Charity Shop & Heffers Book Haul!

Every time I’m back from university me and my mum always go to Emmaus, that are a charity with a room full of books, all at 75p each. We usually come out with a massive bag of books between us, and I’m managed to get some amazing books there. So here’s my haul from my trip earlier in the week!

24861532Forensics: The Anatomy of Crime by Val McDermid

Synopsis: Val McDermid is one of the finest crime writers we have, whose novels have captivated millions of readers worldwide with their riveting narratives of characters who solve complex crimes and confront unimaginable evil. In the course of researching her bestselling novels McDermid has become familiar with every branch of forensics, and now she uncovers the history of this science, real-world murders and the people who must solve them.

Thoughts: This has been on my to read list for a while, and I’e been meaning to get more non-fiction under my belt. As a lover of several cop/pathologist tv shows, this is a perfect book to delve into!

Dot Robot by Jason Bradbury9362678

Synopsis: ‘Congratulations, Jackson. Welcome to MeX.’ billionaire Devlin Lear, founder of the top-secret defence force MeX, has been watching Jackson Farley. He knows he has found a digital genius.

Along with three other brilliant gamers from different corners of the world, Lear needs Jackson to join him and stop the criminal heist of the century. And all by the power of the most highly advanced, state-of-the-art robots ever invented.

Are Jackson and the MeX recruits as good as Lear thinks? And how does Jackson know quite who to trust when they can never meet face-to-face?

Thoughts: Gaming and computers and stuff immediately screams ‘Ready Player One’ at me so I just had to pick it up. I’ve been trying ever since I read it to find something similar. It probably won’t live up, but it sounds interesting!

Review to come!

7438238Pandaemonium by Christopher Brookmyre

Synopsis: The senior pupils of St Peter’s High School are on a retreat to a secluded outdoor activity centre, coming to terms with the murder of a fellow pupil through counselling, contemplation, candid discussion and even prayer – not to mention booze, drugs, clandestine liaisons and as much partying as they can get away with.

Not so far away, the commanders of a top-secret military experiment, long-since spiralled out of control, fear they may have literally unleashed the forces of Hell.

Two very different worlds are about to clash in an earthly battle between science and the supernatural, philosophy and faith, civilisation and savagery.

Thoughts: I’ve just started this, and I’m intrigued by the opening pages. The writing is a lot more denser than I expected from the synopsis, but it’s definitely an interesting opening. On some more research, it seems more horror/gore than I usually read so it will be intriguing to find how I deal with that!

9339435Lost Fleet: Dauntless by Jack Campell

Synopsis: The Alliance has been fighting the Syndic for a century, and losing badly. Now its fleet is crippled and stranded in enemy territory. Their only hope is Captain John “Black Jack” Geary – a man who has emerged from a century-long hibernation to find himself heroically idealized beyond belief. Now, he must live up to his own legend.

Thoughts: I’ve seen the Lost Fleet series around bookstores for years, and it was pure chance that I picked up the first book (after a quick check on Goodreads!). I’ve been dying for a more military-type sci-fi book since reading the likes of Ender’s Game, so I’m definitely looking forward to this one!

I finished my week with a day trip to Cambridge, and spent a good few hours round the wonderful Heffers’ store. I’ve never been to it before, but it was like geek heaven, with an amazing selection of books. Plus a sneaky 3 for 2 deal that I couldn’t help but take advantage of. Hence the subsequent buys!

91714Civil War #1-7 by Mark Millar

Synopsis: The landscape of the Marvel Universe is changing, and it’s time to choose: Whose side are you on? A conflict has been brewing from more than a year, threatening to pit friend against friend, brother against brother – and all it will take is a single misstep to cost thousands their lives and ignite the fuse.

Thoughts: I’ve been a big fan of MCU since it began, and with the upcoming release of Captain America: Civil War, it seemed like the perfect time to settle down and actually get into the comic. Seeing as the only other comics I’ve read are Batwoman, and Spiderman’s Civil War comic, my exploration into comic books has been pretty limited. I finished reading it yesterday, and just a heads up: I’ve changed my tune and am now Team Tony, just massively against how they did things in the comic.

Review to come!


Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Synopsis: An audacious, darkly glittering novel set in the eerie days of civilization’s collapse, Station Eleven tells the spellbinding story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity.

Spanning decades, moving back and forth in time, and vividly depicting life before and after the pandemic, this suspenseful, elegiac novel is rife with beauty. As Arthur falls in and out of love, as Jeevan watches the newscasters say their final good-byes, and as Kirsten finds herself caught in the crosshairs of the prophet, we see the strange twists of fate that connect them all. A novel of art, memory, and ambition, Station Eleven tells a story about the relationships that sustain us, the ephemeral nature of fame, and the beauty of the world as we know it.

Thoughts: I’ve heard about this book so much recently, and I’ve been dying to get my hands on a copy for a good few months. After manically running round Heffers trying to find it, I was so pleased when I managed to find a copy. I’ve definitely been leaning towards the more sensual, complex dystopian novels (see The Book of Strange New Things), so this seems perfect. I’ve heard some really great reviews too!

24956528The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

Synopsis: Somewhere within our crowded sky, a crew of wormhole builders hops from planet to planet, on their way to the job of a lifetime. To the galaxy at large, humanity is a minor species, and one patched-up construction vessel is a mere speck on the starchart. This is an everyday sort of ship, just trying to get from here to there.

