Tag: bookblogger

Shelf Control #60 – 27/01/2023

Happy Friday and welcome to today’s Shelf Control post! If you are looking for a fun, short sci-fi crime thriller, then stay tuned to check out today’s featured book.

Before I share the details on that book, here is a recap of what Shelf Control is all about.

Shelf Control is a regular feature on my blog. It’s a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies… a celebration of the unread books on our shelves! The idea is to 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!

If you want to read more about the Shelf Control feature, check out Lisa’s introductory post.

Now, let’s dive into today’s featured book!

 

Punishment – Scott Holliday

 

Genre: Sci-fi / Crime 

Pages: 240

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Publication Date: 31 Jul 2018

 

 

Goodreads – Punishment

 

Do you want to know what it’s like to die, to kill, to really fear for your life? Then get hooked…

Detroit-based homicide detective John Barnes has seen it all—literally. Thanks to a technologically advanced machine, detectives have access to the memories of the living, the dying, and the recently dead. But extracting victims’ experiences firsthand and personally reliving everything up to the final, brutal moments of their lives—the sights, the sounds, the scents, the pain—is also the punishment reserved for the criminals themselves.

Barnes has had enough. Enough of the memories that aren’t his. Enough of the horror. Enough of the voices inside his head that were never meant to take root…until a masked serial killer known as Calavera strikes a little too close to home.

Now, with Calavera on the loose, Barnes is ready to reconnect, risking his life—and his sanity. Because in the mind of this serial killer, there is one secret even Barnes has yet to see…

 

My Thoughts

I can’t remember exactly how I discovered this book when I added it to my reading list back in 2018. However, now, I love the idea of the synopsis!

Punishment is a very short book at just 240 pages. I imagine it would be the kind of book that would be great for crime or mystery readers who want to try a cross-over of science fiction for a change. Having read other books about virtual reality, and seeing/experiencing things from alternate perspectives relating to crime (Ctrl+S and Dark Matter are good examples), I’m excited to see how this comes to play in the narrative.

with the inevitable psychological element to the plot (and the impact witnessing such events would have on detectives investigating such crimes), there is a lot of potential for character development and future exploration of the impact using this technology has on people. As a former student of psychology, I would like to see some of this introduced in this short book.

I’m not entirely sure how graphic the book will be in its descriptions, but I’m not intimidated by that. There is very little I will shy away from in a book. Once I read this one, I’ll be sure to let you know.

It seems to me that there is a lot to fit in to the narrative with such a small page count. I’m hoping for a fast paced, crime thriller, full of action and with an interesting sci-fi twist!

 

That is all from me in today’s Shelf Control post.

Have you read Punishment by Scott Holliday? Have you read any other books like it?

 

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Well, I Didn’t Know That! #2

Could AI become a one-stop-shop tool when you’re in need of legal defence?

That is the feature of today’s post as part of my new series, Well, I Didn’t Know That! and a recent article in New Scientist magazine (issue 3421, pg.10).

To stress, the scenario featured in this article is about a trial. Of the AI. Obviously there is also a legal trial – this one about a speeding ticket.

 

New Scientist – AI Will Advise a Defendant in Court

Artificial intelligence is a hot topic lately. You may have had a play with ChatGBT which has become popular recently. Or, you may have seen discussions around the inter-web about digital art, or artificial intelligence being used in ways in which it could replace human creations.

The idea of artificial intelligence being clever enough to do even more than it already does is a little bit frightening. Now, for the first time ever, artificial intelligence is being tested in a brand-new scenario – the courtroom. Normally, such technology is not permitted. You won’t find yourself defended by anyone other than a lawyer anytime soon. However, a company behind artificial intelligence has found somewhere in which a device supporting AI can be used… and is taking the opportunity to do so.

 

What’s happening?

The firm behind the artificial intelligence, DoNotPay, are trialling the use of its technology in defending against a speed ticket. The company has promised to pay any fines in the event that the AI does not succeed in its defence. In order to represent the defendant, a smart phone is being used to listen to proceedings and advise the defendant on how to respond via an ear piece.

