Tag: book love

Blog Tour Extract: Glasshouse – Morwenna Blackwood

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s blog tour post for Glasshouse by Morwenna Blackwood. I’m excited to be taking part in today’s tour and I have an extract to share with you from the book. As always, a huge thank you to Morwenna and Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the tour and inviting me to take part.

Having read the extract below I’m really intrigued by the novel and I hope it piques your interest too! If you do enjoy today’s extract I’ll provide details of the book below so you can find out more about it and how you can get a copy! But for now, onto the extract.

 

Extract

(In this extract, Lizzie is in psychiatric hospital, and has a conversation that will change the lives of everyone in the novel…)

I am mute until this girl called Kayleigh arrives. She’s really nice – she’s kind and friendly, and always gets me a cup of tea if she goes to get one for herself. She even picks the snails up when they come onto the path and puts them back in the garden so they won’t get eaten or stepped on. After few days of smiling at each other when we pass in the corridors or in the garden, she comes and sits next to me on the sunny bit of a bench one day, and offers me a cigarette.

On reflex, I start to say, “Thanks, but I can’t – I’m pregnant,” but stop myself after “Thanks”, and take the rollie she’s made for me. And then I can no longer pretend to myself that I have forgotten. I take a long drag on the rollie, and bite my lip to get control of myself. But Kayleigh starts crying before I do, telling me that they’re going to take her little boy away, when she hasn’t done anything wrong. I don’t know what to do, so I just touch her shoulder, and listen. She says that she’s bipolar, that someone set her up, and that the psychiatrist she’d been seeing for years suddenly went away, and some ‘posh new boy in a waistcoat’ gave the final order for her to be sectioned. Something clicks, and I ask her the name of her old psychiatrist. And then I really start listening to what she’s saying.

When she finishes her horror story, she asks me how I ended up here. I think about all the ways I could reply, but stammer out, “I ODd. Again.” I don’t need to say any more, and Kayleigh just smiles in sympathy. And then I go and get us some tea, and we have another rollie each, and just sit there until the sun goes down, sometimes chatting, sometimes silent.

The days pass. I eat my dinner like a good girl; watch some telly, like a good girl; have a little joke with the nurses when I’m taking my meds, like a good girl; and then I go to bed, like a good girl. One of the nurses calls after me, “Goodnight, Lizzie. Sleep well. And don’t worry, love, I’m sure you won’t be here long.”

She’s right – I won’t.

 

Now I don’t know about you, but I am intrigued to find out more about this book. The ending of the extract implies that our main character has a little secret something up her sleeve and I just want to know what is going on! If you do as well here are the details of the book and where you can get yourself a copy: –

 

Glasshouse – Morwenna Blackwood

Goodreads – Glasshouse

‘Now if I carry out this oath, and break it not, may I gain for ever reputation among all men for my life and for my art; but if I break it and forswear myself, may the opposite befall me.’

~ from the Hippocratic Oath (translated by WHS Jones)

Psychiatrists, Drs Whittle and Grosvenor, have dedicated their lives to helping their patients, but their approach, and the complications it reveals, lead them into relationships that harm not only themselves.

As their lives entangle, both men find that doing no harm is not as cut-and-dried as they perceived.

Can the patients in their care really trust them? Or are more sinister motives at work?

Delve into the dark world of psychiatric institutions where doctors and residents play a dangerous  game where no one is infallible!

Purchase Link – http://mybook.to/glasshousenovel

 

Author Bio

When Morwenna Blackwood was six years old, she got told off for filling a school exercise book with an endless story when she should have been listening to the teacher/eating her tea/colouring with her friends. The story was about a frog. It never did end; and Morwenna never looked back.

Born and raised in Devon, Morwenna suffered from severe OCD and depression, and spent her childhood and teens in libraries. She travelled about for a decade before returning to Devon. She now has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Exeter, and lives with her husband, son and three cats in a cottage that Bilbo Baggins would be proud of. Her debut psychological thriller, The (D)Evolution of Us, is published by #darkstroke, and has become an Amazon best-seller. When she is not writing, Morwenna works for an animal rescue charity, or can be found down by the sea.

She often thinks about that frog.

Social Media Links

Twitter – @MorwennaBlackw1

Instagram – morwennablackwood_

Facebook – Morwenna Blackwood page

Website – www.morwennablackwoodauthor.com

Monthly Wrap-Up – April 2021

Hi guys and welcome to today’s monthly wrap up post for April! I can hardly believe it is May already – where is this year going?

This month’s post is only a short one by comparison as I’ve been focusing on some different things this month. Still, I really enjoyed the books I have been picking up – and more of those below: –

 

Books Read

 

This month has been a bit of a reading and listening fest for A Game of Thrones and George R. R. Martin. I’ve been reading Fire and Blood which is the prequel to the A Game of Thrones series and I’ve also been listening to A Clash of Kings, which is the second book of the main series.

