Waiting on Wednesday: Black Sun


Welcome to Waiting on Wednesday, a weekly meme linking Waiting on Wednesday by Breaking The Spine and Can’t Wait Wednesday by Wishful Endings


| Waiting on Wednesday: September 23 |

Black Sun

Book One of Between Earth and Sky

by Rebecca Roanhorse


A god will return
When the earth and sky converge
Under the black sun

In the holy city of Tova, the winter solstice is usually a time for celebration and renewal, but this year it coincides with a solar eclipse, a rare celestial event proscribed by the Sun Priest as an unbalancing of the world.

Meanwhile, a ship launches from a distant city bound for Tova and set to arrive on the solstice. The captain of the ship, Xiala, is a disgraced Teek whose song can calm the waters around her as easily as it can warp a man’s mind. Her ship carries one passenger. Described as harmless, the passenger, Serapio, is a young man, blind, scarred, and cloaked in destiny. As Xiala well knows, when a man is described as harmless, he usually ends up being a villain.

Crafted with unforgettable characters, Rebecca Roanhorse has created an epic adventure exploring the decadence of power amidst the weight of history and the struggle of individuals swimming against the confines of society and their broken pasts in the most original series debut of the decade.


To be published by Gallery / Saga Press on 13 October 2020

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This Week by Proxy: 31 August – 06 September


Welcome to This Week by Proxy. Join me as I link up with the Caffeinated Reviewer to look back on the past week and see what I’ve been reading, posting, watching and playing!


| This Week by Proxy: 31 August – 06 September 2020 |

Having not had a holiday in over six months, the other half and I made our way to the Lake District on Monday and spent the next four days reading books (or playing on the Switch), exploring the local landscape and visiting remote and ruined castles. It was wonderfully relaxing, completely peaceful and I only wish our stay could have been for just a bit longer.

The weekend, however, was spent picnicking in the park with my stepdaughter, visiting my mum and dad on their narrowboat, and relaxing with many a good book. Brilliant fun all round!

I hope you’ve all had a fantastic week and I will try to catch up on all the posts I’ve missed over the next few days! 


| Books Read |

Over the past week I completed both ‘The Trouble with Peace’ by Joe Abercrombie and ‘The Doors of Eden’ by Adrian Tchaikovsky and still managed to squeeze in a little Pratchett before the end. All different, all brilliant, and all a joy to read from beginning to end!


| Currently Reading |

This week I’m continuing to read ‘The Court of Broken Knives’, a brutal but beautifully written grimdark fantasy epic by Anna Smith Spark. Unfortunately, in my haste to pack my Kindle, I forgot to bring the book with me to the Lake District and I’m a little further behind than I wanted to be. I did, however, manage to pick up a wonderful assortment of books in the Kindle sale and have started ‘Tombland’, the seventh book in the Matthew Shardlake series by C.J. Sansom.

I am also taking part in the Read-Along for Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey, organised by Imyril at There’s Always Room for One More. My Week One post, which covers Chapters 1 – 16, can be found here. If anyone would like to join in with this Read-Along, just head on over to the Goodreads group page and sign up.


| Upcoming Reviews |

Having spent an entire week on holiday (and most of that time spent reading!) I am even more behind on the review front, but will hopefully get a few out in the coming week! Every single one of these books was amazing so expect a whole host of glowing reviews!


| Watching |

Season One of Absentia was both an enjoyable and exasperating experience. Stana Katic was incredible as Emily Byrne and the overall plot was tense and unpredictable, but Nick Durand, Emily’s ex-husband and FBI agent, was an incredibly frustrating character who treated Emily like dirt, had serious trust issues, and couldn’t find a clue if it was stapled to his face.  He annoyed me so much I almost stopped watching altogether. However, I am glad I continued as it did have quite a gripping plot and Season Two is proving a far less rage-inducing experience.

Meanwhile, the other half and I are watching Season Five of Lucifer, which is as lighthearted and comedic as ever, and Season Two of The Boys, which is both brutal and bloody brilliant.


| Gaming |

As the past week has been spent in literary bliss up in the Lake District, I’ve only had time for a few short but sweet games of Apex Legends since our return.


| Posts |

Review: The Ashes of London by Andrew Taylor

 

Music Mondays: Gurdy’s Green

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Foodie Book Covers

Teaser Tuesdays: Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett

Waiting on Wednesday: God of Night by Tom Lloyd

Read-Along: Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey – Week One

The Friday Face-Off: Cold and Crisp

My Top Ten Games of the Past Two Years


I hope you all have a wonderful, book-filled week!

What have you been reading, watching and playing this week? Have you accomplished any goals?

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My Top Ten Games of the Past Two Years


Welcome to My Top Ten of the Past Two Years series, where I look back at my favourite books, games and TV series (amongst other things) during my blogging hiatus.


| My Top Ten Games of the Past Two Years: July 2018 – July 2020 |

A long overdue welcome to My Top Ten Games of the Past Two Years!

