Timey Wimey……Stuff #2: Sea of Tranquility by Emily St John Mandel

Hello there bookish folks. I’m reviewing / gushing about Sea of Tranquility today, and trying to put down some coherent thoughts about why I loved this book so! I’m also making this my second in a series of themed posts that I started aaaaaages ago with the intention of doing on a regular basis. That sort of didn’t happen but lets see how it goes from here!

I’ll get my thank yous out of the way first of all. Thank you to Pan MacMillan for granting my request on Netgalley to read this and to the author for writing it!

I requested a copy of this book based purely on my enjoyment of the author’s previous works. I had thoroughly enjoyed those, particularly Station Eleven so seeing her latest pop up was an instant add to the TBR for me, before I even read the premise.

So that premise, what is it? Well, the official synopsis is as follows:

The award-winning author of Station Eleven returns with a story of time travel that precisely captures the reality of our current moment . . .

In 1912, eighteen-year-old Edwin St. Andrew crosses the Atlantic, exiled from English polite society. In British Columbia, he enters the forest, spellbound by the beauty of the Canadian wilderness, and for a split second all is darkness, the notes of a violin echoing unnaturally through the air. The experience shocks him to his core.

Two centuries later Olive Llewelyn, a famous writer, is traveling all over Earth, far away from her home in the second moon colony. Within the text of Olive’s bestselling novel lies a strange passage: a man plays his violin for change in the echoing corridor of an airship terminal as the trees of a forest rise around him.

When Gaspery-Jacques Roberts, a detective in the black-skied Night City, is hired to investigate an anomaly in time, he uncovers a series of lives upended: the exiled son of an aristocrat driven to madness, a writer trapped far from home as a pandemic ravages Earth, and a childhood friend from the Night City who, like Gaspery himself, has glimpsed the chance to do something extraordinary that will disrupt the timeline of the universe.


Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel is a novel that investigates the idea of parallel worlds and possibilities, that plays with the very line along which time should run. Perceptive and poignant about art, and love, and what we must do to survive, it is incredibly compelling.


Photo by Caio on Pexels.com

I love anything time travel related, across all media so was really intrigued to see what Mandel was going to do here. Oh how I LOVED it!

The plot is great, little points mentioned earlier in the book are tied back to bring it all together in a truly satisfying manner. I loved the way it played out.

The story seemed to me to be told in an almost dreamlike way, with settings on the moon, in Canada in the early 1900s and on both the current and future Earth. The book reminded me of David Mitchell’s works in a lot of ways, particularly Cloud Atlas. I think this is probably due to the differing time periods, with ties between each, and the way Sea of Tranquillity includes call-backs to Mandel’s previous works. I am a big fan of David Mitchell so this works for me. They both write in our world but with a touch of fantasy to it.

The actual method of time travel is only really touched upon lightly and comes courtesy of the Time Institute, located on the moon. Its not really about the “how” in this book, but about the effect had on the people we read about.

There are quite a few mentions of pandemics and no doubt part of the character Olive’s experiences are based on those of Mandel, who of course wrote about pandemics before they were something we all knew so well.

Mandel’s writing is beautiful, her characters well formed and settings well described. I love her writing and will continue to read anything she puts out. This book is hopeful and beautiful and I think its my favourite of her works that I’ve read so far. This was an absolute stand out for me this year, it lingered with me for days afterwards and I feel like its a book I’ll re-read in the future.

Book Review: 84, Charing Cross Road

18th February 2018

Goodreads.com

You finished The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society


19th February 2018

Google.com

🔎 Books written as letters

🔎 Epistolary books


20th February 2018

Goodreads.com

You marked 84, Charing Cross Road as “Want To Read”


20th April 2022

To: lovetoreadlivetoread@hotmail.com

From: noreply@blackwells.co.uk

Subject: Order Number: 000084862

Dear Customer,

Thank you for shopping with Blackwells We are pleased to confirm that the below order has now been dispatched.

84, Charing Cross Road by Helen Hanff

Quantity: 1

Many thanks for shopping with Blackwells! We hope to see you again soon.

Yours sincerely

Customer Services Manager


27th April 2022

Twitter.com

Some books arrived for me today!

