Tag: sci-fi

Sunday Summary – 9th June 2024

Good evening friends and welcome to this Sunday Summary update post! As always, I take the time to update you on the books I’ve been reading over the course of this week, as well as the blog posts I’ve shared. Shall we get stuck in?

At the beginning of the week I shared my monthly TBR post with you. If you’re interested to see which books I plan to pick up throughout June, this is the place to go. Naturally, you’ll see some of those books in today’s post. But, if you want the full list, then check out my TBR here.

I was also meant to share a First Lines Friday post, but I confess I completely forgot. In my defence, it was a bank holiday locally and I was out of routine. I was also doing bits around the house as well. So apologies – this completely slipped my mind.

 

Books Read

 

Terry Pratchett: A Life With Footnotes

As of this Sunday Summary update post I have listened to a further 2 3/4 hours of Terry Pratchett: A Life With Footnotes. That’s pretty good going, even if I say so myself! That means that as of this post I am coming up to 75% progress in the audiobook.

With just a few hours left I envisage that I’ll try and push on with this audio in the next week so I can mark it as complete. I’m really enjoying this listen as I’m very interested in Terry and his life, but the narrative style makes this even easier to listen to.

 

The Long Earth

As of last week’s Sunday Summary post I was 290 pages into The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter. Over the course of this week I picked up the remainder of the book, and I’m pleased to say that I enjoyed it.

I’m curious as to where the later books in the series are going to take the story. At the point of finishing this first book, I honestly don’t know what path it’s going to take. I expect a degree of conflict as this is hinted that at the end of the first book, but otherwise it’s very much open to interpretation.

I enjoyed this co-authored book. Despite not getting on with books Terry has co-authored with other writers in the past, that is not the experience I’ve had with The Long Earth. I think the two writers have come together really well to honour the science-fiction genre whilst also smattering in humour.

Needless to say, I’m looking forward to continuing the series.

 

Lunatics, Imbeciles and Idiots: A History of Insanity in Nineteenth Century Britain and Ireland

Lunatics, Imbeciles and Idiots

The final book I’ve made progress with this week is Lunatics, Imbeciles and Idiots. This particular book has been on my reading list since 2017 and so I wanted to pick it up at last. It also works really well in contributing towards my non-fiction reading goal for the year.

As of this post, I have read the first quarter of the book. I’m getting on with it okay so far, although I do think it’s a little dry. I have no problem with the subject of the book, but perhaps a little more humour would help it go down. Maybe I’m biased in having read Terry Pratchett recently as he, by nature, is very satirical.

I’m still going to continue with the book as if nothing else, it’s less than 300 pages. I should be able to get through that.

 

Books Discovered

I discovered news that Suzanne Collins is publishing another Hunger Games novel next year, Sunrise on the Reaping.

Having read and enjoyed all of the series so far, I am excited to pick up this prequel novel that features both a significant event in terms of the plot of the story, but also one of the prominent side characters of the main series!

 

Coming Up…

My first post of this week will be another long overdue book review. I have many of those! This week, I’ll review a non-fiction book that I loved in 2022 – Ordinary Heroes by Joseph Pfeiffer.

Since I forgot to share this week’s First Lines Friday post, I’ve decided to defer this until next week so you’re not waiting too long.

I’m sure you’ve already worked out my last post of the week will be another Sunday Summary. I’ll be back to update you on what I’ve been reading and sharing over the next seven days.

That’s all from me in this Sunday Summary post. What are you reading currently? 

 

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Sunday Summary – 2nd June 2024

It’s the end of another week (already!) so that can only mean one thing… I’m back with my Sunday Summary weekly feature to catch you up on the books I’ve been reading over the course of the week.

Before we get there though, let’s briefly recap the blog posts I’ve shared with you so far. My first post of the week was a discussion post providing tips I’ve implemented in the last few months in order to make time for reading. If you want to find the time to read but are struggling due to other commitments or time pressures, then something in this post may be useful for you.

Yesterday I published my monthly wrap-up for the month of May. If you want to find out which books I read in comparison to those I had on my reading list for May, that’s the post to go and look at.


Books Read


Terry Pratchett: A Life With Footnotes

This week has been a very Pratchett week in terms of reading! As of last week’s Sunday Summary update I shared that I was a third of the way through this audiobook.

I’ve listened further over the course of this week and I am now just over 50% through. In the first part in the audio we have covered all of Terry early life and how he became an author.

I’ve just started part two and we are closer to his later years. I think soon we will get to the point of Terry’s diagnosis with Alzheimer’s and the impact that had on his life. I think this is going to be a little bit difficult to listen to, even though I am interested too understand what he went through. Having witnessed a family member suffer with Alzheimer’s, I’m already familiar with the condition and how it can affect people. I’m still interested to hear the end of his story, so watch the space for future updates.

 

The Long Earth

As well as his biography, I’ve also been reading a science-fiction novel Terry Pratchett, co-authored with Stephen Baxter.

As of my last Sunday Summary I was only 50-something pages in. Beyond the general impression of enjoying the set up, I hadn’t really decided too much in the way of the book other than I was happy to keep reading.

Over the course of the week I’ve read a further 240 pages, taking me to chapter 35, or page 290. I am still very happy with the story and intrigued as to how this first book is going to end. Especially as I know this is a series, it could be anywhere. I still haven’t made up my mind on Lobsang and his intentions right now. He is a bit of an enigma, but one I am looking forward to unpicking a little further.


