Tag: historical fiction

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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Top Ten Tuesday – Spring 2021 TBR

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday post is all about my Spring 2021 TBR.

If I’d have been writing this post this time last year, I would’ve been picking the ten books that I absolutely would be reading during spring. However, now I have changed to a more relaxed approach, today’s list is my top ten books that I will be choosing from rather than just reading the lot. It could well be subject to change. If there’s one thing I am enjoying this year it’s having the freedom to choose what I read when I want rather than setting rigid reading lists that I didn’t always stick to.

So, which ten books on likely to appear on my Spring 2021 TBR? Read on below to find out!

 

The Book Thief – Markus Zusak

Easter is around the corner and the daffodils are out in force, despite the cold weather persisting. So, I suppose I should count now as spring and in that vein, I am featuring my current read on this list. I’m about halfway through The Book Thief right now and I’m really enjoying it so I hope to have it finished soon!

 

Fire and Blood – George R. R. Martin

Fire and Blood is also a current read. I’m a couple of hundred pages in at the moment and I’m intending on picking this up again as soon as I have finished The Book Thief. It’s a heavy read in case you haven’t seen it before. If you have you’ll know it weighs in at about 700 odd pages. It’s a big one but you know me – I love the realm of Westeros and all the history that goes with the Game of Thrones series.

 

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – J. K Rowling

I’ve read the first couple of Harry Potter books this year to date. If you follow my blog you’ll know that I committed to doing a re-read of the series this year! The first couple of books have been really easy to pick up and get back into the story from the start. I haven’t read these books since I was a teenager so going back to them is truly a blast from the past. I’m keen to keep up the momentum with this and so I’m fully intending on reading this next instalment very shortly!

 

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

And following on from my last book on this list, depending on how quickly I get around to reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, I may just get around to reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire before the summer. Maybe, we’ll see.

 

A Clash of Kings – George R. R. Martin

Similar to my featuring The Book Thief and Fire and Blood, it’s only fair that I feature my current audiobook as well. I really love the Game of Thrones series (as I’m sure I have established by now) and so I have been listening to this audiobook as a way to touch base with the series. This is also a long one and so I don’t really expect to get this listen to too much. I don’t want to commit to it just in case I don’t!

 

The Psychology Book

This book is one I have picked up previously and made a degree of progress with, however, I ultimately ended up putting it down and I haven’t read it in its entirety. It has been on my TBR for a number of years now and so I want to set aside the time to pick this up. As a former psychology student, I do find the content quite interesting and I like the diversity within this book!

 

Dune – Frank Herbert

I was gifted a copy of Dune years ago for my birthday by work colleagues and I think it’s about time that I get around to giving it a go! I love the sound of the premise and given that I’ve been reading more science fiction in recent years, I’m hoping that I really get on with this one. Only time and picking up the book itself will tell, but I’m optimistic.

 

Silverthorn – Raymond E. Feist

I first read Magician, the first book of the series, as a teenager. A couple of years ago I revisited this first book in an attempt to make a more serious go off reading the series. As with my first attempt, however, I didn’t really follow through and pick up this next book. I do plan on doing the shortly though, although I won’t be picking up the first book a third time – at worst I will have to try and recap the events of the first book online.

 

Words of Radiance – Brandon Sanderson

I am a huge fan of Brandon Sanderson and a reading list wouldn’t feel right without a book of his on it somewhere. I read The Way of Kings, the first book of this series (that is ultimately going to be around ten books long), a couple of years ago. Since then I have been deliberately putting off delving into this series further, despite the fact I really want to do having loved the first book. Brandon Sanderson has only published four of the ten at the moment I don’t want to be disappointed by catching up and having to wait for the last few to be published. As it stands book five scheduled for publication in two and a half years time! With that in mind, I think I have left at a decent time to be able to pick up the next book and halve another break before the next; it gives him a chance to keep writing the series so I don’t catch up before he finishes it!

 

If We Were Villains – M. L. Rio

I’ve owned a copy of this book for quite a few years now and it’s one of the older books on my TBR. So, this is another book that I intend to read shortly. Realistically, being at this end of the list, it is more likely being a summer read. That’s not the end of the world though, as it’s quite a nice manageable length it could make for quite an easy light read! Maybe in the garden –  although thoughts like that whilst it’s a tropical 8°C currently feels a little optimistic…

 

So, these are my top ten books I’ll likely be choosing from for my Spring 2021 TBR! Have you read any of these? Let me know in the comments. 