As this case is not due to take place until next month, we won’t know how successful AI will be in this scenario. It was originally developed and trained to assist with legal issues by sticking to factual statements. In a courtroom scenario, the best course of action could be different. That is clearly why the company want to expose their artificial intelligence to this situation. It relies on data. Currently, it has no data of how to respond to this scenario. After this case, that will change.

 

What could it mean?

If we ever see artificial intelligence playing a significant role in legal issues, it is a long way off. In order to get this first trial, the company have had to search long and hard to find somewhere it would be permitted. They are able to implement the technology as a defence tool under a technicality that isn’t really in the spirit of the rules. If AI were to become mainstream, there would have to be significant changes in the law to permit it to be used.

The article in new scientist suggests that AI may instead be used to assist lawyers, rather than replace them. However, at this stage, who can say? Until we get an idea of how well it performs and if the attitude of society changes, we won’t know if it has any permanent role in the courtroom.

 

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Top Ten Tuesday – New-To-Me Authors I Discovered in 2022

In today’s Top Ten Tuesday post, I feature a diverse list of new-to-me authors I discovered in 2022! The list of names in this post really goes to show just how many new books and authors I tried throughout the year – I didn’t even have space to feature all the new names I read! These authors come from a broad array of genres; from fantasy (expected), to contemporary romance (not at all expected)!

 

Robin Hobb

Robin Hobb was by far the best author I discovered in 2022!

Her books have been recommended to me before, and I even made a cursory attempt at the first book in the series, Realm of the Elderlings before. But, somehow, I never got around to reading these in earnest. That is, until last year. I am enjoying these books so much that I can see myself making my way through the ret of the series over the next couple of years, maximum!

 

R.F. Kuang

In 2022, I picked up Babel and fell in love with the dark academia genre. Babel has a very loose tie to the fantasy genre, but that isn’t why I loved this book as much as I did.

Throughout this book, we get to conversationally explore some of the finer points of translation, which I found really quite interesting. Most importantly, though, I enjoyed how this book challenges, society, British history and culture in particular. Difficult topics, such as colonialism, classism, and racism are key points of the narrative. If they make you uncomfortable, it is because it is meant to. This book is quite academic in tone, but really point the finger at the less savoury aspects of the British in its history.

 

M.J. Porter

Over the course of 2022, I read three books by M.J. Porter. I read these as part of the blog tours organised for her Eagle of Mercia series. This series will appeal to you if you are fans of Bernard Cornwell and his Saxon series in particular. This is why I chose to pick up these books.

M.J. Porter became a repeat author to read because I loved reading from a familiar setting, but from a different perspective. In the series, we experience the English at war, from the perspective of a youth who initially detests fighting. Instead, he would rather heal. Over the course of the books he comes into the role he is expected to take up, but he does not relish it.

 

Pat Barker

I really enjoyed reading The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker in 2022. Having read another Greek mythology book not long before this one, (coincidentally featured below), I was really in the mood for it. I enjoyed the focus of women and their roles regardless of social status. It also paints a completely different light on war. Rather than glamorising it, it portrays the dirty business of it all.

 

Natalie Haynes

Pandora’s Jar is the book that reignited a love for Greek mythology.

Whilst only a short book, it does a great job of touching upon multiple stories throughout Greek mythology that focus on different women. Where The Silence of the Girls is more of a cohesive narrative, Pandora’s Jar is more of a non-fiction book in which we look at how the roles of women in Greek mythology evolve over time through numerous retellings.

 

R.R. Virdi

The First Binding made it to an honourable mention in my top reads of 2022 list. This book is the author’s debut novel, but I can assure you, it didn’t read like a debut at all. If you enjoy your big, chunky, in-depth, epic fantasy worlds, then this is a series you want to keep your eye on.

Fans of The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss will find similarities in narrative style. I also really enjoyed the character development that takes place in this first book. Even though it is a chunky book, it still succeeds in merely scratching the surface to what I hope is going to be a long, in-depth series.

 

Richard Osman

Richard Osman’s cozy mystery series, the Thursday Murder Club, was recommended to me by my sister’s boyfriend. He loaned me the first couple of books to introduce me to his writing– I haven’t looked back!

