Chilling Tales of the Unexpected

Blog Tour: Chilling Tales of the Unexpected – Ann Girdharry

Guess who almost mixed up their dates for their slot on the blog tour for Chilling Tales of the Unexpected?

Yep, that would be me.

Normally I am so on-the-ball with checking these things – I have never been wrong before!  The one time I don’t check before hitting publish on my Sunday Summary post, however, it’s a different story. At least I checked at all, so I am posting on the correct day!

Source: Giphy

My next blog tour is scheduled for the 14th July, so that is where I got muddled. Anyway, less about my epic failures and more about books, yes?

Chilling Tales of the Unexpected

Chillig Tales of the Unexpected

Goodreads – Chilling Tales of the Unexpected

Purchase via Amazon

Four twisty, short reads.
Addictive works of suspense,
That will leave you breathless and give you goose bumps…

Trading with Death
What sacrifice might we make for those we love? In the face of death, will we be selfish or selfless?

Tell Me a Secret
Deceit, lies and secrets – how well do we know those close to us?

Sweet Justice 
We follow Tess as she confronts the dark side…

Written on the Apple Tree 
A moment from a past life, a possession, or a simple meeting between strangers?

 

*** I kindly received a copy of Chilling Tales of the Unexpected via Rachel’s Random Resources in exchange for an honest review. All opinions stated are my own***

These tales are a fabulous read when you have a few minutes to spare.

I usually find myself engrossed in epic tomes; books jam-packed full of detail and as solid as a brick. Seriously, I am not a small handbag girl…. anything less than War & Peace and the kitchen sink and I consider myself under-equipped. In complete contrast, I had forgotten how refreshing it is to have such a light, quick read whenever you have a cheeky five minutes! Hefty books are great if they are your thing – but you have to have the time to dedicate to them in order to make it work.

Each of the four stories within Chilling Tales of the Unexpected is broken down nicely, so each part takes no longer than ten minutes to read – if that! It makes it ideal for sneaking a few pages in before work, in your lunch hour… or even a quick read before bed (so long as you don’t have an overactive imagination at least!) Each part is paced in such a way as to keep each story moving forward without a clutter of unnecessary detail. This is essential for short stories because their structure requires a minimalist approach. I also think this was used in such a way as to hide plot twists until their due time.

If I had to choose, I think my favourite story was Tell Me A Secret. It’s a complex tale of trust, deception, and manipulation and in my opinion, struck up the best balance of plot/character development whilst keeping a concise narrative.

If Ann’s work as a psychotherapist inspired some of the character’s that feature in her stories, let me say that I am glad I lock my door at night! Each story is different from the next, but most have either unsavoury characters, involve death in one way or another, or both. What makes these stories unnerving is how close a “perpetrator” (for want of a word) is to the “victim”. Think about it too hard and you’ll start overthinking about the people in your life…

No seriously, don’t.

 

In Summary…

I really enjoyed this short collection of stories. If you enjoy genres like psychological thriller or crime then these tales should appeal to you.

Well-written and concise, yet not lacking for detail either, these are perfect for filling a few minutes of free time and then occupying your mind for the rest of the day! Perhaps not ideal for those with a vivid imagination, or trust issues.

 

Want to know more? I would love if you could also check out some other stops on the tour organised by Rachel’s Random Resources… or you can find out more about the author herself below:-

Chilling Tales of the Unexpected Tour Dates

 

Author Bio

 

Born and educated in the UK, Ann Girdharry is a trained psychotherapist and has worked as a manager in the not-for-profit sector for many years.
Today she lives in Montpellier, France with her husband and two children.

She writes suspense and thrillers, is a book reviewer and occasionally blogs for the Huffington Post UK. Her crime thriller novel, GOOD GIRL BAD GIRL, was an Eric Hoffer Book Award Finalist 2017. Two of her thrillers are READERS’ FAVOURITE Five Star Books.

 

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Sunday Summary June 2018

Sunday Summary – 10th June 2018

Even the Sunday Summary post is late this week. Fabulous.

This week has been really topsy-turvy, and I feel like I’m apologising all the time for late posts. I’m probably the only person that notices. So yeah, sorry (again) for the late post. You can blame Windows updates on my laptop for this one – only after all the time and effort, it failed! That’s technology for you eh?

Anywho, here we are. Have you had a good reading week?

