Tag: historical fiction

Sunday Summary – 9th January 2022

Good evening everyone and welcome to my weekly Sunday Summary update. It’s been a busy week since my last post! Not only have I been working towards my goal of preparing blog posts a little bit earlier, but I’ve also been reading a lot more than I have been for several months.

At the beginning of this week, I shared my Monthly TBR post. Yes, I’m back to sharing reading lists, but with a little more flexibility than before. Instead of giving myself a completely fixed list for the month, I’ve decided on a compromise and I’m only setting myself a couple of books on each TBR. That allows me some time and space to pick up any other book(s) I want to read once those are done. This way I think I get the best of both worlds. I get the structure of having a couple of fixed ones, but also the flexibility to be able to pick up anything on a whim!

Later in the week, I shared a Shelf Control post with you. This week’s featured book is one that I’m excited to pick up. From what my mum has told me this is the start of the series that my grandad used to enjoy reading. I’m looking forward to picking it up and seeing if we have a commonality in enjoying this particular series. And it sounds good and I trust his judgement so I’m sure I will!

 

Books Read

As of last week‘s Sunday Summary update post I was 75% through reading The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon. I had every confidence that I was going to be telling you I had finished this book this week and I’m pleased to tell you that is the case! I finished this reasonably quickly after sharing my last update with you! The narrative has a lot of different elements and I loved how it brought them together. It was a real mix of genres and I enjoyed how they were blended together.

Next, I decided to pick up The Feedback Loop by Harmon Cooper. This particular book is only a couple of hundred pages long and I wanted to capitalise on my newfound motivation. I’m glad I made this decision because I managed to finish The Feedback Loop within a couple of evenings. It was really easy to read, full of action and there’s plenty of plotline to keep the reader invested for those couple of hundred pages. From my experience of the first book I’m not sure I’ll go on to read the rest of the series, but it was a perfectly adequate standalone novel to pick up for a quick read!

And then last, but not least, I have made a start reading Dune by Frank Herbert. Given that there’s been a film released recently I’ve seen a lot of people getting copies of this book or even reading it as well. I had actually intended to read this earlier, but last year was a bit of a strange one for me and I didn’t have motivation to pick it up in earnest. However, that is not the case now! I’m currently 62 pages in so I’ve made a solid start. I’ve gotten further than I ever have before into giving this ago and I can’t wait to see how the plot unfolds. It seems like it’s an interesting science-fiction that’s going to have an underpinning element of politics between the characters. I i’ve really enjoyed these kind of elements in previous books (Game of Thrones being the obvious example) and so I can’t wait to see how this works within a science fiction!

Speaking of A Game of Thrones, I have also been listening to my audiobook, A Storm of Swords, as well. One of my plans to help get through this particular audiobook was to listen to it (at least) during my morning and evening commute to work. I didn’t quite do that every day, however I did it for most and I also managed to sneak in an extra hour or two here and there throughout the week. I’m pleased with how far I am through at the moment and I think I’m on track to be close to finishing this by the end of the month.

 

Books Discovered

I added a good few books to my TBR recently. In last week’s Sunday Summary update I shared a fair old list. Whilst I would love to say that I haven’t added any more because frankly I already have enough, I’d be lying. I decided to go for a look in our local Waterstones on Friday (as I had some vouchers that were obviously burning a hole in my pocket), and well, you probably know what’s coming. I bought myself a couple. Shock!

Now technically, only one of the books I bought is a new addition to my TBR. After the release of Empire of the Vampire by Jay Kristoff, I promptly added this to my list to be read. I have really come to love he’s never night series and I knew straightaway that I wanted to pick this up. Having seen a gorgeous hardcover copy in Waterstones, I had to. I just had to!

The second book I purchased is Starsight by Brandon Sanderson. It’s the second book of the Skyward series; I already have the first book upstairs. Brandon Sanderson is a go-to author for me. I absolutely love his works and the variety between them and so this was a no-brainer to pick up. I was, however, surprised to see that although I had a copy of Skyward upstairs already, I hadn’t added this first book to my TBR. A slight oversight on my part, but now both Skyward and Starsight are safely on the list to be read.

At some point.

 

Coming Up…

Early next week I will be sharing a book review with you all! It has been about a month since my last one and so I felt it time to start sharing them again. If I’m going to be reading more than before I’m going to have to step up the number of reviews I’m sharing. I also have a bit of a backlog, so you can expect to see more of these soon. For this week’s feature, I am sharing my thoughts on Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. I really enjoyed reading this classic novel and given that it’s a reasonably short one I think it’s a great one for anyone to pick up.

Later in the week I’ll be back with a First Lines Friday feature. Whilst I haven’t christened the particular book I’m going to be featuring yet (and I will be deciding and preparing this post imminently) I have decided that I’m going to set myself a challenge of featuring a non-fiction book. I hope you can join me on Friday to check out what this week’s featured book is!

