Tag: science fiction

Blog Tour Review: Million Eyes – C. R. Berry

Today’s post is the second post of January’s blog tour season here at Reviewsfeed! I’ve signed up to no less than eight blog tours this month – there are just so many great books I want to feature! As always, before I jump into my review for Million Eyes by C. R. Berry, I’d like to thank Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the tour!

Million Eyes

Goodreads – Million Eyes

How do you fight an enemy who has a million eyes?

What if we’re living in an alternate timeline? What if the car crash that killed Princess Diana, the disappearance of the Princes in the Tower, and the shooting of King William II weren’t supposed to happen?

Ex-history teacher Gregory Ferro finds evidence that a cabal of time travellers is responsible for several key events in our history. These events all seem to hinge on a dry textbook published in 1995, referenced in a history book written in 1977 and mentioned in a letter to Edward III in 1348.

Ferro teams up with down-on-her-luck graduate Jennifer Larson to get to the truth and discover the relevance of a book that seems to defy the arrow of time. But the time travellers are watching closely. Soon the duo are targeted by assassins willing to rewrite history to bury them.

Million Eyes is a fast-paced conspiracy thriller about power, corruption and destiny.

 

Purchase Links – Elsewhen Press      Amazon UK     Amazon US

 

Trailer 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOLjecCfNSo

https://youtu.be/VzgW-oOOCj0

 

My Thoughts…

I’ve really enjoyed science-fiction and time travel-related novels lately. Once I would have said this was one of “my” genres, but the one I read the least. That’s not proving the case at the moment! I’ve read a number of great science-fiction novels and I think that is spurring me on to read more.

Million Eyes combines science-fiction and historical-fiction through its alternate timeline/time-travel premise and that works really well for me! They are both genres I read a lot of independently of each other. Now, I’ve read quite a few novels where the two genres overlap and I just love it! Add in the conspiracy thriller element to the novel as well and it makes for a brilliant read!

Million Eyes is a technology giant. Phones, televisions, laptops… you name it, they make it. Their products are consumed on masse and it has made them a very rich and powerful entity. That’s not the only technology they have created, however, and it’s certainly not all available to the public. When their biggest secret is sent back through time, they’ll do anything to get it back.

I really enjoyed how this story touches base with many different time periods throughout history. Each of the time periods has been chosen carefully so readers will be familiar with them. Even non-history readers are at least aware of The Black Death, The Wars of the Roses and most recently, the death of Princess Diana. Personally, I really enjoyed how this story involved the mystery of the Princes in the Tower and their disappearance.

Alternate timeline novels can get confusing if not written very well but this was definitely not the case with Million Eyes. It’s very clear as to when history has veered from its normal course. That said, the story also cleverly loops on itself and interacts with history as we know it, making you think that some of these events were always meant to happen.

I’m glad that this is the first book of a trilogy and I can’t wait to see the future books of the series published!

 

Author Bio

C.R. Berry caught the writing bug at the tender age of four and has never recovered. His earliest stories were filled with witches, monsters, evil headteachers, Disney characters and the occasional Dalek. He realised pretty quickly that his favourite characters were usually the villains. He wonders if that’s what led him to become a criminal lawyer. It’s certainly why he’s taken to writing conspiracy thrillers, where the baddies are numerous and everywhere.

After a few years getting a more rounded view of human nature’s darker side, he quit lawyering and turned to writing full-time. He now works as a freelance copywriter and novelist and blogs about conspiracy theories, time travel and otherworldly weirdness.

He was shortlisted in the 2018 Grindstone Literary International Novel Competition and has been published in numerous magazines and anthologies, including Storgy, Dark Tales, Theme of Absence and Suspense Magazine. He was also shortlisted in the Aeon Award Contest, highly commended by Writers’ Forum, and won second prize in the inaugural To Hull and Back Humorous Short Story Competition.

He grew up in Farnborough, Hampshire, a town he says has as much character as a broccoli. He’s since moved to the “much more interesting and charming” Haslemere in Surrey.

Social Media Links –

Website: https://crberryauthor.wordpress.com

http://millioneyes.co.uk/

https://gregoryferro.home.blog/

https://twitter.com/CRBerry1

https://www.facebook.com/CRBerry1/

 

Reading List – January 2020

It’s the 7th January and I am only just publishing my TBR now! Yes, I’m later than usual, but I had some really fun posts I wanted to share that rounded up 2019 and introduced 2020. In fact, I still have one post left to share! If you want to see which books I rate the best of 2019, keep an eye out on my blog over the next couple of days.

For now though, let’s take a look at which books I am kick-starting 2020 with!

 

The Violinist’s Apprentice – Isabella Mancini

Goodreads – The Violinist’s Apprentice

A dark journey through time.

On a group trip to Rome, musician Clementina is whirled back in time to 17th century Italy.

Amidst court intrigue and creaking carriages, Italy becomes a chiaroscuro backdrop to her growing feelings for young violin-maker Antonio Stradivari. They kiss under an orange tree, and she persuades him to help a poor young boy from the nearby orphanage.

But people begin to notice just how ‘strange’ the young woman at the artist’s side is. She must be a witch!

Meanwhile, in present-day Scotland, her brother suffers a life-threatening accident, and in an icy corner of the Arctic, a professor frets about global warming.

Can Clementina find a way to return to the 21st century?

