Tag: amreading

Blog Tour Review and GIVEAWAY: After Whorl Donning Double Cloaks – Nancy Jardine

Hello everyone and welcome back to another review post! Two in two days, I know!

I am really enjoying Nancy Jardine’s Celtic Fervour series so far. If you haven’t read anything about the series to date, you can find my reviews for the first book of the series, The Beltane Choice and the sequel, After Whorl: Bran Reborn using the links here. Reading those posts and the synopses will probably go a long way to helping understand where events pick up in book three!

As always, a huge thank you to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the tour and to Nancy Jardine for providing the books and for her lovely feedback on my posts so far!

 

After Whorl: Donning Double Cloaks

Goodreads – After Whorl Donning Double Cloaks

AD 73 Northern Roman Britain

Brennus of Garrigill—Bran—monitors Roman activity across Brigantia. Stability prevails till AD 78 when Agricola, Governor of Britannia, orders complete conquest of all barbarians. Brennus heads north, seeking the Caledon who will lead the northern tribes against Rome.

Ineda treks northwards with her master, Tribune Valerius – supplies officer for Agricola’s Britannia campaigns. At Pinnata Castra, she escapes and seeks fellow Brigantes congregating for battle in the north.

The Legions of the Roman Empire and the Caledon allies clash at Beinn na Ciche in AD 84, but where are Brennus and Ineda?

The adventures of the Garrigill Clan continue…

Purchase Link – Amazon

 

My Thoughts…

Events in After Whorl: Donning Double Cloaks set the series up for an epic conclusion to the series – one I am really looking forward to reading! Each book is told from different character perspectives. It keeps the narrative really fresh and is done so well that the character relationships allow us to keep track of everyone throughout their gallivanting over the country!

When we met Ineda in book two, After Whorl: Bran Reborn I thought she was a really interesting character right away. I was hoping to get to see more of her role to play in the storyline and Donning Double Cloaks hasn’t disappointed! One of the main focuses of this novel is how her life dramatically changes after she is taken by Tribune Valerius and her new life as his slave.

A fervent anti-Roman woman at the point of being taken, Ineda struggles to adjust to her new Roman life. Years of captivity and scorn for being the Tribune’s “favourite” forge a dilemma in her. She has to grapple with the moral decision and risk of becoming an informant to aid the native Celtic tribes against the Roman invasion. Does she help her native people at risk of her own life and endanger the man she has come to love in her own way? I really enjoyed reading this conflict point and Ineda’s direction of character development as a result of her circumstances.

The narrative of After Whorl: Donning Double Cloaks spans a longer timeline than previous books and events start to move quickly towards the end of the novel. The Romans advance further into Britannia the Celts travel further North to temporary safety. There is a definite build-up to the climax expected in the final novel of the series, and I cannot wait to read it! I am caught between my love for the fearless Celts and the knowledge from history that the Romans indeed conquered Britain.

How will the series end and what will happen to the many beloved characters of the series? There’s only one way to find out!

 

Giveaway to Win x1 signed paperback of After Whorl: Double Cloaks to one UK winner; X1 kindle copy worldwide

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494318/

 

Author Bio

Nancy Jardine writes historical fiction; time-travel historical adventure; contemporary mystery thrillers; and romantic comedy. She lives in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, where life is never quiet or boring since she regularly child minds her young grandchildren who happen to be her next-door neighbours. Her garden is often creatively managed by them, though she does all the work! Her husband is a fantastic purveyor of coffee and tea…excellent food and wine! (Restorative, of course)

A member of the Historical Novel Society; Scottish Association of Writers; Federation of Writers Scotland; Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Independent Alliance of Authors, her work has achieved finalist status in UK competitions.

Social Media Links –

Blog: http://nancyjardine.blogspot.co.uk

Website:www.nancyjardineauthor.com/

Facebook: http://on.fb.me/XeQdkG & http://on.fb.me/1Kaeh5G

Twitter https://twitter.com/nansjar

Amazon Author page http://viewauthor.at/mybooksandnewspagehere

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5139590.Nancy_Jardine

 

Sunday Summary – 8th December 2019

Sunday evenings come around too fast! It always feels like I barely finish one Sunday Summary and then here I am sat starting another. I hope you have had a good week? Mine has been great as I have been enjoying the last of my time off for the year and getting Christmas shopping finished. I have even gotten most of it wrapped. Look at me being organised! I think this time last year I had barely started…

In between drafting Sunday Summary posts, I have managed to squeeze a few others in. Last week, immediately after drafting last week’s update I had to jump into writing a review for Awa and the Dreamrealm by Isa Pearl Ritchie. I published that post first thing on Monday.

December’s reading list was published on Wednesday 4th, although it had been decided well in advance of that date. I have a lot of tours coming up in January, so I have to start my reading now to get myself prepared. I do have a couple of books of my own choice in there too. In that post, I also talk about why there aren’t many festive books on the list, so if you haven’t checked out that post yet here is the link to it.

