Tag: amreading

Sunday Summary June 2018

Sunday Summary – 10th June 2018

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

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

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

 

Books Read

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

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

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

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

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

 

Books Discovered

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

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

 

Coming Up…

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

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

Reading List – June 2018

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

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

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

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

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

 

The Irrationalist – Andrew Pessin

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

 

A Conversation With A Cat – Stephen Spotte

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

 

Chilling Tales of the Unexpected – Ann Girdharry

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

 

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

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

 

The Eye of the World – Robert Jordan

The last book on my list is not an ARC.

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

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

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

Sunday Summary – 3rd June 2018

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

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

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

Books Read

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

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

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

Books Discovered

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

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

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

Coming Up…

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

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

Book Review: Diana Christmas – F. R. Jameson

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

 

Diana Christmas

Goodreads – Diana Christmas

In 1959, Diana Christmas – the beautiful, vivacious redhead – was a major star in Britain. It was her moment. She was on the cusp of making it big in Hollywood. Then, she simply walked away from the limelight. Vanished from an industry that adored her.

Twenty years later, Michael, a young film journalist, arrives at her suburban home and discovers the still vibrant and alluring Diana. Between her sheets, he hears for the first time the reason for her disappearance – a tale of coercion, shame and blackmail.

To his shock, he learns that those who destroyed her career and ruined her life still have their claws in her.
Totally smitten, he promises to help her. But Michael soon finds that the past doesn’t let go easily…

Diana Christmas – A new thriller of desire and betrayal from F.R. Jameson.

 

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

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

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

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

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

*Insert smutty joke here*

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

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

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

Sunday Summary – 27th May 2018

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

Books Read


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

Books Discovered

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

Coming Up…

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

This might be fun…

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

Book Review: Empire of Silence – Christopher Ruocchio

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

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

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

Empire of Silence GR

Goodreads – Empire of Silence

Hadrian Marlowe, a man revered as a hero and despised as a murderer, chronicles his tale in the galaxy-spanning debut of the Sun Eater series, merging the best of space opera and epic fantasy.

It was not his war.

On the wrong planet, at the right time, for the best reasons, Hadrian Marlowe started down a path that could only end in fire. The galaxy remembers him as a hero: the man who burned every last alien Cielcin from the sky. They remember him as a monster: the devil who destroyed a sun, casually annihilating four billion human lives–even the Emperor himself–against Imperial orders.

But Hadrian was not a hero. He was not a monster. He was not even a soldier.

Fleeing his father and a future as a torturer, Hadrian finds himself stranded on a strange, backwater world. Forced to fight as a gladiator and into the intrigues of a foreign planetary court, he will find himself fight a war he did not start, for an Empire he does not love, against an enemy he will never understand.

 

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

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

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

I was not left disappointed by Empire of Silence.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Book Review: Eternity’s Echoes – Evan Hirson

Hi everybody!!

Today I am pleased to be sharing my review of Eternity’s Echoes with you! I’m going to go ahead and get the boring part out of the way, so then we can begin in earnest!

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

Eternity's Echoes

Goodreads – Eternity’s Echoes

Aaron was a promising software designer with an upcoming company. He shared a quaint house on the outskirts of town with his best friends; another young man and two girls. They’d known each other since school, and lived together peacefully for years with few problems.

Travis the newcomer however had a dark way about him, and all of Aaron’s attempts to get along with him had failed.

But just as the household began to settle down again, a strange device with a peculiar attitude entered their lives.

Would it fulfil all of their dreams, or instead become a curse?

 

I was on a science-fiction high from reading Empire of Silence by Christopher Ruocchio, before diving into Eternity’s Echoes.

Science-fiction is probably the genre I pick up the least often (aside from those I don’t touch at all, obviously…) because I don’t consider myself “technically” minded and thus inadequate to read it. Start talking to me about a big ball of wibbly wobbly… time-y wimey… stuff,  or the physics behind it and you will see my eyes simply glaze over.