I’ll hold my hands up and admit that I’ve not read as much as I would’ve liked to this month. Instead, I’ve ended up working on a lot more knitting. I had been making a birthday present for my dad at the beginning of the month and I finish this a few days ahead of time. After that I moved on to a project that I started in November last year and put on hold. I ended up getting a lot more done of this than I expected initially and in the last few days of April I was so close to finishing it that I just couldn’t leave it.

Still, Fire and Blood is a long book. I think when I picked it up this month I was about 250 odd pages in and as of the end of the month I had around 150 left (out of 700). If I’ve been reading shorter books and maybe I could be saying that I’d read a couple this month, but it is what it is and this is the only book I’ve been making progress on. Once I get this finished I’m going to try a lot harder to get more read.

In terms of progress with A Clash of Kings, I was around 20% through the audiobook in March is monthly wrap-up post. I’m now about 55% through and making good progress with this one. I definitely listen to audiobooks a lot less than I physically read and these are long ones as well. I’m actually really pleased with this progress and I look forward to carrying on with the book in the next month.

 

Blog Posts

Blogging has definitely been a lot more fun and enjoyable since I switched up my way of working last month. Posting is a lot easier as I’m not struggling with an ageing laptop and all in all, I’m just enjoying the process of it a bit more.

In case you missed any of my posts over the course of the month, you can find a list of what I’ve shared below: –

I hope you have enjoyed this month’s wrap-up post! Apologies it is only a short one, however, I feel like I’ve had a good break and the opportunity to enjoy some different things. I’m definitely looking to start picking up more books and get back on the reading bandwagon more next month. However, until then, I hope to see you around on the blog.

What books did you read in April?

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Shelf Control #30 – 30/04/2021

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s Shelf Control post! I’m sorry if this post is a little brief, but I’ve spent the day at work, then done my weekly shop and come home to cut my grass before some bad weather comes in over the weekend. I first sat down at 9 o’clock this evening!

Shelf Control is a regular feature I started last year and I have got back into sharing these posts regularly again. It’s a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies. It’s a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up!

For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out Lisa’s introductory post linked above.

Read on to find out about today’s featured mystery novel!

 

If We Were Villains – M. L. Rio

Goodreads – If We Were Villains

Oliver Marks has just served ten years in jail – for a murder he may or may not have committed. On the day he’s released, he’s greeted by the man who put him in prison. Detective Colborne is retiring, but before he does, he wants to know what really happened a decade ago.

As one of seven young actors studying Shakespeare at an elite arts college, Oliver and his friends play the same roles onstage and off: hero, villain, tyrant, temptress, ingenue, extra. But when the casting changes, and the secondary characters usurp the stars, the plays spill dangerously over into life, and one of them is found dead. The rest face their greatest acting challenge yet: convincing the police, and themselves, that they are blameless.

 

My Thoughts….

I am a huge fan of theatre; something you have probably picked up from my blog before. If not then I’ll say it again now. As a former performing arts student (among other subjects as part of my A-levels) I have an appreciation for the art and I used to really enjoyed myself! I haven’t done it so much since I left school but I do like to go and watch. Having a book based around a set of performers is something that’s right up my street!

The one aspect that probably isn’t quite so ‘me’ is that the actors are studying Shakespeare. I really don’t get on with Shakespeare; it’s gobbledygook to me! Seriously though, does it make sense to anyone? I don’t think it will impact my enjoyment of the book though. It is obviously going to have some bearing on the narrative but I’m hopeful that this will be for the most part, minimal, and that you don’t have to understand too much about Shakespeare and his plays itself to know what’s going on! The premise of the book sounds really interesting and I can imagine the character relationships getting quite complex. We’ll have to see, but I can’t wait to pick up and find out.

I’ve almost picked this book up a couple of times, but experimentally only to see whether I’m going to get on with it or not. From what I read I’m hopeful! Have you read If We Were Villains? If so, what are your thoughts? As always, I would love to hear from you!

 

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Four Year Blogiversary

I can hardly believe I celebrated my four year blogiversary last week. Sometimes it feels like I set it up yesterday… and yet it also feels like a significant part of my life at the same time. When I was younger I was terrible for starting projects and never seeing them through. When I started Reviewsfeed I had no idea if this was going to be one of those projects. I’m glad to say that’s not the case and I have learnt a lot over the last four years… About blogging in general and about myself!

I will admit that when I started out, I didn’t really have much of a clue about what I was doing. I was reading other blogs in the run-up to setting my own up, but ultimately everyone has their own style. So, I had to take the plunge and find my own way of doing things. I also wasn’t very regular in posting for the first few months – but that’s okay because I was just finding my feet then. It has been a steep learning curve but also lots of fun. If anyone is considering setting up a blog then I really recommend it… providing you know what you’re signing up for!

 

Running a blog is a huge commitment. A book blog even more so.

Aside from the several hours spent drafting, editing and publishing posts a week, there’s also all the reading to go along with it! If you love it like I do then it doesn’t feel like much of a chore, but it does demand a lot of your time. If you’re only looking for a casual hobby then maybe this is worth thinking twice about.

