Hello everyone! I’m glad to be back with you for another Sunday Summary update. I hope you’ve had a great week wherever you are? I have certainly enjoyed this one – Monday was a local bank holiday here on the Isle of Man and so I got to enjoy an extra-long weekend! Not only that, but I’ve been enjoying spending my time on some fun reading and projects as well.
This week’s blogging schedule was a little busier than of late. My typical schedule is three posts a week, however, this Sunday Summary update is my fourth post of the week. I started on Tuesday with a Top Ten Tuesday post, sharing the reasons why I love reading. Honestly, I could’ve gone on forever. But, to keep it concise, I managed to categorise it down to ten; if you haven’t checked out that post already please do!
Later in the week, I shared my Monthly Wrap Up for June. When I shared my 2021 Half Year Review post last week it hadn’t occurred to me that it would make sense to post a June wrap up first. Never mind – it is what it is!
Then, on Friday, I shared another First Lines Friday post. This week’s book selection was very random but I think I got lucky as the intro is very interesting, and will appeal to fans of mystery novels.
After my last Sunday Summary update, I went on to read the rest of Clarissa by Karl Drinkwater. As of last week’s post I was just over halfway through the book; I finished this last Sunday night after my post went live.
I have just finished reading Ruabon by Karl Drinkwater. I will admit that I only just started reading this short story this morning. However, it was really interesting to read and I’ve managed to read it all today with ease and I loved it! I’m taking part in blog tours for both Clarissa and Ruabon, coming up in the next week or so, and I really can’t wait to share my thoughts with you about them!
I’ve also listened to a few hours of A Clash of Kings this week. As of this post I have 2 hours and 46 minutes left to go. I was hoping to get this finished this week, however I didn’t (although I still have listened to a good chunk so I can’t complain). I am reasonably sure that I will get this finished next week though! It will feel good to finally get to the end.
Since last week, I have absolutely no updates for you here!
Given that I’m going to be sharing a book review later in the week, I think it will be fun to have a more light-hearted discussion post mid-week. Having considered a variety of different topics, I think it would be fun to talk about my approach to blogging, and my opinion on blog stats. I want to do this topic because it relates to a conversation I’ve had with my mum and dad very recently. I’m sure it’s something everybody has an opinion and I would very much like to hear what your take is!
On Saturday, I am taking part in the blog tour for Clarissa by Karl Drinkwater, sharing my review of this short story. I really enjoyed this one, as I have with the rest of the series I’ve read to date. I really hope you can check out that post!
Then, as always, I’ll round off the week with another Sunday Summary update!
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.
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.
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.
Hello everyone and welcome to today’s Shelf Control post! As you may recall, this is a regular feature series I started last year and I am looking to get back into sharing these posts regularly again. That said, I was meant to post this last Friday but due to finishing up work late for a week off, I decided to postpone.My emphasis with this post is to clear some of the old books on my TBR pile; by doing so I am making sure the books on my list are still ones I am interested in andI can get excited about reading them soon!
Shelf Control is a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies. It’s a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read 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!
For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out Lisa’s introductory post.
This week‘s featured book is a science-fiction themed young adult novel. On the whole, I don’t read much in the YA genre, however, I like the sound of this one. It also has a bit of a dystopian type theme which I am a huge fan of. That might sound odd given that the premise of the novel is about habitation on Mars – typically viewed as a futuristic theme. I’m interested to see how it works out anyway!
“I live for the dream that my children will be born free,” she says. “That they will be what they like. That they will own the land their father gave them.”
“I live for you,” I say sadly.
Eo kisses my cheek. “Then you must live for more.”
Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations.
Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children.
But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity already reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet. Darrow—and Reds like him—are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class.
Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the legendary Institute, a proving ground for the dominant Gold caste, where the next generation of humanity’s overlords struggle for power. He will be forced to compete for his life and the very future of civilization against the best and most brutal of Society’s ruling class. There, he will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies… even if it means he has to become one of them to do so.
I don’t always take note of a book’s rating on Goodreads, but with this one I certainly did and it makes me excited! This book has over 268,000 ratings on Goodreads and an overall average of 4.24 stars out of 5. That’s amazing!
