Tag: sci-fi

Top Ten Tuesday – Books I Meant to Read In 2020 but Didn’t Get To

Hey guys and welcome to today’s Top Ten Tuesday post! Today’s topic is Books I Meant to Read In 2020 but Didn’t Get To… and if that doesn’t sum up 2020 for me then I don’t know what does! I made ambitious plans last January, ignorant of how the year was going to pan out for me. I’ve already talked about the reasons a lot, but ultimately I didn’t meet any of my goals.

The most important goal in relation to today’s post was my aim to read the 25 oldest books on my TBR. I made a noble attempt and managed to read 7 in full, but I also DNF’d 3. A lot of these were old additions to the TBR… we’re talking 2014/2015 when I first started using Goodreads. That’s why I wanted to get around to them, but also to see if my reading taste has changed. If anything, I think I’m a lot more open to different genres when I was then. Some of the books added were pushing the boat out on what I normally read so I’m happy to accept some of the DNF’s. Others had every right to be firm favourites but just didn’t work for me at all (Good Omens by Terry Pratchett – I’m looking at you!)

So, as you can see I have plenty of material for the Top Ten I didn’t get around to! I also wanted to write this post about it as my new goal for this year is to pick up where I left off and read more exclusively from the TBR… no ARCs, no new review requests etc. So, which ones am I looking forward to the most? Let’s get into it! Rather than a paragraph for each book, I’ve split my ten into genres groups that I’ll talk more generally about.

 

Fantasy

 

It’s hardly surprising that a number of books on this list are from the fantasy genre. As a teenager, it was pretty much all I read. These books are all by authors I love. I have already read at least three books by each and I’m confident that I’m going to really enjoy the books listed above. Brandon Sanderson and Stephen King I have read more recently. It has been a number of years since I read a book by Mark Lawrence, so I’m excited to get stuck in!

I think it’s funny that I am coming to this Stephen King novel now having read several of his other books in different genres. I’m pretty sure I added The Talisman with the intention of using it as a ‘step into’ trying his writing before exploring his more extensive horror genre books! Look how that worked out!

 

Science-fiction

 

Science-fiction is another genre that pops up again and again. I didn’t read a lot of it when I was younger, but I definitely have a healthier appreciation for it now. I added Dune to my TBR after being gifted a copy for my birthday a few years ago. I’m glad it was given to me as I really like the sound of it. I have had an experimental skeet at the first few pages before and I’m hopeful I’ll be enjoying this one too.

The Feedback Loop is quite short compared to my average read, but still, I love the sound of the plot. It will be the first thing I have read by this author too, so it’ll be a completely new experience for me.

 

Classics

 

If someone had told me ten years ago that one day I would be reading classics by choice, I’d have laughed at you. If you also told me that I’d re-read and come to enjoy the classic novels I hated studying for school, I wouldn’t believe you. And yet, I am reading them. For the most part, I am enjoying them. I’ve only DNF’d one so far and that’s The Catcher in the Rye. I’m not put off by this though and I’m looking forward to trying more classics!

 

Historical Fiction

I love historical fiction novels too, so their inclusion on this list shouldn’t be a surprise either! The two locations and time periods for each book’s setting are very different, but I have read similar books before that I’ve really enjoyed them. The Book Thief is set in Nazi Germany in WW2 and Hild in 7th century Britain.

WW2 is one of my favourite historical time periods to read about. You could call it a bit of morbid fascination given the atrocities real people lived through in these times. It’s horrible to think about but equally, I think novels set in this period have a lot to tell us. It’s a reminder not to make the same mistakes again.

 

So, those are my Top Ten Books I Meant to Read In 2020 but Didn’t Get To. Have you read any of them, or do you intend to in 2021?

 

 

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Promo Post: When The Children Come – Barry Kirwan

Hi guys and welcome to today’s promo post for When The Children Come by Barry Kirwan. You may recall I read another book from this author, The Dead Tell Lies, (under the alternative pen name of J F Kirwan), last year and I loved it! It’s for that reason that I knew I wanted to feature him back on the blog again and share the details of his new book in the hopes that you are interested in picking this book up. At around 300 pages, this is a pretty approachable length for anyone no matter how often you pick up a book normally.

As always, thank you to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the tour! Be sure to check out the posts also being shared by my fellow bloggers in the days to come. Details of those participating in the tour can be found at the end of the post.

And now, here are the details for When the Children Come!

 

When the Children Come – Barry Kirwan

When the children come by Barry Kirwan | Goodreads

Nathan, emotionally scarred after three tours in Afghanistan, lives alone in Manhattan until New Year’s Eve, when he meets Lara. The next morning, he notices something strange is going on – a terrified kid is being pursued by his father, and a girl, Sally, pleads with Nathan to hide her from her parents. There is no internet, no television, no phone coverage.

Nathan, Lara and Sally flee along the East Coast, encountering madmen, terrorists, the armed forces, and other children frightened for their lives. The only thing Nathan knows for sure is that he must not fall asleep…

A fantastic and original premise…flashes of Stephen King and MR Carey.” Tom Witcomb

A nicely taut thriller, with a Lee Child feel to its staccato writing and strong action sequences, and a high concept stretching the novel into true science fiction territory.” Amanda Rutter

Not just a page-turner – all in all a fabulous novel, which I was sad to finish.” Loulou Brown

 

Purchase Links – Amazon UK     Amazon US

 

Author Bio

I was born in Farnborough and grew up watching the Red Arrow jet fighters paint the sky at airshows. I didn’t get into writing until years later when I arrived in Paris, where I penned The Eden Paradox series (four books) over a period of ten years. My SF influences were Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Frank Herbert, and Orson Scott Card, but also David Brin who writes about smart aliens. Iain Banks and Alistair Reynolds remain major influences, as well as Neal Asher, Peter F Hamilton and Jack McDevitt.