And as always, I’ll be rounding off the week with another Sunday Summary update and sharing with you all my reading news.

 

Until then, I hope you have a great week! Are you currently reading or listening to any interesting books?

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Sunday Summary – 2nd January 2022

Good evening everyone and welcome to my first Sunday Summary post of 2022. I have a lot of optimism and motivation for the year! It has been a couple of weeks since my last Sunday Summary post, and so I have a few updates for you!

After my last Sunday Summary post on the 19th December 2021, I announced that I was going to be taking a short break for the festive period. I had family over visiting and it was lovely to just chill out and enjoy spending a wonderful Christmas with everyone!

That’s not to say that nothing was going on in the background, however. After Christmas I started drafting some blog posts ready for the New Year. In particular, I drafted and shared an End of Year Review post for 2021 and shared that on Friday. In that post I looked back at my goals and resolutions for 2021 and discussed how I feel I got on with them. Ultimately, I achieved what I wanted to, which was to take a step back and give myself break whilst still enjoying my hobby. I’m happy that I managed to do this and I still read a decent number of books, so I’ll take that as a win!

I also drafted and another post which I shared with you yesterday. In that post I talked about my New Year Goals/Resolutions for 2022. The main highlight from that post is that I’m back in the game. I got the break I needed and I’m motivated to start setting myself some challenges again. I’m doing so in moderation because I know that I don’t want to burn out again. Not only that, but I have expanded on other hobbies and interests and I will be continuing with those as well. My aim for 2022 is to achieve balance. If you want to read more you can do so using the link provided above to yesterday‘s post!

 

Books Read

Despite it being two weeks since my last update, I’ll confess that all of my recent reading progress has taken place in the last week. As of my last Sunday Summary update I was around 25% of the way through The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon. In the last few days I’ve been making a solid effort with this and I’m now 75% of the way through the book. If you needed proof that I am back and raring to go then take this as a sign! I love all the different facets to the story and the most recent plot developments are really intriguing. At this rate, I’m hoping to be telling you next week that I’ve finished this. It’s a shame I’ll have finished it a couple of weeks late to return this to my sister’s boyfriend Chris, but never mind!

In my last Sunday Summary post I was nearly finished with Traitor’s Blade by Sebastien de Castell; I only had around 30 minutes of audio left. I’m pleased to say that I finished listening to this one whilst commuting home from work one day this week. To be honest I didn’t think I wasn’t going to achieve this. It was only a little bit left and I really enjoyed listening to this audiobook. Sebastien de Castell is a new author to me and I really enjoyed this book! I am definitely continuing with this series (I’ve already purchased the audiobooks ready to go). I also discovered this week is that I’ve had my eye on another series written by him (Spellslinger), but I hadn’t realised that it was the same author. If I go on to love the rest of these books as I have the first then it’s safe to say I’ll be delving into the second series!

For now though, I’ve started listening to another audiobook. It’s a solid favourite and I can’t wait to get back into this series. I have already read the ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ series (a.k.a. A Game of Thrones) at least twice but I’m also now listening to the books. They are very long but audiobooks are an easy way to digest them. I’ve already listened to the first two in the series and so I have moved on to A Storm of Swords. This audiobook is over 47 hours long, so I have my work cut out for me to listen to it. My goal however is to make a habit of listening to it regularly. If I can achieve that then I think I can complete this by the end of January. Wish me luck!

 

Books Discovered

I have been very good and not added many books to my TBR for a good few weeks. But, you know, Christmas has been and gone and so that streak ends here.

I was very lucky to receive copies of Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens, The Appeal by Janice Hallett and The Promise by Damon Galgut for Christmas. I’m collecting clothbound classics and so the copy of Oliver Twist was very well received for that reason! I’m also really happy to have received the other two books. I hadn’t really read much about them up until I received them, however both books sound really interesting! They were also given to me by someone who has a similar reading taste, so I have every confidence that I’m going to enjoy them!

If that wasn’t enough, I’ve added a couple books to my TBR that I’ve come across as part of completing my CPD for work. I don’t tend to read much in the way of self-help, but I think I could benefit from these two books. The books I have added are Surrounded by Idiots by Thomas Erikson and How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. The crux of both titles is to help the reader develop ways in which to effectively communicate with others, particularly where differences of opinion occur. I’ll hold my hands up and say that I’m not the most diplomatic of people, so I am sure I have plenty to learn from these books!

And then last, but certainly not least, I watched The Imitation Game on New Year’s Eve. It was a fantastic film and all of the actors were brilliant! I don’t watch films very often but I really enjoyed this one. And obviously, we get to the end and I find out it’s based on a book called Alan Turing: The Enigma by Andrew Hodges. So of course, that’s now on the list as well!

It’s a good job I’ve found my reading motivation, right?!

