Happy Friday everyone and welcome to my First Lines Friday post! I love writing these and either sampling the beginnings of books still to be read or re-reading old ones! Today’s featured book is one that I read in May 2018… I wish I had read it at Christmas. It’s a historical fiction novel that, for reasons that will come apparent, has a very festive vibe.
Can you guess what it is?
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! Christmas is coming, and the goose is getting fat…
If, at a certain hour on a certain winter night, you too had been wandering the warren between New Bond Street and Avery Row, you might have seen it for yourself. One moment there would be darkness, only the silence of shops stuttered up and closed for business. The next, the rippling snowflakes would part to reveal a mews you had not noticed before – and, along that mews, a storefront garlanded in lights. Those lights might be nut pinpricks of white, no different to the snowflakes, but they would still draw your eye. Lights like these captivate and refract the darkness. Lights like these can bewitch the most cynical of souls.
Watch out, because here one such soul comes, hurrying out of the night.
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…
***Please note this post contains affiliate links, meaning that I will earn a small commission on purchases made through them. If you like what you read and are interested in purchasing a copy of the book(s) featured in this post, please consider using these links and supporting a book blogger!
Good morning everyone! It’s Tuesday… the worst day of the week is over with and today I am excited to be sharing my review of Moroda by L. L. McNeil. I was very kindly approached by her some time ago requesting me to review her book! As I love the fantasy genre (and dragons!) I absolutely said yes.
The timing of my reading Moroda didn’t quite go to plan, so sorry Lauren! I said that I would be reading and reviewing this in October/November… and I started reading this on the 30th November. It wasn’t my best month by a long shot…
So, enough of that! Shall we get on to what I actually made of the book? As always, I’ll get the usual disclaimer out and let you know that whilst I received a free copy of this to review, my thoughts expressed in this review are my honest opinion.
Linaria is a world where dragons are revered as gods, where airships rule the skies, and where war is stirring.
For Moroda, a former Goldstone, her life of luxury ends following her father’s sudden death. When her city is destroyed by a dragon, she and her sister ally with a sky pirate and narrowly escape the carnage—only to find a vigilante from an exiled race has left a trail of destruction everywhere his growing army has travelled. With compulsion at his fingertips, he strengthens his hold over Linaria’s people by stealing the power of dragons. It’s only a matter of time before Moroda, too, is forced to submit.
With war nipping at her heels and danger lurking in her companions and adversaries, Moroda must quickly learn about herself, her world, and the dragons so intent on reducing it all to ash.
2018 SPFBO Semi-Finalist
Shortlisted for the Best Indie Book Awards 2017 – Fantasy.
Moroda is the first novel in an epic six-book saga, following a group of characters as war rages across their world. With pirates and soldiers, smiths and princes, Linaria is a vibrant land with a deeply unsettled past and an equally ominous future.
Magic? Check. Dragons? Check? Well built, intricate universe in which the novel is set? Check again.
Moroda is a fantastic novel to pick up for anyone who loves a classic fantasy tale. The story begins with Moroda in a tricky predicament in which her world is turned upside down for good. She finds herself imprisoned for speaking her mind against a nobleman with the power to influence others. Then, a dragon attack on her home town sends her and a ragtag group on an adventure to discover the meaning behind recent events and the consequences they will have on the rest of the world.
One of my favourite aspects of the novel is the range of vastly different characters that accompany Moroda on her journey. From a feisty, self-serving sky pirate with a mean attitude to literal royalty, the band of travellers cannot get more diverse! That offers a great insight into the different origins of many of the characters and goes a long way to helping develop the world and background of Linaria.
The BEST thing about the book though was the ending. It’s really hard to talk about it without giving anything away, but I’ll do my best. If the book had a more frivolous/light-hearted conclusion than it did, the book would have had a solid three-star rating. In my opinion, the way events draw to a close – the consequences of the war and power of magic used makes the ending all-the-better! It isn’t a happily-ever-after sort of tale and I love that! It lends a realistic, gritty quality to the writing. Knowing that anything can happen at any time makes you invest in characters more than when you are reasonably safe in the knowledge that everything is going to be okay.
