Happy Friday everybody! It’s an especially great day for me as today is our National Day here on the Isle of Man. Otherwise known as Tynwald Day, it’s a day we celebrate our status as a crown dependency. Those of us that aren’t particularly nationalists celebrate the fact that we don’t have to roll into our office jobs at 9am.
I’m back again with my new regular feature – First Lines Friday. I’ve read a few other similar posts and felt inspired to write my own. It’s a fun way to introduce new books to potential readers!
This is one of two new posts I am scheduling to post on a Friday. Both posts are typically published weekly, however, I will be publishing them both fortnightly on alternate weeks to avoid things becoming too repetitive. This is also dependent on my other blogging commitments.
So, shall we get on with today’s post? Here are the first few lines from today’s featured book!
I sit with my wrists cuffed to the table and I think, But that I am forbid / To tell the secrets of my prison house / I could a tale unfold whose lightest word / Would harrow up thy soul. The guard stands by the door, watching me, like he’s waiting for something to happen.
Enter Joseph Colbourne. He is a graying man now, almost fifty. It’s a surprise, every few weeks, to see how much he’s aged – and he’s aged a little more, every few weeks, for ten years.
Today’s book choice has been sat on my shelf for some time now. Even from the above extract, you’ll probably guess that there is a theatre element to the novel. Up until I left school I loved and actively took part in Performing Arts. I even have GCSE and A-Level equivalent qualifications in it. I don’t so much now I am working, but the love of theatre has stayed with me.
Have you any inkling what today’s book is?
If We Were Villains – M. L. Rio
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.
Do you like the introduction to If We Were Villains? Have you read the book or added it your TBR? As always, I would love to hear from you!!
It’s the beginning of the month, and so unsurprisingly, it’s time to publish a new reading list! I didn’t quite get finished with last month’s list, although I did read an impressive number of books! June was my best month for the number of books read in one month, but I confess in the last few days I burned out a little. I’m hoping a new month and reading list is just the refresher I need!
Shall we take a look at what books I am reading in July?
The War Within – Stephen Donaldson
Stephen R. Donaldson, the New York Times bestselling author of The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, returns to the world of his Great God’s War fantasy epic as two kingdoms– united by force–prepare to be challenged by a merciless enemy…
It has been twenty years since Prince Bifalt of Belleger discovered the Last Repository and the sorcerous knowledge hidden there. At the behest of the repository’s magisters, and in return for the restoration of sorcery to both kingdoms, the realms of Belleger and Amika ceased generations of war. Their alliance was sealed with the marriage of Bifalt to Estie, the crown princess of Amika. But the peace–and their marriage–has been uneasy.
Now the terrible war that King Bifalt and Queen Estie feared is coming. An ancient enemy has discovered the location of the Last Repository, and a mighty horde of dark forces is massing to attack the library and take the magical knowledge it guards. That horde will slaughter every man, woman, and child in its path, destroying both Belleger and Amika along the way.
With their alliance undermined by lingering hostility and conspiracies threatening, it will take all of the monarchs’ strength and will to inspire their kingdoms to become one to defend their land, or all is lost…
I’m picking up where I left off with this read. It’s the only book I didn’t finish from my June TBR. Considering there were a couple of late and impulsive additions to my list, I don’t think I fared all that badly! I’m around 100 pages in, so I’ll be looking to finish this in the next few days. I’d best get reading!
Scouse Gothic – Ian McKinney
Melville wakes with a pounding headache – there had been too many hangovers recently, but this one felt different. What had he been drinking last night? Then he remembered – it was blood.
Enter the bizarre world of Scouse Gothic where a reluctant vampire mourns a lost love and his past lives, where a retired ‘hit man’ plans one more killing and dreams of food, and a mother sets out to avenge her son’s murder, and, meanwhile, a grieving husband is visited by an angry angel.
Set in present day Liverpool, vampires and mortals co-exist, unaware of each others’ secrets and that their past and present are inextricably linked.
But as their lives converge, who will be expected to atone for past sins?
I’ve signed up to the upcoming blog tour for this book and I cannot wait to pick it up! It’s a little bit different to anything I have picked up before. I’m not really one for reading books that involve vampires, angels or such supernatural things. Saying that, I’m prepared to give it a go! The plot and modern twist sound really interesting!
