Tag: mystery

Shelf Control #60 – 27/01/2023

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

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

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

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

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

 

Punishment – Scott Holliday

 

Genre: Sci-fi / Crime 

Pages: 240

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Publication Date: 31 Jul 2018

 

 

Goodreads – Punishment

 

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

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

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

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

 

My Thoughts

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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Sunday Summary – 27th November 2022

Good evening and welcome to my regular weekly update post, otherwise known as the Sunday Summary! It’s my opportunity to recap what I have shared on my blog throughout the week, as well as the books I’ve been reading. Later on in the post, you can also find out what I will be sharing on my blog in the next week – so stay tuned in for that!

But first, let’s recap the week just gone. My first blog post of the week was a review of Red Rising by Pierce Brown. I really enjoyed this science-fiction/dystopian fiction novel. It is the first book of the series, which I started this year.

Red Rising was a massive hit, as you will see in that review. I have already read the second book of the series and that one didn’t quite live up to expectations. Pierce Brown set the bar really high with Red Rising… maybe a bit too high? I’m going to continue with the series, but if you want to see where it all starts, I strongly recommend you check out my review.

On Friday I shared a Shelf Control post. Shelf Control is a roughly fortnightly feature on my blog. It is an opportunity to take a look at books I added to my TBR in the past and make sure they are still relevant to my current reading taste. Sharing why I’m excited about these books makes for great blog material. Who knows, maybe I can just make you a little bit excited about it too?

This week, I featured a non-fiction novel that I added to my TBR in 2017, having played the original Assassin’s Creed game. That probably sounds like a very bizarre introduction to the book, but the book itself is about a faction that plays a significant role in the storyline. It is a time and place in history I have never explored before, and I’m keen to find out more!

 

Books Read

Dear Child

In last week’s Sunday Summary post, I left off having read 10% of the book Dear Child by Romy Hausmann. I read that 10% last Sunday morning, and I was already excited about the book based on that introduction. I ended up really enjoying Dear Child just as much!

It has been a while since I read a psychological thriller or a book of that ilk. That’s why I wanted to read one if I’m honest. I enjoy switching up genres now and then. I wanted to get around to reading something like this in October, but I didn’t finish my TBR in time to do so. So, I picked this one up this month instead, and it was fantastic! As with all good psychological thrillers with an element of mystery, it has you thinking about the book, characters, and potential motives even when it’s physically not in your hand.

Dear Child is even more impressive as it is the author’s debut novel. It read really well, and the fact that I had finished all 350 odd pages by Thursday testifies just how easy to read it was!

After finishing Dear Child, I was in a very indecisive mood as to what to read next. It has been a long time since I’ve actually finished a reading list, so it was unusual not to have an idea of what I wanted to pick up next. This resulted in my picking up quite a few books off my shelf, reading the synopsis, and then putting them back down again. I had no idea what I wanted to read – and I was almost in a bit of a funk about it. However, I eventually decided to take a look at a recent non-fiction addition to my reading list. It was a good decision. 

 

The Motivation Code

I recently discovered an assessment online called The Motivation Code. The test has been devised by psychologists as a means of identifying an individual’s top three personal motivators. In summary, the test involves a degree of analysing some distinct, memorable achievements. It takes between 20 and 30 minutes to complete, and after that, you can take a look at either a purchasable assessment or The Motivation Code book, which I am doing. If you are interested, my top 3 motivators out of the possible 27 are collaborate, explore, and develop.

I was initially surprised by my top motivation, but having read the insights in the book, I can completely understand this now. I do like to feel like part of the team and I am most energised when the team is harmonious.

So far I have only read up on the first of these three of my motivators, collaborate, because I have been reading about the rest too. In reading some of the others so far, I have already been able to recognise and understand how other people around me work differently. For that reason, I am already finding it insightful – and I’m only 45% through at the moment! I trust that the rest of the book is going to be as helpful as it has been so far. It is also a really easy and relatively short read at 270ish pages.

 

Books Discovered

I would love to be able to update you and say that the reading list is going in the right direction – so I will! With ticking off Dear Child, and progress with The Motivation Code (both books on my TBR), the net position at the end of this week is still in the negative.

What I’m trying to say is I’ve added one book to my reading list this week. Having recently loved R. F. Kuang’s book Babel, I have decided to add another fantasy series she wrote to my reading list. I’m only starting with the first book so far, The Poppy War. If I enjoy this as much as I enjoy Babel, I can guarantee the rest of the books will be going on my list! But, we’ll see what the first book looks like before I get too hasty.

 

Coming Up…

Next week we will be saying goodbye to November and launching ourselves into the final month of the year. Is that not a scary thought?

With that in mind, I will be sharing my monthly wrap-up for November on Thursday and following up with my December monthly TBR on Saturday! I always enjoy writing these posts. It’s fun to talk/reminisce about books I have enjoyed in a month, but also look forward to my next reads! I hope you can stick with me for my November round-up and my December TBR.