These are a completely different tone to the other books of my 2022 reading list. I personally really got on with the lighter aspects of the narrative (interspersed with odd, deep and meaningful moments which I confess made my cry). The characters are hilarious. Some of the plot points are perhaps a little ridiculous, but they make for entertaining reads.

 

Frank Herbert

I read the first couple of books in the Dune series in 2022. Whilst I don’t love every aspect of these books (in particular, the blatant homophobia in book one), they are great science-fiction books.

I think it’s important to bear in mind that the attitude of these books will be slightly different because they were published a long time ago. Along the lines of a conversation had at work today, social attitudes have changed significantly since then. Books, and indeed, TV programmes (as was the feature of today’s conversation), cannot express the same attitudes they once did. For the most part, I don’t think that’s a bad thing. 

 

Janice Hallett

In 2022, I read my first ‘multimedia’ book. If you haven’t read anything before in which the story is not written in traditional prose, I would strongly recommend you give The Appeal a try!

The Appeal is told through a series of communications written between the main characters of the book. Predominantly email, but also messages, posters, stage, scripts etc all come together to tell a complex story. I personally enjoyed having to read between the lines and work out what was going on. The subtext is not explained to you, and as a reader, it really makes you think. I loved this book, and so I will definitely read more by Janice Hallett in future.

 

Lindsey Kelk

Perhaps the most surprising author on this list is Lindsey Kelk.

Lindsey Kelk is an author that my mum adores. I wouldn’t like to guess how many of her books she has read. After accidentally ordering two copies of one of her books, In Case You Missed It, she gifted the other to me to try. I read this at a time when I wanted to change of genre and pace. It really worked for me in a way that I wasn’t sure it would.

Contemporary romance isn’t typically a genre I actively reach for on a regular basis. However, on the occasions I have chosen to pick one up, I have enjoyed them. Based on my read of In Case You Missed It, I will definitely reach for another Lindsey Kelk book when I want something from this genre.

 

Those are my top 10 new-to-me authors I read in 2022!

Have you read any of the books listed, or other books from these authors? Who did you discover in 2022?

 

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Sunday Summary – 22nd January 2023

It is the end of yet another week already – and so it can only mean that I’m back with a Sunday Summary update post for you. I have plenty of content for you this week.

Firstly, let’s recap the blog post I shared throughout the week. The first post I shared this week was a book review for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling. I re-read this series between 2021 and 2022. My primary aim was to see how my experience of the books compared between reading them as a teenager, and then again as an adult. If you want to check out my thoughts on Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, there is a link provided here.

The next post I shared in the week went live on Wednesday. That post was my first of my brand-new series, Well, I Didn’t Know That! The point I’m emphasising that all reading is reading. It’s not just books that count. As I am trying to read more non-fiction, this series also gives me a space to talk about things I read and learn from the genre.

The last post I shared was my First Lines Friday regular feature. I had a grand plan to pick this week’s feature in a new way. However, it backfired on me a little. The plan was to select my next book from my TBR Jar (an owl mug) and feature that book. It turns out I’ve featured the book I pulled out already. The odds were ridiculously slim for that eventuality happening, but I’m not mad. I’ve pulled out a fantastic book, and I can’t wait to read it next month! If you want to check out the book, I eventually did feature, again, there’s a link here to that post.

 

Books Read

As of my last Sunday Summary update post, I was 425 pages into The Secret History by Donna Tartt. I made quite a push with this last week, and that continued into this week. I read the remaining 200 pages over the course of Monday and Tuesday alone. Overall, The Secret History was a good read. I’m not entirely sure about the ending, but it was still entertaining. I was mentally comparing this to another read in the genre I enjoyed last year – Babel. I still think that book was better, but The Secret History is certainly a complement to the genre.

The next book I picked up was Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin. I must confess that I didn’t pick it up for very long though. Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow was on this month’s reading list as it is the book of the month in ezeekat’s bookclub on Fable. I didn’t even get through the first chapter. I wasn’t a fan of the writing style in the slightest. That’s a big dealbreaker for me. If I’m struggling to read a book based on the way it is written, even if it has a fantastic plot, I can’t jive with it. That’s what I found with this book, and so I promptly returned my library loan.

Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow is my first DNF of the year. Whilst it is a shame, I would much rather spend my time reading books that I do enjoy, rather than trying to force myself through ones I don’t!

I was a little down heartened to have to give up a book so quickly. However, I decided to jump straight into my next read with a change of genre. A few years ago, I read Me Before You. I am not a contemporary romance girl, but I wanted to see how the book dealt with the themes it does. If you know, you know. After a discussion about the sequel to that book with friends recently, I decided to pick it up for myself.

I wasn’t entirely sure if I wanted to jump back into the mess of emotions the book left me in. However, it has been long enough. This particular book deals with the grief of what happens in the first book. Even despite the difficult topics, these books have an effortless writing style and plenty of humour throughout. I picked up After You yesterday morning, and I’m already 22% through with hardly any effort whatsoever. I’m looking forward to continuing with this read over the next few days.

 

Books Discovered

I have two books to share with you this week – one I added to my reading list having seen it online, and the second I received as a gift today from my mum and dad.

The first book is called Don’t Fix Women by Joy Burnford. This particular book is about gender equality at work. It is obviously on my mind at the moment that I’m trying to read more non-fiction, and this appeals to me. Having read a book called invisible women last year, which dels with this topic to a limited extent, I would like to build upon them. I’m hoping Don’t Fix Women will do that for me.

On a much more fun note, I received an early birthday present today. Whilst in Waterstones having a browse, my mum pointed out The Rise of the Dragon.This is an illustrated history of the Targaryen dynasty. You guys know me – I am a huge, huge Game of Thrones fan. I also really enjoyed the written history of the Targaryen’s, Fire and Blood. Well, when my mum saw my face when she pointed this out to me, she very quickly connived with my dad to distract me while she bought it. And I have to say, they pulled it off very well. They did this right under my nose and I didn’t even have a clue!

I seriously can’t wait to pick this up!

 

Coming Up…

My first blog post planned for next week is a Top Ten Tuesday post.This week’s theme is a list of new-to-me authors of 2022. I read quite a few books by authors I hadn’t picked up before last year. I’m excited to feature them in this post.

On Wednesday, I will be sharing the second instalment in my series, Well, I Didn’t Know That. This week’s topic is about artificial intelligence, and and upcoming experiment in artificial intelligence being used in court to defend a plaintiff.

On Friday, I will be back with a Shelf Control feature. In this series, I review the books on my reading list, picking one in particular, and telling you all about why I’m excited to read it.

And, you know the drill by now. I’ll be back at the same time next week with another Sunday Summary update for you.

This evening, my plan is to continue making more reading progress with After You by JoJo Moyes, whilst resisting temptation to pick up The Rise of the Dragon!

What are you currently reading?

 

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First Lines Friday – 20/01/23

Hello all welcome to today’s first lines Friday post to wrap-up the working week!

For today’s post, I intended to go a completely different way about choosing the book I feature in this post. Having read my last TBR Jar pick, The Secret History, it’s been on my mind that I needed to select another one. So, with that, in mind, I planned to pull my next book out of the TBR Jar and feature it in this post.

I’m really happy with the book that came out. It is a book that I have wanted to try because I have enjoyed other books by this author. My understanding of this book (and series) is that it is unconventional in its writing style. It is one that I have encountered in another book last year, and really enjoyed!

There was just one problem with my plan in including it in my first Lines Friday post – I’ve already featured it in this series before. What were the odds of that?! So, my plan went out the window. Instead, I have randomly selected a book on my Goodreads reading list.

Can you guess today’s book from the introduction?

 

Let me tell you the story of a righteous man.

The righteous man of the story is King Minos of Crete, who set out to wage a great war on Athens. His war was one of retribution upon them for the death of his son, Androgeos. This mighty athlete had reigned victorious in the city’s Panatheniac games, only to be torn to pieces by a rampaging ball on a lonely Athenian hillside. Minos held Athens responsible for the loss of his triumphing son and thirsted for blood-soaked punishment for their failure to protect the boy from the savage beast.