I love my blog. To look back at the content I’ve created, all the reviews I’ve written and the interactions I’ve had with other readers and authors alike is a pleasure, and I hope it will continue to be so. I may have slowed down a little this year but that’s only to avoid burnout. I ended up taking on a lot last year with the house move and subsequent renovation, exams for work and keeping full pace on the blog. That’s a lot to take on! Towards the end of the year I was growing a little tired of juggling it all and I don’t regret the decision to slow down with my reading. I’m still blogging regularly and I hope you are enjoying the content I’m creating?

Four Year Blogiversary stats
Four Year Blogiversary stats

I don’t regularly look at my stats but to look at how far I have come in the last four years honestly amazes me! I would never have thought that many people would want to engage with my writing and to actually consciously choose to read my opinion on something. So, to find that I’ve had over 13,000 views in the last four years is crazy!

It was hard work in the early days. I had to actively go out and interact with other people to draw them to my blog and so every view was hard earned. Now I am a lot luckier and that I get at least one or two passive views a day without having to go out and find people. That’s not even something I try to do anymore. I engage with the content I’m interested in and ultimately I want other people to do the same with my blog.

 

So, 13,000 views and nearly 600 posts later, what have I learned?

Blogging is something you really have to want to do. There will be times when you don’t feel like it, or you will struggle to write a particular post. The underlying love for sharing my views and hoping to inspire other readers to pick up a book is what keeps me going. More than that though, I do it for me. I enjoy reading and taking the time to put my thoughts together on a book. It’s almost a way to relive the narrative and enjoy it for a second time.

Having stopped taking review requests over the last few months I can honestly say that I actually prefer not taking them. Don’t get me wrong, I have enjoyed some great books from authors who have approached me for a review. But equally, taking them on can result in a bit of pressure. Not only is there a time pressure to get it done and reviewed, but there’s also the difficulty if you don’t enjoy it as much as you hoped. I’ve been reading books that I wanted to pick up over the last few months and I found the experience a lot more enjoyable. Free books aren’t the be all and end all. Whilst I will still take the odd one here and there, I will be taking on less in future.

Access to free books is honestly the wrong reason to be a book blogger. You can put in a lot less time and effort by signing up to a library! When you first get started and get your first advanced reader copy it’s really exciting… but personally I think the novelty wears off. I do like to sign up to blog tours though. These are quite good because you don’t necessarily have to read and review book in order to contribute to the tour. Typically, I used to always try and review a book and rarely did I share an alternative feature post. However, I’ve been doing this more this year and I think the variety is honestly better for my blog. So, don’t be frightened to ask to just share a promo if you don’t have time to read and review a book – no one thinks any less of you for it!

 

In Summary

Blogging is a labour of love. It’s not always easy but it’s something I look forward to doing every day. Whether it is picking up a new book to share my thoughts on or finding new ways to share book related content, I love posting it for you!

I hope you guys really do enjoy the content on my blog – here is to the next four years!

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Audiobook Review: Moon Over Soho – Ben Aaronovitch

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s audiobook review of Moon over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch. I started listening to this series last year and to date I have listened to over half of it. As you can tell, I’ve really gotten into it! If you would like to find out my thoughts on the first instalment of the series, you can find my audiobook review of Rivers of London here.

 

Moon Over Soho – Ben Aaronovitch

Goodreads – Moon Over Soho

The song. That’s what London constable and sorcerer’s apprentice Peter Grant first notices when he examines the corpse of Cyrus Wilkins, part-time jazz drummer and full-time accountant, who dropped dead of a heart attack while playing a gig at Soho’s 606 Club. The notes of the old jazz standard are rising from the body—a sure sign that something about the man’s death was not at all natural but instead supernatural.

Body and soul. They’re also what Peter will risk as he investigates a pattern of similar deaths in and around Soho. With the help of his superior officer, Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, the last registered wizard in England, and the assistance of beautiful jazz aficionado Simone Fitzwilliam, Peter will uncover a deadly magical menace—one that leads right to his own doorstep and to the squandered promise of a young jazz musician: a talented trumpet player named Richard “Lord” Grant—otherwise known as Peter’s dear old dad.

 

My Thoughts…

Rivers of London felt like it could’ve been a good standalone novel. However, Moon over Soho in my opinion, has more of a series vibe and does a good job of setting the scene for the series as a whole. In this particular book we start to see some longer plot elements coming into play and I really enjoyed how it picked up on the events from the first book.

The series is told from the perspective of rookie Detective Peter Grant. He operates in the only division of the police force that deals with the supernatural. His days on the beat are far from ordinary. Peter is a very typical young man raised in Britain and he is no stranger to English charm. He is very much in tune with the darker side of people, especially in a large city such as London. Growing up in such a setting it can only be expected that he has a typical British sense of humour and I really love that! The dry humour adds a lot to the narrative and keeps the reader engaged.