Unsurprisingly, I will be back as I always am this time next week with my next Sunday Summary update to post. I hope you can stick with the blog to check those posts out. In the meantime, have a fantastic week whatever you’re up to!

Have you read any amazing books recently?

 

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Sunday Summary – 20th November 2022

Hello, hello – welcome to this week’s Sunday Summary update post. I hope you have had a fantastic week because I’m really excited to tell you about this week’s progress. Personally, it has been a good and productive one!

At the beginning of the week, I shared my review of Warrior of Mercia by MJ Porter. It was a pleasure to take part in this blog tour, as I have done so for the first two books of the series as well! This book lived up to every single one of my expectations. If there are further books in the series, I will be jumping on the bandwagon very quickly!

Later in the week, I shared a First Lines Friday post. I will hold my hands up here and say I made a bit of a boo-boo. I forgot to schedule this post in advance. The post was sat in my notes and ready to be edited and scheduled, but I just hadn’t done that bit. As a result, I shared it on Friday night after I’d noticed my error. Apologies if you were looking out for it earlier in the day.

 

Books Read

Babel

This week I made fantastic reading progress with Babel by R.F. Kuang. Ironically, I was partly motivated to read this book because I was excited to pick up my next read… one that I ended up DNF’ing quite quickly. More on that one in a moment. In my last Sunday Summary update, I was 172 pages into Babel. 

It was good to finally pick up Babel and stick with it. Because I have been juggling commitments with blog tours of late, I have been picking up and putting this book down quite a bit. Now that I had no further commitments, I was able to dedicate the due time and attention Babel deserved – and boy, did it deserve it! The fact that I read the remaining 370 odd pages in just a handful of days testifies how much I enjoyed this read. It is the kind of book that has you thinking about it even when you’re not actively reading it.

What I found refreshing about Babel is that it doesn’t read that strongly as a fiction novel. It is quite academic in tone. As someone who was interested in language and linguistics growing up, I enjoyed the little translation references dotted throughout. This book also has a reference to the Manx language in it, which surprised me! Even locally, it is only thought that about 2% of the population of the island is fluent in it. I know some passing phrases such as good morning (moghrey mie) and good evening (fastyr mie), but that’s about all.

 

Malice

Next, I picked up the book I have been really excited to read – Malice by John Gwynne. I have shared details about this book on my blog of late, particularly commenting on how long it has been on my reading list, and that it is probably the oldest book on my TBR.

Not anymore. I spent about three days struggling through the first 40 pages. When you compare that with my reading average earlier in the week of nearly 100 pages a day, that’s dreadful. The introduction to this book just didn’t grab me at all. When I first picked up this book many moons ago (before I started my blog), I only made it to chapter three. My perception can’t have been much better, because I put it down then as well.

I’m enjoying a really good reading streak at the moment, and I fear that if I try to struggle with Malice, I will lose it. Instead, I decided to DNF this book for good and swiftly moved on to the next (and last physical) book on my November reading list.

 

Dear Child

I started Dear Child quite late this morning, and I’m already 10% through the book. The introduction captured my attention immediately. I’m interested to learn about the dynamic of the characters and how events have come to pass to date. There’s not much to say about this particular book at this time, because I have only spent around 30 to 40 minutes reading it so far. I look forward to sharing a further update with you next week!

 

Books Discovered

Once again, no news is good news! With the reading progress I’ve made, I have effectively ticked a couple off of my reading list, and there are no new additions. The list is going in the right direction for once!

 

Coming Up…

Early next week, I have decided to share another book review with you. As I have quite a long list of books I have read, but not yet reviewed, I decided to knock one of those off the list. The book I am featuring next week is Red Rising by Pierce Brown. If you enjoy the science-fiction and/or dystopia genres, I strongly recommend checking out my review on Tuesday!

Later in the week, it is the turn of my Shelf Control regular feature post. This week’s feature is a bit of a funny one. I decided to add this book to my reading list as a result of playing the original Assassin’s Creed game as a teenager – I wanted to learn more about the facts behind some of the characters. If you are intrigued, then stick around and check out my post on Friday.

As always, I will be back next Sunday evening to share my reading progress with you in my next Sunday Summary post!

Until next time, have a wonderful week!

 

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Top Ten Tuesday – Reads to Pick Up This Halloween!

Hello everybody, and welcome to my Top Ten Tuesday post, with recommendations for books to pick up this Halloween! If you’re not sure what you want to read this spooky season, I have ten recommendations for books that I have read and I think would make excellent reading. There is quite a variety of books in this selection, so there should be something here that meets your needs.

Where I have a live review of each book on my blog, I’ve provided a link to that if you want more information.

So, let’s jump into my recommendations!