 

Coming Up…

I already have a blog post scheduled for you that is going live tomorrow. If you’ve already read my New Year Goals/Resolutions for 2022 post then you will know that I am setting a monthly TBR for myself again. I’m doing so with a bit of a twist; I’m only setting a couple of books for the month and allowing myself time and space to pick up mood reads as and when those are done. I have shared my fixed list, as well as a couple of provisional titles that I might pick up. But, they may well change once I’ve read the fixed list. If you want to find out what I’m going to be reading in January then check out tomorrow’s post!

I will shortly be drafting the second post of the week, which is a Shelf Control post that will be going live on Friday. I’m working towards drafting my blog posts (with the exception of the Sunday Summary) at least a week in advance and I’m getting there. The book I will be featuring in Friday’s Shelf Control post is an interesting one, because if I remember correctly, my mum says that this is a series that my grandad enjoyed reading. The synopsis of this first book sounds really good, so even without that knowledge I would still be picking this up anyway. If I’ve piqued your interest then make sure to check out my blog on Friday!

And as always, last but not least, I’ll be back with you this time next week for another Sunday Summary update.

Until then, I hope you have a great week full of fantastic books and all the other fun stuff. What are you reading? Have you set yourself a reading goal for 2022?

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Sunday Summary – 19th December 2021

Good evening everyone and welcome to today’s Sunday Summary update! I hope you’ve had a great week? I cannot believe that in a week’s time Christmas will be over – it seems to have flown again this year! Are you looking forward to it?

This week I have shared a couple of blog posts with you already. On Tuesday I took part in sharing my Top Ten books on my Winter TBR. As with every TBR list I’ve shared this year it is subject to change (depending on my mood), but it was also a fun way to have a think about the books I’ll be reading within the next few months.

Later in the week, I shared a First Lines Friday post. Given that we are on the approach to Christmas I set myself a challenge of featuring a book set it winter. I’m really happy with my choice. It didn’t occur to me straight away when I set myself the challenge, however, in hindsight it should have. It’s a book I read not that long ago and is an absolute classic; can you identify it from the introduction?

 

Books Read

Progress this week has seen me reading a little bit more of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon. I read a little bit of this during my lunch hour this week for the first time in a long time. It may sound daft, but I am proud of myself for doing that. I’ve slipped into the habit of spending my lunch hour either going out, knitting or playing on my phone and not doing much productive. I definitely want to make an effort to read a little bit more at work; it’s a great way to unwind a little and make a habit of reading regularly.

I have also listened to a little bit more of Traitor’s Blade by Sebastien de Castell. I am so close to the end now! I have around 30 minutes left to listen to and that is all. I have loved listening to this audiobook and it has been refreshing to be able to make quick progress with something and also get back into the habit of listening regularly. I will be finishing this audiobook very very very soon, so my next update you can expect to see this ticked off the list.

 

Books Discovered

Nothing to add here once again, I’m pleased to report!

 

Coming Up…

As I’ve already mentioned we are fast on the approach to Christmas. I have decided that I will be taking the next week and a half (just over) off to enjoy making final preparations and also spending time with family. I’m also going to be taking the time to reflect on what I have achieved this year and make some plans for the coming year.

So, I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and I will be back in the New Year!

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Sunday Summary – 12th December 2021

Hello and welcome to today’s Sunday Summary post. As always, I hope you’ve had a great week! If you are unfamiliar with my blog, my Sunday Summary posts are a chance to talk about what I’ve been doing and genuinely catch you up with what I’ve been reading and sharing on my blog over the last week.

Earlier this week I shared a book review that has been outstanding for some time. I read the book back in August of last year, so needless to say it was time to share my thoughts with you! I really enjoyed reading The Burning Land by Bernard Cornwell, which is a historical fiction based on the Viking invasion of Britain. If you want to check out my full thoughts, I’ll provide a link to the review above.

Later in the week I shared a Shelf Control post. In these posts I review my TBR and take a look at the next book on the list – if I’m still interested I will feature it on my blog and share with you just why I can’t wait to read it! It is also a good opportunity to clear out my list of anything that I no longer want to read. Goodness knows it could do with a bit of trimming… writing this series has definitely enabled me to do this, but this week’s featured book was not going to be written off under any circumstances. In fact, I’m so confident that I’ll enjoy it I went ahead and bought myself a paperback copy in advance. If you know me, you know I only do that for books I love; I don’t have all the bookshelf space in the world so I tend to keep favourites in physical copy.

 

Books Read

I’ve concluded that I’m not in the right frame of mind to continue reading Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson. Don’t get me wrong – I absolutely love his works, but I think this is just too big of a beast for me at the moment. I’ve been trying to read this for a number of weeks now and I’m just not making much progress with it. I’m not DNF’ing it per se, but I’ve decided I’m going to go back to it at a later date. Hopefully, I can get my reading mojo back and then take this 1000+ pages book on!