In the interest of fairness and honesty, there is one feature I would have liked to have seen in the book. If Moroda had strayed a little further from some of the overused conventions of fantasy novels, I think this would have been a five-star review instead of a four. I have read a lot of fantasy over the years and I am well versed with its tropes by now. As a result, I really enjoy books that push the boundaries and adopt their own take on the genre.
Sunday evenings come around too fast! It always feels like I barely finish one Sunday Summary and then here I am sat starting another. I hope you have had a good week? Mine has been great as I have been enjoying the last of my time off for the year and getting Christmas shopping finished. I have even gotten most of it wrapped. Look at me being organised! I think this time last year I had barely started…
In between drafting Sunday Summary posts, I have managed to squeeze a few others in. Last week, immediately after drafting last week’s update I had to jump into writing a review for Awa and the Dreamrealm by Isa Pearl Ritchie. I published that post first thing on Monday.
December’s reading list was published on Wednesday 4th, although it had been decided well in advance of that date. I have a lot of tours coming up in January, so I have to start my reading now to get myself prepared. I do have a couple of books of my own choice in there too. In that post, I also talk about why there aren’t many festive books on the list, so if you haven’t checked out that post yet here is the link to it.
Lastly, on Friday I shared the next Shelf Control post in my regular feature. Not only did I talk about a book that I was gifted nearly three years ago now, but I also learned it was part of a series. I had no idea before writing that post! It’s a classic science-fiction novel and I seem to be getting on with those really well at the moment. I should probably pick it up soon!
Whilst I say in one breath that I am doing well with science-fiction novels of late, I have had to set one aside for now. I have been enjoying reading Howling Dark but I just don’t think I have time to pick it up again this month. That said… if I do manage to finish this list early then I’ll pick this up again. I have a couple of short(er) books on the TBR, so maybe?
Instead, I began the week by finishing off another carryover from last month, Moroda by L. L. McNeil. I basically started reading this on the last day of November as I had promised the author to read it in October/November time. I am really pleased with myself as I read this quite quickly. Fingers crossed I’ll be reviewing it very shortly for her too.
After Moroda, I picked up my first read of December. I was keen to leave behind a bad month of reading (or lack of progress) and start this month’s TBR in earnest. Again, After Whorl: Donning Double Cloaks was only in my hands for a few of days before I finished it. I was excited to start the month reading this as I have already read and enjoyed the first couple of books in the series. It’s almost a reassurance that I’m starting in a good place.
The latter end of the week has been spent with my head buried in the concluding novel to the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series by Laini Taylor. This is my current read and I am LOVING IT! It’s a shame I have to go back to work tomorrow instead of sitting at home and reading this…
Tell you what else I did get done this week – I finished listening to Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman. I typically listen to audiobooks in the car and I expected to finish it in the couple of journeys I made. I think I listened to the last three minutes or so at home, so I really wasn’t wrong! It also surprises me how long it took me to listen to – about seven weeks! I’m so slow with audiobooks.
It amazes me that I have spent a week off work, shopping and generally mooching around and yet I have not added a single book to the TBR this week. I have been good (spending my money on everyone else!)
As I am pretty late to getting to read Moroda, I’m keen to get my review live as soon as possible! So, with that in mind, my intention is to have my thoughts on this fantasy novel published on my blog first thing on Tuesday.
I have been reading After Whorl: Donning Double Cloaks this week as I have a blog tour post scheduled for Wednesday 11th. In that post I’ll be linking to my reviews of the earlier books in the series The Beltane Choice and After Whorl: Bran Reborn, as well as share my views of the latest instalment. I hope you can tune in for that!