 

Books Read

I didn’t read as much as I would have liked this week. Again, I’ve been plagued with IT issues in getting my blog set up on a self-hosted site. Don’t get me wrong, the upgrade is certainly worth it and I’d do it all again, but I still have a number of broken links (250…ish) to fix, and that’s all after a very impatient wait to get my site transferred in the first place!

So, has the hard work paid off? What do you think of the new site?

In the moments I haven’t been inches away from throwing my laptop out of the nearest window, I been buried in one book or another. I’ve been making further progress in reading The Irrationalist by Andrew Pessin – if you want to know a little more of the story you can either check out my comments in last week’s Sunday Summary post or alternatively via OpenBooks. I would have liked to make a bit more progress on this one, but I am aiming to finish this by next Sunday’s post.

I have a Blog Tour coming up for Chilling Tales of the Unexpected, so I have also been reading the first couple of stories (out of the four within). That post is actually coming up next week, so finishing this short book is a priority for the next day or two. So far I am finding these reads really easy to either pick up as a break from heavy material or even in the few minutes before starting work. I don’t think it will take long to read the remainder of the book.

Lastly, Nevernight. Again, this is a book I am listening to and chipping away at in the mornings. I love the tone and humour in it – it really does brighten up my day! I’ll be needing the lift when the alarm goes off at 6:40 tomorrow morning, believe me.

 

Books Discovered

I have seen this book around for a while, but I confess I hadn’t read much about it or the reviews for it until last week. It has been displayed in my local *large chain bookshop* – so I decided I’d see what it was all about.

Aside from the vodka at weekends, this is just me. Routine 9-5 job, run-of-the-mill weekends… week in and week out. I think I will relate to this so much; I only wish I had looked at this sooner.

 

Coming Up…

This week, I think I am going to treat you to a Top Ten Tuesday post! We have had some absolutely fabulous weather over here – it must be a record for the longest dry-spell we have had. With that in mind, I am going to put together my Top Ten Summer reads. Maybe we’ll have some books in common!

 

 

 

So guys, as I mentioned earlier, I’ll be partaking in a Blog Tour this week for Chilling Tales of the Unexpected by Ann Girdharry. I am really looking forward to sharing my thoughts with you about this collection of short stories, so please tune in on Thursday.

 

 

 

And last, but not least, I’ll be wrapping up the week with my usual Sunday Summary post. I have actually quite enjoyed writing this post a little later in the day (writing a weekly wrap up and posting for midday on day seven seems a little strange, thinking about it). I’ve also found it a bit easier to write as I am not so time-pressured. Basically, I’m saying I am going to try this again next week.

 

I hope the wait has been worthwhile and I look forward to seeing you around! If you have a minute to drop me a line, your comments are always appreciated!

Audiobook Review: The Tattooist of Auschwitz – Heather Morris

Later than billed, today I am sharing my review of the audiobook version of The Tattooist of Auschwitz. (Sorry! In my defence though, I did say probably Friday, not definitely). As a result of moving my blog to a self-hosted site, I have had a lot of back-end fixes to make. Naturally, this has eaten up my time. Apologies for any inconvenience folks – I am trying to get everything fixed as soon as I can!

So, without further delay –

 

The Tattooist of Auschwitz

Goodreads – The Tattooist of Auschwitz

The Tattooist of Auschwitz is based on the true story of Lale and Gita Sokolov, two Slovakian Jews who survived Auschwitz and eventually made their home in Australia. In that terrible place, Lale was given the job of tattooing the prisoners marked for survival—literally scratching numbers into his fellow victims’ arms in indelible ink to create what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust. Lale used the infinitesimal freedom of movement that this position awarded him to exchange jewels and money taken from murdered Jews for food to keep others alive. If he had been caught, he would have been killed; many owed him their survival.

Like many survivors, Lale and Gita told few people their story after the war. They eventually made their way to Australia, where they raised a son and had a successful life. But when Gita died, Lale felt he could no longer carry the burden of their past alone. He chose to tell his story.

 

My Thoughts…

It is easy to forget that this is a story built around a true experience of the Holocaust. The depth of the narrative immerses you completely in the trials/ turmoils of Lale (pronounced La-le) and Gita Solokov. Taken away from his parents and transported to Auschwitz, Lale begins a new, cruel chapter of life. He is forced to tattoo the identification numbers on those brought into those awful concentration camps after him. Should he refuse, he would be killed and replaced without further consideration. Thousands died in that awful place (and many others just like it, no doubt).