My main SF premise is that if we do ever meet aliens, they’ll probably be far more intelligent than we are, and with very different values and ideas of how the galaxy works. As a psychologist by training, that interests me in terms of how to think outside our own (human) frame of reference.

When I’m not writing, I’m either working (my day job), which is preventing mid-air collisions, reading, or doing yoga or tai chi. When I’m on holiday I’m usually diving, looking for sharks. Most times I find them, or rather, they find me.

Social Media Links:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/EdenParadox 

Website:  www.barrykirwan.com

Twitter: @Eden_paradox

 

Blog Tour: Extract of Chroma – Oscar Wenman-Hyde

Hi guys and welcome to today’s blog tour post! Today I have the privilege of sharing an exclusive extract of Chroma by Oscar Wenman-Hyde with you. I really liked the sound of the book but unfortunately didn’t have the time to read and review the book myself. Instead, I am sharing a small snippet of the book with you, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I have!

If you want to read more after the extract, I’ll provide the details of the book for you.

Happy reading!

 

Extract

The following extract is from Chapter One of Chroma. Before the chapter, the book starts with three opening monologues on the Roberts family, Jean, Paul and Riley. Chapter One is the first time you get to meet Riley’s best friend Eli, and he tells you just as much about Riley as he does himself. These moments were heavily influenced by my childhood shenanigans, especially the description of the school and the low hung back packs!

Riley stands in the entrance of Lydean Junior School with his best friend Eli. They are both wearing the cutest rocket designed backpacks, with the shoulder straps lowered all the way down so that the bag hangs at the back of their knees. They still think this is how the cool kids do it, but if you take a good look around the playground, this phase seems to have worn off. Maybe their parents finally told them off for bad posture. Sadly, Riley and Eli didn’t get the memo and continue to rock the look like it’s two thousand and fifteen.

Riley’s mother Jean has just dropped him off and due to the rural nature of Lydean, it is not unusual to drop off an eight-year-old before the bell rings. In this town, everyone knows each other and looks out for one another.

The school itself has been built inside an old chapel, originally by the name of Christ Church in the eighteen hundreds. It has brick walls, moss growing around the edges, and a large dungeon looking wooden door which the children enter through. There are several teachers and playground assistants patrolling the playground, as dozens of kids already start to use their energy on football, tag, and for the girls, a gossip, they’re never too young! But Riley and Eli are different from the other children, they stand alone, just the two of them, whilst the other children all mingle with much larger friendship groups.

These two are clearly the outcasts and prefer to stand by the entrance of the school. They aren’t eager to go in, but they know that if anyone tries to pick on them or make fun of Eli’s weight, like they so often do, then most likely, a teacher will see it and give that so-called child a detention.

A detention in junior school doesn’t necessarily mean anything, because all they miss is five minutes of lunch time, but for a child that’s an eternity, because the other children have already adapted the hierarchy and decided who will be tag first. If a child misses even five minutes, then how do they know who to run from? They don’t. They’d be walking onto the playground, tiptoeing out onto the gravel as if they were coming out onto the German frontline, which is an even scarier thought for year fours who have just started learning about world war two.

For some children, this instils a sense of bravery, the ones that thrive in this situation are the ones most likely to go into a life of fighting, whether that be the military, pro-wrestling or just a back-alley brawl, after they’ve got hammered down the pub.

Eli and Riley want none of it, they just want to be left alone and live freely without the aspect of war and junior school politics, they don’t even want girlfriends, girls are gross! The two of them just want to nerd out on movies, tell each other stories, and eventually, without even meaning to, grow up without any damage. A difficult path to go down with the brutality of school.

Eli is a very unique person, and even though he acts like a movie buff try hard in front of Riley, he hasn’t seen half the movies Riley has because his mother isn’t as willing to bend the rules of cinema certificates, and we can’t blame her, a movie is an eighteen for a reason and Eli is only seven. However, that doesn’t stop him from further fuelling Riley. The thought of someone that knows much more than him is exhilarating, because every day is a surprise, and without even watching a zombie film, he already knows all the ways to kill one. The easy option is to stab it straight in the head, or if you want a bit of fun, you chop off all its limbs and then do it, but that would take skill and bravery, a job more suited to Riley.

However, much like Riley, none of these images or thoughts change Eli, he knows it’s all just part of his best friends’ imagination. Plus, if the apocalypse that Riley always goes on about does happen, Eli is sure he’ll be safe because he’ll have the most experienced and knowledgeable best friend in Lydean to look after him.

Eli’s mother Cecilia isn’t as keen on the Roberts family, but there’s not much she can do about it. Similar to Riley, Eli has no other friends. He is constantly being bullied for his weight, that his mother seemingly keeps encouraging with fish finger or turkey dinosaur dinners, with cheesy chips and beans. In her eyes, that is the perfect meal for a child, and Eli agrees, you can’t get much better than turkey dinosaurs!