Lastly, on Friday I shared the next Shelf Control post in my regular feature. Not only did I talk about a book that I was gifted nearly three years ago now, but I also learned it was part of a series. I had no idea before writing that post! It’s a classic science-fiction novel and I seem to be getting on with those really well at the moment. I should probably pick it up soon!

 

Books Read

Whilst I say in one breath that I am doing well with science-fiction novels of late, I have had to set one aside for now. I have been enjoying reading Howling Dark but I just don’t think I have time to pick it up again this month. That said… if I do manage to finish this list early then I’ll pick this up again. I have a couple of short(er) books on the TBR, so maybe?

Instead, I began the week by finishing off another carryover from last month, Moroda by L. L. McNeil. I basically started reading this on the last day of November as I had promised the author to read it in October/November time. I am really pleased with myself as I read this quite quickly. Fingers crossed I’ll be reviewing it very shortly for her too.

After Moroda, I picked up my first read of December. I was keen to leave behind a bad month of reading (or lack of progress) and start this month’s TBR in earnest. Again, After Whorl: Donning Double Cloaks was only in my hands for a few of days before I finished it. I was excited to start the month reading this as I have already read and enjoyed the first couple of books in the series. It’s almost a reassurance that I’m starting in a good place.

The latter end of the week has been spent with my head buried in the concluding novel to the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series by Laini Taylor. This is my current read and I am LOVING IT! It’s a shame I have to go back to work tomorrow instead of sitting at home and reading this…

Tell you what else I did get done this week – I finished listening to Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman. I typically listen to audiobooks in the car and I expected to finish it in the couple of journeys I made. I think I listened to the last three minutes or so at home, so I really wasn’t wrong! It also surprises me how long it took me to listen to – about seven weeks! I’m so slow with audiobooks.

 

Books Discovered

It amazes me that I have spent a week off work, shopping and generally mooching around and yet I have not added a single book to the TBR this week. I have been good (spending my money on everyone else!)

 

Coming Up…

As I am pretty late to getting to read Moroda, I’m keen to get my review live as soon as possible! So, with that in mind, my intention is to have my thoughts on this fantasy novel published on my blog first thing on Tuesday.

I have been reading After Whorl: Donning Double Cloaks this week as I have a blog tour post scheduled for Wednesday 11th. In that post I’ll be linking to my reviews of the earlier books in the series The Beltane Choice and After Whorl: Bran Reborn, as well as share my views of the latest instalment. I hope you can tune in for that!

As always, I’ll be preparing a First Lines Friday post for you to round up the working week. I don’t like to choose my featured book of the week too early in advance. I’ll be picking it on Thursday when I sit down to write this post. No spoilers for you to ruin the surprise, I’m afraid!

 

 

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Reading List: December 2019

Good afternoon readers! It’s the last month of 2019, so this is my last Reading List of the year… Wow. Where did that go?

I am really impressed with the number of books I have read this year! My all-time record of 60 books has already been beaten, set when the reading and blogging adventures began in 2017. I initially set myself a reading target of 50 books because that was how many I read in 2018. Now, I am aiming for 70. I only have 3 books left to hit that target!

By the time I include the rest of December’s TBR and my audiobook, I think I’ll have read 74 books. A part of me considered trying to push to 75, but I think that’s too ambitious. I’m happy where I am anyway, so no point pushing myself too hard.

Which books are closing out the reading journey this year?

 

After Whorl: Donning Double Cloaks – Nancy Jardine

Goodreads – After Whorl Donning Double Cloaks

AD 73 Northern Roman Britain

Brennus of Garrigill—Bran—monitors Roman activity across Brigantia. Stability prevails till AD 78 when Agricola, Governor of Britannia, orders complete conquest of all barbarians. Brennus heads north, seeking the Caledon who will lead the northern tribes against Rome.

Ineda treks northwards with her master, Tribune Valerius – supplies officer for Agricola’s Britannia campaigns. At Pinnata Castra, she escapes and seeks fellow Brigantes congregating for battle in the north.

The Legions of the Roman Empire and the Caledon allies clash at Beinn na Ciche in AD 84, but where are Brennus and Ineda?

The adventures of the Garrigill Clan continue…

 

I am reading Nancy Jardine’s Celtic Fervour series and reviewing the books as part of the organised blog tours. I picked up these books as they have given me the chance to read historical fiction in a completely new time period. I’m really enjoying reading about the Roman conquest of Britain – so much so, I have started learning a little Latin!

I am already 40% of the way through this book and as I have no plans for the rest of the day, I’m hoping to finish this one soon!

 

Dreams of Gods and Monsters – Laini Taylor

Goodreads – Dreams of Gods and Monsters

Two worlds are poised on the brink of a vicious war. By way of a staggering deception, Karou has taken control of the chimaera’s rebellion and is intent on steering its course away from dead-end vengeance. The future rests on her.

When the brutal angel emperor brings his army to the human world, Karou and Akiva are finally reunited – not in love, but in a tentative alliance against their common enemy. It is a twisted version of their long-ago dream, and they begin to hope that it might forge a way forward for their people. And, perhaps, for themselves.