As always, I’ll be preparing a First Lines Friday post for you to round up the working week. I don’t like to choose my featured book of the week too early in advance. I’ll be picking it on Thursday when I sit down to write this post. No spoilers for you to ruin the surprise, I’m afraid!
Hi guys – Happy Friday and welcome to today’s Shelf control post! Once again I’ll be taking an in-depth look at the next book on my TBR and telling you why I am excited to read it!
As a refresher, 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, 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.
By using these Shelf Control posts I can look in further detail at the books I have added to the TBR and listed as keepers in my Down the TBR Hole posts. I talk about why I want to keep the featured book; it also acts as a second sweep for anything that I may have changed my mind about. I have actually deleted a few books doing this sweep. I don’t necessarily own all the books (yet), but I will have a reasonable number of them. I’ve also gone on to read a couple of the earliest books on the list, so this mini-series is proving useful!
Today’s featured book is one I have owned for nearly three years now, but haven’t picked up yet!
Before The Matrix, before Star Wars, before Ender’s Game and Neuromancer, there was Dune: winner of the prestigious Hugo and Nebula awards, and widely considered one of the greatest science fiction novels ever written.
Melange, or ‘spice’, is the most valuable – and rarest – element in the universe; a drug that does everything from increasing a person’s life-span to making intersteller travel possible. And it can only be found on a single planet: the inhospitable desert world Arrakis.
Whoever controls Arrakis controls the spice. And whoever controls the spice controls the universe.
When the Emperor transfers stewardship of Arrakis from the noble House Harkonnen to House Atreides, the Harkonnens fight back, murdering Duke Leto Atreides. Paul, his son, and Lady Jessica, his concubine, flee into the desert. On the point of death, they are rescued by a band for Fremen, the native people of Arrakis, who control Arrakis’ second great resource: the giant worms that burrow beneath the burning desert sands.
In order to avenge his father and retake Arrakis from the Harkonnens, Paul must earn the trust of the Fremen and lead a tiny army against the innumerable forces aligned against them.
And his journey will change the universe.
I received a copy of Dune from former work colleagues for my birthday nearly three years ago now. It’s actually scary how the time flies! Even before throwing myself into reading as a daily habit and starting my blog in 2017, I was known for my bookish tendencies.
I also think they made a really good choice of book for me too! Dune is a classic and highly award-winning science-fiction novel. Truth is, before I had been gifted it, I hadn’t heard of it. I have only just realised that this is the first book of an eight-part series as well! I prefer a series to a standalone book – I guess that’s the part of me that likes long, complex stories…
As I have had this for a little while now, I do think I should make an effort to pick it up soon. I’ve also been doing really well lately for picking up more science-fiction novels.
Have you read Dune? Would you recommend it? Let me know in the comments!
***Please note this post contains affiliate links, meaning that I will earn a small commission on purchases made through them. If you like what you read and are interested in purchasing a copy of the book(s) featured in this post, please consider using these links and supporting a book blogger!
Good afternoon readers! It’s the last month of 2019, so this is my last Reading List of the year… Wow. Where did that go?
I am really impressed with the number of books I have read this year! My all-time record of 60 books has already been beaten, set when the reading and blogging adventures began in 2017. I initially set myself a reading target of 50 books because that was how many I read in 2018. Now, I am aiming for 70. I only have 3 books left to hit that target!
By the time I include the rest of December’s TBR and my audiobook, I think I’ll have read 74 books. A part of me considered trying to push to 75, but I think that’s too ambitious. I’m happy where I am anyway, so no point pushing myself too hard.
Which books are closing out the reading journey this year?
After Whorl: Donning Double Cloaks – Nancy Jardine
Brennus of Garrigill—Bran—monitors Roman activity across Brigantia. Stability prevails till AD 78 when Agricola, Governor of Britannia, orders complete conquest of all barbarians. Brennus heads north, seeking the Caledon who will lead the northern tribes against Rome.
