Tag: mystery

Sunday Summary – 18th July 2021

Good evening everyone – you know what time it is! I’m back with another Sunday Summary update post and I can’t wait to share everything I’ve been up to this week! It’s been a really good one for me. You’ll know that I’ve been taking a significantly slower pace this year, however this week I have felt more like my old self.

As I was taking part in a blog tour later this week, I decided to opt for a three-post schedule and shared my first post around midweek. That was a discussion post in which I shared my opinion on blog stats… and whether they really matter. If you haven’t checked out that post I’ll be really interested to hear your thoughts!

Then, it was the time of my blog tour post on Saturday. I haven’t generally been taking part in reviews for blog tours this year, however, I have enjoyed Karl Drinkwater’s Lost Tales of Solace series to date. I had an invite for this particular book, Clarissa, a little while ago and I signed up immediately! If you’re a fan of sci-fi, or even if you would like to give the genre a try, these books are a great way to give it a go as they are approachable to everyone.

 

Books Read

I’ve made quite a lot of reading progress this week; in this respect I feel a lot more like my old self as well.

As of last week’s Sunday Summary update I have just finished reading Ruabon by Karl Drinkwater. From there I went on to pick it up yet another short story. This one was completely different to the usual type of stuff I read. It was recommended to me by the CEO of my company, who is also an avid reader. The Cockroach by Ian McEwan is a political satire regarding the subject of Brexit. It’s something we all have an opinion on and I really enjoyed reading this author’s witty take on the matter.

I’ve picked it up a couple of times casually earlier in the year, however as I hadn’t deliberately set aside the time to read it I found I just wasn’t finishing it or picking it up for a while afterwards; consequently I was having to restart. I’m glad I set aside the time this week to get through it because it was an entertaining read and it was good to get out of my comfort zone!

Next, I decided to pick up something a little bit longer. I’ve read a few short stories in quick succession and so whilst I had the reading bug, I wanted to take a step up. I scanned my bookshelves and settled on The Taking of Annie Thorne by C. J. Tudor. I previously read and loved her first book, The Chalk Man, and so I felt picking up her second novel was a safe bet to keep the momentum going.

And I was right. I managed to finish this particular book as well! It’s not the longest, at around 350 odd pages, but it’s the quickest I’ve read a book of that length for quite some time. I loved the premise and the execution of drawing out the narrative. The characters are also fantastic – honestly, this is a serious recommendation!

I’ve done reasonably well with audiobooks this week too. I had only a few hours of A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin left to listen to and I got through those quite early on this week. I love the book, but I’m glad to finally got to the end so I can listen to something different for a change. The audiobooks are around 30 odd hours each. I’m sure you can understand why I’m looking forward to a change!

Speaking of which, I’ve actually picked of started listening to my next audiobook as well. I’m now listening to A Suitable Lie by Michael J. Malone. I can’t remember off the top of my head how I discovered this particular book, but it’s a psychological thriller. From what I have listened to so far, it seems to revolve around the subject of domestic abuse. Some people may not like that, however I’m reasonably pragmatic about it. Whilst unpleasant, these things do happen and I’m not averse to reading (or hearing) about it.

 

Books Discovered

Again, I have absolutely no updates for you here. This week my TBR went down one rather than up, so it’s going in the right direction for a change!

 

Coming Up…

I’m planning on beginning the week with a Top Ten Tuesday post. This week’s theme is Books I Have Read in One Sitting (Or Would if I Had the Time). I can’t say there are many books I have read in one sitting, but there are a few – and there are plenty more that I would have done given the opportunity.

On Friday I’m taking part in another blog tour and providing another review for Karl Drinkwater. In yesterday‘s post I reviewed the third book of the series, Clarissa, and I’m continuing next week with a review of the fourth book, Ruabon. This particular book lived up to my expectations and so you can expect a glowing review! I hope you can check that post out!