*Extra points to anyone who knows who I am quoting there*

I think science-fiction can be perceived as falling in either one of two ballparks – the first is that of complex ideas, detailed explanations and the requirement of some kind of quantum physics degree just to keep your head above water. Perhaps I perceive this because I definitely put myself into the second category; a reader that loves the general idea of time/space travel and advanced technology explored in many science-fiction novels, but really doesn’t want to know the ins-and-outs of how it works, why it works or which century it may or may not come from in the future.

There is no right or wrong when it comes to which side of the fence you are on… we are all different after all. So how does this have any bearing when it comes to Eternity’s Echoes?

The book certainly started off with the simple idea of time travel, how some events cannot and should not be altered else the fabric of time will unravel. Gradually, further ideas are introduced as to what is possible in time travel, and what problems or limitations there may be in using it. It all seems reasonably straight forward – a science noob like me can get their head around that. In that sense, the book is approachable for a wide audience.

After I received the review request and I looked into the book, I was pleased about the inclusion of a character who suffers with anxiety to such an extent that she remains housebound – sometimes even refusing to come out of her room. It is so rare to have a character like this in books. These are completely normal and real issues that normally get no fanfare or spotlight. This, however, was Kim’s only defining feature. Indeed, I feel all of the characters have so much more scope for development. In their current incarnation they serve the purpose of representing different types of people, but they are very difficult to relate or invest with otherwise.

I found the day to day “lifestyles” of the teenagers impeded on the progress of the plot. Considering three of the five teens weren’t even working/studying, or even have any kind of fixed schedule, I felt that more could have happened. As a result of a couple of different schedules, the narrative had to jump around considerably to allow these group “events”. Personally, I felt that this didn’t really sit well, considering the idea of the book is that the manipulation of time was at the fingertips of the protagonists.

That being said, the plot and it’s twists and turns did pull it together later in the text. The story became more sophisticated and my overall rating of the book was brought up as a result of this. This has raised the question within me as to whom the target audience is, because I feel the delivery of the narrative may be better suited to a younger audience, whilst the plot fits an older demographic in terms of complexity.

But these are just my musings. Overall it was a refreshing read to add to my collection, and it has encouraged me to pick up science fiction more often. I hope to see further development of the characters and the plot in the sequel.
Rebecca mono

Sunday Summary – 6th May 2018

Morning all!! I hope you are all having a pleasant day.
May is officially here and with that comes a new reading list for the month. If anyone is interested to see which books I’ll be reading this month, you can head on over and find my reading list here.
The “first” book of the month is a carry over from April, since it had taken me some time to read. I don’t think I can be blamed though, as this book reaches over 800 pages long. I passed the 700 mark last night, so I am on the final stretch to finishing it. I didn’t publish a review this week, as is my custom, because I am slowly catching up with myself. Instead, I published what I expected to be an unpopular post – Five Reasons I Don’t Rate Netgalley. It’s a post part of me has been itching to write for weeks… and, as it turns out, the post has had a better reception than I thought!
 

Books Read


Reading time has been focussed on Empire of Silence once again this week.
It doesn’t feel like I am giving you a particular update, as I was in the same boat last week. What I can say is that since last week I have read a further 300-and-something pages, so I am near the end of the book. I anticipate I’ll be finishing it in the next day or two.
I also started listening to Nevernight by Jay Kristoff whilst getting ready for work in the morning on Wednesday. This is something I like to do if the news is particularly dreary, or if Piers Morgan is quite frankly getting on my nerves. Let’s face it, before the first coffee of the day… this is quite a likely eventuality, yes?
This is a lengthier audiobook and I don’t always listen to them in the morning, so this will probably take me a few weeks to get through. I love audible. I wasn’t sure I would get on with audiobooks, but I have taken to them well.
 