It had been my intention to post a series of favourites gathered during my hiatus, kicking off with My Top Ten Books of the Past Two Years, but time, work and other commitments always conspired to delay my posts. In anticipation of going on holiday last week, however, I actually finished my gaming post and only had to up my game time for Apex Legends by another thirty-four hours!

As this post has been partially drafted since my return at the beginning of July, there are also a number of games I’ve recently picked up which deserve an honourable mention and will more than likely feature on next year’s list – I’m looking at you Red Dead Redemption 2, No Man’s Sky and GTFO. I’m sure there are also plenty of other brilliant games that I’ve either forgotten or am yet to play so let me know of any of your favourites in the comments.

In no particular order, here are My Top Ten Games of the Past Two Years!


| 1. |

Kingdom Come: Deliverance

Play Time: 174 Hours

Rating


| My Thoughts |

Kingdom Come: Deliverance is a phenomenal open-world RPG set in medieval Bohemia. With interesting mechanics, an expansive and detailed medieval world, a gripping storyline, and some of the best graphics I have seen, every hour spent in this world seems to lead to yet one more. This is quite simply a masterpiece.

Favourite Quest – Poverty, Chastity and Obedience

Favourite Location – Sasau Monastery

Favourite Skill – Alchemy


| About This Game |

Game

You’re Henry, the son of a blacksmith. Thrust into a raging civil war, you watch helplessly as invaders storm your village and slaughter your friends and family. Narrowly escaping the brutal attack, you grab your sword to fight back. Avenge the death of your parents and help repel the invading forces!

Story

Bohemia – located in the heart of Europe, the region is rich in culture, silver, and sprawling castles. The death of its beloved ruler, Emperor Charles IV, has plunged the kingdom into dark times: war, corruption, and discord are tearing this jewel of the Holy Roman Empire apart.

One of Charles’ sons, Wenceslas, has inherited the crown. Unlike his father, Wenceslas is a naive, self-indulgent, unambitious monarch. His half-brother and King of Hungary, Sigismund the Red Fox, senses weakness in Wenceslas. Feigning good will, Sigismund travels to Bohemia and kidnaps his half-brother. With no king on the throne, Sigismund is now free to plunder Bohemia and seize its riches.

In the midst of this chaos, you’re Henry, the son of a blacksmith. Your peaceful life is shattered when a mercenary raid, ordered by King Sigismund himself, burns your village to the ground. By bittersweet fortune, you are one of the few survivors of this massacre.

Without a home, family, or future you end up in the service of Lord Radzig Kobyla, who is forming a resistance against the invasion. Fate drags you into this bloody conflict and shoves you into a raging civil war, where you help fight for the future of Bohemia.

Massive realistic open world: Majestic castles, vast fields, all rendered in stunning high-end graphics.

Non-linear story: Solve quests in multiple ways, then face the consequences of your decisions.

Challenging combat: Distance, stealth, or melee. Choose your weapons and execute dozens of unique combos in battles that are as thrilling as they are merciless.

Character development: Choose your equipment, improve your skills and earn new perks.

Dynamic world: Your actions influence the reactions of the people around you. Fight, steal, seduce, threaten, persuade, or bribe. It’s all up to you!

Historical accuracy: Meet real historical characters and experience the genuine look and feel of medieval Bohemia


| 2. |

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey

Play Time: 161 Hours

Rating


| My Thoughts |

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is an expansive, detailed and thoroughly addictive game which follows the life of a mercenary in Ancient Greece during the Peloponnesian War. It may diverge from the original AC games but it is a worthy contender in its own right. With stunning locations, and a multitude of quests, side quests and DLCs, Odyssey is a game that I couldn’t put down until I completed Every. Last. Thing.

Played As – Kassandra

Favourite Location – Greece (There are too many wonderful locations to choose from!)

Favourite Ability – Rush Assassination


| About This Game |

Become a legendary Greek hero – In a first for the Assassin’s Creed franchise, you can choose which hero to embody throughout this epic journey, Alexios or Kassandra.

Choose your own path – Your decisions shape the world around you with over 30 hours of choice dialogue and multiple game endings.

Fight epic battles – Demonstrate your extraordinary warrior abilities and shift the tides of battle during the Peloponnesian War.

Sail across the Aegean sea – Find uncharted locations, uncover hidden treasures or cleave your way through entire fleets in naval battles.

A Land of myths & legends – Discover a world rich with myths and legends. From ancient rituals to famed statues, come face-to-face with Greece’s legendary figures.


| 3. |

Apex Legends

Play Time: 494 Hours

Rating


| My Thoughts |

Before Apex Legends, Battle Royale style first-person shooters just weren’t my thing, but this game is seriously addictive. With numerous legends, weapons and drop sites to choose from, this is a heart-pounding, infuriating and inexplicably exciting FPS that always has me going for ‘just one more game’.