Figuring that doing it in the kindest way he can is more merciful, he begrudgingly takes up the role. Exploiting what freedoms he has as a result of the role, he makes the lives of those he shares the camp with better.

 

“If he had been caught, he would have been killed; many owed him their survival.”

 

It is difficult to believe that the horrors re-lived in Lale’s narrative are based on the atrocities that did, in fact, happen. I will openly admit I had forgotten that the book was written from a survivor’s experience by the end. The narrative pulls you right into the story and you share the feelings of despair, hated and desperation along with our characters.

There are even times when the characters you think you should hate… the gun-wielding officers charged with policing the camps, are seen in a compassionate light. Described as barely more than children themselves, they are only acting as instructed; they aren’t made out to be as evil as they could be. I think there’s truth in that. The majority were probably only acting out of self-interest, or fear, just as the prisoners were. A survivor would have every right to portray these men as the monsters for their oppression. To recognise that there was more to them than that takes wisdom. It begs the question, were the officers prisoners, of a sort, as well?

I have taken to listening to audiobooks whilst getting ready for work in the morning. On the last day of listening to this book, I wanted to finish it so badly that I listened to it in the car. If you are… sensitive… to difficult topics such as this, I do not recommend listening to the last couple of chapters whilst trying to drive. That or even when you are going out in public, for that matter! I made that mistake but spared myself too many questions with the help of a little bucket load of concealer.

 

The audiobook in itself is narrated remarkably well – I think Richard Armitage captured the tone of the text just right. Although the story covers a tragic and delicate topic, there were times in which to laugh; to love. Such is life… and at these times we, as the listener, were uplifted by these small victories. We very much feel a part of the fight to survive the oppression… and dream to live and love outside of the confines and squalour of the present as much as our protagonists do.

 

End Note

The Holocaust is always going to be a difficult topic to broach, but for me, that’s not a reason to shy away from it. It is only by educating ourselves and our children, then their children that we can seek to avoid making the same mistakes. I am by no means saying we will – but we can remain hopeful. I have tried to keep the detail to a minimum, as this will not be for everyone to read. If that is the case, then I wouldn’t recommend the book to you either. If, however, you enjoy historical fiction or have enjoyed reading books of a similar nature, then this will appeal to you.

It sounds awful phrasing it like that… but you know what I mean.

Reading List – June 2018

It is that time of the month again folks – a new month and a fresh reading list!

With it being beginning of June, it’s time to bring out the summer reading list! What are you going to be reading this month? Do you spend a summer holiday indulging in a lighter read, or hit the books hard? I personally like to indulge in the latter – with a lot of time to fill and some sun to soak up, I would absolutely read something… heavier.

Having the time to take in all the details and give a trickier book all of my attention, with no distractions, is certainly my cup of tea. Alas, I have no relaxing holidays planned yet, so I will have to content myself dreaming about it.

And I feel like I need a holiday after the past couple of days! I apologise to anyone who has tried to access my site, as you may have been unable to. Remember I promised you some news in my Sunday Summary post? Well, I can finally share it – I am officially self-hosting my blog! I’ve nearly thrown my laptop at the wall in frustration (impatience, basically)… but I got there! So, with a new behind the scenes set up and a new look to boot, I hope the wait was worth it for you! There are some niggles to work out still, like missing images on old posts, but please bear with me! I’ll be working my way through fixes shortly!

So, diversions aside, shall I get on with my reading list now?

 

The Irrationalist – Andrew Pessin

So this is a carryover from last month and I have already made decent progress. Whilst I did start this last month, I had no way of finishing it on time. Sounds like the story of my life at the moment! No matter, I am already around 40% through this historical-themed murder mystery… and I cannot wait for the plot to unfold even further!

 

A Conversation With A Cat – Stephen Spotte

A Conversation With A Cat is the next book on my list for this month. OpenBooks very kindly provided me with a copy in exchange for a review. I have to say I am definitely intrigued by the unique perspective in this book… a tale of history from the eyes of (many) cats! It really isn’t every day you get to say that – that’s for sure!

 

Chilling Tales of the Unexpected – Ann Girdharry

The next book on my list is for a blog tour I am taking part in shortly. Chilling Tales of the Unexpected is a collection of four short stories… and I’ll confess I have already whet my appetite and read the first tale this weekend gone. These are only short and I think will make great material if I want to snatch a quick read in my lunch hour, or even for a break between other books. I’ll be sharing my thoughts with you on the 12th June, so I do hope you can join me then!

