Tag: audiobook

Blog Tour Audiobook Review: Visions of Zarua – Suzanne Rogerson

Happy Sunday everyone! Welcome to today’s blog tour post for Visions of Zarua by Suzanne Rogerson. I am actually really excited for today’s post as it is my first review of an audiobook for a blog tour. As always, I’d like to take the chance to thank both Suzanne and Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my chance to take part in the tour. I’m looking forward to sharing my thoughts with you!

 

Visions of Zarua

Two wizards, 350 years apart. Can they save the realm of Paltria from Zarua’s dark past?

An ancient darkness haunts the realm of Paltria.

Apprentice wizard Paddren is plagued by visions of a city on the brink of annihilation. When his master dies in mysterious circumstances, the Royal Order of Wizards refuses to investigate.
Helped by his childhood friend, the skilled tracker Varnia, and her lover Leyoch, Paddren vows to find the killer.

The investigation leads Paddren down a sinister path of assassins, secret sects and creatures conjured by blood magic. But he is guided by a connection with a wizard from centuries ago – a wizard whose history holds the key to the horror at the heart of the abandoned city of Zarua. Can Paddren decipher his visions and save the Paltrian people before the dark menace of Zarua’s past is unleashed?

 

Purchase Links –  Amazon     Audible     iTunes

 

My Thoughts…

Finishing this audiobook in time for the tour ended up coming closer to the wire than I would have liked. Truth is I just don’t listen to audiobooks that quickly… unless I have a looming deadline. I typically listen to audiobooks in the car on the way home, which means I listen to them for around half an hour every weekday.

It felt like it took a little while to get into the book, but I put that down to the fact that I started listening to this audiobook quite slowly. It is no reflection on the book at all because as soon as I started listening to it as much as possible this week, I found myself hoping for a few more minutes at the end of lunch to continue it… or sitting in the car to wait for the next suitable place to pause the narrative.

I enjoyed the split timeline element of the narrative, as I often do in books of this format. In Visions of Zarua, the past and the present timelines complement each other very well. The pacing of each respective story builds to the epic climax of a 350-year-old struggle. The element of mystery to the novel also made an interesting and enjoyable pairing with the fantasy genre. The magical society and divisions within add political intrigue and tension to the relations between characters.

I can’t write this review without talking about our main characters in the novel: Paddren, Leyoch and Varnia. The friendship of these three characters from not-so-different backgrounds really gels the story together. In times of despair, they pull each other through and their complex relationships and motivations play a large part in driving the narrative forward. They each have their own distinct personalities and despite their trials and flaws, you cannot help but love and invest into them.

Lastly, as this is an audiobook, I should talk about Guy Barnes’ narration of the storyline. Can I say, he does a fantastic job of bringing each of the characters, major or minor, to life. Each is distinctively unique in the persona he has given them. The variety of accents he pulls off consistently is amazing too.

I really enjoyed listening to this audiobook and I recommend it to all who enjoy the fantasy genre. I’ll be reading some of her other books having enjoyed Visions of Zarua so much – put it that way!

 

Author Bio –

Suzanne lives in Middlesex, England with her hugely encouraging husband and two children.

She wrote her first novel at the age of twelve. She discovered the fantasy genre in her late teens and has never looked back. Giving up work to raise a family gave her the impetus to take her attempts at novel writing beyond the first draft, and she is lucky enough to have a husband who supports her dream – even if he does occasionally hint that she might think about getting a proper job one day.

Suzanne loves gardening and has a Hebe (shrub) fetish. She enjoys cooking with ingredients from the garden, and regularly feeds unsuspecting guests vegetable-based cakes.

She collects books, loves going for walks and picnics with the children and sharing with them her love of nature and photography.

Suzanne is interested in history and enjoys wandering around castles. But most of all she likes to escape with a great film, or soak in a hot bubble bath with an ice cream and a book.

 

Social Media Links –

Twitter     Goodreads     BookBub     Amazon     Facebook     Instagram

 

Narrator Bio –

Guy or the Big G as he is known to his friends is a London/ Brighton based actor and singer songwriter and producer.