Pierce Brown is a new author for me. This will be my first book of his; given my interest in the synopsis and the high rating it has from other readers I can honestly say that I don’t think I’ll regret picking this up!
Aside from the sci-fi futuristic vibe, I’m also really interested to see how the class system is employed and what impact it has on the novel. It’s blatantly the driving force behind the events of the book but I’d like to see how it is portrayed and how it compares to the kind of society we know. I just hope it doesn’t try to hammering too hard the different roles in society – I have actually stopped reading books in the past that focussed on this so much that it was impossible to invest into the characters! I doubt it though!
That’s all in today’s Shelf Control post. Have you read Red Rising? If so, what are your thoughts? As always, I would love to hear from you!
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?
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.
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!
Today’s Top Ten Tuesday post is all about my Spring 2021 TBR.
If I’d have been writing this post this time last year, I would’ve been picking the ten books that I absolutely would be reading during spring. However, now I have changed to a more relaxed approach, today’s list is my top ten books that I will be choosing from rather than just reading the lot. It could well be subject to change. If there’s one thing I am enjoying this year it’s having the freedom to choose what I read when I want rather than setting rigid reading lists that I didn’t always stick to.
So, which ten books on likely to appear on my Spring 2021 TBR? Read on below to find out!
The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
Easter is around the corner and the daffodils are out in force, despite the cold weather persisting. So, I suppose I should count now as spring and in that vein, I am featuring my current read on this list. I’m about halfway through The Book Thief right now and I’m really enjoying it so I hope to have it finished soon!
Fire and Blood – George R. R. Martin
Fire and Blood is also a current read. I’m a couple of hundred pages in at the moment and I’m intending on picking this up again as soon as I have finished The Book Thief. It’s a heavy read in case you haven’t seen it before. If you have you’ll know it weighs in at about 700 odd pages. It’s a big one but you know me – I love the realm of Westeros and all the history that goes with the Game of Thrones series.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – J. K Rowling
I’ve read the first couple of Harry Potter books this year to date. If you follow my blog you’ll know that I committed to doing a re-read of the series this year! The first couple of books have been really easy to pick up and get back into the story from the start. I haven’t read these books since I was a teenager so going back to them is truly a blast from the past. I’m keen to keep up the momentum with this and so I’m fully intending on reading this next instalment very shortly!
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – J. K. Rowling
And following on from my last book on this list, depending on how quickly I get around to reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, I may just get around to reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire before the summer. Maybe, we’ll see.
A Clash of Kings – George R. R. Martin
Similar to my featuring The Book Thief and Fire and Blood, it’s only fair that I feature my current audiobook as well. I really love the Game of Thrones series (as I’m sure I have established by now) and so I have been listening to this audiobook as a way to touch base with the series. This is also a long one and so I don’t really expect to get this listen to too much. I don’t want to commit to it just in case I don’t!
The Psychology Book
This book is one I have picked up previously and made a degree of progress with, however, I ultimately ended up putting it down and I haven’t read it in its entirety. It has been on my TBR for a number of years now and so I want to set aside the time to pick this up. As a former psychology student, I do find the content quite interesting and I like the diversity within this book!
Dune – Frank Herbert
I was gifted a copy of Dune years ago for my birthday by work colleagues and I think it’s about time that I get around to giving it a go! I love the sound of the premise and given that I’ve been reading more science fiction in recent years, I’m hoping that I really get on with this one. Only time and picking up the book itself will tell, but I’m optimistic.
Silverthorn – Raymond E. Feist
I first read Magician, the first book of the series, as a teenager. A couple of years ago I revisited this first book in an attempt to make a more serious go off reading the series. As with my first attempt, however, I didn’t really follow through and pick up this next book. I do plan on doing the shortly though, although I won’t be picking up the first book a third time – at worst I will have to try and recap the events of the first book online.
Words of Radiance – Brandon Sanderson
I am a huge fan of Brandon Sanderson and a reading list wouldn’t feel right without a book of his on it somewhere. I read The Way of Kings, the first book of this series (that is ultimately going to be around ten books long), a couple of years ago. Since then I have been deliberately putting off delving into this series further, despite the fact I really want to do having loved the first book. Brandon Sanderson has only published four of the ten at the moment I don’t want to be disappointed by catching up and having to wait for the last few to be published. As it stands book five scheduled for publication in two and a half years time! With that in mind, I think I have left at a decent time to be able to pick up the next book and halve another break before the next; it gives him a chance to keep writing the series so I don’t catch up before he finishes it!