 

It feels weird talking in the sense of “I’m going to be reading this book in January” because, well, I already have! I read this within the first few days of January as I am taking part in a blog tour in a week’s time.

I’m looking forward to sharing my review of this one; it combined an element of science-fiction, time-travel, and historical fiction. Previously, I have really enjoyed how these genres work together and this was no exception for The Violinist’s Apprentice.

 

Agricola’s Bane – Nancy Jardine

Goodreads – Agricola’s Bane

A.D. 84 Northern Roman Britain

Nith of Tarras helps Enya of Garrigill in the search for her kin, missing after the disastrous battle at Beinn na Ciche fought between the Caledonian warriors and the mighty Ancient Roman legions. Enya soon has a heartrending choice to make. Should she tread Vacomagi territory that’s swarming with Roman auxiliaries to find her brother? Or, should she head south in search of her cousin who has probably been enslaved by the Romans?

The Commander of the Britannic Legions and Governor of Britannia – General Gnaeus Iulius Agricola – is determined to claim more barbarian territory for the Roman Empire, indeed plans to invade the whole island, but finds not all decisions are his to make. It increasingly seems that the goddess, Fortuna, does not favour him.

The adventures of the Garrigill clan continue…

In Book 4, the tales of the Garrigill Clan come to readers of the series via members of their second generation of Brigantes – their fight against the oppressive forces of the Ancient Roman Legions and their General Agricola a continuing and unending struggle.

 

Agricola’s Bane is my current read at the time of drafting this post. Again, this read is in preparation for a blog tour which I am taking part in a little later this month. This is the last book of The Celtic Fervour series and I’m at that point where I want to read it to find out how the author concludes events but I don’t want it to end at the same time! You know what I mean?

 

Two – K. J. McGillick

Goodreads – Two

Her husband wants her tucked away in a psychiatric ward. His business partner wants her dead.

Exclusive Paris art gallery owner Isabella Armond’s life spins out of control when she discovers her husband Dr. Adrien Armond has been brokering and trafficking in black market organs and using her beloved gallery to launder the money. Now Europol believes she is a key part of the conspiracy that destroyed Notre Dame, Westminster Abbey and St. Peter’s Basilica.

In a race against time, Isabella must use all the resources at her disposal to clear her name, outwit her husband and salvage her life and business.

 

I have read a number of books by K. J. McGillick and I have enjoyed every single one to date. You guessed it, this is another read and review for a blog tour. That said, I do have a little longer for this as my post is due towards the end of the month! All I can say is thank goodness I started my blog tour reading last month; otherwise I’d be in trouble at this point!!

I love the sound of this particular novel. It sounds so sinister, and makes you wonder who you can really trust!

 

A Crown in Time – Jennifer Macaire

Goodreads – A Crown in Time

Since it was perfected in 2900, time travel has been reserved for an elite, highly trained few. However, on certain occasions, a Corrector is needed to rectify a mistake in the past.

Do your job well, and you’ll go down in history. Fail, and you will be erased from Time . . .

In the far future, a convicted criminal is given a chance at redemption. The Corrector Program at Tempus University is sending Isobel back in time, to the year 1270, to rewrite history.
Her mission? To save the crown of France.

If she follows the Corrector’s Handbook everything should run smoothly. But soon, Isobel finds herself accompanying a hot-headed young noble on his way to fight the infidel in Tunis: a battle Isobel knows is fated to be lost.

Isobel must fulfil her duty, knowing she can never return to her time, knowing one wrong move can doom the future, or doom her to be burned as a witch . . .

The first in an exciting new time-slip series, from the author of the action-packed Time for Alexander series, Jennifer Macaire. A CROWN IN TIME will have you on the edge of your seat from the very first page . . .

 

Jennifer Macaire is also fantastic at bringing together historical fiction and science-fiction. This time last year I was introduced to her as an author and since I have enjoyed a number of books in her The Time for Alexander series.

I am looking forward to A Crown in Time as, like The Time for Alexander series, it combines science-fiction and historical fiction. I’ve read and enjoyed quite a few time-travel related novels lately, so I have high hopes for this one too!

 

Gardens of the Moon – Steven Erikson

Goodreads – Gardens of the Moon

The Malazan Empire simmers with discontent, bled dry by interminable warfare, bitter infighting and bloody confrontations with the formidable Anomander Rake and his Tiste Andii, ancient and implacable sorcerers. Even the imperial legions, long inured to the bloodshed, yearn for some respite. Yet Empress Laseen’s rule remains absolute, enforced by her dread Claw assassins.

For Sergeant Whiskeyjack and his squad of Bridgeburners, and for Tattersail, surviving cadre mage of the Second Legion, the aftermath of the siege of Pale should have been a time to mourn the many dead. But Darujhistan, last of the Free Cities of Genabackis, yet holds out. It is to this ancient citadel that Laseen turns her predatory gaze.

However, it would appear that the Empire is not alone in this great game. Sinister, shadowbound forces are gathering as the gods themselves prepare to play their hand…

Conceived and written on a panoramic scale, Gardens of the Moon is epic fantasy of the highest order–an enthralling adventure by an outstanding new voice.

 

I set myself a challenge this year to take part in the Beat the Backlist challenge. My aim for the year is to read the 25 oldest items on my TBR (minimum). Gardens of the Moon is number one – and the oldest! Added to my TBR in December 2014… it really is about time I got to it. I have heard amazing reviews of it too, so I’ll be getting stuck in very soon!

