2015: A Year in Review


| Books by Proxy – A Year in Review |

Welcome to my first end of year post – and what a year it has been! I started this blog on the last day of July and, over the last half of 2015, have found myself as part of a wonderful community of readers and bloggers. In my albeit limited experience, we book bloggers are lucky to enjoy a very friendly and supportive community, where sharing our books, our reviews and our experiences is all done for a love of reading and can be enjoyed by many. So thank you readers and thank you bloggers for making 2015 such an enjoyable year. I hope you all have a fantastic 2016!heart

| A Year in Books |

I think we can all agree these two very similar and equally profound books, Blood Song by Anthony Ryan and The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, deservedly made it into my longest and shortest book categories.heart


Donna Leon


Leon 10

with ten books in her Commissario Brunetti series


2015 - 6

P.G. Wodehouse

with nine books in total including seven from his Blandings series


Jim Butcher

with eight books in The Dresden Files series


AC - 6

Agatha Christie

with six books in her Hercule Poirot series


best fantasyBlood Song

Book One of the Raven’s Shadow Series

by Anthony Ryan



Best SciFiRed Rising

Book One of the Red Rising Trilogy

by Pierce Brown

heartSci Fi Five


best novellaThe SerpentThe Serpent

The Gameshouse I

by Claire North



best crimeThe Few

A Leone Scamarcio Thriller

by Nadia Dalbuonoheart


best historicalLamentationLamentation

Book Six of the Matthew Shardlake Series

by C.J. Sansom



best classicSomething FreshSomething Fresh

Book One of the Blandings Series

by P.G. Wodehouse



There were so many more amazing books which deserve to be on this list but then it would just be most of 2015’s books!

Thank you all for reading and have a wonderful 2016!

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Bookish ‘Sci-Fi’ Beats: Oblivion OST

Sci-Fi Bookish BeatsMusic, much like literature, has the power to drive your imagination; it can lift the soul and create real emotion. This is Bookish Beats, a feature which will showcase some of the soundtracks which have enriched the worlds I’ve found between the pages. 

Oblivion (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Score Composed by Anthony Gonzalez & Joseph Trapanese

Original Music by M83

Listen to with:

An action-packed sci-fi epic

Such as:

Inquisitor by Mitchell Hogan

Welcome back to another week of Bookish Beats. We’ve had a little break from this feature whilst I attempt to organise myself but this week we’re back with a vengence with the Oblivion OST.

This soundtrack is the result of a phenomenal collaboration between director Joseph Kosinski and the French electronic group M83. Following the success of the Tron Legacy soundtrack, in which Kosinski drafted in Daft Punk to create the score, the Oblivion director again went down the alternative route and selected M83 to score the soundtrack alongside Joseph Trapanese.  M83 have succeeded in creating a powerfully tense and mesmerising score which compliments the movie whilst being a stunning album in its own right.

With nods to traditional classically composed soundtracks, M83 have created an electronic symphony which flows effortlessly from one track to another and provides the perfect backdrop to any science fiction novel. Opening up with Jack’s Dream, a short piece which feels at home in a science fiction epic – grand, slow and powerful – and flowing on to Waking Up, a brilliant, slow building track which introduces the main theme present throughout the OST; this soundtrack builds to fantastic heights and provides a full complement of tracks for action, for atmosphere and tension, and for haunting emotive scenes.

Atmospheric tension is a common theme throughout this soundtrack where discordant sounds and repetitive beats create pieces which wouldn’t be out of place on a game soundtrack. Tech 49Odyssey Rescue and Losing Control are all slow building, tense tracks which reach powerful and often haunting crescendos, Radiation Zone uses elements from the main theme and overlays it with a powerful drum solo, and Temples of Our Gods uses choral pieces to give a tense track an element of grandeur.

The Oblivion OST also presents a number of impressive action tracks with Earth 2077, which weaves an electronic theme throughout this epic and all encompassing symphonic number, and Canyon Battle, a similarly tense and powerful action track which uses electronic synth melodies to get your heart pumping and succeeds in creating one of the best action tracks I’ve heard in a long while.

But this soundtrack is not without its truly haunting an emotive pieces either. You Can’t Save HerRaven RockStarwaves are all incredibly beautiful and emotive tracks, and Ashes of Our FathersUndimmed by Time, Unbound by DeathI’m Sending You Away and Fearful Odds are all downbeat chillout numbers which use haunting renditions of the main theme to create a perfect combination of tension and emotion. Something which is similarly found in the final track of the album, Oblivion, performed by Norwegian singer-songwriter Susanne Sundfør.

If you’re looking for a soundtrack to a science fiction epic then you could do much worse than the Oblivion OST. The electronic overlays give it a true science fiction feeling making it the perfect backdrop to a good book.