Moon over Soho has a quirky plot line and I enjoyed how Peter’s family are introduced in further detail. It adds a lot of depth to Peter’s character and I feel like we get to learn a lot more of his family dynamic than the first book. By including them, more we get to explore a brand-new set of characters as well as firm favourites from Rivers of London.

I have one pet hate about the female characters in these novels so far, as it is very clear that a lot of them are sexualised – especially young ones. Take Simone for example. Like Simone, I am a larger lady. As a larger lady, I can promise you that we would never, ever deliberately wear underwear too small for sex appeal. This book portrays it as sexy, with lumps and bumps exploding curvaceously in all the right places. You can tell she has been written by someone who has never had to wear an ill-fitting bra for a single day in his life. Women know the truth of how bras fit… or more importantly, how they don’t! Wearing bras that are too small emphasises back fat, underwires dig into your armpits and small straps can rub the skin off your shoulders, to name but a few issues they cause. That kind of pain is not something that women would deliberately choose to inflict upon themselves!

Still think this is sexy, Mr Aaronovitch? My point is it isn’t a realistic expectation of what women should look like or how they do look. In a world full of body dysmorphia I think it’s important to emphasise this. Women should absolutely not do it and frankly it’s not attractive!

Okay, rant over.

Don’t get me wrong, this hasn’t impacted how much I’ve enjoyed the book but it is becoming apparent that the author does have a penchant for sexualising female characters. I’ve gone on to listen to more of the audiobooks so clearly it isn’t a huge issue for me, but I wish that he didn’t. It hardly encourages anyone to see anything in women beyond the physical appearance, which at least is shallow and at most, well, insulting.

As this is an audiobook review it’s only fair to mention the format itself and how much I enjoyed this second audiobook being narrated by the same person. I’ve already raved about how good he is at bringing life to an already interesting character and to have the consistency in this book as well (and the rest of the series I’ve listen to to date) is very satisfying.

As with Rivers of London, the author’s love of the city shines through the narrative. I’m not one with much experience of London but I didn’t find the descriptions and geography of the city confusing. Honestly, I didn’t let myself get bogged down into it because I knew I wouldn’t have a hope of understanding it anyway! It has no impact on the enjoyment of the book and honestly, I think anyone can pick this up. You don’t have to be familiar with London in any way to be able to read and enjoy the series.

 

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Shelf Control #29 – 16/04/2021

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s Shelf Control post! As you may recall, this is a regular feature series I started last year and I am looking to get back into sharing these posts regularly again. That said, I was meant to post this last Friday but due to finishing up work late for a week off, I decided to postpone.  My emphasis with this post is to clear some of the old books on my TBR pile; by doing so I am making sure the books on my list are still ones I am interested in and  I can get excited about reading them soon!

Shelf Control is a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies. It’s a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read and write a post about it! Suggestions include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it, and link up!

For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out Lisa’s introductory post.

This week‘s featured book is a science-fiction themed young adult novel. On the whole, I don’t read much in the YA genre, however, I like the sound of this one. It also has a bit of a dystopian type theme which I am a huge fan of. That might sound odd given that the premise of the novel is about habitation on Mars – typically viewed as a futuristic theme. I’m interested to see how it works out anyway!

Read on to find out about the book!

 

Red Rising – Pierce Brown

Goodreads – Red Rising

“I live for the dream that my children will be born free,” she says. “That they will be what they like. That they will own the land their father gave them.”

“I live for you,” I say sadly.

Eo kisses my cheek. “Then you must live for more.”

Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations.

Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children.

But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity already reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet. Darrow—and Reds like him—are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class.

Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the legendary Institute, a proving ground for the dominant Gold caste, where the next generation of humanity’s overlords struggle for power. He will be forced to compete for his life and the very future of civilization against the best and most brutal of Society’s ruling class. There, he will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies… even if it means he has to become one of them to do so.

 

My Thoughts….

I don’t always take note of a book’s rating on Goodreads, but with this one I certainly did and it makes me excited! This book has over 268,000 ratings on Goodreads and an overall average of 4.24 stars out of 5. That’s amazing!

Pierce Brown is a new author for me. This will be my first book of his; given my interest in the synopsis and the high rating it has from other readers I can honestly say that I don’t think I’ll regret picking this up!

Aside from the sci-fi futuristic vibe, I’m also really interested to see how the class system is employed and what impact it has on the novel. It’s blatantly the driving force behind the events of the book but I’d like to see how it is portrayed and how it compares to the kind of society we know. I just hope it doesn’t try to hammering too hard the different roles in society – I have actually stopped reading books in the past that focussed on this so much that it was impossible to invest into the characters! I doubt it though!

That’s all in today’s Shelf Control post. Have you read Red Rising? If so, what are your thoughts? As always, I would love to hear from you!

