Tag: sci-fi

Sunday Summary – 25th September 2022

Good evening everyone! It’s the end of yet another week and here we are with another Sunday Summary update post. I don’t know about you, but things are starting to feel very autumnal now. It’s coming towards my favourite time of year – I can justify cozying in with a good cup of tea, a slice of cake, and a book. Not that I needed any excuse before like…

The changing of the season has come just in time. On Tuesday, I shared a Top Ten Tuesday post, in which I featured my top ten books to read in autumn. On that list, I have a number of books I have been meaning to read for some time, together with a couple of new ones. If you haven’t checked out that post already, there is a handy link above.

Later in the week, it was the turn of my Shelf Control regular feature. In that post, I featured a book that is on my September TBR. When I drafted the post, I hadn’t started the book as yet. However, I suspected that by the time it went live, I would be reading it – and I was right!

 

Books Read

I’m actually really pleased with this week’s reading progress. I’m going to be honest with you and say that when I shared my September TBR, I already felt defeated before I started. If you have seen that TBR post, you’ll know that I’m taking part in Bookoplathon. It is a game based on Monopoly, and I ended up really unlucky in my game. I ended up with three extra rolls, which means three extra books on my reading list this month. I had anticipated maybe one extra, but reading eight books in a month isn’t really achievable for me. That said, I have read quite a lot this week alone.

 

In Case You Missed It

As of last week’s Sunday Summary update, I was on my third book of the month, and coincidentally about a third of the way through it. I had DNF’d my previous read, and my first book was nothing special either. In Case You Missed It is not the type of book that I would’ve picked up without recommendation. I wasn’t entirely sure what I was going to think of it, but I was very pleasantly surprised.

As you are probably aware, Monday was a bank holiday here as it was the Queen’s funeral. I ended up watching quite a bit of the funeral, but also made time for reading. I ended up finishing In Case You Missed It on Monday. I read about 250 pages alone that day! What can I say, I really got into the book. The writing style is easy to digest and the events and characters are hilarious. It was exactly what I needed and I’m really glad I picked this up – so thanks for the recommendation Mum!

 

Treacle Walker

Next, I read a very short book that was not on my September TBR. I had been loaned this book by the CEO of the company I work for. He had enjoyed reading it and he wanted to know what I thought of it. Treacle Walker is only about 150 pages, and it was a very trippy, quick read. I really enjoyed it, even though I wasn’t entirely sure what was going on all of the time. I wanted to read this quite quickly as I know that this book was going to be passed on to somebody else after me.

 

Dark Matter

Next, I moved on to the next book on my TBR, and now my current read, Dark Matter by Blake Crouch. This is a bit of a twisty narrative, and I have no idea what is going on, albeit for different reasons to Treacle Walker! However, I am also really enjoying this one. There is a lot to unpick and it is going to take a while for me to work out what is what.

As of this post, I am exactly 20% through Dark Matter. I cannot wait to continue reading and update you in next week’s Sunday Summary post with more of my thoughts and progress!

 

Ordinary Heroes

Lastly, I started listening to Ordinary Heroes by Joseph Pfeifer. If you are unfamiliar with this book, it is the story of the first FDNY Chief on the scene of the 9/11 terrorist attack. I only started listening to this yesterday and I’m just a fraction off being halfway through already. I’m absolutely rattling through this one as it’s a really interesting read.

I quite enjoy listening to non-fiction – I find it easier to take the information in sometimes. Ordinary Heroes is a very easy listen. It is also quite a harrowing tale (but that goes with the subject). I have already learned things about the incident that I didn’t know from media coverage. As I am making very quick progress with it, I’m hoping to finish this within the next couple of days.

 

Books Discovered

No news is good news here this week. I haven’t added any books to the reading list, and I’ve actually just picked a couple off the list that I have changed my mind over. Nothing exciting to report here…

 

Coming Up…

On Tuesday, I am sharing my book review of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling. Before we get into the month-end wrap-up and reading list for October, I wanted to share another review with you.

I have quite a back-list, and it was good to pin my thoughts down on this second book of the series. I decided to re-read these books as an adult to see how they differed from my initial impression of reading them as a teenager. If you want to find out my thoughts, check out that post on Tuesday!

On Saturday, I will be sharing my month and wrap-up post. Normally I would post on a Friday, but as Friday is the very last day of the month, I could make further reading progress. So, to make sure I cover the whole month in my wrap-up, I will be sharing this post on Saturday instead.

That’s everything from me in today’s Sunday Summary post!

What have you been reading this week?