Then, as always, I’ll round off the week with another Sunday Summary update!

In the meantime, however, that is all from me in today’s Sunday Summary. I hope you have a fabulous week wherever you are and I will catch you in the next one!

 

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Shelf Control #32 – 02/07/2021

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

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

I like to take this opportunity to have a look at the books on my TBR, in order, to share with you why I’m interested in them. It’s also to filter out any I no longer want to read too. A lot of the older books on my list were added a good number of years ago, so I have filtered a few out since starting the series.

This week‘s featured book has been on my TBR since July 2017 and having read the synopsis again, I really can’t wait to see if I love this book as much as I think I’m going to. It has a really unique premise and it’s unlike anything I have seen before.

Read on to find out about the book!


Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – Ransom Riggs

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Goodreads – Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of very curious photographs. It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow-impossible though it seems-they may still be alive. A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.


My Thoughts….

I really like the concept of this story. It’s unusual and unique and I’m hoping I really get on with a slightly different style of narrative. Having read some reviews, this seems to be a love it or hate it book. I for one am optimistic that I will enjoy this one and I hope to be picking it up before too long.

From the synopsis and the reviews, I’m not really sure what kind of genre this fits into. It doesn’t seem to fit too well into horror, despite what the synopsis makes you believe. But I don’t know where else it would sit. I suppose in a way that can be seen as a good thing. It’s a way of diversifying and reading something new – which I’m always keen to do.

Have you read Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children? What did you make of it if so?

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Blog Tour Promo: Preacher Boy – Gwyn GB

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s promo post for Preacher Boy by Gwyn GB. As always, it is a pleasure to be taking part in today’s tour schedule. I’d like to take the opportunity to say thank you to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources and to the author for giving me the chance to take part!

I really like the sound of Preacher Boy. Were it not for my commitment to reading pretty much all books from my TBR this year, this would definitely be on my list to review! From the synopsis, the narrative sounds intense and I really like the psychological element. I read something that sounded similarly dark last year and it became one of my top reads of the year. If you haven’t heard about the book, and want to find out more, you can do so below.

Preacher Boy: first in the Dr Harrison Lane series – Gwyn GB

Goodreads – Preacher Boy

IT’S TIME FOR A NEW CRIME MYSTERY HERO

Dr Harrison Lane is everything you wouldn’t expect from a man with a psychology doctorate. For victims, he’s everything they need.

They look, but they don’t see…

As Head of the Metropolitan Police’s Ritualistic Behavioural Crimes Unit, Dr Harrison Lane knows his Voodoo from his Aum Shinrikyo and a Satanist from a Shaman.

Harrison had an unusual childhood, raised by a bohemian mother and one of the native American Shadow Wolves – the elite tracking squad that works with US Drug enforcers. After his mother’s murder, he dedicated his life to tracking down those who hide behind spiritualism and religion to do evil.

Following the discovery of a missing boy’s body in what looks like a Satanic killing, Harrison is called in to help detectives. When a second boy is snatched, it becomes a race against time to save him and sees Harrison come face-to-face with some dark secrets from his own childhood.

Preacher Boy is the first book in a gripping new crime mystery series from Amazon Top 20 bestselling author, Gwyn GB. Perfect for fans of LJ Ross, JD Kirk, J.R. Ellis, J M Dalgliesh, Rachel Abbott, Joy Ellis and David Blake.

 

Purchase Links –   Amazon UK      Amazon US 

 

If you really like the sound of the synopsis and want to find out more, I would encourage you to check out some of the reviews that have been shared as part of this blog tour. Some of my favourites are: –

https://scintilla.info/2021/06/09/preacher-boy-gwyn-gb/

https://jessicabelmont.wordpress.com/2021/06/07/blogtour-preacher-boy-gwyn-gb-gwyngb-rararesources-gilbster1000-bookblogger-bookreview-amreading/

https://sharonbeyondthebooks.wordpress.com/2021/06/05/gwyn-g-b-preacher-boy/

Author Bio

Gwyn is an Amazon Top 20 bestselling author. She’s a former UK national TV newscaster and presenter, and journalist for national newspapers and magazines. Gwyn became a journalist because all she wanted to do was write and has finally realised her dream of being a full-time fiction author.