Ineda treks northwards with her master, Tribune Valerius – supplies officer for Agricola’s Britannia campaigns. At Pinnata Castra, she escapes and seeks fellow Brigantes congregating for battle in the north.
The Legions of the Roman Empire and the Caledon allies clash at Beinn na Ciche in AD 84, but where are Brennus and Ineda?
The adventures of the Garrigill Clan continue…
I am reading Nancy Jardine’s Celtic Fervour series and reviewing the books as part of the organised blog tours. I picked up these books as they have given me the chance to read historical fiction in a completely new time period. I’m really enjoying reading about the Roman conquest of Britain – so much so, I have started learning a little Latin!
I am already 40% of the way through this book and as I have no plans for the rest of the day, I’m hoping to finish this one soon!
Two worlds are poised on the brink of a vicious war. By way of a staggering deception, Karou has taken control of the chimaera’s rebellion and is intent on steering its course away from dead-end vengeance. The future rests on her.
When the brutal angel emperor brings his army to the human world, Karou and Akiva are finally reunited – not in love, but in a tentative alliance against their common enemy. It is a twisted version of their long-ago dream, and they begin to hope that it might forge a way forward for their people. And, perhaps, for themselves.
But with even bigger threats on the horizon, are Karou and Akiva strong enough to stand among the gods and monsters?
The New York Times bestselling Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy comes to a stunning conclusion as – from the streets of Rome to the caves of the Kirin and beyond – humans, chimaera, and seraphim strive, love, and die in an epic theater that transcends good and evil, right and wrong, friend and enemy.
I have to finish this before the end of the year! I was completely and utterly captivated by Daughter of Smoke and Bone on holiday in October. So much so, I read Days of Blood and Starlight last month. It’s rare that I devour a series as quickly as this, but what can I say? I’ve come to love Laini Taylor’s books that much that it has to be done!
Five different people. Five separate lives. Sixty minutes to bind them for ever.
Hassan, Jim, Shuna, Dan and Nadia come from very different worlds. If life were straightforward, their paths would never cross. But our lives are rarely that simple and, as the clock ticks away the minutes of a single hour on a July morning, fate draws all five together in a headlong rush towards disaster.
Who are the heroes and who are the villains? Tony Salter’s latest novel leaves us guessing right up to the last page.
When I received the email inviting me to the blog tour of Sixty Minutes, I was immediately drawn in by the synopsis. It is very vague on the circumstances but has a lot of intrigue: who are these people and what has drawn them together?
What if we’re living in an alternate timeline? What if the car crash that killed Princess Diana, the disappearance of the Princes in the Tower, and the shooting of King William II weren’t supposed to happen? Ex-history teacher Gregory Ferro finds evidence that a cabal of time travellers is responsible for several key events in our history. These events all seem to hinge on a dry textbook published in 1995, referenced in a history book written in 1977 and mentioned in a letter to King Edward III in 1348. Ferro teams up with down-on-her-luck graduate Jennifer Larson to get to the truth and discover the relevance of a book that seems to defy the arrow of time. But the time travellers are watching closely. Soon the duo are targeted by assassins willing to rewrite history to bury them. Million Eyes is a fast-paced conspiracy thriller about power, corruption and destiny.
Million Eyes sticks with the science-fiction vibe I have been feeling lately. I’m also looking forward to the thriller element of the novel and finding out why the time-travelling assassins are set on re-writing history. Could the alternative be worse?
I am taking part in the upcoming blog tour for this novel next year – yes, next year, but that’s not that far away!
Wisp is a pyromancer: a magician who draws energy from fires to make his own flames. He’s also a criminal, one job away from retirement. And it can’t come bloody soon enough.