 

 

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Sunday Summary – 14th March 2021

Would you believe it is Sunday again, and not just any old Sunday – but Mother’s Day! Happy Mother’s Day to all the mum’s out there, but more importantly (to me at least), my own mum. I couldn’t spend the day with her like I had wanted to today but I will to make it up to her once lockdown 3.0 here on the Island is over. Unlike the UK we don’t have a ‘bubble’ arrangement and households can’t mix.

Instead I have spent the day doing a bit of cleaning, washing and building some furniture of all things. Again not what I imagined I would be doing today but at least it was productive!

As for the rest of this week I’ve been keeping busy as well. In terms of blogging I have shared two posts with you this week. I’m actually happy that I stuck to publishing both posts that I committed to in last week’s Sunday Summary post. I haven’t been the best at that lately but in the circumstances I think I can be forgiven. I’ve certainly forgive myself for it so, hey. My review of Head On by John Scalzi was published on Thursday and my Shelf Control post went live on Friday. If you haven’t checked out either of those post yet please do so using the links above!

 

Books Read

I have definitely swayed more in the direction of audiobooks again this week. As of last week’s Sunday Summary post, I was listening to The Toll by Neal Shusterman and I had a few hours left to go. I finished that a few days ago and whilst I was really satisfied with the ending, I had that feeling that good book series leaves; I didn’t know what to pick up next because I was worried it wouldn’t live up to it!

In the end I decided to go to an old favourite to avoid the disappointment. I am carrying on my Game of Thrones binge as I have started listening to A Clash of Kings, the second book in the series. I’m a few chapters in at this point but they are very long so it’s going to take me a while to get through it. Since I won’t be going anywhere I shouldn’t think it will take as long to get through as it would under normal circumstances!

I have also been making more progress with The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak this week. I’m now near halfway through the book rather than a third – given that it’s a long one I’m happy with that result!

 

Books Discovered

I’ve been keeping my head down this week and so there is nothing to add to my TBR this week! Given last week’s binge, I think it’s only fair…

 

Coming Up…

It has been a few weeks since I featured a Top Ten Tuesday post and so I’m going to revive it this week with the topic of Spring 2021 TBR. As you guys know I’m taking a far more relaxed stance over my reading this year, however I’d like to use this post as a casual not to some of the books that I would like to read in the near future. It’s not an absolute list, but it’s a fun opportunity to think about some upcoming reads.

Later in the week I am going to return my first line is Friday post. I really enjoyed drafting the shelf control post this week and I’d like to bring back this regular series! It’s a fun way to feature books on my blog and who knows, you might just find on the catches your eye!

Then last, but not least, I’ll be wrapping up the week with another Sunday Summary post.

But for now that’s all from me – happy reading and I’ll see you in the next one!

 

 

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Shelf Control #27 – 18/03/2021

It’s officially Friday and welcome to my first Shelf Control post in about three months! It has been such a long time since my last post that I’ve had to go digging through the previous posts I’d written just to work out where I was up to with this series.

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

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

Today’s featured book interests me because I have very literal knowledge when it comes to American history. In school, I learned about the roaring ’20s and the following depression in the ’30s. We didn’t touch on anything like the civil war or deal with topics such as slavery. Reading this book will, I hope, fill that gap.

Want to find out more?

 

The Floating Theatre – Martha Conway

Floating Theatre

The Floating Theatre by Martha Conway | Goodreads

In a nation divided by prejudice, everyone must take a side.

When young seamstress May Bedloe is left alone and penniless on the shore of the Ohio, she finds work on the famous floating theatre that plies its trade along the river. Her creativity and needlework skills quickly become invaluable and she settles in to life among the colourful troupe of actors. She finds friends, and possibly the promise of more …

But cruising the border between the Confederate South and the ‘free’ North is fraught with danger.

For the sake of a debt that must be repaid, May is compelled to transport secret passengers, under cover of darkness, across the river and on, along the underground railroad.

But as May’s secrets become harder to keep, she learns she must endanger those now dear to her.

And to save the lives of others, she must risk her own …

A gloriously involving and powerful read for fans of Gone With The Wind and Tracy Chevalier’s The Last Runaway

 

My Thoughts…

I haven’t read any books by Martha Conway to date and I’m intrigued by how I’ll take to this novel. It has good reviews from other readers and the subject matter is unlike anything I have ever read before.