 

The London Murder Mysteries #1 & #2 – Alice Castle

The next two books on my list are also ARC’s because I am reviewing BOTH for another tour next month. Basically, I didn’t want to leave myself short of time to read these (I know what I am like). I’m not taking part in this tour until the 14th July, so I have no excuses! Again, going for the murder mystery theme – I must be going through a phase – haha!

 

The Eye of the World – Robert Jordan

The last book on my list is not an ARC.

Shock horror, right? Actually, I added this book to the list because it has been on my TBR a shamefully long time. Three and a half years, in fact. I know.

I added this first book of a long and established series after a friend of mine completely devoured them in the last years of school. I think so far I have tried a sample of the first chapter, but I always get distracted by other books. I have also tried a sample of the audiobook for it, but frankly, I don’t like the way in which it is narrated. I would much rather read the book myself. So I will. I am putting my foot down, and finally reading The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan.

Have you read any of the books on my reading list for this month? I would love to hear from you, as always!

Sunday Summary – 3rd June 2018

Good morning everybody! It’s a beautiful day here; the sun is shining and I have plenty of chirpy visitors on my windowsill! I trust you are all having a pleasant day, whatever you are doing.

I have some good news to share with you soon, because it is something I have been looking into and getting excited about now for weeks…

I’m going to hold my cards to my chest for just a wee bit longer and tell you after the event. I don’t want to jinx anything… so please bear with me on this one. For now though, on to my Sunday Summary…

Books Read

So what have I been reading this week? Well, picking up from last week, I finished reading The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale. The magic within makes you wish you were a child again. But the story has a darker side to it – one shaped by war and the effects it has on those that fight for their country.

Following on from this magical read, I picked up The Irrationalist by Andrew Pessin, which remains my current read. It is an intriguing read in which our Protagonist, Adrien Baillet, must pull apart the circumstances of the great René Descartes… death. With many a suspicious circumstance and plenty of enemies, it is difficult to believe that Descartes untimely death is natural, and Baillet can’t trust anybody but himself if he wants the truth. This is proving to be an interesting read so far, so I can’t wait to be able to tell you a little more about it.

I’ve also been listening to more of Nevernight by Jay Kristoff – and I have to say that the humour in this book is really what I need to pull me out of my morning grumpiness sometimes. I love the characters, the story and the narration is just… on point. I’ve already bought Godsgrave with my next credit!

Books Discovered

There’s just a couple of books in this section today!

I was intrigued by the write up of The Hangman’s Daughter, no doubt probably because I am reading a similar kind of murder mystery type genre presently. Not only that, its historical setting and the references to witchcraft drew me in. I think this is a series I will come to love… when I finally get around to reading it!

Caraval – I added this book to my TBR a while ago, and I have finally bought this book. Admittedly, I have done so based on the hype around it; I hope that wasn’t a mistake. I’ve obviously seen a lot of people talking about this book, and Stephanie Garber, so it will be interesting to see what my thoughts are on the book!

Coming Up…

As it is the beginning of June, I’m hoping to share my reading list with you in the next couple of days! Usually I like to commit to days I’ll post, but this week I can’t really. All will be revealed, I promise!

Later on in the week (hopefully Friday) I am planning on sharing an audiobook review with you! This time, I am reviewing The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris… and I really can’t wait to tell you just why I loved this book!
Until next time friends,
Rebecca mono

Author Interview – F. R. Jameson

I was recently contacted by Mr Jameson with a request to review Diana Christmas, his first of a series of screen siren noir books. The book was published in March this year – and it is a completely new genre for me to explore. I gladly accepted!
Firstly I’d like to say a huge thank you to anyone that has already taken the time to check out that post (and if you haven’t already, you can do so here!)
So, now you’ve had the opportunity to read my thoughts about the book, it’s time to introduce you to the author himself. Sharing his answers to my questions about the novel, he tells us a little of what inspired the story:-
 

Tell us all a little about yourself and give a brief summary of the book.

I’ve written for a long time, for most of my life in fact, but there was a period of a few years when I drifted away from it. That period was when I met my wife and we bought our house and had our daughter, so there was a lot going on, but it was still a source of annoyance and frustration that I couldn’t get my words to flow. However, maybe I just needed that time for the creativity within me to percolate.
‘Diana Christmas’ is the first novel of this new period of inspiration. It’s a Noir set in 1979, but harking back to a more prosperous age of British cinema. A young film journalist meets a glamorous older actress and, smitten, can’t resist becoming her knight in shining armour. However, his desire to help her swiftly has terrible consequences.