Favourite tracks

02 – Waking Up

Top track for action

08 – Canyon Battle

Top track for tension

07 – Losing Control

Top track for emotion

04 – Starwaves



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The Monthly Round-Up: August 2015

The Monthly Round-Up - augWelcome to the first post in my Monthly Round-Up feature. Join me as I look back on the past month to see which books I’ve read, the reviews I’ve posted, the goals I’ve completed and my all important Book of the Month!

| Books Read |

August Reads

August was pretty much my first month in the bookoblogosphere and, barring a few missed posts here and there, I don’t think it’s gone too badly! Over the course of this month I managed to get through ten books. Not bad. I even finished all those neglected classics that had begun to stack up on my currently reading pile. Hurrah! One goal complete and reviews for said classics will be appearing shortly! I’m moderately happy with ten books (actually, very happy!) but I would have liked to see more fantasy in the mix. I was obviously deceived by my reviews of fantasy novels from other months. Oh well, there’s nothing like self-deception to spur on new goals! So without further preamble, in order of reading, here are this month’s time consumers:

| 1. |

Agamemnon by Aeschylus

| 2. |

Inquisitor by Mitchell Hogan

| 3. |

The Somnambulist by Essie Fox

| 4. |

Armada by Ernest Cline

| 5. |

Doctor Who: The Drosten’s Curse by A.L. Kennedy

| 6. |

Pigs Have Wings by P.G. Wodehouse

| 7. |

The ABC Murders by Agatha Christie

| 8. |

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

| 9. |

Hard Times by Charles Dickens

| 10. |

Persuasion by Jane Austen 

Book of the Month


A Darker Shade of Magic

by V.E. Schwab

| August Goals |

To finish the classics on my currently reading pile (Agamemnon, Pigs Have Wings, The ABC Murders and Hard Times) 

Status: Completed

| Goals for 2015 |

Goodreads 2015 Reading Challenge: 82/100 Books Read (82%)

Status: +10% during August

Dragons and Jetpacks 2015 Reading Challenge: 36/50 Books Read (72%)

Status: +12% during August

| Reviews Posted |

August has been a month of very good reviews, most of which were at the four and a half (heart shaped) star level! The highest rating given was five stars (awesome!) and the lowest rating given was three (still a good read!). Here’s the run-down:

5 Stars


The Scarab Path by Adrian Tchaikovsky

4 and a half Stars


The Stormcaller by Tom Lloyd


The Heir of Night by Helen Lowe


The Somnambulist by Essie Fox


A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab


Morningstar by David Gemmell

              4 Stars


Inquisitor by Mitchell Hogan

                  3 and a half stars


Armada by Ernest Cline

                                  3 Stars


Doctor Who: The Drosten’s Curse by A.L. Kennedy

| Other Posts From August |

The Month Ahead: August 2015 

Blast from the Past: The Weirdstone of Brisingamen by Alan Garner

Bookish Beats: The Machine OST

Bookish Beats: The Secret Garden OST

Bookish Beats: Röyksopp – The Inevitable End

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Authors on my Bookshelf

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Auto-buy Authors

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Books in Escapology 101

The Rapid Review: Crime Classic Firsts

N.B. Reviews can also be found in the Blast from the Past and The Rapid Review features

Bookish Beats: The Machine OST

Bookish BeatsMusic, much like literature, has the power to drive your imagination; it can lift the soul and create real emotion.This is Bookish Beats, a feature which will showcase some of the soundtracks which have enriched the worlds I’ve found between the pages. 


The Machine (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Composed by Tom Raybould

Listen to with:

A tense science fiction thriller

Such as:

Inquisitor by Mitchell Hogan

I love reading to music and can read to just about anything as long as it ‘goes’ with the book. I listen to instrumentals, to classical music, to game and film soundtracks, to rock and metal, to blues and jazz, to new age music and folk music – the list goes on! Finding the right music for the right book can make your reading experience all the more intense and engaging.

This week’s Bookish Beats features my current favourite soundtrack for an action packed sci-fi novel. The Machine is a science fiction thriller which came out in 2013, a film I just so happen to love. I last listened to The Machine OST whilst reading Inquisitor by Mitchell Hogan, and the combination of slow building pieces and fast action tracks made it a perfect complement to what turned out to be a fantastic book.

This soundtrack is subtle. It doesn’t intrude on your thoughts and it doesn’t come out all guns blazing, it’s as though it were made for reading. After pressing play I could feel the knot of tension building inside me; if you are reading something tense, then this soundtrack will put you on edge. The Machine OST really did take me into Mitchell Hogan’s world and once there, I didn’t want to come up for air. So if you’re looking for a soundtrack to your sci-fi thriller, give The Machine OST a try. I certainly wasn’t disappointed.

Favourite track

01 – Birth

Top track for action

18 – The Machine Fights

Top track for tension

06 – Arms

Top track for emotion

19 – The End


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Review: Inquisitor by Mitchell Hogan



by Mitchell Hogan

Science Fiction | 300 Pages | Published by Mitchell Hogan in 2015

| Rating |

four star

This book was received as part of the Goodreads First Reads scheme in return for an honest review

I had never come across Mitchell Hogan before entering the Goodreads giveaway, but after doing a little research and reading some of the brilliant reviews for his Sorcery Ascendant Sequence, I was convinced this would be a cracking read. Inquisitor flows so easily that really I should have finished it much sooner, but I’m quite relieved I took my time to savour it because Inquisitor turned out to be a pretty awesome read.