But the real reason is that she just can’t cook, she’s tried again and again but always ends up coming back to the effort lacking, frozen food option, and anyway, if it makes Eli happy and fuels his appetite then it can’t be that bad.

One of the reasons why his mother Cecilia lets him continue to hang out with Riley, and let him be influenced by his madness, is because she knows how alone Eli has been since his father left their house a couple of years ago. She knows she can’t get him through it alone, and she believes that it is important for Eli to have a strong male figure in his life, even if that is an eight-year-old boy. Also, with the current circumstances of Riley’s family, she knows that Riley needs Eli just as much. Two boys with big imaginations need a big level of distraction from all the sadness they feel inside, and luckily for them, two brains are better than one.

 

 

Chroma – Oscar Wenman-Hyde

Chroma by Oscar Wenman-Hyde | Goodreads

When Riley watched Chroma, the latest movie by Armani Manora, he had no idea how much his life was about to change. Riley’s parents, Jean and Paul, are currently getting divorced, and they have managed to keep the situation hidden from Riley, until now.

They were unaware of the effects this was having on Riley’s emotional and mental well-being, and as tensions rose at school and at home, he was visited by a voice in his bedroom. Before too long, he began a journey that was not only dangerous, but eye opening.

Chroma explores the rapidly changing family dynamic throughout divorce, and how a child’s imagination can take them to unknown places. It is emotional, insightful and a moving story which not only teaches us how to be an adult, but how to be a child.

 

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Chroma-Oscar-Wenman-Hyde-ebook/dp/B08H5S1JTZ 

US – https://www.amazon.com/Chroma-Oscar-Wenman-Hyde-ebook/dp/B08H5S1JTZ

 

Author Bio

Oscar Wenman-Hyde is a writer living in Gloucester, UK. Born and raised in the quiet towns of North Devon, Oscar would spend the majority of his time as a child writing and directing short films with his brother and neighbours. From here, Oscar’s passion led him to explore all aspects of his creativity, by graduating with a BA Hons in Songwriting at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute. He now finds joy in all mediums of writing and although he has worked and trained in many areas, he is always inspired by film and remains grounded in storytelling.

Social Media Links –

 

 

Reading List – December 2020

Hi guys! Today I’m sharing my last reading list of 2020. Literally, where has this year gone? In some respects it isn’t a bad thing… but still. It doesn’t feel like Christmas should be just a few weeks away.

You may have noticed that my reading pace has dropped off the last few months. I’m not reading as much as I need to for a variety of reasons. I started the year planning to move, which I did in May. Since then, I’ve been putting in the work on the new place to redecorate, fix up and make it my own. In amongst all this, I’ve been studying for work-sponsored exams too. That in itself is quite a bit to juggle, but my blogging on top of that too? It’s a handful.

That’s why my reading and blogging has had to slow down a bit. I was getting a bit burned out with it, but I didn’t want to give it up. I still really enjoy reading and putting in the time to sharing my thoughts with you all, but I’ve had to find a more sustainable pace. Up until this month, I have been pretty ambitious in setting my reading lists and just carrying over what I don’t read. This month, that changes. I’ve come to accept that I am now reading less than I was… and that it’s okay. Maybe that will change again in future, and maybe not. It just depends on what else I’m doing.

This month’s list has a couple of carryovers from last month, plus one seasonal addition. Have you read any of these books?

 

Auxiliary: London 2039 – Jon Richter

Auxiliary: London 2039 by Jon Richter | Goodreads

The silicon revolution left Dremmler behind, but a good detective is never obsolete.

London is quiet in 2039—thanks to the machines. People stay indoors, communicating through high-tech glasses and gorging on simulated reality while 3D printers and scuttling robots cater to their every whim. Mammoth corporations wage war for dominance in a world where human augmentation blurs the line between flesh and steel.

And at the center of it all lurks The Imagination Machine: the hyper-advanced, omnipresent AI that drives our cars, flies our planes, cooks our food, and plans our lives. Servile, patient, tireless … TIM has everything humanity requires. Everything except a soul.

Through this silicon jungle prowls Carl Dremmler, police detective—one of the few professions better suited to meat than machine. His latest case: a grisly murder seemingly perpetrated by the victim’s boyfriend. Dremmler’s boss wants a quick end to the case, but the tech-wary detective can’t help but believe the accused’s bizarre story: that his robotic arm committed the heinous crime, not him. An advanced prosthetic, controlled by a chip in his skull.

A chip controlled by TIM.

Dremmler smells blood: the seeds of a conspiracy that could burn London to ash unless he exposes the truth. His investigation pits him against desperate criminals, scheming businesswomen, deadly automatons—and the nightmares of his own past. And when Dremmler finds himself questioning even TIM’s inscrutable motives, he’s forced to stare into the blank soul of the machine.

Auxiliary is gripping, unpredictable, and bleakly atmospheric—ideal for fans of cyberpunk classics like the Blade Runner movies, Richard K. Morgan’s Altered Carbon, William Gibson’s Neuromancer, and the Netflix original series Black Mirror.

 

I’m already a few chapters into Auxiliary and I can tell it’s a read I’m going to get on well with. I like the premise of the book and the narrative style is easy to read. The chapters are also nice and short so it’s easy to pick up. If you enjoy mystery and science-fiction genres, this might be one for you!