Books Discovered

Nevernight
Much as I’ve said above, I downloaded this from Audible this week with my monthly credit. It is, however, the only book I have purchased or vowed to read this week.
It’s odd that this section is so bare, knowing what I’m like!
 

Source: Giphy
Source: Giphy

 

Coming Up…

I’m going back to my usual schedule and I’ll be posting a review on Wednesday. This week, I will be reviewing an audiobook I listened to a short while ago…. An Almond for A Parrot by Sally Garner, writing under the pseudonym Wray Delaney.
Have you read any of these books? What are you reading this month?
Rebecca mono
 

Five Reasons I Don't Rate Netgalley

I think pretty much all book bloggers have or will dabble with the offerings of sites such as Netgalley, Edelweiss or Bookbridgr at some point. I mean, what’s not to love about free books, right?
Well.
I see other bloggers hugely enthusiastic about the site… usually talking about how they have downloaded FAR too many books to keep up out of sheer excitement over the privilege. I never quite understood that because I didn’t really do it. I regret to say that I have never felt the same enthusiasm over the site; today’s post is all about telling you why.
 

Time Pressure

Book bloggers inevitably have to read A LOT in order to keep content on their sites… and let’s face it – there is practically an infinite choice out there! I remember hearing a ridiculous fact about how long it would take you to read all the free books available for download via Amazon. It was years… decades, even! Decades of continuous reading, and those books barely scratch the surface on the number out there available.
Inevitably, reading takes time. At the moment my average reading speed is about 4.5 books a month, which isn’t the most I could do… but hey, I don’t have a death wish. Bearing in mind I work 35 hours a week and have a little of a social life on the side, that doesn’t leave a lot of time for reading and writing. I already put a lot of pressure on myself to keep up the schedule I do… and I feel extra pressure by Netgalley and it’s rating system to review ASAP. As soon as you are accepted for a book, your rating drops… and the “recommended” rating needs to be quite high to stand a chance of acceptance for new, popular books.
 

Mediocre Site

If I’m completely honest, I just don’t think the site is all that great.
In the time I have been using it, there have been no changes, no updates… just the same, uninteresting userface since day one. What also surprises me is that there isn’t an app. Whilst compulsive downloaders may think this a blessing in disguise… I think an app would make using the service far more convenient. I’d be more likely to take note of what is available if it were presented in a more approachable, on-the-go format.
 

Rating

Am I a bad book blogger because I don’t reach the 80% recommended rating? No, I’m not.
Referring back to my first point, I read a lot of different books; some I have bought, others I have been gifted or provided with a copy in exchange for a review by authors/publishers directly. Some are even borrowed, the old fashioned way, from a library. Should I be punished for being a diverse reader and having multiple sources of books? I don’t think so, and yet I feel in order to gain a respectful rating and backing as a Netgalley reader, I’d have to read their books alone for months.
MONTHS!!!!
 

Badges

Badges look cute, sure, but do they serve much of a purpose? Again, am I a bad blogger because I haven’t earned many? I don’t think so.
From what I have seen, the vast majority of badges are awarded for quantity as opposed to quality. I suppose it’s a great tool for authors to identify that a blogger is active and reliable… but I think the best way for a blogger to sell themselves is via the content they publish on their own site.
 

Book Offering

Lastly, and most importantly, I just haven’t been enamoured by the books I have downloaded and read so far.
I know publishers do release review copies of both new and popular titles via Netgalley, but with my profile being as small and limited as it is, a request for these books would probably have me laughed out of the door.
Given the relationships I have established with publishers directly, by providing links to my blog alongside requests, I think I would have far more of a chance of obtaining review copies of titles without using a service like Netgalley at all.
 