 

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Shelf Control #54 – 23/09/2022

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

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

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

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

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

 

Dark Matter – Blake Crouch

Genre: Science-fiction

Pages: 352

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Crown

Publication Date: 26 Jul 2016

 

 

Goodreads – Dark Matter

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

“Are you happy with your life?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

My Thoughts…

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Shelf Control #52 – 19/08/2022

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

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

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

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

Here are the details for today’s book: –

 

Sleeping Beauties – Steven King & Owen King

Genre: Horror / Thriller / Dystopia

Pages: 702

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Scribner

Publication Date: 26 Sep 2017

 

 

Goodreads – Sleeping Beauties

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

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

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

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

 

My Thoughts…

Reviews for this particular book are a mixed bag.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Monthly Wrap-Up – June 2022

Welcome to my monthly wrap-up post covering all the books I read in June. I came so, so close to finishing this month’s TBR on time; in the end, I finished my last book on the 1st of July. I’m really happy despite that though!

I knew at the beginning of this month that I wasn’t going to be reading quite so much towards the end, as I had an exam on the 29th of June to prepare for. Perhaps that is why I ended up reading so much at the beginning of the month. I also managed to squeeze in a couple of audiobooks too!

My TBR for June was a little bit different, as I couldn’t decide what to pick up and read. I had one commitment, which I ended up setting as my only ‘fixed’ book on my TBR. The rest, I pencilled in provisionally but allowed myself the option to change. Incidentally, I didn’t change any of the books, but it was nice that I have the flexibility if I wanted to. And I think I needed that. Clearly it has worked out very well for me as I’ve made very good progress this month. I’m very happy with where I’m at with my reading.

I’m considering taking this approach a bit more in future; but I’m certainly going to try it out again to see if it continues to work for me.

 

Books Read

Wolf of Mercia

Genre: Historical fiction

Pages: 346

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Boldwood Books

Publication Date: 7 Jun 2022

Stars: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

 

My first priority of this month was to read my only ‘fixed’ book of the month, Wolf of Mercia by MJ Porter. I had agreed to take part in a blog tour for this sequel; the first book I read earlier this year. The thing I love the most about this series is that it offers a unique perspective in a period of history where violence is almost expected. Our protagonist Icel does not relish battle or even killing in his own defence, but in this sequel we got to see a new side of him – one that acknowledges his duty, but also sticks to his roots of healing people wherever he can.

If you enjoy books like Bernard Cornwell’s The Last Kingdom, then this is something I would recommend to you. I picked up this series initially because of my love of that, and it really works for me!

 

Norse Mythology

Genre: Mythology; short stories

Pages: 283

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Publication Date: 6 Mar 2018

Stars:🌟🌟🌟🌟

 

After Wolf of Mercia, I swiftly moved on to Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman. I wanted to pick up this book, however, I will admit I was sceptical as to whether I would like it or not. I haven’t had the best experience with books written by Neil Gaiman overall. However, Norse Mythology really worked for me.

Perhaps it is because this book is his own retelling of classic norse stories that this ended up being really safe ground. I enjoyed how these were written. Given that the book is just a collection of short stories, it was a very quick read for me; I managed to read it in just a couple of days. I was pleasantly surprised!

 

Assassin’s Apprentice

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 392

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Harper Voyager UK

Publication Date: 27 Mar 2014

Stars:🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

 

I have been meaning to try Robin Hobb’s books for such a long time, but never quite gotten around to them. However, I finally did it and I am so glad I’ve taken the plunge! These books have come highly recommended in general, but also more specifically from friends of mine.

One of the main elements I look at with fantasy books is character and world-building. These boxes were well and truly ticked in Assassin’s Apprentice, and I really enjoyed the storyline that unfolded in this book. It had elements of magic that I really liked, but also hints at the wider storyline that I trust will unfold throughout Hobb’s ‘The Realm of the Elderlings’ books.

From very early on in the narrative, we as the reader are sympathetic towards Fitz. He is a royal bastard who is left with his father‘s man Burrich as a child. He does not fit in to life at court and so he remains largely unacknowledged… but when he is, it’s not really for the better either.

I really enjoyed this book and I’m going to be continuing with this series very, very soon!

 

The Appeal

Genre: Mystery, Thriller

Pages: 428

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Viper

Publication Date: 14 Jan 2021

Stars: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

 

The biggest selling point for me about The Appeal is that the story is told through written communications between characters. If you are looking for something that is not traditional prose, then this format is one I’d recommend you try. I really liked this change of pace, and the storyline behind the emails/messages etc between the characters is engaging in and of its own right!

The beginning of the story is a bit of a slow burn. You go into it knowing that a murder has taken place, however it does not take place until a significant way through a narrative. I expected it to happen a little bit sooner, however it comes about that the context and events we see occur in the beginning are very much relevant to what happens in the end.