 

The Stand

I’m starting off with some of Stephen King’s most iconic books. Aside from The Green Mile, The Stand was one of the first books I read of Stephen King’s. I actually listened to this epic on audiobook due to its size.

If you are uncomfortable with the idea of a premise that is a more extreme version of the pandemic we have just lived through, then maybe this one isn’t for you. However, I thoroughly enjoyed this post-apocalyptic narrative.

Full review here

 

IT

Another Stephen King novel I read and really enjoyed is IT. I read this one physically, and I have no doubt that I’ll be going back to my copy on my bookshelf at some point! I really enjoyed the dual-timeline narrative, and at just under 1400 pages, this is the longest book I have ever read. Despite that, I managed to read IT in a couple of weeks.

Full review here

 

Pet Sematary

If you want to try a Stephen King novel that won’t (quite) knock somebody out if you throw it at them, Pet Sematary is shorter than the previous books listed, yet is still brilliant.

I had no idea this book was going to end the way it did. However, it encapsulates the horror genre brilliantly.

Full review here

 

Imaginary Friend

Moving away from Stephen King, I have a number of books on this recommendation list from other authors.

I read Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chboksy in October 2019. This is also quite a sizable horror, but well worth the investment! Even though I read a good portion of this book on holiday, the narrative was chilling and unnerving enough to give all the autumnal, spooky vibes!

Full review here

 

The Dark Chorus

If you want to pick up a fairly short read this Halloween, then The Dark Chorus may just be the book for you. The narrative focuses on a young boy who can see lost souls. The narrative has a spiritual emphasis and involves this young boy committing terrible, ritualistic murders, towards his end goal.

It was a very creepy read, but one I rated very highly!

Full review here

 

Empire of the Vampire

If you like to read more towards the fantasy genre, Empire of the Vampire is a strong recommendation for you. I read this book by Jay Kristoff on holiday this year. As the name would suggest, this book is about vampires, but also about our main character, who is a vampire slayer.

Empire of the Vampire is a very Gothic style fantasy, with elements such as religion and the undead being at war with each other. I personally cannot wait to pick up the sequel to this book, whenever it is published. In the meantime, I can only recommend Empire of the Vampire to you!

 

The Chalk Man

Coming in at 280 pages, The Chalk Man is a very approachable reader for anybody. With a dual-timeline split between Eddie’s childhood, and his return to his hometown as an adult, a very dark story unfolds.

The benign language a group of friends used to communicate with each other leads to the discovery of a body, and nothing is ever the same again.

Full review here

 

The Taking of Annie Thorne

The Taking of Annie Thorne is another fairly short, but very sinister read. This was the second book. I read by CJ Tudor, and she is an author I will go back to for this kind of read in the future. It is brilliantly paced, the characters are engaging, and the storyline is something else.

This was a five-star read, and now I’m recommending it to you in the hopes that it will be for you too.

Full review here

 

Bell, Book and Candle (To Snare a Witch)

If you are a bit pressed for time this Halloween, maybe a series of short stories would be better suited to you?

I read these short stories back in October 2019 and they are a great way of delving into the dark and sinister without too much investment. They are also very easy to read, and you can read as many or a few of them as you like. The good thing about short stories is that they are very approachable!

Full review here

 

Mort

Lastly, if you’re not much into the Halloween genre and want to read something more satirical, I can recommend Mort by Terry Pratchett. It has a loose tie to the genre in that one of the main characters of this book is Death. In this first instalment of the Discworld series, Death decides to take an apprentice – Mort.

 

So, those are my Top Ten Tuesday recommendations for books to pick up this Halloween! Have you read any of the books listed today? Would you recommend any of them to others?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

 

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First Lines Friday – 07/10/22

Happy Friday, and welcome to today’s First Lines Friday post!

In today’s post, I feature a book I bought on a whim, not realising it was part of a wider series. The synopsis grasped my attention right away, and when I’ve talked about it on my blog, it caught my mum’s too…

Without further preamble, shall we dive into today’s First Lines Friday intro: –

 

At ten after five on a raw December afternoon, Joshua Kane lay on a cardboard bed outside the criminal courts building in Manhattan and thought about killing a man. Not just any man. He was thinking about someone in particular. It was true that Kane had, at times, while on the subway or watching passers-by, occasionally thought about killing a nameless, random New Yorker who happened to fall into his line of vision. It could be the blond a secretary reading a romance novel on the K train, a Wall Street banker swinging an umbrella as they ignored his pleas for change or even a child holding their mothers hand on a crosswalk.

How would it feel to kill them? What would they say with their final breath? Would their eyes change in that moment of passing from this world? Kane felt a ripple of pleasure feed heat into his body as he explored those thoughts.

He checked his watch.

11 after five.