If We Were Villains – M. L. Rio
I’ve owned a copy of this book for quite a few years now and it’s one of the older books on my TBR. So, this is another book that I intend to read shortly. Realistically, being at this end of the list, it is more likely being a summer read. That’s not the end of the world though, as it’s quite a nice manageable length it could make for quite an easy light read! Maybe in the garden – although thoughts like that whilst it’s a tropical 8°C currently feels a little optimistic…
So, these are my top ten books I’ll likely be choosing from for my Spring 2021 TBR! Have you read any of these? Let me know in the comments.
Hey guys and welcome to today’s Top Ten Tuesday post! Today’s topic is Books I Meant to Read In 2020 but Didn’t Get To… and if that doesn’t sum up 2020 for me then I don’t know what does! I made ambitious plans last January, ignorant of how the year was going to pan out for me. I’ve already talked about the reasons a lot, but ultimately I didn’t meet any of my goals.
The most important goal in relation to today’s post was my aim to read the 25 oldest books on my TBR. I made a noble attempt and managed to read 7 in full, but I also DNF’d 3. A lot of these were old additions to the TBR… we’re talking 2014/2015 when I first started using Goodreads. That’s why I wanted to get around to them, but also to see if my reading taste has changed. If anything, I think I’m a lot more open to different genres when I was then. Some of the books added were pushing the boat out on what I normally read so I’m happy to accept some of the DNF’s. Others had every right to be firm favourites but just didn’t work for me at all (Good Omens by Terry Pratchett – I’m looking at you!)
So, as you can see I have plenty of material for the Top Ten I didn’t get around to! I also wanted to write this post about it as my new goal for this year is to pick up where I left off and read more exclusively from the TBR… no ARCs, no new review requests etc. So, which ones am I looking forward to the most? Let’s get into it! Rather than a paragraph for each book, I’ve split my ten into genres groups that I’ll talk more generally about.
It’s hardly surprising that a number of books on this list are from the fantasy genre. As a teenager, it was pretty much all I read. These books are all by authors I love. I have already read at least three books by each and I’m confident that I’m going to really enjoy the books listed above. Brandon Sanderson and Stephen King I have read more recently. It has been a number of years since I read a book by Mark Lawrence, so I’m excited to get stuck in!
I think it’s funny that I am coming to this Stephen King novel now having read several of his other books in different genres. I’m pretty sure I added The Talisman with the intention of using it as a ‘step into’ trying his writing before exploring his more extensive horror genre books! Look how that worked out!
Science-fiction is another genre that pops up again and again. I didn’t read a lot of it when I was younger, but I definitely have a healthier appreciation for it now. I added Dune to my TBR after being gifted a copy for my birthday a few years ago. I’m glad it was given to me as I really like the sound of it. I have had an experimental skeet at the first few pages before and I’m hopeful I’ll be enjoying this one too.
The Feedback Loop is quite short compared to my average read, but still, I love the sound of the plot. It will be the first thing I have read by this author too, so it’ll be a completely new experience for me.
If someone had told me ten years ago that one day I would be reading classics by choice, I’d have laughed at you. If you also told me that I’d re-read and come to enjoy the classic novels I hated studying for school, I wouldn’t believe you. And yet, I am reading them. For the most part, I am enjoying them. I’ve only DNF’d one so far and that’s The Catcher in the Rye. I’m not put off by this though and I’m looking forward to trying more classics!
I love historical fiction novels too, so their inclusion on this list shouldn’t be a surprise either! The two locations and time periods for each book’s setting are very different, but I have read similar books before that I’ve really enjoyed them. The Book Thief is set in Nazi Germany in WW2 and Hild in 7th century Britain.
WW2 is one of my favourite historical time periods to read about. You could call it a bit of morbid fascination given the atrocities real people lived through in these times. It’s horrible to think about but equally, I think novels set in this period have a lot to tell us. It’s a reminder not to make the same mistakes again.