Books Discovered

No news is good news, or so they say. As of this Sunday Summary update I have no new additions to my TBR or on my bookshelves to update you on.


Coming Up…

The first post I have coming up next week is my June TBR. I have a couple of books I’m carrying over from May, but otherwise I have yet to decide what else I plan to read over the course of the month. If you have any recommendations for me, I’ll be more than glad to hear them!

I’ll be back with the First Lines Friday feature post towards the end of this week. It feels like it’s been a while since I last did this feature and I’m looking forward to sharing another book and interesting opening lines with you.

Lastly, another Sunday Summary post will be winging its way to you at the end of the week. As always, I’ll share the books I’ve been reading over the course of the week and any other notable news. I hope you can join me once again.

That’s all for today Sunday summary update.

How are you spending your Sunday night? Are you reading or watching anything interesting on TV? I’m always interested to hear, so do let me know in the comments.

 

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Sunday Summary – 26th May 2024

Good evening readers! It’s time for another Sunday Summary update to catch you up on all I’ve been reading this week! Before that though, here’s a quick recap of the blog posts I shared.

I stuck to the same schedule as last week and as such, I’ve only shared one other post with you so far. That was a Top Ten Tuesday post about authors I would like to see another book by. These are for a multitude of reasons, from finishing up partly written series to having more content from favourite authors. If you want to see who they are, you can check out this link to the post and read for yourself.

 

Books Read

Empire of the Damned

I left off last week’s Sunday Summary at 318 pages into Empire of the Damned.

At the end of last week’s Sunday Summary post I shared how I was hoping to tell you that I finished this book this week. Indeed, I have! I finished Empire of the Damned last night and I can’t wait for the next sequel already. No doubt I’ll have to wait a while…

I really enjoyed how this story introduces an additional perspective, and one that challenges the one given by Gabriel. I love this format, but adding this extra element of conflict has us wondering where the truth really lies. If you are the kind of person who likes reading between the lines as well, then you will have a field day as I did!

I love the drama that unfolds in this book and I’m not surprised in the slightest by the cliffhanger the book is left on. It’s done its job of making sure I pick up the next book and the series as soon as it comes out!

 

Terry Pratchett: A Life With Footnotes

Another continuation from last week’s Sunday Summary is my audiobook listen of Terry Pratchett: A Life With Footnotes. In my last update post, I shared that I had listened to the first 1 1/2 hours so far. As of this Sunday Summary update, I have listened to approximately another 4 hours of this audio. In total, progress in this audiobook so far is at just over 33%.

At the moment we are listening to Terry‘s younger years in journalism and how he broke out as an author. I’ve especially enjoyed listening to his years and antics of going to science-fiction conventions and having an interest in the genre; I have just started one of his science-fiction books on my May TBR. It feels like impeccable timing!

As can only be expected, this book is full of humour and about celebrating the life of an intelligent and witty man. This is going to be an ongoing listen and I hope to have more progress to share with you next week.

 

The Long Earth


The last book to share with you in terms of this week’s reading progress includes The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter. I just started reading this earlier today and I’m already invested!

I haven’t read much of Stephen Baxter before although I have sampled his book Coalescent. In what I have read so far, I can identify some contribution from Terry in terms of humour but the writing style works really well.

I only had one reservation going into this book in that I have not got on with collaborations between Terry and other authors in the past. A few years ago, I tried reading Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman and ended up DNF’ing it. However, I think that is more of a reflection on my not being a fan of Neil Gaiman’s writing. I’m sorry if you are a fan of his, but I just can’t get on with his writing style. It’s personal preference.

As of this Sunday Summary update I have read the first 50 odd pages and I’m getting on with the story quite well. I’m curious as to where it’s going to take us, but the first 50 pages have set up the narrative well.

 

Books Discovered

My bank account remains happy this week as no pennies have been spent on books. I have added another one to my reading list this week, but I will wait until nearer the time to get myself a copy.

Earlier this week we had conversations at work about objectives and development plans. After having a conversation with my manager about progressing into more of a management role, I found a book that will hopefully help me. That is Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader.

 

Coming Up…

There’s no rest for the wicked next week as we are coming up to the end of May. With that in mind, I’ll be featuring my usual midweek post, as well as my monthly wrapup on Saturday and then a Sunday Summary to wrap-up at the end of the week.

My first post of the week is going to be a Discussion Post and I want to talk about  making time for reading. You’ll see why that’s something that’s on my mind when I share that post.

As I mentioned above, Saturday is the 1st of June and I plan to share a recap of all the reading I’ve done throughout the month of May. We’ll see which books I’ve got two on my TBR this month, as well as the ones I haven’t.

And as always, I’ll be back at the same time next week with another summary of the reading progress I’ve made over the last seven days.

I hope you can check out any and all of those posts. I look forward to seeing you in the next one, whichever that may be!

 

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Blog Tour Review: Lost Solace – Karl Drinkwater

In today’s post, I have the privilege to share my review of Lost Solace by Karl Drinkwater. I originally shared my review back in February, but I’m back today having touched up my review to share as part of the blog tour!

As always, a huge thank you to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the tour and to the author Karl Drinkwater. I received a review copy of the earlier edition of the book and as you will see, I thought the book was fantastic!

If you’re looking for a fun science-fiction novel to pick up and potentially explore the further series, look no further!

 

Lost Solace – Karl Drinkwater

Genre: Science-fiction

Pages: 258

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Organic Apocalypse

Original Publication Date: 15 Oct 2017

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

 

Goodreads –  Lost Solace

They’re called the Lost Ships … but sometimes they come back.