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Book Review: The Bands of Mourning – Brandon Sanderson

Today’s book review for The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson is one I am excited to share! You may already be aware that I am a huge fan of Brandon Sanderson. I have read and started a number of different series written by him and honestly, I’ve loved them all. They are all completely different, with a vague commonality in that they have their own really unique magic systems. The Mistborn series is the one I have read the most of and these books were my introduction to the author. To date, the series consists of an initial trilogy and there are a further three books published in a later timeline. I am excited as there is an expected fourth book to this later series… but I’m also sad as I’ve caught up and I now have to wait for it to be published!

In the grand scheme of things it’s a small problem – and I’m willing to wait for the next instalment as it’s a fantastic series. Before jumping into today’s review of The Bands of Mourning, please go and check out my reviews for The Alloy of Law and Shadows of Self. These two books precede this third book of the later series.

 

The Bands of Mourning – Brandon Sanderson

Goodreads – The Bands of Mourning

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson, the Mistborn series is a heist story of political intrigue and magical, martial-arts action.

Three hundred years after the events of the Mistborn trilogy, Scadrial is now on the verge of modernity, with railroads to supplement the canals, electric lighting in the streets and the homes of the wealthy, and the first steel-framed skyscrapers racing for the clouds.

The Bands of Mourning are the mythical metal minds owned by the Lord Ruler, said to grant anyone who wears them the powers that the Lord Ruler had at his command. Hardly anyone thinks they really exist. A kandra researcher has returned to Elendel with images that seem to depict the Bands, as well as writings in a language that no one can read. Waxillium Ladrian is recruited to travel south to the city of New Seran to investigate. Along the way he discovers hints that point to the true goals of his uncle Edwarn and the shadowy organization known as The Set.

 

My Thoughts…

The second Mistborn series continues with The Bands of Mourning and we are treated once again to an interesting and action-packed plotline, hilarious characters with a great dynamic and even a flashback to the original Mistborn series. As in the previous books, I am really enjoying the mash-up of an industrial revolution int the middle of a Western civilisation setting. That’s one combo I don’t think I have ever read to date and honestly, it really works! Don’t ask me how… I’m not sure that it should and yet it really does and I’m in love with it!

As always, the dynamic between Waxililam and Wayne makes the book. They are absolutely brilliant together despite being like chalk and cheese in personalities. So now, they work really well together and I just love them. There’s nothing more I can say other than they are probably one of my favourite character duos ever! Wax is a brilliant character for his upstanding moral nature. As characters go, he’s pretty altruistic. Not perfect, to say the least, but not for a lack of trying.

Wayne on the other hand is far more of a loose cannon. His ‘trading’ habit (stealing but leaving something in return – often dross) and ability to blend into a crowd come in very useful to the team… but he’s less than honest. He has good intentions for the most part and he is fiercely loyal to Wax, which makes him quite a loveable rogue.

It’s a good job our characters thrive on chaos, because there is plenty of it in their world! Where Wax and Wayne go with the flow, Steris thrives off trying to bring order to the chaos. I must admit I didn’t think too much of her when she was first introduced in The Alloy of Law.  But, I have warmed to her a lot. She’s a great compliment to Wax as well. I’m not big on couples and relationships in books, but they work well together!

I was excited by this second Mistborn series as it expanded on the magic system from the first; instead of being able to use magical power relating to one metal, the book introduced individuals who have the power to use two. What really sold me on this instalment of the series is that a third element was introduced. Whereas previously an individual has to consume metal in order to wield their specific powers, this book introduces the concept of powers being held externally via relics and able to be used by anyone!

I love that Brandon Sanderson isn’t afraid to explore new options in his worlds. Whilst he is very good at creating a consistent setting and building a detailed plot and magic system, I love that he is able to branch out and make a success of re-writing the rulebook, so to speak. So far in this series it has worked very well and makes the novels very interesting to read and invest into. But, it also reassures us as readers that there is a lot more that we can expect!

I really enjoyed how events of this book concluded. Without giving any spoilers, a certain character from the first series that has a presence in this book. It’s been that long since I read the first series that I had completely forgotten about this character! It made for an interesting twist to the plotline and I’m glad they were included. Suffice to say, I’m excited to see where the next book of the series takes us. Sadly, I have to wait for it to be published as I’m now caught up with the series… but at least it’s not over yet!

 

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Monthly Wrap-up – March 2021

Hello everyone and welcome to my March wrap-up post. When drafting my Sunday Summary post yesterday I completely forgot to mention this post coming up this week!

I’m enjoying writing these retrospective posts rather than a TBR post upfront. It means I can work at a more relaxed pace without the pressure of a list. So, without further pre-amble, here are the books I’ve been reading this month! 

 

Books Read

Most of this month has been spent reading The Book Thief by Markus Zusak on and off. It’s a long book at around 550 pages and I will admit that my reading did taper off in the early stages of this month. I think in part that has to do with some other hobbies, as well as the new lockdown. However, I did pick up more later on and I went on to finish this near the end of the month.

I picked up Fire and Blood by George R. R. Martin again in the very last few days of the month. Having finished The Book Thief and in general just getting back into reading a bit more habitually, I have taken this to bed and have also gotten out into the garden to enjoy a bit of a read. This is also a large book and taking on such a big read when you’re struggling with being in the mood for it is a challenge. That said, I’ve thrown myself back into it and I’m really looking forward to reading more of this in April!

