Weekly Wrap Up : 21/5/17

Posted On 21 May 2017

Filed under Book Reviews

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This week I’ve finished Rotherweird -I enjoyed this but I’m just going to be perfectly frank – this is not a quick read, I’m not saying that because it’s a bad thing, I’m simply stating the fact.  Yes, of course, I’m sure you could skim read it and make it a bit quicker but the pace is not that of a book that you’re going to zip though.  It’s a thinking person’s book.  You need to mull and chew the cud and reflect.  Review to follow.  I’ve also read Andrew Pyper’s The Only Child and hopefully my review for that one will be forthcoming very soon – check out the first couple of sentences here.

Next week I’m hoping to read :

  1. Between The Stars by Anne Corlett
  2. All Good Things by Emma Newman
  3. Skitter by Ezekiel Boone

So, who am I kidding with that three book wishlist! Hey I have to have aspirations and reading three books in a week is about all I can think of at the moment.

And, finally, my cover highlight this week, I’ve gone for the Split World series by Emma Newman:

How was your week?  What you currently reading?

The #SPFBO 2017

Posted On 20 May 2017

Filed under #SPFBO, Book Reviews

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It’s difficult to believe but the #SPFBO 2016 is all wrapped up with a wonderful winning entry and lots of incredibly enjoyable books to read.  There are lots of blog posts out there to read about but I’ll point you in the general direction of Mark Lawrence’s blog to get a general feel for what went on.  The winner – which you should definitely read – was the Grey Bastards by Jonathan French – and believe me when I say you should read quite a few -or a lot – of the other entrants because there were some awesome reads.

Now, I did intend to write a much fuller piece of my experience taking part and in fact I probably will do so because I thought it had such a good feel – but, for now, this is just a quick post to let you know that the SPFBO ’17 is about to commence.  Yes, that’s right, we’re going for our third year and hopefully it will be as awesome as last year.

As I said, a fuller post will follow, this is just a quick heads up.  The details are here.

That is all for me today.  More to follow.  In the meantime thank you to everyone who took part in the #SPFBO ’16.  A huge thanks especially to all the authors who put their work forward for review – there wouldn’t be any SPFBO without you after all 😀  And, good luck to everyone this year.

Watch this space for my list of books for 2017.

Remember people – there can be only one.


The rain in Spain stays mainly on the plane..

Posted On 19 May 2017

Filed under Book Reviews

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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, compare a couple of the different covers available for that particular book and choose your favourite.   Future week’s themes are listed below. This week’s theme:

Plane “When everything seem to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it ….”

Again this week, I had a book in mind so it worked out fairly easy for me: The Three by Sarah Lotz which I loved:

Next week – Mice

Future themes:

26/05/2017 – Mice “Of all the words of mice and men, the saddest are, ‘it might have been’…”

02/06/2017 – Moon “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars”

09/06/2017 – Mummy “It shuffles through the dry, dusty darkness”

16/06/2017 – Guitar “You couldn’t not like someone who liked the guitar”

23/06/2017 – Cat “In ancient times cats were worshipped as gods; they have not forgotten this”

30/06/2017 – Hat “It is always cruel to laugh at people, of course, although sometimes if they are wearing an ugly hat it is hard to control yourself “

07/07/2017 – Gold “All that is gold does not glitter”

14/07/2017 – Boats “The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea, in a beautiful pea green boat…”

21/07/2017 – Planet “Any planet is ‘Earth’ to those who live on it”

Friday Firsts : The Only Child by Andrew Pyper

Friday Firsts
 is a new meme that runs every Friday over on Tenacious Reader. The idea is to feature the first few sentences/paragraph of your current book and try and outline your first impressions as a result. This is a quick and easy way to share a snippet of information about your current read and to perhaps tempt others.  Stop on by and link up with Tenacious Reader.    This Friday I’m reading : The Only Child by Andrew Pyper

She was awakened by the monster knocking at the door.

Lily knows better than most how unlikely it is that this is real.  Through her years of training and now her days in the courtroom providing expert testimony on psychological states of mind, she has learned how shaky the recollections of children can be.  And she was only six when it happened.  The age when certain things get stuck in the net of real memory, and other things you try to sell yourself on having happened but are in fact made up, turned into convincing bits of dream.

What is verifiably known is that Lily was small for her age, green-eyed, her straight black hair snarled into a nest.  The sole survivor and there was the body, of course.  Her mother’s.


My First Impressions

I admit I’m looking forward to this book very much!  So, I probably enjoyed the start and had a great first impression regardless.  That being said – it’s a very intriguing start I think.  Can’t wait to discover more.

What you reading this Friday??  What are your first impressions??

*The above excerpt was taken from an advanced reader copy and it is possible that the final version may have further changes.