Although the book has some heavier content, namely slavery and people-smuggling, I am hoping I’ll also enjoy the theatrical aspect of the setting.  I studied performing arts for the last four years of school and I loved it! It was the thing I looked forward to in amongst all the boring exams and revision. I am optimistic that just like for me, the theatre is the life and colour in an otherwise dark and strenuous setting.

If you want to learn more about The Floating Theatre, I featured the opening lines of the novel in a First Lines Friday post. If you are interested, please check that out!

Have you read The Floating Theatre? What did you make of it? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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Sunday Summary – 7th March 2021

Hello everyone and welcome to another weekly update Sunday Summary post! It has been… a week. If you read my post on Friday you will know that the Isle of Man is now back in lockdown again and frankly I’m thoroughly sick of it at this point. But, what can we do!? We are very lucky really so I shouldn’t complain, but I’m going to anyway!

I had planned on sharing my monthly wrap-up post earlier this week, but with the upcoming news that we were going to go into lockdown, this didn’t happen. In the end, I shared this post on Friday. I can’t say I felt particularly motivated to spend my evenings sat at a laptop when I’ve spent my entire day at home sat on another laptop for work. But, oh well, late is better than never right?

I have also started the review post I was going to share for Head On by John Scalzi, however, I got halfway through that last night and ran out of time. I promise I will get that shed early next week.

 

Books Read

I haven’t really picked up much in the way of physical reading this week. In fact the only night I picked up my kindle was last night, Saturday. I had a brief read of The Book Thief by Markus Zusak and I enjoyed picking this up again as I haven’t for a brief stint.

Where I have been lacking in physical reading, I have been making up for it via audiobooks. They are very come and go for me; I won’t listen to them for ages or in any great quantity, but when I pick them up again I go hard at it. As of last week’s Sunday Summary update, I had just started the toll by Neal Shusterman and as of this post, I only have a few hours left of the audiobook! To give you some context, that means I’ve listened to about 10 hours this week alone! I knew I had listened to it quite a lot, but even that figure astounds me!

 

Books Discovered

Whilst I am on an audiobook binge, I had a look at audible today as I’ve had an email about a sale they have on. I’ve been building up a few credits and I thought I’d have a look to see if anything caught my eye. You could say that!

I ended up using almost all of my credits towards the sale, with just one being used to buy the first book of a series as Books Two and Three were on sale (because that makes sense)…

So now I have audiobook copies of Heresy, Prophecy and Sacrilege by S. J. Parris, Traitor’s Blade and Knights Shadow by Sebastien Del Castell and A Little Hatred by Joe Abercrombie and last but not least, The Plague Charmer by Karen Maitland.

I told you-when I hit the audiobooks I hit them hard! Especially now I’m going to be home for the next two weeks (minimum!) I can see myself finishing my current audiobook and moving on to more.

 

Coming Up

As I said earlier in this post, I didn’t get around to finishing drafting my audiobook review of Head On by John Scalzi. I hope to have this finished in the next couple of days. I will have to see how I get on as I’m still going to be having the battle of motivation to spend my evening is exactly as I have spent my whole day. I’ve actually done something slightly different with this post and I have done it on one-off occasions before… I’m drafting this verbally on my phone. It is a little bit of variety, it’s actually quicker than typing (even taking into account having to fix all the typos and grammar) and it reduces the amount of time I’m actually sat physically on my laptop as I only use this to edit and publish the post once it’s written. If all else fails I will try and do this next week in an attempt to keep the content coming to you guys! I have been quite unreliable over the last few weeks in getting things published when I say I’m going to.

Later in the week, I’m going to go back to an easy regular post that I shared fortnightly last year – Shelf Control. I haven’t taken a look at some of the older items on my TV are for a good few months now. Given that my goal is to get through more of these this year, it makes sense to start looking at the books on the list and to get myself excited for getting round to them!

So, that’s all from me in today’s Sunday Summary post! Have a good week and I’ll see you around!

 

 

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Sunday Summary – 28th February 2021

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s catch up Sunday Summary! I hope you have all had a good week as I have?