What or who inspired you to write Diana Christmas?

I love L.A. Noir novels and books about the sordid underside of Hollywood. (I’m a big fan of the ‘You Must Remember This’ podcast.) I think, ideally, I’d have written a Hollywood-set story myself. But since I’ve only been to the place once and very briefly, there’s no way I could realistically become a chronicler of it. Then one day the idea occurred to me that Britain had a film industry as well. Smaller and more parochial, but there it was with its own studios and stars. From there, everything fell into place.

Do you have any fellow authors you look up to? If so, why?

Raymond Chandler has always been a touchstone of mine, and even though I’ve not read any of his books for years, I still think of them constantly and can even quote them. Given my love of Hollywood Noir, you won’t be surprised to hear that I’m a fan of both Megan Abbott and James Ellroy; both of whom influenced this novel – Megan Abbott in particular. While from the British crime writers, I’ll always champion Barbara Vine – which was what Ruth Rendell called herself when she was having her darker and more weird moments. She produced a number of underrated, but must-read books.

What was the most challenging thing about writing the book?

It’s a period piece, so I suppose like anyone writing something in bygone years, I was constantly worried about capturing the period correctly; about not putting in some dreadful anachronism. But I also had sleepless nights about capturing the characters properly. The character of Diana, in particular. I wanted to make her convincing all the way through, and a lot of time was spent thinking about her psychology. Hopefully I’ve succeeded, or – at least – got pretty close to succeeding.

Are there any other future novels in progress?

Absolutely, the second in the ‘Silver Screen Noir’ series, ‘Eden St. Michel’, is now available for pre- order on Amazon and I am also working on the follow-up to that. Once that’s done, then I have the first draft for the first book in a different series that I want to get back to. That’s something much more in the epic horror genre. So there’s a lot of writing ahead and a lot of work ahead, but I’m enjoying myself immensely, so why not?
 


F. R. Jameson

Husband, father, author, goodreads reviewer, blogger and man who seems capable of holding seven streams of nonsense in his mind at any one moment.

F. R. Jameson
Source: Goodreads

I read a lot, have a passion for cinema and am greatly enjoying living through this golden age of television. (To think, there was a time where I never watched TV). I like to tell myself I have an array of different interests, but I might be lying to myself about that and am really just exploring different facets of the same interests. I am attempting to improve myself though, trying to grow as a human being by pushing my boundaries, finding out new things and then seeing what happens.
 
Website     Facebook     Twitter     Instagram     Goodreads

Book Review: Diana Christmas – F. R. Jameson

***I was very kindly provided with a free copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review. All the opinions stated below are my own ***

 

Diana Christmas

Goodreads – 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.

 

This was a new genre for me to explore, and I relished the opportunity to read something new.

Michael, a recently graduated film journalist, lands himself an interview with none other than former star, Diana Christmas. Quickly finding himself between the sheets with her, he embroils himself in a history of blackmail and subterfuge spanning decades.

A forewarning to readers, some of the scenes in the book are NSFW and certainly for mature readers. I have to say that whilst I don’t read anything that… pushes the boundaries, shall we say, I didn’t find the raunchier parts too intimidating or uncomfortable to read. The narrative touches upon intimacy in a way that neither shies away from it uncomfortably nor records every sordid detail, which makes for the perfect balance for someone like me.

Each of the characters presented in the book are unique and well developed. Diana herself, much as her character would strive to do, really takes centre stage when it comes to development. The author has quite evidently invested a lot of effort in getting Diana’s persona just right. From the way she speaks to the smallest mannerisms, she is remarkably expressive of her thoughts and feelings. She can change the mask she wears at the drop of a hat… and for me really embodies the expression that the whole world is a stage. The performance, in Diana’s mind, never seems to end. Sometimes, that mask slips in the heat of the moment though, and there are a few rare glimpses of Diana’s true self.