The Somnambulist and the Psychic Thief (The Curious Affair Of #1)

somnam2The Somnambulist and the Psychic Thief is the start of a promising new detective series with a difference set in the Victorian era.  I enjoyed this, it was an entertaining read and I will definitely read more even though I had some reservations.

At the start of the story we make the acquaintance of Miss Lane who appears to all intents and purposes to be fleeing on a late night train out of Scotland.  It seems that Miss Lane has for the past few years worked with a close friend called Gabrielle Fox – known more commonly as Miss X by people in the psychic field.  It seems that Miss Lane has discovered her friend to be a fraud and rather than confront her she packs her scant belongings and heads for London.  She’s as poor as a church mouse with only a few coins to her name and with no friends on which to impose she finds herself in desperate need of employment.

Quite by chance Miss Lane spots an advertisement for an assistant detective and thinking her skills will fit the bill applies within and in quick succession finds herself not only appointed to the post but also with a room and board included with the deal.  Pretty lucky, you might be thinking, however, Mr Jesperson, the detective who she will be assisting, is new to the game and with little experience under his belt jobs are thin on the ground.  In order to prevent themselves becoming destitute they take a job from their landlord, it seems his sister’s husband has taken to sleep walking at night and not content with shambling round the bedroom like a zombie takes himself further abroad.  From there things fairly quickly gather momentum.  The two are invited to a seance where they make the acquaintance of the latest new medium looking to establish a name for himself, they are paid a visit by none other than Miss X herself and on top of that quickly find themselves embroiled in a missing persons case.

I did enjoy this.  It has a lot going for it and I like the idea of a new detective series set in London during a period that is virtually the epitome of gothic with it’s dark alleys and swirling pea soup fog.  On top of this, as I said this is a detective series with a difference which is clearly going to come in the form of certain fantasy elements.

Before I go further I’m going to highlight a few of my niggles with the story.  Firstly, and this probably seems a small thing, but at the start of the story Miss Lane is virtually running away from Miss Fox and yet when the two of them meet later in the book this issue is never tackled or discussed, it really is the elephant in the room.  In fact the two of them meet and take up as though nothing has come between them at all.  I was puzzled by that I must admit but I realise it’s only a minor issue and perhaps it will be tackled later in the series.

I really like that ‘otherworldly’ elements are being brought into the story, they just fit the period so well and make for good reading, but I felt that something was lacking a little in the handling somehow.  I think this is probably because in this day and age we tend to be very sceptical of psychic events whereas in the Victorian era seances and the like were all the rage – until of course all the gimmicks and hidden wires were discovered.  Miss Lane is herself a sceptic and yet, when certain elements of the story literally take flight she was incredibly accepting of everything.  Again, there is explanation for the whys and wherefores of events (and sorry to be mysterious but I’m trying not to be spoilery) but I guess I wanted some shock, or disbelief or outright astonishment or simply fainting and conniptions.  It just felt like everything was accepted and things carried on.  Like going to bed at night and finding a dragon curled up on your bed and casually thinking ‘cool, dragons really do exist’ and then going to sleep like everything is normal in the world – actually I do kind of like that notion.

Then there is the friendship/relationship with Miss Lane and Mr Jesperson.  It feels like something is going to be developed further here – hopefully something that takes its own sweet time.  At the moment the two of them feel quite awkward together, which is understandable.  I think I wanted a little more from them in terms of their dialogue, just to make it more entertaining.

Finally, I think the actual detecting work was a little on the skimpy side.  I think I had a notion that this might be a bit of a send up or maybe even a homage to Sherlock himself and that maybe Jesperson, in particular, was going to turn into one of those people who can just tell that you’ve been for a long walk with your dog and eaten a scone for afternoon tea from just a brief introduction.  Okay, I recognise that’s simply personal expectations and I’m not holding that against the book but it did seem that a lot of the actual investigation work was based on little more than supposition, I hope for more detecting in the next book.

So, that probably all sounds terribly negative and so to counter my own niggles above I’m going to end on the things I enjoyed in order to leave a favourable impression because I did enjoy this.  I think it suffers a little from first book in series syndrome and over ambition in terms of what’s actually going on but, in spite of that, it was a very quick read, fast paced and entertaining, amusing in parts and also suitably spooky in others.  There are abductions and ghostly apparitions, stage performances and attempted murder.  The writing is smooth, the time period quite effortlessly evoked.  I like the characterisation so far and thought that there is plenty more yet to come both in terms of individual development and potentially a romantic slow burner and I thought some of the scenes were really quite gripping.  Overall a very good foundation for a series that I would be keen to read more of.  Holmes and Watson, allow me to introduce Jesperson and Lane and hopefully some more ‘curious affairs’.

I received a copy through Netgalley courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

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