Born in the UK, Gwyn now lives in the Channel Islands with her family, including a rescue dog and 17-year-old goldfish.

Gwyn launched her debut novel, Islands as Gwyn Garfield-Bennett in 2016, the romantic suspense book rose quickly into the Amazon top 20. Her first crime mystery series, featuring DI Falle, launched with Lonely Hearts in 2017.

You can find out more about Gwyn at www.gwyngb.com
Or on social media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GwynGBwriter

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GwynGB

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/gwyngb

Book Review: Sleeping Giants – Sylvain Neuvel

I read Sleeping Giants in August of last year and it is a really enjoyable science-fiction novel to dive into. With an interesting storyline and characters to invest into, this book ticked a lot of my boxes. I will definitely be continuing with the series!

Today’s post is all about my thoughts on the first instalment of the series; I hope you enjoy and that you can consider picking up the book as well!

 

Sleeping Giants – Sylvain Neuvel

Goodreads – Sleeping Giants

A girl named Rose is riding her new bike near home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth. She wakes up at the bottom of a square-shaped hole, its walls glowing with intricate carvings. But the firemen who come to save her peer down upon something even stranger: a little girl in the palm of a giant metal hand.

Seventeen years later, the mystery of the bizarre artifact remains unsolved – the object’s origins, architects, and purpose unknown.

But some can never stop searching for answers.

Rose Franklin is now a highly trained physicist leading a top-secret team to crack the hand’s code. And along with her colleagues, she is being interviewed by a nameless interrogator whose power and purview are as enigmatic as the relic they seek. What’s clear is that Rose and her compatriots are on the edge of unravelling history’s most perplexing discovery-and finally figuring out what it portends for humanity. But once the pieces of the puzzle are in place, will the result be an instrument of lasting peace or a weapon of mass destruction?

 

My Thoughts…

I find myself reading more and more science-fiction. I’m really enjoying branching out into the genre, and what I like about Sleeping Giants is that it felt like a combination of science-fiction with a bit of fantasy. All in all, the book wasn’t what I expected, but that was for the better! It was a really fun book to pick up and read and I’m interested to see whether rest of the series takes it.

Sleeping Giants is narrated in the form of interviews with characters and the odd news article. It’s an unconventional style, but I enjoyed how different it was to typical novels. Each interview marks progress within a scientific project-the finding of metal body parts across the globe and humankind’s quest to understand and assemble technology far more advanced than their own.

Sleeping Giants has a diverse range of characters that are easy to get on with. I really enjoyed the dynamic between them and I don’t feel like the interview style narrative conflicted with getting to know each character. I personally found that having the one on one interaction with them and an interviewer and they’re being questioned on their relations with others helps us understand them better.

The narrative is far darker than I expected it was going to be. From the synopsis I expected quite a light-hearted science-fiction mystery novel, however I didn’t really find that to be the case at all. Although it wasn’t what I expected, I really enjoyed sleeping giant. Whilst the tone is more sinister and events in the book take at times and unpleasant turn, I think that makes the book far more interesting than I ever expected it to be! I don’t always like surprises, but sometimes they can’t be good if well written-and for me this certainly was! For that reason I think the narrative has a lot more to offer and I will definitely be continuing with the series see what happens next!

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Shelf Control #31 – 28/05/2021

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s Shelf Control post! Shelf Control is a regular feature here on Reviewsfeed; it’s 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.

I like to take this opportunity to have a look at the books on my TBR, in order, to share why I’m interested in them, but also to filter out any I no longer want to read. A lot of the older books on my list were added a good number of years ago, so I have filtered a few out since starting the series.