What is also clever about the way this is written is that you have to read into the subtext. These people meet in person and there are interactions that we don’t see in between, but can only speculate as to what occurs. As it turns out, there is a lot more going on under the surface and whilst there were some twists I did anticipate, there were others I did not at all! This was another fantastic read, and I cannot believe that this is a debut.

I will definitely be continuing with this author’s work!

 

Skyward

Genre: Science-fiction

Pages: 513

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Gollancz

Publication Date: 6 Nov 2018

Stars: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

 

I started reading Skyward on or around the 20th June, so this is the book I read the slowest over the course of the month. However, as I mentioned above, this was expected with my exam. Just because it was read the slowest, it does not mean I did not enjoy it!

Skyward is quite different to all the other Brandon Sanderson books I have read to date. Where they have sat firmly in the fantasy genre, Skyward is (expectedly) very hard leaning into the science-fiction genre. It is also written for a young adult audience. Some people have said they felt the writing was dumbed down a little, but I didn’t pick up on this too much. The nature of our protagonist definitely appeals to a younger audience, and perhaps the plot line is a little bit less sophisticated than some of his other fantasy books. But, other than that, I felt this read just as well.

I already have a copy of the sequel, Starsight, on my bookshelves just begging to be read.

 

Knight’s Shadow

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 606 (20hrs 6mins audio)

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Jo Fletcher Books

Publication Date: 5 Mar 2015

Stars: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

 

During the month of June I started listening to Knight’s Shadow by Sebastien de Castell again. I had started this audiobook previously, but I go through phases with audiobooks and I will binge-listen for a while, then practically stop completely. It’s a cycle that comes and goes, and I’m finally back in the ‘listening’ phase.

Even though it had been a little minute since I first started this audiobook, I was able to pick it up again really easily. The storyline and what has happened previously is unique and so it was very easy to return to the world and remember what has gone before.

I really enjoy the storyline and the witty perspective of our protagonist. I had no idea how this particular book was going to play out, after the events of the first book in series. However, it was written very well and it was a pleasure to listen to. I feel a grander storyline coming into play in comparison to the first book. As a fan of epic fantasy, this obviously appeals to me!

 

Hell

Genre: Non-fiction; memoir 

Pages: 272 (7hrs 6mins audio)

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Pan Books

Publication Date: 24 Jul 2003

Stars: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

 

The second audiobook listened to this month was completed in full, although admittedly, it only weighs in at about seven hours of listening time. Honestly, if it hadn’t been recommended to me I probably wouldn’t have picked it up. However, I’m glad I did!

This is the first prison diary written by Jeffrey Archer, and it recounts his experience of being imprisoned in HMP Belmarsh. This was a bit of an eye-opener for me. It’s not the kind of non-fiction book you would expect to pick up. However, the author’s experience of being imprisoned here, for a charge far less severe than that of his inmates, goes to show the unfairness and inefficiencies of the British legal system.

There are further prison diaries that the author wrote during his time, and I will also be listening to these in the future.

 

That is a lot of books to feature in one monthly wrap-up post! I had originally planned to share my mid-year review at the same time as this post. However, it’s already long enough, so I’m going to split that back out again and share that in the next day or two.

What have you been reading this month? Have you got any good book recommendations? Have you read any of the books I’ve featured today? As always, I’d love to hear from you!

 

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Sunday Summary – 3rd July 2022

Good evening everyone – it is the end of yet another week and so it’s time for my Sunday Summary update! This week’s blogging schedule didn’t quite go to plan, for reasons I’ll explain below. However, all-in-all, it has been a very good week and I have some good personal news to share!

I sat an exam for a professional qualification on Wednesday this week, which I’m pleased to say I passed! Naturally, this meant that last-minute revision was my focus for the first couple of days of the week. Consequently, that means I haven’t gotten as much reading done as I normally do, but also, it threw off my blogging schedule a little.

I originally planned to share a book review at the beginning of the week, and a mid-year review later on in the week. In the end, my book review for Dune by Frank Herbert went out on Thursday, later than scheduled. This is purely because I ended up putting in some more revision time last minute, and then after I had sat the exam I wanted to give myself a bit of a well-earned break. As a result, my mid-year review has not been shared, but you can expect this very, very soon.

 

Books Read

For reasons explained above, I haven’t read as much as I would in a typical week. I am pleased to report though that I finished reading Skyward by Brandon Sanderson last night.

I really liked this book as it is very different from the other books I have read by this author. A lot of his other works have a lot of magic/fantastical elements interwoven into them. But where Skyward differs is that it leans very hard into the science-fiction genre rather than fantasy. That made it a completely different experience for me. You could also tell through the writing style that it is targeting a young adult audience, rather than an adult one. However, I really enjoyed this. I feel like a lot of young teenagers could really get on Spensa’s angsty teenager wavelength and relate to her as our protagonist.