Birth of the Mortokai – D G Palmer
Daniel Welsh was born different-and to Daniel, to be different means to be alone. But what if he’s wrong? Born an albino with a photographic memory, Daniel Welsh never expected to fit in. Yet, when he is approached by Trinity-a young girl who definitely isn’t human-she reveals a whole new world where he might just belong. Ariest is a place where his features aren’t a disability or the mark of a freak, but rather a trait of powerful mages born of human-faerie unions. His father is a renowned war hero and swordsman, his mother is a human doctor, and that makes him a powerful mage that’ll tip the scales. Magic is real – and so is the threat it brings. Trinity and her father, a battle mage, aren’t the only ones to have discovered Daniel and his gifts hidden in the human realm. The Shade have awakened. Enemies to the fae realm long thought dead have been lying in wait for their moment to strike. Young mages like Daniel are the perfect morsel for their starving appetites and they start their killing spree without delay with the nearest unsuspecting mage boy. Daniel cannot sit idly by while monsters take innocent lives, so he will embrace a destiny he is only just beginning to understand… even if it means losing a life that’s finally worth living. Birth of the Mortokai is a young adult coming of age fantasy adventure novel. Trigger warning: this novel contains descriptions of albinism, a real genetic disorder that affects 1/17,000 persons worldwide per year.
Birth of the Mortokai is another blog tour I have signed up for. It features a character from a minority group, a person with Albinism. From the synopsis, I get the impression that draws characters out of a judgemental and unkind society and celebrates their differences. This is a fantasy book with an element of magic, my favourite genre. For these things alone, I can’t wait to see if my first impressions are correct.
Kau d’Varza – David Noe
Even in the vastness of space, trouble finds a way.
When Elise Rivera arrived on Kau D’varza, a distant station near an anomaly known as the Void Cloud, she’d hoped to escape the troubles of her homeworld. Now, the appearance of a mysterious freighter places her new home under threat; a threat that Elise – along with station commissioner Gierre Nevos, his aide Specialist Kaska Stone, and a team led by Commander-Captain Joseph Raffa – must race against time to avert.
I am always looking to squeeze more science fiction into my reading schedule, so I was delighted to receive a request from David Noe to read his latest book. Keen-eyed readers may remember that I reviewed a book he co-authored when I first started my blog – Seeker. Since Seeker was such a hit with me, it makes sense to read Kau d’Varza, which is also set in the same Chaosnova Universe.
Thran Book 1: The Birth – Brian MacLaughlin
Set in the mythical world of Thran, a young warrior named Brutal Mixnor sets out on an adventure to uncover the truth about his father’s mysterious disappearance after a battle years earlier. Some longtime friends and new acquaintances join him in his search, each with their own reasons for braving the danger-filled wilds of the Cruel Pass. Follow the young adventurers and watch as their powers grow, along with the strength of the enemies they encounter. Discover the complex, imperfect, characters of all races, comprising the full spectrum of alignments (good, neutral, and evil) that weave their way into and out of the story, leaving their mark on the reader as the world of Thran is pushed towards cataclysmic war and suffering. For readers familiar with the role playing game Dungeons and Dragons(R), Thran Book I: The Birth will feel like a warm wave of nostalgia washing over you, and the unfamiliar will get a glimpse of what it’s like to be immersed into the heart of an adventure that transports you into a world where magic abounds and almost anything is possible, but nothing is certain. Visit https: //www.worldofthran.com/ to learn more about the world of Thran, including: character portraits, the world map, the pantheon of deities, and more!
I picked up a copy of this fantasy novel via Voracious Readers Only. I’m always interested in trying a new fantasy novel or series. I am really intrigued by the synopsis. It has all the components of epic fantasy: a quest, magic and conflict!
Can’t wait to see how it pans out!
A Dance with Dragons: Part 1 – George R. R. Martin
In the aftermath of a colossal battle, the future of the Seven Kingdoms hangs in the balance—beset by newly emerging threats from every direction. In the east, Daenerys Targaryen, the last scion of House Targaryen, rules with her three dragons as queen of a city built on dust and death. But Daenerys has thousands of enemies, and many have set out to find her. As they gather, one young man embarks upon his own quest for the queen, with an entirely different goal in mind.