 

 

Th1rt3en – Steve Cavanagh

Genre: Thriller

Pages: 356

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Orion

Publication Date: 30 Jan 2018

 

 

Goodreads – Th1rt3en

 

The serial killer isn’t on trial.

He’s on the jury…

They were Hollywood’s hottest power couple. They had the world at their feet. Now one of them is dead and Hollywood star Robert Solomon is charged with the brutal murder of his beautiful wife.

This is the celebrity murder trial of the century and the defence want one man on their team: con artist turned lawyer Eddie Flynn.

All the evidence points to Robert’s guilt, but as the trial begins a series of sinister incidents in the court room start to raise doubts in Eddie’s mind.

What if there’s more than one actor in the courtroom?

What if the killer isn’t on trial? What if the killer is on the jury?

 

My Thoughts…

Th1rt3en is the first Steve Cavanagh book that caught my eye. I purchased a copy of it straight away, but later found out it is the fourth in his Eddie Flynn series.

Through my blog I introduced mum to his books. Whilst I am still yet to pick one up, mum is ahead of me and has made a start on them. As far as I know, she has enjoyed them so far. I cannot wait to give it a try for myself!

I’m looking forward to a legal thriller. The idea of the murderer being on the jury and knowing that from the outset is a real hook to draw us in as a reader. If we can set out from that revelation without giving much away, then what other twists and turns do we have in this narrative? I don’t know, but want to find out!

What also appeals is that whilst the book is part of a series, they are separate stories. So, they don’t strictly have to be read in order. The books themselves aren’t too long either. My mum read the first book and started the second on a week’s holiday earlier this year. There is enough to entice us in, but the books aren’t too long either. This will appeal to a lot of people – I can only hope I feel the same way when I finally get to this read for myself!

Have you read Th1rt3en, or any other Steve Cavanagh books? Let me know in the comments below, or let’s have a chat on social media!

 

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Shelf Control #54 – 23/09/2022

Happy Friday everyone and welcome to today’s Shelf Control post!

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

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

by the time this post goes live, I may actually be reading today’s featured book. This has been on my reading list since 2018. I am excited to pick up this science-fiction-style thriller novel.

Keen to find out what today’s feature is? Here are the details: –

 

Dark Matter – Blake Crouch

Genre: Science-fiction

Pages: 352

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Crown

Publication Date: 26 Jul 2016

 

 

Goodreads – Dark Matter

Jason Dessen is walking home through the chilly Chicago streets one night, looking forward to a quiet evening in front of the fireplace with his wife, Daniela, and their son, Charlie—when his reality shatters.

“Are you happy with your life?”

Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious.

Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits.

Before a man Jason’s never met smiles down at him and says, “Welcome back, my friend.”

In this world he’s woken up to, Jason’s life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor, but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable. Something impossible.

Is it this world or the other that’s the dream?

And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could’ve imagined—one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe.

Dark Matter is a brilliantly plotted tale that is at once sweeping and intimate, mind-bendingly strange and profoundly human–a relentlessly surprising science-fiction thriller about choices, paths not taken, and how far we’ll go to claim the lives we dream of.

 

My Thoughts…

Described as a science-fiction thriller, dark matter is the kind of book that you can dive into and enjoy regardless of your reading habits. At just over 350 pages, it is neither too big, nor so short that it lacks any plot to hold the story together.

Dark Matter has a high rating on Goodreads, and a number of reviewers I follow and look to for their opinions have really enjoyed this book. It has been sometime since I read a book marketed as a thriller. Given the time of year, I think it is the perfect time to finally pick this up.

Based on the synopsis and reviews, I have read, the narrative is cleverly written, so it is difficult to determine what is going on, and what is significant in the narrative until we reach the crux of the story. Personally, I really like a book and a narrative to try and unpick and work out for myself. So, you can see why this particular book really appeals to me!

As you may know, I have this on my reading list for September as part of Bookoplathon. I may be reading this particular book by the time this post goes live. In any case, I can’t wait to let you know what I think of this one.

Have you read Dark Matter? Do you like the sound of it based on the synopsis?

 

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Shelf Control #53 – 09/09/2022

Happy Friday and welcome to another Shelf Control post!

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

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

After reading the synopsis, I picked up a copy of today’s featured book a number of years ago. The book is written by an author who is new to me, and I can’t wait to give it a try! The book is written by an Italian author and has been translated into English. I don’t read many books that were originally written in a language other than English, so it will be interesting to see if I can pick up on the difference in the narrative or not.

Keen to find out what today’s feature is? Here are the details: –

 

Kill the Father – Sandrone Dazieri

Genre: Mystery

Pages: 499

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publication Date: 10 Aug 2017

 

 

Goodreads – Kill the Father

‘The rock cast a sharp, dark shadow over a shape huddled on the ground. Please don’t let it be the boy, Colomba thought. Her silent prayer didn’t go unanswered. The corpse belonged to the mother.’

THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN STOP HIM IS THE ONE WHO GOT AWAY…

Dante Torre spent eleven young years in captivity – held by a man known only as The Father – before outwitting his abductor. Now working for the police force, Torre’s methods are unorthodox but his brilliance is clear. When a young child goes missing in similar circumstances in Rome, Torre must confront the demons of his past to attempt to solve the case.

Paired with Deputy Captain Colomba Caselli, a fierce, warrior-like detective still reeling from having survived a bloody catastrophe, all evidence suggests The Father is active after being dormant for decades, and that he’s looking forward to a reunion with Dante…


My Thoughts…

I am always keen to try new things. It’s one of the things I pride myself on when it comes to my blog. The same goes for my reading. There are always new things out there and you’ll never know if you like something until you give it a try.

I recently shared a blog post about reading from diverse authors, and this fits perfectly. I don’t think I have ever read something that was first written in Italian and then translated. At least, not to my knowledge. I’m looking forward to seeing if this has any impact on the narrative style of the book. If it flows well, then I probably won’t even be able to tell the difference. Maybe the only indicator will be in terms of choices in phrasing or cultural attitudes.

It has been a little while since I’ve read something like a mystery detective series, which is what I have gathered this is about. it will be nice to have a change of topic, as well as try something new. There aren’t many reviews on Goodreads in English either, so who knows – if it is any good and I can write a good review about it, I might be able to introduce this to fellow English readers. We’ll see.

Have you read Kill the Father? Do you like the sound of it based on the synopsis?

Don’t forget, if you’ve enjoyed today’s Shelf Control post and want to see similar posts, you can subscribe to be notified whenever I post new content by clicking the follow button below. In addition, you can find and get in touch with me on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook!

 

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Shelf Control #52 – 19/08/2022

Happy Friday everyone and welcome to today’s Shelf Control post! Shelf Control is a regular feature on my blog. It’s a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies… a celebration of the unread books on our shelves! The idea is to pick a book you own but haven’t read and write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up!

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

I’m looking forward to reading the book I feature today. It’s co-written by an author I never expected to enjoy, and the other is their son.

This book touches on the genre we expect from the more famous co-author. However, I also enjoy the premise of the book and the focus of the narrative is different from anything I have read by this author publishing by himself. I’ve owned my physical copy for a few years now, and it will be good to pick this up!

Here are the details for today’s book: –

 

Sleeping Beauties – Steven King & Owen King

Genre: Horror / Thriller / Dystopia

Pages: 702

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Scribner

Publication Date: 26 Sep 2017

 

 

Goodreads – Sleeping Beauties

In a future so real and near it might be now, something happens when women go to sleep; they become shrouded in a cocoon-like gauze.

If they are awakened, and the gauze wrapping their bodies is disturbed or violated, the women become feral and spectacularly violent; and while they sleep they go to another place.

The men of our world are abandoned, left to their increasingly primal devices. One woman, however, the mysterious Evie, is immune to the blessing or curse of the sleeping disease.

Is Evie a medical anomaly to be studied, or is she a demon who must be slain?

 

My Thoughts…

Reviews for this particular book are a mixed bag.

Some people say it’s very long when it doesn’t need to be. Apparently, there are a load of characters and it can be a little bit hard to keep a grip on. But equally, at the same time, this book references a lot of other works by Stephen King.

I haven’t read lots of Stephen King books, but I’m interested to see if I can pick up on any of these references. Sometimes, it’s fun to find these things. I recently found one in The First Binding, which referenced a character in a book that influenced the author – The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. It feels good to be in on the joke… if you know what I mean?

This is not my first Stephen King book, and it will be my first which he has co-authored. I’m interested to see how this particular story plays out, and whether there are any elements of feminism that would be implied by the subject matter.

I can’t say too much about this book because I don’t know much beyond the synopsis. I’ve deliberately wanted to keep it that way. But, I’ll be interested to finally dive into this one and see what it’s all about!

Have you read Sleeping Beauties? If so, would you recommend it, or do you agree with other reviews that this is not his best work? I would love to know your thoughts!

Don’t forget, if you’ve enjoyed today’s Shelf Control post and want to see similar posts, you can subscribe to be notified whenever I post new content by clicking the follow button below. In addition, you can find and get in touch with me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook!

 

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Monthly TBR – August 2022 (Magical Readathon)

Happy Friday everyone! It’s still early in August, and it’s time to share my monthly TBR!

This month I am doing something fun, and belatedly taking part in a readathon. A few years ago, G over at Book Roast set up her Magical Readathon. Inspired by the structure of the exams in the Harry Potter series, she built a readathon in which you could ‘sit exams’ over two ‘sittings’ by reading books that completed certain prompts associated with them. In the first sitting, you have one prompt per exam. In the second, you can specialise in certain exams and read multiple prompts for that subject – the more you read, the better grade you get. 