Favourite Legend – Wattson

Favourite Weapon – Spitfire

Favourite Map – King’s Canyon


| About This Game |

Conquer with character in Apex Legends, a free-to-play Battle Royale shooter where legendary characters with powerful abilities team up to battle for fame & fortune on the fringes of the Frontier. Master an ever-growing roster of diverse Legends, deep tactical squad play and bold new innovations that level up the Battle Royale experience—all within a rugged world where anything goes. Welcome to the next evolution of Battle Royale.

A Roster of Legendary Characters – Master a growing roster of powerful Legends, each with their own unique personality, strengths and abilities that are easy to pick up but challenging to truly master.

Build Your Crew – Choose your Legend and combine their unique skills together with other players to form the ultimate crew.

Strategic Battle Royale – Use your abilities–and your wits–to make strategic calls on the fly, adapting your crew’s strengths to meet new challenges as the match evolves.

Genre-Evolving Innovation – Experience a brand-new array of innovative features that level up the Battle Royale genre, including Respawn Beacons, Smart Comms, Intelligent Inventory and an all-new way to drop into the action with Jumpmaster deployment.

Sweet, Sweet Loot – Drop in and loot up with a host of powerful weapons, diverse attachments and useful armor to protect you in battle. After the fight, collect a wealth of cosmetic options for personalizing your character and weapons, and unlock new ways to show off during the match.


| 4. |

Rise of the Tomb Raider

Play Time: 36 Hours

Rating


| My Thoughts |

Written by Rhianna Pratchett, the daughter of Sir Terry Pratchett himself, Rise of the Tomb Raider is an action-packed adventure game which balances puzzle games with both face-to-face and stealth combat. With a brilliant story, beautiful graphics, and perilous and frozen landscapes, Rise of the Tomb Raider is a seriously addictive adventure.

Favourite Location – Geothermal Valley

Favourite Feature – Challenge Tombs

Favourite DLC – Blood Ties


| About This Game |

Rise of the Tomb Raider: 20 Year Celebration includes the base game and Season Pass featuring all-new content. Explore Croft Manor in the new “Blood Ties” story, then defend it against a zombie invasion in “Lara’s Nightmare”. Survive extreme conditions with a friend in the new online Co-Op Endurance mode, and brave the new “Extreme Survivor” difficulty. Also features an outfit and weapon inspired by Tomb Raider III, and 5 classic Lara skins. Existing DLC will challenge you to explore a new tomb that houses an ancient terror in Baba Yaga: The Temple of the Witch, and combat waves of infected predators in Cold Darkness Awakened.

Key Features

Lara’s Journey – Lara uncovers an ancient mystery that places her in the cross-hairs of a ruthless organization known as Trinity. As she races to find the secret before Trinity, the trail leads to a myth about the Lost City of Kitezh. Lara knows she must reach the Lost City and its hidden secrets before Trinity. With that, she sets out for Siberia on her first Tomb Raiding expedition.

Woman vs. Wild – In “Rise of the Tomb Raider,” Lara battles with not only enemies from around the world, but the world itself. Hunt animals to craft weapons and scavenge for rare resources in densely populated ecosystems. You’ll encounter beautifully hostile environments, full of treacherous conditions and unstable landscapes that will require Lara to push her limits to the very edge.

Guerilla Combat – Use the environment to your advantage, scale trees and dive underwater to avoid or takedown enemies, configure Lara’s gear, weapons, and ammo to suit your play style from stealth to guns blazing, craft explosives on the fly to sow chaos, and wield Lara’s signature combat bows and climbing axe.

Return to Tomb Raiding – Tombs are back, and they’re bigger and better than ever. In “Rise of the Tomb Raider” you’ll explore huge, awe-inspiring ancient spaces littered with deadly traps, solve dramatic environmental puzzles, and decipher ancient texts to reveal crypts as you take on a world filled with secrets to discover.


| 5. |

Warhammer: Vermintide II

Play Time: 37 Hours

Rating


| My Thoughts |

Warhammer: Vermintide II is an action-packed combat game in which you must join up with others to vanquish the Skaven horde. With a wonderful array of characters with a wide range of builds, alternating skills, talents and difficulties, Vermintide II is an incredibly fun game which is reminiscent of the mechanics for Left 4 Dead 2.

Favourite Character – Victor Saltzpyer

Favourite Career – Witch Hunter

Favourite Quote – “The power of Sigmar compels thee!”


| About This Game |

Warhammer: Vermintide 2 is a 4-player co-op action game set in the Warhammer Fantasy Battles world. Sequel to the critically acclaimed Vermintide, Vermintide 2 is the latest instalment in a franchise best known for its intense and bloody first-person melee combat.

Our five heroes have returned to take on an even greater threat than before – the combined forces of a ruinous Chaos army and the swarming Skaven horde. The only thing standing between utter defeat and victory is you and your allies. If you fall – so too will the Empire.