 

Brave New World – Aldous Huxley

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley | Goodreads

Brave New World is a dystopian novel by English author Aldous Huxley, written in 1931 and published in 1932. Largely set in a futuristic World State, inhabited by genetically modified citizens and an intelligence-based social hierarchy, the novel anticipates huge scientific advancements in reproductive technology, sleep-learning, psychological manipulation and classical conditioning that are combined to make a dystopian society which is challenged by only a single individual: the story’s protagonist.

 

Brave New World has been on my TBR for a number of years, and after watching the TV series recently, I decided it was the right time to pick the book up! I didn’t get around to reading Brave New World last month, so I will be reading the book this month instead.

 

Twas The Nightshift Before Christmas – Adam Kay

Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas by Adam Kay | Goodreads

Twas The Nightshift Before Christmas is the hilarious, poignant and entertaining story of the life of a junior doctor at the most challenging time of the year. With twenty-five tales of intriguing, shocking and incredible Christmas incidents, the British public will finally appreciate the sacrifices made and the challenges faced by the unsung heroes of the NHS.

Twas The Nightshift Before Christmas will be fully illustrated (as tastefully as possible) and will delight all of Adam’s fans throughout the festive period of Christmas 2019 and for many years to come.

 

I was introduced to Adam Kay earlier this year with This Is Going To Hurt by a colleague. The book was both heartbreaking and hilarious at the same time. I found out around the time I read it that there was a Christmas themed book also by him, so I have been planning on reading this book in December since then! If it’s every bit as good as This Is Going to Hurt, which I expect it will be, then this will be a great read to end the year.

 

So, that’s my reading list for the month! Have you read any of these books? What did you make of them if you have, or do you like the sound of them if you haven’t? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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Reading List – October 2020

Hello everyone and thank you for checking out my reading list post for October. I don’t know about you but I’m really starting to notice the nights are drawing in faster. I actually enjoy this time in autumn. It’s still light when I leave work, but by the time I’ve eaten and gotten cosy for the evening with a cup of tea, it’s dark. It makes you feel justified curling up with a good book!

Speaking of which, would you like to find out what I’m reading this month? I haven’t made an ambitious list this month. I’ll freely admit I lost a bit of steam last month and didn’t read half as much as I planned at the beginning in my reading list. Ultimately, reading is a hobby. I’m not going to force myself to read if I really don’t want to, and I didn’t.

This month I have a little less flexibility. Almost all of the books listed are books I’ve signed up to the blog tours for. The last two are actually touring in November, but very early in November. Let’s find out what they are!

 

Limelight – Graham Hurley

Goodreads – Limelight

Life is dangerous. No one survives it. Enora Andressen makes a series of mind-blowing discoveries when her friend disappears in this compelling thriller set in an idyllic Devon town.

Actress Enora Andressen is catching up with her ex-neighbour, Evelyn Warlock, who’s recently retired to the comely East Devon seaside town of Budleigh Salterton. The peace, the friendship of strangers and the town’s prestigious literary festival . . . Evelyn loves them all.

Until the September evening when her French neighbour, Christianne Beaucarne, disappears. Enora has met this woman. The two of them have bonded. But what Enora discovers over the anguished months to come will put sleepy Budleigh Salterton on the front page of every newspaper in the land . . .

Limelight is a completely gripping and fascinating thriller featuring strong characters forced to make impossible decisions, the impact of which will be felt far beyond their quiet town… Perfect for fans of JOHN HARVEY and PETER ROBINSON.

What readers are saying about the Enora Andressen series:

“A first rate mystery with an exciting premise” Booklist on Off Script “Excellent characterization and plotting . . . I read it in a couple of days and loved it” NetGalley reviewer, 5 stars for Off Script “A very strong series debut . . . An intriguing start to a promising new series” Booklist on Curtain Call

 

I love a good thriller, and this is perhaps the best time of year to curl up and read one! Coming from a reasonably small place myself, I think I’ll be able to relate to the atmosphere and sleepiness that is the setting of the book. Although it is the fourth book in a series, I get the impression that it’s pretty standalone and therefore won’t matter that I haven’t read the previous books. At least, I’m hoping so.

I’m looking forward to checking out this thriller. From what I have read, it’s quite an atmospheric and slow build mystery so I’m expecting a lot of world-building, which I love.

 

Parasite? The Secret Diary of a Landlord – The Secret Landlord

Goodreads – Parasite? The Secret Diary of a Landlord

Get ready to learn what really happens behind closed doors.

Landlords have become one of the most hated groups in society. Parasites, they’re often called. And there’s a lot of them. The Treasury estimates there are almost 2.6 million landlords in the UK with around 5.45 million rental properties.

But the real life of a professional landlord is very different to what most people think. From burglaries and break-ins to drug raids, police warrants, crazy tenant antics, bailiffs, squatters, lawsuits, wrecked properties, interfering council officers, game-playing freeholders to moments of heartfelt joy and happiness, the life of a landlord is never dull. Especially when the government keeps moving the goalposts.

This explosive front line exposé blows the lid off what it’s really like to be a landlord and the shocking reality of renting out a property. Hovering close to a nervous breakdown and likely suffering PTSD, The Secret Landlord exposes truths rarely shared. Stories that will grip you, move you and smack you in the face.

This is the truth, the other side of the door.

 

I don’t read much non-fiction, but when I was approached by Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources about a potential tour for this book I was intrigued immediately. I’m glad the author decided to go ahead and schedule it, because now I get to read the book!