#bookmail #booktwitter


28th April 2022

WhatsApp Messenger Service

Group Members: Ruth/Sarah

R: Morning!! How’s things? Kids letting you sleep? X

S: No, but the less said about that the better. At least I’ve got a lot of reading done whilst I’ve been up with them in the night. Silver linings?

R: Yeesh. Sorry matey. It gets better, I promise.

R: Read a great little book yesterday, have you heard of it?

S: Don’t know that one. Any good? What’s it about?

R: It’s actually non fiction which had passed me by somehow when I originally added it to my Goodreads TBR a million years ago.

R: It’s a series of letters between a screenwriter (the Helen Hanff credited on the front) and a bookseller in London who she writes to with a list of books she wants. They start in 1949 and write to each other on and off for 20 years. It’s so flipping charming.

S: Ooo, sounds interesting! Can I borrow it?

R: Course. I’ve got a physical copy so I’ll send it you.

R: it’s dinky, less than 100 pages. I started reading whilst the kids were messing about before bed and finished it off after.

R: You get sucked into the correspondence and it’s lovely to see their friendship develop. She has a wicked sense of humour and he is a bit more of a buttoned up British fellow at first. She gives him a hard time sometimes, it’s pretty funny.

R: Was quite interesting to see what she was ordering and her thoughts on books/reading too.

R: Apparently there was a play and a film as well. Ann Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins. Mrs Robinson and Hannibal Lecter exchanging letters.

R: Soz, harped on a bit there, just really loved it. Perfectly formed little book.

S: No worries, it’s what we do isn’t it? Drone on about books??

R: And moan about being tired?

S: And moan about being tired.


29th April 2022

Goodreads.com

You marked The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street as “Want To Read”

Book Review: Nettle and Bone by T Kingfisher

Hello book lovers!

I’ve been rather silent on the blog this year. There have been posts I’ve started, left half written and ended up scrapping. I don’t know, time has been short, life has been busy, it’s just fallen by the wayside.

Well this book has dragged me out of semi retirement as I just wanted to talk about how great it is!

I love this cover. Beaut.

So, first of all – thank you to the author, T Kingfisher and the publisher, Titan Books, for my advance copy of this book, granted through Netgalley.

Stats:

  • UK release date: 26th April 2022
  • 416 pages
  • Published by Titan Books
  • Genre: Fantasy

My Ramblings:

I’ve had Swordheart by this author on my TBR for ages, I have a copy sat waiting on my kindle. I can’t quite remember where I heard about Nettle & Bone but wherever it was, I prompted me to add it to a list I keep of books to look out for. I was really pleased to see it turn up on Netgalley and doubly pleased to be approved for it.

The story centres around Marra, the third and youngest Princess of a small harbour kingdom. Her home, whilst small, is valuable, and is flanked by two much larger kingdoms. Marriage between the prince of the Northern Kingdom and Marra’s beloved eldest sister Damia is proposed and an alliance is formed. That alliance is expected to be strengthened by the birth of a child, but Damia’s body is unexpectedly returned to the harbour kingdom, and Marra’s other sister, Kania, is sent off to marry the Prince in her sister’s place. Marra has an eerie feeling about Damia’s death but is whisked off to a convent to ensure she will not bear a child that may be a threat to any offspring the Prince and Kania may have. But when Kania falls pregnant, and Marra visits, she begins to see that the suspicions she harboured after Damia’s death may not have been unfounded……

I won’t go into to much more detail about the plot but I think I’ve set the scene there.

This is a fairy tale, but not a sweet story for children with a moral tale at its centre. It has princesses, but not beautiful ones searching for their prince. It has animal characters, but they’re made of bones or contain demons. It has knights, but ones who were for sale at a goblin market after sleeping on fairy lands. There is also a wonderful humour in this story that really appealed to me. This paragraph where a mother with small children tries to give the characters some directions was so well done (and so accurate), it had me howling!