Leading his misfit crew, Wisp ventures into a charred and barren forest to find a relic that could change the realm forever. But they aren’t the only ones on the hunt, and the forest isn’t as barren as it seems …
A jaded gang leader longing for retirement
A bloodthirsty magician with a lust for power
A brutish fighter who’s smarter than he looks
A young thief desperate to prove herself
A cowardly navigator with secrets that won’t stay buried
Together, they must survive fights, fires, and folk tales that prove disturbingly real – if they don’t kill each other first.
I saw this novella on a website called BookSirens, which is a lot like Netgalley if you haven’t come across it before. The concept of a non-altruistic main character in a fantasy genre novel is one I love already and I have read a good few books like it already. With this being a novella, this should be really quick to pick up and review before the deadline next year!
‘If I had my way, every idiot who goes around with Merry Christmas on his lips, would be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart. Merry Christmas? Bah humbug!’
Introduction and Afterword by Joe Wheeler
To bitter, miserly Ebenezer Scrooge, Christmas is just another day. But all that changes when the ghost of his long-dead business partner appears, warning Scrooge to change his ways before it’s too late.
Part of the Focus on the Family Great Stories collection, this edition features an in-depth introduction and discussion questions by Joe Wheeler to provide greater understanding for today’s reader. “A Christmas Carol” captures the heart of the holidays like no other novel.
I made a real effort to seasonally read in October, but it’s not so straightforward in December. Sure, there are plenty of books to choose from, but they are all women’s fiction. It’s the same with Christmas movies – city girl comes home to country routes for Christmas, reunites with old flame, falls in love, is “torn” between going back to old life but you just KNOW that it’s going to end happily ever after *sigh*
Will someone please pass me a puke bucket?
As with Christmas films, there are only a select few Christmas themed books that really appeal to me. This month, in addition to watching Miracle on 34th Street (the edition with Richard Attenborough), I will be reading A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. As a classic, I can’t really turn my nose up at this one. At least, I hope not or you will be calling me Scrooge.
For the record, I love Christmas… just not all the cheesiness that goes with it. Sorry, not sorry.
That’s my reading list for December! What are you reading this month? Did you set any reading goals and are you likely to achieve them?
Good morning everyone and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Awa and the Dreamrealm by Isa Pearl Ritchie. Thanks to both the author and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the tour! If you want to learn more about the book or want to read other posts about this middle-grade children’s novel, please check out some of the posts by other bloggers on the tour!
Life is already complicated enough for Awa Bryant when she starts having weird dreams – waking dreams – and strange coincidences start appearing in her real life.
She meets dreamcharmer, Veila, a quirky glowing creature who helps to guide Awa through the mysterious Dreamrealm.
At first the Dreamrealm is a glorious escape from Awa’s daily struggles but something is not right… Soon Awa discovers she has a bigger quest, and everything she cares about is at stake. Will she be brave enough to face her fears and save her friends?
Labelling this book as a children’s novel feels a little simplistic, in my opinion. I would like to credit something I really love about the book straight off the bat. I love that it tackles and teaches its readership about some difficult topics. Separation and racism aren’t the kind of ideas I imagined to crop up in the novel. However, they are very prevalent problems for kids to experience these days. Sadly, it does happen. Bullying is also tackled in the narrative. I would argue this is very common (after all, I was bullied at school) but that’s not a reason to neglect the subject at all! If anything, I think it makes Awa really relatable as a character.
Awa and the Dreamrealm will really appeal to those with wild imaginations. The descriptions of the Dreamrealm are beautiful and vivid. It contrasts well with the mundane, normal everyday aspect of her life: going to a new school, trying to make new friends and get by as best she can and adjust to the fresh start.
At around 200 pages, this is a respectable length read for the target audience. The plot moves along swiftly so as to keep the reader engaged. The chapters are reasonably short too, switching between each “realm” frequently to break up the action and keep the narrative fresh.
Although not the intended audience of the book, I really enjoyed reading this children’s novel. It’s good to change up your reading habits now and again and Awa and the Dreamrealm allowed me to do this. The book is still part of one of my favourite genres so it was really easy to get into.