Fight through endless hordes of enemies together with up to 3 friends in this visceral co-op action experience

Choose between 5 different characters, each with 3 branching careers to master

Evolve your skill and climb the difficulty ladders, from Recruit, Veteran, Champion to Legend

Customize your own unique style of play with 15 different talent trees and 50+ Weapon Types

Explore the war-ravaged lands of a dying world with a wide range of stunning levels to experience


| 6. |

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Play Time: 157 Hours

Rating


| My Thoughts |

An utterly compelling story (thank you Andrzej Sapkowski), brilliant combat, beautiful graphics and amazing DLC, combine to make The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt one of the most brilliant, beautiful and detailed games of all time. This is, most definitely, an undisputed favourite which needs no more introduction.

Favourite Location – Novigrad

Favourite Sign – Igni

Yennefer or Triss – Yennefer


| About This Game |

Play as a highly-trained monster slayer for hire

Trained from early childhood and mutated to gain superhuman skills, strength and reflexes, witchers are a counterbalance to the monster-infested world in which they live.

Gruesomely destroy foes as a professional monster hunter armed with a range of upgradeable weapons, mutating potions and combat magic.

Hunt down a wide range of exotic monsters — from savage beasts prowling the mountain passes, to cunning supernatural predators lurking in the shadows of densely populated towns.

Invest your rewards to upgrade your weaponry and buy custom armour, or spend them away in horse races, card games, fist fighting, and other pleasures the night brings.

Explore a morally indifferent fantasy open world

Built for endless adventure, the massive open world of The Witcher sets new standards in terms of size, depth and complexity.

Traverse a fantastical open world: explore forgotten ruins, caves and shipwrecks, trade with merchants and dwarven smiths in cities, and hunt across the open plains, mountains and seas.

Deal with treasonous generals, devious witches and corrupt royalty to provide dark and dangerous services.

Make choices that go beyond good & evil, and face their far-reaching consequences.

Chase down the child of prophecy

Take on the most important contract to track down the child of prophecy, a key to save or destroy this world.

In times of war, chase down the child of prophecy, a living weapon foretold by ancient elven legends.

Struggle against ferocious rulers, spirits of the wilds and even a threat from beyond the veil – all hell-bent on controlling this world.

Define your destiny in a world that may not be worth saving.


| 7. |

Assassin’s Creed Origins

Play Time: 89 Hours

Rating


| My Thoughts |

Assassin’s Creed Origins combines a beautiful, heart-wrenching story, a vast and beautiful open-world, and an incredibly addictive combat system to create a brilliant game in one of my favourite franchises. Ancient Egypt is conjured in wonderfully atmospheric detail and Bayek of Siwa is undoubtedly one of my favourite AC characters of all time.

Favourite Weapon – Predator Bow

Favourite Location – Alexandria

Favourite Ability – Attack and Push


| About This Game |

Ancient Egypt, a land of majesty and intrigue, is disappearing in a ruthless fight for power. Unveil dark secrets and forgotten myths as you go back to the one founding moment: The Origins of the Assassin’s Brotherhood.

A Country to Discover – Sail down the Nile, uncover the mysteries of the pyramids or fight your way against dangerous ancient factions and wild beasts as you explore this gigantic and unpredictable land.

A New Story Every Time You Play – Engage into multiple quests and gripping stories as you cross paths with strong and memorable characters, from the wealthiest high-born to the most desperate outcasts.

Embrace Action RPG -Experience a completely new way to fight. Loot and use dozens of weapons with different characteristics and rarities. Explore deep progression mechanics and challenge your skills against unique and powerful bosses.


| 8. |

A Plague Tale: Innocence

Play Time: 15 Hours

Rating


| My Thoughts |

A Plague Tale: Innocence is a beautiful and terrifying tale of a world ravaged by plague. This short and captivating game sees Amicia and her brother Hugo flee across France as disease, swarms of rats and the Inquisition vie to capture or destroy them both. Gripping and heart-wrenching with a brilliant narrative, A Plague Tale is nothing short of incredible.

Favourite Location – The University

Favourite Projectile – Ignifer

Favourite Villain – Lord Nicholas


| About This Game |

Follow the grim tale of young Amicia and her little brother Hugo, in a heartrending journey through the darkest hours of history. Hunted by Inquisition soldiers and surrounded by unstoppable swarms of rats, Amicia and Hugo will come to know and trust each other. As they struggle to survive against overwhelming odds, they will fight to find purpose in this brutal, unforgiving world.

Story

1349. The plague ravages the Kingdom of France. Amicia and her younger brother Hugo are pursued by the Inquisition through villages devastated by the disease. On their way, they will have to join forces with other children, and evade swarms of rats using fire and light. Aided only by the link that binds their fates together, they will face untold horrors in their struggle to survive.As their adventure begins… the time of innocence ends.

Characters

Amicia De Rune – At just 15 years old, Amicia is already a strong woman, independent and physical, trained by her father in the art of hunting. She had little contact with her brother while they were growing up, but soon their bond will be keeping them alive.

Hugo De Rune – The younger Hugo is a frail child of just five years, afflicted with an unknown disease that has kept him locked in his room for much of his lonely childhood. He has little knowledge of the outside world, but prefers even its dangers to his previous confinement.