But with even bigger threats on the horizon, are Karou and Akiva strong enough to stand among the gods and monsters?

The New York Times bestselling Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy comes to a stunning conclusion as – from the streets of Rome to the caves of the Kirin and beyond – humans, chimaera, and seraphim strive, love, and die in an epic theater that transcends good and evil, right and wrong, friend and enemy.

 

I have to finish this before the end of the year! I was completely and utterly captivated by Daughter of Smoke and Bone on holiday in October. So much so, I read Days of Blood and Starlight last month. It’s rare that I devour a series as quickly as this, but what can I say? I’ve come to love Laini Taylor’s books that much that it has to be done!

 

Sixty Minutes – Tony Salter

Goodreads – Sixty Minutes

Five different people. Five separate lives. Sixty minutes to bind them for ever.

Hassan, Jim, Shuna, Dan and Nadia come from very different worlds. If life were straightforward, their paths would never cross. But our lives are rarely that simple and, as the clock ticks away the minutes of a single hour on a July morning, fate draws all five together in a headlong rush towards disaster.

Who are the heroes and who are the villains? Tony Salter’s latest novel leaves us guessing right up to the last page.

 

When I received the email inviting me to the blog tour of Sixty Minutes, I was immediately drawn in by the synopsis. It is very vague on the circumstances but has a lot of intrigue: who are these people and what has drawn them together?

There’s only one way to find out what happens…

 

Million Eyes – C. R. Berry

Goodreads – Million Eyes

What if we’re living in an alternate timeline? What if the car crash that killed Princess Diana, the disappearance of the Princes in the Tower, and the shooting of King William II weren’t supposed to happen? Ex-history teacher Gregory Ferro finds evidence that a cabal of time travellers is responsible for several key events in our history. These events all seem to hinge on a dry textbook published in 1995, referenced in a history book written in 1977 and mentioned in a letter to King Edward III in 1348. Ferro teams up with down-on-her-luck graduate Jennifer Larson to get to the truth and discover the relevance of a book that seems to defy the arrow of time. But the time travellers are watching closely. Soon the duo are targeted by assassins willing to rewrite history to bury them. Million Eyes is a fast-paced conspiracy thriller about power, corruption and destiny.

 

Million Eyes sticks with the science-fiction vibe I have been feeling lately. I’m also looking forward to the thriller element of the novel and finding out why the time-travelling assassins are set on re-writing history. Could the alternative be worse?

I am taking part in the upcoming blog tour for this novel next year – yes, next year, but that’s not that far away!

 

Fires of the Dead – Jed Herne

Goodreads – Fires of the Dead

Fire can’t be tamed.

Wisp is a pyromancer: a magician who draws energy from fires to make his own flames. He’s also a criminal, one job away from retirement. And it can’t come bloody soon enough.

Leading his misfit crew, Wisp ventures into a charred and barren forest to find a relic that could change the realm forever. But they aren’t the only ones on the hunt, and the forest isn’t as barren as it seems …

A jaded gang leader longing for retirement

A bloodthirsty magician with a lust for power

A brutish fighter who’s smarter than he looks

A young thief desperate to prove herself

A cowardly navigator with secrets that won’t stay buried

Together, they must survive fights, fires, and folk tales that prove disturbingly real – if they don’t kill each other first.

 

I saw this novella on a website called BookSirens, which is a lot like Netgalley if you haven’t come across it before. The concept of a non-altruistic main character in a fantasy genre novel is one I love already and I have read a good few books like it already. With this being a novella, this should be really quick to pick up and review before the deadline next year!

 

A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens

Goodreads – A Christmas Carol

‘If I had my way, every idiot who goes around with Merry Christmas on his lips, would be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart. Merry Christmas? Bah humbug!’

Introduction and Afterword by Joe Wheeler
To bitter, miserly Ebenezer Scrooge, Christmas is just another day. But all that changes when the ghost of his long-dead business partner appears, warning Scrooge to change his ways before it’s too late.

Part of the Focus on the Family Great Stories collection, this edition features an in-depth introduction and discussion questions by Joe Wheeler to provide greater understanding for today’s reader. “A Christmas Carol” captures the heart of the holidays like no other novel.

 

I made a real effort to seasonally read in October, but it’s not so straightforward in December. Sure, there are plenty of books to choose from, but they are all women’s fiction. It’s the same with Christmas movies – city girl comes home to country routes for Christmas, reunites with old flame, falls in love, is “torn” between going back to old life but you just KNOW that it’s going to end happily ever after *sigh*

Will someone please pass me a puke bucket?

As with Christmas films, there are only a select few Christmas themed books that really appeal to me. This month, in addition to watching Miracle on 34th Street (the edition with Richard Attenborough), I will be reading A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. As a classic, I can’t really turn my nose up at this one. At least, I hope not or you will be calling me Scrooge.

For the record, I love Christmas… just not all the cheesiness that goes with it. Sorry, not sorry.