So, those are my Top Ten Books I Meant to Read In 2020 but Didn’t Get To. Have you read any of them, or do you intend to in 2021?
Hi guys and welcome to today’s promo post for When The Children Come by Barry Kirwan. You may recall I read another book from this author, The Dead Tell Lies, (under the alternative pen name of J F Kirwan), last year and I loved it! It’s for that reason that I knew I wanted to feature him back on the blog again and share the details of his new book in the hopes that you are interested in picking this book up. At around 300 pages, this is a pretty approachable length for anyone no matter how often you pick up a book normally.
As always, thank you to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the tour! Be sure to check out the posts also being shared by my fellow bloggers in the days to come. Details of those participating in the tour can be found at the end of the post.
And now, here are the details for When the Children Come!
Nathan, emotionally scarred after three tours in Afghanistan, lives alone in Manhattan until New Year’s Eve, when he meets Lara. The next morning, he notices something strange is going on – a terrified kid is being pursued by his father, and a girl, Sally, pleads with Nathan to hide her from her parents. There is no internet, no television, no phone coverage.
Nathan, Lara and Sally flee along the East Coast, encountering madmen, terrorists, the armed forces, and other children frightened for their lives. The only thing Nathan knows for sure is that he must not fall asleep…
“A fantastic and original premise…flashes of Stephen King and MR Carey.” Tom Witcomb
“A nicely taut thriller, with a Lee Child feel to its staccato writing and strong action sequences, and a high concept stretching the novel into true science fiction territory.” Amanda Rutter
“Not just a page-turner – all in all a fabulous novel, which I was sad to finish.” Loulou Brown
I was born in Farnborough and grew up watching the Red Arrow jet fighters paint the sky at airshows. I didn’t get into writing until years later when I arrived in Paris, where I penned The Eden Paradox series (four books) over a period of ten years. My SF influences were Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Frank Herbert, and Orson Scott Card, but also David Brin who writes about smart aliens. Iain Banks and Alistair Reynolds remain major influences, as well as Neal Asher, Peter F Hamilton and Jack McDevitt.
My main SF premise is that if we do ever meet aliens, they’ll probably be far more intelligent than we are, and with very different values and ideas of how the galaxy works. As a psychologist by training, that interests me in terms of how to think outside our own (human) frame of reference.
When I’m not writing, I’m either working (my day job), which is preventing mid-air collisions, reading, or doing yoga or tai chi. When I’m on holiday I’m usually diving, looking for sharks. Most times I find them, or rather, they find me.
Hi guys and welcome to today’s blog tour post! Today I have the privilege of sharing an exclusive extract of Chroma by Oscar Wenman-Hyde with you. I really liked the sound of the book but unfortunately didn’t have the time to read and review the book myself. Instead, I am sharing a small snippet of the book with you, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I have!
If you want to read more after the extract, I’ll provide the details of the book for you.
The following extract is from Chapter One of Chroma. Before the chapter, the book starts with three opening monologues on the Roberts family, Jean, Paul and Riley. Chapter One is the first time you get to meet Riley’s best friend Eli, and he tells you just as much about Riley as he does himself. These moments were heavily influenced by my childhood shenanigans, especially the description of the school and the low hung back packs!
Riley stands in the entrance of Lydean Junior School with his best friend Eli. They are both wearing the cutest rocket designed backpacks, with the shoulder straps lowered all the way down so that the bag hangs at the back of their knees. They still think this is how the cool kids do it, but if you take a good look around the playground, this phase seems to have worn off. Maybe their parents finally told them off for bad posture. Sadly, Riley and Eli didn’t get the memo and continue to rock the look like it’s two thousand and fifteen.
Riley’s mother Jean has just dropped him off and due to the rural nature of Lydean, it is not unusual to drop off an eight-year-old before the bell rings. In this town, everyone knows each other and looks out for one another.
The school itself has been built inside an old chapel, originally by the name of Christ Church in the eighteen hundreds. It has brick walls, moss growing around the edges, and a large dungeon looking wooden door which the children enter through. There are several teachers and playground assistants patrolling the playground, as dozens of kids already start to use their energy on football, tag, and for the girls, a gossip, they’re never too young! But Riley and Eli are different from the other children, they stand alone, just the two of them, whilst the other children all mingle with much larger friendship groups.