Giveaway to Win 1 x kindle copy of Awa and the Dreamrealm (INT)
*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
Isa Pearl Ritchie is a New Zealand writer. As a child, she loved creating imaginary worlds. She has completed a PhD on food sovereignty in Aotearoa. Her second novel, Fishing for Māui, was selected as one of the top books of 2018 in the New Zealand Listener and was a finalist in the NZ Booklovers Award for Best Adult Fiction Book 2019. Awa and the Dreamrealm is her first book for young people.
Good evening everyone and welcome to today’s Sunday Summary post! I can’t believe it’s December already! I have spent the day helping my parents put their Christmas decorations up; I’ll be doing mine in the next few days. Where has this year gone?
So, what have I been up to this week? Well, aside from using some days off work to have a good tidy up and a clear out, I have been doing a little bit of reading in between. On Tuesday I shared my review of Ctrl+S by Andy Briggs as part of the blog tour with Gollancz. I am really glad I asked to take part in the tour, even though I ended up reading this rather hastily in order to get my post live on time. This one at least wasn’t my fault!
Thursday’s post was a promo post for book four of the Battle Ground series by Rachel Churcher. I featured the third book on my blog a little while ago and it was a pleasure to feature the series once again, on publication day of book four, no less.
On Friday I shared another First Lines Friday post. This week I featured a book on my To Be Read list (TBR). I’m looking forward to reading this book; I also happened to feature another book of similar genre by the same author in my recent Top Ten Tuesday – New Releases I am Excited About post.
I’m disappointed with this month’s reading progress, but it can’t really be helped. I got off to a slow start with finishing Imaginary Friend, my last read in October, on the 9th November. I’ve had things going on which have hampered my progress too. I’m trying to finish one book tonight, but even with that in mind I have had to drop one book on this month’s list and I am going into December having only part-read another.
As of last week’s Sunday Summary post, I have made as much progress as I can on a few books. I finished Ctrl+S on Sunday night as I only had a few pages left. From there, I picked up Howling Dark by Christopher Ruocchio again as this is the book I set aside to read Ctrl+S. I got to page 231 towards the end of the week, which from 55 is pretty good going.
Yesterday I set the books aside once again in favour of a review request I promised for October/November time. Obviously, it was the last day of November and I hadn’t touched this book at all yet. I am impressed with how I have done with this one; since last night I have read 69% of the book, which roughly equates to just over 280 pages. This book is my priority over the next couple of days in order to get a quick turnaround on a review for the author.
Progress on Thunderhead has been a little slower this week with only a couple of commutes from work as part of my normal routine. I visited my friend Vicky on Friday, so I listened to this travelling to and from her house. That equates to two work commutes when I think about it. I have less than two hours left on the audiobook so I am confident I will be finishing it this week!
I have a few additions to this section, even though I haven’t been particularly looking for anything new as such.
I had a bit of an unpleasant beginning to this week and so I decided to buy myself a book to cheer myself up. I’m collecting classics in paperback, and I was going to buy it very soon anyway. I’ll give you a hint: it will be appearing on this month’s reading list in a couple of days.
When featuring Fighting Back by Rachel Churcher on Thursday, I said that I planned to pick up and read the series although I couldn’t for the tour. Rachel kindly let me know that books one to three were available to download for free as it was publication day for book four. Naturally, I downloaded them!
Next week is going to be busy for me. I have a few planned blog posts already – one I will be drafting immediately after this one! Tomorrow I am publishing my review of Awa and the Dreamrealm by Isa Pearl Ritchie. My post is part of the blog tour organised by Rachel’s Random Resources.