 

 

Ariadne – Jennifer Saint

Genre: Greek Mythology

Pages: 320

Audience: Young Adult

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Publication Date: 04 May 2021

 

 

Goodreads – Ariadne

Ariadne, Princess of Crete, grows up greeting the dawn from her beautiful dancing floor and listening to her nursemaid’s stories of gods and heroes. But beneath her golden palace echo the ever-present hoofbeats of her brother, the Minotaur, a monster who demands blood sacrifice.

When Theseus, the Prince of Athens, arrives to vanquish the beast, Ariadne sees in his green eyes not a threat but an escape. Defying the gods, betraying her family and country, and risking everything for love, Ariadne helps Theseus kill the Minotaur. But will Ariadne’s decision ensure her happy ending? And what of Phaedra, the beloved younger sister she leaves behind?

Hypnotic, propulsive, and utterly transporting, Jennifer Saint’s Ariadne forges a new epic, one that puts the forgotten women of Greek mythology back at the heart of the story, as they strive for a better world.

 

My Thoughts…

After reading multiple books about mythology last year, in particular Greek mythology, I added a couple of Jennifer Saint’s books to my reading list. Ariadne was the first, but I also added Elektra at the same time.

The books I read last year that inspired these additions were Pandora’s Jar (Natalie Haynes), and The Silence of the Girls (Pat Barker). The latter of these two inspired me to read these new additions most. That book is all about women and their influence in Greek society, regardless of their roles – as prominent women or as slaves.

I really enjoyed diving into Greek mythology. I have read a few books about it in the past, but it’s a genre I haven’t really tapped into all that much. By picking up Ariadne, I hope to change that. In my experience, these books are also nice and light to read. The Greek gods are never ones to sit down and feast (at least for very long), so there’s always action. I can’t wait to try this new book from the genre I enjoy, by a new author!

Have you read Ariadne or Elektra by Jennifer Saint? Are you looking forward to the upcoming release of Atalanta? Let me know in the comments.

 

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Well, I Didn’t Know That! #1

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s first ever post of my new series, Well, I Didn’t Know That! For today’s post, I’m sharing information I learned from an article in Writing Magazine (October edition, pg. 5) that indicates how financial technology have future impact the publishing world.

If you want to find out about the series, you can check out the link to the Well, I Didn’t Know That! introduction post. I’ll also be keeping an index there of historical posts in the series, as well as update it with future topics. Of course, if you’d like to take part in Well, I Didn’t Know That! for yourself, I’d be thrilled. Please just link to my introduction page so I can check it out and readers can find out about the series.

Whilst the article of today’s feature focuses on textbooks sales (as they are more expensive than most books and frequently sold on after use by students), it is clear the whole publishing world will latch onto this idea if it works.

The article title is listed below if you wish to read it for yourself.

 

Textbook Publishers Plan Tech to Control Secondhand Market

If you are familiar with the financial market, you may have heard of technology called blockchain. It’s commonly associated with the likes of digital art or cryptocurrencies. I won’t go into any of the boring detail, because I’m not going to pretend I understand the ins and outs of it. I will, however, try to summarise simply so you get a feel for how the technology publishers wants to use works now.

Cryptocurrencies are unregulated investments, and the trading of these digital assets is done through blockchain. Blockchain, put simply, is a decentralised system that records transactions. In order to record these transactions, the digital assets being re-registered need to have a non-fungible token (NFT) – in basic terms, a unique identifier which certifies proof of ownership. This is the technology publishers want to harness.

 

Why?    

Publishers lose out on second hand sales and exchanges of digital assets. Whilst it is certainly not encouraged, there are currently no restrictions on sharing digital copies of books with others. That could well change if publishers can successfully harness this technology.

By embedding NFT’s – the unique identifiers – into ebooks and any other digital asset, it is possible to restrict access to just the individual recorded as the owner of the digital asset. With this change, publishers can prevent unauthorised access to these documents. They cannot be shared as is currently possible.

 

What do publishers gain?

These changes will inevitably have an impact on first-hand sales, as these digital assets can no longer be owned and accessed by more than one individual at a time. However, it appears from the article that they are primarily targeting second-hand sales too. How will they do it?