This week‘s featured book is a little bit different from the usual books on my TBR. It’s a contemporary and a classic with elements of crime and mystery. There is plenty there to draw me in even though it’s not typical book I would read. However, I do really like the sound of the synopsis… and this book comes recommended too.

Read on to find out about the book!

 

The Secret History – Donna Tartt

The Secret History

Goodreads – The Secret History

Under the influence of their charismatic classics professor, a group of clever, eccentric misfits at an elite New England college discover a way of thinking and living that is a world away from the humdrum existence of their contemporaries. But when they go beyond the boundaries of normal morality they slip gradually from obsession to corruption and betrayal, and at last – inexorably – into evil.

 

My Thoughts….

It isn’t often I reach for a contemporary, however I really like the sound of this. It’s also a bit of a classic and that’s another reason I want to give this a try! It is a little bit different from my typical reading choice and I hope picking it up pays off.

I did actually have a chat about this book with my boss a little while ago. We quite often have little ‘what are you reading’ chats, as he is a reader himself. It just so happens that he has picked this up himself and as he was telling me about it, I recognised it. Knowing that this book comes with his recommendation makes stepping out of my comfort zone easier. It’s a chunky size book so it’s going to be a solid read, but I can’t wait to give it a try.

 

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Blog Tour Promo: A Knot of Sparrows – Cheryl Rees-Price

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s promotional post for A Knot of Sparrows by Cheryl Rees-Price. As always, I like to start any blog tour post with a massive thank you to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources and to the author for enabling me to take part.

I love the sound of A Knot of Sparrows, however with my goal this year to read more books from my TBR, unfortunately, I couldn’t take part and it will be the book. However, it does sound fantastic and I hope it floats your boat! More details of the book can be found below, including purchase links if you fancy getting yourself a copy!

If you want to read more, here are links to my favourite reviews shared as part of the blog tour. Details of all the blogs taking part in the tour can be found at the bottom of this post. Please be sure to check out as many as you can!

https://readingtonic.home.blog/2021/05/20/thriller-thursday-blog-tour-a-knot-of-sparrows-di-winter-meadows-4-by-cheryl-rees-price-rararesources/

https://chezmaximka.blogspot.com/2021/05/a-knot-of-sparrows-by-cheryl-rees-price.html

https://gingerbookgeek.wordpress.com/2021/05/18/a-knot-of-sparrows-by-cheryl-rees-price/

And now on to the details of the book:

 

A Knot Of Sparrows – Cheryl Rees-Price

Goodreads – A Knot of Sparrows

Welsh detective Winter Meadows takes on a new murder case

There were a lot of things you could call Stacey Evans. And many of them would be true. And unprintable. But did she deserve to be murdered?

DI Winter Meadows has no doubt of the answer when he takes on the case. The crime was violent.

The victim helpless. But the motives are many, and the only clue is a strange word left on Stacey’s body.

DI Meadows struggles to pierce the secrecy surrounding the teenager’s busy love life. Was the killer one of her pursuers acting out of jealousy? Maybe someone’s wife seeking revenge?

But as each suspect is excluded from the enquiry, and other markings turn up, Meadows is convinced that something more sinister is afoot.

When another body is found, a veil of silence descends like a fog upon Gaer Fawr. What more will it take for the village to give up its secrets?

A KNOT OF SPARROWS is the fourth standalone title in a series of murder mysteries by best-selling author Cheryl Rees-Price. It will appeal to fans of David Pearson, L J Ross, John Dean, Joy Ellis, and Pippa McCathie.

The full list of books is as follows:

1. THE SILENT QUARRY

2. FROZEN MINDS

3. SUFFER THE CHILDREN

4. A KNOT OF SPARROWS

Cheryl Rees-Price is also the author of the standalone thriller BLUE HOLLOW.

All of these books are FREE with Kindle Unlimited and available in paperback from Amazon.