He has recently completed his first leading role in the film Typo out next year and played the role of Alvin Turner in American film Holly Turner also out next year.

Guy only started narrating audiobooks last year and Visions of Zarua is his 2nd. He will be narrating 2 classics this year, Bram Stoker‘s Dracula and HG Wells The Time Machine.

In his spare time Guy is a passionate biker and cigar aficionado and he’ll not say no to a Sierra Nevada beer or two!

 

Social Media Links –

Twitter @guybarnes

Instagram @instaguyaram

 

Audiobook Review: The Painted Man – Peter Brett

It has been some time since I finished listening to Peter Brett’s The Painted Man, so it’s about time that I shared my review of this audiobook! I listened to this back in May/June this year. I started with some mixed feelings, but I’m glad I stuck with it. It grew on me the more I listened to it and the story progressed.

 

The Painted Man – Peter Brett

Goodreads – The Painted Man

As darkness falls after sunset, the corelings rise—demons who possess supernatural powers and burn with a consuming hatred of humanity. For hundreds of years the demons have terrorized the night, slowly culling the human herd that shelters behind magical wards—symbols of power whose origins are lost in myth and whose protection is terrifyingly fragile. It was not always this way. Once, men and women battled the corelings on equal terms, but those days are gone. Night by night the demons grow stronger, while human numbers dwindle under their relentless assault. Now, with hope for the future fading, three young survivors of vicious demon attacks will dare the impossible, stepping beyond the crumbling safety of the wards to risk everything in a desperate quest to regain the secrets of the past. Together, they will stand against the night.

 

My Thoughts…

I really enjoyed this audiobook overall, but I do confess that I found the beginning slow. The early chapters of the book introduce Arlen, Leesha and Rojer and their respective lives in the small towns of their birth. The reason I found the book slow-going is because each character perspective reiterates the same idea for each of these individuals (okay, in slightly different ways), but we’re basically told the same thing three times. This took at least a few hours to set the scene (and set it again, and again…), so I think it makes up the first 20% of the book.

What do we learn from that first 20%? Humans are dependent on magical wards to protect them from dark creatures, known as corelings at night. Those who live in the small towns and outskirts of the cities have primitive technology. Disaster lies only around the corner for them. And finally, humans are as good as enslaved by their fear.

Then Arlen decides to do something about it and the whole book significantly improves from there. He has seen the devastation these beasts can cause but seeks to find a way to fight back. Arlen is the most developed character of the book, followed by Leesha. Unfortunately, Rojer felt like a late and underdeveloped addition. I wanted a little more from him to balance the story out.

I really enjoyed the concept of the magic and the wards to protect, or fight, against the corelings. It’s only a simple one, but it was executed well. There is sufficient development from the fear-ridden society present at the start of the book, both sufficient to pad out the storyline of the Painted Man, but also to lay the foundations for the remainder of the series.

Despite the slow start I will continue with the series. I think there is a lot of potential to explore the vast world constructed in The Painted Man even more, which the second book seems to do.

 

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Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 17th February 2019

Writing my Sunday Summary post this week is a job I have been looking forward to. Why? Because it’s been a very busy weekend here and I am grateful for something I can do SITTING DOWN!!! Haha!

On account of being a little bored of the decor in my bedroom and knowing that I am having some new furniture delivered very soon, I decided it deserved a new lick of paint. I only decided to follow through with my whimsical fancy just over a week ago and now it’s a reality! I’m glad I’ve done it, although I can’t say I enjoyed the doing of it too much. I’ve found muscles I never knew I had…

Consequently, I have only managed to do a little bit of book reading this weekend. I had a pretty good week though, so I can’t grumble. In terms of blog posts published this week, I shared my review of Karma Never Loses an Address by K. J. McGillick as part of the organised tour by Rachel’s Random Resources. Later in the week, I published a very long outstanding review of Interesting Times by Terry Pratchett.

 

Books Read

 

I started the week by going back to a book that I carried over from January. Technically it was a last minute addition for the remaining days of the month, but still, I am glad I managed to finish it in good time. It was my first library loan and non-fiction book of the year, Mythos by Stephen Fry.