And when they do the crews are missing, while the ships have been strangely altered, rumoured to be full of horrors.

Opal Imbiana has been seeking something her whole life. It’s a secret so precious she’s willing to risk her life recovering it from a recently discovered Lost Ship, in a lonely nebula far from colonised space.

She’s just one woman, entering an alien and lethal environment. But with the aid of an amazing AI companion and experimental armoured suit, Opal might just stand a chance.

This blast of a book kickstarted the much-loved Lost Solace series, about an unlikely friendship between two women who keep hope alive in the darkest of times.

 

Purchase Links:

https://books2read.com/karldrinkwater

https://karldrinkwater.myshopify.com

 

My Thoughts

 

Plot

If you enjoy fast paced, action-led plot-lines then Lost Solace is a book you won’t want to miss! Full of twists and turns, within is a compelling storyline in which we explore many interesting facets of lore in this world.

Opal is determined to explore the hostile environment of a re-emerged Lost Ship. Not only does she have the local environment to overcome, but she is also challenged by other humans on her quest for discovery. With an AI, Clarissa, on her side, she sets out to do what would appear to be impossible.

In a race against time, will Opal and Clarissa prevail? 

 

Setting

The Lost Ship is an eerie setting we get to explore in detail throughout the narrative. Whilst Opal and Clarissa feel very isolated in their quest, they are far from alone. If the local hostile environment wasn’t enough to contend with, Opal is being hunted down.

The tension and atmosphere Karl Drinkwater incorporates into this already busy narrative is impressive. Although the book overall is very action-led, there is plenty of world-building and description incorporated into the narrative to construct an immersive, deserted and eerie atmosphere present throughout.

 

Characters

Lost Solace is told from the perspective of two strong female leads. The first of these is Opal. She is a strong and inquisitive individual, empowered by her determination and force of will. Opal is accompanied by an AI known as Clarissa. She is incredibly smart – as can only be expected from a supercomputer. However, this isn’t just where her strengths lie.

For artificial intelligence, she is full of humour and dry wit. It’s a facet of personality that I expected from her character as a result of reading Helene, but otherwise would have been surprised by. It works very well too! Clarissa stands out and the personality quirk adds depth to her character.

The interactions between Opal and Clarissa are hilarious to read and their relationship is one of my favourite aspects of the book. Their witty dialogue is interspersed within the action in the book, making for a well-rounded read.

As a little extra, we also get to see characters from Karl Drinkwater’s other Lost Tales of Solace series. It was fun to see the overlap and get to revisit some of these individuals!

 

Narrative Style

Lost Solace has an easy to read, flowing narrative style. The book is approachable for readers of all levels and experience. Although a science-fiction novel, the content isn’t so technologically advanced that readers are unable to understand what’s going on. It strikes just the right balance of setting the scene, but also being clear and descriptive so no presumed knowledge is required.

At under 300 pages, it is also a quick read. I am a fast reader anyway, but a book of this length is definitely approachable for anyone interested in (or wants to try) the genre, and for any level of commitment.

 

Summary

I am a fan of science-fiction, so I was never not going to love Lost Solace. It is the first book in a series that I will be continuing with as soon as possible!

Lastly, I cannot help but share the dedication that Karl includes in the opening of this book. I loved it!

To strong women everywhere, at all times. 

 

Author Bio

Karl Drinkwater is an author with a silly name and a thousand-mile stare. He writes dystopian space opera, dark suspense and diverse social fiction. If you want compelling stories and characters worth caring about, then you’re in the right place. Welcome!

Karl lives in Scotland and owns two kilts. He has degrees in librarianship, literature and classics, but also studied astronomy and philosophy. Dolly the cat helps him finish books by sleeping on his lap so he can’t leave the desk. When he isn’t writing he loves music, nature, games and vegan cake.

Go to karldrinkwater.uk to view all his books grouped by genre.

As well as crafting his own fictional worlds, Karl has supported other writers for years with his creative writing workshops, editorial services, articles on writing and publishing, and mentoring of new authors. He’s also judged writing competitions such as the international Bram Stoker Awards, which act as a snapshot of quality contemporary fiction.

DON’T MISS OUT!

Enter your email at karldrinkwater.substack.com to be notified about his new books. Fans mean a lot to him, and replies to the newsletter go straight to his inbox, where every email is read. There is also an option for paid subscribers to support his work: in exchange you receive additional posts and complimentary books.

Social Media Links

Newsletter (and Substack) https://karldrinkwater.substack.com/

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5766025.Karl_Drinkwater

Discussion Post – How My Reading Tastes Changed Over Time

Since my teenage years, when I really got into reading, my reading tastes have changed quite significantly. That’s the topic of today’s discussion post, and I hope you are looking forward to this insight into who I am and my reading journey to date.

This post is in part inspired by a stack of books I purchased for myself last week with birthday vouchers. It was seeing that stack and talking about it in my Sunday Summary post that made me appreciate just how diverse my reading is now. It certainly didn’t start out that way. With this in mind, I thought it would be fun to share my reading journey and how my tastes have changed over time.

I hope you enjoy this discussion post and learn something about me along the way!

 

Teenage/School Years

Whilst I have always enjoyed reading, it was during my later years of school that I started picking up books for fun. I was lucky in that I had access to a school library. You know what testifies my love of books so much? That I volunteered a lot of my free time at lunchtimes to helping tidy and maintain the school library. It’s fair to say it was one of my favourite places.