With the use of the unique identifier, digital assets are registered to a singular owner. If an individual wanted to transfer their ebook etc to another person, it would need to be re-registered at a decentralised location to enable the new owner to access it. The publisher benefits as they can impose fees to do so. By imposing these fees, they can set minimum re-sale values of their books and in taking a cut, gain a source of revenue that they are currently not tapping into at all.

 

What does it mean for us?

If the technology proves successful and publishers decide to outlay the costs necessary to implement the technology, it will inevitably mean paying more for second-hand assets. As digital books don’t degrade or have any wear-and-tear as physical ones do, it’s justifiable that the cost of such an asset should be a lot closer to retail value. And the trouble is, publishers will have the power to dictate that.

Arguably, this would take time and money to implement. And, for the majority of books, we’re not talking mega bucks. It is more exaggerated in the case of textbooks, because they are pricey to begin with.

I doubt we will be seeing this change coming into force anytime soon. However, I found this article interesting in that it shows how the publishing world flouts it’s stereotypical ‘traditional’ image by embracing new, developing technology.

 

 

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Book Review: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – J. K. Rowling

Hello everybody, and welcome to today’s book review of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling.

I re-read the Harry Potter series in 2021/2022. It had been a long time since I read the series – in the case of the earlier books, I started those as a young teenager and read the series over the course of around six years. I wanted to revisit the books to see if my experience and perception of them changed by reading them as an adult.

If you have not read any of my previous reviews of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, or Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, you can find links to those reviews here.

Now, let’s jump into today’s review of the next book in the series!

 

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – J. K. Rowling

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 636

Audience: Young Adult

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Publication Date: 08 Jul 2000

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

 

 

Goodreads – Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

The summer holidays are dragging on and Harry Potter can’t wait for the start of the school year. It is his fourth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and there are spells to be learnt and (unluckily) Potions and Divination lessons to be attended. But Harry can’t know that the atmosphere is darkening around him, and his worst enemy is preparing a fate that it seems will be inescapable …With characteristic wit, fast-paced humour and marvellous emotional depth, J.K. Rowling has proved herself yet again to be a master story-teller.

 

My Thoughts

Plot

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire has an interesting plot line. That’s not to say I don’t think it has its flaws, however. Installing a magical cup in the school and inviting those who think they are adept enough to take part in a dangerous tournament is one thing. Doing so around a community full of minors, well, can only go wrong somewhere. Especially when entering your name is a legally binding contract. It’s all a bit too convenient that Harry finds his name put forward.  

Despite this, it still makes for an interesting read. In particular, the tournament itself adds a lot of drama and action to the narrative. Its dramatic conclusion also adds to the book and the series as a whole. I’m not going to spoil it for you-you’ll have to read it yourself.

What I like about Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is that we, break away from a narrative almost purely set in the usual school year cycle. We see wider plot development. We still have that familiarity of the school year, which comes to a conclusion with the Triwizard tournament. However, there is a lot more to this book, and plenty of it is quite sinister.

In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, we are introduced to characters that come into this world and plot line later on. I would argue that in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, we start to see this take shape.

 

Narrative Style

Despite being significantly larger than its predecessors, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire still retains the easy narrative style readers can come to expect.

You know me, I’m not one to shy away from a chunky book. I really hope that the length of this book doesn’t put potential readers off. It is not complicated. Even if you are less enthused by big narratives with wider story arcs, and lots of elements that will inevitably come together at the end, there isn’t so much going on that it will confuse you. Equally, there are little bits and pieces you can pick up in hindsight that hint to what happens later on.

Personally, I think the latter part of the series is quite well balanced in that it offers a little bit more than the first few books in the series (which are for the most part, comparatively superficial). This works perfectly well for people like me who grew up reading these books. At age 11, I wouldn’t have the reading capability to be able to take on these later tomes. Even so, going back and reading these later on has made me appreciate the later books in the series even more. They are more similar to my reading taste a an adult.

 

Characters

As with Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, we see a full new complement of characters introduced in this fourth book of the series. Some of these have a direct impact on the story, whereas others set the scene (for later books) and help develop the wizarding world in which these books are set.

I am a huge fan of world-building and the depth of detail that can be explored in these kind of books that fill out the whole story. Knowing everything from relatives of the main characters, down to the sports personalities, all comes together to make an immersive reading experience.