That was several years ago, and now she has developed the readathon even further. She has built her own fantasy world based around a similar concept. The aim is to obtain qualifications in two semesters (one month-long readathon in April and one in August) towards a certain fantasy career.

I didn’t hear about this readathon until very recently. I missed out in April this year, so whilst everybody else taking part is doing the August prompts right now, I have decided to go back to April’s prompts so I can catch up and maybe take part in real-time next year. It’s been implied that progress made this year will carry over into next year.

I want to take part as it will be fun and push me a little out of my comfort zone. The prompts in some cases are for books I wouldn’t necessarily choose to put on my monthly TBR right now. At the same time, I have been able to incorporate books that I do want to read at the moment, so it’s the best of both worlds. There is a lot more interactivity involved in these readathons that I won’t be able to do right now, but that’s something I can look forward to.

 

Magical Readathon: Character

I have one book on my monthly TBR that I have to read, and that’s because I’m taking part in a blog tour later this month.

Naturally, I had to fit this into the prompts given, and fortunately, I can make it fit one. That, combined with the limitation of the amount I can read in a month, narrowed down my career options. In the end, it was a toss-up between the Craftsmage and Story Weaver profession. Technically, the Craftsmage career is an easier one to obtain as there is less reading required for it. However, I was less keen on the April prompts for this profession. So, I opted for Story Weaver.

For that career, I have to obtain qualifications in Inscription, Art of Illusion, Psionics and Divination, and Lore. I am hoping to read more than four books this month, so I’ve chosen some additional reads for my own reasons. If those additional books fulfill a prompt, I’ve noted it here and will count it. It might not count for anything right now, but as this readathon is ongoing, it may become relevant later.

Let’s jump into the books I’ve chosen for my monthly TBR and which prompts they fulfill for my career choice.

 

Fixed Reads

The First Binding

Inscription: An Intimidating Read

I’m only setting one fixed read this month, and that is because I am taking part in a blog tour later this month. As a result, this is the book I had fit into the list of prompts I had.

The First Binding is an epic fantasy novel over 800 pages long. That may be intimidating enough, but the added kicker is that I have to read and finish this book and share my review on the 15th August. Having done the maths, it means I have to read an absolute minimum of 70 pages a day in order to get there. Naturally, I aim to read it quicker if I can. If that’s not intimidating, I don’t know what is!

 

Mood Reads

The Silence of the Girls

Lore: Mythology Inspired Read

This particular book is about Greek Mythology, in particular, around female characters affected by the Trojan War. I recently read and enjoyed Pandora’s Jar by Natalie Haynes. I’ve wanted to pick up more books about the subject (I’ve even added one about the Trojan War, written by Natalie Haynes, to my TBR recently).

However, I already own a copy of The Silence of the Girls. As it’s a subject I’m interested in, and a topic I need for the readathon, this should be perfect. The icing on the cake is that it’s a nice short read. After reading The First Binding, I think I will relish it.

 

Assassin’s Quest

Art of Illusion: Book with a trope I Like

I am a big reader of fantasy. As such, there are a lot of tropes to choose from. Some are more used than most, and some of them I like better than others. One of the tropes I enjoy, even if it is a bit overused, is characters going off on a quest and developing personally as a result. Fitting in with that trope nicely, I’ve chosen Assassin’s Quest by Robin Hobb.

I have just finished reading Royal Assassin and I’m itching to pick up this third book of the first trilogy. It fit perfectly into the required prompt… so it would have been rude not to! 

 

Golden Son

Psionics & Divination: Book Set in the Future

For the psionics and divination prompt, I need to read a book set in the future. This is the prompt I’ve had the most debate over, and changed my book selection a number of times already.

Naturally, I have the flexibility to change my mind again if I feel the need. However, I have provisionally chosen to read Golden Son by Pierce Brown. I read Red Rising last year and I really loved this first book. Set in the near (but undefined) future, the series is about the colonisation of all the planets in space – in particular, Mars. This is a science fiction novel with a dystopian theme. I really enjoyed this first book and I’ve heard good things about the second in the series. So, I’m taking the opportunity to tick off this prompt and further read towards completing a series. God knows I have plenty ongoing already without starting anymore. 

 

Invisible Women

No prompt

The last physical book I am provisionally setting on my monthly TBR is Invisible Women. I had intended to read this book last month, but I ended up swapping it out for Pandora’s Jar on a whim.

Reading this particular book doesn’t satisfy any of the prompts for the readathon, however, I have set myself a personal goal of reading at least one non-fiction book a month. It’s for this reason that I am still adding Invisible Women to this TBR.

 

Audiobooks

The Viscount Who Loved Me

Alchemy: Book featuring Romance

There are some chunky books on my TBR, so I’m only ‘setting’ five physical reads this month.