This was before I started logging or tracking any of the books I read. I don’t have any records as to how much I read in this time, but this was really the start of my reading journey.

The vast majority of books I picked up at this time were fantasy. I did occasionally foray into a different genre. I distinctly recall reading The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams and Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier in my school years. Otherwise, I was picking up books like Raymond E. Feist’s The Riftwar Saga, Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth series, Patrick Rothfuss’ The Name of the Wind and Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn books. Yes, my love of Sanderson started early!

 

2017 – Restarting my Reading Journey

After I left school, my reading dropped off significantly. I found myself in a position where I was reading as much as the vast majority of the population – next to nothing. It was only after a multiple upheavals including family, health, and job uncertainty at around the same time that I found myself turning to books once again.

At the start of 2017 I was in a position where I had early starts at work, was coming home late at night, and I didn’t have the stamina to sit up and watch a TV programme before bed. Instead, I started picking up Terry Pratchett’s satirical Discworld series as a distraction. I could read as much or as little as I wanted. More often than not, I fell asleep reading. I confess that I woke up several times in the second or third week of this period with the bedside lamp still on at 4am having not brushed my teeth as I’d crashed.

Having read 20 books by the end of April, I had officially rekindled my love and habit of reading. At this point in time, I was just coming to the end of some of the less stable events in my life and I decided I needed an outlet to talk about the books I was reading. It was at this point that Reviewsfeed was born.

In terms of what I read in 2017, I started off reading a lot of Discworld, sticking to my fantasy roots whilst also dipping into satire. By April, I was starting to read historical fiction, classics, and a little horror and non-fiction by the end of the year. Emphasis was very much on my favourite genre – fantasy.

 

2019-2020 – Reading Boom

I enjoyed the pretty steady habit up until 2019. At this point, and I don’t quite know how I managed it to this day, I upped the reading ante and read a total of 72 books by the end of the year.

Honestly, I pushed myself really hard to do this and I’ve never been able to match this record. Equally, I’m not trying to either. As you will see in the next section, I strongly believe that this had some consequences further down the line.

Again, I had some personal stuff going on in 2019, and books became my distraction. I was having trouble with a neighbour at home and I got to the point where I was living with headphones in and doing my best to avoid interacting with them at all costs.

In 2020, we all know what happened. In addition to that, the neighbour situation came to a head and I ended up moving. I feel like this contributed a good deal towards the reduced reading compared to 2019’s total. Saying that though, it was on average with previous years, and so it was more of the return to ‘normal’ rather than a step backwards.

During these years I read historical, thriller and a little fantasy at the beginning of the year 2019. Mystery and thriller stick around throughout the year, with fantasy, horror, sci-if and a little non-fiction peppered in.

In 2020, similar themes remain with more bias on historical fiction, sci-fi and thriller. There is obviously a decent amount of fantasy thrown in as well, but it’s less a majority than it has been to date.

 

2021 – Reading Bust

In 2021, I burned out. So much so, this is the only year since the inception of my blog where I didn’t track or hold myself accountable to a reading goal. If I had, I think reading progress would have been a little better. At the same time though, I needed the break.

In all, I think I read around 20-25 books in 2021. Don’t get me wrong, that is a lot more than a lot of people and I recognise this is still an achievement. Compared to my previous reading stats, though, it is a definite step backwards and a reflection of my burnout at the time.

I had a lot of personal stuff on, including redecorating my home. Not only that, but I honestly believe that it was at this point, Covid had more of an effect on me. Locally, we had things far worse in terms of the pandemic in January and March 2021. Do I think this played a role? Certainly.

In 2021, I stepped backwards a bit and fantasy became the genre I read most of. It’s not the only genre I read. In this list are historical fiction books, as well as a few non-fictions. However, I think I slipped back into my comfort zone out of necessity.

 

2022 -2024 – Recovery

Since 2021 I have made a significant recovery and I’m now back to reading at about my average levels.

My attitude has also changed completely. Whilst I set myself a reading goal every year, I am more reserved and less ambitious than I used to be. I guess I’ve decided what’s important to me, and as much as I love books and reading, I love plenty of other things too. Family are important to me. I love to play games, and craft, and spend time with friends. Whereas before I kind of let those take a backseat, I will now fit reading around my other plans rather than the other way around.

I’ve achieved a balance that I am happy to maintain, at least for now. If things are to change in future, I think I’ll be fine with that as well. What’s important is that I enjoy the reading I do, and less focus is on enjoying hitting or beating targets. I love to read and support all the amazing authors I have come to meet and feature in my time on my blog. That isn’t going to change, and that is going to remain my priority going forward.

In terms of what I am reading, my reading diversity is higher than ever. In 2023, I set myself a reading goal of picking up more non-fiction than I have ever done before. That year, about 25% of the books I picked up were non-fiction. That’s the highest another genre has ever come towards my fantasy obsession!

Don’t get me wrong, that underlying love is still there and to this day, I still read more fantasy than anything else. However, I now enjoy plenty of other topics/genres and getting away from fantasy. As much as I love the genre, it can be very repetitive. I find this to be a contributing factor in my reading dwindling between my school years and rekindling my love in 2017.

To date, there is only one genre I would say I rarely touch and that is romance. Whilst there are some limited exceptions, I just find it gooey and vomiting inducing. If you love it, great! You do you. It’s not for me unless there is a divisive plot or ethical dilemma that I’m interested in behind that. At least, in my experience so far.

 

Summary

My reading tastes have changed significantly since I restarted reading seven years ago. I hope this discussion post has done my story justice! 

