First Lines Friday – 19/03/2021

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

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

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

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

 

People often shit themselves when they die.

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

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

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

Someone who knew her true.

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

Never truly lived in the world you call your own.

Nor did she, really.

I think that’s why I loved her.

 

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

 

Nevernight – Jay Kristoff 

Nevernight

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

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Top Ten Tuesday – Spring 2021 TBR

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

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

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

 

The Book Thief – Markus Zusak

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

 

Fire and Blood – George R. R. Martin

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

A Clash of Kings – George R. R. Martin

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

 

The Psychology Book

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

 

Dune – Frank Herbert

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

 

Silverthorn – Raymond E. Feist

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

 

Words of Radiance – Brandon Sanderson

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

 

If We Were Villains – M. L. Rio

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

 

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

 

 

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Sunday Summary – 14th March 2021

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

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

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

 

Books Read

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

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

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

 

Books Discovered

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

 

Coming Up…

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

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

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

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

 

 

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Shelf Control #27 – 18/03/2021

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

Shelf Control is a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies. It’s a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up!

For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out Lisa’s introductory post.

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

Want to find out more?

 

The Floating Theatre – Martha Conway

Floating Theatre

The Floating Theatre by Martha Conway | Goodreads

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

My Thoughts…

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

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

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

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

 

 

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Audiobook Review: Head On – John Scalzi

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

 

Head On – John Scalzi

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

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

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

Until a star athlete drops dead on the playing field.

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

 

My Thoughts…

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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Sunday Summary – 7th March 2021

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

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

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

 

Books Read

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

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

 

Books Discovered

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

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

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

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

 

Coming Up

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

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

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

 

 

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Monthly Wrap-Up – February 2021

Welcome to today’s second monthly wrap up post for February 2021! It’s a bit later than I anticipated originally. You may have heard that the Island is now back in lockdown again, just a month after the last one. As a result, I have been working from home. I must confess the last thing I feel inclined to do is spend my time sitting at a laptop in the evening to blog when I am spending my days staring at a laptop for work! Never mind, it is what it is. 

If you read last months wrap up post, you will know that I’ve recently changed the way in which I’m writing my blog for this year. Instead of setting a monthly TBR at the beginning of a month, I am instead writing a retrospective review of what I’ve done at the end of the month. That way it takes the pressure off and I can really get back to my roots of enjoying the books I pick up, rather than feeling obliged to complete a certain number of books which at times takes the enjoyment out of it!

The decision to do this was twofold; on the one hand, I wanted to take a bit more relaxed approach to blogging given that I had such a busy year personally last year. On the other, it gives me the freedom to pick up books as and when I want to, so I have more flexibility in my choice of reading at any given time. This way I am more likely to pick up books of different genres on my TBR and so make more progress with clearing the backlog! And boy is there a backlog…

 

Books Read

This month has been a bit of a strange one. I started it by actually taking a very short break from reading whilst I did some last-minute revision for an exam I sat. It’s weird to think about that actually; I sat the exam on the 3rd of February but it doesn’t feel like it was a month ago… I would actually say it feels like a lot longer!

After that short break, I picked up Fire & Blood by George R. R. Martin for a few nights before bed. Still, I haven’t made much progress on this book this month. Why? Well, because I started reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling on impulse. Yes, it is part of my re-read, but I picked it up because I really felt like I wanted to. I really enjoyed reading Harry Potter and the Philosopher‘s Stone last month and I was eager to continue with the story. Since picking this up I have taken a break from Fire and Blood by George R. R. Martin. Rest assured, it’s still sitting on my bedside table and I plan on picking this up again soon!

I then moved onto my current read, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. It’s a funny coincidence that I picked this up when I did; about a day after I started reading it I was channel hopping for a film to watch (it was a Friday night and I wanted something substantial to watch). Lo and behold, what film did I find on Film4? You guessed it – The Book Thief!

I’m still chipping away at this, I towards the end of the month I actually deviated towards listening to my audiobooks than actual reading. As of last month’s wrap-up update, I was listening to A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin. I don’t know why particularly but I caught the bug for this and I managed to finish the audiobook this month! I will definitely be continuing with listening to series over the course of the year. It’s going to be a long one as I can testify by how long it took me to do a physical re-read, but what can I say… I just can’t stay away!

Last but not least I moved onto one final audiobook before month-end. I have started listening to The Toll by Neal Shusterman; I can’t wait to see how this final book in the trilogy ends. Of course, I have gone on to listen to this more over the past few days, but more on that in next month’s wrap-up. As of month-end I had only really just started this.