Fleeing from Westeros with a price on his head, Tyrion Lannister, too, is making his way to Daenerys. But his newest allies in this quest are not the rag-tag band they seem, and at their heart lies one who could undo Daenerys’s claim to Westeros forever.
Meanwhile, to the north lies the mammoth Wall of ice and stone—a structure only as strong as those guarding it. There, Jon Snow, 998th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, will face his greatest challenge. For he has powerful foes not only within the Watch but also beyond, in the land of the creatures of ice.
From all corners, bitter conflicts reignite, intimate betrayals are perpetrated, and a grand cast of outlaws and priests, soldiers and skinchangers, nobles and slaves, will face seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Some will fail, others will grow in the strength of darkness. But in a time of rising restlessness, the tides of destiny and politics will lead inevitably to the greatest dance of all.
I am reading a lot of ARC’s this month. To balance it out, I am going to pick up A Dance with Dragons in between books. My goal is to finish it by the end of the month. I’m only aiming to read part 1 for the moment – it’s an epic in itself! If I get way ahead of myself then maybe I’ll live dangerously and strive for part 2 as well.
I am really excited to be taking part in a blog tour for Storms of Babylon, book four of the Time for Alexander series by Jennifer Macaire! I have been reading the series since January and loved it so far! The series is predominantly historical fiction, but with elements of science fiction in them too.
As always, a huge thank you to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the tour!
If you haven’t had the opportunity to read up on the series so far, you can check out my thoughts on the first three books in the series by following the links below: –
Storms of Babylon is as foreboding as it sounds; a dark time is fast approaching the lives of Ashley, Alexander and company. Years of planning are about to either come to fruition or fall apart dramatically. Can Ashley risk it all and save those she loves from their own terrible Fate?
This fourth instalment to the series is quite different in tone from the previous books. We have watched Alexander flourish and grow, journey and conquer new lands. Now, Alexander returns home and the cracks between his people start to show. Alexander the Great’s empire is destined to crumble without him to hold it together. Fate can only be changed so much, after all, or risk being erased altogether…
Ashley has blossomed from the emotional Ice Maiden stranded thousands of years in the past and completely out of her depth. Her capacity to love and empathise is admirable, but I like to see that an element of the strong-minded woman from the future remains. Using her knowledge of history and intuition, she attempts to prevent Plexis’ and Alexander’s deaths without altering the course of time.
One of my favourite elements of The Road to Alexander is the overlap of historical fiction and science fiction. I was glad to see this overlap play its part in Storms of Babylon once again. It’s such an interesting combination – one that’s not put together in the detail as it is in this series!
I have been really looking forward to the events that unfold in Storms of Babylon. Jennifer Macaire has succeeded in balancing a storytelling narrative with character progression that keeps us invested in each the characters. The tension and foreshadowing of the previous books boil over into an intense, exciting and at times, unexpected plot line. I would go so far as to say that Storms of Babylon is my favourite book of the series to date!
I cannot wait to see how events unfold next after such a twisty ending!
Author Bio –
Jennifer Macaire lives with her husband, three children, & various dogs & horses. She loves cooking, eating chocolate, growing herbs and flowering plants on her balcony, and playing golf. She grew up in upstate New York, Samoa, and the Virgin Islands. She graduated from St. Peter and Paul high school in St. Thomas and moved to NYC where she modeled for five years for Elite. She met her husband at the polo club. All that is true. But she mostly likes to make up stories.
Giveaway to Win a $10 Amazon gift certificate (Open INT)
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Now we’ve gotten the dull bit out of the way… if you would like the chance to win a $10 gift certificate, you can enter the giveaway following the link below!
It’s Sunday Summary time again – so happy Sunday everyone!! I hope you have all had a lovely weekend! I definitely have for personal reasons. I’ve spent more quality time with my mum and we’ve had plenty of laughs. My dad is just back home from America after a two-week trip with work – something I think both my parents are grateful for!