I’m happy with the diversity I get to enjoy today. My reading has improved in my willingness to read out of my comfort zone and try something new. I have experienced a couple of ruts, but this is only natural. Reading is a hobby I have come back to time and again; it’s not something I have any plans to stop doing any time soon!

Sorry not sorry! 🫢

How often do you pick up a book? If you have a reading journey you would like to share, we as a community would love to hear it!

 

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Book Review: Skyward – Brandon Sanderson

Whilst I have the time to catch up on some outstanding book reviews, I’m making the most of the situation and sharing some of my favourites. Today, I share my thoughts on the first book in Brandon Sanderson’s YA sci-fi series, Skyward.

I have a lot of great things to say about this book! At the time of publishing this review, I’ve read three out of the four books currently on the market. I’ll be looking to pick up the next in the series, Defiant, very soon!

 

Skyward – Brandon Sanderson

Genre: Science-fiction

Pages: 513

Audience: Young Adult

Publisher: Gollancz

Publication Date: 06 Nov 2018

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

 

Goodreads –  Skyward

Defeated, crushed, and driven almost to extinction, the remnants of the human race are trapped on a planet that is constantly attacked by mysterious alien starfighters. Spensa, a teenage girl living among them, longs to be a pilot. When she discovers the wreckage of an ancient ship, she realizes this dream might be possible—assuming she can repair the ship, navigate flight school, and (perhaps most importantly) persuade the strange machine to help her. Because this ship, uniquely, appears to have a soul.

 

My Thoughts

 

Plot

Skyward has an interesting plot that sucks you in from the synopsis. In truth though, there is far more to explore underneath the surface.

The narrative in which we explore through Spensa’s viewpoint is far more complex than meets the eye. The world history, Spensa’s upbringing and the discovery of a mysterious ship only start us off on this detailed, action-packed narrative. Although we pick up events from Spensa’s discovery onwards, in reality the set up of what happens in this book begins far earlier, and we unravel this history throughout the present day narrative.

As a military sci-fi, fans of combat will have plenty to enjoy in this book. We graduate alongside Spensa through training into live fighting. The drama and suspense keeps us on our toes as we never quite trust that the characters we grow to love throughout the book are safe. They’re not…

 

Setting

Science fiction fans will not be disappointed with the rich descriptions and detail in Skyward. Both in terms of the physical setting and the political environment Spensa grows up in, there is plenty to explore.

Skyward excels in its ability to stand out in the science fiction genre without too much techno-babble and jargon. As a book aimed at young readers, it’s especially important that Sanderson got this right… and indeed he did! I enjoy science fiction, although I wouldn’t say I have the brains for too much techy speak. I was able to follow everything with ease.

What makes this book extra special is that over time, we come to realise that the world and plot introduced throughout the first 400-450 pages is just a small speck in the galaxy. Skyward paves the way for the epic series it is, and sets the scene for the remaining books excellently!

 

Characters

The book is predominantly told from the perspective of a teenager who has grown up in the shadow of her father. His name is tarred for turning against his fleet in the midst of battle. Many try to discount Spensa and prevent her from training to fly out of fear that she will do the same thing as her father.

And in fairness, Spensa is a loose cannon. She is impulsive and independent, which are not traits conducive to an environment where teamwork is essential. Spensa has a lot to learn over the course of the book, about herself, but also about the perceptions that have tarnished her name throughout her childhood.

Whilst the book does well in sharing a detailed plot with rich descriptions, character development is also very prevalent in this narrative. I would say the book has a reasonable 50-50 split of both of these elements. Whether you prefer an action driven narrative or a character driven narrative, there is ample of each.

 

Narrative Style

With a young adult audience in mind, the narrative needs to be easy to read and approachable for a younger audience. Brendan Sanderson does this very well. This makes both the book and genre approachable to new or less developed readers and would serve as a great introduction to the genre.

At over 500 pages, there is plenty of storyline here to sink our teeth into. It has its fair share of twists and unexpected events. These are entwined into the narrative seamlessly and are shocking but not so complex but they cannot be understood either.

 

Summary

If you are looking for a new sci-fi series to start reading without complex jargon, and with a strong female protagonist, Skyward is one I would highly recommend. As of this post, I have gone on to read further two books in the series, with the fourth book recently out and making it to my reading list soon!

Brandon Sanderson is an author I will go back to time and again regardless of genre. If you are a fan of his fantasy books, don’t let the change of genre put you off giving this a try. He is a fantastic writer and being able to lend himself to different storylines, and indeed genre.

Have you read the Skyward or any other books by Brandon Sanderson that you would love to recommend to my readers?

 

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Book Review: Lost Solace – Karl Drinkwater

In November last year, I finally picked up Lost Solace by Karl Drinkwater. For months I tried to get to the book, but didn’t quite get there. Having read and reviewed numerous books in his Lost Tales of Solace series already, I was excited to finally see how they intertwined with the main series he has written.

If you enjoy fast-paced science-fiction and are interested in diving into a new series, then Lost Solace won’t disappoint!

Let’s take a look at the book!

 

Lost Solace – Karl Drinkwater

Genre: Science-fiction

Pages: 287

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Organic Apocalypse

Publication Date: 15 Oct 2017

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

 

Goodreads –  Lost Solace

 

They’re called the Lost Ships … but sometimes they come back.

And when they do the crews are missing, while the ships have been strangely altered, rumoured to be full of horrors.