I have been a bit better than usual on the audiobook front, as I have listened to The Toll by Neal Shusterman this month. Normally my audiobook progress is a lot slower than reading, however spending increased periods of time at home, I am able to play audiobooks on various devices I have around the house. Listening to them whilst I’m doing other jobs is very accessible. It’s also a good alternative I find to watching television if I am working on some craft – it means I can focus on my project and not the TV.

Once I finished listening to The Toll I must admit I felt a bit bereft that night. It was such a good audiobook and series and I had no idea what I could follow up with that would be just as good. I ultimately decided to listen to A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin. Not only are these books firm favourites, I also haven’t actually listened to them yet. I read them in every other format so far so why not complete the set? I listened to about 20% of the audiobook throughout the course of March and I will definitely be continuing this through into the next month.

 

Blog Posts

In the second half of March I feel like I have done better and certainly enjoyed blogging more. Without going into specifics I was having some technical issues with the laptop I’ve logged on and I’ve ultimately decided to change the way I block. That has been working out for me very well and I say they’re probably has been a slight increase in the number of posts I’ve been sharing. I’ve certainly been enjoying doing it more, if nothing else. In case you missed any of my posts over the course of the month, you can find a list of what I’ve shared below: –

 

I hope you have enjoyed this month’s wrap-up post! I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I will have plenty of news to share with you in next month’s wrap up post. However, until then, I hope to see you around on the blog.

What books did you read in March?

 

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Top Ten Tuesday – Places in Books I’d Love to Live

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Artsy Reader Girl.

In today’s Top Ten Tuesday post, I am featuring my top ten places in books I’d love to live. I really liked the idea of this topic – which is why I’m taking part in it! Having said that, I did struggle to come up with ten. It’s not that I have a lack of books to choose from, but rather the events that take place in the book are more often than not unpleasant and consequently I wouldn’t want to live there!

For example, Westeros and Essos, the two main landmasses famous in the Game of Thrones series are notably not on here. If any of you follow the series I’m sure it’s not a huge stretch of the imagination to wonder why…

But, alas, I did come up with ten in the end. Some of them still have caveats that I wouldn’t want to live that in the circumstances of the book necessarily, but they are all lovely places but I think I could live in in more pleasant climes.

So, shall we jump into the list?

 

The Shire: Lord of the Rings Trilogy – J. R. R. Tolkien 

The Shire has to be the top entry on today’s Top Ten Tuesday list. Maybe it is because of Tolkien’s beautiful descriptions, or perhaps it has more to do with the fact that The Shire is similar enough to where I actually live. I live in probably one of the smaller villages on the island. Whilst I certainly don’t live in a hobbit-hole, I do have the benefit of a small community and country views, just as hobbits do. For context as to just how small the villages, we have one convenience shop and one pub – you’ll be pleased to know that we’ve at least got our priorities right!

 

Prague: Daughter of Smoke and Bone – Laini Taylor

It would be a very far cry to describe myself as a city girl. In fact, the thought is ridiculous – I just not a fan of being around people! However, the descriptions of the city of Prague are absolutely beautiful in Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone series. So, I concede that I would be willing to give it a go. Even if I only survived living there a day, it still counts, right?

 

Deserted Island: Circe – Madeline Miller

This may seem like a strange addition, but I have my reasons. In Circe, the title character is banished to a deserted island. No spoilers as to why, but sometimes there is a great appeal to just have my own space. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a complete social recluse, but on a Friday evening after a full week at work, there is nothing I love more than locking my front door and just shutting the world out! I’m a very independent person and I benefit from being by myself to recharge my batteries. So, perhaps you can see the appeal of being left to one’s own devices sometimes!

 

The Labyrinth: The Relic Guild – Edward Cox

I can’t wholly put my finger on it, but there is something about the Labyrinth that appeals to me. Aside from the danger of magic and the quest of a small guild to save the inhabitants, there is something I like about the idea of living in a secluded area (as we’ve already covered!). For context, there is only one gateway into the Labyrinth; none who live there can leave. I hear you ask – why does that appeal? Well I suppose it’s again much like where I live. Obviously I can leave… unless you lived on the Isle of Man you won’t understand. The island is very static; the town that I grew up in hasn’t changed since my mum was a child. In some aspects I suppose there is a reassuring element to that which does not change, however equally progressive change is also somewhat lacking. Swings and roundabouts, but the concept of the Labyrinth does remind me of home. There may be a boat in the morning here yessir, but that entirely depends on the weather. 

 

Weep: Strange the Dreamer – Laini Taylor

Weep is a legendary city in Laini Taylor’s Strange the Dreamer duology. For this particular entry, my preference would be to visit the city before the events of the books. Cataclysmic events render the city of Weep destroyed before the books begin. However, the descriptions of its beauty even afterwards are in themselves legendary and on those alone, I would like to live in and admire the fabled city before its disaster.

