Tag: mystery

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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Sunday Summary – 31st July 2022

Hello readers – welcome back to another Sunday Summary update from me. As always, I hope you’ve had a good week.

This week I have shared a couple of blog posts with you. On Tuesday, I shared a review of The Taking of Annie Thorne by CJ Tudor. This was the second book I read by this author; I enjoyed this one. As I read the book about a year ago, I felt it was time I finally committed my thoughts and shared them with you.

Later in the week, I shared a Shelf Control post. In that post, I had a look at a non-fiction true crime book that I am excited to read. The opening line of this book is intriguing, and I haven’t heard about this incident before. If you want to find out more, you can find a link to this post here.

 

Books Read

I have finished a couple of books this week.

I originally started the week by continuing my read of Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb. As of last week’s Sunday Summary update, I was approximately halfway through this book. I started to make further progress, before picking up another book that had a more immediate review deadline.

I started reading A Feast of Phantoms around midweek, and I finished this book within a few days. The review deadline for this book is coming up next week, and so I needed to finish the book in time to prepare my review.

It was a really quick interesting read. If you enjoy fantasy books in a Western setting, or elements of steampunk, this is a book you should get on with. I enjoyed this combination and the plot line was action-packed and easy to read.

After finishing A Feast of Phantoms, I returned to Royal Assassin to finish the book by the end of this month. I finished the last 32 pages of the book just now and I loved the ending! As for the resolution, I had no idea what I was expecting, but it is so cleverly written and I cannot wait to see what happens next! I already own the last book of this trilogy, so I may just be picking this up before too long.

I am rapidly becoming a huge fan of Robin Hobb. She has already built an interesting epic fantasy, and I have only read two books out of about sixteen in total. One of the things I enjoy about her writing is that she is not delicate with her characters. The ending of this book proves this!

 

Books Discovered

Given that I have added enough books to my TBR of late, I’m pleased to say that I haven’t added anything new this week.

 

Coming Up…

This week has been an interesting one in terms of preparing my blog posts in advance. I have done what I can with some posts, however, I found I was able to start them, but not finish them. At least at first.

My first post of the week will be going live on Tuesday, and that is going to be my monthly wrap-up. For obvious reasons, I’ve not been able to finish writing that post as my reading progress up to today needs to be included. A few days ago, I drafted what progress I could. Tomorrow I will finish off the post with the last updates and it will be with you on Tuesday.

Next, I started drafting my review post for A Feast of Phantoms. When I first started drafting this post, I was still reading the book. So, I ended up doing a lot of setup and left the section for my review blank. In the end, I filled this in on Friday after finishing the book, and I have scheduled the post to go live on Thursday next week.

I am sharing an additional post this week. As it is the beginning of a brand-new month, I’m going to be sharing my planned TBR. This is the one post that I haven’t drafted as yet, but I have set myself a list and I will be drafting this post tomorrow ready to be shared on Friday.

And then last, but not least, I will be back with another Sunday Summary update this time next week. You can expect all my reading updates as usual.

I hope you have enjoyed today’s Sunday Summary post. Have you been reading anything good lately? Do you have any book recommendations for me?

 

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Book Review: The Taking of Annie Thorne – C. J. Tudor

In today’s post, I am sharing my book review for The Taking of Annie Thorne by C. J. Tudor. I read this book just over a year ago, so it’s well due its five minutes of fame on my blog.

I really enjoyed The Taking of Annie Thorne. Previously, I had read and loved The Chalk Man, also by the same author. It’s for this reason that I wanted to pick this latest book up, and I’m glad I did. This time last year I wasn’t reading anywhere near as much as usual. However, I read this book a lot quicker than I had been managing other books of similar length.

I think that speaks volumes for itself, but in today’s post, I share plenty more reasons why you should read this book for yourself!

 

The Taking of Annie Thorne – C. J. Tudor

Genre: Thriller/Mystery

Pages: 346

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Penguin

Publication Date: 21 Feb 2019

Rating: *****

 

Goodreads – The Taking of Annie Thorne

One night, Annie went missing. Disappeared from her own bed. There were searches, appeals. Everyone thought the worst. And then, miraculously, after forty-eight hours, she came back. But she couldn’t, or wouldn’t, say what had happened to her. Something happened to my sister. I can’t explain what. I just know that when she came back, she wasn’t the same. She wasn’t my Annie. I didn’t want to admit, even to myself, that sometimes I was scared to death of my own little sister.