 
If you love and use Netgalley all the time, then hats off to you. I hope you continue to enjoy the free books on offer.
I have two books left to read and review; both of which are scheduled soon. Writing this post and mulling over the reasons I don’t like the site has convinced me to close my account once I have reviewed the books I have outstanding.
If I have the means to enjoy reading in other forms, then why would I not allow other readers the chance to use the service and enjoy a hobby when they may not have the resources I do. I would much rather lend the opportunity to someone else when I don’t enjoy it at all.
Am I being unduly unfair? Do you use sites like Netgalley? What are your thoughts?
Rebecca mono
 

Reading List: May 2018

It’s May.
There – I said it. As much as we all wish for Summer and the warmer climes associated with it (somewhere… far, far away from here perhaps), I just have to ask the question… where has the beginning of this year gone?
We are fast approaching the fairer months of the year (allegedly). Here at home, you can always tell when the preparations begin for the prestigious road races that take place here… patching up near-pristine roads etc. Meanwhile, other roads not on the course are sorely neglected to the point in which they have more craters than the moon.
Ahem. Not that I’m bitter or anything… and that is not what this post is about! Today, I am publishing my reading list for the month of May… so let’s get stuck in!
 

Empire of Silence

Empire of Silence GR

Hadrian Marlowe, a man revered as a hero and despised as a murderer, chronicles his tale in the galaxy-spanning debut of the Sun Eater series, merging the best of space opera and epic fantasy.
It was not his war.
On the wrong planet, at the right time, for the best reasons, Hadrian Marlowe started down a path that could only end in fire. The galaxy remembers him as a hero: the man who burned every last alien Cielcin from the sky. They remember him as a monster: the devil who destroyed a sun, casually annihilating four billion human lives–even the Emperor himself–against Imperial orders.
But Hadrian was not a hero. He was not a monster. He was not even a soldier.
Fleeing his father and a future as a torturer, Hadrian finds himself stranded on a strange, backwater world. Forced to fight as a gladiator and into the intrigues of a foreign planetary court, he will find himself fight a war he did not start, for an Empire he does not love, against an enemy he will never understand.

Normally, I don’t include books that I end up carrying over from the previous month. Finishing these books should maybe take a day or two, so I usually chastise myself for frittering away time and struggle on to cram those extra pages in to another, normal month of reading.
I don’t think it’s fair to do this to myself this month, on account of having over three hundred pages of this mammoth book left! As much as I love reading, I don’t have a death wish. I know my limit and I am unlikely to finish this in the next day or so.
 

Eternity’s Echoes

Eternity's Echoes.jpg

Aaron was a promising software designer with an upcoming company. He shared a quaint house on the outskirts of town with his best friends; another young man and two girls.
They’d known each other since school, and lived together peacefully for years with few problems.
Travis the newcomer however had a dark way about him, and all of Aaron’s attempts to get along with him had failed.
But just as the household began to settle down again, a strange device with a peculiar attitude entered their lives.
Would it fulfill all of their dreams, or instead become a curse?

Judging by the synopsis, reading this book comes at a perfect time.
I was kindly approached by the author with an e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Whilst I enjoy science-fiction, I would say that out of all the genres I take the time to read, it is the one I pick up the least frequently. I worry that the technical knowledge (I distinctly lack) will intimidate me away from enjoying the narrative, but nine times out of ten this isn’t the case at all. It’s almost a bit of an irrational fear.
That being said, I have really enjoyed the Sci-fi books I have picked up in the last year, so I’ll be proud to add this to my collection!
 

Diana Christmas

Diana Christmas

In 1959, Diana Christmas – the beautiful, vivacious redhead – was a major star in Britain. It was her moment. She was on the cusp of making it big in Hollywood. Then, she simply walked away from the limelight. Vanished from an industry that adored her.
Twenty years later, Michael, a young film journalist, arrives at her suburban home and discovers the still vibrant and alluring Diana. Between her sheets, he hears for the first time the reason for her disappearance – a tale of coercion, shame and blackmail.
To his shock, he learns that those who destroyed her career and ruined her life still have their claws in her.
Totally smitten, he promises to help her. But Michael soon finds that the past doesn’t let go easily…
Diana Christmas – A new thriller of desire and betrayal from F.R. Jameson.