 

The Misery: The Raven’s Mark Trilogy – Ed Macdonald

Of all the places to appeal to me in the Raven’s Mark series, it is the wasted, warping desert known as the Misery that strangely appeals. It goes to show that a fantastic description of a setting can go along way to influencing your perception. In the books it is an awful place; it is ravaged by monsters and there are no fixed landmarks as magic warps the landscape constantly. It is easy to get lost. If I remember rightly there is just one location/residence in the Misery that remains a fixed point. I’d have to make my base there… but at least I would wake up to new scenery every day!

 

London: Rivers of London – Ben Aaronovitch

I don’t profess to be an expert on modern-day London; the fact is I’ve only visited twice in my life. I visited once with my grandparents as a child and once again more recently, albeit for the more mundane reason of a training exercise for work. Still, there is a sense of excitement and appeal to the idea of there being more behind a modern-day setting. The unknown and the magical living on your doorstep is utterly fantastical and yet my whimsical brain loves the idea! If it could happen in London it could happen anywhere. I suppose we have our kind of ‘magical inhabitants‘ here on Island if you want to call them that. If you don’t say good morning or good afternoon to the fairies when you go over the Fairy Bridge, you can expect to be asking for trouble!

If anybody reading this thinks that the last sentence was a joke… It wasn’t entirely. It is tradition to bid the fairies good day when crossing the bridge. As to whether any ill-fortune becomes of you if you don’t is entirely speculative… But who wants to be taking that chance?

 

Elendel: Alloy of Law – Brandon Sanderson

The Alloy of Law is a rather steampunk setting and so living in this book would be a step backwards technologically. That would be a huge adjustment, however, the industrial revolution-esque advancements the city is gradually undergoing means that it wouldn’t be uninhabitable. And as a bonus, the city has its magical protector by the name of Waxillium – I can think of far worse choices for places to live!

 

The Emporium: The Toymakers – Robert Dinsdale

Do I even have to elaborate on this one much? Who wouldn’t want to live and work in a magical toy shop… especially when it only opens its doors for the festive season? It’s all the fun and none of the customer service lark for most of the year. Where do I sign up?

 

Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry: Harry Potter Series – J. K. Rowling

Living at a school teaching magic is a huge appeal, ignoring the whole ‘he who must not be named‘ situation. Obviously I wouldn’t particularly want to live there during the event of the series, however as a lover of learning and magic in books this is definitely one of my top places to live on this Top Ten Tuesday list.

So, there you have it! Here are my top ten places in books I would love to live in! Do you agree with any of my choices? Or, do you have any alternative destinations? Let me know in the comments!

 

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Blog Tour: Old Cases, New Colours – Madalyn Morgan

Hi guys and welcome to today’s blog tour post for Old Cases, New Colours by Madalyn Morgan.

I’m really excited to be taking part in today’s blog tour. It’s been a few months since my last one and I always like to feature new books and authors. As always, a huge thank you to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the tour and giving me a spot in order to share today’s extract with you and to the author, Madalyn Morgan!

Before we jump into the extract of Old Cases, New Colours, here is a brief note on the events of the book: –

Intro: Paintings are being stolen and replaced by forgeries. When a Hogarthpainting goes missing en route from the Savoy Hotel to the art gallery and later turns up at Bow Street police station, Inspector Powell who Ena has known for many years asks if she and Henry would attend a pre-auction night at an art gallery owned by Giselle Aubrey, the goddaughter of a friend of his. While Henry, who was an artist before the war, authenticates the Hogarth Ena mingles.

