Booking Ahead/Weekly Wrap Up

Posted On 25 September 2022

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Sunday Post

I’m trying to get back into the habit of doing a round-up of the week just completed and also take a look at my plans for the forthcoming week.  I rather got out of the habit of doing this but I would like to reinstate this type of post as I feel it keeps me on track.  So, I’m linking up to The Sunday Post over at Kimberly’s  Caffeinated Reviewer.  Without further ado:

Books read this week:

Well, I mentioned I was having a little break – now I’m back.  I’m still listening to Babel by RF Kuang.  I also mentioned this isn’t a book that’s easy to power through. I’m about halfway through and I have mixed feelings.  On the one hand it’s a joy, well written, interesting, informative, packed with intelligence.  On the other hand, well, there’s not a great deal going on at this point. I’m still reading All of Our Demise by Christine Herman and Amanda Foody which is only going slowly because I decided to press on with my SPFBO books – the ones I’ve decided to carry forward.  I’ve read three, I’m half way through the fourth and so hopeful to have read all my potential SFs by the end of the week.  Updates and reviews will soon follow but, fingers crossed, I should be exchanging SFs with my partners the Critiquing Chemist very soon.

Next Week’s Reads:

So, complete the two books above and then take my pick of the goodies below.

Reviews Posted since my last Sunday Post:

Friday Face Off : Rage Against the Machine

FFO

Here we are again with the Friday Face Off meme created by Books by Proxy .  This is a great opportunity to feature some of your favourite book covers.  The rules are fairly simple each week, following a predetermined theme (list below) choose a book (this doesn’t have to be a book that you’ve read), compare a couple of the different covers available for that particular book and choose your favourite.   Future’s themes are listed below – if you have a cover in mind that you’re really wanting to share then feel free to leave a comment about a future suggested theme.  I’ve also listed events that take place during the year, that I’m aware of, so you can link up your covers – if you’re aware of any events that you think I should include then give me a shout.

I’ve added themes in below. For information, I’m trying out some new ideas so along with coming up with particular items for book covers I thought we could also look for certain elements contained within the book or that play a large part in the story – this really broadens things out because I have plenty of more ideas with this – I’ve gone for a few of the Tough Travel Themes (so a book with that theme – just choose any book – the theme isn’t necessarily on the cover, then compare covers), also, I’ve thrown in some genres and some colours.  Hopefully this will open things out a little and give us some more freedom to come up with new books.

This week’s theme:

Rage against the machine – anything, cogs, clockwork, AI

Again, I didn’t have a cover for this week planned but, as it happens, I think A Witch in Time by Constance Sayers fits the theme perfectly.  And, it’s an excellent book that I highly recommend.  Here are the covers:

Do you have a favourite.  Have you read this book yet – what do you think?

2022

September RIP
23rd Tough Travel Tropes – Coming of Age
30th Genre – horror
October – Horror/Dark
7th Guess who’s back?  – Vampires – popular again?
14th Witches vs warlocks
21st Tough Travel Tropes – Good vs evil
28th  Covers that are black
November – Scifi Month
4th Red skies at night – Covers that are red
11th Tough Travel Tropes – The gang
18th Genre – Swords and Sorcery
25th Genre – And they all lived happily ever after – fairy tales retold
December
2nd Tough Travel Tropes – Assassins
9th Tough Travel Tropes – Darklord
16th Genre – Grimdark (most recent/favourite, etc)
23rd Decadent and rich – a cover that is purple
30th Completions – a satisfying conclusion to a book or serie

Dyer Street Punk Witches by Phil Williams (Ordshaw #7)

My Five Word TL:DR Review: My favourite Ordshaw adventure yet

GTD Cover

I first encountered the strange city of Ordshaw during a SPFBO challenge a few years ago and I have to say that the author has taken this place and made it into a fascinating place full of magic.  His love for Ordshaw and it’s characters shines through in his writing and makes the reading so much more enjoyable as a result.  To my shame I haven’t read all the books in the series but this leads me a very good point – which is (and if you’re a reader with a huge TBR – which, you probably are) that you can read many of these as standalones and this is one such example.  

Hand on heart, I can genuinely say that this is my favourite of the author’s work so far (which is saying something as I also recently enjoyed Kept from Cages.  For me, this story had the perfect mix of elements.  Rebellious women turning to witchery, punk-bad-assness, gangs and the criminal underworld, great characters that you can really become attached to and, well, what more do you want – punk witches.  

Essentially this is the story of Kit “Fadulous” Hamley, activist editor for the type of publication not afraid to call out those who should be above corruption and helping the downtrodden but who frequently fail to do so.  Kit lives in a rather seedy area of Ordshaw where gangs in the past fought for turf.  Kit and her two friends became involved in the gang life, much to their later regret, and as they started to discover their own talents for witchcraft became sucked much deeper into the goings on.  Things have moved on since then, regrets have been put firmly behind, the girls left their ‘witchery’ dead and buried – until it seems that there’s a new force felt in the area and with that stirring in the darkness the gangs once again become restless.

I won’t say anything further about the plot as you can discover that for yourself and I highly recommend you do so.  Instead, I’m going to highlight a few of my feelings.

