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.
We’ve had a series of warm, sunny days this week – yippee! So it was a real shame that yesterday King Charles and Queen Camilla had such soggy weather for their Coronation. At the end of yesterday morning’s practice, Oscar returned to the car after sloshing around the football pitch, looking like he’d just emerged from a rather muddy lake. The coaches are heroes for giving up their Saturday mornings to assist youngsters in improving their skills – especially in such conditions. As for the Coronation – I was so impressed with the blending of old and new within the service at Westminster Abbey and how the whole event ran on rails. It made me proud to be British.
Another milestone – it was local Government elections earlier this week, and so Ethan voted for the first time. I recall so clearly walking down the same road with his mother and voting with her. Where does the time go??
Other than that, it’s been a quieter week – partly because I’ve been struggling with my energy levels after last weekend’s busyness. So I haven’t managed to get as much writing done as I’d wanted, although I’m still having huge fun writing my novella – Casta and the Giggling Knight. I did watch a bit more TV and finally got around to the Magpie Murders series, which I thoroughly enjoyed. It felt a tad like an Agatha Christie whodunit, but with a modern twist. The acting and production values were top notch and the plotting was witty and funny. It’s been a very long time since I enjoyed a murder mystery series so much.
Last week I read:-
AUDIOBOOK – Twin Crowns – Book 1 of the Twin Crowns series by Catherine Doyle & Katherine Webber
Wren Greenrock has always known that one day she would steal her sister’s place in the palace. Trained from birth to return to the place of her parents’ murder and usurp the only survivor, she will do anything to rise to power and protect the community of witches she loves. Or she would, if only a certain palace guard wasn’t quite so distractingly attractive, and if her reckless magic didn’t have a habit of causing trouble…
Princess Rose Valhart knows that with power comes responsibility. Marriage into a brutal kingdom awaits, and she will not let a small matter like waking up in the middle of the desert in the company of an extremely impertinent (and handsome) kidnapper get in the way of her royal duty. But life outside the palace walls is wilder and more beautiful than she ever imagined, and the witches she has long feared might turn out to be the family she never knew she was missing.
Two sisters separated at birth and raised into entirely different worlds are about to get to know each other’s lives a whole lot better. But as coronation day looms closer and they each strive to claim their birthright, the sinister Kingsbreath, Willem Rathborne, becomes increasingly determined that neither will succeed. Who will ultimately rise to power and wear the crown?
Aspects of this one worked really well. I liked the fact that both sisters really struggled to adapt in each other’s world and that the envisaged plan didn’t go remotely to plan. What I did find a bit frustrating was the hefty dose of romance that at times meant the girls – Wren in particular – was busy mooning over the man in her life, instead of focusing on keeping alive… But I’m aware I’m not the target audience for this book, so did make a few allowances for the YA genre conventions. Looking forward to reading the next book in the adventure.
Humanborn – Book 1 of the Shadows of Eireland series by Joanna Maciejewska
Less than a decade ago, the Magiclysm, a tear between Earth and another place, brought magic to Ireland—and worse, it brought back the mythborn. The war that followed left Dublin scarred, and cursed Kaja Modrzewska with chaotic magic that will eventually claim her life.
Struggling with wartime nightmares, Kaja seeks normalcy amongst the volatile peace working as an information broker when a series of explosions across Dublin threatens to reignite the war. Both sides are eager to blame the other, so Kaja reluctantly agrees to investigate.
But finding the terrorists responsible means working alongside the mythborn’s elite killers, and uncomfortable wartime secrets coming to light. Kaja, who had saved a mythborn’s life during the war, finds out she has a life debt of her own, and as she juggles her allegiances and obligations, she’ll have to decide where her loyalties lie, with her old human allies or the mythborn.
I enjoy Joanna’s writing – so was delighted when she asked me if I’d like a review copy of this new urban fantasy series. It’s a wonderful read. Kaja is a strong protagonist in a difficult place, but manages to give us a vivid insight into the full extent of her troubles without coming across as a victim, which is great deal harder to pull off than Joanna makes it look. Review to follow. 9/10
Gray Lady – Book 4 of the Madame Chalamet Ghost Mysteries by Bryd Nash
The young Coralie Floquet desires to marry but the spectral appearance of a Gray Lady portends that her end might be soon. Called in to help by Tristan Fontain, the Duke de Archambeau, Elinor plans to chase spirits and rumors at a country estate in a seaside town.
But as soon as she arrives, ill-will seems to swirl around her, along with tittle-tattle about her relationship with Tristan that has gossips talking. Though Elinor doesn’t care much about stolen government documents, her heart might be lost when the duke finally reveals the truth about his past and why he took Elinor home when he first met her.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this engaging Gaslamp fantasy series – to the extent that I pre-ordered this one. Which didn’t disappoint – I loved the change of scene, Elinor’s struggles to recover after her last escapade and the deft plotting around this particular mystery. Review to follow. 9/10
AUDIOBOOK – Pushing Ice by Alastair Reynolds
2057. Humanity has raised exploiting the solar system to an art form. Bella Lind and the crew of her nuclear-powered ship, the Rockhopper, push ice. They mine comets. And they’re good at it.
The Rockhopper is nearing the end of its current mission cycle, and everyone is desperate for some much-needed R & R, when startling news arrives from Saturn: Janus, one of Saturn’s ice moons, has inexplicably left its natural orbit and is now heading out of the solar system at high speed. As layers of camouflage fall away, it becomes clear that Janus was never a moon in the first place. It’s some kind of machine – and it is now headed toward a fuzzily glimpsed artifact 260 light-years away. The Rockhopper is the only ship anywhere near Janus, and Bella Lind is ordered to shadow it for the few vital days before it falls forever out of reach. In accepting this mission, she sets her ship and her crew on a collision course with destiny – for Janus has more surprises in store, and not all of them are welcome.
This audiobook version is a joy. I particularly liked the narration by John Lee, who did a masterful job in depicting the various voices and delivering this story full of unexpected twists. I never knew where the story was going to go next – and Reynolds’ fertile imagination provided some of the grossest aliens ever. Musk dogs – ewwww… Overall The Rockhopper’s mind-bending adventures took me on an amazing journey that would make a wonderful TV series. Highly recommended. 9/10
My posts last week:
Castellan the Black and his Wise Dragonic Musings on Life
Can’t-Wait-Wednesday featuring March’s End by Daniel Polansky
*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of NETGALLEY arc Some Desperate Glory by Emily Tesh
Sunday Post – 30th April, 2023
Hope you, too, had some brilliant books to tuck into and wishing you all a happy, healthy week😊.