I want to read this book to get a different perspective on landlords. I suppose I have dealt with a couple in my time and I’m not going to lie, I didn’t have the best experience with them at all. It’s not a wealth of experience though and I don’t want to tar everyone with the same brush. Yes, there are bad landlords, but I know there are tenants just as bad – I’ve dealt with one myself. I hope there’s plenty of these stories in the book!

 

Unbroken Truth – Lukas Lundh

Goodreads – Unbroken Truth

Beneath the arcane Rustpeaks lies the city of Lansfyrd, capital of one of the Dustlands many Holds. Visibility is at an all-time low and airships rumble through the skies. Detective Lentsay “Len” Yoriya of the Lansfyrd PD is a homocide detective stuck at a burglary assignment as punishment for loving the wrong person. When a xenophobic radio-shaman is murdered and the killers try to frame the city’s oppressed insectoids, Len knows better. But there is an election coming up, and the tension simmering in the city is reaching a boiling point. High-profile murders are rarely uncomplicated.

Meanwhile Len’s partner, Vli-Rana Talie, works as a lector at the Lansfyrd University, trying to keep her research going in an increasingly xenophobic environment. As the temperature rises for her partner, Vli will soon realize that delving into history, that some would prefer was forgotten, will carry risks of its own.

 

Science-fiction is one of my go-to genres to read and Unbroken Truth is my sci-fi fix for the month. For not being a big fan of politics in real life, I really enjoy the conflict it brings about in novel plotlines. This seems to be a prevalent part of the novel so I’m excited to see how this plays out!

This blog tour is now taking part in November, however, it was supposed to be at the beginning of this month. This is why I have ended up with so many tour dates in a short space of time, but I’m sure I’ll manage.

 

Sherlock Holmes & The Ripper of Whitechapel – M. K. Wiseman

Goodreads – Sherlock Holmes & The Ripper of Whitechapel

I am afraid that I, Sherlock Holmes, must act as my own chronicler in this singular case, that of the Whitechapel murders of 1888. For the way in which the affair was dropped upon my doorstep left me with little choice as to the contrary. Not twelve months prior, the siren’s call of quiet domesticity and married life had robbed me of Watson’s assistance as both partner and recorder of my cases. Thus, when detective inspector Lestrade of Scotland Yard required a lead—any lead—I found myself forced to pursue Jack the Ripper alone and without the aid of my faithful friend. And all for the most damnedable of reasons:

Early on in my investigations, Dr. John H. Watson, formerly of 221b Baker Street, emerged as my prime suspect.

 

I really enjoyed reading M K Wiseman’s Magical Intelligence this year. On that basis alone I would have signed up to a blog tour for a book by her. I also love the mystery of Jack the Ripper, so the fact that this blog tour features both is huge! By the time I signed up for this tour I think I knew about the delay to Unbroken Truth, but I couldn’t pass it up. I’m really looking forward to delving into this. I only hope it lives up to expectation!

 

Rags of Time – Michael Ward

Goodreads – Rags of Time

London.1639.

Thomas Tallant, a young and ambitious Spice Merchant, returns from India to find his city in turmoil.

A bitter struggle is brewing between King Charles I and Parliament, as England slides into civil war. The capital is simmering with dissent. The conflict is ready to boil over.

But Thomas soon has other troubles to contend with. A wealthy merchant, Sir Joseph Venell, is savagely killed; then his partner Sir Hugh Swofford plunges to his death, in the Tallant household.

Suspicion falls on Thomas, who is sucked into a mire of treachery and rumour within the City of London. As the merchant struggles to clear his name, he becomes captivated by the enigmatic Elizabeth Seymour, whose passion for astronomy and mathematics is matched only by her addiction to the gaming tables.

Pursued by the authorities, Thomas races to unmask the real killer who claims a third victim to implicate him further, toying with his future in a deadly cat and mouse game.

In a desperate race against time, Elizabeth applies her powers of logic and deduction to unearth the clues that will point to the killer, but her way is barred by a secret message from the grave.

Can she crack its code before Thomas, now a wounded and exhausted fugitive, succumbs to the chase?

And, if she succeeds, has Thomas the strength to face his tormentor and win his life and reputation back?

Rags of Time is the first book in an engaging and entertaining new historical crime series, set during the upheaval of the 17th Century.

 

Rags of Time is my current read. Whilst it’s on the back burner for a few days until my immediate blog tour obligations are done, I will be reading this in between the other books on my list. I have read most of the book now; I can’t wait to see how it ends! I’m certainly not waiting until the end of the month!

 

That’s my reading list for this month! Do any of the books catch your eye? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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Reading List – September 2020

I can’t believe it’s September. Where has this year gone?

Given the current circumstances I don’t suppose it’s a bad thing that this year is flying, but still… shortly we’ll be 75% through with 2020 and it doesn’t feel like it should be at all!

Regardless, it is the beginning of a new month, and you know what that means. It’s time to share my TBR for the month ahead. This month’s list features a couple of books that I am reading for blog tours. Another is a request from the author and the rest are all from my TBR and contribute towards my Beat the Backlist challenge I set earlier this year. 8 months ago.

Again, where has this year gone? That barely felt like five minutes ago!

Anyway, shall we check out the books on this month’s reading list?

 

Freedom of the Creed – N. J. Coleridge

Goodreads – Freedom of the Creed

The Woe-Be-Gone boys, a vicious gang of outlaws rushes south through the American frontier, leaving desolation in their wake.