 

The Alloy of Law – Brandon Sanderson

Goodreads – The Alloy of Law

Three hundred years after the events of the Mistborn trilogy, Scadrial is now on the verge of modernity, with railroads to supplement the canals, electric lighting in the streets and the homes of the wealthy, and the first steel-framed skyscrapers racing for the clouds.

Kelsier, Vin, Elend, Sazed, Spook, and the rest are now part of history—or religion. Yet even as science and technology are reaching new heights, the old magics of Allomancy and Feruchemy continue to play a role in this reborn world. Out in the frontier lands known as the Roughs, they are crucial tools for the brave men and women attempting to establish order and justice.

One such is Waxillium Ladrian, a rare Twinborn who can Push on metals with his Allomancy and use Feruchemy to become lighter or heavier at will.

After twenty years in the Roughs, Wax has been forced by family tragedy to return to the metropolis of Elendel. Now he must reluctantly put away his guns and assume the duties and dignity incumbent upon the head of a noble house. Or so he thinks, until he learns the hard way that the mansions and elegant tree-lined streets of the city can be even more dangerous than the dusty plains of the Roughs.Three hundred years after the events of the Mistborn trilogy, Scadrial is now on the verge of modernity, with railroads to supplement the canals, electric lighting in the streets and the homes of the wealthy, and the first steel-framed skyscrapers racing for the clouds.

 

The Alloy of Law is another candidate for my Beat the Backlist challenge! I have a lot of Brandon Sanderson books making up this challenge, so I am trying to spread them out as best as I can.

The Alloy of Law is a second Mistborn series; it has been years since I read the first one! It might be wise to brush myself up on what happened in it, but not essential. It’s set much later than the first series, so it shouldn’t make too much difference that I read the others ages ago!

 

These are Not the Trinity Papers – Vale Zalecki

Goodreads – These Are Not the Trinity Papers

Isaac Beringer knows the thesis he penned during his psychotic fit was utterly absurd and he was right to be laughed out of academia. Yet decades later, he finds himself summoned to the United States by Elias Cohen, the CEO of a multi-billion dollar technological giant who just happens to be his biggest fan. Elias may be beautiful and brilliant, but Isaac knows he must also be extremely batty to consider Isaac’s thesis the greatest scientific work of the 21st century. He soon finds out how deep the rabbit hole goes; a rabbit hole that houses a sprawling neural network of servers designed to emulate human learning, human corpses 3D-printed with flesh and blood, and a monumental amount of effort to resurrect one particular person from the dead. And Elias isn’t even his only fan.

Isaac might have shaken off his insanity, but unfortunately, the world around him has just fallen in love with it.

 

I suspect this will overlap into February, but my last read of the month is one I was asked to review by the author. His request came in after reviewing another science-fiction book, Ctrl+S by Andy Briggs.

Again, this one has a definite science-fiction theme. Maybe I can’t classify this as a lesser-read genre anymore. Anyway, I was really intrigued by the synopsis so I am grateful Vale Zalecki approached me to ask for a review.

It’s a good job I feel motivated with the New Year and a fresh start because I have plenty of reading to be getting on with this month!

What are you reading?

 

 

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Sunday Summary – 05/01/2020

Good evening readers! It’s the end of another week and time for another Sunday Summary post.

With Christmas over, I’m now back and enjoying the fresh start that comes with New Year! My first post of the week, year and decade too focussed on my goals and reading aspirations for 2020! I have really enjoyed reading other bloggers reading goals for the New Year as well.

On Friday I shared my review of 2019; the books I read and whether I met the goals I set myself. I didn’t complete both of them, but I managed the main one! Again, I’ve read quite a few of these posts by other bloggers too. They must be a popular topic as I have had more likes on that post than a lot of posts I have written previously! So, thank you guys!

 

Books Read

Last week things had been pretty quiet on the reading front, as I was spending a lot of time with family over the festive period. This week, however, has been a COMPLETELY different story! Sorry guys, this is a long section!

In last week’s Sunday Summary, I shared my current read at the time, Million Eyes. I was only a few percent through the book and mentioned that I needed to get my skates on with it. It’s safe to say I got my skates on – I finished the book within two days and just before the end of 2019!

The next book on my list is one I was hoping to finish in December, but ended up overlapping into January… just! After reading Million Eyes I started Fires of the Dead by Jed Herne. As a novella, it isn’t too long a book, although still plenty that there is ample storyline to it. This is a nice short fantasy story with a variety of characters, an interesting magic system and an unexpected ending. I really enjoyed reading it!

I quickly moved on to my first official read of January, although I haven’t published my list yet… soon friends! The Violinist’s Apprentice is the next unread book on my list of upcoming blog tours. And yeah, I’ve read this one in its entirety this week too. It combines a couple of genres I have enjoyed together before: science-fiction (time travel) and historical fiction. The Violinist’s Apprentice has a well-developed protagonist, beautifully descriptive narrative and a fast-paced plot, so I really enjoyed this one too!

Finally, I’ll briefly mention my current read, which I started this morning. Those that follow my blog may be aware that I have been reading and reviewing Nancy Jardine’s Celtic Fervour series of books. I’ve just started the last book of the series and I’m currently 16% through this book.