Opal Imbiana has been seeking something her whole life. It’s a secret so precious she’s willing to risk her life recovering it from a recently discovered Lost Ship, in a lonely nebula far from colonised space.

She’s just one woman, entering an alien and lethal environment. But with the aid of an amazing AI companion and experimental armoured suit, Opal might just stand a chance.

This blast of a book kickstarted the much-loved Lost Solace series, about an unlikely friendship between two women who keep hope alive in the darkest of times.

 

My Thoughts

 

Plot

If you enjoy fast paced and action-led plots, then Lost Solace is a book you won’t want to miss! Full of twists and turns, within is a compelling storyline in which we explore interesting facets of the lore in this world.

Opal is determined to explore the hostile environment of a re-emerged Lost Ship. Not only does she have the local environment to overcome, but she is also challenged by other humans on her quest for discovery. With an AI, Clarissa, on her side, she sets out to do what would appear to be impossible.

In a race against time, will Opal and Clarissa prevail? 

 

Setting

The Lost Ship is an eerie setting that we get to explore throughout the narrative. Whilst Opal and Clarissa feel very isolated in their quest, they are far from alone. If the local hostile environment wasn’t enough to contend with, Opal is being hunted down.

The tension and atmosphere Karl Drinkwater incorporates into this already busy narrative is impressive. Although the book overall is very action-led, there is enough world-building and description incorporated into the narrative to construct the deserted and eerie atmosphere present throughout.

 

Characters

Lost Solace is told from the perspective of two strong female leads. The first of these is Opal. She is a strong and inquisitive individual, empowered by her determination and force of will. Opal is accompanied by an AI known as Clarissa. She is incredibly smart – as can only be expected from a supercomputer. However, this isn’t just where her strengths lie.

For artificial intelligence, she is full of humour and dry wit. It’s a facet of personality that I only expected from her character as a result of reading Helene, and it works very well. It makes her stand out and adds depth to her personality. The interactions between Opal and Clarissa are hilarious to read. They break up the action in the book, making for a well-rounded read.

As a little extra, we also get to see characters from Karl Drinkwater’s other Lost Tales of Solace series. It was fun to see the overlap and get to revisit some of these individuals!

 

Narrative Style

Lost Solace has an easy to read, flowing narrative style. It is written in such a way that the book is approachable for readers of all levels and experience. Although a science-fiction book, the content isn’t so technologically advanced that readers are unable to understand what’s going on. It strikes up just the right balance of setting the scene, but also being clear and descriptive so no presumed knowledge is required.

At under 300 pages, it is also a quick read. I am a fast reader anyway, but a book of this length is definitely approachable for anyone interested in the genre, and for any level of commitment.

 

Summary

I am a fan of science-fiction, so I was never not going to love Lost Solace. It is the first book in a series that I will be continuing with as soon as possible!

Lastly, I cannot help but share the dedication that Karl includes in the opening of this book. I loved it!

To strong women everywhere, at all times. 

 

Have you read Lost Solace, or any other books by Karl Drinkwater?

 

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Monthly Wrap-Up – January 2024

Happy Thursday February 1st, and welcome to my first monthly wrap-up of 2024! How are we one month into 2024 already? As they say, time flies when you’re having fun!

I set myself a chunky TBR back at the beginning of January. I’ve linked to that post if you want to see the full list of books I set myself. I didn’t get to all of them this month, which isn’t surprising given I set myself a list of 10! Saying that, I’ve read more than average this month, setting myself in good stead for the rest of the year (I can only hope!)

Shall we get to the recap of the books I read in January? Strap yourselves in – it’s going to be a longer post than usual!

 

Books Read

 

Gemina

Gemina was the physical read I carried over from 2023. I had only read about 40% of the book by the end of December. A solid start, but there was plenty of progress to make still!

As Gemina is a YA sci-fi written in a mixed media format, I gobbled up the rest of the book in just a couple of days. Like Illuminae, I found it difficult to put down! The way it’s written is easy to read and the different perspectives and data sources that make up this story keep the narrative interesting.

I also loved the characters within the book. There is some small overlap on characters, although broadly we enjoy two new perspectives in the overarching storyline. I can only hope all parties come together in the sequel and last in the trilogy, Obsidio.

It’s safe to say that I started off the year well; Gemina was a great first read of 2024, netting my first 5 star rating.

 

My Sister’s Keeper

In addition to Gemina, I carried over My Sister’s Keeper from 2023. At the beginning of the year, I was approximately a third of the way through this audiobook.

My Sister’s Keeper isn’t a type of book I would pick up very often, but I’m glad I did! I was drawn to it because of the synopsis and the question of morality over Anna and her lifelong role as a donor for her sister, Kate.

I loved how this book played out and the drama within. The end made me teary and I am so glad I pushed myself out of my comfort zone to pick it up. Not everybody loves the ending of this book and I can understand why. However, I think it depends on what expectations you go into the book with. If you go into it looking for an answer to the morality question, then you may not get what you’re looking for. However, I think the book is about asking the question of ourselves – and that I did throughout reading.

 

The Girl in Seat 2A

I downloaded a copy of The Girl in Seat 2A published by Boldwood books via NetGalley. I have reviewed multiple Boldwood books through Rachael’s Random Resources tours before, and this book caught my eye.

The Girl in Seat 2A has an interesting storyline and I enjoyed the wider plot. I confess that I didn’t love the main character Jade, but that is because we are very unlike each other. I struggled to relate to her as a person, and also her circumstances, meaning that I could only invest so much into her.