The woman’s face turned briefly cheerful. “Oh yes – Don’t put that in your mouth! The godmother. She’s very kind – I swear to the saints, Owen, I will take you down to the market and sell you for a three legged goat! – Five miles down the road, turn where it crosses the stream and go along the bank until – Owen, I’ve had about enough! – You’ll find a little house with a garden and a signpost out front. The sign’s fallen down, but the post is still there, There’s usually trumpet flower up the post and I don’t think we’ve had a hard enough frost yet – Owen! You leave that cat alone!”

Nettle and Bone

No word of a lie, that is how I conduct most of my conversations.

In the Author’s Note to the book, she explains that this book originated with a thought she had whilst out shopping, which later led to a short story called “Godmother”. If you want to read that, its available on the author’s website, here: https://www.redwombatstudio.com/godmother/ The Author’s Note was really interesting actually, I’d recommend reading it once you’ve finished for insight into the author’s process of writing this book.

Sorry, jumped ahead a little there!

The settings are wonderful and world building well done. Even thinking back now, a couple of weeks after finishing the book, I can see Marra in the blistered land building her bone dog, the convent where she led a quiet life, the Goblin market, the tombs under the Prince’s castle….I could go on.

And I loved the writing! There were so many little bits that stood out to me, for various reasons; they were funny, they were heartfelt, they were true. I’ve already quoted the passage above about trying to talk with a small child in your line of sight, and this one really jumped out at me too.

….few humans were truly worth the love of a living dog. Some gifts you could never deserve.

Nettle and Bone

There were so many wonderful characters, I’d be hard pushed to pick my favourite. Marra is great, she’s happy with her quiet life at the convent, but is pushed to act to save her sister, despite her fears of doing so. She really grows over the course of the book into a woman who knows what she wants out of life. The dust wife is a brilliant character, she made me chuckle on several occasions and she and the godmother made a great double act later in the book.

Despite the fairy tale setting, there are some realities in this book. Things aren’t simple in life, princesses cannot just be rescued and Princes cannot just be killed without consequence and Marra is forced to consider this.

I absolutely loved the experience of reading this book, I was sucked into the world and I so enjoyed spending time with the characters and following them on their journey. It was definitely one of my favourites of 2022 so far, a real highlight.

So, time to bump Swordheart up the TBR. I’m also waiting for my library hold to come in on The Hollow Places, a horror novel by the same author. Cannot wait to explore more of her works!

Read this if you liked: The Winternight Trilogy, Uprooted, The Princess Bride

Blog Tour: The Gifts by Liz Hyder

Good evening readers. Tonight, I’m bringing you my review for The Gifts by Liz Hyder. This is a historical fiction book with a supernatural twist.

Big thanks to the author and Bonnier Books for the copy of the book, and to Tracy Fenton at Compulsive Readers for arranging the tour.

The Book:

Here’s the synopsis:


‘Come Etta, she says to herself. Come. Open your eyes. Whatever it is, the worst must surely be over. Wrung out and exhausted, she edges slowly to her feet, wobbles as she comes to stand. But she has no need to turn her head. The sun emerges from the clouds above, stretching Etta’s shadow far in front and taking her breath away with it. It is impossible. It cannot be……’

October 1840. A young woman staggers alone through a forest in Shropshire as a huge pair of impossible wings rip themselves from her shoulders. Meanwhile, when rumours of a ‘fallen angel’ cause a frenzy across London, a surgeon desperate for fame and fortune finds himself in the grips of a dangerous obsession, one that will place the women he seeks in the most terrible danger . .

The Author:

Liz Hyder burst onto the literary scene last year with her acclaimed YA novel Bearmouth (Pushkin Press), which won both the 2020 Waterstones Children’s Book Prize for Older Readers and the Branford Boase Award 2020. It was named a Book of the Year 2019 by the Financial Times, The Observer, Daily Mail, The Guardian, The Sunday Times, New Statesman, BBC Radio 4 Extra and was hailed overall Children’s Book of the Year by The Times, who also predicted Hyder would ‘become a household name’. Bearmouth has sold in multiple territories across the world, and a film adaptation is currently in development with Binocular Productions.

My Review:

I was all for joining the blog tour for this book as soon as I read the synopsis. The main characters are women (tick) and there is a supernatural twist to this historically set tale (tick). It sounded right up my street and I’m pleased to say I thoroughly enjoyed it.