 

Purchase Links – Amazon UK      Amazon US

 

Author Bio

Cheryl Rees-Price was born in Cardiff and moved as a young child to a small ex-mining village on the edge of the Black Mountain range, South Wales, where she still lives with her husband, daughters and cats. After leaving school she worked as a legal clerk for several years before leaving to raise her two daughters.

Cheryl returned to education, studying philosophy, sociology, and accountancy whilst working as a part time book keeper. She now works as a finance director for a company that delivers project management and accounting services.

In her spare time Cheryl indulges in her passion for writing, the success of writing plays for local performances gave her the confidence to write her first novel. Her other hobbies include walking and gardening which free her mind to develop plots and create colourful characters.

Social Media Links –
The Book Folks | Facebook
Cheryl Rees-Price | Facebook
https://twitter.com/CherylreesPrice

Shelf Control #30 – 30/04/2021

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s Shelf Control post! I’m sorry if this post is a little brief, but I’ve spent the day at work, then done my weekly shop and come home to cut my grass before some bad weather comes in over the weekend. I first sat down at 9 o’clock this evening!

Shelf Control is a regular feature I started last year and I have got back into sharing these posts regularly again. It’s 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 linked above.

Read on to find out about today’s featured mystery novel!

 

If We Were Villains – M. L. Rio

Goodreads – If We Were Villains

Oliver Marks has just served ten years in jail – for a murder he may or may not have committed. On the day he’s released, he’s greeted by the man who put him in prison. Detective Colborne is retiring, but before he does, he wants to know what really happened a decade ago.

As one of seven young actors studying Shakespeare at an elite arts college, Oliver and his friends play the same roles onstage and off: hero, villain, tyrant, temptress, ingenue, extra. But when the casting changes, and the secondary characters usurp the stars, the plays spill dangerously over into life, and one of them is found dead. The rest face their greatest acting challenge yet: convincing the police, and themselves, that they are blameless.

 

My Thoughts….

I am a huge fan of theatre; something you have probably picked up from my blog before. If not then I’ll say it again now. As a former performing arts student (among other subjects as part of my A-levels) I have an appreciation for the art and I used to really enjoyed myself! I haven’t done it so much since I left school but I do like to go and watch. Having a book based around a set of performers is something that’s right up my street!

The one aspect that probably isn’t quite so ‘me’ is that the actors are studying Shakespeare. I really don’t get on with Shakespeare; it’s gobbledygook to me! Seriously though, does it make sense to anyone? I don’t think it will impact my enjoyment of the book though. It is obviously going to have some bearing on the narrative but I’m hopeful that this will be for the most part, minimal, and that you don’t have to understand too much about Shakespeare and his plays itself to know what’s going on! The premise of the book sounds really interesting and I can imagine the character relationships getting quite complex. We’ll have to see, but I can’t wait to pick up and find out.

I’ve almost picked this book up a couple of times, but experimentally only to see whether I’m going to get on with it or not. From what I read I’m hopeful! Have you read If We Were Villains? If so, what are your thoughts? As always, I would love to hear from you!

 

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Audiobook Review: Moon Over Soho – Ben Aaronovitch

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s audiobook review of Moon over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch. I started listening to this series last year and to date I have listened to over half of it. As you can tell, I’ve really gotten into it! If you would like to find out my thoughts on the first instalment of the series, you can find my audiobook review of Rivers of London here.

 

Moon Over Soho – Ben Aaronovitch

Goodreads – Moon Over Soho

The song. That’s what London constable and sorcerer’s apprentice Peter Grant first notices when he examines the corpse of Cyrus Wilkins, part-time jazz drummer and full-time accountant, who dropped dead of a heart attack while playing a gig at Soho’s 606 Club. The notes of the old jazz standard are rising from the body—a sure sign that something about the man’s death was not at all natural but instead supernatural.

