This is part of the weekly meme over at the Caffeinated Reviewer, where book bloggers can share the books they’ve read and share what they have got up to during the last week.
It’s been a busy week, as Oscar is now back at school. There are still days when he doesn’t feel all that well, but overall the headaches are definitely improving and are at least bearable when they do make an appearance – such a relief! He’s also back to attending the gym and football practice, again. Ethan has been flat out working on his final assignment for college over the last month, so we were all delighted when he announced on Thursday that he’d completed it. He had to take his first GCSE Maths exam on Friday morning – and at least this time he managed to attend, as there were no problems with the trains. Himself has taken time off work for all the days of Ethan’s exams just in case he needs to drive him to college.
The weather remains cool at night with a mixture of sunshine and showers during the day. The garden is a disgrace – overrun with weeds and utter neglect. I would be ashamed of it, but frankly I don’t have the bandwidth. I’m still not well enough to undertake gardening on top of the steadily growing household chores I’m now able to perform and I’ve no intention of risking a relapse by trying to take on more. So here is the gallery of shame – my poor choked plants blooming despite everything!
I’m making steady progress with my story Casta and the Giggling Knight – I’m hoping to complete it within the next couple of weeks. As you can see below, my reading has very much fallen off recently, as I’m spending less time resting in bed.
Books I’ve read in the last fortnight:-
Lords of Uncreation – Book 3 of The Final Architecture series by Adrian Tchaikovsky
Idris Telemmier has uncovered a secret that changes everything – the Architects’ greatest weakness. A shadowy Cartel scrambles to turn his discovery into a weapon against these alien destroyers of worlds. But between them and victory stands self-interest. The galaxy’s great powers would rather pursue their own agendas than stand together against this shared terror.
Human and inhuman interests wrestle to control Idris’ discovery, as the galaxy erupts into a mutually destructive and self-defeating war. The other great obstacle to striking against their alien threat is Idris himself. He knows that the Architects, despite their power, are merely tools of a higher intelligence.
Deep within unspace, where time moves differently, and reality isn’t quite what it seems, their masters are the true threat. Masters who are just becoming aware of humanity’s daring – and taking steps to exterminate this annoyance forever.
I thoroughly enjoyed this final instalment of this epic space opera adventure. Tchaikovsky has a knack of depicting flawed and difficult characters that I end up really caring about. Idris is one of my all-time favourites and I loved his journey throughout this adventure. 10/10
AUDIOBOOK – The Wizard Hunters: the Fall of Ile-Rien – Book 3 of the Ile-Rien series by Martha Wells
Once a fertile and prosperous land, Ile-Rien is under attack by the Gardier, a mysterious army whose storm-black airships appear from nowhere to strike without warning. Every weapon in the arsenal of Ile-Rien’s revered wizards has proven useless.
And now the last hope of a magical realm under siege rests within a child’s plaything.
I discovered this audiobook on my Audible +Catalogue and it’s a gem. This steampunk fantasy adventure is full of action and tension with a likeable and complicated main character. The world is vividly described and I enjoyed the magic system that gradually became clearer throughout the book – I liked the fact that different societies view it very differently. Altogether a cracking read and I’ll definitely be getting hold of more books in this series. 9/10
Ukulele of Death – Book 1 of the Fran and Ken Stein Mystery series by E.J. Copperman
Meet Fran and Ken Stein – a private investigator duo who refuse to let a little thing like being not entirely human stop them from doing their jobs. After losing their parents when they were just babies, private investigators Fran and Ken Stein now specialize in helping adoptees find their birth parents. So when a client asks them for help finding her father, with her only clue a rare ukulele, the case is a little weird, sure, but it’s nothing they can’t handle.
But soon Fran and her brother are plunged into a world where nothing makes sense – and not just the fact that a very short (but very cute) NYPD detective keeps trying to take eternal singleton Fran out on dates.
All Fran wants to do is find the ukulele and collect their fee, but it’s hard to keep your focus when you’re stumbling over corpses and receiving messages that suggest your (dead) parents are very much alive. Ukuleles aside, it’s becoming clear that someone knows something they shouldn’t – that Fran and Ken Stein weren’t so much born, as built.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed Copperman’s other books in her series featuring the intrepid Sandy. This one didn’t wasn’t quite so sure-footed and I didn’t like Fran as much – review to follow. 7/10
Cursed Crowns – Book 2 of the Twin Crowns series by Catherine Doyle & Katherine Webber
Twin queens Wren and Rose have claimed their crowns . . . but not everyone is happy about witches sitting on Eana’s throne.
Cool-headed Rose sets off on a Royal Tour to win over the doubters, but soon finds herself drawn to the Sunless Kingdom. Here secrets are revealed about those closest to her, and Rose finds her loyalties divided.
Meanwhile rebellious Wren steals away to the icy north to rescue their beloved grandmother, Banba. But when she accepts King Alarik’s deadly magical bargain in exchange for Banba’s freedom, the spell has unexpected – and far-reaching – consequences . . .
As an ancient curse begins to arise from the darkness, the sisters must come together and unite the crown. Their lives – and the future of Eana – depend on it.
Break the ice to free the curse,
Kill one twin to save another . . .
I wasn’t quite so sure about the first book in this series – I felt the romance slightly swamped the adventure. But this is where the story really takes off as we are immediately swept away into two thrilling adventures. Review to follow.
AUDIOBOOK – Killers of a Certain Age by Deanna Raybourn
Billie, Mary Alice, Helen, and Natalie have worked for the Museum, an elite network of assassins, for forty years. Now their talents are considered old-school and no one appreciates what they have to offer in an age that relies more on technology than people skills.
When the foursome is sent on an all-expenses paid vacation to mark their retirement, they are targeted by one of their own. Only the Board, the top-level members of the Museum, can order the termination of field agents, and the women realize they’ve been marked for death.
Now to get out alive they have to turn against their own organization, relying on experience and each other to get the job done, knowing that working together is the secret to their survival. They’re about to teach the Board what it really means to be a woman–and a killer–of a certain age.
The premise immediately snagged my attention and I enjoyed the action and narrative progression. I’m not entirely sure the characters always worked – the snark and backchat often had the feel of younger women. And I wasn’t convinced about the reason they ended up on a Kill List, either. That said, overall I enjoyed the action and having older protagonists made a refreshing change. 8/10
‘Unexpected Meeting’ – Prequel STORY to The Grey Gates series by Vanessa Nelson
There isn’t a blurb here – it’s a reader magnet for having signed up for Vanessa Nelson’s newsletter. She is one of my favourite indie authors – I love her writing and inhaled the Ageless and Taellaneth series. I’m now taking it a tad more slowly as I have just got hold of first in the Grey Gates series, which she’s currently working on. She provides wonderful worldbuilding and a very different vibe to her urban fantasy adventures. The romantic element in her books tends to take second place to the narrative, which I really appreciate. 8/10
My posts last week:
Castellan the Black and his Wise Draconic Musings on Life
*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of NETGALLEY arc Lords of Uncreation – Book 3 of The Final Architecture series by Adrian Tchaikovsky
Can’t-Wait-Wednesday featuring The Launch Party by Lauren Forry
Review of KINDLE Ebook Gray Lady – Book 4 of the Madame Chalamet Ghost Mysteries series by Byrd Nash
Hope you, too, had some brilliant books to tuck into and wishing you all a happy, healthy week😊.