You may have noticed I was a little late sharing the posts I had planned this week. I shared my first post of the week on Friday. There’s no excuse really, as I already had most of my Harry Potter Book tag drafted last week. I just ended up doing other things, watching TV, knitting etc. My next post went live on Saturday, which was a review for Auxiliary: London 2039. I read this book towards the end of last year on request and I shared my thoughts on this fun cyberpunk thriller novel this week. If you haven’t taken a moment to read that, please do so using this link here.

 

Books Read

This week’s Sunday Summary section would be better titled ‘Books Listened To’, as I’ve not picked up a book this week. I have, however, listened to several hours of audiobooks… over 7 hours to be precise! As of last week’s update, I still had several hours of A Game of Thrones to make progress on. I finished that on the 25th and promptly moved on to The Toll by Neal Shusterman. I’ve listened to about two hours worth of that book so far and I can’t wait to see how events start to unfold given the conclusion to Thunderhead. I think that will start to happen soon, so I’ll be listening to more of this over the coming days

 

Books Discovered

Nothing to add here again this week, which honestly is not a bad thing!

 

Coming Up…

Tomorrow it’s officially March, and that’s kinda scary! Where has the time gone? I don’t know, but a new month means it’s time for my second monthly wrap-up post. I’ll be taking a look back at the books I read, the posts I shared and anything of note that I want to share with you about last month’s progress!

Later in the week, I’m going to share another review on the backlog pile at present. This week’s selected book is one I listened to via Audible last year. Head On by John Scalzi is the second book I have listened to by that author – I really enjoyed listening to Lock In and after that, I wanted to carry on the series. You can find out the details and my full thoughts on this listen in the coming days.

 

Until then friends, stay safe and well and I hope to see you around!

 

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Sunday Summary – 21st February 2021

Hi guys and welcome to today’s Sunday Summary post. Have you had a good week? Mine has been – I’ve enjoyed some great books, TV and even a film this week. For many years I haven’t really watched much in the way of TV, but with less pressure put upon myself to read all the time, I’m finding it on more often. It’s a funny coincidence that the film I ended up watching most of was the film edition of my current read! What a coincidence, eh?

In terms of blogging, I shared one other blog post this week. I finally put together my review of Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor; I hope it does the book/series justice. It’s one of my favourites and I hope that comes across. If you haven’t checked out that post yet, please do!

I also drafted 90% of my Harry Potter tag post, but unfortunately, I ran out of time to finish it and publish it yesterday. My laptop decided to inconveniently download and install some updates late yesterday evening. Let’s just say that it’s gotten to a certain age where downloading updates renders it practically useless in terms of doing anything else! Want to flick from a word document to a web page? Sure, but you’ll have to wait five minutes, the programs will ‘not respond’ at least twice and after all that, don’t dare to scroll the web page unless you want to repeat the whole process. So, come 10:30 pm last night I’d had enough and gave up.

 

Books Read

I’ve made progress on a number of books this week. As of last week’s Sunday Summary post I was currently reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling. I went on to finish this book this week and it was honestly as good as I remember it! I really enjoyed this second book of the re-read of the series. Thankfully the early books aren’t too long, so it didn’t take long to read at all. Once I’ve read the third one they get a bit chunkier though!

Next, I picked up my current read, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I bought this on Kindle a few years ago and I decided that it was the book I wanted to pick up next. Over the course of the week, I’ve read a quarter of the book so far. Ironically, I’m about at the point in the book where I picked up on the film on Friday night, so I know what happens. I’m still looking forward to reading it though –it hasn’t spoiled it for me at all!

Lastly, I listened to some more A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin this week. I have started listening to it when commuting as I said I was going to. I still listened to the radio a couple of times, but I think getting back into the habit of listening to audiobooks on a regular basis will help me get through more of them than I am currently.

 

Books Discovered

This week’s discovered section is going to be comparatively boring to last week’s update. There’s nothing to add here and that’s probably for the best!

 

Coming Up…

Since I’ve already written 90% of the post, it makes sense to share my Harry Potter Book tag early next week. I’ve enjoyed writing it and I hope it makes for fun reading for you!

I’ll be sharing another review with you later in the week. I have a number of reviews to catch up on, and this week’s review is for a book I read late last year that I had been asked to read in exchange for an honest review. London: Auxiliary 2039 is a cyberpunk thriller novel that I loved. The plot was interesting and I enjoyed the mystery behind the narrative. I hope you can check out my full review next week!

 

Until then, that’s all from me in today’s Sunday Summary post! Have a good week, happy reading and I’ll see you around!

 

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