I would like to try and squeeze in one more book, and I would like to do so in audiobook format. I think this is the first time I’ve ever put an audiobook on a TBR deliberately. Audiobooks make up the smallest proportion of my reading. However, I have definitely been in the mood to listen to more audiobooks of late. Whilst I am in the mood, I’d like to try and make this more of a regular habit, rather than the stop-start relationship I typically have.

The reason for adding the audiobook, and this genre audiobook, is because I think I want something lighter to listen to. I should be able to listen to this on my commute, or whilst I am doing jobs around the house and so it should be easy to squeeze in.

There is another reason why I have chosen this format for this book. I read the Duke and I back in May, and whilst I had mixed feelings about the book, I said I wasn’t going to continue with the series. However, I’m going to give it a second chance in audiobook format.

I have enjoyed the Bridgerton Netflix series to date, but most importantly, I want to see if I can persevere long enough to follow Penelope‘s and Eloise‘s story arcs. They are honestly the only two characters I really care about. However, it’s going to be a while before we get there in the Netflix series, so if I can at least get so far as their books and I’ll be happy.

Don’t get me wrong, if I don’t enjoy this overly either then I’ll abandon the attempt and I’ll just have to wait for the Netflix series to get to their parts.

Having checked the prompt sheet, I can pass the alchemy exam by reading a book featuring a romance. So, if I read this book then that’s an bonus qualification I can earn.

 

So, that’s my monthly TBR for August! This is my first time ever taking part in a readathon, and I am really excited! Have you ever taken part in one? Alternatively, what are you reading this month? Let me know in the comments or on social media.

Wish me luck!

 

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Monthly Wrap-Up – July 2022

If you want to find out which amazing books I’ve been reading this month, and those I would like to recommend to you my fellow readers, then my monthly wrap-up post is the one for you!

In my monthly wrap-up posts, I share the details of all the books I read in the month just gone. For July, I decided to keep with a similar concept with my TBR and only set a couple of ‘fixed reads’, whereas the rest could be changed with my mood. I’ll clearly mark out which books fell into which bracket.

Overall, I found this approach really worked for me once again.

Whereas last month I ended up sticking to my provisional mood reads, I did actually swap one book out for another this month. It was entirely on a whim, but that’s the point. I want to give myself the flexibility if I really want to read something, to just pick it up.

 

Books Read

Fixed Reads

Twelve Nights

Genre: historical-fiction

Pages: 380

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Nerthus

Publication Date: 1 Jun 2022

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟

 

Goodreads – Twelve Nights

My first read of the month was Twelve Nights by Penny Ingham. I committed to taking part in a blog tour for this particular book and shared my review as a part of it. That post was due on the 11th of July, so reading this particular book was my first port of call.

If you want to check out my full thoughts on the book, you can find a link to my blog tour post here. In summary, Twelve Nights was a fun historical-fiction/mystery novel in which a number of themes are brought together – the treatment of women in the 16th century, the impact of religion on daily life, William Shakespeare, the theatre and surprisingly, suffering from Alzheimer’s/dementia.

We are taken through a variety of twists and turns as Magdalen tries to get to the bottom of a murder she did not commit, all before her ‘inquest’ and inevitable conviction for the crimes. The mystery took a turn I was not expecting, and I really enjoyed the element of surprise at the 11th hour!

If any of these things sound like something you’d enjoy, then I recommend picking this book up.

 

The Man Who Died Twice

Genre: Mystery

Pages: 422

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Penguin

Publication Date: 16 Sept 2021

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

 

Goodreads – The Man Who Died Twice

My second and last ‘fixed read’ of the month was The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman. I set this as a fixed read as I wanted to return the book to Chris whilst he was on island visiting with my sister. I had every intention to pick this up straight after Twelve Nights, however, that didn’t come to pass.

Instead, I had a real hankering to pick up another book (and not one on my July TBR). I indulged myself by picking this other book up, before returning to The Man Who Died Twice.

The story was engaging, high-stakes, and enabled us to see a little into Elizabeth’s past, which I really enjoyed. I think she’s one of the more interesting characters of the book/series so far, even if she is quite unrealistic in real life. But, that’s not the point. It’s a bit of fun and I enjoy how Richard Osman manages to write an intriguing mystery, with a lot of humour along the way.

At the same time though, he doesn’t neglect difficult subjects. In his first book, the narrative includes a character suicide. In the second book, one of the characters experiences violence and a consequent knock of confidence as a result of the attack.

The copy I read was a chunky hardback edition, but this turned out to be a quick read regardless. I really enjoyed being back in the company of Elizabeth, Joyce, Ron and Ibrahim (a.k.a. the Thursday Murder Club). The narrative of this second book in the series was honestly slightly better than the first. I managed to read this in just a handful of days and return the book to its rightful owner with plenty of time to spare.