But all voyages leave their mark, and even the most ordinary of people have stories worth telling. A young Martian woman, hoping the vastness of space will put some distance between herself and the life she‘s left behind. An alien pilot, navigating life without her own kind. A pacifist captain, awaiting the return of a loved one at war.

Set against a backdrop of curious cultures and distant worlds, this episodic tale weaves together the adventures of nine eclectic characters, each on a journey of their own.

Thoughts: I picked this up on a whim, due to a pretty cover and whisperings of it over Goodreads. I hope its as detailed and complex as the synopsis suggests. It sounds rather character-driven, which is definitely fun in sci-fi. So I can’t wait.

I’ve just realised that the majority of these books are science fiction/dystopian, so I definitely have a theme running through my preferences right now. And this post was far longer than I expected!

But hopefully I can get cracking on a lot of these. I probably won’t do another book haul for a while, considering I’m back to uni soon and that means basically no money. Although maybe a few charity shops might be in order!

Unfortunately, my reading might also tail off, with a busy few months ahead and 12000 words of essays to write. But hopefully I’ll fit it in in my relaxing time and I’ll be able to get through several of these sometime soon!


Looking back on March!

I started this blog this month, so it’s been a really great experience getting stuck in, writing reviews and getting some wonderful followers both here and on Twitter. As for Twitter, I started tweeting in late Feb and I now have over 120 followers already! It’s also been a continuation of my NetGalley introduction, and I’ve read some great books.

I’ve always wanted to properly start up a book blog, and I’m honestly surprised it’s going so well. The book blogging community on Twitter are amazing, and having conversations with authors and publishing houses has been an exciting bonus that I never expected. Hopefully my blog will continue to grow and improve and I hope to write more and more posts.

I’ve also been contacted by publishers and publicists alike from NetGalley. I was lucky enough to be part of the cover reveal for Laini Taylor’s Strange the Dreamer, which was great fun and I honestly can’t wait for it to come out!

Book wise, I read 9 books, most from NetGalley, and mostly sci-fi. There’s the odd literary fiction and poetry dotted in there, but my life has definitely been taken up by the wonders of space travel and new technology over the last month. Usually, I’m not so focused into one genre, but I’ve got the sci-fi bug and it won’t leave!

The books I’ve read:

Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel (NetGalley, Penguin)
The Phoenix Descent by Chick Grossart (NetGalley, 47 North)
Future Shock by Elizabeth Briggs (NetGalley, Albert Whitman and Company)

Queer Wars by Dennis Altman and Jonathon Simons (review to come)
We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (ebook, Anchor Books)
The Wolf in the Attic by Paul Kearney (NetGalley, Rebellion)

Quarter Life Poetry by Samantha Jayne (NetGalley, Grand Central Publishing)
Beacon 23 by Hugh Howey (ebook, Broad Reach Publishing)
The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber (hardback, Canongate)
You can’t bury them all by Patrick Woodcock (NetGalley, ECW Press)

My favourite was definitely The Book of Strange New Things, closely followed by The Phoenix Descent. Both I gave five stars to, which is a relatively rare thing for me to do.

Onto April, and I hope new and exciting things happen! I’ve got a few NetGalley books waiting to be read, and I’m planning on starting a weekly blog post or two. ‘Friday Finds’ is definitely interesting me, because I add so many books to my to-read lists. But I’ll be starting that up soon.

Overall, March has been an amazing month full of new things and fun adventures. Can’t wait to start my second month as a book blogger!

REVIEW: The Medusa Chronicles by Stephen Baxter and Alastair Reynolds

Thank you to NetGalley and Orion Publishing Group for accepting me for this ARC!

cover86164-mediumI came at this novel at a bit of a disadvantage. I haven’t read Meetings with Medusa or any of Arthur C. Clarke’s work (it’s something I’m hoping to remedy soon). However, although it was a bit of an overload of information at the beginning, it quickly didn’t matter and I fell into the wonderful, political and fantastical world of Howard Falcon, half human, half cyborg.

‘Well – what is existence but an endless, ultimately futile delaying of the inevitable?’

What I really loved was the breadth of this novel. Although the time jumps were a bit confusing at the start, we get to see the impact of human space travel and the extent to which we go to to war. Interlinked with a 1969 space story that shows the beginning human space exploration, the sheer amount of action and development we get pushes this book to epic and fantastical proportions.

Using Howard Falcon as the narrator really allowed a more objective and different view to what typically could have been a human-focused story. Instead, the half human half cyborg serves as a third party by which to explore the wider solar system and the political landscape. I really liked him as a character, and the way he was linked to all aspects of the narrative made him a great central character.

I admit, I don’t go often go for such ‘other-worldly’ sci-fi, with the presence of Martians, ‘simps’, and the Machines. But Baxter and Reynolds create a wonderful political landscape that questions the impact of technological advances, robot autonomy and the lengths humans will go to save the race. At times I felt like it lagged slightly, and it did take me longer to read than usual, but it didn’t put me off.

I have Baxter’s The Long Earth on my bookshelves somewhere, which I will undoubtedly read some point soon. But if you like a political story combined with the effects of human interplanetary space travel, this book is definitely for you.

WHAT I LOVED: the politics, the idea of a wider political landscape in the solar system

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE: jumps were confusing, slow in some places