That’s my reading list for December! What are you reading this month? Did you set any reading goals and are you likely to achieve them?

 

 

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Blog Tour Review and GIVEAWAY: Awa and the Dreamrealm – Isa Pearl Ritchie

Good morning everyone and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Awa and the Dreamrealm by Isa Pearl Ritchie. Thanks to both the author and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the tour! If you want to learn more about the book or want to read other posts about this middle-grade children’s novel, please check out some of the posts by other bloggers on the tour!

 

 

Awa and the Dreamrealm: Dreamweavers Book 1

Goodreads – Awa and the Dreamrealm

What if dreams are more real than waking life?

Life is already complicated enough for Awa Bryant when she starts having weird dreams – waking dreams – and strange coincidences start appearing in her real life.

She meets dreamcharmer, Veila, a quirky glowing creature who helps to guide Awa through the mysterious Dreamrealm.

At first the Dreamrealm is a glorious escape from Awa’s daily struggles but something is not right… Soon Awa discovers she has a bigger quest, and everything she cares about is at stake. Will she be brave enough to face her fears and save her friends?

 

Purchase Links –  Amazon UK       Amazon US

 

My Thoughts…

Labelling this book as a children’s novel feels a little simplistic, in my opinion. I would like to credit something I really love about the book straight off the bat. I love that it tackles and teaches its readership about some difficult topics. Separation and racism aren’t the kind of ideas I imagined to crop up in the novel. However, they are very prevalent problems for kids to experience these days. Sadly, it does happen. Bullying is also tackled in the narrative. I would argue this is very common (after all, I was bullied at school) but that’s not a reason to neglect the subject at all! If anything, I think it makes Awa really relatable as a character.

Awa and the Dreamrealm will really appeal to those with wild imaginations. The descriptions of the Dreamrealm are beautiful and vivid. It contrasts well with the mundane, normal everyday aspect of her life: going to a new school, trying to make new friends and get by as best she can and adjust to the fresh start.

At around 200 pages, this is a respectable length read for the target audience. The plot moves along swiftly so as to keep the reader engaged. The chapters are reasonably short too, switching between each “realm” frequently to break up the action and keep the narrative fresh.

Although not the intended audience of the book, I really enjoyed reading this children’s novel. It’s good to change up your reading habits now and again and Awa and the Dreamrealm allowed me to do this. The book is still part of one of my favourite genres so it was really easy to get into.

 

Giveaway to Win 1 x kindle copy of Awa and the Dreamrealm (INT)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494313/

 

About the Author

Isa Pearl Ritchie is a New Zealand writer. As a child, she loved creating imaginary worlds. She has completed a PhD on food sovereignty in Aotearoa. Her second novel, Fishing for Māui, was selected as one of the top books of 2018 in the New Zealand Listener and was a finalist in the NZ Booklovers Award for Best Adult Fiction Book 2019. Awa and the Dreamrealm is her first book for young people.

www.isaritchie.com

Social Media Links –

https://www.facebook.com/isapearlritchie/

https://twitter.com/isapearlritchie

https://www.instagram.com/isapearlritchie/

Sunday Summary – 1st December 2019

Good evening everyone and welcome to today’s Sunday Summary post! I can’t believe it’s December already! I have spent the day helping my parents put their Christmas decorations up; I’ll be doing mine in the next few days. Where has this year gone?

So, what have I been up to this week? Well, aside from using some days off work to have a good tidy up and a clear out, I have been doing a little bit of reading in between. On Tuesday I shared my review of Ctrl+S by Andy Briggs as part of the blog tour with Gollancz. I am really glad I asked to take part in the tour, even though I ended up reading this rather hastily in order to get my post live on time. This one at least wasn’t my fault!

Thursday’s post was a promo post for book four of the Battle Ground series by Rachel Churcher. I featured the third book on my blog a little while ago and it was a pleasure to feature the series once again, on publication day of book four, no less.

On Friday I shared another First Lines Friday post. This week I featured a book on my To Be Read list (TBR). I’m looking forward to reading this book; I also happened to feature another book of similar genre by the same author in my recent Top Ten Tuesday – New Releases I am Excited About post.

 

Books Read

I’m disappointed with this month’s reading progress, but it can’t really be helped. I got off to a slow start with finishing Imaginary Friend, my last read in October, on the 9th November. I’ve had things going on which have hampered my progress too. I’m trying to finish one book tonight, but even with that in mind I have had to drop one book on this month’s list and I am going into December having only part-read another.

As of last week’s Sunday Summary post, I have made as much progress as I can on a few books. I finished Ctrl+S on Sunday night as I only had a few pages left. From there, I picked up Howling Dark by Christopher Ruocchio again as this is the book I set aside to read Ctrl+S. I got to page 231 towards the end of the week, which from 55 is pretty good going.

Yesterday I set the books aside once again in favour of a review request I promised for October/November time. Obviously, it was the last day of November and I hadn’t touched this book at all yet. I am impressed with how I have done with this one; since last night I have read 69% of the book, which roughly equates to just over 280 pages. This book is my priority over the next couple of days in order to get a quick turnaround on a review for the author.

