Tag: amreading

Sunday Summary – 29th March 2020

Today’s Sunday Summary comes at the end of a very weird week. In less than seven days I have gone from going to work as normal to working from home; as an island, we have gone from quarantining all arrivals as a precaution to closing our borders and all residents under lockdown. It’s the right thing to do, but it is unsettling, to say the least!

I had scaled back my blogging this week in anticipation of moving house, but that has now been put off until everything settles down. I have no idea when that is, but I’m hoping it isn’t too long. So, aside from today’s Sunday Summary post, I have only shared one other post this week. On Wednesday I shared my review of Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. I had no idea what I was going to make of this book since it’s out of my comfort zone completely! I really enjoyed it though, even if it did make me cry!

 

Books Read

Picking up from last week, I am still reading The God Game by Danny Tobey. I’ve progressed nicely from the 70 odd pages I had already read and I am now just shy of 360 pages in. My aim is to finish this book tonight after this post goes live.

I’ve also been thinking about Good Omens, which I haven’t really revisited. After putting this down to prioritise blog tours, I really struggled to pick this up again. I’ve been mulling it over and I have decided to DNF it. I wasn’t enjoying it so much that I looked forward to reading it, and I can’t get back into it. My Beat the Backlist Challenge isn’t going so well at the moment – I’ve DNF’d 2/5 books I’ve picked up!

I’m a little disappointed I haven’t read more this week, but I understand why I haven’t as well. My routine has all been up in the air and it’s thrown me off. As moving date was initially pulled right forward to this Friday I spent Monday furiously packing the essentials I had been leaving until last. However, on Tuesday it was postponed and I spent Tuesday night unpacking again.

There is better news about listening to my Crooked Kingdom audiobook though – I finished this today! I normally listen to audiobooks in the car when I’m driving, but since I haven’t been commuting I was worried that progress on Crooked Kingdom would stall. I have found a way to make this work though! Something else I have taken up (again) this week to keep myself occupied is crochet. I’m making a baby blanket for my friend’s little one, who is due to make her appearance anytime soon! I’ve found listening to audiobooks whilst doing this really easy! If you want a sneak peek of the blanket, check out my Instagram page!

 

Books Discovered

I stumbled across an advert on Facebook for a locally based author on Saturday night, and so I started looking at a few of his books. I wasn’t sure if the advertised book was quite for me, however, I found The Seaside Detective Agency. The sound of this light-hearted mystery is perfect right now, especially with everything so sombre going on. Characters who are ‘bumbling idiots with the best intentions’ are what I need right now. I believe it’s set in my home town too, so I am interested to see how it’s portrayed!

If the novel were less satirical and more realistic, the PI’s in this would be brilliant. They’d know what was going on with you before you did yourself. Everyone knows the skeet* in Peel.

*Skeet is a Manx term, meaning gossip.

 

Coming Up…

My blogging schedule will be back to its usual self next week.

My first planned post of the week is a review of These Are Not the Trinity Papers by Vale Zalecki. I was kindly given a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review at the end of last year. I finished reading this at the beginning of February, so it’s time to put my thoughts together and share them with you.

Next up will be my reading list for April. With only my last couple of blog tours left to do, I have a lot of flexibility with what I can read. I have more time too, so I am hoping to squeeze a good few books in.

On Friday I’ll be sharing the next book in my Shelf Control series. This week’s book features a historical fiction novel set in a new time period for me to explore. It also has an unusual main character! I’m not telling you any more than that – such a tease I know…

On Sunday I am taking part in a blog tour so you can expect a review from me on that day. You can check out the details of the book in my reading list post. Don’t fret though, my Sunday Summary post will be published first thing on Monday morning, so you’ll be able to catch my weekly update post then.

That’s all from me in today’s Sunday Summary post! How has your week been? What have you been reading?

 

 

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Sunday Summary – 22nd March 2020

Hey guys and welcome back to another Sunday Summary post! I hope you are all well in this crazy world we are living in right now. Since you hear about it absolutely everywhere else though, let’s not talk about it and instead distract ourselves with talk about all the fabulous books we can!

So, what have I been up to this week? My first post of the week was published on Tuesday. It had been about three months since I last shared a Top Ten Tuesday post, so I was long overdue one. In this week’s post, I shared my top ten reasons I love being a book blogger.

On Wednesday caught up with a book review for one of my favourite books in 2019. Regular readers will know just how much of a fan I am for Margaret Atwood and The Handmaid’s Tale. I really enjoyed revisiting and reviewing the sequel, The Testaments.

This week’s First Lines Friday post featured another of my favourite books. Sticking with my previous theme of sharing books I read pre-blog, I shared the introduction to a book I read for the first time as a teenager.