I’ve also had a special and out of the ordinary weekend. So as not to jinx it, I’ll tell you more on that later… I’m such a tease, I know!
Now to all-things-bookish – what have I been up to this week? Last weekend I got myself a little confused. I knew I was taking part in a blog tour post for Three by K. J. McGillick on the 27th June, but I had that as Wednesday in my head. I realised when I was drafting the post, so no harm done. It means that Thursday was my first post of the week, which is late for me. Sorry guys! If I’d realised I would have posted earlier in the week too!
On Friday I began the second regular Friday feature on my blog – a meme called Shelf Control. With these posts, I am going back through my TBR to tell you all why I want to read the books on my list in more detail. Down the TBR Hole posts are great for sorting, but they can get lengthy quickly.
I lost a little momentum this week. I’ve been keeping up a killer pace these last few weeks and I think it has caught up with me finally! I’ve also had a few bits and pieces on, which has taken out a little of my time.
I have managed to read some of The War Within by Stephen Donaldson, but not as much as I’d have liked! I’ve been carrying it around with me to work (a feat in itself!) but either I’ve had odd jobs to do (posting my first proofreading assessment) or just been easily distracted.
Last night I finally picked up Storms of Babylon. I have a blog tour coming up for this imminently so I really need to shake a leg and finish reading it! I’m not concerned that I won’t get it done in time… but it’s my top priority tonight and tomorrow. No time for slacking!
It was payday earlier this week, so naturally, I found myself in my local Waterstones. I’ve recently read and enjoyed The Drawing of the Three by Stephen King. I swore that I wouldn’t leave it so long to read the next book of the series. I have no excuses now, as a copy of The Wastelands is sitting patiently on my bookshelf.
It’s July next week. Wow! Hasn’t that come around so quickly? I’m looking forward to reading my favourite other bloggers TBR’s for the month – I’ve been a bit lax on the blog reading as well this week! I’ll get back on it – I promise!
Before I post my TBR though, I am taking part in the blog tour for Storms of Babylon by Jennifer Macaire on Tuesday. See why I need to pull my finger out and get reading? Yeah… I’m going to be busy for the next couple of days! I’ve only got a couple of hours left in the book, so I’ll manage no problem!
My TBR comes next. I expect to publish my reading list either on Wednesday or Thursday, depending on how organised I am. I haven’t really christened the list in its entirety yet either, so I need to put my thinking cap on.
What are you reading? Have you had a productive week?
Today I’m beginning another new regular feature on my blog – Shelf Control. Every blogger is plagued by a ridiculously long TBR; it comes with the territory. To promote a semblance of control I also take part in Down the TBR Hole posts.
For those that haven’t seen this meme before, Shelf Control is run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies. It is 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.
Shelf Control, for me, is about looking in more detail about the books I have added to the TBR and listed as keepers. I get the chance to talk about why I want to keep them in more detail. It also acts as a second sweep for anything that I may have changed my mind about since reviewing them the first time. I won’t necessarily own all the books (yet), but I will have a reasonable number of them. I’ll also be sharing my posts fortnightly, instead of weekly.
Shall we go WAY WAY back to the beginning and look at the oldest book on my TBR?
Elantris was the capital of Arelon: gigantic, beautiful, literally radiant, filled with benevolent beings who used their powerful magical abilities for the benefit of all. Yet each of these demigods was once an ordinary person until touched by the mysterious transforming power of the Shaod. Ten years ago, without warning, the magic failed. Elantrians became wizened, leper-like, powerless creatures, and Elantris itself dark, filthy, and crumbling.
Arelon’s new capital, Kae, crouches in the shadow of Elantris. Princess Sarene of Teod arrives for a marriage of state with Crown Prince Raoden, hoping — based on their correspondence — to also find love. She finds instead that Raoden has died and she is considered his widow. Both Teod and Arelon are under threat as the last remaining holdouts against the imperial ambitions of the ruthless religious fanatics of Fjordell. So Sarene decides to use her new status to counter the machinations of Hrathen, a Fjordell high priest who has come to Kae to convert Arelon and claim it for his emperor and his god.