These two are clearly the outcasts and prefer to stand by the entrance of the school. They aren’t eager to go in, but they know that if anyone tries to pick on them or make fun of Eli’s weight, like they so often do, then most likely, a teacher will see it and give that so-called child a detention.
A detention in junior school doesn’t necessarily mean anything, because all they miss is five minutes of lunch time, but for a child that’s an eternity, because the other children have already adapted the hierarchy and decided who will be tag first. If a child misses even five minutes, then how do they know who to run from? They don’t. They’d be walking onto the playground, tiptoeing out onto the gravel as if they were coming out onto the German frontline, which is an even scarier thought for year fours who have just started learning about world war two.
For some children, this instils a sense of bravery, the ones that thrive in this situation are the ones most likely to go into a life of fighting, whether that be the military, pro-wrestling or just a back-alley brawl, after they’ve got hammered down the pub.
Eli and Riley want none of it, they just want to be left alone and live freely without the aspect of war and junior school politics, they don’t even want girlfriends, girls are gross! The two of them just want to nerd out on movies, tell each other stories, and eventually, without even meaning to, grow up without any damage. A difficult path to go down with the brutality of school.
Eli is a very unique person, and even though he acts like a movie buff try hard in front of Riley, he hasn’t seen half the movies Riley has because his mother isn’t as willing to bend the rules of cinema certificates, and we can’t blame her, a movie is an eighteen for a reason and Eli is only seven. However, that doesn’t stop him from further fuelling Riley. The thought of someone that knows much more than him is exhilarating, because every day is a surprise, and without even watching a zombie film, he already knows all the ways to kill one. The easy option is to stab it straight in the head, or if you want a bit of fun, you chop off all its limbs and then do it, but that would take skill and bravery, a job more suited to Riley.
However, much like Riley, none of these images or thoughts change Eli, he knows it’s all just part of his best friends’ imagination. Plus, if the apocalypse that Riley always goes on about does happen, Eli is sure he’ll be safe because he’ll have the most experienced and knowledgeable best friend in Lydean to look after him.
Eli’s mother Cecilia isn’t as keen on the Roberts family, but there’s not much she can do about it. Similar to Riley, Eli has no other friends. He is constantly being bullied for his weight, that his mother seemingly keeps encouraging with fish finger or turkey dinosaur dinners, with cheesy chips and beans. In her eyes, that is the perfect meal for a child, and Eli agrees, you can’t get much better than turkey dinosaurs!
But the real reason is that she just can’t cook, she’s tried again and again but always ends up coming back to the effort lacking, frozen food option, and anyway, if it makes Eli happy and fuels his appetite then it can’t be that bad.
One of the reasons why his mother Cecilia lets him continue to hang out with Riley, and let him be influenced by his madness, is because she knows how alone Eli has been since his father left their house a couple of years ago. She knows she can’t get him through it alone, and she believes that it is important for Eli to have a strong male figure in his life, even if that is an eight-year-old boy. Also, with the current circumstances of Riley’s family, she knows that Riley needs Eli just as much. Two boys with big imaginations need a big level of distraction from all the sadness they feel inside, and luckily for them, two brains are better than one.
When Riley watched Chroma, the latest movie by Armani Manora, he had no idea how much his life was about to change. Riley’s parents, Jean and Paul, are currently getting divorced, and they have managed to keep the situation hidden from Riley, until now.
They were unaware of the effects this was having on Riley’s emotional and mental well-being, and as tensions rose at school and at home, he was visited by a voice in his bedroom. Before too long, he began a journey that was not only dangerous, but eye opening.
Chroma explores the rapidly changing family dynamic throughout divorce, and how a child’s imagination can take them to unknown places. It is emotional, insightful and a moving story which not only teaches us how to be an adult, but how to be a child.
Oscar Wenman-Hyde is a writer living in Gloucester, UK. Born and raised in the quiet towns of North Devon, Oscar would spend the majority of his time as a child writing and directing short films with his brother and neighbours. From here, Oscar’s passion led him to explore all aspects of his creativity, by graduating with a BA Hons in Songwriting at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute. He now finds joy in all mediums of writing and although he has worked and trained in many areas, he is always inspired by film and remains grounded in storytelling.