 

Books Read

In last week’s Sunday Summary update I was reading Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson and about a quarter of the way through the book. I really enjoy reading Brandon Sanderson’s books, so it’s hardly surprising that I managed to finish this one on Friday this week. It picks up from The Alloy of Law nicely, and since that was also a recent read I got into it straight away!

After Shadows of Self, I picked up my ARC copy of The God Game by Danny Tobey. I’m just about 70 pages into the book at the moment and the story is coming into its own. I’m intrigued to see what this ‘game’ is and how the book progresses. So far it has been a nice and easy read.

And now onto the audiobook section. So, I still haven’t finished Crooked Kingdom yet, but I will VERY SOON! I have three hours and thirty minutes left, so I only have an hour more to listen to than I would get through normally in the week! I will finish it next week – I promise!

 

Books Discovered

I’ve been really good this week and there are no additions to share. The sad news is, my local regular bookstore haunt is closing tomorrow until further notice. I’ll just have to make do with the hundred or so physical books I own already…
I wish I was joking. I counted them recently – it’s a ridiculous number. Am I ashamed? Absolutely not!

 

Coming Up…

Things are probably going to seem a little quiet here for the next few weeks or so. I am going to keep posting as much as time allows, but I do have some other commitments that are going to take up some of my time.
With that in mind, I am cutting down my blogging schedule to a couple of posts a week. I’ll post my Sunday Summary updates as usual.

Midweek, I want to share another book review. I have plenty to get through! This week I am going to be sharing a review of a book that I borrowed from the library last year. I borrowed it rather than getting my own copy as I didn’t know what I was going to make of it at all. It was a little out of my comfort zone, but I am glad I read it. I wanted to read Me Before You by Jojo Moyes as it touches on the sensitive subject of euthanasia. I didn’t expect to fall in love with it as I did!

That’s everything to look forward to next week and all from me in today’s Sunday Summary! What have you been reading?

 

 

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Sunday Summary – 15th March 2020

Today’s Sunday Summary post is coming to you a little late since I was taking part in a blog tour yesterday. I hope you had a good weekend!

This week has brought to you a couple of blog tours. The first of those, a review of Helene by Karl Drinkwater, was shared on Monday. Helene is a short story that ties into this Lost Solace series. I really enjoyed the book, and writing that post. I also got some great feedback from the author, who has also asked me to review two further books of his off the back of it!

After my post on Monday I took a few days “off” so to speak (I had some personal stuff to catch up with!), and shared my next post on Friday. This week’s Shelf Control post featured a contemporary novel that I wouldn’t typically describe as my cup of tea. That said, I do really love the sound of the book based on the synopsis and I am always open to trying something new.

Lastly, I shared my blog tour review of Tooth and Blade by Julian Barr on Sunday. This book is really unique in that it combines Norse mythology and fantasy together with a strong female protagonist trying to find her way in a world where she doesn’t fit in.

 

Books Read

My priority of the week was reading Tooth and Blade by Julian Barr since yesterday was my blog tour date. I actually read this book in a couple of days. These three novellas combined total around 288 pages, but honestly, it was so easy to read that they flew by! The story is unlike anything I have read before as well, so I was keen to see how events played out. If you want to read more about it, my link to my review is above.

After a great start to the week, I hit a slump midweek. After reading Tooth and Blade I picked up Good Omens again. All my blog tour reading is done at this point, so I was free to go back to it. I’ve struggled to get back into it though. I’ve picked it up three or four times this week, but I’ve not been able to stick with it. I distract myself with other things or my attention would wander. I don’t know why I’m not getting back into it, but there we are. I’ve read about 10% this week. That’s 50 pages, but it doesn’t feel like much of an achievement, to be honest. I’ll keep trying, but I’m going to take a short break from it.

After an unsuccessful attempt at returning to Good Omens, I decided to move on to the next book on my TBR. After reading The Alloy of Law recently I wanted to continue catching up with this series. Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson is proving more successful in terms of reading. I only started this on Saturday night and as of writing this post, I’m already 25% through it. I reckon I can squeeze in another hour of reading before bed tonight. By the time this post goes live, I should be about 40% through, or close to.

I’ve chipped another couple of hours or so off my audiobook Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo. The plot is really coming together now, so I’m looking forward to seeing how the gang get themselves out of the trouble they’ve landed in!

 

Books Discovered

 

I’ve been pretty good this week, as I’ve been busy reading, trying to read or catching up with some other stuff I’ve had to do!

 

Coming Up…

Now that all my blog tours are done for the month, I plan to share some reviews I need to catch up with. Before that though, it’s been a long time since I wrote a Top Ten Tuesday post. This week, taking into account my blog’s 3 year anniversary is coming up next month, I want to share my top ten reasons I love being a book blogger!

On Thursday I’m sharing a review for a book I was dying to get my hands on last year. Little did I know that my copy of the book was going to be special! Yes, I am talking about The Testaments by Margaret Atwood. If I was intolerably excited before collecting my pre-ordered copy that day, I would have been worse that afternoon! It’s been five months or so since I read the book, so I can’t wait to finally set my thoughts down about it.