In October last year, I had the pleasure of reading Breachers by Anthony Thomas. Following that review, I was invited to read a short, two chapter sample of the second book to offer feedback on. It was such a tease for the rest of the book – I just can’t wait!

Next on my list is an ARC that I have had for a little while, Ewan Pendle and the Castle of Nightmares. In much the same vein as Breachers Book 2, the author has asked me for feedback on this book. His first book of the series was one of the very first I reviewed on my blog nearly two years ago (where the devil did that time go?!). I’m about 10% through at the moment. It will be interesting to see what adventures await Ewan in this second instalment.

My fandom for A Game of Thrones has already got me started on the first few chapters of A Storm of Swords. I can’t help picking these books up in between other readings. Since I’m counting down the days to Season 8 on the TV now, which is probably driving my obsession!

I may not have gotten much reading done (in the conventional sense) this weekend, but I did re-discover my love of audiobooks! First, I listened to an audible original drama based on The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells. Fun fact: The War of the Worlds was the first ever e-book I read when I got my first Kindle many, many moons ago. After that, I picked up with Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff. Thankfully, despite it being months since I last listened to the book, I have actually remembered what is going on so I haven’t had to start again. Result! I need to get back into listening to this regularly.

 

Books Discovered

I’ve really put my blinkers on at the moment because I already have a huge pile of books to get through. Not only that, I am really trying to save money this year, so less haphazard spending. Yes, that includes books too…

 

Coming Up…

 

down the tbr holeSpeaking of my existing large pile of books, I think it’s time I go through that again. With all my blog tour obligations, it’s been a while since I sifted through the TBR. With that in mind, I’ll make that Tuesday’s endeavour!

 

 

In line with my current obsession, the next book on my list to review is none other than A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin. I have absolutely no idea where to even start with such a task, but I have to try. I’ll probably just end up ranting about how amazing it is, but I’ll try to give it some honest, constructive and coherent critique.

 

 

 

 

Top Blog Posts of the Week

 

Kaylsallbooked – Unboxing | Alchemy & Ink’s Wicked & Scarred Mini Box!

Zooloo’s Book Diary – #BookReview of Karma Never Loses an Address by K.J. McGillick @KJMcGillickAuth @rararseources #LiesandMisdirections – Zooloo’s Book Diary

A Reading Brit –Lord of the Rings Films Vs. Audiobooks

Reading Sumpton – Bookstagram Behaviours That Are Making You Look Like An Idiot

 

Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 2nd September 2018

I look forward to writing my Sunday Summary every week. It’s a time to sit down and review what I’ve been doing and gauge how everything is. It’s my organisation time, if you like.

Some weeks are better than others. There are times when I manage to make progress on three or four books. Other times it’s only one, or hardly at all. Last week wasn’t such a great week for reading. Family was visiting, which took out some of my time, but I was in a bit of a slump.

I am hoping that the progress I have made this week is enough to break me out of it. I don’t really have time to be in a slump, with so many blog tours coming up in the next couple of months! I’ve come to think that maybe the belief that I have overstretched myself was one of the causes of my slump. I’m feeling better about it now though – I know when I am due to be reviewing the books on my list and I am confident I can do it!

 

Looking back to what has happened this week, I posted another Down the TBR Hole post on Wednesday. I managed to take three books off the list, so it was time well spent! It is getting to the point where the books on the list were added not too long ago, so I anticipate that going forward, I’ll be taking fewer books off the list than I have historically.

Yesterday, I published my reading list for September; if you want to see which books I am reading for upcoming blog tours, check out that post!

 

Books Read

 

When I lamented to you about my lack of progress last week, I told you that I had only read the first few chapters of Three Bloody Pieces. I’m pleased to say that I have made a lot more progress this week. I have so nearly finished it; I am going to call it done. There is one chapter left, and I am going to read it tonight. It’s so near as damn it!