Yet another five-star rating for a Brandon Sanderson novel!

I’ve also made some further progress with listening to Northern Lights by Philip Pullman. Most of my progress in this audiobook was made on Thursday and Friday this week. I have been doing some other bits and pieces after my exam and listening to this audiobook fit in nicely with that. I am now approximately halfway through this audiobook. It’s not a long one, so progress is going to be quite quick. I may not get it all listened to in the next week, but perhaps the following one.

The feelings I shared about this audiobook have not changed since last week. The casting of characters for this one just doesn’t see it with me, and Lyra’s voice actor is very frustrating to listen to. I’ve also seen a review of this audiobook in which somebody else says the exact same thing, so I’m not the only one!

 

Books Discovered

I’ve added one book to my reading list this week, having heard about it from Kaytee on the Currently Reading podcast. She has read this book recently, and her set-up of what the book was about really appealed to me! The book is set in Thailand and aimed at a middle-grade audience, but it has elements of magical realism (which appeals to my fantasy-loving self) and is loosely based on the story of Les Miserables. I thought that was a really unique combination, and the plot itself has drawn me in. I can’t wait to pick this one up for myself, as it’s very different from some of the other books I would usually read!

 

Coming Up…

Early this week I will be sharing my mid-year review post as originally planned last week. However, due to timing constraints, I’ve decided to combine this with my typical month-end wrap-up as well! The format will be much like my end-of-April review, in which I did my usual wrap-up and then inserted a commentary about my progress with my Goodreads challenge etc.

With it being the beginning of a new month I also have a Reading List to share with you. Now that my exam is over I am keen to dive into more books; I have quite a varied list to share with you this month, and I can’t wait for you to see it!

Next Sunday I will be back with my usual Sunday Summary wrap-up, talking about the books I’ve been reading/listening to and all my bookish updates.

For now, though, that’s all from me in today’s Sunday Summary. Have you been reading anything interesting lately?

 

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Book Review: Dune – Frank Herbert

Today’s book review is slightly later than scheduled as I had an exam on Wednesday that I was preparing for. I’m pleased to say that all my efforts were worth it and I passed!

I’m looking forward to sharing today’s review of Dune by Frank Herbert. It is a book I really enjoyed reading earlier this year and is the introduction to a grand science-fiction series but I’m looking forward to exploring in more detail!

 

Dune – Frank Herbert

Genre: Science-fiction

Pages: 577

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Hodder

Publication Date: 16/07/2015

Rating: ****

 

Goodreads – Dune

Melange, or ‘spice’, is the most valuable – and rarest – element in the universe; a drug that does everything from increasing a person’s life-span to making intersteller travel possible. And it can only be found on a single planet: the inhospitable desert world Arrakis.

Whoever controls Arrakis controls the spice. And whoever controls the spice controls the universe.

When the Emperor transfers stewardship of Arrakis from the noble House Harkonnen to House Atreides, the Harkonnens fight back, murdering Duke Leto Atreides. Paul, his son, and Lady Jessica, his concubine, flee into the desert. On the point of death, they are rescued by a band for Fremen, the native people of Arrakis, who control Arrakis’ second great resource: the giant worms that burrow beneath the burning desert sands.

In order to avenge his father and retake Arrakis from the Harkonnens, Paul must earn the trust of the Fremen and lead a tiny army against the innumerable forces aligned against them.

And his journey will change the universe.

 

My Thoughts…

Having just read a science-fiction novel before reading Dune, I was excited to immediately pick up another. It’s a genre I am reading a lot more of. But where my prior read, The Feedback Loop, was light and palatable, Dune offered me a fantasy-esque epicness I love! I had sampled of the first few pages of the book casually before, so I had an idea of what I was committing to reading. And yet, it became so much more! Dune was plenty I hoped for, and then some more.

This book is a science-fiction on a grand scale. There is a vast amount of history in world-building that is incorporated even as the opening chapters unfold. It is clear that a lot of investment was put into the characters backstory, and it is entertaining to uncover as the main story begins. There is a lot of familial conflict and resentment that drive the plot. Think of Game of Thrones, but in space! It’s a complex web of alliances and forces, but without being too difficult to follow.

The events that take place are consistent within the universe created and the flow of the narrative is impressive. There are also elements of mystical powers and magic to the story, which I really enjoyed. As a huge fantasy fan, this really appealed to me, although unfortunately the book employed some fantasy tropes I am less than enthusiastic for.