On Friday it’s the turn of a First Lines Friday post. I enjoyed featuring a book I read prior to starting my blog in my last First Lines Friday post, so I am going to try and do the same thing again.

Last, but certainly not least, next week’s Sunday Summary post will be coming to you on schedule.

I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s belated Sunday Summary post. Have you read any of these books?

 

 

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Blog Tour Review: Tooth and Blade – Julian Barr

Welcome to today’s blog tour review for Tooth and Blade by Julian Barr. I hope you are having a lovely weekend?

I’m looking forward to sharing my thoughts with you about this book. When Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources circulated the book and tour details, I was immediately drawn in by the combination of Norse mythology and fantasy. I’ve read a few books with elements of Norse mythology in them, such as Bernard Cornwell’s The Saxon Stories (aka The Last Kingdom) series. I really enjoy reading more about it and was curious to see how these elements would come together.

As always, thank you to Rachel and to the author Julian Barr for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review!

 

Tooth and Blade – Julian Barr

Parts 1-3 of the legendary TOOTH AND BLADE series together for the first time!

Two worlds. One destiny.

Dóta has dwelled sixteen years among the trolls. She knows nothing but the darkness of her family’s cave. Her mother says humans are beasts who would slay them all. Yet the gods of Asgard whisper in the night: Dóta is a child of men, a monster unto monsters.

To discover her human side, Dóta must take up her bone knife and step into the light above. Secrets await her in the human realm—beauty, terror, the love of a princess.

Soon Dóta must choose between her clan and humankind, or both worlds will be devoured in fire and war.

A monster sheds no tears.

Norse mythology meets historical fantasy in TOOTH AND BLADE. Step into a realm of haunted meres, iron and magic.

 

Purchase Links – Amazon UK     Amazon US     Books2Read

 

My Thoughts…

Dóta is a daughter of two worlds. Born to human parents but raised by trolls, she is a unique character. Until she is permitted to go up to the surface and experience the world for herself, Dóta lives a sheltered life. Only her mother and brother’s stories about her past and the world above feed her curiosity, until one day she is sent above to hunt for herself.

Tooth and Blade is a tale of magic, discovery, identity and conflict. As I expected, I really enjoyed the Norse mythology element. I am still a novice when it comes to knowledge of Norse mythology, however, I know the basics. The gods and concepts of destiny and fate were present consistently throughout the book, so it definitely has a significant influence on the narrative.

At 288 pages, these three novellas together are an excellent length to establish an interesting world and allow for plenty of action and character development. I actually read Tooth and Blade in a couple of days. The story and writing style flow so well that it makes for an easy read to pick up and enjoy.

Tooth and Blade has many elements that wouldn’t typically be put together into one narrative, and yet it all gelled perfectly. The narrative has a solid plotline that cleverly brings all the characters and their different backgrounds together. Dóta is my favourite of all though. She is a truly unique character who doesn’t strictly fit in. She’s fierce and a fighter, and after all the turmoil of discovering who she really is, she decides to carve her own path instead of letting others decide what role she should play.

Dóta isn’t the only strong female character. There are other female warriors, trained to protect the King no less. My experience of Norse/Viking novels is that lead characters are very young, alpha-male personalities. Men. Tooth and Blade showed a completely different perspective, which is refreshing!

If you’d like to read more about Tooth and Blade, you can check out some of the other blog tour posts – details below.

 

Author Bio

Julian Barr first fell in love with all things ancient and magical in childhood, when he staged his own version of I, Claudius using sock puppets. After his PhD in Classics, he did a brief stint as a schoolteacher, hated being called ‘sir,’ and dived into storytelling. Although he remains open to the possibilities of sock puppet theatre, historical fantasy is his passion. He has published scholarly research on Roman medicine and the gastronomic habits of Centaurs, but prefers to think of himself as an itinerant bard. He is also the author of the Ashes of Olympus trilogy.

Social Media Links –

https://twitter.com/jbarrauthor

https://www.facebook.com/jbarrauthor/

https://jbarrauthor.com/

 

Blog Tour Review: Helene – Karl Drinkwater

Today’s blog tour post is a review of Helene by Karl Drinkwater. Helene is a really enjoyable short science-fiction story that relates to Karl’s Lost Solace series. As it happens, I haven’t read these books and I am new to this author. If you haven’t read these books don’t worry, because you don’t really need to! I actually enjoyed reading Helene as an introduction to the Lost Solace universe.

Before I get stuck in with my review in earnest, I would like to take the opportunity to thank both Karl and Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the tour! It’s only day one of the tour, so please lookout for the other posts coming up over the coming days. You can find a list of all those taking part in the tour at the bottom of this post!