My third read of the month is also a review request, so a huge thanks to the author for a free electronic copy of this book to review.
The historical setting and promise of a tale portraying the less-than-glamorous side of fame is what attracted me to this book. If anything in the news over the last few months can be believed, then it would suggest that fame definitely comes with a price and abuse of power. Having not read the book thus far, I can’t truly compare the narrative to the stories we have heard ongoing… but there is enough of a correlation to have piqued my interest.
 

The Toymakers

The Toymakers.jpg

The Emporium opens with the first frost of winter. It is the same every year. Across the city, when children wake to see ferns of white stretched across their windows, or walk to school to hear ice crackling underfoot, the whispers begin: the Emporium is open!
It is 1917, and London has spent years in the shadow of the First World War. In the heart of Mayfair, though, there is a place of hope. A place where children’s dreams can come true, where the impossible becomes possible – that place is Papa Jack’s Toy Emporium.
For years Papa Jack has created and sold his famous magical toys: hobby horses, patchwork dogs and bears that seem alive, toy boxes bigger on the inside than out, ‘instant trees’ that sprout from boxes, tin soldiers that can fight battles on their own. Now his sons, Kaspar and Emil, are just old enough to join the family trade. Into this family comes a young Cathy Wray – homeless and vulnerable. The Emporium takes her in, makes her one of its own. But Cathy is about to discover that while all toy shops are places of wonder, only one is truly magical…

I was delighted to have been accepted for this read from Netgalley. This is the first book I have actually been accepted for on the site, and it’s about time I read it. Who doesn’t love a tale of childlike magic in the midst of war to lighten your spirits?
 

The Irrationalist

The Irrationalist

An historical murder mystery based on real events.
Who would want to murder the world’s most famous philosopher?
Turns out: nearly everyone.
In 1649, Descartes was invited by the Queen of Sweden to become her Court Philosopher. Though he was the world’s leading philosopher, his life had by this point fallen apart. He was 53, penniless, living in exile in Amsterdam, alone. With much trepidation but not much choice, he arrived in Stockholm in mid-October.
Shortly thereafter he was dead.
Pneumonia, they said. But who could believe that? There were just too many persons of interest who wanted to see Descartes dead, and for too many reasons. That so many of these persons were in Stockholm—thanks to the Gala the Queen was throwing to celebrate the end of the terrible Thirty Years’ War—made the official story all the less plausible. Death by poisoning was the unofficial word on the cobblestone.
Enter Adrien Baillet. A likeable misfit with a mysterious backstory, he arrives just as the French Ambassador desperately needs an impartial Frenchman to prove that Descartes died of natural causes—lest the “murder” in Lutheran Sweden of France’s great Catholic philosopher trigger colicky French boy-King Louis XIV to reignite that awful War. Baillet hesitatingly agrees to investigate Descartes’s death, knowing that if—or when—he screws up, he could be personally responsible for the War’s Thirty-First Year.
But solving the mystery of Descartes’s death (Baillet soon learns) requires first solving the mystery of Descartes’s life, with all its dangerous secrets … None of it is easy, as nearly everyone is a suspect and no one can be trusted. Nor does it help that he must do it all under the menacing gaze of Carolus Zolindius, the terrifying Swedish Chancellor with the strangely intimidating limp.
But Baillet somehow perseveres, surprising everyone as he figures it all out—all the way to the explosive end.

The synopsis for this book is incredibly long, but I think the first line sums up the book, and just why it is right up my street. An historical murder based on real-life events.
I have been provided with an e-copy of The Irrationalist by Open Books at my request, and I really can’t wait to get stuck in! I love historical fiction, I love political intrigue… and I love a good old whodunit. Check, check, and check.
So guys, those are my reads for this month! What are you reading?
Rebecca mono