Now… onto the audiobooks! On Friday I finished listening to Cilka’s Journey and oh my gosh, I’ll have a lot of fantastic things to say when it’s time to review it! I loved it. It’s a terrible story and as with The Tattooist of Auschwitz, is based on a real woman’s tragic story. It focuses on a Jewish woman who is imprisoned in Auschwitz/Birkenau. Being a young 16-year-old girl in such a place, you can only imagine what happened to her there. She is then imprisoned after the war for, “sleeping with the enemy”… like she had a choice! Terrible story, but well written!

This is the last one… I promise! After finishing Cilka’s Journey, I started listening to Darkdawn! I haven’t listened to much though.

 

Books Discovered

I have read a couple of posts this week that have prompted a couple of additions to my To Be Read pile.

The first book is The Keepers by John Marrs; I think the premise of the story is really interesting and relevant in an increasingly technological world. As a new release this year, there isn’t a published cover for it yet.

The second book is non-fiction and may just help with my blogging. Perhaps not too. There are mixed reviews as to whether it’s helpful or not, but I guess it depends on how experienced a blogger you are. I don’t profess to know everything and/or do what’s best in terms of marketing it. I just write what I want and when I want to and if people like it, then that’s great! Maybe I’ll learn something new?

 

Coming Up…

I have quite a few blog posts to schedule in next week before the main onslaught of blog tours begin.

It’s already several days into January and I haven’t as yet shared my TBR for January! I know I’m late, but I wanted to get my end of year review/ New Year posts out of the way first! If you are keen to find what I am reading this month, I’m sharing the list on Tuesday.

An additional post I have promised to share is my Favourite Reads of 2019. I have seen quite a few of these style posts by other bloggers, for best and worst books. I haven’t read any “bad” books in 2019, so I am just going to share a “best books” post on Thursday.

The first of my blog tour posts will be shared on Friday. I have been promoting a number of Rachel Churcher’s Battle Ground series books. Friday’s post is for the latest in the series, Victory Day.

As always, I’ll be rounding off the week with my Sunday Summary post!

 

Top Blog Posts Read This Week

https://donjimmyreviews.wordpress.com/2019/11/29/ultimate-book-tag/

https://mistysbookspace.wordpress.com/2019/12/30/most-disappointing-reads-of-2019/

https://thehermitlibrarian.wordpress.com/2020/01/01/the-hermit-librarian-2020-goals/

https://bibliophagistreviews.wordpress.com/2020/01/05/monthly-wrap-up-december-2019/

https://stacked-reviews.com/2019-in-books-reflection-time/

https://booksnest.co.uk/post/4-years-of-being-a-creator-on-instagram-what-ive-learnt-my-struggles-and-successes/

https://gemsbooknook.wordpress.com/2020/01/03/the-golden-rules-of-blogging-by-robin-houghton/

https://thebelgianreviewer.wordpress.com/2020/01/01/10-most-anticipated-reads-of-2020/

That was a long one, but I can finally say that’s all from me in this week’s Sunday Summary post! What have you been reading? What resolutions have you set yourself for 2020? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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Audiobook Review: Scythe – Neal Shusterman

Happy Thursday everyone! It’s nearly the end of the week – I hope you are having a good one?

Today I am sharing a really, REALLY overdue audiobook review. I finished listening to Scythe in April this year and I have just finished the sequel, Thunderhead. I want to get my review written whilst the story is fresh in my mind. Listening to Thunderhead has been a great prompt to remembering where it all began.

 

Scythe – Neal Shusterman

Goodreads – Scythe

Thou shalt kill.

A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery. Humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.

Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.

 

Purchase Links: – Waterstones      Amazon UK      Amazon US

 

My Thoughts…

I really enjoy dystopian fiction, so having heard great things about it in the blogging community I decided to “read” it myself. Ultimately, I ended up downloading the audiobook. I think it was part of a 2 for 1 sale on Audible. The narration of the audiobook was done really well, so I am glad I have chosen to listen to this book/series as opposed to just reading it.

Citra and Rowan are apprenticed to Honorary Scythe Faraday. It’s a life that neither asked for nor imagined likely, yet that makes them perfect candidates. Scythe Faraday is one of the most upstanding, honourable Scythes of the order and he teaches them the fundamental values. Thou shalt kill. Thou shalt kill with no bias, bigotry or malice aforethought. He is of the old guard, but Citra and Rowan find themselves dragged into political rivalry amongst Scythes with deadly consequences.

The concept of the human race conquering death is a really interesting one; appointing individuals to restore the balance is yet more so. It relies on appointing altruistic people to behave with decorum and dignity… and well, this is the human race we are talking about. This may be a society run to perfection by the Thunderhead (imagine the Cloud… but conscious), but humans are still impeccably flawed. It works as a great conflict point for the novel!

I knew of the very subtle romance element between Citra and Rowan – I’ll hold my hands up and admit I expected annoying, pining teenagers. Boy, I was wrong and I am glad of it. I would have found that really annoying to work through but thankfully it wasn’t a problem at all. It is very subtle. Their dynamic with each other is difficult to place as a lot of it is governed by external circumstances. They bond as a result of training together but extraneous events drives them apart.

The plotline was cleverly written and it was unpredictable, in a good way! Just when you think you know what’s going to happen everything changes. Nothing is sacred, no one is safe. The plot only develops further as the series progresses, but that’s a story for another day!

Have you read Scythe? What did you think of the novel?