Overall, I’m quite pleased with the amount of reading I have done this month. I’m also making more of an effort to enjoy other hobbies, as well as reading and blogging. I have made a good deal of progress but equally, I haven’t forced myself into doing it when I really fancy doing something else. It’s a lot healthier balance that I was achieving last year and I feel a lot better in myself for it.

 

Blog Posts

As I did last month, I’ll be sharing the posts I published last month in case you missed any! Here are the posts: –

 

That’s all my updates for February! I hope you have enjoyed today’s post! If there is anything else you would like to see in my monthly wrap-ups, please let me know!

What books have you read recently?

 

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Sunday Summary – 28th February 2021

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s catch up Sunday Summary! I hope you have all had a good week as I have?

You may have noticed I was a little late sharing the posts I had planned this week. I shared my first post of the week on Friday. There’s no excuse really, as I already had most of my Harry Potter Book tag drafted last week. I just ended up doing other things, watching TV, knitting etc. My next post went live on Saturday, which was a review for Auxiliary: London 2039. I read this book towards the end of last year on request and I shared my thoughts on this fun cyberpunk thriller novel this week. If you haven’t taken a moment to read that, please do so using this link here.

 

Books Read

This week’s Sunday Summary section would be better titled ‘Books Listened To’, as I’ve not picked up a book this week. I have, however, listened to several hours of audiobooks… over 7 hours to be precise! As of last week’s update, I still had several hours of A Game of Thrones to make progress on. I finished that on the 25th and promptly moved on to The Toll by Neal Shusterman. I’ve listened to about two hours worth of that book so far and I can’t wait to see how events start to unfold given the conclusion to Thunderhead. I think that will start to happen soon, so I’ll be listening to more of this over the coming days

 

Books Discovered

Nothing to add here again this week, which honestly is not a bad thing!

 

Coming Up…

Tomorrow it’s officially March, and that’s kinda scary! Where has the time gone? I don’t know, but a new month means it’s time for my second monthly wrap-up post. I’ll be taking a look back at the books I read, the posts I shared and anything of note that I want to share with you about last month’s progress!

Later in the week, I’m going to share another review on the backlog pile at present. This week’s selected book is one I listened to via Audible last year. Head On by John Scalzi is the second book I have listened to by that author – I really enjoyed listening to Lock In and after that, I wanted to carry on the series. You can find out the details and my full thoughts on this listen in the coming days.

 

Until then friends, stay safe and well and I hope to see you around!

 

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Book Review: Auxiliary: London 2039

In today’s review, I feature a cyberpunk thriller novel that I really enjoyed reading towards the end of last year. I was kindly provided with a copy of the book in exchange for a review; I’m glad I agreed. It is the last book I agreed to take on before I stopped accepting any review requests. It was a really fun and intriguing read and I hope you like the sound of it too: –

 

Auxiliary: London 2039 – Jon Richter

Auxiliary: London 2039 by Jon Richter | Goodreads

The silicon revolution left Dremmler behind, but a good detective is never obsolete.

London is quiet in 2039—thanks to the machines. People stay indoors, communicating through high-tech glasses and gorging on simulated reality while 3D printers and scuttling robots cater to their every whim. Mammoth corporations wage war for dominance in a world where human augmentation blurs the line between flesh and steel.

And at the center of it all lurks The Imagination Machine: the hyper-advanced, omnipresent AI that drives our cars, flies our planes, cooks our food, and plans our lives. Servile, patient, tireless … TIM has everything humanity requires. Everything except a soul.

Through this silicon jungle prowls Carl Dremmler, police detective—one of the few professions better suited to meat than machine. His latest case: a grisly murder seemingly perpetrated by the victim’s boyfriend. Dremmler’s boss wants a quick end to the case, but the tech-wary detective can’t help but believe the accused’s bizarre story: that his robotic arm committed the heinous crime, not him. An advanced prosthetic, controlled by a chip in his skull.

A chip controlled by TIM.

Dremmler smells blood: the seeds of a conspiracy that could burn London to ash unless he exposes the truth. His investigation pits him against desperate criminals, scheming businesswomen, deadly automatons—and the nightmares of his own past. And when Dremmler finds himself questioning even TIM’s inscrutable motives, he’s forced to stare into the blank soul of the machine.

Auxiliary is gripping, unpredictable, and bleakly atmospheric—ideal for fans of cyberpunk classics like the Blade Runner movies, Richard K. Morgan’s Altered Carbon, William Gibson’s Neuromancer, and the Netflix original series Black Mirror.