Our protagonist Paul is his mother’s son, and much more besides. Jessica is Bene Gesserit, part of an exclusive sisterhood who have trained themselves to acquire and hone magical abilities. We discover very early on that Paul has inherited these abilities, and Jessica has been training him to control them. What I really didn’t like, however, is that boys are not supposed to have the magical power that Paul does. But of course, Paul having this ability makes him *much better* than women who have it.

Obviously… Why is this gender difference a thing?

There is another character for whom I think the author did injustice, and that is our villain, Baron Harkonnen. Described as so grossly fat that he cannot support his own weight every time he appears in the narrative, Frank Herbert shows an obvious prejudice that he employs to paint this already immoral character in an even worse light. This isn’t the worst though. Around 200 pages in, I feel like the author challenges to make Baron Harkonnen even more of a villain, and decided to do so by making him gay. Bear in mind the book was originally published in 1965, and in this sense it definitely shows its age. Society has a very different attitude now to that which was present when the book was published – and certainly for the better!

Whilst I didn’t love every aspect of the book, overall I enjoyed it very much and added the sequel to my TBR immediately after finishing it (which I have since gone and read). No book is ever perfect, and the great elements outweigh the few gripes I have. It’s an entertaining science-fiction read all the same, and a bit of a classic, so I hope that you will give it a chance for yourself!

Have you read Dune, or any other books in the series? Have you watched the recent film that was released? I’d love to hear in the comments!

 

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Sunday Summary – 26th June 2022

Hello and welcome to this week’s Sunday Summary post. I’m looking forward to sharing all my bookish updates with you from this week! I hope you have had a good one as well?

My first blog post of the week was a Top Ten Tuesday post. In that post, I talked about my top ten bookish wishes, or books that I have my eye on acquiring next. I really enjoyed writing about the books I have in mind, and also to set down how I want to acquire a copy of each book as well. It stops me buying them willy-nilly and in the wrong format.

Later in the week I shared a First Lines Friday post. I didn’t set myself a challenge for this week’s feature, but I enjoyed that. I had free rein to choose whatever I liked, and this week’s feature is one that also happened to feature in my top ten bookish wishes post. I’m also very particular on getting a physical copy of this book, as it’s not written in prose. It’s a compilation of various different types of documents, so there’s a lot more visuality to it. Can you guess the book from the opening lines?

 

Books Read

As of last week’s Sunday Summary update I had just started Skyward by Brandon Sanderson. I was a humble 36 pages in and already hooked by protagonist Spensa‘s history and upcoming struggles.

My reading progress has slowed down a little bit this week, but I expected that. I have an exam coming up next week and I’ve been prioritising my revision for that. Even so, I’ve still managed to read a respectable 280 pages. That’s over half of the book, so I’m really happy with my progress. I’m hoping that I’ll still manage to get this finished before the end of the month, meaning that I will finish my first monthly TBR this year. We’ll see if that pans out though – I won’t be mad if I don’t quite get there. 

I have also made very good progress with audiobooks this week. I’ve talked about my hit and miss relationship with audiobooks, but I’m definitely in a phase of listening to them. This week I have been listening to a book that I wouldn’t have picked up if it had not been recommended to me. A colleague at work recommended Jeffrey Archer’s prison diaries to me. They were free to download from Audible at the time.

This week I’ve listened to the first book, Hell, in its entirety. Listening to this book really worked out for me. I am conscious of the fact I don’t read much non-fiction, and I’m trying to change that. Even then, I read or listen to any kind of biography even less often. I couldn’t tell you the last time I picked up a biography or autobiography. So, this gave me a great opportunity to break that habit. I’ll admit I didn’t have much prior knowledge of the events that happened in this book and so it was an eye-opener for me. It’s also a reasonably short listen (7 hours or so), which is why I managed to get through it in just one week.

I’ve also started a second audiobook this week, albeit a very different subject. Falling back into semi-familiar territory, I have started listening to Philip Pullman‘s Northern Lights, the first book of the ‘His Dark Materials’ series. I’m approximately 20% through this one as of this update post. I’m liking the story so far, although I have a couple of small gripes.

The book is predominantly narrated by Philip Pullman himself, but any character’s speech is narrated by somebody else (each character is separately cast). I would personally prefer for the audiobook not to have a full cast and to be narrated by just one person. Some people like audiobooks with a full cast as it helps distinguish between characters. However, it’s not working for me here. Not only that, but the person who is a voice actor for Lyra has a voice that really grates on me! I won’t let it deter me from the rest of the book though!

 

Books Discovered

I’m cursing myself once again for not making a note of where I’ve discovered this week’s addition to my TBR. I was convinced I had seen it on an email, but I’ve not been able to find my source again. Regardless, I added Against All Gods by Miles Cameron as I really like the sound of it! The synopsis of the book reminds me of Terry Pratchett, and I’ll explain why.