 

 

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***Please note this post contains affiliate links, meaning that I will earn a small commission on purchases made through them. If you like what you read and are interested in purchasing a copy of the book(s) featured in this post, please consider using these links and supporting a book blogger!

Thank you!***

 

 

Shelf Control #11 – 06/12/2019

Hi guys – Happy Friday and welcome to today’s Shelf control post! Once again I’ll be taking an in-depth look at the next book on my TBR and telling you why I am excited to read it!

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

For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out Lisa’s introductory post.

 

By using these Shelf Control posts I can look in further detail at the books I have added to the TBR and listed as keepers in my Down the TBR Hole posts. I talk about why I want to keep the featured book; it also acts as a second sweep for anything that I may have changed my mind about. I have actually deleted a few books doing this sweep. I don’t necessarily own all the books (yet), but I will have a reasonable number of them. I’ve also gone on to read a couple of the earliest books on the list, so this mini-series is proving useful!

Today’s featured book is one I have owned for nearly three years now, but haven’t picked up yet!

 

Dune – Frank Herbert

Goodreads – Dune

Purchase Links – Waterstones     Amazon UK     Amazon US

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.

 

My Thoughts…

I received a copy of Dune from former work colleagues for my birthday nearly three years ago now. It’s actually scary how the time flies! Even before throwing myself into reading as a daily habit and starting my blog in 2017, I was known for my bookish tendencies.

I also think they made a really good choice of book for me too! Dune is a classic and highly award-winning science-fiction novel. Truth is, before I had been gifted it, I hadn’t heard of it. I have only just realised that this is the first book of an eight-part series as well! I prefer a series to a standalone book – I guess that’s the part of me that likes long, complex stories…

As I have had this for a little while now, I do think I should make an effort to pick it up soon. I’ve also been doing really well lately for picking up more science-fiction novels.

Have you read Dune? Would you recommend it? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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***Please note this post contains affiliate links, meaning that I will earn a small commission on purchases made through them. If you like what you read and are interested in purchasing a copy of the book(s) featured in this post, please consider using these links and supporting a book blogger!

Thank you!***

First Lines Friday – 29/11/2019

Happy Friday everyone and welcome to my First Lines Friday post! I love writing these and either sampling the beginnings of books still to be read or re-reading old ones! Today’s featured book is one that is currently on my TBR, or to be read list. Given the science-fiction theme I have been sticking to lately, I figured to share the opening lines of another book from the same genre!

Can you guess what it is?

 

I love Thursday nights. They have a feel to them that’s outside of time.

It’s our tradition, just the three of us – family night.

My son, Charlie, is sitting at the table, drawing on a sketch pad. He’s almost fifteen. The kid grew two inches over summer, and he’s as tall as I am now.

I turn away from the onion I’m julienning, ask, “Can I see?”

He holds up the pad, shows me a mountain range that looks like something on another planet.

I say, “Love that. Just for fun?”

“Class project. Due tomorrow.”

“Then get back to it, Mr Last Minute.”

Standing happy and slightly drunk in my kitchen, I’m unaware that tonight is the end of all of this. The end of everything I know, everything I love.

 

Shall we find out what it is?

 

Dark Matter – Blake Crouch

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.

It starts with a man in a mask kidnapping him at gunpoint, for reasons Jason can’t begin to fathom—what would anyone want with an ordinary physics professor?—and grows even more terrifying from there, as Jason’s abductor injects him with some unknown drug and watches while he loses consciousness.

When Jason awakes, he’s in a lab, strapped to a gurney—and a man he’s never seen before is cheerily telling him “welcome back!”

Jason soon learns that in this world he’s woken up to, his house is not his house. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born.

And someone is hunting him.

 

Purchase links:     Amazon UK     Waterstones

 

Did you enjoy today’s extract of Dark Matter? Is it on your list to read? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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Book Review: Ctrl+S – Andy Briggs

Good morning everyone and welcome to my stop for the blog tour of Ctrl+S by Andy Briggs! Before I get into the details, I would like to thank Alex Layt at Orion Publishing for organising the tour and sending me a review copy of the book! As always with these posts, the views expressed are my honest opinion.

I am really excited to be sharing my thoughts with you on Ctrl+S – particularly to fans of near-future science-fiction novels. If you enjoy this particular genre then you are going to love this book! Equally, I only occasionally venture into the genre and I loved it as well. Ctrl+S is due to be published in a matter of days so if you do enjoy this review, please do consider getting yourself a copy!

Before I begin with my review, please also take a moment to take a look at some of the other reviews shared as part of the tour.

Now, would you like to find out more about it?

 

Ctrl+S – Andy Briggs

Goodreads – CTRL+S

Life in the near future’s NOT ALL BAD. We’ve reversed global warming, and fixed the collapsing bee population. We even created SPACE, a virtual-sensory universe where average guys like Theo Wilson can do almost anything they desire.

But ALMOST ANYTHING isn’t enough for some. Every day, normal people are being taken, their emotions harvested – and lives traded – to create death-defying thrills for the rich and twisted.

NOW THEO’S MOTHER HAS DISAPPEARED. And as he follows her breadcrumb trail of clues, he’ll come up against the most dangerous SPACE has to offer: vPolice, AI Bots and anarchists – as well as a criminal empire that will KILL TO STOP HIM finding her . .