There are several characters that the book focuses on, their paths converging as the plot develops. We have Annie, an artist and wife of Edward, an ambitious surgeon whose chance discovery leads to obsession and Mary, a clever young woman and aspiring writer who is determined to follow up on a strange rumour in the streets of London. Then there are Natalya and Etta, two woman who have both been cast out from their homes in varying degrees, who both have a deep love for the natural world and both who are given a remarkable gift.

I think out of all of them, Mary was my favourite. She is smart, determined and resourceful, and I enjoyed the developing relationship with Richard, an old friend of the family.

The setting worked well for the plot, and I could easily conjure up the imagery of the novel from Hyder’s writing – from the fields of Shropshire that Etta explores daily, to the streets of London that Mary traverses and Natalya finds herself stranded in. These places, as well as the period setting, really worked well with the magical realism at play in the book.

The actual story and writing aside, I LOVED the way the book was littered with small illustrations. It just added to the experience of reading.

I really enjoyed this one and would recommend it.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

There are few more days left on the blog tour and you can follow it below:

Book Review: All Systems Red by Martha Wells

Greetings book nerds. How goes your 2022? I’ve managed one whole day of work before having to call in to look after my little one whilst we await the results of a PCR. Boo! He’s having a little nap so I thought I’d cracking with some reviews. I’ve got a few to get through so hopefully I can get some written up and scheduled for the blog for the next few weeks.

Stats: Format: e-book Genre: Sci-fi Pages: 155 Published: 2017 Book 2 of 2022

Murderbot with added armour

I picked this up as part of the #beatthebacklog challenge, thought up by https://twitter.com/owlbesatreading?s=21 (which I’m LOVING by the way). I only bought this in December 2021 after eyeing it up for a while but it counts!

I have been meaning to work my way through some of the backlist of Hugo award winning novellas, novelettes and short stories so this was as good a place as any to start.

This was actually book 2 of the year for me, and both have been novellas. It wasn’t a conscious decision but it was good to ease my way into the new year with two short books.

So, thoughts on this? I really enjoyed it! Like many readers, I found it quite easy to relate to Murderbot, not because I am a part-robot security guard, but because I too mostly prefer my own company and am often quite socially awkward. Murderbot just wants to get their head down, do the job and slink off to watch reality tv. Except stuff keeps going wrong.

Murderbot is a part-robot, part-organic Security Unit who has managed to override their governer module and can now essentially do what it wants, rather than what it’s told. This is all within reason of course because MB doesn’t want anyone to KNOW they’ve hacked their governer module in case they’re taken apart for spares. They’ve been leased to a team of scientists who are exploring an uninhabited planet. However, when another nearby team goes quiet, Murderbot, along with the humans on the team, must work out what has happened.

For such a short book, there were a lot of great lines which paint a picture of MB, a few of which I’ll include below:

I could have become a mass murderer after I hacked my governor module, but then I realized I could access the combined feed of entertainment channels carried on the company satellites. It had been well over 35,000 hours or so since then, with still not much murdering, but probably, I don’t know, a little under 35,000 hours of movies, serials, books, plays and music consumed. As a heartless killing machine, I was a terrible failure.

And in their corner all they had was Murderbot, who just wanted everyone to shut up and leave it alone so it could watch the entertainment feed all day.

Granted, I liked the imaginary people on the entertainment feed way more than I liked real ones, but you can’t have one without the other.

I loved the humour in this book, though as can happen with a novella, my visit with the characters felt all too brief. I’m glad there’s more in the series so I can read more about MB and find out a bit more about events in their past that were hinted at.

The plot is pretty straightforward but nonetheless entertaining. A little bit of mystery, a little bit of action and adventure.

For a part-robot, MB is a very human character. Grumpy, pessimistic, but persevering nonetheless. I can see why the series and character are so popular.

Verdict: Recommended!

Book Review: One Small Mistake by Dandy Smith

Hello, hello! Time for another review.

I’m a bit late with this one, as the book was published in December last year, and I finished it a while ago. However, with Christmas prep and my husband getting Covid, things have been a bit crazy.

Anyhoo, today I’m sharing my thoughts on One Small Mistake by Dandy Smith, a debut thriller.