Well, firstly, I just loved Kit.  I mean, everything about her.  She doesn’t take any nonsense.  She rushes in like a raging maniac with little fear for the consequences.  Also, yes, she’s a bit reckless but I also think this boils down to the innate trust she has in those around her to behave in a certain way.  She’s a confident woman. she can still touch the darkness but has chosen not to do so understanding that such magic comes with a price  that she’s not prepared to pay. And, she’s like this fearsome creature that stalks around growling at people but she’s also something of a great softie. She’s surrounded by other really easy to like characters but I’ll let you discover them for yourself.

Kit and her buddies drifted apart but in their teenage years they were firm friends, dabbling in the unknown with the help of an online grimoire that they found.  I loved that there’s a split timeline here.  It takes us back to those crazy young years and I really think Williams nailed the whole chaotic, passionate, crazy messed up punk feel and it simply made me smile.  We drift back and forth between the now and then slowly discovering what really took place all those years ago with a few twists thrown in for good measure and the pacing of this is, for me, perfect. 

What else did I love.  Well, I mentioned that the author has a clear love for this strange place and it shines through.  This is a place that is easy to visualise,  This author knows this place, he’s spent time here and he’s confident when he’s writing about it.  In fact that leads me to my next point which is I feel that Williams has really honed his writing.  This book is really well executed.  There’s a great sense of pace and the balance between slowly revealing things from the past, jumping back to the ‘now’ and keeping the interest jumping whilst really making the reader feel for the characters is just so well done.  Seriously, I have to applaud this because I never, not once, had a feeling of regret or impatience when I was jumping between the timelines, I didn’t experience any of those little niggles where you feel like you’re being lead down the garden path, or given information that was unnecessary, it just worked so well for me.

Okay, I also can’t deny that the whole reflection on the punk rock age is something that I loved, and that cover by the way – just saying (gorgeous), but I also think the author played a blinder, he’s mixed up the anarchy and the gangs and the violence and he’s managed to pull into that the exploitation of raw new talent that sometimes took place.  And, he shows us the grown up versions of his characters as well as the younger more idealistic versions – and they’re a bit jaded, a bit rough around the edges but they still think they’re all that, tough as nails.

I actually have no criticisms for this book.  It worked really well for me and was a pleasure to read.

My thanks to the author for a review copy.  The above is my own opinion.

My rating 4.5 of 5 stars

As an extra the Author has come up with some Cards for his key characters and I am so happy to share with you the card for Firline.  The only thing I’m going to tell you about this character is she is a downright serious witch with an abundance of power.  She’s very important to the story but I’m not going to tell you why – go find out for yourself.  Here she is in all her glory:

Trading Cards

For more information about the characters and their cards take a look here.

A few days away

Posted On 14 September 2022

Filed under Book Reviews

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Just a short post to let you know that for the next few days I will be absent  (I have scheduled a few posts though)- not on holiday but travelling and helping with family things.  I don’t usually feel the need to post about such things  (and I am quite a private person as a rule) but I recognise that this year has been quite different for me.  You may have noticed my slight absence in recent months, less reading, blogging and commenting and this is not a reflection on my love of books or this community but more an indication of extra things taking place this year behind the scenes that have simply pulled me in other directions.  So, if I’ve not visited you for a while – I will be doing so soon.  I’m hoping that I’ll have a couple of calmer months in October and November when I can catch up with everyone and I also have a few new ideas to think about for the future.

So, see you all in a few days.

see you soon

Can’t Wait Wednesday : The House in the Pines by Ana Reyes

CWW

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme that was originally created by Breaking the Spine.  Unfortunately Breaking the Spine are no longer hosting so I’m now linking my posts up to Wishful Endings Can’t Wait Wednesday. Don’t forget to stop over, link up and check out what books everyone else is waiting for.  If you want to take part, basically, every Wednesday, we highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to. 

This week my book is: The House in the Pines by Ana Reyes.

Houseinthepines

A captivating psychological suspense debut about a young woman still haunted by her childhood best friend’s death who learns of an eerily similar incident and must find her way back to a cabin in the New England woods, armed with only hazy memories, to finally uncover the truth that has eluded her.

Maya was a high school senior when her best friend, Aubrey, mysteriously dropped dead in front of the enigmatic man named Frank whom they’d been hanging around with all summer. Seven years later, Maya is just managing to move on; she lives in Boston with a loving boyfriend and is kicking the secret Klonopin habit that’s allowed her to cope with what happened all those years ago.

But her past comes to haunt her when she discovers a recent YouTube video in which a young woman suddenly keels over in a diner while sitting across from none other than Frank. Plunged back into the trauma that has defined her life, Maya heads to her small Berkshires hometown to figure out the truth.

With guidance from a half-written book by the father in Guatemala she never knew, Maya’s quest for answers forces her to relive that fateful summer—the influence Frank once had on her, and the jealousy that nearly destroyed her friendship with Aubrey—finally leading her to Frank’s cabin in the woods.

The House in the Pines is an utterly unique and surprising thriller about the subtlety of memory and manipulation, confronting the past and returning home, and the powerful and lasting bonds of family and friendship.

Expected publication : January 2023

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