I am also back on the audiobooks, after a couple of weeks break. I’ve started a bit of an arty project (again) and listening to these at the same time is perfect! I am picking up where I left off with Nevernight, by listening to Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff. I’ve listened to about 15% of the book in the last couple of days, which is good progress!

 

Books Discovered

 

I have been VERY good this week. There is literally nothing to report here. I haven’t added a single book to the list or even bought any…

*faints*

 

 

Coming Up…

toptentuesdayI enjoy writing Top Ten Tuesday posts… and I’ve been having a think about what topic I could feature next. Rather than focussing on books themselves, I’ve decided that this week, I’ll share my Top Ten favourite, go-to authors. I think I might struggle to narrow this down to ten…

 

I’ll be continuing my throwback mini-series on Thursday, with a review of another book or series I have read and am yet to review. I hope you can spare a few moments to join me for that!

 

Audiobook Review: Nevernight – Jay Kristoff

I feel like this review is a little overdue, just because Nevernight took so long to listen to.

It’s no fault of the audiobook at all – I loved it (and I’ll go into more detail on that below). I haven’t been able to listen to it as quickly as I would like though. Typically I listen to audiobooks in the morning, whilst getting ready for work. Lately, I’ve been finding it difficult to wake up and get out of bed. As a result of being tired, I can’t concentrate, so I didn’t want to start listening to Nevernight and find myself lost.

Anyway, less self-pity and more of the review!

 Nevernight

Goodreads – Nevernight

Synopsis…

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

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

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

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

 

My Thoughts…

I really enjoyed listening to this as an audiobook because the narrative is easy to follow. Holter Graham does a fantastic job of bringing each character to life in his own style. The text is itself written as a narration, and the “narrator” is incredibly sassy. No one is safe against a witty remark or sharp retort. There is as much friendship in storytelling as there is training to become an assassin, apparently. I love it!

Naturally with fantasy books, there is the need to impart information about how the realm differs from others. I have to say, this is written exceptionally well; there is never too much information put upon you at any one time. There are gentle reminders to certain facts to refresh the reader’s memory, rather than outright telling us again and treating us like idiots.

The plot itself unfolds in an unexpected way. An environment full of assassins is hardly going to be safe and predictable. Jay Kristoff has developed each of his characters so well, however, that anything can happen. And I mean anything. That can also include some… steamy things. Things that I shouldn’t want to listen to at 7am in the morning. But I kinda did? It wasn’t too alienating; otherwise, I wouldn’t like it AT ALL! It was okay though. I don’t think it contributed a whole lot to the storyline, but you can’t help but want the two characters to reach out to each other.

The magic in the book is desirably dark. Mia thrives in the shadows, and the amount of distrust for her kind adds a new depth to the mystery of those known as Darken. Just when you think you have seen Mia at her most powerful, cunning and daring, she will surprise you yet again.

 

Conclusion…

All these things make a great combination within dark fantasy. It is deadly, gruesome, brutal and backstabbing, and as a result I loved every second of it. I cannot wait to listen to Godsgrave.

 

Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 12th August 2018

It’s the end of another week friends! Have you all had a good one? It’s been a pretty good one here, I have to say. Despite it being a normal working week, I’ve had the pleasure of reading some pretty fantastic books. That’s what counts, right?

I really enjoyed writing my review for Children of Blood & Bone this week. I think the book is fantastic and I am so glad it has received such a positive reception. Interestingly, I also saw Tomi Adeyemi on BBC News… in which she said that a film was being made of the book! I’ve read the book first, so that’s license to go and watch the film when it’s out. That is if they show it here…

On Friday I also published the latest Down the TBR Hole post, with little success in clearing out the list. I only binned off one book, but at least I know I still want to read the other nine I reviewed. What can I say; I just have good taste in books!

 

Books Read

This week feels like a really productive one!

I have been reading The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan, and I will say, it is quite a dense read. Since last week I have progressed from around 20% to 47%. I’m nearly half way! It is hard going at times though. It’s not that the book isn’t enjoyable… it is just that there is a lot going on and a lot of information to process. I’ve found that I read it better when I take breaks and read something else in between chapters.