Stats: Genre: Thriller Format: e-book (e-ARC) Pages: 420 Published: 1st December 2021

I actually saw the press release on The Bookseller website in May 2021 about this book, back when it was going to be called How Far Will You Go? I was interested so made a note of the author and title and was pleased to see it pop up on Netgalley a while later. I requested a copy and was lucky enough to have my request granted by the publisher.

What’s it all about?

Well, to steal the official synopsis…..

One small mistake. One deadly consequence.

Elodie Fray wants to be more like her perfect sister, Ada, the one her parents are actually proud of. When she decided to quit her job and pursue her dream of becoming an author, she thought it would be her time to shine, but a year on nothing has happened. And she’s getting desperate.

When Elodie makes one small mistake on a drunken night with a friend, things quickly spiral and suddenly everyone believes she has a book deal. Unable to find a way back from her little lie, her perfect dream becomes a perfect nightmare – and desperate times call for desperate measures.

Meanwhile, everything is not as it seems in Ada Archer’s perfect life. When her sister suddenly disappears, she questions everything – from her marriage, to the man who’s been charged with Elodie’s abduction. The papers say it’s him, but the more she digs into her sister’s life the less convinced she is. Ada will do anything to discover the truth, even if it kills her.

No one knows what happened to Elodie Fray, and now her only chance of survival is her sister.

My thoughts…..

I like to mix up my genres but do pick up quite a few mystery/thriller books. Sometimes, I can find them quite forgettable and they can often blend together in my memory. It’s only the really standout ones that I’d recommend. This is definitely of the best I’ve read in a while.

I LOVE a story where things snowball from one little error. You look at the protagonist when they find themselves in an awful or ridiculous situation and think, how on earth did you end up there – what on earth possessed you? But if you look at each step that led to their fate, its often more understandable.

The POV switches in the book between Elodie and her seemingly perfect sister, Adaline. I don’t think you need me to tell you that in life, things are rarely as perfect as outward appearances might portray, and whilst we first see Ada from Elodie’s perspective – thriving, happy….PERFECT, of course things aren’t that simple. Having the story told from the point of view of both sisters means we get to know them each better, and get to know the other through the eyes of her sister. We see how events and people have been interpreted differently by each of them.

The plot is tense, it ticks along at a good pace and really kept me reading.

This is an excellent example of the genre, and truly accomplished for a debut author. This is one that will pop into my head when someone asks for a recommendation and I’ll be looking out for more from Dandy Smith in the future.

A look forward to 2022…..

Happy New Year folks! I’m going to do a wrap up post on 2021 in a few days but I thought I’d first look forward to the year ahead.

For the love of reading…..

I’m going to approach reading a little differently this year. 2021 was the first year of the blog and the second year of me getting reacquainted with Netgalley after a really long break.

I’ve struggled to find time to devote to the blog, and have certainly been very sporadic with posting. I’m not making any resolutions or promises to change that because it might not happen. As I’m sure I’ve said in previous posts, I have two young kids (1 and 4), I work 30 hours a week and have no family close by, so juggling life, family and work needs take up a lot of my time. I squeeze in reading where I can but have found that blogging to a schedule, whether that be for a tour or to post near a publishing date, can make it seem like a chore rather than something I do for fun and I’d like to change that.

I’m really going to kick back and read more according to my mood this year. I’m going to be a lot more selective in what I request from NG and the amount of blog tours I sign up for so that my own reading doesn’t end up getting buried under other obligations.

Time to #beatthebacklog

This is the only reading “challenge” I’m committing to this year. The brainchild of Lisa at https://twitter.com/owlbesatreading, this challenge aims to tackle those books that we’ve got sitting around on shelves, on trolleys, in piles and in boxes, waiting for us to read them.

I have 116 unread fiction books on my kindle, plus 30 NG books past their publication date. I moved house last year and still have 3 boxes of books, probably around half of which are unread, and a book trolley full of books I want to get to.

My jam packed book trolley

I’d love to get these numbers down!

Oh, and I’ve just remembered my audible catalogue…… 😱

Move away from the “Buy Now” button…..

To get that backlog down, I need to not add to it!