Inquisitor follows the story of Angel Xia, a dedicated officer and detective in the Inquisitors. After a period in her youth as a mercenary, Angel now spends her days chasing down deranged and murderous Genevolves, a mutated branch of humanity dedicated to their own evolution. But Angel’s partners have a nasty habit of winding up dead, and when she takes on a new case, Angel finds herself in a whole universe of trouble.

A fugitive of both the law and a mysterious, remorseless corporation, Angel and her strange companion Charlotte must escape to the far flung corners of the universe and attempt to clear Angel’s name – not an easy task when the bodies start piling up. Inquisitor is a crime novel and an action-packed sci fi thriller all rolled up into one, which will keep you hooked to the very end.                   

Hogan has managed to build a universe with the lightest touch. Planets and worlds; space and cybernetics; Genevolves, discards and humans – they all seep from the pages and into your head without ever reading a long descriptive passage. This book doesn’t need them, it never slows down. And though Inquisitor may be driven by action, it’s also a novel about choices and what it means to be human. It’s about choosing right from wrong, and learning to trust when hope fades. This deeply human story, combined with its pace and focus, makes for a highly involving tale.

Angel is a complex protagonist whose hard edges are eroded over the course of the novel. Though it relies on a relatively small main cast, all the characters are well written and are given time to develop and grow. However, I did find myself questioning some of Angel’s thoughts and arguments when dealing with Charlotte. For someone who had spent part of her life as a mercenary, her unrelenting moral compass sometimes jarred with me and I often found myself agreeing more with Charlotte’s viewpoint. Especially when, in do or die moments, Angel seems quite eager to discharge her weapon. Having said that, this really was my only quibble with the novel.

Inquisitor is a fun and relentless read which I thoroughly enjoyed and would recommend to anyone who loves a good action, sci fi, crime novel mash up… or just one of the above. I cannot wait for Mitchell Hogan’s next foray into sci fi, but in the meantime the Sorcerer’s Ascendant Sequence has been added to my to-read list.

Bookish Beats Suggestion

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The Month Ahead: August 2015

The Month Ahead - AugWelcome to the first post in my The Month Ahead feature. Here I will be discussing the books I am currently reading, the ones I will start this month, and the ones I intend getting my mitts on… if I haven’t already! I will also be sharing any news about features or posts on Books by Proxy, and anything in the book world that has me all excited!

| Currently Reading |


Oh so much to read, so little time! Only recently I was ploughing through books, one after the next. Open – read – done! Since returning from vacation (where my luggage allowance wouldn’t even let me slip in a flimsy paperback), I have slowed down considerably and now have a backlog of started books to finish. I usually like to intersperse my biggies – those heart wrenching, lip biting, palm sweating tomes of awesomeness – with a classic or two. It just so happens that I’ve now acquired four of those classics on my currently reading list. I just can’t seem to resist starting another from the top of my to-read pile. So this month I intend to finish all the books that I’ve started before I pick up any more – I do hate to leave even a bad book unfinished (N.B. I am enjoying all my currently neglected classics).

The Big Ones

Inquisitor by Mitchell Hogan – I recently received Inquisitor by Mitchell Hogan as part of the Goodreads First Reads scheme and couldn’t wait to get started. So far, so SO good! I will be reviewing it as soon as I’m finished, and it really is promising to be a very exciting read.

The Daylight War by Peter V. Brett – The other big cheese is The Daylight War by Peter V. Brett. I started this book a while ago and, despite enjoying it, somehow let it slip beneath my notice. But worry not! Despite its huge size, it will not find its way to the bottom of that unfinished classics pile.

And on that classics pile we have…

Crime Classics

The ABC Murders by Agatha Christie

Comedy Classics

Pigs Have Wings by P.G. Wodehouse

Plays and Classic Classics

Agamemnon by Aeschylus

And Just Plain Old Classics

Hard Times by Charles Dickens

| August Acquisitions |


I received Armada by Ernest Cline through Blogging for Books, which looks brilliant and I’m very excited to read. A friend also lent me Wodehouse: A Life by Robert McCrum, a biography of one of my favourite humourists P.G. Wodehouse. I recently bought Half a War by Joe Abercrombie (yay!) and Chocolate Covered Katie by Katie Higgins, which will no doubt be in constant use in my kitchen. And I’ve just discovered that I can use my supermarket loyalty points on books! Hurrah! So arriving very shortly will be: Fatherland by Robert Harris, Raising Steam by Terry Pratchett, The Axeman’s Jazz by Ray Celestin, A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas, The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen and The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton.

| New Features |

Well the blog is in its early stages so brand spanking new features will be cropping up all over the place. So expect more to come! This month’s new features (so far) are:

Blast from the Past – A weekly feature where I will discuss the most memorable books from my past.

The Month Ahead – A monthly feature (which you are currently reading) where I will discuss what’s coming up on the blog this month.


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