Helene – Karl Drinkwater

Goodreads – Helene (Lost Tales of Solace #1)

Dr Helene Vermalle is shaping the conscience of a goddess-level AI.

As a leading civilian expert in Emergent AI Socialisation, she has been invited to assist in a secret military project.

Her role? Helping ViraUHX, the most advanced AI in the universe, to pass through four theoretical development stages. But it’s not easy training a mind that surpasses her in raw intellect. And the developing AI is capable of killing her with a single tantrum.

On top of this, she must prove her loyalty to the oppressive government hovering over her shoulder. They want a weapon. She wants to instil an overriding sense of morality.

Can she teach the AI right and wrong without being categorised as disloyal?

Lost Tales of Solace are short side-stories set in the Lost Solace universe.

 

Purchase Link – https://books2read.com/b/Helene

 

My Thoughts…

Short stories are a great way of changing up your reading habits or trying something new. I read more short stories last year than I ever have before, and reading Helene has reminded me of why I enjoy them so much! At 72 pages, this science-fiction novel is a great way to enjoy a good story in a small space of time. I read Helene in two sittings over this weekend in coffee breaks. Sometimes it’s nice to enjoy something lighter than the several-hundred-page epics I’m known to read.

Helene has a simple, easy to read writing style, so it’s perfect to just pick up and dive into straight away. I think there is a certain stigma to science-fiction and that it’s perceived as complicated. This really wasn’t. Any science terms were explained in layman’s terms so it wasn’t an effort to understand at all. The narrative style has a relaxed flow that I found really easy to read. The chapter lengths also make this easy to pick up and put down at leisure.

What also made Helene great for me was that even in the conciseness of the story, there is plenty of background information for the reader to get to learn a little of the Lost Solace universe. It’s just enough to serve as an introduction without getting too heavy or detracting from the action of the short story in itself. It was a perfect balance. The ending of the book links in with the Lost Solace series, which I didn’t understand entirely until I read the synopsis of that book and a couple of reviews afterwards. It doesn’t detract from the book at all though – if anything, it makes you want to read on and find out how the story evolves.

Artificial Intelligence is a huge topic within the science-fiction genre. That said, the premise of teaching and socialising ViraUHX was one that I haven’t come across before and is quite unique. It also allows plenty of opportunity for humour and there are a good number of laugh-out-loud moments in this short book.

 

Author Bio

Karl Drinkwater is originally from Manchester but lived in Wales for twenty years, and now calls Scotland his home. He’s a full-time author, edits fiction for other writers, and was a professional librarian for over twenty-five years. He has degrees in English, Classics, and Information Science.

He writes in multiple genres: his aim is always just to tell a good story. Among his books you’ll find elements of literary and contemporary fiction, gritty urban, horror, suspense, paranormal, thriller, sci-fi, romance, social commentary, and more. The end result is interesting and authentic characters, clever and compelling plots, and believable worlds.

When he isn’t writing he loves exercise, guitars, computer and board games, the natural environment, animals, social justice, cake, and zombies. Not necessarily in that order.

Social Media Links –

https://www.facebook.com/karlzdrinkwater/

https://twitter.com/karldrinkwater

https://www.instagram.com/authorkdrinkwater/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5766025.Karl_Drinkwater

 

Sunday Summary – 8th March 2020

Drafting my Sunday Summary post can only mean it’s Sunday evening again friends! Where does the weekend go? It seems only five minutes ago that I was here typing up last week’s post. I hope you had a good week (and weekend) since then.

The week began with me putting together my reading list for March. I have one carryover from February since I only just started it at the end of last month. Given this week’s progress already though, I’m optimistic for a good month. I had to defer one book I wanted to read this month to make up for being behind, but I might just get around to it if I can keep it up!

On Wednesday I took part in a blog tour for Lady Edith’s Lonely Heart by Audrey Harrison, a romantic historical fiction novel. Although slightly different from my typical read, I really enjoyed promoting the book as part of the tour. I am sure I have readers that this would appeal to.

My First Lines Friday post was really fun to write. It’s not very often that I feature books that I read in my teenage or pre-blog years. It was something I was thinking about when writing last week’s Sunday Summary. So, I decided I would make a conscious effort to feature one such book in this post. The one I have featured is one of my favourites by far and I am still awaiting the next book in the series. Maybe one day it’ll be published!

I also shared another blog tour post yesterday for Songbird by Karen Heehan. This particular tour post was a review and I hope I did my feelings for the book justice. It wasn’t quite what I expected, but in fact, was so much better for it! I really enjoyed it! Songbird strikes the perfect balance of historical fiction and character-led narrative.

 

Books Read

I briefly started this week where I left off with Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. I did manage a little night-time reading before bed on Sunday as planned.

Come Monday evening though, I decided I needed to put it aside and start reading Songbird ahead of the blog tour. That’s how I spent most of the week as well. I finished Songbird on Friday night and started drafting my post right away. It was good in a way, as it was all fresh in my mind!