Hers is not the only perspective in this book though, and it’s that second perspective that made the book for me. I also enjoy how the plot really starts to come together from this alternate perspective and the action and drama was fun to read.

If you’re interested to read my full thoughts on this book, you can find my review here.

 

Betrothal and Betrayal

Another reading obligation to include in today’s monthly wrap-up post is my read of Betrothal and Betrayal as part of a blog tour I took part in mid-month.

Betrothal and Betrayal is a fun and relatively short historical fantasy novel. With a strong, fiery, female protagonist living in a man’s world, I got everything I wanted from this book. I loved the protagonist and her unwavering resolve, despite her circumstances. She is the kind of protagonist to make a great role model for all young women, so it’s great to see represented in fiction.

I’m not going to go too far into the book here as I have already shared my review as part of the blog tour. If you want to go and see that review, I’ll provide a link here.

 

Crime and Punishment

The slowest read on January’s TBR that I include in today’s monthly wrap-up is Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

And that’s not surprising. I am always slower with reading classics because I find the narrative styles differ from modern day. Until I’m used to it, there is an adjustment period. Although it took me a little longer to get into than the rest of the books on this monthly wrap-up, I still enjoyed picking it up.

In this narrative we follow the actions and fall-out of destitute student Raskolnikov murdering a moneylender. The booking itself explores mental health as that features heavily in the narrative, but also around morality of killing, and whether such actions can be washed out by any overall benefit to society as a consequence.

That is a very brief and probably not the best summary of the book, but it’s the best I can do with limited paragraph space!

 

Unmasked

The second audiobook I picked up in the month of January was Unmasked by Ellie Middleton. This is also the first non-fiction book I have picked up this year. If the rest are as good as this one, then I’m in for a good year!

The primary focus of Unmasked is about Ellie’s experience of late diagnoses of ADHD and autism. However, the book also takes an objective view of these neurodivergent conditions, as well as others, to educate readers about what it is like to interpret the world differently. Not only that, but the book explores how those who are neurodivergent are often discriminated against, and what steps we can take in society to be more accepting and accommodating.

I picked up this book to understand more about neurodivergence in general. I was surprised to find that I could relate to some of the traits of autism. That’s not to say I have autism, but it helped me appreciate overall how difficult it must be to grow up with these differences… especially if you grow up undiagnosed as most women do.

It was an eye-opening read, and if you’re interested in the subject, I would strongly recommend picking up Unmasked. I especially enjoyed listening to the audiobook as Ellie narrates this herself.

 

Sword of Vengeance

The last reading obligation I picked up in January that our feature on this monthly wrap-up post is Sword of Vengeance by Peter Gibbons. You won’t yet have seen the review for this book on my blog as it is going live tomorrow.

To date, I have enjoyed following along with the series and I’ve reviewed 2 out of the 3 prior books in the series as part of blog tours. I’m looking forward to sharing my thoughts on this fourth book of the series tomorrow. In summary, the book was everything I expected it to be based on the high expectations from reading the earlier books in the series. Again, there is a lot of action in this book, as well as underlying political intrigue which I love to read about.

I hope you can stay tuned for my review tomorrow!

 

The Black Coats

As of this monthly wrap-up post, I’m currently reading The Black Coats by Colleen Oakes and I’m 40% into the book.

It’s an enjoyable read so far and I’m loving the feminist take. I can see the action only picking up from where I’m up to, so I think I’ll have the book finished within another day or two! If you want to find out more about this book, I’ll be talking about it in more detail in the coming days. 

 

The Atlas Six

My next ongoing read at month-end is The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake. As of writing this post, I’m just over 2 hours into this nearly 17 hour long book. For the stats nerds, that’s about 13%. Unlucky for some, but not me!

I’ve only really gotten introduced to the characters and basic premise so far, but I’m intrigued. There’s definitely a lot to be explored in the narrative. I’m also glad I went for audio; each character is separately cast, making it easier to follow who is who. I love the different voices and styles as well – it adds a layer of interest.

Given that I’m not too far into the book, there isn’t really much I can say right now. This is one to stay tuned to my blog for!

 

Summary

I needed to read 5 books to stay on target of 60 books by the end of the year. I let the new year excitement get away with me in setting 10 books. However, I think having a longer reading list has encouraged me to read a little more this month. It doesn’t always work this way, but it’s working at the moment!

Next month’s TBR is going to look much the same – there’s always more to read! If you’re interested to see that list, I’ll share my February TBR on Saturday! Stay tuned for that!

In the meantime, what are you reading?

 

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First Lines Friday – 26/01/2024

Welcome to my first First Lines Friday post of 2024 readers, and I have a great feature for you today!

More often than not, I find myself looking forward in these posts and featuring upcoming books on my reading list. Whilst I didn’t explicitly set myself a challenge this time, I decided tonight that instead I was going to look back in today’s First Lines Friday. I feature a five-star read from last year that I’m sure you will love too. Particularly, if you are a fan of Brandon Sanderson and read any of his young adult works.

Can you guess the book from the clues in the introduction?

 

A dark sphere appeared before me in the centre of the room. Scud. Was I really going to do this? In my hand, Doomslug fluted nervously.

The sterile, whitewashed, walls, enormous one-way mirror, and metal tables marked this as some kind of scientific facility. I was on Starsight: the massive space station that housed the regional offices of the Superiority. Up until this past year, I’d never even heard of the Superiority, let alone understood the nuances of how it – as a Galactic government – ruled hundreds of different planets and species.