For a few days, that “something else” has been Individutopia by Joss Sheldon. I would argue that this book is more political type fiction than I would normally read, but I have enjoyed it though! I finished this last night as I listened to the rain belting against the window and the wind howling (perfect reading weather, imho). I’m going to be sharing my thoughts with you really soon, so stay tuned. Reading this book in between has also been useful as I am pretty up to date with reviews – spending too long on Eye of the World would make me struggle for content. It’s a win-win situation.

In the same vein as Individutopia, I have started reading The Relic Guild in between chapters of The Eye of the World. I am only a few chapters in so far, having only started the book last night. I’m enjoying it because it is the first physical book I have picked up in a wee while. Kindles are great for practicality, but they don’t quite replace the real thing though.

Last, but by no means least – I FUFILLED MY PROMISE TO FINISH NEVERNIGHT!!

It’s been a long time coming, but I got there in the end. I tend to listen to audiobooks when getting ready for work in the morning. Lately, I’ve not been sleeping so well – so in the morning I’m too tired to even try to follow it. I’ve done it though! Moving onwards and upwards, I’m listening to Godsgrave next!

 

 

Books Discovered

This feels pretty much like the story of my life. Remember I took one book off the TBR in Friday’s installment of Down the TBR Hole?

Yeah, well I’ve already replaced it.

As I also think I established in that post, I have a particular love for Tudor history – especially Henry VIII. I am really interested in the history of the monarch himself, and his wives, so adding this book to the list was a no-brainer. I saw that the book was on offer for £1.99 – it would have been rude not to?

I’ll tell myself that.

 

 

Coming Up…

IndividutopiaSo, as I previously mentioned, I am going to be sharing my thoughts of Individutopia with you next week! I found the book really easy to read, even though the setting and mindset of our main character was a little extraordinary. If you want to find out more, please check out my review on Tuesday.

 

 

 

 

 

I am also going to be starting another mini-series, friends! I’ve been thinking for a little while about how many books I have read before starting my blog. It’s quite a few! Therefore, to incorporate these books on my blog, I am going to be writing mini-reviews of them! I cannot promise that they are hugely specific (as I read them a long time ago) – but it may just be enough to either introduce a new series to you all, or find other like-minded friends!

I’ll be writing my first post on Thursday!

Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 1st July 2018

I cannot believe we are at the beginning of a new month already! June has flown by. So, with it being the end of the week and end of the month, I have a fresh Sunday Summary and some new artwork to put together – all very late on a Sunday evening… oops.

That being said, I did publish my reading list earlier on today. I think I can be forgiven. Two posts in one day isn’t a regular occurrence for me!

This week has been a busy one really – on Monday I published some hints and tips about what to expect going self-hosted. I think that turned out to be a useful read for a few people. If you haven’t checked that out already, I would be grateful if you did. When putting the post together I wanted to relay advice I hadn’t come across on other blogs on the subject. Maybe someone will benefit from the post anyway.

Next, I featured Stephen Spotte in a guest post on Wednesday, followed by my review of his book, A Conversation with A Cat on Thursday. It is a reasonably quick read – it is remarkably funny and if you like a little history told from a new perspective, this is for you!

 

Books Read

Last week I had put Death in Dulwich aside (for a short while) to read Ravencry by Ed McDonald for an imminently upcoming Blog Tour. I carried on where I left off there, reading Ravencry and practically devouring it as quickly as feasibly possible. I am currently using quite a *small handbag, so I have had a few chuckles with my copy of Ravencry practically hanging out of it this week.

*anything accommodating less than the kitchen sink is defined as small

I finished Ravencry on Friday night in the only way that felt acceptable… with “half a buzz on”, as Ryhalt would say.

Death in Dulwich is now back on schedule, making further progress on reading that this week. I am hoping to have that read in the next couple of days. That way I can move on to The Girl in the Gallery in good time before the tour for both books.

For the first time in a couple of weeks, I have been listening to Nevernight by Jay Kristoff. Considering the length of time, I haven’t lost the storyline at all. (I would say I haven’t lost the plot, but I can’t say that with any conviction. Some may disagree as well!)