 

My Thoughts…

With any mystery or thriller, one of the greatest aspects of this kind of narrative is the characters and their backstory. The Taking of Annie Thorne is told in a dual timeline; we learn the history of the characters and what happened in the past, and we see some of those same characters back as adults. If you like this kind of idea, and in particular, if you liked the timeline in the likes of Stephen King’s book, IT, this is very similar.

Given that we are juggling two timelines interspersed within each other, the pacing of the book works really well. Nothing is revealed too early, keeping us on our toes as to what happens – in both timelines! If you are concerned that juggling both at the same time is confusing, I can assure you, I didn’t find this to be the case at all. Each is clearly set out at the beginning of the chapter as to which timeline we are in. The chapters are also not too long, so nothing too chunky happens all at once and we then forget the events of the other timeline.

I particularly liked the characters of Annie and Joe. The story is told from Joe‘s perspective. As Annie’s brother, he is close to the event when she goes missing, and in the subsequent action. I liked both of these characters for different reasons. Annie, after she comes back, is creepy. She definitely has a sinister vibe that defines this mystery novel for me, but adds elements of horror. She is characterised perfectly.

I like Joe for different reasons. He turns out to be a very complex character with very distinct character development between these two timelines. Also, I enjoyed how this was kept consistent throughout the book; at no point did his personalities or perspective merge. It made the reading of each timeline easier to follow, and was very interesting to observe how he has changed outside of the book. Joe turns out to be a character with varying shades of grey when it comes to morality. I really enjoy this element of a book. I like reading a narrative and having to consider whether whatever has happened is true, or whether the perspective is biased or not. Having Joe as a morally grey character really added to the mystery that was already here and present in the book, and I’m all for it!

As I said in my introduction above, I read this book a lot quicker than I was reading other books of a similar length. I was deliberately not taking on anything too ambitious last year, as I experienced a little bit of burnout. Yet, I managed to devour this book in a handful of days at a time when that wasn’t really the norm for me. At about 350 pages, I think this is a book that anybody could pick up at any given time. It’s not too heavy (and I don’t just mean in the literal sense) – it’s a very easy narrative to consume. It is engaging with its interesting mystery with a creepy twist, so this can appeal to a lot of readers.

As a fan of The Chalk Man, I wasn’t disappointed by The Taking of Annie Thorne. I got the narrative style and characterisation of a calibre I was expecting, with a plot twist that I couldn’t anticipate; this was one of my better reads of last year when you consider the five-star rating I gave it, and how quickly I read it!

What are your thoughts on The Taking of Annie Thorne? As always, I would love to hear from you!

 

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Sunday Summary – 24th July 2022

Good evening everyone and welcome to this week’s Sunday Summary update post. With the exception of the weekend’s washout weather, we’ve had a pretty good week here. I hope you have too?

Both of this week’s blog posts were prepared in advance for the first time in a long time. I am glad I was able to take the opportunity to get ahead, and I’ll be continuing this going forward.

This week, I scheduled a Top Ten Tuesday post as I had complete discretion over the topic. Having looked back at what has been popular on my blog in the past, I have a lot of views for posts featuring favourite book quotes, as well as my review of A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin. Naturally, I decided to combine the two topics together, and shared my top ten quotes from the Game of Thrones series (so far!)

Later this week I shared a First Lines Friday post. In this post, I decided to pick up a book that has been on my TBR for a very long time. This is to get me excited about the book because I intend to read it soon! I have owned my copy of this book since 2016 at the latest, although realistically, I purchased it earlier than that. I’ve talked about it a couple of times on my blog recently; you may be able to guess what it is if you read another Top Ten Tuesday post I shared in the last month or two.

 

Books Read

As of last week’s Sunday Summary update, I was 179 pages into The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman. This particular book was loaned to me by my sister’s boyfriend. Since they were both over visiting this week, I wanted to finish it and return his copy before they left.

I’m pleased to say that I managed to finish this book with a full day to spare! The book itself is about 425 pages long. That sounds like a lot, but the font is a lot larger than I’m used to and I flew through it!

The story is compelling as well, which made it very easy for me to read large sections at a time. Dare I say it, but I think I actually preferred The Man Who Died Twice over The Thursday Murder Club. Both are good books, but for me the sequel just pipped it. As with the first book of the series, Richard Osman manages to weave in a topic that is quite serious in nature but wrapped up in a humorous book with cracking characters. At least this one didn’t make me cry!