Hi guys! Today I’m sharing my last reading list of 2020. Literally, where has this year gone? In some respects it isn’t a bad thing… but still. It doesn’t feel like Christmas should be just a few weeks away.
You may have noticed that my reading pace has dropped off the last few months. I’m not reading as much as I need to for a variety of reasons. I started the year planning to move, which I did in May. Since then, I’ve been putting in the work on the new place to redecorate, fix up and make it my own. In amongst all this, I’ve been studying for work-sponsored exams too. That in itself is quite a bit to juggle, but my blogging on top of that too? It’s a handful.
That’s why my reading and blogging has had to slow down a bit. I was getting a bit burned out with it, but I didn’t want to give it up. I still really enjoy reading and putting in the time to sharing my thoughts with you all, but I’ve had to find a more sustainable pace. Up until this month, I have been pretty ambitious in setting my reading lists and just carrying over what I don’t read. This month, that changes. I’ve come to accept that I am now reading less than I was… and that it’s okay. Maybe that will change again in future, and maybe not. It just depends on what else I’m doing.
This month’s list has a couple of carryovers from last month, plus one seasonal addition. Have you read any of these books?
The silicon revolution left Dremmler behind, but a good detective is never obsolete.
London is quiet in 2039—thanks to the machines. People stay indoors, communicating through high-tech glasses and gorging on simulated reality while 3D printers and scuttling robots cater to their every whim. Mammoth corporations wage war for dominance in a world where human augmentation blurs the line between flesh and steel.
And at the center of it all lurks The Imagination Machine: the hyper-advanced, omnipresent AI that drives our cars, flies our planes, cooks our food, and plans our lives. Servile, patient, tireless … TIM has everything humanity requires. Everything except a soul.
Through this silicon jungle prowls Carl Dremmler, police detective—one of the few professions better suited to meat than machine. His latest case: a grisly murder seemingly perpetrated by the victim’s boyfriend. Dremmler’s boss wants a quick end to the case, but the tech-wary detective can’t help but believe the accused’s bizarre story: that his robotic arm committed the heinous crime, not him. An advanced prosthetic, controlled by a chip in his skull.
A chip controlled by TIM.
Dremmler smells blood: the seeds of a conspiracy that could burn London to ash unless he exposes the truth. His investigation pits him against desperate criminals, scheming businesswomen, deadly automatons—and the nightmares of his own past. And when Dremmler finds himself questioning even TIM’s inscrutable motives, he’s forced to stare into the blank soul of the machine.
Auxiliary is gripping, unpredictable, and bleakly atmospheric—ideal for fans of cyberpunk classics like the Blade Runner movies, Richard K. Morgan’s Altered Carbon, William Gibson’s Neuromancer, and the Netflix original series Black Mirror.
I’m already a few chapters into Auxiliary and I can tell it’s a read I’m going to get on well with. I like the premise of the book and the narrative style is easy to read. The chapters are also nice and short so it’s easy to pick up. If you enjoy mystery and science-fiction genres, this might be one for you!
Brave New World is a dystopian novel by English author Aldous Huxley, written in 1931 and published in 1932. Largely set in a futuristic World State, inhabited by genetically modified citizens and an intelligence-based social hierarchy, the novel anticipates huge scientific advancements in reproductive technology, sleep-learning, psychological manipulation and classical conditioning that are combined to make a dystopian society which is challenged by only a single individual: the story’s protagonist.
Brave New World has been on my TBR for a number of years, and after watching the TV series recently, I decided it was the right time to pick the book up! I didn’t get around to reading Brave New World last month, so I will be reading the book this month instead.
Twas The Nightshift Before Christmas is the hilarious, poignant and entertaining story of the life of a junior doctor at the most challenging time of the year. With twenty-five tales of intriguing, shocking and incredible Christmas incidents, the British public will finally appreciate the sacrifices made and the challenges faced by the unsung heroes of the NHS.
Twas The Nightshift Before Christmas will be fully illustrated (as tastefully as possible) and will delight all of Adam’s fans throughout the festive period of Christmas 2019 and for many years to come.