 

Books Discovered

Getting paid is always dangerous. I knew that I wanted to impose a bit of a spending ban for the next couple of weeks, so therefore I went and had a splurge beforehand. I bought three omnibuses; nearly 2,850 pages of small typeset narrative to get through… in future, anyway.

Perhaps I have a problem…

I haven’t read any of Mercedes Lackey’s books, however, I really enjoyed the very brief snippets I flicked through whilst I was in Waterstones.

When it comes to epics, I just can’t help myself! As I have shown through my love of the Discworld novels, I love books set in the same world or Universe, even if they are not directly linked.

 

Also, I found something a little different this week. I’ve been trying to get into the habit of making notes about books after I read them. It’s easier to review them when you have some thoughts fresh in your head. To help me, I bought this little book for that exact purpose. I should be able to keep track of my reading; it’s a perfect place to keep my notes in an organised way! Win-win!

If anyone would benefit from something similar, the link to the item on Amazon can be followed by clicking the picture.

So that’s me, spending ban starts now.

 

Coming Up…

I mentioned an imminent Blog Tour coming up for Ravencry by Ed McDonald. By imminent, I mean my post goes live tomorrow! I really cannot wait to share my thoughts with you on this book! Admittedly, it will be a little strange (and it hurts my OCD slightly) because I haven’t published my review of Blackwing yet. I’ll just have to get on with it.

If anyone is yet to give the series a try, then please, please, PLEASE do!! I cannot recommend it highly enough! If you are looking for an MC that isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty, is aware of his own flaws and cusses like the best of us, you’ll get on famously with Ryhalt. I sure did. If you want to know more, please check out my post tomorrow.

 

down the tbr holeA couple of weeks ago I posted my first Down the TBR hole post in about six months. I don’t plan on letting that slip again. I’ve already left it too long untended. So, on Thursday I will be re-visiting my TBR and reviewing the next ten books on my list to decide whether they stay or go.

 

Sunday SummaryAs ever, my week will have it’s my usual round-up on Sunday!

 

 

 

 

 

What have you been reading this week?

Audiobook Review: The Tattooist of Auschwitz – Heather Morris

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

So, without further delay –

 

The Tattooist of Auschwitz

Goodreads – The Tattooist of Auschwitz

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

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

 

My Thoughts…

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

End Note

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

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

Sunday Summary – 13th May 2018

It’s Sunday again! It barely feels like the weekend has even started, and already we are over half way through.
Weekends are just not long enough.
This week I opened up a little about myself in my review of the audiobook An Almond for A Parrot by Wray Delaney. This normally isn’t the sort of book I would pick up, however the historical setting and inclusion of magic swayed me to see what it was all about. Whilst I enjoyed the book – I won’t deny it made me feel a little awkward. You can catch the full details in my review.
 

Books Read


 
I finally finished Empire of Silence this week, and boy… was it worth the wait! I’ve been reading this book for a few weeks now, and it’s really made me think I ought to pick up science-fiction books more often. I want to thank Gollancz once again for giving me the opportunity to read this book prior to it’s release in July and I cannot wait to share a full review.
Sticking with the science-fiction theme, I have also read Eternity’s Echoes at the request of the author. A quick thank you here for providing me with an ecopy of the book. It’s a tale that explores the concept of time travel and potential consequences it may have if misused. I’ll be publishing a review shortly, so keep an eye out for that.
I also furthered my audiobook progress this week! So far I am loving the narrative of Nevernight. Not only is the story interesting, I love Mia as a character. The narrative itself is written in a clear manner, with an underlying tone of sarcastic wit that I relate to entirely; the narrator does an excellent job in encapsulating this. I can’t wait to listen to the story further!
 