There are also a few introductions which will help us later in the series (particularly for the next book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix). I think this is pulled off very well so as to not overwhelm, but it does make a difference when you read the next book. Understanding who everybody is and what their role is ahead of time is a big help! Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix is the chunkiest book in the series by far. If we’d had to go through all those introductions in that book as well, then it would be significantly larger!

 

Summary

Despite the slightly convenient plot line, I rated Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire five stars. If you enjoy fantasy series with darker elements to the story, or broad, overarching story lines that run throughout a series, stick with this one until you’ve read this fourth book. It’s at this point we really start to see this woven into the storyline.

Have you read any books from the Harry Potter series? Have you re-read it? Let me know in the comments.

 

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Sunday Summary – 15th January 2023

Hello my lovelies, and welcome to another Sunday Summary update to round off this week. As always, I hope you’ve had a fabulous week whatever you have been doing! I have been spending my free time reading, knitting, and blogging.

The first blog post I shared this week featured my favourite reads of 2022. When I planned that post, three books stood out immediately as favourites. I also added an honorary mention to this post, as another book was very high on my list. But, there was just one small factor that detracted from my experience – and it was no fault of the book. If you are looking for some reading inspiration and want to check out that post, I’ve provided a link above as usual.

My next post of the week went live on Wednesday. I’ve decided to start a new series on my blog called Well, I Didn’t Know That. I have two aims with this series – to encourage myself to read more non-fiction and to encourage reading of any kind. By this, I mean I will shine the spotlight on reading from other mediums, such as magazines, news articles, online blogs… anything! It doesn’t matter how much you read – it’s all reading! This week, I shared the introduction post and what I want to achieve with this series. I will regularly update this page with an index of the posts shared as the series develops.

My next post of the week was a Shelf Control feature. I added this week’s featured book on a whim after discovering it. The main character is one that I am familiar with through a TV series I used to watch. Admittedly, I have very little knowledge about the plotline of the book. But, I want to see how it compares with the actor’s portrayal of this character in the popular TV series from a good few years ago. If you’re curious as to what, and who, that is, take a look at the post I shared on Friday.

 

Books Read

The Secret History

As of my last Sunday Summary update, I was 130 pages into my current read of The Secret History by Donna Tartt. This book had already made a good impression on me by this time last week. I’ve only read a little of the genre so far (The Secret History is the second book), but I’m really enjoying it.

This week, I have made progress to the tune of a few hundred pages, so I am now 425 pages in. In my opinion, the story slowed down a little bit in the middle, but it has just started to pick up again and gain momentum. Knowing what I know about the story so far, I’m eager to see what happens next.

Despite being a book about very intelligent students with an emphasis on their classical learning, The Secret History is an easy book to pick up. It may be academic in its setting, but it is by no means a challenge for a reader. You don’t have to know too much to enjoy the story as it is. I am not knowledgeable on classics, and there may some clever references in here I’m not getting or appreciating. But, that doesn’t matter! I am really enjoying this book at face value, and I can’t wait to finish it and see what happens.

 

Books Discovered

Once again, I have no new additions or book purchases to report in this week’s update!

 

Coming Up…

Over the course of the coming week, I plan to share a total of four blog posts with you.

The first blog post of the week is a book review. It’s been a few weeks since I shared my last review, so it’s time to feature another book I have read and share what I thought of it. This week, I am going to be sharing my review of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling. I re-read this series in 2021/2022, having not read these books for a long time. I wanted to see how these books compared when reading them from a more mature perspective. From Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, we start to see the wider storyline open up and these are the books I enjoyed the most. Check out my review this week for all the details.

The next blog post I will share will be going live on Wednesday. That post will be the first of my series, Well, I Didn’t Know That. In this post, I am featuring an article I read in Writing Magazine’s October 2022 edition. That article is all about how recently developed finance technology may be implemented in the publishing industry.

On Friday, I will share a First Lines Friday feature. I am going to choose the book I feature in a new way – I’ll pull a book out of my TBR Jar to read next month, (and that will also be the feature for this post). I hope you can stay tuned for that.