On their trail is Saoirse Creed, a bounty hunter with a debt to pay. Her only chance to pay that debt rides with the gang, but what depths will she sink to achieve her goal.

Now, as she tracks them down to a town on the precipice of despair, Saoirse must overcome the final hurdle in order to capture her man and return to a life that she thought was all but lost.

 

I am reading this particular book for an upcoming blog tour. The first thing that caught my attention when reading the synopsis is the chase through the desert. Might sound daft, but that combined with the western vibe reminds me of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower. If you’ve read the book I think you’ll get it.

I haven’t read anything like this in a little while so I’m looking forward to it!

 

The Rue Stone –Janet Stock

Goodreads – The Rue Stone

The rue is a mysterious and rare being who is rarely seen, so Janna is amazed when one arrives at the inn where she works, looking for a room. The next morning, her life changed forever, she is left wondering whether she will ever see him again. Only time and the rue stone have the answer.

 

The Rue Stone is a fantasy novella that I’m squeezing into my blog tour schedule. It’s only around 80 pages, so a nice short read. I’ve enjoyed picking up some shorter books lately and I’m sure this will be no exception. Janet has published four books to date but this will be the first time I have tried anything of hers. Novellas are a great way to try a new author and I’m looking forward to giving this a go. The synopsis doesn’t give much away, so I’m intrigued to find out what happens!

 

 

Rags of Time – Michael Ward

Goodreads – Rags of Time

London.1639.

Thomas Tallant, a young and ambitious Spice Merchant, returns from India to find his city in turmoil.

A bitter struggle is brewing between King Charles I and Parliament, as England slides into civil war. The capital is simmering with dissent. The conflict is ready to boil over.

But Thomas soon has other troubles to contend with. A wealthy merchant, Sir Joseph Venell, is savagely killed; then his partner Sir Hugh Swofford plunges to his death, in the Tallant household.

Suspicion falls on Thomas, who is sucked into a mire of treachery and rumour within the City of London. As the merchant struggles to clear his name, he becomes captivated by the enigmatic Elizabeth Seymour, whose passion for astronomy and mathematics is matched only by her addiction to the gaming tables.

Pursued by the authorities, Thomas races to unmask the real killer who claims a third victim to implicate him further, toying with his future in a deadly cat and mouse game.

In a desperate race against time, Elizabeth applies her powers of logic and deduction to unearth the clues that will point to the killer, but her way is barred by a secret message from the grave.

Can she crack its code before Thomas, now a wounded and exhausted fugitive, succumbs to the chase?

And, if she succeeds, has Thomas the strength to face his tormentor and win his life and reputation back?

Rags of Time is the first book in an engaging and entertaining new historical crime series, set during the upheaval of the 17th Century.

 

Despite not really taking on many ARC’s at the moment, I’m glad the author Michael Ward contacted me to ask for a review of Rags of Time. It’s a historical/crime fiction novel which is right up my street! It’s not too long a novel either, so should fit perfectly into this month’s TBR with my other reads. It’ll also be nice to have a bit more variety in genre as there’s a high proportion of fantasy in this month’s list.

 

The Psychology Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained – Various authors

Goodreads – The Psychology Book

Clearly explaining more than 100 groundbreaking ideas in the field, The Psychology Book uses accessible text and easy-to-follow graphics and illustrations to explain the complex theoretical and experimental foundations of psychology.

From its philosophical roots through behaviorism, psychotherapy, and developmental psychology, The Psychology Book looks at all the greats from Pavlov and Skinner to Freud and Jung, and is an essential reference for students and anyone with an interest in how the mind works.

 

Regular readers of my blog will have picked up on the fact that I’m a huge psychology fan. I studied it back in school and loved the lessons since I had a great teacher. I added this book to my TBR a good few years ago as a refresher to some of the things I have learnt already. I’m hoping there are also some new and different things in there as well though.

I have picked up this book before so I have an idea of its formatting. Its chapters are quite short and there is a new one for each ‘idea’. This will be a good book to pick up here and there as these chapters are very short and digestible.

 

Dune – Frank Herbert

Goodreads – Dune

Before The Matrix, before Star Wars, before Ender’s Game and Neuromancer, there was Dune: winner of the prestigious Hugo and Nebula awards, and widely considered one of the greatest science fiction novels ever written.

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.

 

It’s only taken me three and a half years since being gifted my copy of this book to get around to reading it…

I’m finally going to read an iconic sci-fi novel and I can’t wait to see if I agree with all the reviews. I have actually picked it up and flicked through the first few pages before now. I think I must have been bored one day and needed a change of genre. I’ve only really read enough to sample it so I know I like the writing style. It’s the longest book on this month’s list at just over 500 pages. Fingers crossed it lives up to its reputation as a brilliant book.

 

Red Sister – Mark Lawrence

Goodreads – Red Sister

I was born for killing – the gods made me to ruin.

At the Convent of Sweet Mercy young girls are raised to be killers. In a few the old bloods show, gifting talents rarely seen since the tribes beached their ships on Abeth. Sweet Mercy hones its novices’ skills to deadly effect: it takes ten years to educate a Red Sister in the ways of blade and fist.

But even the mistresses of sword and shadow don’t truly understand what they have purchased when Nona Grey is brought to their halls as a bloodstained child of eight, falsely accused of murder: guilty of worse.