In the Discworld series, there is a bit of a parody with gods moving human beings like pieces on a chess board. If you read the synopsis of against all gods, then you’ll see why it reminded me of this: –

The gods play their games, looking down on the mortal realm and moving men as pawns. Sacrificing lives, towns, even civilisations as they make moves against each other, oblivious to and uncaring of the suffering it causes.

They are above it all: worshipped, emulated and admired.

Yet there is one among them who exists to sow chaos, to challenge the way of things, and to stir up trouble. One who sees the gods growing indolent and contented and selfish . . . and who is ready to meddle in the world of men. Not as part of the immortal game, but because they believe it’s possible for men to challenge . . . and even topple . . . the gods themselves.

An epic which draws on the Greek mythology of gods and heroes, this new trilogy is a must read for fans of Dan Simmons and Madeline Miller alike.

So, I am sure you can see why this appeals.

It’s an epic fantasy book that has just been released, and I also like that the gods draw on Greek mythology. I have read some other books based on Greek mythology before, so I do have a foundation of who the characters are. I’m looking forward to see how all these different elements mash together!

 

Coming Up…

I’d like to start off this week by sharing a book review with you; I have plenty of books that I am still yet to review. However, to make my life easier (because of the upcoming exam), I’m going to be reviewing something I’ve read this year. That way, my thoughts are fresh in my mind, but also I’ve been writing down my thoughts shortly after reading books. Therefore, I’ve got most of review already written and ready to go.

This week, I am going to be sharing my thoughts on Dune by Frank Herbert. My choice of reviewing this book is also because I have since gone on to read additional books in the series. I don’t want to get so far behind as I have with other series that I’m having to go back too far.

Friday is the 1st of July, and we will be over halfway through 2022! With that in mind, later this week I’d like to take a look at my reading progress throughout the year so far, review my reading goals and have a chat about my upcoming plans for the second half of the year.

And as always, I will be back this time next week with another Sunday Summary update post.

I hope you have enjoyed today’s update! What have you been reading?

 

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First Lines Friday – 24/06/2022

Welcome to today’s First Lines Friday post! First Lines Friday is a regular (typically fortnightly) series on my blog. It’s a fun way to share books I love, those I am interested in and/or are on my TBR… or even just to experiment with something new!

For this week‘s First Lines Friday post, I decided to keep my subject open. Whilst it is fun to set myself a challenge sometimes, I didn’t have any inspiration or idea as to what I wanted to do. So, I kept it open and I’ve had a good long think; I’m really happy with the book I’ve chose to feature today.

Can you guess what it is?

 

 


Memorandum for: Executive Director Frobisher

From: Ghost ID (#6755–4181–2584–1597–9 87–610–377-ERROR-ERROR…)

Incept: 01/29/76

Subject: Alexander dossier

___________________________________________________

So here’s the file that almost killed me, Director.

I won’t bore you with the tally of databases plundered, light-years jumped, or cute, sniffling orphans created in its compilation – our fee already reflects Level Of Difficulty. But this dirt is out there, if you know where to look. It seems your cleanup crews weren’t quite as thorough as you’d like, and your little corporate war isn’t quite a secret as you’d hoped.

 

 

 

Illuminae – Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Goodreads – Illuminae

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival mega-corporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than a speck at the edge of the universe. Now with enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra — who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to evacuate with a hostile warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A plague has broken out and is mutating with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a web of data to find the truth, it’s clear the only person who can help her is the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents — including emails, maps, files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more — Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

 

My Thoughts…

I’ve had my eye on this book for some time. The story is told through a compilation of correspondence and documentation as opposed to traditional prose, which interests me. This is something I’ve read and enjoyed recently (The Appeal by Janice Hallett). Given that I liked this one as much as I did, I can’t wait to try another book in this format. I’ve already decided, given the format, that I want a physical copy of this book/series. I talked about this in my top ten bookish wishes post earlier this week

I’m also a fan of Jay Kristoff. I first listened to his Nevernight Chronicles trilogy, and from there fell in love. I’ve gone on to purchase physical copies of these books to read again, and more recently, purchased and read Empire of the Vampire. This is my favourite read of 2022 so far, so I’m really excited to pick up something new by him.

Collaborations with other authors can be a bit hit and miss, but as I haven’t read anything by Amie Kaufman yet, I don’t feel like I can judge. I will just have to see how this goes! If I go on to enjoy these books then I have another series I can pick up that is co-authored by this duo. It’s a young adult science-fiction novel, which I feel like will be up my street! Especially considering I am reading a young adult science-fiction book by Brandon Sanderson at the moment, and really enjoying it. 