Whilst I was less a fan of Michael overall (entirely a personal bias), his character was written perfectly for the role he plays in the story. He is the love-sick puppy forever at her heels, begging for her affections and jumping through hoops to get it. He is the type of man Diana needed and was no doubt waiting for… as he is easy to manipulate. It’s not that I didn’t like him; I just wish that there was a bit more about him. I know he is young, inexperienced with life and no doubt star-struck, but he falls into the honeyed trap hook, line and sinker! I spent most of my time feeling sorry for him really – for someone purportedly educated, he’s a little wet behind the ears at times.

*Insert smutty joke here*

He did grow on me though, I have to say.

Where I found elements of Michael’s personality a few cards shy of a full deck (my opinion extends to all people of this nature – my former self included), the same cannot be said for the narrative itself. Full of twists and turns, the sophisticated, melodramatic soap opera of Diana’s life keeps the story flowing and evolving with each new development. The unexpected, less than fairy-tale like conclusion was surprising, but more importantly, brings some consequences of the pressures of fame to our attention.

Diana Christmas truly is a thriller fit for the silver screen itself.
Rebecca mono

Quintessential Quotes – A Game of Thrones edition

Happy Tuesday everybody!!
When I published my first “Quintessential Quotes” post last month, I enjoyed taking the time to review the quotes and snippets I had pulled out of books as important, significant, or downright witty. Revisiting them gives you a purpose for looking out for them in the first place, after all!
When I committed to putting this post together, I had no idea on the theme I would choose. Last time, I featured my favourite quotes from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series (of the books I had read so far, at least!).
These books continue to make a huge impression on me, so it was tough deciding on another series of equal, amazing standard to take inspiration from. As the title suggests, I finally found my muse… and I think it is a series that a lot of people love – be it the TV series or the books. So, without further adieu and in no particular order, here are my Top 5 Quotes from A Game of Thrones (Book 1):-
 
GoT 1
GoT3
These are very similar quotes and I relate to them a lot personally, as I am sure many do. We have all experienced cruelty of a kind at some point in our lives.
 
GoT 4
Another quote from our little Lion of Lannister, which is in a way quite contradictory to the first two. I like to think if I am able to mock myself, then I get the best of both. I am guilty of taking myself very seriously though.
 
GoT 5
Seems relevant even now, doesn’t it? #Brexit
 
GoT 2
This probably is my favourite quote of all, as it really sums up the players and how the game of thrones plays on and on. (I also like to compare myself to Tyrion in that my mind is my weapon, but bookish doesn’t always mean smart. I can dream, yes?)
 
Those of you familiar enough with the series will probably recognise that the majority of these quotes are sourced from none other than Tyrion Lannister. Tyrion is by far my favourite character! Always the butt of the joke and underestimated, there is something I find somewhat relatable to this wise dwarf.
If this post has achieved one thing, it had made me want to read from start to finish ALL OVER AGAIN!! And I might just do it! Watch this space.
Who is your favourite character? What quotes have you adopted from the series? I would love to know!
Rebecca mono

Sunday Summary – 27th May 2018

There is genuinely nothing more pleasant than a bank holiday weekend – especially if the sun is shining!
Feeling in the summery mood lately, I bought a small bird feeder that sticks to my window. Who knew such things existed?! You don’t have to have a garden to enjoy nature, it seems. Over the past few days I have had a number of small visitors to my windowsill.
So what else has been going on with me? This week I posted a couple of reviews to the blog, and I would really love if you could check them out (if you haven’t done so already)! On Wednesday I posted my review of Eternity’s Echoes by Evan Hirson, a science-fiction novel in which five teenagers harness the power of time travel. Sticking with the science-fiction theme, I shared my review of Empire of Silence by Christopher Ruocchio. I really enjoyed reading both these books! Science-fiction books are enjoyable reads… but it’s not a genre I pick up everyday. I’ve decided I definitely need to read more of this genre.
 

Books Read


 
This week’s read is The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale. In my Sunday Summary last week I touched on the book as I had just started reading it. Now I am just over half way through and I absolutely love it! It is a story of a Toy Emporium whose magic is legendary. The Emporium opens at first frost for the Christmas period and closes again when the snowdrops bloom. Cathy, a pregnant teenager runs away from the family that have shunned her and joins the Emporium. I love how and why Papa Jack created the Emporium. His life has not always been plain sailing, but it goes a long way to showing why he thinks and how the “magic” of his Emporium allures children and adults alike! I can’t wait to finish this book.
Nevernight has also been on my list this week, and I have been listening to this audiobook getting ready for work. This is a long audiobook, so I am going to be listening to it for a while! Annoyingly I lost a little bit of my progress (must have closed the app or something) so I had to make that up again, but it’s not the end of the world.
 