I was introduced to Adam Kay earlier this year with This Is Going To Hurt by a colleague. The book was both heartbreaking and hilarious at the same time. I found out around the time I read it that there was a Christmas themed book also by him, so I have been planning on reading this book in December since then! If it’s every bit as good as This Is Going to Hurt, which I expect it will be, then this will be a great read to end the year.
So, that’s my reading list for the month! Have you read any of these books? What did you make of them if you have, or do you like the sound of them if you haven’t? Let me know in the comments!
Hello everyone and thank you for checking out my reading list post for October. I don’t know about you but I’m really starting to notice the nights are drawing in faster. I actually enjoy this time in autumn. It’s still light when I leave work, but by the time I’ve eaten and gotten cosy for the evening with a cup of tea, it’s dark. It makes you feel justified curling up with a good book!
Speaking of which, would you like to find out what I’m reading this month? I haven’t made an ambitious list this month. I’ll freely admit I lost a bit of steam last month and didn’t read half as much as I planned at the beginning in my reading list. Ultimately, reading is a hobby. I’m not going to force myself to read if I really don’t want to, and I didn’t.
This month I have a little less flexibility. Almost all of the books listed are books I’ve signed up to the blog tours for. The last two are actually touring in November, but very early in November. Let’s find out what they are!
Life is dangerous. No one survives it. Enora Andressen makes a series of mind-blowing discoveries when her friend disappears in this compelling thriller set in an idyllic Devon town.
Actress Enora Andressen is catching up with her ex-neighbour, Evelyn Warlock, who’s recently retired to the comely East Devon seaside town of Budleigh Salterton. The peace, the friendship of strangers and the town’s prestigious literary festival . . . Evelyn loves them all.
Until the September evening when her French neighbour, Christianne Beaucarne, disappears. Enora has met this woman. The two of them have bonded. But what Enora discovers over the anguished months to come will put sleepy Budleigh Salterton on the front page of every newspaper in the land . . .
Limelight is a completely gripping and fascinating thriller featuring strong characters forced to make impossible decisions, the impact of which will be felt far beyond their quiet town… Perfect for fans of JOHN HARVEY and PETER ROBINSON.
What readers are saying about the Enora Andressen series:
“A first rate mystery with an exciting premise” Booklist on Off Script “Excellent characterization and plotting . . . I read it in a couple of days and loved it” NetGalley reviewer, 5 stars for Off Script “A very strong series debut . . . An intriguing start to a promising new series” Booklist on Curtain Call
I love a good thriller, and this is perhaps the best time of year to curl up and read one! Coming from a reasonably small place myself, I think I’ll be able to relate to the atmosphere and sleepiness that is the setting of the book. Although it is the fourth book in a series, I get the impression that it’s pretty standalone and therefore won’t matter that I haven’t read the previous books. At least, I’m hoping so.
I’m looking forward to checking out this thriller. From what I have read, it’s quite an atmospheric and slow build mystery so I’m expecting a lot of world-building, which I love.
Parasite? The Secret Diary of a Landlord – The Secret Landlord
Get ready to learn what really happens behind closed doors.
Landlords have become one of the most hated groups in society. Parasites, they’re often called. And there’s a lot of them. The Treasury estimates there are almost 2.6 million landlords in the UK with around 5.45 million rental properties.
But the real life of a professional landlord is very different to what most people think. From burglaries and break-ins to drug raids, police warrants, crazy tenant antics, bailiffs, squatters, lawsuits, wrecked properties, interfering council officers, game-playing freeholders to moments of heartfelt joy and happiness, the life of a landlord is never dull. Especially when the government keeps moving the goalposts.
This explosive front line exposé blows the lid off what it’s really like to be a landlord and the shocking reality of renting out a property. Hovering close to a nervous breakdown and likely suffering PTSD, The Secret Landlord exposes truths rarely shared. Stories that will grip you, move you and smack you in the face.
This is the truth, the other side of the door.
I don’t read much non-fiction, but when I was approached by Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources about a potential tour for this book I was intrigued immediately. I’m glad the author decided to go ahead and schedule it, because now I get to read the book!