But neither Sarene nor Hrathen suspect the truth about Prince Raoden. Stricken by the same curse that ruined Elantris, Raoden was secretly exiled by his father to the dark city. His struggle to help the wretches trapped there begins a series of events that will bring hope to Arelon, and perhaps reveal the secret of Elantris itself.
A rare epic fantasy that doesn’t recycle the classics and that is a complete and satisfying story in one volume, Elantris is fleet and fun, full of surprises and characters to care about. It’s also the wonderful debut of a welcome new star in the constellation of fantasy.
Brandon Sanderson is one of my favourite fantasy authors. I have read the Mistborn trilogy and The Way of Kings thus far and adored each and every book.
By reading Elantris, I am looking to explore more of his books and the magic systems within them. In both the Mistborn trilogy and The Way of Kings, magic has a physical dependency on it. In The Way of Kings, magic is dependent on light, and Mistborn is based around metal and their compositions. I’m interested to see if the author sticks with this theme or if magic is more “aloof”.
The book has fabulous ratings on Goodreads and a couple of my friends have rated it highly too. It’s certainly a keeper.
It’s only been on the TBR for four and a half years. Perhaps it’s finally time to dust it off and read it, hey?!
Good morning everyone! Haven’t the last few days been absolutely fantastic?! We’ve had glorious practically wall-to-wall sunshine… and I’m spending the time at work! Oh well, I have some time off coming up in a few weeks, so I can keep my fingers crossed that the weather holds!
Today gets even better, however, as I have the opportunity to feature one of my favourite authors for another blog tour! I have read several books by K. J. McGillick now, thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. If you would like to check out the other books I have read, you can find my reviews of Facing A Twisted Judgment, Karma Never Loses an Address and Trust Me using the links.
Inviting a stranger into your home can be dangerous. Inviting a stranger into your life can turn deadly.
How would you feel if you discovered your death was meticulously planned by someone you loved? You didn’t know how or when or even why. All you could do was wait.
Emma has it all-a job she loves and a man who professed to love her.
Or did she? How could she be so blind?
When her lover’s car is found burned and abandoned in another state, the police come asking some hard questions. What she discovers upends her world completely. Jude had been living a double life right under her nose. A deceitful life, a treacherous life. Who was this man that had already groomed another woman to take over Emma’s life? A woman who was Emma’s body double and now dead.
Why had she so easily trusted this psychopath with her heart? Betrayed on every level, consequences not of Emma’s making were nipping at her heels. Tick. Tock.
THREE is a gripping crime thriller that will have you hooked. A fast-paced psychological thriller that has been compared to the works of Dan Brown. It can be read as a standalone and serves as the first book in the Path of Deception and Betrayal series.
K. J. McGillick is an author that I repeatedly go back to, and her latest novel Three hasn’t disappointed! Full of last-minute twists and turns, the FBI has its work cut out for them if they are going to take out a sophisticated crime cell linked to terrorism.
With each book I have read by the author, the knowledge she has of the art world and the opportunities for criminals within it is phenomenal. It’s a lucrative and unregulated business, making it a playground for anyone wanting to make money… or make it disappear for a while.
I really enjoyed how events unravelled, all starting with an unknown deposit box. I felt sympathetic for Emma throughout; discovering the man you are building a life with isn’t the man you thought and trusted him to be, must be devastating! Things go from bad to worse for meek, naive Emma as the case unfolds, but from the experience, a bold and more confident young woman emerges.
There is an element of romance to the narrative, but it’s not so intrusive that anyone not a fan of romance, like me, can’t read it. Depending on how it’s written, intense character relationships can make me feel uncomfortable. I’m not a prude or anything like that. Relationships, by nature, are very personal and if I feel like I’m intruding I get uncomfortable and it breaks my reading flow. As the relationship is a budding one, I was almost guaranteed to be safe from that.
Three brilliantly balances a complex plot, an array of characters and a great deal of knowledge in all matters (il)legal, with art as a specialist topic! I really enjoyed reading the book, as I have other novels by K. J. McGillick. I thoroughly recommend it to anyone who enjoys crime/suspense or thriller novels!
Author Bio –
K. J. McGillick was born in New York and once she started to walk she never stopped running. But that’s what New Yorker’s do. Right? A Registered Nurse, a lawyer now author.