As always, I will be back at the same time next week to share my reading updates and for us to have a general catch-up in my Sunday Summary post. I hope you can join me for that!

For now, that’s all from me today. Tonight’s plan is to continue weaving in a multitude of yarn ends on pair of socks I just made, and then take The Secret History and a cuppa to bed with me.

What are you reading?

 

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Shelf Control #59 – 13/01/2023

Happy Friday and welcome to today’s Shelf Control post! This week, I’m excited to share my featured book. I have absolutely no idea what this book is like, and I have never tried this author before. However, I have added this book to my list as the main character of this book is one I’ve loved from a TV series I used to watch. If you want a sneaky hint before we jump into the book, the character was a detective, played by Idris Elba.

Do you know which character I’m talking about?

Before we get into it, I’ll quickly go through the usual recap of what Shelf Control is all about for any new readers.

Shelf Control is a regular feature on my blog. It’s a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies… a celebration of the unread books on our shelves! The idea is to 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!

If you want to read more about the Shelf Control feature, check out Lisa’s introductory post.

Now, let’s dive into today’s featured book!

 

The Calling – Neil Cross

Genre: Thriller/Crime

Pages: 362

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publication Date: 04 Aug 2011

 

 

Goodreads – The Calling

Meet DCI John Luther.

He’s brilliant. He’s intense. He’s obsessional. He’s dangerous.

DCI John Luther has an extraordinary clearance rate. He commands outstanding loyalty from friends and colleagues. Nobody who ever stood at his side has a bad word to say about him. But Luther seethes with a hidden fury that at times he can barely control. Sometimes it sends him to the brink of madness, making him do things he shouldn’t; things way beyond the limits of the law.

The Calling, the first in a new series of novels featuring DCI John Luther, takes us into Luther’s past and into his mind. It is the story of the case that tore his personal and professional relationships apart and propelled him over the precipice. Beyond fury, beyond vengeance. All the way to murder…

 

My Thoughts

I really enjoyed the TV series, Luther. I’m not convinced I started watching it from the very beginning, but what I did watch was great!

I had no idea there was a book about his character, never mind a potential series (there is a record on Goodreads for at least a second book). Idris Elba was a fantastic portrayal of Luther; he encapsulated the description of the character in the synopsis above perfectly. Of course, I want to read the book that inspired the character! I have added this to my reading list based on my enjoyment of the TV series alone. And why not?

I have no idea if the storyline in the TV series is related to the book, but I don’t think it would matter if it was. For one thing, it might fill in the gap in my mind of what happened in the first series. I’m pretty sure I missed that one. Even if it’s not, I am here for the character more than the plot line seen in the TV series. I’m going into this with a reasonably open mind.

If the execution of the character doesn’t meet my expectation, then that may colour my interpretation of the book. It’s rare that a TV series has made an impression on me before a book. That can be a make-or-break experience sometimes, but I’m willing to give it a go!

 

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Well, I Didn’t Know That!

I have wanted to create a series on my blog for some time that encouraged me to read more non-fiction. The other defining feature I wanted for this post is to emphasise that all reading is reading.

Yes, I read a lot of books. But, that’s not an exclusive requirement. There is far more reading material out there – magazines, online articles and reference sites, periodicals etc. They are a great starting point for touching upon or discovering a new topic of interest. Most importantly, they are more accessible to read.

I’m all about encouraging reading – any kind of reading! Whilst I feature books heavily on my blog already, Well, I Didn’t Know That is a series that makes dedicated space for other mediums.

Of course, if you like the idea of this post and want to post your own spin on it, please do! The aim is to encourage reading in all ways – I’d only ask you link back to this introductory post so anybody else interested can take a look at how it works!

I’ll be starting the series in earnest on 18th January 2023. Today’s post is merely the introduction! If you want to look back at previous features, I’ll keep an index below as a reference. If you have read something interesting and you’d like me to feature it in a future post – get in touch with me and let me know!

 

Well, I Didn’t Know That!

 

Upcoming Posts

25/01/2023 – AI – could it replace the role of lawyers in future?

 

Previous Posts

  1. How FinTech could give publishers more control over their digital assets than ever before

 

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