I’ve had quite a busy weekend as I was doing the usual housework Saturday afternoon and I was out last night. That said, I still managed to read around 60% of a short story, Helene yesterday and I finished it this morning. I have a very imminent blog tour for that as well, so this had also been read in good time! I say this every time I read one, but I forget how great short stories are! They’re great for little breaks between other reads or to enjoy another genre for a change. I really like science-fiction too, so I got into this straight away!

I’ve continued listening to Crooked Kingdom this week. I only tend to get through about two and a half hours of audiobook a week. Occasionally I can listen to more, depending on what else I am doing. I still have a few hours of this left to go, but since I’m getting closer to the conclusion I might pick up the pace.

 

Books Discovered

Technically there shouldn’t be anything to report here this week! However, I’ve just realised I forgot to mention an addition to my TBR a couple of weeks ago.

Having read a great review for The Black Coats by Colleen Oates, I decided to add it to my list to read.

 

Coming Up…

Next week’s line-up gets started early, as I am taking part in a blog tour tomorrow. I’m going to be reviewing my read of Helene by Karl Drinkwater, so if you like short stories, science fiction novels (or both!) I think you’ll enjoy my thoughts on this book!

I want to use this week to catch up with a few personal things, so my next blog post won’t be going live until Friday. It’s the turn of my Shelf Control feature post. This week’s featured novel is a contemporary fiction novel, not something I would say I read regularly. All I’ll say is that I think I’ll really enjoy this book as it has a very sentimental nature to it, and I’m very much like that personally. I hope that’s a sufficient tease to get you to check out that post!

My usual Sunday Summary post is being delayed a day in light of the fact that I have a second blog tour post this week. On Sunday I will be reviewing Tooth & Blade by Julian Barr. As of yet, I haven’t started reading this book, but that’s tonight’s plan if I get my second post of the night drafted up in good time!

I hope you have enjoyed this week’s Sunday Summary post! Have you read any of the books featured?

 

 

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Reading List – March 2020

I can’t believe it is the beginning of March and I’m writing my reading list post already! Last month just flew by. I know it’s a short one, but still! I’m happy with my reading progress last month given that I had a few bits on. I didn’t quite finish last month’s reading, so I am carrying one book over.

Shall we take a look at the books on this month’s TBR?

 

Good Omens – Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

Goodreads – Good Omens

‘Armageddon only happens once, you know. They don’t let you go around again until you get it right.’

People have been predicting the end of the world almost from its very beginning, so it’s only natural to be sceptical when a new date is set for Judgement Day. But what if, for once, the predictions are right, and the apocalypse really is due to arrive next Saturday, just after tea?

You could spend the time left drowning your sorrows, giving away all your possessions in preparation for the rapture, or laughing it off as (hopefully) just another hoax. Or you could just try to do something about it.

It’s a predicament that Aziraphale, a somewhat fussy angel, and Crowley, a fast-living demon now finds themselves in. They’ve been living amongst Earth’s mortals since The Beginning and, truth be told, have grown rather fond of the lifestyle and, in all honesty, are not actually looking forward to the coming Apocalypse.

And then there’s the small matter that someone appears to have misplaced the Antichrist…

 

Good Omens is my carryover. I only just started reading this at the end of last week, so it’s hardly surprising I’ve had to carry it over to this month. That said, I’ve managed to make a good start over the past day or two and I am enjoying the book so far! It’s definitely got the flavour of Terry Pratchett’s humour I love so I can see myself finishing this book pretty quickly!

 

Songbird – Karen Heenan

Goodreads – Songbird

Bess has the voice of an angel, or so Henry VIII declares when he buys her from her father. As a member of the Music, the royal company of minstrels, Bess grows up within the decadent Tudor court, navigating the ever-changing tide of royals and courtiers. Friends come and go as cracked voices, politics, heartbreak, and death loom over even the lowliest of musicians. Tom, her first and dearest friend, is her only constant. But as Bess becomes too comfortable at court, she may find that constancy has its limits.

 

My first blog tour related read of the month is this historical fiction novel. I love the Tudor period of history and I haven’t picked up a book on it in ages! Also, books with politics in them really interest me, which is funny because I hate politics! At least, I hate ours!

 

Helene – Karl Drinkwater

Goodreads – Helene

Dr Helene Vermalle is shaping the conscience of a goddess-level AI.

As a leading civilian expert in Emergent AI Socialisation, she has been invited to assist in a secret military project.

Her role? Helping ViraUHX, the most advanced AI in the universe, to pass through four theoretical development stages. But it’s not easy training a mind that surpasses her in raw intellect. And the developing AI is capable of killing her with a single tantrum.

On top of this, she must prove her loyalty to the oppressive government hovering over her shoulder. They want a weapon. She wants to instil an overriding sense of morality.