Progress on Thunderhead has been a little slower this week with only a couple of commutes from work as part of my normal routine. I visited my friend Vicky on Friday, so I listened to this travelling to and from her house. That equates to two work commutes when I think about it. I have less than two hours left on the audiobook so I am confident I will be finishing it this week!

 

Books Discovered

I have a few additions to this section, even though I haven’t been particularly looking for anything new as such.

I had a bit of an unpleasant beginning to this week and so I decided to buy myself a book to cheer myself up. I’m collecting classics in paperback, and I was going to buy it very soon anyway. I’ll give you a hint: it will be appearing on this month’s reading list in a couple of days.

When featuring Fighting Back by Rachel Churcher on Thursday, I said that I planned to pick up and read the series although I couldn’t for the tour. Rachel kindly let me know that books one to three were available to download for free as it was publication day for book four. Naturally, I downloaded them!

 

Coming Up…

Next week is going to be busy for me. I have a few planned blog posts already – one I will be drafting immediately after this one! Tomorrow I am publishing my review of Awa and the Dreamrealm by Isa Pearl Ritchie. My post is part of the blog tour organised by Rachel’s Random Resources.

On Wednesday I’ll be sharing December’s reading list. Considering I made such an effort to read seasonally in October, I only have one Christmassy book on this list. I’m not a festive cheese person, so it’s not just because I have lots of reading to do ahead of next month’s blog tour mayhem! No prizes for guessing what it is now, I might have already mentioned it in this post…

It’s the turn of a Shelf Control post on Friday. So, I’ll be looking at the next book on my TBR list and sharing just why I want to read it. I was gifted a copy of the book I’ll be featuring nearly three years ago now for my birthday. It fits in well with the recent sci-fi theme I’ve had with my reading and blogging. It’s also a bit of a classic. Any idea what it might be?

That’s all from me in today’s Sunday Summary! I hope you have enjoyed this week’s post. Let me know in the comments – what have you been reading this week?

 

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Book Review: Ctrl+S – Andy Briggs

Good morning everyone and welcome to my stop for the blog tour of Ctrl+S by Andy Briggs! Before I get into the details, I would like to thank Alex Layt at Orion Publishing for organising the tour and sending me a review copy of the book! As always with these posts, the views expressed are my honest opinion.

I am really excited to be sharing my thoughts with you on Ctrl+S – particularly to fans of near-future science-fiction novels. If you enjoy this particular genre then you are going to love this book! Equally, I only occasionally venture into the genre and I loved it as well. Ctrl+S is due to be published in a matter of days so if you do enjoy this review, please do consider getting yourself a copy!

Before I begin with my review, please also take a moment to take a look at some of the other reviews shared as part of the tour.

Now, would you like to find out more about it?

 

Ctrl+S – Andy Briggs

Goodreads – CTRL+S

Life in the near future’s NOT ALL BAD. We’ve reversed global warming, and fixed the collapsing bee population. We even created SPACE, a virtual-sensory universe where average guys like Theo Wilson can do almost anything they desire.

But ALMOST ANYTHING isn’t enough for some. Every day, normal people are being taken, their emotions harvested – and lives traded – to create death-defying thrills for the rich and twisted.

NOW THEO’S MOTHER HAS DISAPPEARED. And as he follows her breadcrumb trail of clues, he’ll come up against the most dangerous SPACE has to offer: vPolice, AI Bots and anarchists – as well as a criminal empire that will KILL TO STOP HIM finding her . .

 

My Thoughts…

The beauty of this near-future novel is that the premise of the book centres on an improved variety of technology that already exists – SPACE. Imagine augmented reality at your fingertips whenever you want it. Or, you can “ascend” for a limited time and experience virtual reality with your friends. There’s all of the fun and none of the pain if you get hurt or die in a game. That is, until someone finds a loophole.

Those rich enough to pay for the thrill can experience the pain and terror of death without the final blow. Maybe someone wants to feel the thrill of jumping off a building without the splat at the end. Real people are kidnapped and exploited to harvest whichever raw emotion is desired. It puts a sinister twist on the technology’s motto, More real than real. Theo’s mum Ella inadvertently gets dragged into the criminal underbelly after becoming indebted to the wrong people. When she doesn’t come home one day, the dangerous truth hits home.

Theo, Clemmie, Baxter and Milton take centre stage and are supported by a wide cast of varying characters. Their similarity in age to myself (and I imagine a lot of prospective readers) makes them really relatable and easy to invest into as the story progresses. You’ll laugh because I particularly relate to Theo. I didn’t go to University, unlike a lot of my friends, and I worked in a fast food place as my first job too! It’s the little things, right?