As she evolved so did her career choices. After completing her graduate degree in nursing, she spent many years in the university setting sharing the dreams of the enthusiastic nursing students she taught. After twenty rewarding years in the medical field she attended law school and has spent the last twenty-four years as an attorney helping people navigate the turbulent waters of the legal system. Not an easy feat. And now? Now she is sharing the characters she loves with readers hoping they are intrigued by her twisting and turning plots and entertained by her writing
Good evening everybody! I hope you have all had a good week and an even better weekend! I’ve really enjoyed mine because I have spent a fair bit of it (more than usual) with my mum. Dad has had to go to America for work; whilst he’s enjoying the sights today, we’ve just been doing the usual. At least we’re together though!
I’ve also had quite a good week blog-wise. I’ve been trying to catch up on some reviews I have still to write, particularly for audiobooks. I’ll be the first person to admit that I listen to them, move onto the next and forget to add them to my review list. To that end, I reviewed my listen of Lock In by John Scalzi earlier this week.
I’ve also started one of two new regular posts I’ll be featuring. I’ll be sharing these posts fortnightly on alternate weeks, so long as I don’t have any blog tours or other commitments. This week’s post was a First Lines Friday post, featuring Blackwing by Ed McDonald. My choice was inspired by a current read at the time, Crowfall, the final instalment of the trilogy.
In addition to the above, my blog has officially broadened its horizons! For a long time, I’ve been putting off setting up a Facebook page for my blog and promoting myself. I guess I was worried about what people I knew would think. I needn’t have worried though really. I’m proud of the time and effort I put into my hobby. Why should I worry about what someone I went to school with thinks? The people that matter to me already knew of it, even if they hadn’t seen it.
So, I’m now on Facebook! It’s going to take a little while to build up my page and presence, but it’s a move I’m glad I made. If anyone wants to follow me there, there’s a link to my page in the sidebar, or alternatively, you can find me here!
And now, back to the usual Sunday Summary schedule: –
Following on from my last Sunday Summary post, I left off with two current reads, Three by K. J. McGillick and Crowfall by Ed McDonald. At the top of the week, I was just over halfway through Three, however, I confess I allowed myself to be sidetracked with that book. I only just finished reading this early this afternoon.
I’ve spent most of the week reading Crowfall. It’s not even on this month’s TBR, but what can I say? I was just looking forward to reading it so much! I received my copy from Gollancz a couple of weeks ago and it’s been taunting me to pick it up. It’s the final book in the Raven’s Mark trilogy and I had to find out what happened next! I finished Crowfall on Friday evening. Whilst I’m sad it’s over, I’m also happy with the way everything ended.
Last night I began The War Within by Stephen Donaldson. I’ve only read the prologue so far, about thirty pages) but I’m intrigued to see how this second instalment to the series pans out. My understanding is that the writing style is different from the first book, which I think I’ll enjoy. It’s also a lot longer, so I’ll need to get my reading skates on if I want to finish my TBR this month.
I’m sure I’ll manage!
I have a couple of additions to the TBR this week – shock. No sooner do I whittle it down a few books, I add more! The curse of the bookworm I guess!
This week, I’ve added Vox by Christina Dalcher and Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch. Vox has the touch of dystopian fiction that I love. As awful as the idea is of the oppression of women, I’m not going to lie, I like reading it. I love to rally behind characters that fight their oppressors, be that for issues relating to gender, racial… whatever! Rivers of London is a blend of fantasy and mystery, with a touch of paranormal. An interesting combination and I can’t wait to see what I make of it.
I’ve been looking forward to reading Three and taking part the blog tour which, you guessed it, is coming up next week! My tour post is to go live on Wednesday, so I really hope you can take a minute out of your busy schedules to read my thoughts on my latest read by K. J. McGillick.
On Friday this week, I’ll be starting my second regular feature post, called Shelf Control. It’s a post originally hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies and I love the idea of dedicating a post to books you are yet to read. Lord knows I have plenty of them to talk about!
