blog tour, books, reviews

Blog tour: Death at the Plague Museum – Lesley Kelly*

Today I am hosting a stop on the blog tour for Lesley Kelly’s Death at the Plague Museum. And if that title doesn’t intrigue you, I don’t know what will.

Set in a version of Edinburgh where a deadly outbreak of flu has left the need for a Health Enforcement Team, who in this book, the third in the series, are looking into a missing senior civil servant following a top secret meeting held at the Museum of Plagues and Pandemics.

This is a clever and witty book, the pacing is excellent and carries you along through all the twists and turns of the smart plot. The ending is very unexpected and hopefully book four continues the story…

books, reviews

Book Review: Emily Eternal – M.G. Wheaton*

Emily is an AI designed by a team at university, she exists in a synthesised version of the campus and she’s very, very smart.However not everyone wants to leave her in her home, some want to turn her into a weapon and Emily doesn’t agree.Forced to make decisions for more than just herself after a military incursion on her campus Emily has to stretch the limits of her programming and become more than just code.Told from Emily’s POV this is a clever, twisty thriller set in the near future. Well written and pacey, I really enjoyed this and it sits nicely among my growing collection of clever AI books.You can get a copy of Emily Eternal at all good bookshops from 23rd April.*I received a copy of this book in exchange for my review – but all words and opinions are my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Book Review: Outremer III – DN Carter*

In preparation for this book review I also received books 1 and 2 of the series, there will also be a fourth volume.

My husband often complains about all the books I receive from generous publishers and PR teams to review, so this one is for him.

Set during the Crusades in the Holy Land, which spanned more than a few years and saw kings, queens and even children (both Alianor of Aquitaine and her son Richard the Lionheart would spend time in Jerusalem) travel to the front in order to fight the Muslim forces led at one point by the legendary Saladin.

These books are part fantastical story and part discussion of religious texts and beliefs.

My husband reviewed them thus; “Really interesting, but I got attached to one set of characters and wanted more of them and less religion. This book is trying to do something different and I got a bit frustrated when it left one plot for another. ”

A lot has been written about the Crusades, about the ‘right’ of European monarchs to control and repress the local population (remember Jerusalem is holy in all three Abrahamic faiths – Judaism, Christianity and Islam) but not like this.

This is an unusual series and will appeal to people interested in history, religion, and also fantasy as it follows two young people caught up in the chaos of the time.

giveaway, reviews

SnapIt review and giveaway*

Calling all glasses wearers! Have you ever snapped off the wing of your specs and had to rush to the opticians for a quick repair having lost the little tiny screw that holds the whole thing together?

Well I’ve recently received something that might be the answer, if you’re feeling pretty confident about your technical skills.

SnapIt is a clever little kit designed to help you put your glasses back together without the hassle of rushing to the opticians and hoping there’s somewhere available to sort it for you.

Consisting of several different sized glasses screws and a tool to help you screw it in place, SnapIt seems to be the answer. The name comes from the snapping off of the extra bit of the screw underneath the join.

I took it round to my parents’ to get some other opinions. My dad is an engineer and wears glasses all the time now, he was quite impressed by SnapIt and felt that he could confidently use it, he also noted that the screws were self threading, meaning they will bore the hole a little bigger if need be (no need for a tiny drill!). My mum, who wears glasses for reading and driving, was less confident, she would probably ask my dad to fix them or go to the opticians.

Personally I think it’s a great idea, but I would ask C to fix them as he builds miniature models and would be more confident with such tiny pieces. I also wouldn’t be able to see well enough without my glasses on to fix it. Unless I remember where I put my spare pair (somewhere so safe even I don’t know where they are).

SnapIt are available on social media too, handy if you have any questions, check out Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Theres even a handy how to video.

So, how would you feel about winning your very own SnapIt glasses repair tool and screws? I think it’s something worth having in the kitchen drawer just in case, for something we need every day, your specs can be super fragile!

If you fancy your own SnapIt, then click this link and enter the giveaway. Full T&Cs are on the giveaway site. Otherwise SnapIt is currently available through Amazon priced £2.99 (bargain!)

*I received this item for review but all words and opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Ancestral Night – Elizabeth Bear

I seem to have a slight thing for AIs with a bit of sass, from AIDAN (The Illuminae Files series), Lovelace/Lovey/Sidra (the Wayfarer series) and now Singer in Ancestral Night.

There are also cats, I also love cats. It reminded me of the Redemption Falls series, space ships with cats, all the feels.