The “technology” aspect of the novel is really easy to follow. I can confidently say I think anyone can pick it up and understand the basics. Even from there, I feel that the descriptions of the advancement to today’s version of the technology is explained really well where relevant. Breaking up the information to impart what is necessary at any given time prevents dumping a lot of information on the reader. Some might find that overwhelming but I didn’t find this at all in Ctrl+S. Overall, I found there was a great balance between the action of the novel and clarifying how everything unfamiliar worked. The chapters are nice and concise as well which helps keep the momentum.

As the group of friends find themselves in increasingly hot water having been thrown into a criminal world where anything goes, you really find yourself rooting for them as the underdogs to save Ella and countless others from their emotional exploitation. As the plot unravels our protagonists fight desperately to pick up the clues left by Ella in order to find the mastermind behind the abuse of SPACE. The genre combination of science-fiction and thriller worked really well and is a highly recommended read by me!

 

 

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Sunday Summary – 24th November 2019

It’s Sunday evening again friends, so it can only mean it’s time for this week’s Sunday Summary post! Have you had a good week? Mine has been pretty good. I took a slightly more chilled stance on the blog posting this week in an effort to catch up with some reading. Turns out, I needed that time!

My first blog post of the week was published on Tuesday. For a bit of fun, I decided to take part in the Autumn Book Tag! It’s been a little while since I have written one of these posts and I really enjoyed doing so!

Then, on Friday I published my next Shelf Control post – this week I featured Age of Myth by Michael J. Sullivan. If you want to check out why Age of Myth is on my TBR then you can check out that post to find out more!

 

Books Read

Through no fault of my own, I have had a shift in priorities this week. I began where I left off in last week’s Sunday Summary post with reading Howling Dark by Christopher Ruocchio. This is no small book, so I was hoping to make good progress this week. As it is, I feel I am already behind on my reading.

I then received an email about a blog tour that I signed up for, giving me a week’s notice for my tour date. It was a genuine mistake that I hadn’t had it confirmed earlier. Truthfully, I had forgotten about it too. I received my copy of the book to review a couple of weeks ago. So, I have been reading Ctrl+S by Andy Briggs most of the week! As things stand, I only have 40 or so pages left to read so that is tonight’s job after I publish this post.

As always I have been enjoying listening to my audiobooks and Thunderhead is getting really good right now! I have just less than four hours to go to the end and I cannot wait to see how things unravel. As it happens, I have some time off work imminently so I have more time to listen to this. I basically have my headphones glued in when I am home nowadays, so it gives me an excuse to listen to something!

 

Books Discovered

I signed up to a website called BookSirens about a month ago. As is well-documented on my blog, my thoughts on Netgalley aren’t all that positive. I have no objection to using the site for tours and books from specific publishers, but I don’t really rate it otherwise. In terms of looking for other ARCS, I don’t actively use it.

I signed up to BookSirens as it seemed a lot more user-friendly, looked more appealing and I liked the look of a number of books on there. At the time I signed up I couldn’t commit to reading any books due to blog tour commitments. After a couple of weeks of registering and not signing up to any reviews, they kindly sent me an email to get some feedback from me on whether I had any problems. I explained that I had some other review obligations elsewhere, which was totally fine with them. I actually really like this personal touch – there is no way you would get the same from Netgalley!

Well, this week I signed up to my first review after an email notified me that some books now had a longer window to review them in! I started small with a novella called Fires of the Dead by Jed Herne. I have until February to read and review it, but I would like to get it done sooner if I can!

 

Coming Up…

I have a couple of blog tours to take part in next week, which is really exciting!

I mentioned Ctrl+S earlier in the post, as I have had to hastily read the book in advance of the tour. My tour slot is on Tuesday next week (26th November) and I am really looking forward to sharing my review. If you like the sound of a near-future science-fiction novel about the use (and abuse) of virtual reality, then stay tuned!

A little later in the week, I am taking part in another blog tour post! On Thursday I am promoting the latest book in the Battleground series, Fighting Back by Rachel Churcher.

A First Lines Friday post will be taking its place on the blog on… well, that’s obvious. Friday. I really enjoy writing these posts and I hope you enjoy reading them too!

 

Top Blog Posts Read This Week

Jack’s Bedtime Reading – Book Review: The True-Bastards

That Book Gal Blogs – Book Review: The Girl and the Stars

Emma’s Chapter – Six for Sunday – Books You’d Throw in the Fire

The Orangutan Librarian – How to Deal with Doubt

 

That’s all from me in today’s Sunday Summary! Im off to finish CTRL+S before bed!

What are you reading?

 

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Sunday Summary – 17th November 2019

Hi guys and welcome to a very busy Sunday Summary post here at the home of Reviewsfeed. I had a busy day yesterday with housework and then going out for the evening! In a shake-up of usual Saturday evening activities, (aka reading) I attended The House of Hell event hosted by Nightmare Nights. I went with my mum and dad and we all enjoyed going, despite being underwhelmed by the ‘scariness’. Today, I have spent the day with them again and now come home for a not-very-relaxing evening. Around drafting tonight’s Sunday Summary post, I am baking for a charity cake sale at work tomorrow! Everything is cooling at the moment, so I get some brief respite before I have to decorate.