Can she teach the AI right and wrong without being categorised as disloyal?

Lost Tales of Solace are short side-stories set in the Lost Solace universe.

 

I’m definitely reading more in the way of science-fiction than I ever have before. I have been fortunate to have picked up some great books recently, which means I keep gravitating back to the genre.

I love the premise of this novel. Artificial Intelligence is definitely relevant right now and there are plenty of people sat on the fence about its benefits and drawbacks. It sounds like this book might touch on that, so I can’t wait to read it and share my thoughts with you in the upcoming blog tour!

 

Tooth & Blade – Julian Barr

Goodreads – Tooth and Blade

Parts 1-3 of the legendary TOOTH AND BLADE series together for the first time!

Two worlds. One destiny.

Dóta has dwelled sixteen years among the trolls. She knows nothing but the darkness of her family’s cave. Her mother says humans are beasts who would slay them all. Yet the gods of Asgard whisper in the night: Dóta is a child of men, a monster unto monsters.

To discover her human side, Dóta must take up her bone knife and step into the light above. Secrets await her in the human realm–beauty, terror, the love of a princess.

Soon Dóta must choose between her clan and humankind, or both worlds will be devoured in fire and war.

A monster sheds no tears.

Norse mythology meets historical fantasy in TOOTH AND BLADE. Step into a realm of haunted meres, iron and magic.

 

I love the idea of a mash-up of Norse Mythology and fantasy. Honestly, it’s so unlike anything I have read before that I wanted to give it a try.

 

Shadows of Self – Brandon Sanderson

Goodreads – Shadows of Self

Shadows of Self shows Mistborn’s society evolving as technology and magic mix, the economy grows, democracy contends with corruption, and religion becomes a growing cultural force, with four faiths competing for converts.

This bustling, optimistic, but still shaky society now faces its first instance of terrorism, crimes intended to stir up labor strife and religious conflict. Wax and Wayne, assisted by the lovely, brilliant Marasi, must unravel the conspiracy before civil strife stops Scadrial’s progress in its tracks.

Shadows of Self will give fans of The Alloy of Law everything they’ve been hoping for and, this being a Brandon Sanderson book, more, much more.

 

I really enjoyed reading The Alloy of Law back in January and I am keen to make even more progress with this series. It’s been on my TBR for a long time so it’s overdue! I honestly love every single Brandon Sanderson book I have ever read. The Alloy of Law was brilliantly reminiscent of the previous Mistborn trilogy, yet so much more! The change in setting and characters really worked for me. I can’t wait to get back to their adventures!

 

The God Game – Danny Tobey

Goodreads – The God Game

You are invited!
Come inside and play with G.O.D.
Bring your friends!
It;’s fun!
But remember the rules. Win and ALL YOUR DREAMS COME TRUE.™ Lose, you die!

With those words, Charlie and his friends enter the G.O.D. Game, a video game run by underground hackers and controlled by a mysterious AI that believes it’s God. Through their phone-screens and high-tech glasses, the teens’ realities blur with a virtual world of creeping vines, smoldering torches, runes, glyphs, gods, and mythical creatures. When they accomplish a mission, the game rewards them with expensive tech, revenge on high-school tormentors, and cash flowing from ATMs. Slaying a hydra and drawing a bloody pentagram as payment to a Greek god seem harmless at first. Fun even.

But then the threatening messages start. Worship me. Obey me. Complete a mission, however cruel, or the game reveals their secrets and crushes their dreams. Tasks that seemed harmless at first take on deadly consequences. Mysterious packages show up at their homes. Shadowy figures start following them, appearing around corners, attacking them in parking garages. Who else is playing this game, and how far will they go to win?

And what of the game’s first promise: win, win big, lose, you die? Dying in a virtual world doesn’t really mean death in real life—does it?

As Charlie and his friends try to find a way out of the game, they realize they’ve been manipulated into a bigger web they can’t escape: an AI that learned its cruelty from watching us.

God is always watching, and He says when the game is done.

 

I was very lucky to receive a copy of this from Gollancz in exchange for a review. Again, I love the science-fiction vibe. If asked what my second hobby was (because reading is my first, obviously),I’d say it’s gaming. I don’t have anywhere near as much time as I used to spend playing games on my laptop, but I do enjoy it now and then!

The premise of The God Game combines my two favourite hobbies, so I have very high hopes that I’ll enjoy it. It reminds me of another book I received by Gollancz and reviewed last year – Ctrl+S by Andy Briggs. That particular book blended these two together, as well as included virtual reality and I really enjoyed it.

So, that’s March’s TBR taken care of. Have you read any of the books on this month’s list? Have any of them caught your eye? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

 

 

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Sunday Summary – 1st March 2020

Good evening everyone! I hope you have all had a lovely weekend. It’s Sunday night again, so it’s time for me to write this week’s Sunday Summary post!