I haven’t yet chosen my feature book, but I have a few days to decide! I only have 194 on my TBR to choose from…
I’m celebrating the end of the week with a brand new type of post – First Lines Friday. I’ve seen plenty of other bloggers sharing these posts; I have enjoyed reading them myself and I feel inspired to write my own. It’s a fun way to introduce new books to potential readers!
This is one of two new posts I am scheduling in on a regular basis. Both posts are typically published weekly elsewhere, however, I will be publishing them both fortnightly on a Friday (on alternate weeks) to avoid things becoming too repetitive. This is also dependent on my other blogging commitments.
So, shall we get on with today’s post? Here are the first few lines from today’s featured book!
Somebody warned them that we were coming. The sympathisers left nothing behind but an empty apartment and a few volumes of illegal verse. A half-eaten meal, ransacked drawers. They’d scrambled together what little they could carry and fled east into the Misery. Back when I wore a uniform the marshal told me only three kinds of people willingly enter the Misery: the desperate, the stupid and the greedy. The sympathisers were desperate enough. I gathered a dozen stupid, greedy men and set out to kill them.
Today’s book choice is inspired by one of my current reads. Any ideas on the book the extract is from?
Blackwing – Ed McDonald
The republic faces annihilation, despite the vigilance of Galharrow’s Blackwings. When a raven tattoo rips itself from his arm to deliver a desperate message, Galharrow and a mysterious noblewoman must investigate a long dead sorcerer’s legacy. But there is a conspiracy within the citadel: traitors, flesh-eaters and the ghosts of the wastelands seek to destroy them, but if they cannot solve the ancient wizard’s paradox, the Deep Kings will walk the earth again, and all will be lost.
The war with the Eastern Empire ended in stalemate some eighty years ago, thanks to Nall’s ‘Engine’, a wizard-crafted weapon so powerful even the Deep Kings feared it. The strike of the Engine created the Misery – a wasteland full of ghosts and corrupted magic that now forms a No Mans Land along the frontier. But when Galharrow investigates a frontier fortress, he discovers complacency bordering on treason: then the walls are stormed, and the Engine fails to launch. Galharrow only escapes because of the preternatural magical power of the noblewoman he was supposed to be protecting. Together, they race to the capital to unmask the traitors and restore the republic’s defences. Far across the Misery a vast army is on the move, as the Empire prepares to call the republic’s bluff.
So, what did you think of the introduction to Blackwing? Have you read the book or added it your TBR?
Today, I am reviewing Lock In by John Scalzi…. and it’s my first audiobook review in quite some time. Whilst I listen to them most days, I only get to enjoy them in short bursts. As a result, it takes me a little while to finish an audiobook. Then I forget to review them entirely because they are so infrequent. Good plan, neh?
Yeah, not really, but there we are! So, I have a few catch-up reviews to write. Let’s jump straight in!
Not too long from today, a new, highly contagious virus makes its way across the globe. Most who get sick experience nothing worse than flu, fever and headaches. But for the unlucky one percent – and nearly five million souls in the United States alone – the disease causes “Lock In”: Victims fully awake and aware, but unable to move or respond to stimulus. The disease affects young, old, rich, poor, people of every color and creed. The world changes to meet the challenge.
A quarter of a century later, in a world shaped by what’s now known as “Haden’s syndrome,” rookie FBI agent Chris Shane is paired with veteran agent Leslie Vann. The two of them are assigned what appears to be a Haden-related murder at the Watergate Hotel, with a suspect who is an “integrator” – someone who can let the locked in borrow their bodies for a time. If the Integrator was carrying a Haden client, then naming the suspect for the murder becomes that much more complicated.
But “complicated” doesn’t begin to describe it. As Shane and Vann began to unravel the threads of the murder, it becomes clear that the real mystery – and the real crime – is bigger than anyone could have imagined. The world of the locked in is changing, and with the change comes opportunities that the ambitious will seize at any cost. The investigation that began as a murder case takes Shane and Vann from the halls of corporate power to the virtual spaces of the locked in, and to the very heart of an emerging, surprising new human culture. It’s nothing you could have expected.
Even though Lock In delves into the realms of science-fiction, it’s an almost plausible reality. A deadly virus attacks the population; millions die and many recover, but an unlucky one per cent lives with “Lock In”. They are stuck in their own bodies and unable to communicate. Technology eventually intervenes and allows those “Locked In” to live a semblance of a normal life via the use of Threeps – essentially, a robot.