Instead I have chosen to pick up The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon. This is actually a loan from my sister’s boyfriend and I’m hoping to return this to him when they come over for Christmas. So, I’d best get cracking! I’m currently only a couple of chapters in, but my decision to set aside Words of Radiance temporarily came very late on in the week. This book is still a solid read (probably around 500 pages) but it’s a lot shorter… and I set myself a deadline to get it read, so I’m sure I will!

I’ve also listened to a few more chapters of Traitor’s Blade by Sebastien de Castell this week. I’m now about 80% of the way through this audiobook, which is really good considering that I tend to listen to them on and off. I have definitely gotten better in recent week in terms of listening to audiobooks more regularly. All I can say is long may it continue!

 

Books Discovered

You are probably going to think me really boring with this addition, however I have added a book to my TBR this week that is kind of work-related. I don’t really talk about it much because that’s not what you’re here for, but I work in an investment based role. One of the books I’ve added this week is in relation to financial markets. I recently watched a program on television which was about the 2008 recession and it’s causes. I found it really interesting because I didn’t really know much about it; I was reasonably young when this happened. Along a similar vein I think I will enjoy The Asian Financial Crisis 1995-98: Birth of the Age of Debt by Russell Napier. It’s not something I really heard about until earlier this week when I read some articles about it. I appreciate that it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea so I’ll probably read it but won’t review it here. 

 

Coming Up…

I fancy taking part in this week’s Top Ten Tuesday post. The topic is Books on My Winter 2021 To-read List. I like the idea of taking part because I think it might help with getting excited about reading again and give me a little burst of motivation that I think I need. Also, it’s a means of starting to plan into next year and get some ideas together about what my reading plans for 2022 are. I hope you can join me to find out what’s on my list!

Later in the week I will be back with a First Lines Friday post. I’m really looking forward to this post because I’m setting myself the challenge of featuring a book set in winter. I have absolutely no idea what I’m going to pick yet but that’s half the fun! I hope you can take a look and find out which book I choose to feature later in the week.

For now though that is all from me in today’s Sunday Summary update post. Have a great one and I’ll catch up with you this time next week.

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Shelf Control #39 – 10/12/2021

Happy Friday everyone and welcome to today’s Shelf Control post! Shelf Control is a regular feature here and 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.

The next book on my list is one that is sat on my bookshelf upstairs. I have a weird kind of morbid fascination with the subject and having read a number of great books also of the same ilk, I had every confidence that I was going to enjoy this one and so bought myself a physical copy in advance. I haven’t read anything by this particular author before but I don’t think that matters!

Do you want to find out what today’s book is?

 

The Librarian of Auschwitz – Antonio Iturbe

Goodreads – The Librarian of Auschwitz

Based on the experience of real-life Auschwitz prisoner Dita Kraus, this is the incredible story of a girl who risked her life to keep the magic of books alive during the Holocaust.

Fourteen-year-old Dita is one of the many imprisoned by the Nazis at Auschwitz. Taken, along with her mother and father, from the Terezín ghetto in Prague, Dita is adjusting to the constant terror that is life in the camp. When Jewish leader Freddy Hirsch asks Dita to take charge of the eight precious volumes the prisoners have managed to sneak past the guards, she agrees. And so Dita becomes the librarian of Auschwitz.

Out of one of the darkest chapters of human history comes this extraordinary story of courage and hope.

 

My Thoughts…

I don’t particularly know why, given that the subject is incredibly unpleasant, but I really enjoy historical novels about Auschwitz. I have read and listened to a good few books by now but this is one still currently sat on my TBR… and on my bookshelf ready to go!

The books I’ve read to-date give me high expectations, but I have every confidence that they will be met. I have a lot of interest in the subject and that goes a long way with books like this. The premise is about preserving literature in the camp and as a self-confessed bookworm myself, I can appreciate that any day!

I can’t wait to finally read this and see how it compares to the other books I’ve read and listened to on the subject in recent years. Probably the one that stands out to me most is The Tattooist of Auschwitz and Cilka’s Journey by Heather Morris. I listened to the audiobook versions of these novels and they were absolutely fantastic. I can only hope that The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe adds to my list of brilliant works of fiction on the subject.

Have you read The Librarian of Auschwitz? Let me know in the comments!

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Book review: The Burning Land – Bernard Cornwell

In today’s book review I am sharing my thoughts on The Burning Land by Bernard Cornwell. The Burning Land is the fifth book in the Saxon stories series and follows one of my favourite characters to date. Having not explored much in the way of history of the period prior to picking up these books, it has been an education to say the least! Bernard Cornwell has a fantastic way of blending characters and narrative and action in a way that draws the reader in and makes his books nearly impossible to put down!

In addition to the books I’ve also been enjoying the TV series, The Last Kingdom. I’m actually a little bit further ahead with the TV series as series 3 covers both this book and the next one. However, that didn’t hamper my enjoyment in the slightest. Shall we get on with today’s review?