The Inquisition – As war and sickness engulf 14th Century France, the Inquisition pursue the De Rune children for unknown reasons, out to capture their younger targets. Lacking the strength to defeat fully-grown knights, Amicia and Hugo will require guile and stealth to escape.

The Rats – Rats swarm in uninterrupted waves throughout the territory of France. In the plague-ridden villages, countryside and battlefields, this uncontrollable and voracious mass advances relentlessly devouring everything in their path. Only the light of the flame seems to slow down this swarming menace.


| 9. |

Warframe

Play Time: 237 Hours

Rating


| My Thoughts |

This free to play, sci-fi action game is expansive and detailed with a huge variety of warframes, weapons and companions to choose from. The storyline is interesting, the combat and abilities are wonderfully creative, and the movement is so fluid that it’s hard not to expect other game characters to bullet jump or sprint across levels.

Favourite Warframe – Trinity Prime

Favourite Sentinel – Helios Prime

Favourite Location – Lua


| About This Game |

Choose your warframe – With more than 30 Warframes, each fully customizable with their own unique abilities, you can create the perfect Warframe for you.

Assemble your arsenal – Katanas. Crossbows. Flamethrowers. Expand your Arsenal with more than 300 diverse Weapons, then modify each one to match your playstyle.

Experience fast-paced combat – Slice and dice through hordes of enemies, or go in guns blazing, or sneak your way in — the choice is yours.

Explore open worlds – Explore, discover, fight, and fly in massive open landscapes within Warframe.

Fluid parkour movement – Seamlessly leap, slide and glide through capital ships and underground compounds with a robust movement system.

A solar system in ruin – In the far-future world of Warframe, grotesque clones and capitalist machines dominate our solar system. Fight back against greed and corruption as you explore 18 worlds filled with techno-organic horrors.

Squad up – You don’t have to work alone. Invite three friends or fight alongside the 38 million strong in our Tenno community.

Ninjas play free – Warframe is entirely free-to-play. With no barrier to entry, there’s nothing to stop you and your friends from joining our world. Welcome to the Origin System, Tenno.


| 10. |

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

Play Time: 38 Hours

Rating


Continuing the narrative of Rise of the Tomb Raider, Shadow of the Tomb Raider is another brilliant addition to the franchise which sees Lara venturing to the tropical regions of The Americas and to the lost city of Paititi. With brilliant challenge tombs, puzzles and combat, and beautiful graphics and locations, I only hope it won’t be too long before before another Tomb Raider is underway.

Favourite Location – San Juan

Favourite Mission – Via Crucis / Mystery of the White Queen

Favourite Challenge Tomb – Howl of the Monkey Gods


| Back of the Box |

n Shadow of the Tomb Raider Definitive Edition experience the final chapter of Lara’s origin as she is forged into the Tomb Raider she is destined to be. Combining the base game, all seven DLC challenge tombs, as well as all downloadable weapons, outfits, and skills, Shadow of the Tomb Raider Definitive Edition is the ultimate way to experience Lara’s defining moment.

Survive and Thrive In the Deadliest Place on Earth: Master an unforgiving jungle setting in order to survive. Explore underwater environments filled with crevasses and deep tunnel systems.

Become One With the Jungle: Outgunned and outnumbered, Lara must use the jungle to her advantage. Strike suddenly and disappear like a jaguar, use mud as camouflage, and instill fear in enemies to sow chaos.

Discover Dark and Brutal Tombs: Tombs are more terrifying than ever before, requiring advanced traversal techniques to reach them, and once inside they are filled with deadly puzzles.

Uncover Living History: Discover a hidden city and explore the biggest hub space ever found in a Tomb Raider game.


Stay tuned for my follow up posts:

My Top Ten TV Series of the Past Two Years 


What have been your favourite games of the past few years?

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This Week by Proxy: 17 – 30 August


Welcome to This Week by Proxy. Join me as I link up with the Caffeinated Reviewer to look back on the past week and see what I’ve been reading, posting, watching and playing!


| This Week by Proxy: 17 – 30 August 2020 |

The past two weeks have been a rather strange mix of highs and lows. I realised the week before last, that I had only taken a handful of my holidays from work this year and, as we are now approaching September, it sent me into a bit of a spiral where all I could think about was how much I needed a break, knowing full well that I had one this coming week.

And now I’m finally on holiday I feel the utmost relief and can now enjoy the fact that the next four months have most of my holidays dispersed between them. Now this spiral is hardly the result of anything serious, but things seem so much more dramatic and terrible when you spend your days alone, working from home with only two rabbits for company until late in the evening!

I have, however, been reading some amazing books and I’m thoroughly enjoying escaping the world at large in between their comforting, if a little bloody, pages. I’ve also been lucky enough to see family, take my stepdaughter on a fairy treasure hunt and complete an enormous deadline at work – which feels like a giant weight off my shoulders!