Next, I picked up my current read, Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb. Where The Man Who Died Twice was not too long and printed with very large text, Royal Assassin is the complete opposite. My paperback copy has over 600 pages, and the text is significantly smaller! At least there is no time pressure for me to read this book. It’s not a bad thing either because I love dense, detailed fantasy books! They are my go-to comfort read. 

Despite it’s length, I’m still doing really well with my reading progress. I only started this book mid-week, but I’m already 329 pages in, which equates to about 50% read. I’m really enjoying the story so far, and it picks up well from the first book, Assassin’s Apprentice. I only read this first book of the series very recently, so reading Royal Assassin has been easy as I’m familiar with what has gone before.

One of the main things I like about Robin Hobb’s books so far is that she’s not particularly kind to her characters. That might sound like a weird comment, but when you know the author is going to ‘protect’ the main character, it doesn’t feel realistic. Already, FitzChivalry has endured far more than a teenager should, and we know damn well that he is only at the beginning. 

I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to keep up the good pace with this book and finish this within the next few days!

 

Books Discovered

On the back of last week’s Sunday Summary post, in which I shared that I had read Pandora’s Jar by Natalie Haynes, I was recommended another book by Happy Panda.

A Thousand Ships, also written by Natalie Haynes, is a book that once again features the stories of several female characters in Greek myth affected by the Trojan war. Such stories are often dominated by the tales of heroic men, but as with Pandora’s Jar, Natalie Haynes seeks to highlight a largely unwritten perspective – that of the women.

 

Coming Up…

I’ve been keeping up with scheduling my blog posts ahead of time and I’m excited to share what I have scheduled for you next week!

On Tuesday I am sharing a book review. Just over a year ago, I finished my read of my second book by C.J. Tudor, The Taking of Annie Thorne. I really enjoyed this creepy mystery/psychological thriller/horror novel, and I think readers who are fans of these genres will too! I hope you can check out my post on Tuesday, and that my post will persuade you to pick up the book for yourself!

On Friday I will be publishing my next Shelf Control post. Having taken a look at the next book on my TBR, I share why I’m looking forward to picking up a non-fiction novel with a very sinister opening line:- 

“On the Saturday morning of January 9, 1993, while Jean Claude Romand was killing his wife and children, I was with mine in a parent-teacher meeting…”.

If the opening line to this true crime novel has drawn you in as much as it does me, check out my post on Friday and I’ll tell you all the reasons why I’m excited to read it!

That’s a wrap for this week’s Sunday Summary update. Have you got any current reads you would like to share or any recommendations for me?

 

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Sunday Summary – 17th July 2022

Hello everyone and welcome to my Sunday Summary update for this week!

Although my first blog post of the week was drafted ahead of time, there has been no rest for the wicked this week. My blog tour review of Twelve Nights by Penny Ingham went live on Monday; it was a pleasure to take part in the tour. Twelve Nights is a historical thriller/mystery novel. If that’s the kind of thing that floats your boat then I recommend you check this out.

Later in the week I took another look at my TBR and shared a Shelf Control post. In this post, I feature a sequel that has been on my list for quite some time. I even re-read the first book of the series to refresh my memory. But five years on, I still haven’t read the sequel! If you are curious to know which fantasy book I featured in this week‘s post, there’s a link above so you can go and take a look.

My blogging schedule hasn’t been quite so manic this week. However, I have been busy behind-the-scenes working towards a goal I set myself at the beginning of the year. To date, I’ve not been doing that well with it. This week, I prepared and scheduled next week’s posts. I wanted to get myself into a position where I was scheduling blog posts a week ahead of their publishing date, and I’ve got there. I bought myself a weekly planner so it’s a little bit easier for me to coordinate and organise myself! Fingers crossed I can keep it up!

 

Books Read

When I shared my Sunday Summary update with you last week, I had just finished reading Twelve Nights ahead of the blog tour. By rights, I should have moved on to my next and last ‘fixed read’ of the month, The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman.

However, I didn’t. When I was planning to take a book to bed with me on Monday night, I just really didn’t fancy going into that book just yet. I was looking for a book to counterbalance the injustice experienced by women in Twelve Nights. There was only one book on my bookshelf that would do this, and that was Pandora’s Jar by Natalie Haynes.

I made the right decision to pick this book up. It gave me everything I needed and was a really interesting non-fiction book as well. This ticks off another goal for this year – picking up more non-fiction! In case you are unfamiliar, Pandora’s Jar takes a look at women in Greek myths and in particular, focuses on those who are not done justice in their stories. This could be because they are largely ignored or overshadowed by men, are made out to be evil… or worse yet, painted as straight-up monsters.