Aside from the above shenanigans, what have I spent my week doing? Quite simply, work, blogging and reading. The usual! The only thing out of the ordinary has been investing time into restoring the older posts I lost in the recent migration… accident.

The first post of the week was an overdue review of The Chalk Man by C J Tudor. I read this book back in July, so it was definitely time to commit my thoughts to a review. I had to pull the book out and refresh my memory on a couple of things. This is why making notes after I read something would come in handy, but can I do it? No.

I published a second review of Wednesday; Making Magic is a short story written by Allan Walsh. At 32 pages it was a really quick but enjoyable read about the magic of writing and storytelling.

Friday saw the return of my First Lines Friday regular feature and this week I featured Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. Let’s just say the book choice was inspired by a current read at the time…

 

Books Read

In last week’s Sunday Summary post I mentioned that I was indecisively flitting between a couple of books as my next read – Howling Dark and Days of Blood and Starlight. In the end, Days of Blood and Starlight did win and it didn’t take me all that long to read. I couldn’t wait to pick up the next book in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series and I got back into it very quickly!

Conscious that it was the middle of the month and I had only read two books on the TBR, I picked up the shortest book on my list, Awa and the Dreamrealm by Isa Pearl Ritchie. At around 200 pages, my aim was to blitz this within a couple of days and I did! It makes me feel better going into the second half of the month knowing I am on track. I have read this book as I am reviewing it for the upcoming blog tour starting at the end of the month. It’s a children’s book so I am not its target audience, but I really enjoyed it and I’m not ashamed either! I love the main theme and the topics that this book addresses.

It might sound daft, but in addition to my newfound love of the series, the reason I picked DOB&S over Howling Dark is that the proof copy I have is really heavy! It’s quite a bit larger and getting started has been a little cumbersome. I have started this book in earnest in the last day or two and this will be my current read for the next few days!

I have also been listening to Thunderhead again. There is still six hours to go to reach the conclusion, so I’m going to be listening for a little while yet. The storyline of this one is interesting though and it has really picked up the pace in the last couple of hours!

 

Books Discovered

I have added one book to the list this week after stumbling across a book set where I live… entirely by chance! I was just browsing a few blog posts the other day and read an unsuspecting First Lines Friday post. When I realised that the featured book is set on the Isle of Man I added it to the list! I’ve linked the post below if you want to have a read.

 

Coming Up…

I want to make sure that I keep up with my reading next week. I may be on track but I still have three books to finish; all are over 400 pages long. Combine that with my ongoing project to restore my blog to its former glory, I have decided that this week I am keeping it to three posts.

On Tuesday I am going to take part in the Autumn Book Tag. I saw this over on one of my favourite blogs (again, this is linked below) and I want to take part. It’s a little bit different from the usual material I post here!

On Friday I’ll be tackling the TBR again (one book at a time) by sharing the next Shelf Control post. I’ll be taking a look at the next book on the list and telling you all why I want to read it. These posts have actually given me a kick to start reading some of these golden oldies. I enjoy writing them too. Do you like reading them?

 

Top Blog Posts Read This Week

The Tattooed Book Geek – A Little Hatred book review

Booksnest – How to Increase Productivity by Waking Up Earlier

Eclectic Review – First Lines Friday

Bibliophagist Reviews – Autumn Book Tag

That’s all from me for now guys! I have to get on with my cake decorating so I can get to bed at a decent hour! I might not get much in the way of reading done tonight, but it’s all for a good cause!

What are you reading?

 

 

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Book Review: Making Magic – Allan Walsh

Hi guys and welcome back to my blog! Today’s review is for a short story written by Allan Walsh. At 32 pages, this is a really quick read. If you are looking for something to while away a commute to work or entertain you during a coffee break – this could just be for you!

 

Making Magic – Allan Walsh

Goodreads – Making Magic

Alcus wants to be a writer. When he joins a group to have his work critiqued, things are not what he expected. Alcus soon finds himself drawn into a world of wonder. Can his writing compete against real magic?

 

My Thoughts…

Short stories are a great way to sample an author’s writing style without the commitment of several hundred-page long novels to wade through. My biggest make-or-break factor when deciding if I am going to like a book is the narrative style. The style of Making Magic is very easy to read and get into. It flows so easily that I read this story in no more than fifteen minutes in one sitting, attention unbroken. From beginning to end the story is consistently easy to follow.

The dabbling in and conjuring of magic allows for a lot of detailed description; at times beautiful, others sinister, as fits the story. The detail in which Allan Walsh describes the spells and conjurations makes it very easy to imagine yourself in the same room. Through Alcus’ eyes, we experience the wonder at the magic and the self-doubt he experiences in being able to match such powerful magic through the power of the written word.

Being able to communicate an idea, an image or story through words in such a way that the reader can visualise the same thing is a form of magic. Immersing yourself so deeply into a story that you don’t notice time passing by is a temporary illusion. Words can also make more permanent changes to a person’s perception.