I hope you’ve all had a lovely week and have been reading some amazing books! I look forward to reading all about them! 


| Books Read |

Over the past two weeks I’ve finished All Systems Red, the first in The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells, and A Little Hatred by Joe Abercrombie. Both books were brilliant, both entirely different, and both made me ridiculously excited to read the next in each series!


| Currently Reading |

I feel so lucky right now to not only be listening to the audiobook for The Doors of Eden by Adrian Tchaikovsky, but to be reading the brand new ARC for The Trouble With Peace by Joe Abercrombie. I’m trying ever so hard to savour every moment, but the pages are rapidly disappearing and I know it won’t be long before I’ve finished it entirely.

In between bouts of Tchaikovsky and Abercrombie, and believe me, The Doors of Eden is one hefty and time consuming audiobook, I’ve squeezed in a little bit of The Court of Broken Knives, which I hope to continue in earnest over my holiday, and my new Pratchett offering, Monstrous Regiment.

Now you might be weeping in horror at me reading so many books at once but, in my defence, with only an hour left in each, I am likely to finish both The Trouble With Peace and The Doors of Eden today.


| Upcoming Reviews |

My review for Ashes of London by Andrew Taylor will be appearing next week, hopefully followed by one other – if I can get it drafted before going away!


| Watching |

After finishing Season 3 of Good Girls last week, which was reasonably enjoyable and got better as the season progressed, I started watching Absentia.

Absentia tells the story of an FBI agent, Emily Byrne, who has been missing presumed dead for the past six years and who suddenly returns in an explosion of murder, lies and suspicion. Fast-paced and exciting, the only downside so far is Emily’s irritating FBI agent ex-husband who couldn’t spot a clue if it was stuck to his face! I am, however, trying to get beyond this annoyance and actually enjoy the series.

The other half and I finished watching The Umbrella Academy last week, which was brilliantly entertaining, and have started watching the latest season of Lucifer on Netflix. I absolutely love this series and it never fails to cheer me up, and no doubt we’ll polish it all off in the coming week!


| Gaming |

Although I’ve not had much time for gaming over the past two weeks, I’ve started playing Greedfall, a beautiful RPG in a fantasy setting, and have started the new season of Apex Legends, which introduces new Legend Rampart (pictured right) and her gun, Sheila (also pictured right). The latest changes to the game also include item crafting, altered locations and a new energy weapon, the volt.


| Posts |

Review: The Man With One Name by Tom Lloyd

Review: Sharp Ends by Joe Abercrombie

Music Mondays: Blade Runner 2049

Music Mondays: Svitjod

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Series That Should Have Screen Adaptations

Teaser Tuesdays: A Little Hatred by Joe Abercrombie

Teaser Tuesdays: The Court of Broken Knives by Anna Smith Spark

Waiting on Wednesday: The Dead of Winter by S.J. Parris

Waiting on Wednesday: Bear Head by Adrian Tchaikovsky

The Friday Face-Off: Hubble Bubble

The Friday Face-Off: The Road Goes Ever On and On

Friday Firsts: The Court of Broken Knives by Anna Smith Spark

Friday Firsts: Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett


I hope you all have a wonderful, book-filled week!

What have you been reading, watching and playing this week? Have you accomplished any goals?

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Music Monday: Blade Runner 2049


Music Monday 2

Welcome to Music Monday – a weekly meme created by The Tattooed Book Geek where we share the songs we love, the bands we like and the music we just can’t get out of our heads.


This week’s Music Monday is Blade Runner 2049, a synthwave track by Synthwave Goose. As well as being an awesome and addictive piece of music – another I would highly recommend reading space opera to – I absolutely love that single cover featuring Joi and Mariette. Just brilliant!

Sit back, listen and enjoy!


| Synthwave Goose: Blade Runner 2049 |


| Blade Runner 2049 – 2018 |


What are you listening to at the moment? 

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This Week by Proxy: 10 – 16 August


Welcome to This Week by Proxy. Join me as I link up with the Caffeinated Reviewer to look back on the past week and see what I’ve been reading, posting, watching and playing!


| This Week by Proxy: 10 – 16 August 2020 |

As busy as it’s been, this week has seemed to fly by! Unfortunately, so has the weekend, which has been a strange mixture of both horrific and relaxing.

Saturday morning was one of the most terrifying experiences of my life. The other half and I were awoken on Saturday morning to a phone call telling us our nephew had gone missing in Blackpool. The police were involved and we scrambled to get out of the house as quickly as possible and make the journey to the coast. I have never gotten ready so quickly in my life!

Fortunately, before we left, we received another phone call to say a wonderful man had found him lost on the beach and had taken him to the police. Reunited with his parents and sister, he soon seemed oblivious to the panic he had inadvertently caused and spent the day playing on the beach and making sandcastles. I have never felt either such dread or such relief in my life, and my faith in humanity has most definitely been restored.

Following that, we decided to put our other plans on hold and spend the weekend relaxing and recovering from the shock.