I really enjoyed the discussions In this book. It’s very well researched and it’s a good way of diving into Greek myths, and especially how the stories have evolved over the course of time.

I started reading The Man Who Died Twice as well. I picked this book up a couple of days ago and I am already a healthy 179 pages in. Initially, the hardback copy of this book looks quite long. It’s around 425 pages in total, but I was delighted to see that the text in this copy is huge! At least, compared to Pandora’s Jar. I’m absolutely flying through this book as I’ve only picked it up on three occasions over a couple of days. It is everything I was hoping it would be based on The Thursday Murder Club and I’m glad to be back with our main characters and a whole new mystery!

I have also been back on the audiobooks this week. I originally started listening to these again as I was completing a craft project (that I couldn’t share at the time because it was a gift for a friend). Around about a month ago I was discussing how I have a hit-and-miss relationship with them. It is around this time that I received my kit to complete my friend’s gift, and I fell back into them.

Rachael’s Wedding gift

In making my friend’s gift, I have motivated myself to get back into a craft project for myself. I bought myself a cross-stitch kit a while ago, and now I am making this for myself. I’ve made some progress with it this week, and at the same time, I listened to a couple of hours of The Northern Lights by Philip Pullman. I only have about an hour and a half left, so I’m hopeful I can finish this very soon!

 

Books Discovered

I was very good last week and I didn’t add a single thing to my TBR. However, the streak hasn’t lasted.

I saw a really cute video on Instagram of a friend of the author opening a copy of The Wonderland Trials. It was a really cute video and was captioned with a message about all the hard work the author has put in, as she very nearly didn’t publish this book. This made me look into it a bit more, and it’s very different from the sort of thing I would normally read. However, I’m intrigued, so it’s on the list!

 

Coming Up…

As I said above, I have been busy this week. Normally in this section, I talk about what is going to be shared on my blog this week, being in a position where I haven’t written it yet. Not this week! I already have next week’s posts scheduled and ready to go!

The first post you will see next week will be published on Tuesday. This week is a freebie in the Top Ten Tuesday series. That meant I had full discretion on what I wanted to share. I decided to combine two popular topics on my blog – A Game of Thrones, and my favourite quotes.

Later in the week, a First Lines Friday post is scheduled for you! In this post, I feature a book I intend to read very soon. It has been on my reading list for such a long time too! I’ve already talked about this book a couple of times on my blog recently. If you’re not sure what it is or want to find out more, you can check out that post on Friday.

As always, I’ll be back at the same time next week for another Sunday Summary update. With any luck, I’ll have kept up with drafting blog posts a week in advance! I’ve already done the hard work; it should be plain sailing from here on out!

That’s all from me for this week’s Sunday Summary update. Have you been reading anything interesting this week? As always, I’d love to know what you’re reading!

 

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Blog Tour Review and GIVEAWAY: Twelve Nights – Penny Ingham

Hello everybody and welcome to today’s blog tour review of Twelve Nights by Penny Ingham. As a fan of historical fiction, I was keen to dive into this particular book! I was intrigued by the mystery alluded to in the synopsis, but I also was interested in its literary ties as it features William Shakespeare and the theatre in general. I loved performing arts in school, so the culmination of all these elements excited me!

not only am I sharing my review with you today, but for UK-based readers, there is a link below to a giveaway in which you could win a paperback copy of the book for yourself! Read on to find out more!

As always, before I jump into sharing my thoughts on the book, I like to say a massive thank you to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources, and the author Penny for providing me with a review copy. All of the opinions stated in this post are honest and my own!

 

Twelve Nights

Genre: historical-fiction

Pages: 380

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Nerthus

Publication Date: 1 Jun 2022

Rating: ***

 

The Theatre – London, 1592

When a player is murdered, suspicion falls on the wardrobe mistress, Magdalen Bisset, because everyone knows poison is a woman’s weapon. The scandal-pamphlets vilify her. The coroner is convinced of her guilt.

Magdalen is innocent, although few are willing to help her prove it. Her much-loved grandmother is too old and sick. Will Shakespeare is benignly detached, and her friend Christopher Marlowe is wholly unreliable. Only one man offers his assistance, but dare she trust him when nothing about him rings true?

With just two weeks until the inquest, Magdalen ignores anonymous threats to ‘leave it be’, and delves into the dangerous underworld of a city seething with religious and racial tension. As time runs out, she must risk everything in her search for the true killer – for all other roads lead to the gallows.