 

I hope you have enjoyed today’s First Lines Friday post! Have you read Illuminae, the rest of the series or any of the other books also written by these authors? I’d love to know in the comments!

 

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Sunday Summary – 19th June 2022

Good evening and welcome to my Sunday Summary update post! I hope all you amazing Dads out there have had a lovely Father’s Day and been spoilt!

I started off this week with sharing a discussion post, the topic being about getting out of your comfort zone when reading. It has been a little while since I drafted a post of this type and I enjoyed doing so. It ended up being quite a long post, in which I discussed ways you could push your boundaries, shared why that’s benefited me and how I plan to continue getting out of my comfort zone.

Later in the week, I returned to my usual Friday feature posts. This week, I shared a Shelf Control post and featured a book that has been on my TBR since 2018. It is a ‘new to me’ author, even though they are prominent in the genre. If you want to find out more, you can do so with the link above.

 

Books Read

As of my last Sunday Summary update I had just started The Appeal by Janice Hallett. I was approximately 25 pages in and really looking forward to diving into this book.

I read the book in its entirety in four days! The format of the story was fantastic! I love how it was told through correspondence between characters. As a reader, it makes you read between the lines and try to decipher the subtext. After all, we only see the online interactions and not what happens in person.

I also really enjoyed the complexity of the characters and the storyline. As far as the murder mystery goes, this kind of book shows you that it can be very obscure. Every character had a motive or a reason to be involved or not trusted. The story was very complex, but at the same time easy to follow and very intriguing! The way it has been written was very cleverly done and I personally enjoyed the change of pace!

I had a little break from reading for a few days, however I started my next and last ‘official’ book on my TBR today. For half an hour or so before going to visit my parents, I read the 36 pages of Skyward by Brandon Sanderson. It’s a solid introduction to this book so far and I can’t wait to see how the story progresses.

In the prologue and first three chapters, the history of the main character Spensa has been established, and from there I expect a wonderful story of what is apparently a very stubborn girl determined to fight against the prejudice she experiences. I can’t wait to dive into this one more and I’ll have more to tell you in next week’s update.

Lastly, I finished Knight’s Shadow by Sebastien de Castell this week. I have gone from listening to practically nothing to a complete switch around and managed to finish an audiobook! I really enjoyed this second instalment to the series. I had no idea how some of the complications the characters were having were going to resolve themselves, But I really enjoyed how this was done!

 

Books Discovered

I have added a couple of books to my TBR this week. Both are very different from each other, which only goes to show how different my reading taste is.

The first book is written by Margaret Atwood, called Alias Grace. I’ll admit that I hadn’t heard of this book before until I discovered it in a video by @schulerbooks on TikTok. Yes, I have joined TikTok for the bookish community there! I really like the description of the book and the video I found prompted me to find out more. Consequently, I added this to my reading list as I think I’ll really enjoy this one. I like the unreliable narrator trope, which is a prominent feature in this book.

After some consideration I have added The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake to my reading list. I’ve seen quite a few people talking about this book, but most prominently from one booktuber I follow who really enjoys the dark academia theme/genre. This book falls into that category and as she loves it so much, I’m willing to give it a go!

 

Coming Up…

I like the idea of this week’s Top Ten Tuesday post, which is top ten bookish wishes. The idea is to share the top ten books you would like to own and if you set up a Wishlist on Amazon, provide a link to it so people can get a copy to you if they want to purchase it for you. I’m not going to do this; if I want a book I’ll buy it myself, or ask for a copy from family as a gift for an occasion. So, I won’t be adding the wish list, but I will be talking about the top ten books on my TBR that I want to own next!

On Friday I will be sharing a First Lines Friday post. The last few times I have done this type of post I have set myself a challenge. I don’t have anything in particular in mind and so this week I’m going to keep it open and decide which book to feature later in the week.

And last, but certainly not least, I’ll be back with a Sunday Summary post this time next week with all my fresh updates for you!

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

 

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Sunday Summary – 5th June 2022

Good evening and welcome today’s Sunday Summary update post. Wherever you are and whatever you have been doing, I hope you’ve had a fabulous week doing it!

This week we have seen off one month and commenced another, and so naturally I have shared my Monthly Wrap-Up for May 2022, as well as my Monthly TBR for June. All in all, I’m really happy with my reading progress throughout May. I didn’t quite get to all the books on my TBR, but I have read a significant amount!

I’ve decided to take a slightly different approach to my June TBR. Whereas normally I set a longer list of fixed reads, with a couple of mood reads on the end, I’ve changed that up this month. I have been in a very changeable mood and have rewritten my TBR several times before posting it. Knowing that is how my mindset is working at the moment, I’ve decided to allow a lot more fluidity in my book choices this month.