So, what have I been up to this week? Well, my first post of the week was published early on Monday. I took part in the blog tour for Unborn by Rachel McLean and enjoyed both reading and sharing my thoughts on the book.

On Wednesday I shared my second review of the week. In an effort to catch up with reviewing some of the books I read last year, I finally shared my review of The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton. If you like murder mysteries with a twist then I definitely recommend you check this one out!

Friday’s Shelf Control post featured the first book of a series I want to get into soon. It’s on my Beat the Backlist challenge for this year, so I don’t think I’ll be too long in getting stuck into this book. I’ve read another series by this author, but I read and loved that a long time ago – probably when I was a teenager.

 

Books Read

I’ve spent most of this week reading City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett. It actually took me a little longer to read than I anticipated in last week’s Sunday Summary post – it’s a reasonably long book. I did spend my evenings on other things than just reading too, but that’s fine. I still managed to finish it last night.

It’s almost barely worth mentioning, but I did pick up Good Omens very briefly after City of Stairs. I’ve not even finished the first chapter yet, so I’m hardly far with it at all. I’ll be picking it up again before bed tonight though, so fingers crossed there’s more progress made with that tonight.

I’m still really enjoying Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo as well. I didn’t listen to as much of this as I normally do. As you may know, I tend to listen to it in the car on the way home from work. A couple of days this week I just really fancied listening to music instead, so I did. I have just less than 9 and a half hours to go to reach the conclusion, so I still have plenty to enjoy!

 

Books Discovered

Nothing too wild to note here, compared to my recent book splurges thankfully. I have added the sequel to City of Stairs to my TBR. The synopsis of City of Blades sounds really intriguing. I had no idea how the series was going to continue given how City of Stairs ended, so I can’t wait to find out what comes next in this instalment…

I’ve also added a non-fiction book to the list as well this week. It is currently Non-Fiction Book of the Month at Waterstones, which is how I came across it. I don’t read much non-fiction but this does pique my interest.

 

Coming Up…

It’s March already, so I’ll be starting the week by sharing this month’s reading list. I have a couple of books for blog tours, a couple of Beat the Backlist entries, as well as a re-read and an ARC from a publisher to read. I hope you can check out that post and find out exactly what I am reading.

Midweek I am taking part in a blog tour and sharing a promo post. For personal reasons, I am winding down on blog tours in the short-term, but I do still have a few more scheduled.

On Friday I plan to share another First Lines Friday post. I really enjoy writing these, even if finding a really good introduction tempts me to stray from my planned reading list! It’s also a great way to feature books that I read in my pre-blog days too, which I might try to do this week.

That’s today’s Sunday Summary post wrapped up! What have you been reading this week? Have you read any of the books featured? If so, let me know what you think!

 

 

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Blog Tour Review: Unborn – Rachel McLean

Good morning everyone and welcome to today’s review of Unborn by Rachel McLean. Unborn is a dystopian fiction novel with elements of a legal thriller. The premise – abortion has been criminalised. Women are denied the right to terminate a pregnancy, even for medical reasons.

As soon as I received the invite to the tour from Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources I knew I had to take part. I find myself in a position where I think I can offer a unique perspective to the book and the topic.

Abortion laws have been a hot topic locally in the last few years. The current abortion law in the UK was passed in 1968, but as a crown dependency, the Isle of Man has its own Government and laws. As such, our Government didn’t follow suit until the 24th May 2019. Yes, you read that right – it was passed less than a year ago.

The idea of abortion being criminalised may seem ludicrous to many, but still, for some, it is a horrific reality. Unborn challenges some of these difficult scenarios.

 

Unborn – Rachel McLean

Goodreads – Unborn

She killed her unborn child. The punishment will fit the crime.

America, 2026.
Feminism has been defeated.
Equality is a memory.
And abortion has been criminalized.

Three women find themselves on the wrong side of the law.

Kate, carrying the child of a sexual predator.
Grace, whose baby will be born with a fatal deformity.
And Cindee: abused, abandoned and pregnant.

Can these three very different women come together to fight an oppressive system and win their freedom?

Find out by reading Unborn, a chilling dystopia combined with a gripping legal thriller.

 

Purchase Links –   Amazon UK      Amazon US

 

My Thoughts…

The most standout element of Unborn, for me, is the quality of writing and the tact in dealing with potentially upsetting situations. Unborn has multiple female characters that have become pregnant in less-than-ideal circumstances. They live in a world where they are not permitted to freely choose the fate of their lives once they conceive. Some of the ideas in the book about how to go about abortion in a country where it is illegal are, shockingly, options that some have to take. I would argue that the book is informative in the struggle some women had historically or do have to go through. I suppose it makes you appreciate having the freedom of choice to terminate, even if you don’t want to take it.