Body and soul. They’re also what Peter will risk as he investigates a pattern of similar deaths in and around Soho. With the help of his superior officer, Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, the last registered wizard in England, and the assistance of beautiful jazz aficionado Simone Fitzwilliam, Peter will uncover a deadly magical menace—one that leads right to his own doorstep and to the squandered promise of a young jazz musician: a talented trumpet player named Richard “Lord” Grant—otherwise known as Peter’s dear old dad.

 

My Thoughts…

Rivers of London felt like it could’ve been a good standalone novel. However, Moon over Soho in my opinion, has more of a series vibe and does a good job of setting the scene for the series as a whole. In this particular book we start to see some longer plot elements coming into play and I really enjoyed how it picked up on the events from the first book.

The series is told from the perspective of rookie Detective Peter Grant. He operates in the only division of the police force that deals with the supernatural. His days on the beat are far from ordinary. Peter is a very typical young man raised in Britain and he is no stranger to English charm. He is very much in tune with the darker side of people, especially in a large city such as London. Growing up in such a setting it can only be expected that he has a typical British sense of humour and I really love that! The dry humour adds a lot to the narrative and keeps the reader engaged.

Moon over Soho has a quirky plot line and I enjoyed how Peter’s family are introduced in further detail. It adds a lot of depth to Peter’s character and I feel like we get to learn a lot more of his family dynamic than the first book. By including them, more we get to explore a brand-new set of characters as well as firm favourites from Rivers of London.

I have one pet hate about the female characters in these novels so far, as it is very clear that a lot of them are sexualised – especially young ones. Take Simone for example. Like Simone, I am a larger lady. As a larger lady, I can promise you that we would never, ever deliberately wear underwear too small for sex appeal. This book portrays it as sexy, with lumps and bumps exploding curvaceously in all the right places. You can tell she has been written by someone who has never had to wear an ill-fitting bra for a single day in his life. Women know the truth of how bras fit… or more importantly, how they don’t! Wearing bras that are too small emphasises back fat, underwires dig into your armpits and small straps can rub the skin off your shoulders, to name but a few issues they cause. That kind of pain is not something that women would deliberately choose to inflict upon themselves!

Still think this is sexy, Mr Aaronovitch? My point is it isn’t a realistic expectation of what women should look like or how they do look. In a world full of body dysmorphia I think it’s important to emphasise this. Women should absolutely not do it and frankly it’s not attractive!

Okay, rant over.

Don’t get me wrong, this hasn’t impacted how much I’ve enjoyed the book but it is becoming apparent that the author does have a penchant for sexualising female characters. I’ve gone on to listen to more of the audiobooks so clearly it isn’t a huge issue for me, but I wish that he didn’t. It hardly encourages anyone to see anything in women beyond the physical appearance, which at least is shallow and at most, well, insulting.

As this is an audiobook review it’s only fair to mention the format itself and how much I enjoyed this second audiobook being narrated by the same person. I’ve already raved about how good he is at bringing life to an already interesting character and to have the consistency in this book as well (and the rest of the series I’ve listen to to date) is very satisfying.

As with Rivers of London, the author’s love of the city shines through the narrative. I’m not one with much experience of London but I didn’t find the descriptions and geography of the city confusing. Honestly, I didn’t let myself get bogged down into it because I knew I wouldn’t have a hope of understanding it anyway! It has no impact on the enjoyment of the book and honestly, I think anyone can pick this up. You don’t have to be familiar with London in any way to be able to read and enjoy the series.

 

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Audiobook Review: Rivers of London – Ben Aaronovitch

Before I even took the plunge with listening to Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch, I had looked at the book previously and decided against reading it; it’s more of an urban fantasy as opposed to my preference of an epic fantasy. When it comes to audiobooks I am definitely more flexible on genre then I am regarding physical books. Don’t ask me why – maybe it is the different medium that makes it easier for me to listen to? I don’t know, but anyway I’m glad to say how wrong I was about passing up reading this book at first!