I hope you have all had far more enjoyable weekends and I wish you all a fantastic week ahead!


| Books Read |

This week I finished The Ashes of London, a wonderful slice of historic crime fiction set during The Great Fire of London of 1666. Both skilfully plotted and bursting with descriptions of seventeenth century London, this was a wonderful start to a series I cannot wait to continue.

I also managed to squeeze in another P.G. Wodehouse novel, Ring for Jeeves, which was a brilliantly funny read.


| Currently Reading |

I’m currently enjoying the audiobook for The Doors of Eden, which is a somewhat long recording but fills in a lot moments where I can’t physically hold a book! And All Systems Red is already a joy to read and is only being usurped by A Little Hatred which I am finding difficult to put down!


| Upcoming Reviews |

I’m still making my way slowly but surely through my backlog of reviews and I’m actually seeing the sky through the clouds now! I should have two reviews for any of the above out this coming week!


| Watching |

I finally finished my Humans binge which ended in horror, tears and joy. This is a thoroughly enjoyable series which actually raises some profound questions about those we consider ‘other’ and what it means to be human.

The Umbrella Academy is, as usual, wonderfully ridiculous and makes for an excellent wind down at the end of a busy day, while the latest series of Good Girls isn’t quite hitting my sweet spot just yet. We’ll see how it fares over the course of the season.


| Gaming |

While I haven’t had much time for gaming this week, I’ve still managed to squeeze in a few games of GTFO, Apex Legends and continue the story mode for Red Dead Redemption 2. I’ve also started getting urges for World of Warcraft: Shadowlands, which comes out later this year (we hope!), so I may see a return to WoW sooner rather than later.


| Posts |

Review: Going Postal by Terry Pratchett

Review: To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers

Music Mondays: My Only Chance

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Books I Loved but Never Reviewed

Teaser Tuesdays: The Ashes of London by Andrew Taylor

Waiting on Wednesday: Orfeia by Joanne M. Harris

The Friday Face-Off: Spectacular

Friday Firsts: A Little Hatred by Joe Abercrombie


I hope you all have a wonderful, book-filled week!

What have you been reading, watching and playing this week? Have you accomplished any goals?

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Review: To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers



To Be Taught, If Fortunate

A Novella

by Becky Chambers

Science Fiction | 136 Pages | Published by Hodder & Stoughton in 2018


| Rating |


| TL;DR |

To Be Taught, If Fortunate tells the tale of the crew of the Merian as they explore the universe in a quest to understand life as no one yet knows it. Following their passions, their hopes, and their dreams, this is a tale that binds us to their mission in an exploration of exhilarating highs and terrifying lows.

In a narrative suffused with joyful discovery and mounting despair, To Be Taught, If Fortunate warms the heart and sets the soul soaring to the stars.

| Synopsis |

In the future, instead of terraforming planets to sustain human life, explorers of the galaxy transform themselves.

At the turn of the twenty-second century, scientists make a breakthrough in human spaceflight. Through a revolutionary method known as somaforming, astronauts can survive in hostile environments off Earth using synthetic biological supplementations. They can produce antifreeze in sub-zero temperatures, absorb radiation and convert it for food, and conveniently adjust to the pull of different gravitational forces. With the fragility of the body no longer a limiting factor, human beings are at last able to explore neighbouring exoplanets long suspected to harbour life.

Ariadne is one such explorer. On a mission to ecologically survey four habitable worlds fifteen light-years from Earth, she and her fellow crewmates sleep while in transit, and wake each time with different features. But as they shift through both form and time, life back on Earth has also changed. Faced with the possibility of returning to a planet that has forgotten those who have left, Ariadne begins to chronicle the wonders and dangers of her journey, in the hope that someone back home might still be listening.

| Review |

Ariadne O’Neill is an astronaut and flight engineer aboard the OCA spacecraft Merian. After near three decades of sleep, she and her crew awake above their vessel to complete their mission amongst the stars – an ecological survey of exoplanets known or suspected to harbour life.

The development of somaforming has enabled astronauts to adapt their bodies to new environments; to survive crushing gravity, sweltering heat, dangerous levels of radiation and below freezing temperatures. Under the protection of this genetic supplementation, the research team are able to adapt, survive and survey their surroundings in earnest; cataloguing planets, ecological habitats and ensure there is a record of all sentient life.

Written in the form of a communications report to earth, Ariadne condenses the journey and experiences of the Merian and her crew into four equal parts, each telling a tale of discovery and wonder as the crew explore a different planet. These linked journeys are overflowing with worldbuilding and scientific details, both of which form the backbone of this novella and allow Becky Chambers to showcase her beautiful, literary prose – a quite different experience to that aboard the Wayfarer.

The descriptions of the Merian – the inflatable habitat modules, the close internal quarters, the interconnecting spaces – are some of my favourite in the whole novella, and give a sense of home in a vast and endless wilderness. Similarly, the descriptions of somaforming are well thought out and provide a considered explanation for how humans have been able to endure space travel and commence their exploration of new worlds. The science, however, is developed with a light touch and never overwhelms the narrative.