Books Discovered

img_0637
I posted about this on Instagram and Twitter yesterday, because I was so excited to receive this book mail! Season of Storms was published on the 22nd May and I am delighted to have been provided with a review copy! I really enjoyed reading The Last Wish last year – and I’ve played a little of the game franchise too! This beautiful hardback is going to be tempting me – I just know it!
 

Coming Up…

Quintessential QuotesOn Tuesday I am going to be sharing another Quintessential Quotes post, because I said I was going to write them more often. And I haven’t. Normally when I set these up I have an idea of a theme I’m going to base it on… but not this time! I’m basically going to decide when I write it.

This might be fun…

 
Diana ChristmasLater on next week I am going to be posting a review of Diana Christmas by F. R. Jameson; I was kindly requested to review this book by the author in exchange for an electronic copy. Diana Christmas is a screen siren, whom at the peak of her fame, disappears from the limelight. When our film journalist Michael meets her years later, the sinister truth starts to unravel as to why Diana disappeared.
I am also hoping to share an interview with the author about this book, so please stay tuned for that too!
Rebecca mono

Book Review: Empire of Silence – Christopher Ruocchio

***I was very kindly provided with a free copy of this book, (a huge thank you to Stevie) by Gollancz in exchange for an honest review. All opinions stated below are my own*** 

I’ll be honest and say that this book will forever have a special place in my heart, because in terms of my blogging career, it’s a milestone. It’s the first physical ARC sent to me by a publisher for review.

I’ve been looking forward to reviewing this book since the moment I finished reading it. I hope you are sitting comfortably because I have more than enough to say about this epic!

Empire of Silence GR

Goodreads – Empire of Silence

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.

 

Wow!!! Books like this really make me question why I don’t read science-fiction more often.

I was captivated by the synopsis and the promise of a tale likened to other prominent books out there. I’ll admit I was both excited but slightly dubious when I saw this likened to Dune by Frank Herbert and Patrick Rothfuss’ fantasy novel, The Name of The Wind.  Rothfuss was one of my favourite authors in my teenage years (I still eagerly await the release of Doors of Stone). Whilst I haven’t actually read Dune, a copy has been sat on my bookshelf for over a year now, but I haven’t read any more than the first few pages. You don’t have to have read the book to know it’s an award winning, revered novel in the science-fiction genre.

Association to popular authors when marketing a new book is no doubt a useful and successful tool. I will be honest and say though that I often wonder, when picking up a book for the first time, if it really is the undiscovered gem it claims to be. I worry that it may not live up to expectation.

I was not left disappointed by Empire of Silence.

The tone and narration style is indeed very similar to The Name of the Wind, so no false comparison was made there. Given that this was one of my favourite elements of that book, I was drawn in to Empire of Silence straightaway.

We are introduced to Hadrian Marlowe – a man who has already trodden the path of destiny and now recounts the tale, warts and all, for the devoted reader. He begins his journey with the best of intentions and the innocence of youth, but inevitably, life does not run smoothly for him. Lending to the visage of a wizened man, Hadrian does not shy away from his less favourable attributes or actions in telling his tale. His faults really bring our protagonist to life, for none of us are perfect after all. I’ve said time and again on my blog that I love a character with a wealth of depth, and Hadrian honestly is that.

I must also credit the evident time and effort that has gone into the structuring of the book and the supporting characters around the main storyline. In a universe based on power and hierarchy, this is inevitably, well.. important. Whilst there are a vast number of families and roles that make up this fictional universe, I didn’t find information dumped or conveyed haphazardly in the narrative. This must have been very difficult to achieve, but it makes a difference for the reader – especially for a book of this size!

The vivid descriptions of worlds truly unknown are beautiful; even the explanations of the advanced technology available to this advanced version of humans were clear. Neither did I find myself at a loss as to what the author was trying to convey, nor was the language used to do so in any way intimidating. The planets themselves may be fictional but society living on them is still governed largely in a way we understand – through power and wealth… faith and when all else fails, fear.

Empire of Silence (Sun Eater #1) is being published on the 5th July this year and I sincerely hope/believe it will become the success it deserves. It’s association to other epics will no doubt perform wonders in helping Christopher Ruocchio launch himself as a successful author in his own right.

It is well deserved, if you ask me.
Rebecca mono