 

My Thoughts…

The beauty of this near-future novel is that the premise of the book centres on an improved variety of technology that already exists – SPACE. Imagine augmented reality at your fingertips whenever you want it. Or, you can “ascend” for a limited time and experience virtual reality with your friends. There’s all of the fun and none of the pain if you get hurt or die in a game. That is, until someone finds a loophole.

Those rich enough to pay for the thrill can experience the pain and terror of death without the final blow. Maybe someone wants to feel the thrill of jumping off a building without the splat at the end. Real people are kidnapped and exploited to harvest whichever raw emotion is desired. It puts a sinister twist on the technology’s motto, More real than real. Theo’s mum Ella inadvertently gets dragged into the criminal underbelly after becoming indebted to the wrong people. When she doesn’t come home one day, the dangerous truth hits home.

Theo, Clemmie, Baxter and Milton take centre stage and are supported by a wide cast of varying characters. Their similarity in age to myself (and I imagine a lot of prospective readers) makes them really relatable and easy to invest into as the story progresses. You’ll laugh because I particularly relate to Theo. I didn’t go to University, unlike a lot of my friends, and I worked in a fast food place as my first job too! It’s the little things, right?

The “technology” aspect of the novel is really easy to follow. I can confidently say I think anyone can pick it up and understand the basics. Even from there, I feel that the descriptions of the advancement to today’s version of the technology is explained really well where relevant. Breaking up the information to impart what is necessary at any given time prevents dumping a lot of information on the reader. Some might find that overwhelming but I didn’t find this at all in Ctrl+S. Overall, I found there was a great balance between the action of the novel and clarifying how everything unfamiliar worked. The chapters are nice and concise as well which helps keep the momentum.

As the group of friends find themselves in increasingly hot water having been thrown into a criminal world where anything goes, you really find yourself rooting for them as the underdogs to save Ella and countless others from their emotional exploitation. As the plot unravels our protagonists fight desperately to pick up the clues left by Ella in order to find the mastermind behind the abuse of SPACE. The genre combination of science-fiction and thriller worked really well and is a highly recommended read by me!

 

 

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Shelf Control #9 – 08/11/2019

Hi guys and welcome to today’s in-depth look at the next book on my TBR in today’s Shelf Control post.

As a refresher, Shelf Control is a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies – a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves! Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up!

For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out Lisa’s introductory post.

 

I am using Shelf Control to look in further detail at the books I have added to the TBR and then listed as keepers in my Down the TBR Hole posts. I talk about why I want to keep the featured book; it also acts as a second sweep for anything that I may have changed my mind about. I have actually deleted a few books doing this sweep. I won’t necessarily own all the books (yet), but I will have a reasonable number of them. I’ve also gone on to read a couple of the earliest books on the list, so this mini-series is proving useful!

 

Sleeping Giants – Sylvain Neuvel

Goodreads – Sleeping Giants

A girl named Rose is riding her new bike near home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth. She wakes up at the bottom of a square-shaped hole, its walls glowing with intricate carvings. But the firemen who come to save her peer down upon something even stranger: a little girl in the palm of a giant metal hand.

Seventeen years later, the mystery of the bizarre artifact remains unsolved – the object’s origins, architects, and purpose unknown.

But some can never stop searching for answers.

Rose Franklin is now a highly trained physicist leading a top-secret team to crack the hand’s code. And along with her colleagues, she is being interviewed by a nameless interrogator whose power and purview are as enigmatic as the relic they seek. What’s clear is that Rose and her compatriots are on the edge of unravelling history’s most perplexing discovery-and finally figuring out what it portends for humanity. But once the pieces of the puzzle are in place, will the result be an instrument of lasting peace or a weapon of mass destruction?

 

My Thoughts…

It was the synopsis of the book that prompted me to add this to my To Be Read pile. It sounds so unusual! For those prone to question what you read, it immediately has you asking questions like who does the hand belong to? and, what does it all mean? I get the impression that our protagonist is much the same and so I think she will be really relatable!

I also love that this series has been published already. Don’t get me wrong, I’m more than happy to wait for books, but if I don’t have to then even better. There is some comfort in knowing that you COULD binge-read something if you really wanted to!

Have you read Sleeping Giants or any other books in the series?

 

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Reading List – June 2019

It’s time for me to post June’s reading list… since June has come around the corner already!! Where is this year going?

I fared a lot better with May’s reading list than I anticipated. It’s rare that I get through anything near six books in a month. I would have been happy if I’d read my average of five and to have started the sixth, A Feat for Crows. Turns out, I’ve managed to read nearly 70% of that as well! I’ve far exceeded my expectations! So, I think I am going to push myself a little more this month too. Why not? I relish a challenge.

I have a few books I have been sent for review, as well as blog tours this month and one very early next month. As a result, I’m going to be picking up quite a few ARCS. I also have a copy of a book I’ve requested from Netgalley – try not to faint. I’ve decided to give it another go, but be more selective about what I download and pull my finger out when it comes to reading them.

So, let’s take a look at the books I am planning on reading in June.

 

A Feast for Crows – George R. R. Martin

 

Crows will fight over a dead man’s flesh, and kill each other for his eyes.

Bloodthirsty, treacherous and cunning, the Lannisters are in power on the Iron Throne in the name of the boy-king Tommen. The war in the Seven Kingdoms has burned itself out, but in its bitter aftermath new conflicts spark to life.