I want to read this book to get a different perspective on landlords. I suppose I have dealt with a couple in my time and I’m not going to lie, I didn’t have the best experience with them at all. It’s not a wealth of experience though and I don’t want to tar everyone with the same brush. Yes, there are bad landlords, but I know there are tenants just as bad – I’ve dealt with one myself. I hope there’s plenty of these stories in the book!
Beneath the arcane Rustpeaks lies the city of Lansfyrd, capital of one of the Dustlands many Holds. Visibility is at an all-time low and airships rumble through the skies. Detective Lentsay “Len” Yoriya of the Lansfyrd PD is a homocide detective stuck at a burglary assignment as punishment for loving the wrong person. When a xenophobic radio-shaman is murdered and the killers try to frame the city’s oppressed insectoids, Len knows better. But there is an election coming up, and the tension simmering in the city is reaching a boiling point. High-profile murders are rarely uncomplicated.
Meanwhile Len’s partner, Vli-Rana Talie, works as a lector at the Lansfyrd University, trying to keep her research going in an increasingly xenophobic environment. As the temperature rises for her partner, Vli will soon realize that delving into history, that some would prefer was forgotten, will carry risks of its own.
Science-fiction is one of my go-to genres to read and Unbroken Truth is my sci-fi fix for the month. For not being a big fan of politics in real life, I really enjoy the conflict it brings about in novel plotlines. This seems to be a prevalent part of the novel so I’m excited to see how this plays out!
This blog tour is now taking part in November, however, it was supposed to be at the beginning of this month. This is why I have ended up with so many tour dates in a short space of time, but I’m sure I’ll manage.
Sherlock Holmes & The Ripper of Whitechapel – M. K. Wiseman
I am afraid that I, Sherlock Holmes, must act as my own chronicler in this singular case, that of the Whitechapel murders of 1888. For the way in which the affair was dropped upon my doorstep left me with little choice as to the contrary. Not twelve months prior, the siren’s call of quiet domesticity and married life had robbed me of Watson’s assistance as both partner and recorder of my cases. Thus, when detective inspector Lestrade of Scotland Yard required a lead—any lead—I found myself forced to pursue Jack the Ripper alone and without the aid of my faithful friend. And all for the most damnedable of reasons:
Early on in my investigations, Dr. John H. Watson, formerly of 221b Baker Street, emerged as my prime suspect.
I really enjoyed reading M K Wiseman’s Magical Intelligence this year. On that basis alone I would have signed up to a blog tour for a book by her. I also love the mystery of Jack the Ripper, so the fact that this blog tour features both is huge! By the time I signed up for this tour I think I knew about the delay to Unbroken Truth, but I couldn’t pass it up. I’m really looking forward to delving into this. I only hope it lives up to expectation!
Thomas Tallant, a young and ambitious Spice Merchant, returns from India to find his city in turmoil.
A bitter struggle is brewing between King Charles I and Parliament, as England slides into civil war. The capital is simmering with dissent. The conflict is ready to boil over.
But Thomas soon has other troubles to contend with. A wealthy merchant, Sir Joseph Venell, is savagely killed; then his partner Sir Hugh Swofford plunges to his death, in the Tallant household.
Suspicion falls on Thomas, who is sucked into a mire of treachery and rumour within the City of London. As the merchant struggles to clear his name, he becomes captivated by the enigmatic Elizabeth Seymour, whose passion for astronomy and mathematics is matched only by her addiction to the gaming tables.
Pursued by the authorities, Thomas races to unmask the real killer who claims a third victim to implicate him further, toying with his future in a deadly cat and mouse game.
In a desperate race against time, Elizabeth applies her powers of logic and deduction to unearth the clues that will point to the killer, but her way is barred by a secret message from the grave.
Can she crack its code before Thomas, now a wounded and exhausted fugitive, succumbs to the chase?
And, if she succeeds, has Thomas the strength to face his tormentor and win his life and reputation back?
Rags of Time is the first book in an engaging and entertaining new historical crime series, set during the upheaval of the 17th Century.
Rags of Time is my current read. Whilst it’s on the back burner for a few days until my immediate blog tour obligations are done, I will be reading this in between the other books on my list. I have read most of the book now; I can’t wait to see how it ends! I’m certainly not waiting until the end of the month!
That’s my reading list for this month! Do any of the books catch your eye? Let me know in the comments!