On Wednesday I’ll be sharing December’s reading list. Considering I made such an effort to read seasonally in October, I only have one Christmassy book on this list. I’m not a festive cheese person, so it’s not just because I have lots of reading to do ahead of next month’s blog tour mayhem! No prizes for guessing what it is now, I might have already mentioned it in this post…
It’s the turn of a Shelf Control post on Friday. So, I’ll be looking at the next book on my TBR list and sharing just why I want to read it. I was gifted a copy of the book I’ll be featuring nearly three years ago now for my birthday. It fits in well with the recent sci-fi theme I’ve had with my reading and blogging. It’s also a bit of a classic. Any idea what it might be?
That’s all from me in today’s Sunday Summary! I hope you have enjoyed this week’s post. Let me know in the comments – what have you been reading this week?
Happy Friday everyone and welcome to my First Lines Friday post! I love writing these and either sampling the beginnings of books still to be read or re-reading old ones! Today’s featured book is one that is currently on my TBR, or to be read list. Given the science-fiction theme I have been sticking to lately, I figured to share the opening lines of another book from the same genre!
Can you guess what it is?
I love Thursday nights. They have a feel to them that’s outside of time.
It’s our tradition, just the three of us – family night.
My son, Charlie, is sitting at the table, drawing on a sketch pad. He’s almost fifteen. The kid grew two inches over summer, and he’s as tall as I am now.
I turn away from the onion I’m julienning, ask, “Can I see?”
He holds up the pad, shows me a mountain range that looks like something on another planet.
I say, “Love that. Just for fun?”
“Class project. Due tomorrow.”
“Then get back to it, Mr Last Minute.”
Standing happy and slightly drunk in my kitchen, I’m unaware that tonight is the end of all of this. The end of everything I know, everything I love.
Jason Dessen is walking home through the chilly Chicago streets one night, looking forward to a quiet evening in front of the fireplace with his wife, Daniela, and their son, Charlie—when his reality shatters.
It starts with a man in a mask kidnapping him at gunpoint, for reasons Jason can’t begin to fathom—what would anyone want with an ordinary physics professor?—and grows even more terrifying from there, as Jason’s abductor injects him with some unknown drug and watches while he loses consciousness.
When Jason awakes, he’s in a lab, strapped to a gurney—and a man he’s never seen before is cheerily telling him “welcome back!”
Jason soon learns that in this world he’s woken up to, his house is not his house. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born.
***Please note this post contains affiliate links, meaning that I will earn a small commission on purchases made through them. If you like what you read, please consider using these links and supporting a book blogger! Thank you!***
Hi guys! Welcome back to my blog and today’s promo post for Fighting Back by Rachel Churcher! What makes this post all the more exciting is that today is publication day for the book! I am so glad to be featuring it on this first day of the tour.
I shared a promotional post for Darkest Hour, the third book of the Battle Ground series last month as well. If you are interested in the series you might want to check that post out as well!
Living where I do the series is particularly topical. I have a number of other blogging commitments meaning I was unable to read the series for the tour. However, it’s on my TBR to catch up with at a later date!
I hope that today’s post piques your interest in the series. There are a number of fabulous blogs also taking part in the tour so please check out their posts in the coming days for reviews and other feature posts!
Bex Ellman and her friends are in hiding, sheltered by the resistance. With her family threatened and her friendships challenged, she’s looking for a way to fight back. Ketty Smith is in London, supporting a government she no longer trusts. With her support network crumbling, Ketty must decide who she is fighting for – and what she is willing risk to uncover the truth.
The Battle Ground series is set in a dystopian near-future UK, after Brexit and Scottish independence.
Rachel Churcher was born between the last manned moon landing, and the first orbital Space Shuttle mission. She remembers watching the launch of STS-1, and falling in love with space flight, at the age of five. She fell in love with science fiction shortly after that, and in her teens she discovered dystopian fiction. In an effort to find out what she wanted to do with her life, she collected degrees and other qualifications in Geography, Science Fiction Studies, Architectural Technology, Childminding, and Writing for Radio.