The Martells of Dorne and the Starks of Winterfell seek vengeance for their dead. Euron Crow’s Eye, as black a pirate as ever raised a sail, returns from the smoking ruins of Valyria to claim the Iron Isles. From the icy north, where Others threaten the Wall, apprentice Maester Samwell Tarly brings a mysterious babe in arms to the Citadel.

Against a backdrop of incest and fratricide, alchemy and murder, victory will go to the men and women possessed of the coldest steel and the coldest hearts.

 

This one is pretty self-explanatory – I am looking to get this one finished since I am most of the way through the book. With tours coming up in the next week or so for other books, A Feast for Crows is being relegated to the sidelines a little bit. I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing as I have been reading this for days. A change is as good as a rest – that’s an expression, right?

 

Game of Crones – Jay Raven

 

Forget Happily Ever After – the most delicious fairy tales end in darkness and despair…
Welcome to a mystical age of cruelty, hexes and treachery, where malicious magic rules and you are but a single necromancer’s spell away from eternal terror.

From malevolent medieval magicians to Wild West witches, this spellbinding volume by a master of the macabre is packed with frightening fables guaranteed to send a supernatural chill down your spine.

If you’re thrilled by exciting dark fantasy tales, with cunning twists, edge-of -the seat tension and unexpected shivers, you’ll love Game of Crones. Pick it up today. If you dare…

 

I’m not generally in the habit of reading many short stories, which is a bit daft really! I should! They’re a great opportunity to have a short break away from a lengthier narrative. I also dabble a little in entering short story competitions, so it makes sense to read them and see what works! It will only improve my own writing (with any luck…)

I’m taking part in the upcoming blog tour for this collection. As this is the most imminent tour, I’ll be prioritising this read first. I expect I’ll have these read in a day or two in anticipation for my post at the end of the week!

 

The Lynmouth Stories – L. V. Hay

 

Beautiful places hide dark secrets …

Devon’s very own crime writer L.V Hay (The Other Twin, Do No Harm) brings forth three new short stories from her dark mind and poison pen:

– For kidnapped Meg and her young son Danny, In Plain Sight, the remote headland above Lynmouth is not a haven, but hell.

– A summer of fun for Catherine in Killing Me Softly becomes a winter of discontent … and death.

– In Hell And High Water, a last minute holiday for Naomi and baby Tommy  becomes a survival situation … But that’s before the village floods.

All taking place out of season when the majority of tourists have gone home, L.V Hay uses her local knowledge to bring forth dark and claustrophic noir she has come to be known for.

 

Here is another short story collection I am reading this month for a blog tour! This is fast approaching next week, so I’ll be getting my skates on to get these read as well! Each of my short story collections is of different genres, with this one being a crime. It’s a genre I read quite a lot of, so I am fairly sure I won’t be long in devouring these at all!

 

Biohacked and Begging – Stephen Oram

 

The future is ours and it’s up for grabs…

Immerse yourself in the future of biohacking and implants, genetic modification, blockchain micro-transactions and futuristic dating-apps with author of ‘Eating Robots’, Stephen Oram.

Prodding and poking the possible in volume 2 of Nudge the Future, Oram starts with another flash fiction foray into the world of Unified Sentience and ends with virtual reality for babies and biohacked fish.

With sharpness and wit, these sci-fi shorts will grab your imagination and refuse to let go.

 

And another collection of short stories I am looking to read this month. This is my Netgalley request! I’ve decided I really ought to give Netgalley another chance. I certainly won’t be the kind of person that reads anything and everything on there because it’s not my favourite site, but if I’m selective then I don’t see why we can’t come to a mutual understanding with each other.

 

The appeal for this book is the genre. I am endeavouring to read more science fiction, and I figured this book ticks two boxes in that respect. I get to explore the genre as well as read more short stories. This way, I’m not diving in too deep if I don’t like this particular branch as well. Win-win!

 

The War Within – Stephen Donaldson

 

Stephen R. Donaldson, the New York Times bestselling author of The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, returns to the world of his Great God’s War fantasy epic as two kingdoms– united by force–prepare to be challenged by a merciless enemy…

It has been twenty years since Prince Bifalt of Belleger discovered the Last Repository and the sorcerous knowledge hidden there. At the behest of the repository’s magisters, and in return for the restoration of sorcery to both kingdoms, the realms of Belleger and Amika ceased generations of war. Their alliance was sealed with the marriage of Bifalt to Estie, the crown princess of Amika. But the peace–and their marriage–has been uneasy.

Now the terrible war that King Bifalt and Queen Estie feared is coming. An ancient enemy has discovered the location of the Last Repository, and a mighty horde of dark forces is massing to attack the library and take the magical knowledge it guards. That horde will slaughter every man, woman, and child in its path, destroying both Belleger and Amika along the way.

With their alliance undermined by lingering hostility and conspiracies threatening, it will take all of the monarchs’ strength and will to inspire their kingdoms to become one to defend their land, or all is lost…

 

I have very kindly been sent a copy of The War Within for review by Gollancz. In preparation, I read the first book of the series, Seventh Decimate, last month. Since I am reading a few different things and branching out, it seems only fair that I stick to my roots for at least one book! This is one of my lengthier reads of the month… well, as far as I can gauge from the thickness of the book anyway! It’s a hardback too, so it’s going to be a hefty weight to be carrying around with me whilst I read it.