 

My Thoughts…

There is a vast array of characters within the novel to complement the narrative and bring it to life. The main character who mistrusts technology is only fitting in an investigation in which technology appears to have gone awry. Carl Dremmler is a bit of a gruff old-schooler in this brave new world. He lives his life reminiscing of how things used to be… the good old days. When it comes to technology he is very old-fashioned. However, his distrust allows him a different perspective from those who have embraced it readily. Whilst he is not the most affable of people, he is very easy to read and get on with as a reader.

The universe in which Auxiliary: London 2039 is set is completely unique; the world-building aspect of this advanced civilization appealed to me greatly. The urban setting has it’s commonalities with modern-day London, but technologies like self-driving airborne vehicles place the setting distinctly apart from what we recognise London to be.

The pace of the book is great – there is plenty of action to keep the pages turning and new clues/revelations to keep you guessing. At just over 200 pages it’s a very approachable read. I read the book over a couple of days. I read a lot, so that’s not unexpected, but I honestly believe that anyone could pick this up with ease.

The plot concept of technology turning against humans isn’t a new one, but it appeals to a wide audience for a number of reasons. Technology is a huge part of our daily lives. We depend on it, and its presence is a familiar one. Technology is also evolving rapidly and with more wearable tech becoming more commonplace, the technology in Auxiliary: London 2039 doesn’t feel like a far stretch into the future. How easily we as readers can relate to futuristic technology is the reason the book is entertaining for many. If you have read even the synopsis, never mind the book, you’ll probably agree that it is an equally exciting and frightening realisation!

 

 

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Harry Potter Book Tag

Hi guys and welcome to today’s Harry Potter book tag! I was inspired to take part in this tag by one of my recent reads. As it happens I have finished reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets as of writing this post, but I’m really enjoying the re-read of the series as a whole so far and I love the questions in this tag.

I saw the post over at All you READ is Love – please go and check that out if you want to see some alternative answers to mine!

Today’s answers aren’t going to be Harry Potter books as that’s not allowed according to the original poster, Bookidote. The questions subjects relate to the magic and spells in the series, so that’s the link.

 

A Book you found the theme interesting, but you would like to rewrite it.

Circe by Madeleine Miller… without a question of a doubt. I like Greek Mythology and the idea of Circe’s character, but she was just so unlikeable. I’ve met cardboard with more personality and character development. The times she did show emotion, she was just a horrible cow.

Reading a whole book from a character’s perspective you don’t like is a slog, so this is the book I’d re-write if I could.

 

The first book in a series, that got you hooked?

Well, I mean aside from the topical Harry Potter, who else could I mention? The first book that springs to mind is Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I actually reviewed the last book of the trilogy earlier this week, which is why it popped into my head. In fairness though, reading this in October last year prompted a hasty binge read of the rest of the trilogy… something I don’t do very often! It’s a sure sign I was 1) hooked, and 2) I loved it!

 

A book you wish you could have right now.

Err… all of them?

Seriously, my answer has to be the same as that shared in All you READ is Love’s post, and that’s The Winds of Winter by George R. R. Martin. What’s even funnier is that their post was shared about two and a half years ago, and here we are… both still waiting!

I’m not complaining; perfection takes time. I’d rather wait and it is done right.

 

A killer book, both senses. Take it as you like.

In The Stand by Stephen King, 99% of the population are killed off by a virus.

Perhaps not a cheerful book selection in the current situation, but it’s probably the book with the most death in it that I’ve read… well, listened to.

 

A book you found really confusing.

American Gods by Neil Gaiman has to take the cake for this one. To this date, I’m not entirely sure what happened, other than I continued reading the book hoping that some revelation later in the book would explain the chaos I had read before.

It did not.

 

Your spirit animal book.

Strange the Dreamer starts with a character called Lazlo Strange. He is a junior librarian, who ends up swept upon an adventure to discover a lost city and its secrets. Whilst it doesn’t relate to me personally in any way, I can easily put myself in Lazlo’s shoes and I would dream the same thing if I were him. The story just resonates well with me.

 

A dark twisted book.

The Dark Chorus by Ashley Meggitt fits the bill. It’s about a boy who murders bad people in order that their souls can free a trapped angel.

 

A book that surprised you in a great way, reveals more than it is.

This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay isn’t just a humorous book written by a former doctor about some of the more bizarre people and stories he came across in his medical career. It’s also a homage to the important work NHS staff do, with little to no recognition. We rely on the fact that they will be there in our hour of need. It rarely occurs to us just how much is asked of them and it is their compassion and love for the job that keeps them going, day after day.

It’s an entertaining read, but it’s also an eye-opener as well.

 

So there you have the Harry Potter Book Tag. If you fancy doing this tag, then consider yourself tagged and let me know your answers!

 

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