My main problem is the 99p kindle deals. It’s far to easy to see a book, think “oh I’ve heard good things about this” and click “buy”.

I need to rein that in. No buying unless it’s a book I am absolutely DESPERATE to read.

So what’s coming up next?

After perusing my various stashes, there’s a few I’m particularly looking forward to finally reading…..

I do have some 2022 NG books and a tour or two scheduled but #beatthebacklog and generally whatever the heck I want are going to be my main focus this year.

I’m really excited about reading in 2022 and I really think it’s due to me purposefully taking the pressure off and making sure it’s all about the joy of reading.

Hope you all have lovely bookish 2022’s ahead of you!

Netgalley November 2021

So, its the first of November! I’d normally write a wrap up post for November but I’m going to save that for tomorrow. Today, I’m going to have a look at how I did during Netgalley November!

Netgalley November is a great event, hosted by @emandherbooks and @tot_and_tales. There was a dedicated Twitter account (@NetGalleyNov), and organised chat groups for everyone to chat about their progress (or failure to stop clicking the request button as the case may be!)

Let’s have a little look at my stats:

Well, I didn’t manage to get to either me most anticipated or oldest requests since, as per usual, life events took over! The event did make me focus on my Netgalley account however and I caught up on quite a few reviews that I had outstanding. I also had a few non-fiction books as I’d made a few requests for reference books on various house, gardening and creative things, so I got those read and reviewed too.

So, where have I ended up….

I’m so pleased to have gotten over 70%! There were a few blips towards the end of the month, mainly because I got three approvals in three days which moved my ratio down but I got all the reviews submitted that I could and made it back up there!

There are some exciting hints about the future from the #NetgalleyNovember guys so I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled for that! The focus on clearing the backlog and the fun from chatting with like-minded book folk has been great – long may it continue!

Blog Tour: The Bone Shard Emperor by Andrea Stewart

Good Morning readers! Today, I’m very happy to be bringing you my review of The Bone Shard Emperor by Andrea Stewart as part of the blog tour. Big thanks to the lovely Tracy Fenton at Compulsive Readers for organising the tour, and of course to the author Andrea Stewart and the publisher Orbit Books for my copy of the book.

Emperor. Not Emporer as I kept typing until I’d done it for about the 30th time and finally learnt the correct spelling.

I’m case you didn’t know, this is the sequel to The Bone Shard Daughter, and the middle book of a planned trilogy. Here’s the synopsis as listed at Goodreads:

The Emperor is Dead. Long live the Emperor.

Lin Sukai finally sits on the throne she won at so much cost, but her struggles are only just beginning. Her people don’t trust her. Her political alliances are weak. And in the north-east of the Empire, a rebel army of constructs is gathering, its leader determined to take the throne by force.

Yet an even greater threat is on the horizon, for the Alanga – the powerful magicians of legend – have returned to the Empire. They claim they come in peace, and Lin will need their help in order to defeat the rebels and restore peace.

But can she trust them?

SPOILER WARNING: As this is the second in the series, there will inevitably be spoilers for The Bone Shard’s Daughter, so read on at your peril if you’ve not read part 1!

So, so, so. What to say about The Bone Shard Emperor? Well, I’ll start by saying, I bloody LOVED it! If you’re in a rush and can’t be bothered to read the rest of the post then that can be your take away. 5 stars, love it, desperate for more, etc. etc.

Still here? Oh great! Well, I suppose if you’ve stuck around I’d better try and expand the above into some coherent and well reasoned points then hadn’t I?

Well, first of all, the characters. We got to know our main players some more in this book.

The POV switches between Lin, Jovis, Phalue, Ranami and Nisong, as with Book 1. We get to see how these characters deal with their newfound roles and responsibilities within the Empire, as well as the conflicts that arise both between each other, and within themselves. Lin struggles to juggle the people’s needs and gaining the trust and support of the Governors and Jovis is struggling to balance his conflicting loyalties. I liked all of the characters, I liked the way we’ve sort of seen the “after” here, they’ve grappled and taken power for themselves, and now we see how they deal with it and what they’re going to do. Its not easy for them, we see them struggle and I think that this makes them more relatable. There’s not perfect, they’re people. Or you know, constructs.