To be honest, I still didn’t understand those nuances. I’m not exactly a “there are nuances to this situation” type of girl. I’m more of an “if it’s still moving, you didn’t use enough ammunition” type of girl.

 

 

 

Cytonic – Brandon Sanderson

 

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 432

Audience: Young Adult

Publisher: Gollancz

Publication Date: 23 Nov 2021

 

Goodreads – Cytonic

Spensa’s life as a Defiant Defense Force pilot has been far from ordinary. She proved herself one of the best starfighters in the human enclave of Detritus and she saved her people from extermination at the hands of the Krell—the enigmatic alien species that has been holding them captive for decades. What’s more, she traveled light-years from home as an undercover spy to infiltrate the Superiority, where she learned of the galaxy beyond her small, desolate planet home.

Now, the Superiority—the governing galactic alliance bent on dominating all human life—has started a galaxy-wide war. And Spensa has seen the weapons they plan to use to end it: the Delvers. Ancient, mysterious alien forces that can wipe out entire planetary systems in an instant. Spensa knows that no matter how many pilots the DDF has, there is no defeating this predator.

Except that Spensa is Cytonic. She faced down a Delver and saw something eerily familiar about it. And maybe, if she’s able to figure out what she is, she could be more than just another pilot in this unfolding war. She could save the galaxy.

The only way she can discover what she really is, though, is to leave behind all she knows and enter the Nowhere. A place from which few ever return.

To have courage means facing fear. And this mission is terrifying.

 

My Thoughts…

I have dual motives for featuring Cytonic as today’s First Lines Friday feature. Firstly, it is a book I wholeheartedly recommend and a series that I will press into almost anyone’s hands. Whilst I haven’t officially published reviews of any books in the series, as yet, you can find a summary of my thoughts for Skyward, Starsight, and Cytonic in my Sunday Summary posts around the time I finished the books.

Secondly, I’m also featuring the book today as a reminder that the fourth book in the series was released at the end of last year. I need to read it! It’s not very often that I keep up with series as they come out. Indeed, so far, I haven’t been keeping up with this one at all. But, that is my intention in future. With this in mind, I hope to pick up Defiant soon.

I enjoy reading from the perspective of the main character, Spensa. She is young, feisty, and angsty. She has a chip on her shoulder and everything to prove. Her temperament makes her a bit of a loose cannon and this keeps us as readers guessing as to what she’ll come up with next!

If you like science fiction full of action and a fighting scenes then this will definitely appeal to you. I thoroughly enjoy how these scenes are written and how Spencer‘s personality adds a little spice.

I hope you have enjoyed today’s First Lines Friday feature!

Have you read Cytonic or any of the books in the Skyward series so far?

 

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Sunday Summary – 21st January 2024

Happy Sunday everyone and welcome to this week’s instalment of Sunday Summary. If you are unfamiliar, I take the time every week to update you on the books I’ve been reading, the blog posts I’ve shared with you, and finally what to expect in the coming week.

This week reading progress has been slower, but this isn’t unexpected. I’ll share more on that below. First, let’s recap the blog posts I shared earlier this week.

So far I have shared not one, but two book reviews with you. The first of these book reviews was for The Girl in Seat 2A by Diana Wilkinson. Technically, this review was due second, but based on timing I decided to publish this earlier than the book’s publication date.

On Thursday, I shared my review of Betrothal and Betrayal by Janet McGiffin. This was part of a blog tour and so I had to publish on this on this set date. I already established in last week’s Sunday Summary that I had a great time with this book. If you want to check out my full thoughts, here is a link to that review so you can check it out for yourself.

 

Books Read

 

Crime and Punishment

As of last week’s Sunday Summary post, I left off having made 132 pages of progress into Crime and Punishment. As this is a classic and is one of the oldest books on my list in terms of publication date, I knew the narrative style was going to be clunkier. I fully anticipated reading progress to slow down with this book, so I’m not surprised that it has.

That said, I have made more progress in the last 24 hours than anticipated. I’ve been able to pick up the speed, either because the narrative is getting good or because I’m getting used to the style. I’m not sure which. Either way, I’m now 484 pages into the narrative which equates just under 75%. Now I’m coming towards the end of the book, I imagine the quicker reading pace will continue. I’ll share more about how I get on in next week’s post.

 

Unmasked

I listened to a further hour and 10 minutes of Unmasked by Ellie Middleton yesterday. This takes my reading progress of this book to just under half as of this Sunday Summary.

I really like how this book is structured and covers each of the topics within. It’s also proved easy to pick up again even though I probably haven’t made any progress in it for about a week.

It’s a really interesting audio and I would recommend anybody with interest in autism, ADHD or other forms of neurodivergence to give it a look. In the more recent chapters I’ve listened to, the narrative explores how different conditions may show up in real life. Particularly, I liked how it covered ways that symptoms differ from society expectations. I’m looking forward to seeing how the topics are explored further in the second half of the book.

 

Books Discovered

I’ve added nothing new to my reading list this week, which is as well given it constantly seems to hover at the same level and never go down!

 

Coming Up…

On Tuesday I plan to share my first Top Ten Tuesday of the year. This week’s topic is Books I meant to Read in 2023 but didn’t get to. I have a variety of books to share that fall into this bracket! Stay tuned for more on those next week.

On Friday I’m back with a First Lines Friday post. Sometimes I set myself a challenge for these posts, but I’m going to keep an open field and decide what to feature later in the week!

Lastly, I’ll be back with another Sunday Summary update this time next week. Until then I hope you have a fantastic week!

What are you reading?

 

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