While this novel focuses more on the exploration of worlds rather than the characters inhabiting them, there is still a drive and goodness behind Chambers’ creations which give the reader hope and an emotional connection to the narrative. Ariadne, Elena, Jack and Chikondi are interesting yet relatable creations, albeit ones whose jobs are intertwined with their hobbies and their passions. and their unique shared experience aboard the Merian makes for a fascinating read.

There is a simple beauty to Chambers’ writing and To Be Taught, If Fortunate is a unique and memorable novella with a focus on joy and discovery, and the impact of the journey on the crew. Told from the single point of view of Ariadne, Chambers skilfully unravels a meaningful narrative which has been written with nothing short of warmth and love for the human condition and our seemingly in-built desire to explore the stars. This is a novella that seems real, feels real and, though fairly light on the science fiction, is effortlessly engaging throughout.

To Be Taught, If Fortunate can best be described as a love letter to the stars, to space exploration and to the people who make it all possible. It eloquently captures the joy of space travel, the awe of discovery, and new possibilities that can only be imagined a world away from home. While this novella is perhaps not the equal of Chambers’ Wayfarers series, it has a beauty and a charm all of its own that captures the imagination and sets our minds soaring through the universe around us.

Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads

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Music Monday: My Only Chance


Music Monday 2

Welcome to Music Monday – a weekly meme created by The Tattooed Book Geek where we share the songs we love, the bands we like and the music we just can’t get out of our heads.


This week’s Music Monday is an electro house track from the soundtrack to Furi, a boss-fight game by independent game studio The Game Bakers. My Only Chance is by The Toxic Avenger – a French DJ, song writer and record producer – and is a perfect accompaniment to many an action-packed sci-fi novel or space opera.

Sit back, listen and enjoy!


| The Toxic Avenger: My Only Chance |

Taken from the album: Furi (Original Game Soundtrack) (2016)


| Furi (Original Game Soundtrack) – 2016 |


What are you listening to at the moment? 

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This Week by Proxy: 03 – 09 August


Welcome to This Week by Proxy. Join me as I link up with the Caffeinated Reviewer to look back on the past week and see what I’ve been reading, posting, watching and playing!


| This Week by Proxy: 03 – 09 August 2020 |

Another hot and sunny end to a busy week spent indoors! Yesterday we took an expedition along the canal to feed the ducks, and my stepdaughter took us on a detour down some wooded paths to find some fairies where, by (not unintended) chance, we came across Rapunzel’s tower. Now it is, in fact, either a folly or what was meant to be a chimney for an unfinished mining ventilation shaft but it suited a three year old’s imagination very well. We then spent the rest of the day in the garden, watering plants, playing with the bunnies and reading books. Not a bad weekend at all!

I hope you are all well and have had a wonderfully, bookish week! 


| Books Read |

This week I finished Sharp Ends by Joe Abercrombie and Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey and they were both wonderfully entertaining reads in very different ways. It has taken me an awfully long time to get round to reading Sharp Ends, so I’m particularly happy to have finally read it, and Leviathan Wakes really was an incredible start to a series that I cannot wait to continue. 


| Currently Reading |

This week I started The Ashes of London by Andrew Taylor, a historical crime fiction novel set in the year of The Great Fire of London. It is an excellent read so far, very detailed and beautifully written with interesting characters and details – Taylor’s writing is most definitely a feast for the senses. The architect in me is particularly enjoying the ties to Christopher Wren’s vision of London and the rebuilding of St. Paul’s Cathedral.

I have also started listening to the audiobook for The Doors of Eden, which I try and squeeze in any time I can, and have finally (hurrah!) picked up All Systems Red, the first novella in The Murderbot Diaries.


| Upcoming Reviews |

I am still slogging my way through the review list, making slow and steady progress. Now that a few deadlines are out of the way at work I’m hoping the time I spend doing unpaid overtime is finally going to be minimised and I can spend more of my time writing reviews! 


| Watching |

The other half and I have finally finished the second season of The Order, which was both silly and highly entertaining, and have started watching the second season of The Umbrella Academy. I have also made it to the third season of Humans, which I am enjoying very much. 


| Gaming |

I submitted to peer pressure this week and started playing GTFO, a survival horror cooperative first-person shooter which is both a challenge and brilliantly entertaining. I hadn’t expected to enjoy it as much as I am doing and , seeing as the other half is playing it while I write this post, it will probably be top of the list for the coming week too! I have also played limited amounts of both Apex Legends and No Man’s Sky, both of which I am still thoroughly enjoying.


| Posts |

Review: Ashes of the Sun by Django Wexler

Music Mondays: 0:59

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Books with Black in the Title

Teaser Tuesdays: Leviathan Wakes

Waiting on Wednesday: The Doors of Eden by Adrian Tchaikovsky

The Friday Face-Off: Action

Friday Firsts: The Ashes of London


I hope you all have a wonderful, book-filled week!

What have you been reading, watching and playing this week? Have you accomplished any goals?

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