opens its doors for the festive season? It’s all the fun and none of the customer service lark for most of the year. Where do I sign up?
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry: Harry Potter Series – J. K. Rowling
Living at a school teaching magic is a huge appeal, ignoring the whole ‘he who must not be named‘ situation. Obviously I wouldn’t particularly want to live there during the event of the series, however as a lover of learning and magic in books this is definitely one of my top places to live on this Top Ten Tuesday list.
So, there you have it! Here are my top ten places in books I would love to live in! Do you agree with any of my choices? Or, do you have any alternative destinations? Let me know in the comments!
Good evening everybody, and welcome to today’s Sunday Summary update post. As always, I hope you have had a good week whatever you have been up to! This week has seen some exciting behind-the-scenes changes here at Reviewsfeed. It may not sound like much, but I have made the switch from blogging on a laptop to a mobile device. I fully accept that this may not sound like much of a change to you, but it’s improved my experience of blogging. Don’t get me wrong, I still loved and enjoyed blogging before. However, I will admit writing blog posts was becoming a bit of a chore on my old laptop. It was getting to the point where I would almost dread having to turn it on and waste time trying to get it done; it either wouldn’t boot up properly, or it would be very slow and unresponsive.
Whilst I’m hoping that you as the end reader haven’t noticed a difference, I can personally say that blogging has just become a whole lot easier for me. I’m hoping that comes across over time with more blog posts and fingers crossed, better quality ones to!
I’m happy with what I’ve achieved this week. I have been reading more and I have shared several blog posts this week. Dare I say it, but it felt like the good old days of last year! Yes, I am taking more of a relaxed approach to blogging and having a reduced schedule compared to previous years. That said, circumstances meant that I’ve shared more post this week than normal. And you know what? I’ve enjoyed it!
My first blog post this week was an audiobook review for Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch. As you can probably tell from that review (and the fact that I binge-read over half of the series within a matter of months), I enjoyed the book! If you haven’t heard of it or are interested in hearing my views please go and check out that review.
My second blog post of the week saw a continuation of my Shelf Control series. In sharing this week’s featured book I took a couple of books off my TBR pile. Whilst I don’t doubt that I might have enjoyed the books that I removed to some extent, I had my reservations as to whether they would be books that I love. I’m at that point where I have so many books on my list that even anything that strikes me as mediocre or something that I will only enjoy partially can go. If I don’t think I’m going to love it, what’s the point? So, after those two removals, I came to this week’s featured book which is The Secret Library by Oliver Tearle.
I’ve also shared a blog post on Sunday. I phrase it such as I’m sharing today’s Sunday Summary post at one minute past midnight on Monday so as not to conflict with that post. It has been quite a while since I took part in a blog tour and it isn’t all that common for me to share a promotional post. That will be more commonplace this year as I am focusing on reading books that have been on my TBR for some time. I might make the odd exception here and there depending on whether a book is by an author I have featured before. But for the most part, any blog tour posts will be promotional. Sunday’s promotional blog tour post was for a book called Old Cases, New Colours by Madalyn Morgan. In that post, I have shared an extract of the book and if I do say so myself, I enjoyed reading it as I was drafting the post. If you haven’t checked that out already, please do!
When it comes to reading I feel more like my old self this week. I’ve been making odd bits of progress here and there with The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak, but nothing noteworthy for several weeks. As of last week’s Sunday Summary update I was around halfway through the book and with a promise to take the book to bed with me to read further before bed.
I’m pleased to say that since this last update, I have very nearly finished the book! Yes, I have read nearly half of it over the last week I have just half an hour’s reading time left; you can guarantee that I will be finishing this tonight. I’m quite proud that I’ve done so well this week. It feels like a long time since I’ve made that amount of progress in a short time. Bear in mind that the book weighs in at around 550 pages, so that’s over 250 (by the time I’m finished tonight) in one week alone. Granted, my read of both the Harry Potter books this year probably roughly equates to this in terms of page count, however, The Book Thief is a lot heavier in subject matter.
I have also listened to a few more chapters of A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin this week. I have taken to listening to this on an Amazon device in my living room either during lunchtime or after work. One evening, I also listened to a few chapters as well. Whilst it is nowhere near the progress of The Book Thief, I’m of the opinion that every chapter counts and so long as I am enjoying myself and the book in question then who can complain?
Much as in the previous updates in my Sunday Summary posts, I have been keeping myself busy with my current reading and as such, not discovering anything new to add to my TBR. As I mentioned above, I have taken a couple of books off my list this week. I’m not even going to pretend that the decision makes my TBR more manageable – in reality those two books removed are just a drop in a very vast ocean!
I like the sound of this week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme, which is Places in Books I Would Like to Live. Now I know how I love to go on about a Game of Thrones, but you can guarantee that Westeros (or Essos for that matter) is not featuring on that list anytime soon! All joking aside, I think I would like to take part in this week’s post and so you can expect to see this published on my blog in the next couple of days!
This week’s regular Friday feature will be another First Lines Friday post. I enjoyed featuring Nevernight by Jay Kristoff a couple of weeks ago and I’m looking forward to delving through my bookshelves to find an equally exciting introduction to share with you for this week’s instalment.
Then last, but not least, I will be back again next Sunday with another Sunday Summary update – and this one will be shared as expected… on Sunday!
But for now, that’s all from me! Have a great week and I hope to see you around on the blog again soon!
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.
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
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.
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
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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.
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.
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!
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?
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!