Basically I love this book. It starts out with Singer, his two man crew and the cats (Mephistopheles, always hungry, and her sister Bushyasta, always sleeping) on a routine salvage mission.

The crew is comprised of pilot Connla and engineer Haimey, who grew up in a collective before leaving to explore the universe. She’s had augmentation that turned her feet into another pair of hands (aft-hands) which took me ages to get my hand around fyi.

The routine mission goes sideways and space pirates get involved. There’s also a giant praying mantis cop, explosions, black holes, kidnap, giant floating space creatures that are older than most civilisations, and this is only the first book!

Can you guess that I loved this book?

Seriously, a black female protagonist in a STEM role in freaking space is fantastic plus a smart-ass AI and cats, cats who have space suits and very clever names (Google them). This book legit has everything.

I cannot wait to read the second book once the author (who is a member of my new cool last name club, although she doesn’t know me at all). So go read this book! Book sales = the rest of the series definitely getting published.

Check out the rest of the blog tour too.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Everlasting Rose – Dhionelle Clayton

This is the sequel to The Belles (I recommend reading it before my review as there may be some mild spoilers of that book)

Following the events of The Belles, Camellia, her sister Edel and bodyguard Remy are on the run in the queendom of Orlèans from the dangerous Princess Sophia while searching for Princess Charlotte.

Camellia has learnt the terrible secrets that lurk beneath the beautiful surface and must stay alive long enough to right these wrongs and save not only herself but the whole of Orlèans.

I found The Belles to be full of clever ideas and fun details like the teacup animals and this book builds on the ideas and expands the world building.

Dhionelle is an excellent writer, and carries you along with her words. The plot is a lot more interesting than the first book, I think because there is less world building and scene setting needed.

I enjoyed this, although I had to read it as an e-book after the Royal Mail lost the copy I was kindly being sent by the publisher (which is less than ideal for me for several reasons).

I definitely think you need to read the first book though, this is very much a sequel as opposed to something that could stand alone.

life, mindfulness, netflix, thoughts

To Kondo or not to Kondo, that is the question…

I haven’t read her book or seen the Netflix show, and to be honest I probably won’t, mostly because the thought of watching someone sort through their crap just isn’t my thing.

I hate cleaning; don’t get me wrong I can hoover, dust, scrub and mop like a regular little Cinderella but I don’t enjoy doing it. I also hate sorting through my stuff.

I’m a bit of a pack rat, I own a lot of stuff and I know that. But sorting through it stresses me out. My anxiety ridden brain can’t cope with decisions like to throw or to keep.

I have form for making mistakes. I had the perfect denim jacket once, till I donated it with a load of other stuff to Oxfam. Bye bye excellent jacket.

A load of books was accidentally donated while my bedroom was being decorated. They got mixed in with some others and by the time I realised, it was too late.

I am the queen of donation regret, of selling on eBay remorse. Just this week I rescued a hoodie and a skirt from the donation bag at home because it occurred to me that I could put together a cute outfit with those bits.

I understand Marie Kondo’s ethos – the whole sparking joy concept. I even think people totally overreacted to get comments about books (she wasn’t saying you have to get rid of them fyi). I’m even envious of the clever t-shirt folding trick as it looks super neat and tidy, the way I’m not.

My flat could undoubtedly do with a de-clutter, a thorough tidy up, but I don’t trust myself with it all. I get super emotionally attached to objects, and I can’t throw things away.

I’m not a hoarder, although both C and I are definitely holding onto a lot of stuff we could probably live without. I’m donating some bits and pieces this weekend that I culled from my wardrobe when I swapped my summer clothes to winter (several months ago but I have to let things sit so I don’t get all regretful).

I eye up the boxes I haven’t opened since I moved in and think I really should, after 6 years, have a look at what’s in there, but later, after I finish my book.

My dad has gotten into the habit of just chucking everything in a skip and not caring, my mum saves things in hidey holes so he can’t throw away our family photo albums (a thing that he almost did once). Their standoff on what he calls “junk” has been going for at least my entire lifetime.

I’ve got better about certain things – books I can’t imagine re-reading are released into the wild via friends, family and charity shops. But even then I have form for going “Oh crap, I should have kept that book!”

C doesn’t help, he has tonnes of old Warhammer and it takes him about a year to get rid of bits of it. Whenever he does he’s like a puppy wanting his head patted. I wouldn’t mind but he buys new miniatures all the time so I don’t think it evens out.

We don’t have a big flat, and we’re a little squashed in with all the things we can’t quite say goodbye to yet.

If you need me, I’ll be buried under the overloaded bookcase. It’s the way I want to go.