Who knew the power of vividly hallucinating over dead trees?

 

 

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Sunday Summary – 10th November 2019

Hey all and Happy Sunday! It’s Sunday evening here again and the prospect of going back to work tomorrow looms. After a busy eventful stressful week, going to work will seem like a rest!

The beginning of the week didn’t get off to a great start. After switching my domain renewal onto a new contract I realised all-too-late that the latest backup of my blog was only available on my blog’s back-end dashboard – access to which naturally went up in a puff of smoke the minute I confirmed the new contract.

Then, I made a mountain out of a molehill in trying to get my blog back online. It took days for me to get it right. In my defence, I was trying my best to use what I had to rescue the recent posts on my blog, but no. It wasn’t enough. Eventually, I admitted defeat and installed everything with an old backup – from June. One of my bigger jobs this weekend has been to re-instate what’s missing. The indexing of my blog pages so I can view cached versions and my drafts of posts not available that way stored locally has been my lifesaver!

The lesson here is to make doubly, triply and quadruple-y sure you have a backup before you do ANYTHING to your blog. You don’t realise how much it means to you until it’s gone. Next time I want to renew my domain, someone do my a favour and kick me.

Consequently, last week’s Sunday Summary post was shared on Wednesday and my reading list for November on Thursday. They were later than I wanted, but at least I am getting everything back in order! Friday’s Shelf Control post went live as and when expected.

 

Books Read

When I wasn’t having a crisis (meltdown) over my blog situation, I was trying to catch up with my reading! Reading Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky has taken me far longer than I anticipated. I only finished it yesterday; nine days behind schedule! I was a fantastic book, but an epic. As I was reading an imperfect proof copy too, a good few sections were a little difficult to read because wordsweremushedtogetherlikethis. Which is fine, it’s a proof. But I think that contributed to how long it took me to read.

As well as reading Imaginary Friend, I have been sampling a couple of other books to read in between. I’ve been very indecisive about it too, so consequently I am 55 pages through Howling Dark and about 80 pages through Days of Blood and Starlight. I think the latter wins as my next read; I am conscious I need to get a shift on and a quick reading win will spur me on. It sounds like I have read more of Days of Blood and Starlight, but in terms of word count I haven’t. There is a lot more to Howling Dark per page.

I have managed a quick read today, in between restoring almost all of my Blogtober posts. I was approached by Allan Walsh to read and review his short story, Making Magic. Unfortunately, I was supposed to be reviewing this on the 4th November but with my domain being out of action and the clean-up process, I didn’t get the chance! I have read this today and a review will be going live for it next week, come hell or high water!

I have managed to listen to another couple of hour’s worth of Thunderhead this week as well. As ever, it’s my companion on the drive home from work. I like where it is going after Scythe. It’s not a repetition of the first book and it feels fresh. I’m interested to say where events are going to go.

 

Books Discovered

It’s been a week of spending my Audible credits! … Okay, I only had two, but I managed to get a couple of audiobooks in the 2 for 1 sale yesterday and then I spent my last credit today. A bargain is a bargain! So, in yesterday’s sale, I bought Head On by John Scalzi. Whilst not a direct follow-up to Lock In, it includes the same characters and centres around the lives of those with Haden’s Syndrome. I really enjoyed listening to Lock In earlier this year, so it makes sense to listen to Head On too. At the same time I also got a copy of Jack the Ripper: Case Closed by Gyles Brandreth. I have quite a few books based on the murders of Jack the Ripper (that I really need to start reading!). I don’t doubt I’ll enjoy this too. Does that make me weird?!

Today, inspired by my current listen of Thunderhead, I used my last credit to buy the last book in the Arc of a Scythe trilogy, The Toll.

 

Coming Up…

Thankfully this section is going to be a lot easier to write than last week. I know where I am at. I’m conscious that with Blogtober, I posted a lot of discussions posts. To that end, I am going to be sharing a couple of reviews with you in order to catch up!

Tomorrow, I am going to be sharing my thoughts on The Chalk Man with you. I read this back in July in a matter of three days. That’s how much I loved it! That probably gives you an idea of the kind of review it is going to be, but I hope you can check it out!

On Wednesday I am reviewing Allan Walsh’s short story, Making Magic. Thankfully he is very understanding about the postponement and has agreed to a review this week instead.

Friday’s post is the turn of my regular feature, First Lines Friday. I haven’t decided which book I am going to be featuring yet. This is about as spontaneous as I get! It’s as much a surprise to me at the moment, but I hope you like the book I choose to feature!

As I am working on the current posts on my blog, I am also going to keep working to restore my missing posts. You shouldn’t really notice this unless you scroll for it. I’m working backwards and restoring the more recent posts first. I’ll let you know when everything is back as it should be.

 

Top Blog Posts of the Week

Holly Loves Books – Triwizardathon TBR

Misty’s Book Space – My Week In Books

Bibliophagist Reviews – Book Review Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl

 

So, that’s all from me in today’s Sunday Summary post! What have you been reading this week?

 

 

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