Stolen from the shadow of the noose, Nona is sought by powerful enemies, and for good reason. Despite the security and isolation of the convent her secret and violent past will find her out. Beneath a dying sun that shines upon a crumbling empire, Nona Grey must come to terms with her demons and learn to become a deadly assassin if she is to survive…

 

I couldn’t tell you how old I was when I last picked up a book by Mark Lawrence. I’d quite safely bet that I was a teenager, but that’s as specific as I could guess.

The only series of his I have read to date is The Broken Empire series; I loved it! I’m surprised it has taken me so long to read another of his books. Red Sister has been on my TBR since April 2017 and it’s one of the books on my Beat the Backlist challenge. I’m not sure if I’ll get to finish this one before the end of the month, but I’ll try my best!

So, that’s my reading list for September! Have you read any of these books? What are you reading?

 

 

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Book Review: The God Game – Danny Tobey

Hi everyone! I’m glad you can join me for today’s book review of The God Game by Danny Tobey. I was very kindly sent a copy of this book for review by Gollancz. The synopsis caught my eye immediately and I knew this was a book I was going to really enjoy – I wasn’t disappointed! Thanks to Gollancz for sending me a copy of the book in exchange for a review. As always, the opinions stated below are honest and my own.

 

The God Game – Danny Tobey

Goodreads – The God Game

For fans of Stranger Things and Ready Player OneThe God Game is a brilliantly plotted science-fiction thriller about a VR game in which the stakes are impossibly high: if you die in the game, you die in real life

Five best friends in a high school computer club get sucked into an underground hacker’s game run by a mysterious A.I. that thinks it is God. It’s all fun and games until people start to get hurt.

And the stakes keep getting higher. As the Game pits them against each other and turns their high school upside down, it offers the ultimate promise – win and learn the meaning of life; die in the game, and die for real.

 

Purchase Links:   Amazon UK     Amazon US

 

My Thoughts…

The God Game cleverly combines its sci-fi/fantasy genre with thriller to keep readers on the edge of our seats.

The most chilling part of the narrative is that, if such a game existed, I honestly think some kids today would buy into it. I graduated school a good few years ago now, but recently enough to remember what it was like. Peer pressure would definitely do its part in egging kids on to push the boundaries and do something they would regret later.

I enjoyed how well the sci-fi elements of the novel were written to be accessible to all. I didn’t find the language too technical or difficult to read. Anyone could pick this book up and understand what is going on.

I enjoyed the variety of characters in the novel. The dynamic of the group and the individuals within has a significant impact on the narrative and how each character responds to the circumstances they find themselves in. By the end of the book, I felt I knew them all well as if friends of my own. They aren’t the crowd I would choose, but the narrative is so immersive that you come to know them well by the end. The difficult and moral decisions they have to make give us an intimate knowledge of where their boundaries lie.

Sci-fi is one of those genres where I might not pick it up for a while, but then I’ll read a lot at once to make up for the fact. I read The God Game at the end of March this year and that was the fourth sci-fi book of the year. After reading it, I read another two books immediately after this. Despite this, the storyline of this particularly prominent and memorable. It’s a unique story and one that I think will be popular with a YA audience.

 

 

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Sunday Summary – 23rd August 2020

Good evening everyone and welcome back to another Sunday Summary post! I can’t believe it’s the end of another week already! I hope you are all keeping well?

This week I began with a fun Unpopular Opinions Book Tag. Having looked around for inspiration, I figured this would be an entertaining read and would give you the chance to learn a little more about me and my reading tastes. I certainly enjoyed writing it anyway.

Then on Friday, I shared my latest First Lines Friday post. This week’s theme was crime and I shared the opening to a brilliant crime/psychological thriller novel I read and reviewed last month. If you haven’t checked that post yet and you love that type of fiction I recommend you give it a read.

 

Books Read

This week I have been devoting my free time to reading Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel. It’s the only book I have picked up so far this week, but I’ve really enjoyed it! In last week’s Sunday Summary post I talked about the book (having just started it) and how I liked the chapter formatting as interviews. This continued throughout and it made a refreshing change from the continuous narrative prose that is a more typical format.

I’m hoping to start my next book, Steelheart tonight with a cup of tea before bed.

Aside from reading, I’ve taken some time out to work on an ongoing crochet project. I was also asked by a work colleague to help teach her daughter how to crochet. She had taken an interest in learning herself but needed help with the names of stitches and reading patterns. I’ve enjoyed spending the time doing that as well this week, which is why I have only read the one book.

 

Books Discovered

I’ve been pretty good again this week and there are no new additions to the TBR! Not a bad thing, given the size of it…

 

Coming Up…

I want to share another book review with you first thing next week, and the particular book I have in mind is one I received a copy of from Gollancz to review. The God Game by Danny Tobey an entertaining YA sci-fi thriller novel I read and enjoyed earlier this year. It’s definitely time to share my thoughts with you on this book; I hope you can check out that post when it goes live!

On Friday I’ll be sharing my next Shelf Control post. This week’s featured book on my TBR is a non-fiction book, which is a rarity! It dabbles in psychology, which is why I think I’ll enjoy it, but it’s also supposed to be humorous as well.

Next Sunday I am taking part in a blog tour for Grubane by Karl Drinkwater. With that in mind, that post will be going live on Sunday and my usual Sunday Summary post will be shared on Monday morning.

 

 

That’s all from me in today’s reasonably short Sunday Summary post! Have a great week and I’ll see you in the next one.