Books Discovered


My first book buy of the week was Fools and Mortals by Bernard Cornwell. I love his Saxon stories series, (aka The Last Kingdom to those that only watch it on TV), and I also love everything about the stage and theatre. Picking up this book was a no-brainer for me once I saw it!
I actually received a copy of Blackwing to read and review from Gollancz a couple of weeks ago(?!)… ish. Anyway. I hadn’t added it to my blog before because I like to post to social media to thank the publisher first, which I was rather late in doing.
I have this amazing ability to be as un-photogenic as possible, and if I’m not convinced I like a picture… I won’t share it. Thank the lord for photo editing… because I still wasn’t all that great when I finally took that photo. Thanks to some cropping and a cheeky filter, I published the photo on InstagramTwitter and you were spared the sight of my hideous sunburn. It rather matched my lipstick. No joke. I am Casper the ghost in corporeal form.
 

Coming Up…

Almost a month after I read the book, I’ll be posting my review of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne. I really enjoyed this book, even though the topic is less than cheery. If anyone is yet to read it, I highly recommend it. As for the film… I don’t think I could watch it. I’m weak.
Rebecca mono

Audiobook Review: An Almond for A Parrot – Wray Delaney

It is a wonder I even chose to listen to this book. Why…? I hear you ask. You like books of a historical fiction / fantasy persuasion! Yes, yes I do… and this book is definitely that. So what might turn me off, you ask?

Well, it comes down to one simple fact. I am socially awkward when it comes to sex.

Don’t get me wrong, if you don’t play around with the odd innuendo with your work colleagues, then I would argue you either don’t know them very well, or you just aren’t normal.

If, however, a SERIOUS conversation between my girl friends turned to that glorious subject, my desire to be any part of it shrivels up faster than a streaker on the North Pole. Do you remember that feeling when you first had to watch a sex scene with your parents? This is me, literally all the time…

Source: Giphy

It’s one of those scenarios you inevitably have to experience, in order to understand how much it makes you want to curl up and die on the spot… but after that, it should never happen again. Ever.

 

Goodreads – An Almond for a Parrot

‘I would like to make myself the heroine of this story – an innocent victim led astray. But alas sir, I would be lying…’

London, 1756: In Newgate prison, Tully Truegood awaits trial. Her fate hanging in the balance, she tells her life-story. It’s a tale that takes her from skivvy in the back streets of London, to conjuror’s assistant, to celebrated courtesan at her stepmother’s Fairy House, the notorious house of ill-repute where decadent excess is a must…Tully was once the talk of the town. Now, with the best seats at Newgate already sold in anticipation of her execution, her only chance of survival is to get her story to the one person who can help her avoid the gallows.

She is Tully Truegood.

Orphan, whore, magician’s apprentice.

Murderer?

So why pick a book in which the protagonist is a prosti…. ahem, courtesan? I don’t know really. But I did… and here we are.

You may have gotten the impression that my adversity to even deal with my awkwardness means that I didn’t like the book. Wrong. Yes, it was awkward and embarrassing, but Sally handled the topic in a humorous way. I am still glad that I only listened to this audiobook at home since I spent much of my time laughing out loud, at the book and myself in equal measure.

We follow our protagonist’s story from childhood, so naturally we are introduced to the idea of human desires from a pointedly… innocent perspective. Poor vegetables are made to stand up in the place of the appendages enticing both fascination and uncertainty in young Tully. I really liked this approach, because as an awkward person anyway, I felt mutually awkward and therefore not alienated by the subject matter. Naturally, as the narrative progresses and Tully develops into the confident woman she becomes, the language does get bolder, through blessedly not crass.

I also enjoyed the storyline behind the superfluous sexual encounters knocking between the pages. Not only were elements of magic, theatrics and illusion involved… but there is also a fair amount of politics. Being a courtesan as opposed to carousing street corners, Tully earns the affections of a number of high profile men and her position in society depends entirely upon whom she is courting at the time.

Just fair word of warning to anyone considering reading or listening to this book – later on in the narrative there are some of the darker themes you may associate with our protagonist’s profession, which may not suit all readers.
My one and only criticism of the book is that I found the ending a little too fairy-tale like – it is definitely an ending for the romantic reader. The narrative was written cleverly so that technically it could (and made sense to) happen, but I personally think it felt out of place with the tone of the book.


I hope you all had a good laugh at my expense reading this review. If you did, let me know! What embarrasses you the most?
Rebecca mono