Purchase Links: –   Amazon UK     Amazon US

 

My Thoughts…

Twelve Nights brings together a lot of elements I enjoy; a mystery, an influence of literature, and the theatre. Whilst I confess that I have never had much love or understanding of William Shakespeare’s literary works (sorry, the language is just gibberish to me), I am interested in his history. I have studied a few bits and pieces in school, but I have only had a very perfunctory education about him.

From the author’s note at the end of the book, this may be in part because very little is known of him. This book gave a nice introduction to who he was as a person, professionally and personally, in an interesting fictional story. The book also touches on other interesting elements of the history of the period. Religion plays a significant role in the society protagonist Magdalen lives in, and this shines through throughout the book. I don’t have much prior knowledge of religious history, and the religious views that were prominent in the period. However, this wasn’t necessary. It was incorporated into the narrative and explained within the story. It made an interesting backdrop to an already intriguing storyline.

The setting of this book is also interesting from the perspective of Magdalen and her position in society. Frankly, women in this period are treated horribly. You are the property of your father until you are married and you are expected to have children. That is it. Even attempting to have a life of your own or support yourself earns you disapproval from men and constant accusations of lewd behaviour.

I knew this was something that I would have strong feelings about… but it was something I wanted to have strong feelings about if you know what I mean? I wanted to rage at the treatment of this poor woman, and many other women in this story, and I did. Twelve Nights has been a great eye-opener into how much times have (thankfully) changed. This story is also a gateway to understanding what it is like to be a woman in the 16th century. It is one thing to know, but quite another to experience the vitriol and harassment unjustly through the eyes of our protagonist.

I enjoyed Magdalen as a character. She is brave and perhaps a little foolhardy, but she stands up to prejudice and discrimination where she sees it and takes a stand when it counts – for herself. She has grown up a very independent woman, and she is a rarity in this society. I constantly admired her for her ability to fight against society’s expectations of her.

I enjoyed the characterisation of more than just the protagonist in this book. In particular, I think the author did very well to portray the struggles of caring for somebody with Alzheimer’s and dementia. There are a couple of characters in this book that deals with these conditions, and the representation that they are given in the book is fantastic. Having had a family member suffer from the condition, I think the portrayal was very well done.

I enjoyed the mystery that plays out across the pages of Twelve Nights. We are taken through a variety of twists and turns as Magdalen tries to get to the bottom of a murder she is accused of, but did not commit, all before her ‘inquest’ and inevitable conviction for the crime. The mystery took a turn I was not expecting, and I enjoyed this element of surprise at the 11th hour!

One small thing to add, but I recommend reading the author’s note at the end. Within that note, we learned that a lot of the characters in this book are based on real people, which I found interesting. It proves that the author really knows her stuff on the subject and has researched it thoroughly before incorporating the story into a fun fictional narrative.

 

Author Bio

I was born and raised in Yorkshire where my father inspired my love of history from an early age. He is a born story teller and would take us to the top of Iron Age hillforts, often as dusk was falling, and regale us with stirring tales of battles lost and won. Not surprisingly, I went on to study Classics at university, and still love spending my summers on archaeological digs. For me, there is nothing more thrilling than finding an artefact that has not seen the light of day for thousands of years. I find so much inspiration for my novels from archaeology.

I have had a variety of jobs over the years, including working for the British Forces newspaper in Germany, and at the BBC. When our family was little, the only available space for me to write was a small walk-in wardrobe. The children used to say, ‘oh, mum’s in the cupboard again’.

I have written four historical novels: The King’s Daughter explores the story of Aethelflaed, the Lady of the Mercians. The Saxon Wolves and the Saxon Plague are both set in fifth century AD, a time of enormous upheaval and uncertainty in Britain as the Romans departed and the Saxon era began. My latest is something a bit different. Twelve Nights is a crime thriller set in sixteenth century London, and features William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe.

I now live with my husband in the Hampshire countryside. Like many others during the pandemic, we decided to try growing our own fruit and vegetables – with mixed results! We can only get better!

 

Social Media Links –

Facebook: Penny Ingham Author Page | Facebook

Instagram: Penny Ingham (@penny.ingham)

Twitter: Penny Ingham (@pennyingham) / Twitter

Website: Penny Ingham (wordpress.com)

 

Giveaway to Win a PB copy of Twelve Nights (Open to UK Only)

*Terms and Conditions -Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/ or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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