As a woman who has lived through the debate and could one day be affected by the issues touched on in the book (although I sincerely hope not!), I found Unborn to be very emotive. The main characters are very easy to relate to and my heart went out to all of them. I was invested in these women and them trying to fight a system that degrades them to nothing but biology. Although they are from different backgrounds, they are fundamentally the same – women denied the right to make a decision that is best for either them or even for their baby.

Unborn is an easy read, but it prompts you to think. The narrative puts you into the shoes of each of the women but brings you into contact with people on both sides of the argument (pro-life vs pro-choice). I didn’t detect any kind of underlying bias from the author. The characters tell the story and the arguments themselves. Regardless of your opinion, you will find someone you can relate to. It encourages you to weigh up both sides of the argument and think about what your views are on this hotly debated subject. Thanks to the recent debate and reform here, it’s a topic that has been at the forefront of attention. It’s something that I have thought about at length myself. I think it’s something that all women consider at some point.

 

Author Bio

My name’s Rachel McLean and I write thrillers that make you think.

What does that mean?

In short, I want my stories to make your pulse race and your brain tick.

Do you often get through a thriller at breakneck pace but are left with little sense of what the book was really about? Do you sometimes read literary fiction but just wish something would damn well happen?

My books aim to fill that gap.

If you’d like to know more about my books and receive extra bonus content, please join my book club at rachelmclean.com/bookclub. I’ll send you a weekly email with news about my writing research and progress, stories and bonus content for each book. And I’ll let you know when my books are on offer.

Social Media Links –

Twitter: https://twitter.com/rachelmcwrites

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rachelmcleanwrites/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rachelmcwrites/

 

Sunday Summary – 23rd February 2020

Good evening everyone and welcome to this week’s Sunday Summary post! I hope you have had a good week, just as I have? I had a pretty good week and a great weekend with family, as my sister came to visit. We’ve enjoyed a nice long weekend together, but it’s back to reality tomorrow!

Before we get into the goings-on of next week, let’s recap this one! I shared a couple of book reviews this week: The War Within by Stephen Donaldson was shared on Tuesday and The Girl from the Workhouse by Lynn Johnson on Friday.

The War Within was an ARC I received from Gollancz last year in exchange for a review. It was good to catch up with this so I am up-to-date with the series! My second review of the week was shared in conjunction with the tour Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. If you haven’t read either of my reviews yet, I hope you find the links to them useful.

 

Books Read

I picked up where I left off in last week’s Sunday Summary post in reading Unborn by Rachel McLean. By the end of least week I had already read over half of this, so it didn’t take too long to finish the book. I really enjoy dystopian fiction and the subject matter is one that I feel pretty passionate about. If you want to know my thoughts on this book, my tour post is being published tomorrow (24th February).

My next (and current) read is one I am picking up for my Beat the Backlist challenge! City of Stairs has been on my reading list since January 2015, so just over 5 years. Mad, right? It’s definitely overdue reading and I am really enjoying it so far! I’m hoping to have time to pick this up again tonight before bed, but it really depends how quickly I get all my blogging done this evening. I can’t see this taking me long to read.

In addition to the above, I have also been listening to more of Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo. My usual car share buddy has been skiing this week, so I’ve effectively been able to listen to twice as much of the audiobook as I normally do. I’m about a third of the way through now and I’m excited about the schemes being cooked up by Kaz and the crew.

 

Books Discovered

I decided to spend some of my birthday vouchers this week and I had fun doing it too! I had a good look around my local Waterstones. Finally, I decided to use them to buy the rest of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series. I already had the first three books, so I treated myself to the other four to complete the set. I was always going to read them, so why not?

The remainder of the vouchers will go towards a paperback set of Jay Kristoff’s Nevernight Chronicles once the third book of the trilogy, Darkdawn, is out in June.

 

Coming Up…

Next week’s blogging schedule starts early. Tomorrow, in fact. MY first post of the week is my review of Rachel McLean’s Unborn for the current blog tour with Rachel’s Random Resources. I have lots to say about both the book and the topic it covers, so I hope you can tune in for that!

On Wednesday I’ll be sharing another book review. I have quite a few to get through! I’ve decided the next book on the list is The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle. I read this book in August last year and it’s unlike anything I have read before. I enjoyed the format of the book, as well as the mystery.

On Friday I’ll be back to my regular feature posts. I took last week off to take part in a blog tour, but this week I’m back with a Shelf Control post. This week’s post is about a book written by an author whose books I have read before. I gather from reviews that it has a slightly different vibe to those I have picked up previously. That said, I really enjoy the genre and his writing style, so I don’t think it’ll matter one little bit!

As always, I’ll be rounding off the week with a Sunday Summary post and we can talk about my bookish adventures all over again!

Have you read any of the books discussed in my post? What have you been reading this week? Let me know in the comments!

Until next time,

 

 

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