 

The Burning Land – Bernard Cornwell

Goodreads – The Burning Land

At the end of the ninth century, with King Alfred of Wessex in ill health and his heir still an untested youth, it falls to Alfred’s reluctant warlord Uhtred to outwit and outbattle the invading enemy Danes, led by the sword of savage warrior Harald Bloodhair. But the sweetness of Uhtred’s victory is soured by tragedy, forcing him to break with the Saxon king. Joining the Vikings, allied with his old friend Ragnar—and his old foe Haesten—Uhtred devises a strategy to invade and conquer Wessex itself. But fate has very different plans.  

Bernard Cornwell’s The Burning Land is a new chapter in his story of the birth of England and the legendary king who made it possible.

 

My Thoughts…

All my expectations from the previous books were met in The Burning Land. What I really like about these books is that they’re very easy to pick up even if you haven’t read the previous one for a while. The narrative almost recaps itself in a way that refreshes your memory, but also doesn’t insult your intelligence by going over every single thing again. I personally find it to be really nice balance of bringing you up to speed again and then swiftly moving on to the action.

As I’ve said before in my reviews of the previous books, I really enjoy the conflict our main character trait has within himself. Born an Englishman but raised as a Dane, he is constantly warring within himself between these two sides and the loyalties each expect from him. Whilst at heart I feel Uhtred would love to retain his Danish side, apart of him always drag him back to the loyalties of the English and the King Alfred. I feel like this is a conflict we are going to see again and again throughout this series, which suits me just fine! I really enjoy now he is perfectly positioned to inform, educate and entertain us via his unique perspective in the midst of the real history of the Viking invasion of Britain.

This conflict plays an even more integral part in this narrative than the previous books. Pushed the furthest he has been yet, Uhtred defects to the Danes after killing a Christian priest. The people he had just saved turn on him within an instant and he is forced to flee. His resentment causes him to defect to the Danes and reunite himself with his childhood friend.

Bernard Cornwell is exceptionally good at creating and maintaining dynamics between characters. They are consistent between books and also reflective of the events that have happened so far. It’s very immersive to be able to read; it’s naturally free-flowing. Not only that, but the vastly different characters in the book test the ability to be able to juggle all these pieces at once, as well as incorporate new characters and conflicts alike. I have great admiration for authors who are able to do this, especially spanning distance and time – which is certainly done in this book.

As a huge fan of historical fiction I can testify that it is books like these that keep me coming back to the genre again and again. I really can’t wait to continue this series and find out where his loyalties find him next, and what turmoil results.

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Book Review: The Thief Taker – C. S. Quinn

In today’s book review post I’m sharing my thoughts on a book that I read around the time I moved house last year. That seems crazy to me because that was well over a year ago! It just goes to show how far behind I am on some of my reviews. Needless to say that after today’s post I can take one more off my list and I hope you enjoy hearing my thoughts on this book.

The Thief Taker appealed to me for its setting. It seemed apt given that we were in the height of our first wave of the pandemic locally at the time I read the book. Maybe that isn’t the best choice for anyone who is superstitious; I am not however and I went on to enjoy this book!

 

The Thief Taker – C. S. Quinn

Goodreads – The Thief Taker

The year is 1665. Black Death ravages London. A killer stalks the streets in a plague doctor’s hood and mask…

When a girl is gruesomely murdered, thief taker Charlie Tuesday reluctantly agrees to take on the case. But the horrific remains tell him this is no isolated death. The killer’s mad appetites are part of a master plan that could destroy London – and reveal the dark secrets of Charlie’s own past.

Now the thief taker must find this murderous mastermind before the plague obliterates the evidence street by street. This terrifying pursuit will take Charlie deep into the black underbelly of old London, where alchemy, witchcraft and blood-spells collide.

In a city drowned in darkness, death could be the most powerful magic of all.

 

My Thoughts…

As I said in my introduction, the main reason I wanted to read this book was to indulge in the setting. British history ironically wasn’t touched on all that much as part of my education. It was there a bit, but I spent most of my time studying the world wars, the Cold War and the economic Boom and Bust in the 1920’s and 30’s. With that in mind, I wanted to try something new. This particular book appealed because in addition it also had an element of mystery – a murder to be solved. It’s a genre that I read from time to time and more often than not enjoy, so I felt it was a safe bet to try something new but equally with a touch of familiarity.

I really enjoyed the mystery element. Can I say that I expected the book and the plot would turn out the way you did? Absolutely not! The story had a far wider scope and I imagined but honestly, I really enjoyed that.

The book is brilliant in its description of London at its worst. If you don’t have a strong stomach then maybe take this with a pinch of salt. The narrative encourages the imagination to run wild with vivid descriptions of just how atrocious conditions were at the time. Imagine bodies rotting in the streets. People hiding themselves away and turning on anyone they think to be sick. The city turns into a cesspit; it’s one thing to have a vague understanding of how things happened in reality, reading a book such as this brings it into perspective.