This was one of my top reads of the month. If you enjoy mystery books on the lighthearted, contemporary side, this is one for you!

 

Mood Reads

Pandora’s Jar

Genre: Mythology

Pages: 320

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Picador

Publication Date: 1 Oct 2020

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

 

Goodreads – Pandora’s Jar

I picked up and read Pandora’s Jar completely on a whim.

After reading Twelve Nights and suffering the injustices of women through the perspective of Magdalen, I wanted a book that almost served a bit of social justice. What drew me to Pandora’s Jar, in particular, is that the author features 10 female characters in Greek myths and explores how they are done injustice in their own stories.

One of the more interesting things I found, is that these stories weren’t written that way originally; the stories have changed over time and the roles these women play in the stories (whether made inconsequential, turned into monsters or painted to be downright evil). In Pandora’s Jar, Natalie Haynes challenges these changes and puts to right how these characters were portrayed in earlier/alternate versions of the stories.

 

Royal Assassin

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 648

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Harper Voyager

Publication Date: 27 Mar 2014

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

 

Goodreads – Royal Assassin

Next, I wanted to continue my foray into the Realm of the Elderlings, so picked up Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb.

Royal Assassin is the second book of the Farseer trilogy and I am loving these books so far! I am a big fantasy reader, with greater emphasis on those that are in series as opposed to standalone.

Needless to say, these books are right up my street. They aren’t quick reads, but I really love these books. I just managed to finish Royal Assassin on the last day of the month. Given the way the book ended, I can’t see myself reading the third book of this first trilogy very, very soon!

This was my top read of the month, although The Man Who Died Twice came a close second. This is a book for epic fantasy lovers – especially if you like to invest in a detailed world spanning multiple books.

 

A Feast of Phantoms

Book cover of A Feast of PhantomsGenre: Fantasy

Pages: 270

Audience: New Adult

Publisher: Acorn

Publication Date: 17 Mar 2020

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟

 

Goodreads – A Feast of Phantoms

I signed up to review A Feast of Phantoms via BookSirens a few months ago, and as the review deadline is coming up imminently, I decided to pick this up in July.

Also as I didn’t have my copy of The First Binding yet, it felt like a perfect opportunity to squeeze this in. I did also end up taking a brief break from reading Royal Assassin to make sure I had time to hit the review deadline.

A Feast of Phantoms is a nice short read and is an eclectic mix of genres. The book has a western/steampunk theme, with a predominant fantasy baseline with elements of supernatural. Are you still with me? It is quite a wild combination, and whilst I wasn’t sure about it at first, it won me over. When it became clear in the narrative that all is not as it seems, that was the hook.

This is a solid fantasy read if you’re looking for something on the shorter side. At 270 pages, I flew through A Feast of Phantoms. If you want to find out more, I am publishing my review on Thursday.

 

A Note on The First Binding…

I had put The First Binding on my TBR for July, as I was expecting a review copy ahead of a blog tour post on the 15th of August.

However, I only just received my copy on Friday. This is a reading priority now (for obvious reasons), but I just wanted to include this explanation in my monthly wrap-up to let you know why I haven’t picked it up this month. It’s because I couldn’t.

 

Audiobooks

I have decided to add a section to these monthly wrap-up posts for audiobooks, as it is abundantly clear that I am back into a phase of listening to these. I have been doing a lot of crafty projects lately, and whilst I don’t have a deadline for a gift anymore, I’m working on something for myself.

It’s quite a large cross-stitch project, so it’s going to take me a while. However, that means I’m going to have plenty of time to listen to more audiobooks. I set the precedence when making my friend Rachael‘s gift, so I am really into it.

Still, I’m not a quick audiobook listener. It’s The method I consume books in the least, so I’m not going to have loads of books here in any one month.

 

Northern Lights

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 399

Audience: Children/Middle Grade

Publisher: Scholastic Point

Publication Date: 23 Oct 1998

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟

 

Goodreads – Northern Lights

This month I have completed listening to Northern Lights by Philip Pullman. I’ve enjoyed the story element of it even though I’m not necessarily the target audience. I do have some gripes about the audiobook itself.

I am not a fan of the casting of this audiobook in particular. A lot of it is narrated by the author Philip Pullman himself, however, character speech is cast out to other people. Personally, I would have preferred consistency and if the author had narrated everything himself, I think it would be smoother.

I also don’t like some of the voices, especially the main character Lyra. I understand the casting in a way, but her voice is just irritating. Overall, it’s quite jarring and not as pleasant an experience as it could have been. I’m going to try and not let it deter me from listening to the rest of the series, but there is just my two pence worth.

 

That’s a wrap for my monthly wrap-up post! Did you read any great books in July? Do you have any book recommendations to share? As always, I’d love to hear from you!

 

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