After the initial shockwave of the disease sweeps through the population, corporations are quick in recognising that a new market is emerging. Lock In patients need healthcare; there needs to be research into developing a treatment or cure. There’s profit to be made and the corporation wars begin. Things start to get pretty hostile when we get thrown into the narrative.
Agent Shane is one of the most famous Haden’s victims. Through his father’s influence, he became a poster-child for the Threep. Now an adult and keen to make his own way in life, he is assigned to work with Agent Vann in his new job with the FBI. Despite his privilege, Chris Shane is incredibly switched on to the ways of the world. His scepticism and dry wit had me laughing out loud almost constantly. Agent Vann is much the same, if not a little blunter. The duo works so well together that their partnership is effortless and enjoyable to listen to.
Unlocked: An Oral History of Haden’s Syndrome
The storyline and development behind the flu-like virus, how it affected people and the long-term consequences for its victims has been so well thought out! The version of the audiobook I listened to, narrated by Will Wheaton, had a novella tagged onto the end about the entire history of the fictional virus. I really enjoyed the multiple perspectives in this novella – it’s composed of reports by various medical professionals and participants of medical trials etc. It had a fresh feel compared to Lock In, which was more consistent in chapter length and narration.
Lock In is part sci-fi, part psychological thriller in its narration and execution. It’s a truly enjoyable narrative. I fully anticipate more of John Scalzi’s books landing on my bookshelf, and not just the sequel, Head On…
This week’s Sunday Summary post is going to be a lot more chilled than last weeks! I hope you’ve all had a good week! I have spent the day with my parents, as I always do, but it has been extra special since it is Father’s Day today!
So, what have I been up to this week? Thankfully I have had fewer blog posts and tours to juggle this week, so I’ve been able to relax a little! My first blog post of the week was published on Wednesday, so I had a couple of day’s respite. I took part in the one-day blog blitz for The Lynmouth Stories by L. V. Hay. If you haven’t read my review of these three short stories yet, please check out the link. Suffice to say, I’ve added her debut novel to the TBR as a result of reading these.
On Friday, I published my next Down the TBR Hole post. I’m not posting these all that regularly (around once a month), so I have reverted to reviewing ten books at a time. I need to get through the list somehow!
I’ve also spent a bit of time on proofreading exercises. I’m hoping to have a stab at my first assessment of the course shortly, so I’ve been getting the practice in! I feel a lot more confident now I’ve done some more work on it.
I’m quite pleased with my reading progress again this week! Last Sunday I was reading Biohacked and Begging by Stephen Oram and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon. Neither of these books lasted all that long.
From there, I picked up Three: Deception Love Murder by K. J. McGillick. I’ve read a few books of hers now and I’m really enjoying them. The combination of the criminal activity and the art world is one that comes up across her books, and it’s clear she knows a LOT about the subject.
In addition to the above, I have picked up a second non-scripted book. I made such good progress with the short stories at the beginning of the month that I have time to do so! A couple of weeks ago I received a copy of Crowfall, courtesy of Gollancz, to read and review. It didn’t even make it to the bookshelf because I knew I couldn’t resist. It’s been sat on my table taunting me since I received it. Last night, I caved in and started it! I have no regrets!
Lastly, I finished my audiobook this week! I listen to them in the car on the way home from work. Now that the TT racing has come to an end, things have calmed down and the fanatics have gone home, I’ve not needed to be switched onto the radio.
As I mentioned above, I have added one book to my ‘discovered’ list this week. After reading The Lynmouth Stories, I would like to read L. V. Hay’s debut novel, The Other Twin.
It’s been a little while since I reviewed an audiobook, so next week I am going to be reviewing Scythe by Neal Shusterman. Since I finished this about two months ago, it’s about time I finally committed my thoughts down to… well, not paper, but you know.
I want to trial a new post later this week. I have been tempted to try a First Lines Friday post as a way of (hopefully) introducing people to new books. To that end, I’m going to give it a go! Depending on how well it’s received, I might start making it a regular feature.