With society in a state of breakdown and sickness everywhere, the book is full of tension. Where is safe? Who is lurking behind close doors or in the next alleyway – a criminal… or something worse? Our main character finds himself looking over his shoulder constantly and with London being incredibly unsafe, the narrative is full of action to keep us as readers interested.

There is definitely far more that can be added to the series. The plot has been left pretty wide open after this book so it will be interesting to see where the next instalment takes us. For historical fiction, I enjoyed the change of setting and pace and for anyone looking to delve into British history, or at least a very dark side of history, this may just be for you!

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Blog Tour: Guest Post by Alison Knight, Author of The Legacy – I Wouldn’t Like To Bet on That!

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s guest post by Alison Knight. Before we jump in to Alison’s post I just wanted to offer a quick introduction to say thank you to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising The Legacy’s blog tour and to Alison herself for providing today’s guest post.

It’s about an important topic as well. Gambling may seem a bit of fun to some, provided we know our limits. However, it can very quickly get out of hand and that is the subject of both The Legacy and today’s guest post.

I really hope you enjoy the below post. Don’t forget to check out the other posts and book reviews making up this tour as well (details at the end of the post). And now, over to you Alison!

 

I WOULDN’T LIKE TO BET ON THAT! By Alison Knight, Author of The Legacy

In these days of online gambling, there is a lot of concern about how easy it is for someone to lose everything on a virtual spin of a wheel or the turn of a card. This is a problem that has been with us for centuries. In Roman Britain, soldiers would wager their hard-earned cash on a game of Tabula – an early version of Backgammon; Henry VIII banned his soldiers from gambling, although he allowed it amongst his courtiers; the Victorians created the National Anti-Gambling League to campaign against it.

Gambling 1960s-style

Thanks to the Betting & Gaming Act 1960, the sixties were a boom time for the gambling industry, seeing the creation of 15,000 betting shops, bingo halls and casinos. Working-class men and women, my parents included, enjoyed a flutter on the horses at the betting shop and nights out at the bingo, while the upper classes flocked to the casinos.

The legislation was so badly drawn, however, that it enabled organised crime to infiltrate the industry – the most notorious in London being the Kray twins and their associates. Various attempts to tighten the legislation did little to stop the influence of criminals in the West End casinos and many a fortune was lost at the roulette wheel.

Don’t count your chickens

In my new book, The Legacy, set in London in 1969, the main male character, James, has built up huge debts at a casino. He expects to inherit a fortune from his spinster aunt which will easily clear his debts and the criminals running the casino have allowed him to continue gambling on the strength of that. James is so confident of his legacy that when he is told that his aunt has died, he immediately resigns from his job and rushes over to his aunt’s solicitor to find out how much she’s left him.

Unfortunately, he’s in for a nasty shock. His aunt changed her will and left him ‘a pittance.’ It’s not even enough to pay off his gambling debts.

James is faced with rising debts, the threat of violence and a desperate bid to reclaim his inheritance by any means.

An innocent victim?

The fortune that James had expected has instead been given to his aunt’s god-daughter, Charlotte, a hard-working teacher who never expected to receive such riches. However, she is guarding dark secrets that James’s campaign against her threaten to reveal. The more that James tries to intimidate and discredit her, the harder she will fight back.

A pawn in a dangerous game

James’s failed attempts to get his hands on the money lead him into a dangerous situation. He must complete a ‘job’ for this creditors on the promise of his debts being cleared. He sets off to drive across France with his girlfriend, Fliss, to deliver a mysterious package and collect one in return. On the journey, James decides on one final gamble in order to escape his situation. Will he be able to pull off the deception, leave everything behind (including Fliss) and start a new life?

I didn’t bet on that!

Both James and Charlotte learn some harsh lessons as a result of the legacy. Will it prove to be a blessing that makes them stronger, or a curse that ruins their lives?

I suppose the moral of this tale is that you should never gamble, even if you’re convinced it’s a sure thing.

 

BLURB for The Legacy by Alison Knight

An unexpected inheritance. A web of deceit. A desperate escape.

London, 1969.

James has his dreams of an easy life shattered when his aunt disinherits him, leaving her fortune to her god-daughter, Charlotte. He turns to his friend, Percy, to help him reclaim his inheritance – and to pay off his creditors. But when their plans backfire, James becomes the pawn of Percy and his criminal associates.

Charlotte is stunned when she is told of her windfall. After an attempt at cheating her out of her inheritance fails, James tries to intimidate her. But she is stronger than he thinks, having secrets of her own to guard, and sends him away with a bloody nose and no choice but to retreat for now.

Resigned, James and his spoilt, pampered girlfriend, Fliss, Percy’s sister, travel across France on a mission that promises to free James from the criminals for good.

But James isn’t convinced he can trust Fliss, so he makes his own plans to start a new life.