I find the world that Stewart has built here really intriguing and exploring it more with the characters kept me reading. The archipelago geography used was something I don’t think I’ve come across before and I enjoyed Lin and Jovis’ visits to the different islands where we could read about differing cultures. And Food! I love reading about food in fantasy worlds!

I love the mythology and lore of the Alanga too and l was gripped by the revelations in this regard. I can’t wait to see where this thread goes, who the Alanga were, or are, or are going to be.

Plot wise, things are slightly slower in the first two thirds or so, but not to the point of feeling that the book is dragging at all. We are journeying with the characters, seeing how they deal with the changes that had been thrown at them by the end of Book 1, watching them interact with each other (some that had not done so before) and watching them make discoveries about what those who came before them had done that has led to the current state of the Empire. The switching POV keeps you reading too, as we move all of the Empire and see what everyone is up to.

The last third though, well, its action packed. There’s battles, there’s reveals, there’s set up for the final part in the trilogy. I read the first book and this one with very little break between the two so really felt that I’d been immersed in the world and the story and gotten to know the characters. It was one of those times where you’re desperate to read the book but also desperate not to; I really didn’t want to be left with no more of this trilogy to read.

I really recommend this one, its a highlight of the year for me and I cannot wait for the next part.

You can follow the rest of the blog tour below.

Friday Feature: Memoirs of a Library Addict

I’m going to try and keep up these posts on a Friday where I ramble on about various bookish things, whatever takes my fancy really.

Today, the object of my rambles is the humble library.

This is my local council run library. Ha, I wish!

An early introduction

At the house I lived in until I was about 14, we had a library at the bottom of the hill. It was about a 10 minute walk away and it was one of the first places I remember being allowed to go on my own.

I read loads as a kid, favourites being the Sweet Valley Twins and Saddle Club series of books, which later gave way to Point Horror and Christopher Pike.

I had a notebook that I’d use to list books in a series that I wanted to read and would cross them off as I went.

I have my mum to thank for the introduction to the library and it’s services. She took both me and my sister as children and instilled a love of books in us that I strive to pass on to my own children.

A way to feed the habit

When I was in my early twenties, I didn’t have a lot of money. I had various jobs that I didn’t particularly like, before starting on the bottom rung of the career I have today.

I also liked to really flex my introvert muscles by living on my own (which I LOVED) and so, for a lot of the time, had no one to share the bills with.

At these times, the library was my way of keeping up with books. I could lend the latest releases and not have to worry that the money should be kept for things like….well to be honest, at times, food!

It wasn’t just books either. I couldn’t afford a landline or internet at home (seems inconceivable now) so the library was also my source of music, film and tv as I could rent CDs and DVDs for a minimal cost.

The here and now

I am still a huge fan of the library. These days I have a bit more disposable income and can afford to splurge on a new release every now and again. But, at a time when they are constantly under threat from budget cuts, I don’t want to lose the library service and I want my kids to know that it’s there.

The library is still a place for me to get physical books but it’s more than that for me nowadays. It’s a place where I can get eBooks and audiobooks. It’s a place where I can take the kids to spend a bit of time or attend a playgroup (well, it was pre Covid). Its a place for me to have a peaceful wander round when it takes my fancy.

I am one of those people who will always pop up on Facebook posts to remind people about what their local library does. A lot of people always seem to forget or are simply unaware of what their library can do. An audible subscription for example can be expensive and whilst the library doesn’t have the same selection, there are a heck of a lot of audiobooks available to rent.

I have lived close to the border between two counties for the last 7 years and used that to my advantage by getting library cards for both. If there’s a book I’m after, I have two catalogues to consult to see if I can lend it from a library. That’s been really useful!

I think I will be a library lover for life, hopefully they’ll stick around as long as I do! It would be an absolute tragedy if we lost our libraries. Several near me have had to be taken over privately when the council could no longer fund them and are now run by volunteers. Its certainly something I’d love to do, maybe when the kids are older and I have more time and less bills to pay!

I’m preaching to the converted here, but use your libraries people and tell others to!

Anyway, I’m off to my local library today to pick up my latest reservation. Happy reading x

Photo by Leah Kelley on Pexels.com