And for the record, no! Leaving it at home is just NOT an option haha!

 

Three – K. J. McGillick

 

Betrayal. Deceit. Danger. Murder.

How would you feel if you discovered your death was planned by someone you loved? You didn’t know how or when or even why.  Would you feel anger or fear or hopelessness knowing your fate.  All you could do was wait. Tick Tock.

One early spring morning, Emma Collier, an art history professor awakens to find her lover gone. Vanished. In a desperate attempt to locate him, she is stunned to discover that he is not an art dealer at all. But he is part of a powerful organization dealing in international money laundering, forged art, and human trafficking.

Implicated as a willing participant in his malevolent world, she struggles to clear her name. But when her body double is found brutally murdered she knows she is marked for death. As her life is ripped apart she must formulate a plan to stay alive. Now with the help of Agent Cillian O’Reilly, of the FBI Arts Crime Team, they pursue a trail that snakes across three continents and leads her to a  plan for mass murder. Will she survive?

 

I’ve taken a real liking to K. J. McGillick’s books. I was introduced to her as an author via a couple of other blog tours organised by Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. I have loved every book of hers so far, so when the opportunity came up to read this thriller, it was an immediate yes from me! The tour for this book is towards the end of the month, so I plenty of time to kick back and relax with this beaut to hand.

 

 

Storms over Babylon – Jennifer Macaire

 

After winning a prestigious award, Ashley is chosen to travel through time and interview a historical figure. Choosing her childhood hero Alexander the Great, she is sent back in time for less than a day. He mistakes her for Persephone, goddess of the dead, and kidnaps her, stranding her in his own time. What follows, after she awakes under a pomegranate tree, is a hilarious, mind-bending tale of a modern woman immersed in the ancient throes of sex, love, quite a bit of vino, war, death, and ever so so much more.

 

Avid readers of my blog will know that I have read a number of books in Jennifer Macaire’s The Road to Alexander series now. This month is no exception, as I am reviewing Storms over Babylon at the very beginning of next month. I’ve really enjoyed this historical fiction series thus far. Alexander the Great is a historical figure I’m not all that familiar with (until now at least). I can’t wait to see what happens as Ashley and Alexander hurtle toward Alexander’s apparently unavoidable fate!

So, there you have it! These are my planned reads of the month! The question is, what are you reading? Have you read any of the books above? As always, I would love to hear from you!

 

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Blog Tour Review and GIVEAWAY: Son of the Moon – Jennifer Macaire

Happy Monday guys!! Is there such a thing?

Well yes, there is! Since I signed up to the blog tour for Son of the Moon I’ve been excited about this post. I began reading the series in January this year and it’s fast becoming one of my favourite works of historical fiction. The series is based around the life of Ashley, a time-travelling journalist and her accidental life with Alexander the Great. She travels back in time to interview him and gets stuck in his timeline. She becomes his lover and follows him as he builds his Empire and legacy. The Greeks are convinced she is Persephone, a Greek goddess and her place beside Alexander is met with mixed feelings.

 

Son of the Moon

 

Alexander the Great journeys to India, where he and Ashley are welcomed with feasts and treachery.

With their son, Paul, being worshipped as the Son of the Moon, and Alexander’s looming death, Ashley considers the unthinkable: how to save them and whether she dares to cheat Fate?

 

Purchase Links:   Amazon     Accent Press Books

 

My Thoughts…

I’ve been following the series since January, touring The Road to Alexander and then more recently, Legends of Persia in April.

Son of the Moon continues our enjoyable jaunt across countries as Alexander builds his Empire. Ashley, ever at his side since being stranded in his timeline, is revered (and feared) as the Greek Goddess Persephone. Danger finds both Ashley and Alexander in this third instalment of the series. Ashley, all too aware of Alexander’s mortality, struggles with the knowledge that she cannot share with him and her peers.

Each book of the series thus far has allowed us to explore new regions of the Ancient world. Jennifer Macaire does an excellent job of vividly describing both the lavish beauty of the living world and the power of destruction only an army is capable of. Along their journey, we get to enjoy both the highs and lows of their relationship. Treachery by another of Alexander’s wives, Roxanne, would see the two separated. The fierce love between Ashley and Alexander really shines through though, and their emotional intimacy with each other is endearing.

As I have mentioned time and again reviewing this series, I love the combination of science fiction time travel and historical fiction. Watching events unfold from the eyes of someone who has lived in something closer to our own world makes it very approachable to the reader. Along with Ashley, as the reader we find ourselves gradually becoming accustomed to the different cultures, attitudes and lifestyle in the book. Now more than ever, we are hurtling towards a point in time that could change history forever. Will Ashley choose to risk it all for the man she loves the most? What repercussions will that have?

Maybe we’ll find out in the next book!

 

Author Bio –

Jennifer Macaire lives with her husband, three children, & various dogs & horses. She loves cooking, eating chocolate, growing herbs and flowering plants on her balcony, and playing golf. She grew up in upstate New York, Samoa, and the Virgin Islands. She graduated from St. Peter and Paul high school in St. Thomas and moved to NYC where she modeled for five years for Elite. She met her husband at the polo club. All that is true. But she mostly likes to make up stories.

Social Media Links –

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TimeforAlexander/

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/jennifermacaire/

twitter @jennifermacaire

https://jennifermacaire.wordpress.com/

 

 

 

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