She has worked as an editor on national and in-house magazines; as an IT trainer; and as a freelance writer and artist. She has renovated several properties, and has plenty of horror stories to tell about dangerous electrics and nightmare plumbers. She enjoys reading, travelling, stargazing, and eating good food with good friends – but nothing makes her as happy as writing fiction.
Her first published short story appeared in an anthology in 2014, and the Battle Ground series is her first long-form work. Rachel lives in East Anglia, in a house with a large library and a conservatory full of house plants. She would love to live on Mars, but only if she’s allowed to bring her books.
Good morning everyone and welcome to my stop for the blog tour of Ctrl+S by Andy Briggs! Before I get into the details, I would like to thank Alex Layt at Orion Publishing for organising the tour and sending me a review copy of the book! As always with these posts, the views expressed are my honest opinion.
I am really excited to be sharing my thoughts with you on Ctrl+S – particularly to fans of near-future science-fiction novels. If you enjoy this particular genre then you are going to love this book! Equally, I only occasionally venture into the genre and I loved it as well. Ctrl+S is due to be published in a matter of days so if you do enjoy this review, please do consider getting yourself a copy!
Before I begin with my review, please also take a moment to take a look at some of the other reviews shared as part of the tour.
Life in the near future’s NOT ALL BAD. We’ve reversed global warming, and fixed the collapsing bee population. We even created SPACE, a virtual-sensory universe where average guys like Theo Wilson can do almost anything they desire.
But ALMOST ANYTHING isn’t enough for some. Every day, normal people are being taken, their emotions harvested – and lives traded – to create death-defying thrills for the rich and twisted.
NOW THEO’S MOTHER HAS DISAPPEARED. And as he follows her breadcrumb trail of clues, he’ll come up against the most dangerous SPACE has to offer: vPolice, AI Bots and anarchists – as well as a criminal empire that will KILL TO STOP HIM finding her . .
The beauty of this near-future novel is that the premise of the book centres on an improved variety of technology that already exists – SPACE. Imagine augmented reality at your fingertips whenever you want it. Or, you can “ascend” for a limited time and experience virtual reality with your friends. There’s all of the fun and none of the pain if you get hurt or die in a game. That is, until someone finds a loophole.
Those rich enough to pay for the thrill can experience the pain and terror of death without the final blow. Maybe someone wants to feel the thrill of jumping off a building without the splat at the end. Real people are kidnapped and exploited to harvest whichever raw emotion is desired. It puts a sinister twist on the technology’s motto, More real than real. Theo’s mum Ella inadvertently gets dragged into the criminal underbelly after becoming indebted to the wrong people. When she doesn’t come home one day, the dangerous truth hits home.
Theo, Clemmie, Baxter and Milton take centre stage and are supported by a wide cast of varying characters. Their similarity in age to myself (and I imagine a lot of prospective readers) makes them really relatable and easy to invest into as the story progresses. You’ll laugh because I particularly relate to Theo. I didn’t go to University, unlike a lot of my friends, and I worked in a fast food place as my first job too! It’s the little things, right?
The “technology” aspect of the novel is really easy to follow. I can confidently say I think anyone can pick it up and understand the basics. Even from there, I feel that the descriptions of the advancement to today’s version of the technology is explained really well where relevant. Breaking up the information to impart what is necessary at any given time prevents dumping a lot of information on the reader. Some might find that overwhelming but I didn’t find this at all in Ctrl+S. Overall, I found there was a great balance between the action of the novel and clarifying how everything unfamiliar worked. The chapters are nice and concise as well which helps keep the momentum.
As the group of friends find themselves in increasingly hot water having been thrown into a criminal world where anything goes, you really find yourself rooting for them as the underdogs to save Ella and countless others from their emotional exploitation. As the plot unravels our protagonists fight desperately to pick up the clues left by Ella in order to find the mastermind behind the abuse of SPACE. The genre combination of science-fiction and thriller worked really well and is a highly recommended read by me!