Will James be able to get away, or will his past catch up with him? Will Charlotte’s secrets turn the legacy into a curse?

 

BUY LINK – The Legacy by Alison Knight is published by Darkstroke Books and is available from: https://mybook.to/legacy

 

ALISON KNIGHT, AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY

Alison has been a legal executive, a registered childminder, a professional fund-raiser and a teacher. She has travelled the world – from spending a year as an exchange student in the US in the 1970s and trekking the Great Wall of China to celebrate her fortieth year and lots of other interesting places in between.

In her mid-forties Alison went to university part-time and gained a first-class degree in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University and an MA in the same subject from Oxford Brookes University, both while still working full-time. She signed her first three-book publishing contract a year after she completed her master’s degree.

The Legacy is her fifth novel and the second book published by Darkstroke Books. It is a drama set in 1960s London and France, exploring how we don’t always get what we want, with themes of greed, intrigue and desperation. Her previous Darkstroke book, Mine, is a drama also set in 1960s London, based on real events in her family, exploring themes of class, ambition and sexual politics. Some of the characters from Mine also appear in The Legacy, although this is a standalone story.

Alison teaches creative and life-writing, runs workshops and retreats with Imagine Creative Writing Workshops (www.imaginecreativewriting.co.uk) as well as working as a freelance editor. She is a member of the Society of Authors and the Romantic Novelists’ Association.

She lives in Somerset, within sight of Glastonbury Tor.

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS – ALISON KNIGHT

www.facebook.com/alison.knight.942

www.alisonroseknight.com

@Alison_Knight59 on Twitter

www.imaginecreativewriting.co.uk

www.darkstroke.com/dark-stroke/alison-knight/

 

Sunday Summary – 28th March 2021

Good evening everybody, and welcome to today’s Sunday Summary update post. As always, I hope you have had a good week whatever you have been up to! This week has seen some exciting behind-the-scenes changes here at Reviewsfeed. It may not sound like much, but I have made the switch from blogging on a laptop to a mobile device. I fully accept that this may not sound like much of a change to you, but it’s improved my experience of blogging. Don’t get me wrong, I still loved and enjoyed blogging before. However, I will admit writing blog posts was becoming a bit of a chore on my old laptop. It was getting to the point where I would almost dread having to turn it on and waste time trying to get it done; it either wouldn’t boot up properly, or it would be very slow and unresponsive.

Whilst I’m hoping that you as the end reader haven’t noticed a difference, I can personally say that blogging has just become a whole lot easier for me. I’m hoping that comes across over time with more blog posts and fingers crossed, better quality ones to!

I’m happy with what I’ve achieved this week. I have been reading more and I have shared several blog posts this week. Dare I say it, but it felt like the good old days of last year! Yes, I am taking more of a relaxed approach to blogging and having a reduced schedule compared to previous years. That said, circumstances meant that I’ve shared more post this week than normal. And you know what? I’ve enjoyed it!

My first blog post this week was an audiobook review for Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch. As you can probably tell from that review (and the fact that I binge-read over half of the series within a matter of months), I enjoyed the book! If you haven’t heard of it or are interested in hearing my views please go and check out that review.

My second blog post of the week saw a continuation of my Shelf Control series. In sharing this week’s featured book I took a couple of books off my TBR pile. Whilst I don’t doubt that I might have enjoyed the books that I removed to some extent, I had my reservations as to whether they would be books that I love. I’m at that point where I have so many books on my list that even anything that strikes me as mediocre or something that I will only enjoy partially can go. If I don’t think I’m going to love it, what’s the point? So, after those two removals, I came to this week’s featured book which is The Secret Library by Oliver Tearle.

I’ve also shared a blog post on Sunday. I phrase it such as I’m sharing today’s Sunday Summary post at one minute past midnight on Monday so as not to conflict with that post. It has been quite a while since I took part in a blog tour and it isn’t all that common for me to share a promotional post. That will be more commonplace this year as I am focusing on reading books that have been on my TBR for some time. I might make the odd exception here and there depending on whether a book is by an author I have featured before. But for the most part, any blog tour posts will be promotional. Sunday’s promotional blog tour post was for a book called Old Cases, New Colours by Madalyn Morgan. In that post, I have shared an extract of the book and if I do say so myself, I enjoyed reading it as I was drafting the post. If you haven’t checked that out already, please do!

Books Read

When it comes to reading I feel more like my old self this week. I’ve been making odd bits of progress here and there with The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak, but nothing noteworthy for several weeks. As of last week’s Sunday Summary update I was around halfway through the book and with a promise to take the book to bed with me to read further before bed.