 

 

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Sunday Summary – 16th August 2020

Good evening everyone and welcome back to this week’s Sunday Summary post! I hope you have had a good weekend, whatever you have gotten up to.

In terms of blog scheduling, mine has been a little busier than usual! At the beginning of the week, I managed to drag my poor attempt of a review of Days of Blood and Starlight out of the dump. I was really disappointed that I struggled with this a couple of weeks ago, but I think I’ve done it justice now. On Thursday I shared a spotlight feature post and author interview for Justice Gone by Nicholas Lombardi Jr. Since publication last year the book has gone on to win an impressive 5 awards! Friday’s was a Shelf Control post and I have finally come to the end of my classics run! This week features a book whose main character is book lover – someone I definitely relate to!

 

Books Read

After finishing Grubane last week I moved on to the next book on my TBR. I didn’t actually start Mindworm by David Pollard until midweek, but it was quite a short read and I finished the book on Saturday evening. I didn’t really know what I expected from the synopsis as it was quite vague, but it was an interesting short story. At just over 100 pages it didn’t take long to read at all.

I then moved on to my current read, Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel. I’m only a few chapters in but I’m really enjoying the format of these chapters. They’re written as case file interviews and we are only just learning who the characters are. It’s refreshing to read something in a different format and there’s a good plot developing. Sleeping Giants is one of the longer books on this month’s TBR, but I don’t expect it will take me long to read!

 

Books Discovered

There aren’t any new additions to the TBR this week thankfully. I’m trying to cut the list down a bit as I have managed to creep over 200 books – oops! Thankfully this month’s TBR has quite a few books that will come off this list.

 

Coming Up…

I have decided that I feel like starting the week with a book tag. They’re fun to write and through them, you get to know a bit more about me and my reading tastes etc. I haven’t read many tag posts lately so I ended up doing a bit of searching on the web for inspiration. I found one called the Unpopular Opinions Book Tag and having read the questions, I think it will be fun!

On Friday I’m sharing another First Lines Friday post. This week I am going to set another genre theme as the last one, non-fiction, was fun. It was also a bit of a challenge as I haven’t read much non-fiction. This week’s theme of crime will be a bit easier as I definitely read a lot more of those!

And last, but not least, another Sunday Summary post will be coming your way this time next week. I’m reverting back to my usual 3 posts per week schedule as that’s manageable. I struggled a little bit to do four and keep up the reading.

 

That’s all from me in this week’s Sunday Summary update. What have you been reading?

 

 

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Sunday Summary – 9th August 2020

Hey everyone and welcome back to another weekly update post! We’ve had a glorious weekend here and I’ve made the most of it – I’ve even caught the sun a little! Oops!

At the beginning of the week, I shared my reading list for August. It looks a little more ambitious than I have been recently, but it isn’t really. It just so happens that I have a couple of short books to read for blog tours, and the next few books going towards my Beat the Backlist challenge are also shorter. It works out quite nicely as I am looking to get back on track towards my reading goal if I can. If you haven’t checked out that post yet please do – have you read any of the books on my list?

In my First Lines Friday post I set myself the tricky challenge of featuring a non-fiction novel. As a general rule I don’t read many, so I had a limited pool of books to find an interesting opening for. I think I did pretty well and I’m pleased with my book choice!

 

Books Read

It’s going to get a cursory mention since I did technically finish it after last week’s post; I read the last 5% of The Burning Land by Bernard Cornwell last Sunday night.

As of last week’s Sunday Summary post, I was around 40% through This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay. I said I didn’t think it would take long to finish and I was right. I finished this in a matter of days and I’ve already returned it to the colleague who loaned me their copy! This is probably the best non-fiction book I have read in a long time – I seriously recommend it if you haven’t read it. It’s hilarious, equally sad and really highlights the day to day struggle of being on the frontline in the NHS.

I’ve also read Grubane by Karl Drinkwater in its entirety this week. I finished this whilst sat out in the garden this morning in fact. It’s a sci-fi novel I am reviewing for a blog tour later this month. It’s a really interesting side story in the Lost Solace universe. At around 114 pages it was really easy to read in a couple of sittings!

 

Books Discovered

I have actually added one book to the TBR this week. After reading and returning This is Going to Hurt to my work colleague, he mentioned that he thought the author had also published another Christmas themed book (yes – I just said the “C” word in August). I looked it up and he was right – it’s called Twas The Nightshift Before Christmas.

I know what I might be adding to December’s reading list…

 

Coming Up…

Next week I’m going to attempt to share a book review that I started drafting a couple of weeks ago. I tried on a couple of occasions to put my thoughts down for Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor, but I wasn’t happy with it. I love the book and the series so I wanted my review to reflect that… but it didn’t. For whatever reason, I don’t think I was in the right frame of mind at the time. I’m going to start again from scratch and fingers crossed I’m happy with the end result this time!

Later in the week, I am going to be sharing an interview with an author I featured as part of a blog tour. I read and reviewed Justice Gone by Nicholas Lombardi Jr in April 2019 and since then, the book has gone on to win multiple awards – it’s fifth just recently! In my post I’ll be sharing an interview with the author about the book, his inspirations and writing style, just to mention a few topics!

On Friday I’ll be publishing my next Shelf Control post. You might be pleased to know that I am coming to the end of my classics run (finally!) I hope you can join me and we can talk about the next book on my list.

That’s all from me in today’s Sunday Summary update! What have you been reading this week?

 

 

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