The fact that I went on to ‘read’ the next four books of the series in a three month period should tell you a lot! I’ve only really given it a rest so that I could enjoy listening to some different books for a change and so I haven’t caught up with the series. Then I’d be left waiting too long for the next instalment… and that just won’t do!

Would you like to find out more details about the book?

 

Rivers of London – Ben Aaronovitch

Goodreads – Rivers of London

Probationary Constable Peter Grant dreams of being a detective in London’s Metropolitan Police. Too bad his superior plans to assign him to the Case Progression Unit, where the biggest threat he’ll face is a paper cut. But Peter’s prospects change in the aftermath of a puzzling murder, when he gains exclusive information from an eyewitness who happens to be a ghost. Peter’s ability to speak with the lingering dead brings him to the attention of Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, who investigates crimes involving magic and other manifestations of the uncanny. Now, as a wave of brutal and bizarre murders engulfs the city, Peter is plunged into a world where gods and goddesses mingle with mortals and a long-dead evil is making a comeback on a rising tide of magic.

 

My Thoughts…

Not reading or listening to Rivers of London would have been a huge mistake. To try to encapsulate the book in one sentence, I would summarise it like this – the plot is interesting and easy to invest into, the characters are frankly hilarious and the narrative style of the book makes sure you never want to put it down! That’s a big sentence and full of praise but I can assure you that it is justified.

My favourite aspect of the novel has to be Peter Grant’s character. As I have said he is absolutely hilarious; I get on with his sarcastic wit – typical British humour – and his eye for detail. Through his perspective we get a lot of information and description of the city of London as Ben Aaronovitch has sculpted it. From the foundations of London as we know he has built a whole new city within London. Magic and history of the magical and mysterious who dwell the municipality are chronicled and shared in captivating detail. Those who know me know that this is a big plus for me – the more detail the better in my eyes! What’s also relevant is that the information is relevant to the story. It doesn’t feel like it’s been added as filler and given that there is a mystery element to the book you never know which parts actually becomes relevant until later so you pay attention to it all. For that reason I’m always looking at those details to try and fit them into the wider picture.

One of the other things I love about Peter Grant’s character, and the wider book in general, is that his character ticks box for multicultural inclusion… without actually making a point of being a multicultural inclusive book. Now hear me out, I know that might sound a little bit contradictory. I love that this book isn’t a typical British magical realism with white race characters dominating the scene laced throughout. I think sometimes being ‘British’ can be inadvertently stereotyped as that. However, more so than ever Britain is far more multicultural and Peter’s family history being diverse, but not heavily made a point of makes our character feel far more relevant in the modern world. I love that it doesn’t scream its inclusion of multiple ethnic groups from the rooftops as if it’s a huge thing – because while to an extent it is, the fact is it shouldn’t be! It’s perfectly commonplace. I personally think Ben Aaronovitch got the tone just right with this one. Are some of the characters stereotypical in their writing? Undoubtedly. Other people may disagree with me, but I enjoyed how they are written into the book.

As this is an audiobook review it’s only fair to also comment on the narration. Kobna Holdbrook-Smith narrates rivers of London (and the rest of the series I have listened to to date – again a big plus in my opinion) and I think he does an excellent job of bringing the character of Peter Grant to life and telling the story through his eyes. As a character I think Peter is quite expressive and Kobna does a very good job of portraying this. I don’t know how to put it into words other than to say that he doesn’t just read what’s in front of him. In my days of studying performing arts we would call it ‘getting into the character’… and Kobna has definitely done this!