Extract

Casting her gaze around the room, Ena noticed a middle-aged woman lift the glass lid of a display cabinet and take out a brooch. She then looked around and, unaware that Ena was watching her, unclipped the fastener on her evening bag and dropped the brooch in. Ena couldn’t believe anyone would be so brazen as to steal a valuable piece of jewellery in front of dozens of people. She stood open-mouthed looking at the woman when she realised she herself was being watched by an elderly man with silver hair. He smiled at her, creating soft creases at the corners of startling blue eyes.
The man’s smile made Ena feel awkward. She felt as if she had witnessed something very private – had been a fly on the wall of someone’s bedroom – instead of the theft of an item of jewellery. She turned away from the man’s gaze and, feigning interest in the paintings on the wall nearest to her, made her way across the room to Giselle.
As she approached the gallery owner, she heard Henry assuring her that the painting taken to Bow Street Police Station, was a genuine Hogarth.
Giselle threw her arms around Henry’s neck. ‘So, can I display it?’ Henry nodded. ‘Thank you,’ she gushed.
The Hogarth being genuine didn’t make sense to Ena. Had whoever stole the painting got cold feet and purposely left it at the back of The Savoy, hoping it would be found? Was it a bungled theft, or a genuine oversight? She didn’t believe for a second that the men transporting the painting from The Savoy to the gallery had left it behind by mistake. What then?
‘Ena?’ Giselle gave her a broad smile. ‘Did you want me or your wonderful husband?’
‘Well done, wonderful husband,’ Ena said with a twinkle in her eye. Henry lifted his glass to her. ‘It was you who I wanted to speak to.’ Ena wished she’d been able to tell Henry what she’d seen before speaking to Giselle. It was too late now; both her husband and the gallery owner were looking at her expectantly.
‘I’m sorry to have to tell you, Giselle, but I’ve just seen a woman in a turquoise dress -early fifties, plump with a pretty face and short fair curly hair -steal a brooch from one of the display cabinets.’
‘Did you see which brooch she took?’
‘I wasn’t close, but I could see it was a coral stone and there were other stones around it.’
‘I know the brooch you mean. It’s one of the most expensive pieces in the gallery. It was made by the French designer, Gilou Donat.’ Giselle looked past Ena. If the woman you described wants the brooch, her husband will buy it for her. I assure you she has no need to steal anything. He is very wealthy. And,’ Giselle said, ‘he is besotted with her.
He must be Ena thought. His wife did steal the brooch, both she and the woman’s husband saw her. Ena was fascinated to know why someone would steal something that they could so easily have bought, or asked for as a gift.
Giselle moved deftly among clusters of people standing around admiring the paintings, sculptures and jewellery on show. ‘Charles,’ she said, kissing the distinguished looking man with silver hair and the kind of tan you get from spending long periods in the South of France, not south London.
This is my friend, Ena. Ena, these lovely people are Priscilla and Charles. Can I help you with anything?’
‘Priscilla has taken a shine to the coral and pearl brooch.’
‘As always, you have impeccable taste, Priscilla. It is the only one of its kind. There have been no bids made on it, so it’s all yours. Would you like to take it with you tonight, or shall I have it sent to you tomorrow?’
The woman’s husband looked at her, a smile on his face and love in his eyes.
‘I’ll take it tonight, please, darling.’
’Giselle looked around the gallery, put up her hand and the man who had met Ena and Henry at the door and checked their tickets, made his way across the room to her.
‘Victor, would you take the Donat brooch form the showcase and put it in a presentation box.
‘I’d like to wear it now,’ Priscilla said.
‘Even better. It will look beautiful on your dress,’ Giselle turned to Priscilla’s husband.
‘I’ll have Victor bring the box to your office tomorrow with the invoice.’
‘Thank you,’ he said.
Certain that the case was already unlocked, Ena watched as Victor took a small key from his waistcoat pocket. He inserted the key in the lock, turned it and the case opened. As big as he was, Victor skilfully lifted up the brooch and gave it to the woman who passed it to her husband. He lovingly pinned the brooch of coral and pearls onto her turquoise dress and stepped back. He exclaimed how beautiful she looked and she giggled like an excited child.
Victor, his job done, locked the cabinet. After returning the key to his waistcoat pocket, he straightened his jacket, gave a short nod to his boss and went back to his post by the door.
‘I’m going to powder my nose, darling,’ Pricilla said to her husband, ‘I won’t be long.’
I need to spend a penny too, Ena thought and followed her.

So, that’s today’s extract from Old Cases, New Colours! I hope you enjoyed reading this extract as much as I did! If you want to find out more about the details of the book and the author, you can find them below: –

Old Cases, New Colours (A Dudley Green Investigation)- Madalyn Morgan

Sick of working in a world of spies and bureaucracy, Ena Green, nee Dudley, leaves the Home Office and starts her own investigating agency. Working for herself she can choose which investigations to take and, more importantly, which to
turn down.
While working on two investigations, Ena is called as a prosecution witness in the Old Bailey trial of a
cold-blooded killer who she exposed as a spy the year before.
Purchase Links –    Amazon UK     Amazon US

Author Bio

I was bought up in a pub in a small market town called Lutterworth. For as long as I can remember, my dream was to be an actress and a writer. The pub was a great place for an aspiring actress and writer to live with so many characters to study and accents to learn. I was offered Crossroads the
first time around. However, my mother wanted me to have a ‘proper’ job that I could fall back on if I needed to, so I did a hairdressing apprenticeship. Eight years later, aged twenty-four, I gave up a successful salon and wig-hire business in the theatre for a place at East 15 Drama College and a career as an actress, working in Repertory theatre, the West End, film and television.
In 1995, with fewer parts for older actresses, I gave up acting. I taught myself to touch-type, completed a two-year correspondence course with The Writer’s Bureau and began writing articles and presenting radio.
In 2010, after living in London for thirty-six years, I moved back to Lutterworth. I swapped two window boxes and a mortgage for a garden and the freedom to write. Since then, I have written nine
novels. The first four, The Dudley Sisters’ Saga, tell the stories of four sisters in World War 2. My current novel, Old Cases, New Colours, is a thriller/detective story set in 1960. I am writing Christmas book – Christmas Applause – and a Memoir; a collection of short stories, articles, poems, photographs and character breakdowns from my days as an actress.

Social Media Links –
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