If you want to find out my full thoughts on either my wrap-up or my TBR for June, you could find links to those posts above!

 

Books Read

I have had a fantastic reading week and I’m really pleased that something has clicked for me. Across a range of books, I’ve read 850 pages this week!

I started the week by continuing with my current read from last week’s Sunday Summary update, which was Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert. As of that update post, I had made a comfortable start of 73 pages with the book. I read the remaining 220 pages during the first half of this week. I didn’t quite finish the book in time for my monthly wrap-up post going live on Wednesday evening, but I was only 40 pages or so off! I finished it that night after FaceTiming my sister.

Next, I moved swiftly onto the first book on my June TBR, and the only fixed book I’ve set. I have been reading Wolf of Mercia by MJ Porter in time for a blog tour post that you will be seeing very soon. I wanted to make sure I started this in plenty of time to finish it and have my review ready, and I read this in its entirety this week. I must admit, I wasn’t expecting to read it this quickly, but I’m not complaining either!

I’ve really enjoyed going back to the series, having picked up from reading Son of Mercia, the first book in the series, earlier this year. There is a lot of character development that happens in and between the books of the series, and that’s one of the highlights for me. If you want to find out my thoughts on the book, keep an eye out on my blog next week for my full review!

The next book on my TBR has also been read in full this week; I finished reading this one this morning. I wasn’t sure what to expect with Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman. I’ve had a bit of a rocky relationship with his books and his writing style.

I wanted to read this book because I had a physical copy that I purchased years ago, but I also wanted to give him one last chance. His retellings of Norse Mythology seemed like fairly safe ground, and that proved to be the case. Against expectations, I enjoyed this book. Not only did I really get on with the writing style, but I actually enjoyed the nature of it, and how it was a collection of many short stories. I’m not a mythology expert in the slightest, so it was nice to learn more about the Norse gods I have heard about.

As of writing this update post, I’m technically between books at the moment. However, I’ll be picking up Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb once this post goes live, so this is what I’ll be making progress on over the course of the next week.

 

Books Discovered

I proudly told my sister on Wednesday that I had resisted the temptation to go to our local Waterstones, and that I had been good. That was Wednesday. I caved today.

I wanted to go in and pick up a paperback copy of my now current read, Assassin’s Apprentice. I’ve seen a number of recommendations for this book and series, but perhaps the recommendation with more weight comes from my friend Rachael. She absolutely loves Robin Hobb and this series and I have every confidence that I’m going to as well.

Typically, I will purchase copies of books on my kindle in the first instance, but I will buy physical books if I really love the series or author. I’m confident this is going to be the case, so that’s why I went and bought myself a physical copy of this one.

I also purchased a second book whilst I was in there – Master of Sorrows by Justin Call. I have seen recommendations for this book by Ashleigh at A Frolic Through Fiction. Ashleigh has been reading the second book of the series recently, and she has spoken of the series very highly. For that reason, I’ve decided to give this one a go!

I have added one further book to my TBR this week at the recommendation of my sister’s boyfriend Chris. He recently picked up a copy of The Maidens by Alex Michaelides, as it is one of Waterstones book of the month picks. I read and really enjoyed another book by this author several years ago – The Silent Patient. I in turn recommended this one to Chris, as I read The Silent Patient in about 24 hours – it was that good!

 

Coming Up…

I’ve had a little bit of a debate as to what to post early next week on my blog. I have a review coming up shortly, so I want to keep the topic light. I don’t particularly like this week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme, so I will be making use of a book tag idea I’ve had banked for the occasion. I will be drafting a version of ‘The Last Book I… Book Tag’. I originally saw this over on Dini Panda Read’s blog, so I will be linking to that as the inspiration post and I will be answering the same questions in my post next week.

As I alluded to earlier, I will be taking part in a blog tour for Wolf of Mercia by MJ Porter on Friday next week. If you are a fan of historical fiction, or even if you just like the sound of a book set around the time when Vikings occupied Britain, this is something I recommend you check out! I would suggest similar books to these (as a reference point) are Bernard Cornwell‘s The Saxon Stories (aka The Last Kingdom). If you want to find out what my thoughts were on the first book of the series, Son of Mercia, here is the link so you can read up on it ahead of time.

And finally, I’ll be back with a Sunday Summary update at the usual time, in which I’ll share my reading progress with you and recap my week.

That’s all from me in today’s Sunday Summary update post. Now I’m off to pick up Assassin’s Apprentice. What have you been reading this week? Do you have any good book recommendations?

I look forward to seeing you in my next post!

 

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