I’m pleased to say that since this last update, I have very nearly finished the book! Yes, I have read nearly half of it over the last week I have just half an hour’s reading time left; you can guarantee that I will be finishing this tonight. I’m quite proud that I’ve done so well this week. It feels like a long time since I’ve made that amount of progress in a short time. Bear in mind that the book weighs in at around 550 pages, so that’s over 250 (by the time I’m finished tonight) in one week alone. Granted, my read of both the Harry Potter books this year probably roughly equates to this in terms of page count, however, The Book Thief is a lot heavier in subject matter.

I have also listened to a few more chapters of A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin this week. I have taken to listening to this on an Amazon device in my living room either during lunchtime or after work. One evening, I also listened to a few chapters as well. Whilst it is nowhere near the progress of The Book Thief, I’m of the opinion that every chapter counts and so long as I am enjoying myself and the book in question then who can complain?

 

Books Discovered

Much as in the previous updates in my Sunday Summary posts, I have been keeping myself busy with my current reading and as such, not discovering anything new to add to my TBR. As I mentioned above, I have taken a couple of books off my list this week. I’m not even going to pretend that the decision makes my TBR more manageable – in reality those two books removed are just a drop in a very vast ocean!

 

Coming Up…

I like the sound of this week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme, which is Places in Books I Would Like to Live. Now I know how I love to go on about a Game of Thrones, but you can guarantee that Westeros (or Essos for that matter) is not featuring on that list anytime soon! All joking aside, I think I would like to take part in this week’s post and so you can expect to see this published on my blog in the next couple of days!

This week’s regular Friday feature will be another First Lines Friday post. I enjoyed featuring Nevernight by Jay Kristoff a couple of weeks ago and I’m looking forward to delving through my bookshelves to find an equally exciting introduction to share with you for this week’s instalment.

Then last, but not least, I will be back again next Sunday with another Sunday Summary update – and this one will be shared as expected… on Sunday!

But for now, that’s all from me! Have a great week and I hope to see you around on the blog again soon!

 

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Sunday Summary – 21st March 2021

Hi guys and welcome to today’s weekly Sunday Summary update post!

As always, I hope you have had a good week. Personally, I have had a pretty good end to the week at least. Having mentioned only a few weeks ago that the island didn’t have a covid ‘bubble’ facility for different households, rules that came into effect yesterday now allow me to legally go and visit my parents! I have also had my first covid vaccine this week. I’m really looking forward to the end of all this I have to say! The sooner we all get the vaccine the better. Anyway, enough of the doom and gloom going on in the world right now and my little victories against it and onto more bookish themes.

I am pleased to share that I drafted and published both of the posts I had planned for this week. It may not sound like much, however, I did let myself get a bit slack with this. That being said I am making more of an effort to stick to my posting schedule in recent weeks!

My first post of the week we shared on Tuesday. This week’s Top Ten Tuesday post was all about my spring TBR, and the books that I am likely to be choosing to read over the next couple of months. My second post of the week brought back a series that I haven’t shared for several months now! It’s a series that allows the featured book to speak for itself – if you want the chance to sample a book before committing, or would like to read a paragraph without any prejudice as to the title, author or genre then my First Lines Friday post is for you!

 

Books Read

I must confess that this week’s progress is a little on the light side. I have read around 10% of The Book Thief by Markus Zusak this week. It’s not much, I know. Well, 50 pages probably sounds like a lot to some but to a regular reader like me, it’s not a massive amount. I will however be taking this to bed tonight and so I will be making more progress shortly!

Even my audiobook progress dropped off this week. Instead I found myself listening to more music and ironically, the Game of Thrones soundtrack whilst I was working some days. At most I have probably listened to a chapter or two of A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin, but that’s it!

 

Books Discovered

One section I am grateful to have little to report on is this one. Once again I haven’t discovered any new books or added anything to my TBR pile this week!

 

Coming Up…

I plan to begin the week with a book review. Since I didn’t post one last week and I am eager to share my thoughts on what I’ve been reading – after all, that is what I set up this blog for in the first place! This particular review is an audiobook review for Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch. To give you an idea of how much I came to enjoy this book, I went on to binge read (listen to) just over half of the series in a three month period last year. If you like urban fantasy, magic and a little bit of criminal investigation then this is review that I strongly recommend you check out!

I am keen to keep up with the revival of my Shelf Control feature post. With that in mind, I will be taking a look at the next book on my TBR pile and sharing the details, as well as the reasons why I really love the sound of this book and want to read it!

Next Sunday I will be posting my weekly Sunday summary update post later than usual. Instead, I will be publishing it on Monday as I am taking part in a blog tour next Sunday. It feels like a good while since I last took part in one – which I suppose it has been considering I used to take part in them all the time. This particular blog tour isn’t even a book review; normally if I feature a book I like to review it. However with my priority on reading books from my TBR and in general taking a more flexible approach, I’m instead sharing an extract for a historical thriller novel – Old Cases, New Colours by Madalyn Morgan.

 

But for now, that’s all from me in today’s Sunday Summary update post! Have a good week and I’ll see you in the next one!

 

 

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