Last, but certainly not least, it is clear from the narrative and events from the book that the author has a detailed knowledge of London and a vivid imagination in building the events of the book into the city. It isn’t so much that the setting of the events is a coincidence; London is built into the heart and soul of the story – it just wouldn’t be the same anywhere else! That definitely shows. No landmark is too big and no sidestreet too small to have escaped the notice of Ben Aaronovitch; each winding alley has its history carved into the book. I am not going to pretend that I know London well – truth is I’ve only visited briefly twice. That being said, it didn’t impact my enjoyment of the book at all. I don’t think it matters if you know the geography of the city because ultimately that’s not the point. It’s how this comes together with the story of Rivers of London to create a fun, quirky urban fantasy novel that paves the way for a fantastic series! Does it help? Quite possibly, but equally it doesn’t matter if you don’t.

 

So perhaps now you see why I binged the next four books of the series within three months after listening to Rivers of London. If you haven’t read it yet, or question whether it might be your cup of tea I ask you to throw your misconceptions out the window. I am certainly glad I did!

 

 

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Audiobook Review: Head On – John Scalzi

Today’s audiobook review of Head On by John Scalzi has been on the list for review for some time. I listened to the audiobook just less than a year ago as of writing this review. I listened to this second instalment of the Lock In series having loved the first book.

 

Head On – John Scalzi

Head On (Lock In, #2) by John Scalzi | Goodreads

John Scalzi returns with Head On, the standalone follow-up to the New York Times bestselling and critically acclaimed Lock In. Chilling near-future SF with the thrills of a gritty cop procedural, Head On brings Scalzi’s trademark snappy dialogue and technological speculation to the future world of sports.

Hilketa is a frenetic and violent pastime where players attack each other with swords and hammers. The main goal of the game: obtain your opponent’s head and carry it through the goalposts. With flesh and bone bodies, a sport like this would be impossible. But all the players are “threeps,” robot-like bodies controlled by people with Haden’s Syndrome, so anything goes. No one gets hurt, but the brutality is real and the crowds love it.

Until a star athlete drops dead on the playing field.

Is it an accident or murder? FBI Agents and Haden-related crime investigators, Chris Shane and Leslie Vann, are called in to uncover the truth―and in doing so travel to the darker side of the fast-growing sport of Hilketa, where fortunes are made or lost, and where players and owners do whatever it takes to win, on and off the field.

 

My Thoughts…

I was taken with the idea of Hilketa immediately. In what other world could a sport be made out of attacking robots, or threeps controlled by humans? To recap from the first book, the people controlling the threeps are those with Haden’s Syndrome, a severe medical condition where people are ‘locked in’ to their bodies. They are fully aware but have no control of their bodies at all. It only affected a small number of those who contracted the contagious virus (1%), but for them, it had devastating consequences. The development of the technology to allow them a semblance of a real-life via threeps was a long time coming afterwards.

Agent Shane also has Haden’s and growing up he was a poster child for the technology. Now he is a detective investigating any crimes with a Haden link. He and Leslie Vann have their work cut out for them in this latest case.

I went into Head On with high expectations. Lock In was the first book I had read/listened to by John Scalzi and honestly, I wasn’t disappointed! The book followed on nicely from Lock In and the narrative was easy to follow. I daresay that you could even listen to Head On independently; reminders as to certain aspects of Haden’s and events in the first book of the series are re-capped. Obviously, reading Lock In first is an advantage as the events of the first book are alluded to, but equally, I wouldn’t say it was essential either.

The dynamic between Agent’s Shane and Vann is just as good as in the previous book. Chris Shane is a witty character and I enjoyed his perspective on events in the book. Despite his privileged background, his understanding of society, human nature and how the world works makes him a great detective. Agent Vann is her usual blunt, abrasive self. If there was a character I had to name who hates people the most, she would be top of the list! She’s so to-the-point with her bluntness that it’s hilarious!

The depth and detail that has gone into the planning of each book is both brilliant and unnerving all at once. When I reviewed Lock In back in 2019 I said that the virus was so well-developed in its history and the impact it had on the world as a whole and that it could easily be real. In 2021, that’s not a thought any of us will want to particularly entertain, but I stand by what I said!

 

 

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