This Week by Proxy: 01 – 18 March


Welcome to This Week by Proxy. Join me as I look back on the past week to see which books I’ve read, the reviews I’ve posted and the goals I’ve completed.


| This Week by Proxy: 01 – 18 March 2018 |

I seem to have managed to avoid doing an end of week or end of month post for some time so this week’s post will be a little more beefy than usual! Even though it serves to make me look as though I’ve read a hefty amount of books, it really does highlight the abysmal number of reviews that have surfaced over that time. A big fat zero. I definitely need to schedule in a few more… or at least one. Yes, one would probably do it.

I hope you’ve all had wonderful weeks, happy reading everybody!


| Books Read |

| 1. |

Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames

A complete impulse buy, the hype surrounding this book completely went over my head. But wow, were they right. With a band of gritty and dangerous characters, Kings of the Wyld is a non-stop thrill ride from start to finish.

| 2. |

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Following on from my Top Ten Tuesday post about books I could re-read forever, I realised it was about time I reread The Secret Garden, one of my childhood favourites. As charming now as it ever was, this book is an enchanting tale of growth, friendship and childhood in Edwardian England.

| 3. |

The Iron Ghost by Jen Williams

Having spent far too long on my bookshelf, the sequel to the wonderful Copper Promise lived up to all expectation as an exciting and dangerous adventure through icy kingdoms and frozen wastes. The Silver Tide, here I come.

| 4. |

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Another book from my Top Ten Tuesday list, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is a book I can return to again and again and always find enjoyment.  Nonsensical and amusing, Lewis Carroll’s famous works never get old.

| 5. |

The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

My favourite book of all time, this year’s re-read of The Lord of the Rings couldn’t come soon enough. The absorbing narrative, the beautiful descriptions and the intricately drawn characters all work together to create a book that is a perfect component of the whole.

| 6. |

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

Binti is a beautifully wrought novella which, in its few pages, manages to create an absorbing tale with believable characters, and wonderfully succinct worldbuilding. I cannot wait to continue Binti’s adventures in book two.


| Currently Reading |

Shamefully I’m still currently reading The Vagrant by Peter Newman and The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu. Neither of these books have really got my juices flowing so they’ve fallen a bit to the wayside, however I am determined to continue with them both!

Having also added two classic re-reads to my currently reading list, The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins and Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë I’ve decided I’ll probably put together a Classics Club list in the very near future.

Added to this, I’m also re-reading The Builders by Daniel Polansky, a beautifully dark novella and Shadowblack by Sebastien de Castell, the second book in the wonderful Spellslinger series.


| Posts |

Tough Travelling: Apprentices

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Books I Could Re-Read Forever

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Book Quotes by P.G. Wodehouse

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Books With Plot Twists and Surprises

Teaser Tuesdays: February 27 – Lois the Witch by Elizabeth Gaskell + The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

Teaser Tuesdays: March 06 – The Iron Ghost by Jen Williams + The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

Teaser Tuesdays: March 13 – Binti by Nnedi Okorafor + The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

Waiting on Wednesday: The Hyena and the Hawk

Waiting on Wednesday: Charmcaster by Sebastien de Castell

Waiting on Wednesday: Grey Sister by Mark Lawrence

Friday Firsts: The Iron Ghost by Jen Williams

Friday Firsts: The Builders by Daniel Polansky

Friday Firsts: Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

The Friday Face-Off: Greek Mythology

The Friday Face-Off: …But Icarus Flew Too Close

The Friday Face-Off: I Got No Strings to Hold Me Down

Chapter + Verse – The Hobbit: Chapter IV – Over Hill and Under Hill


| March Goal Progress |

To read five books

Status: 5 of 5 Complete


What have you been reading this week? Have you accomplished any goals?

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The Month Ahead: February 2018


Welcome to this February’s The Month Ahead at Books by ProxyBringing you blog related news and announcements!


| Announcement |

After a somewhat extended interval Books by Proxy is back! And I’m so looking forward to getting back into the swing of posting – believe me, I’ve missed it!

At some point in 2016, and again in 2017, my inability to strike a work / life / blog balance lead to a complete fall off the edge of the book-o-blogosphere – As many fellow bloggers can attest, sometimes we forget to just take it easy.

Life is considerably busier these days; 2017 saw me move into my new home with the other half, continue my foray into (not-at-all-wicked) step-motherhood, and commence the final step in my professional qualifications whilst assuming more responsibility at work. Something definitely had to give somewhere and, unfortunately, it was this blog.

Reading, however, remains my passion and, as I begin to organise my time more effectively and remember that this blog is for fun and my own peace of mind, it seemed like the perfect time to kick things off once again – both books and blogs are here to be enjoyed after all!

So here’s to catching up with reading, blogging and the wonderful online book community in 2018!


| Currently Reading |

Once again I am reading far too many books at one time – but why change the habit of a lifetime! This month I’m continuing my read of The Vagrant by Peter Newman and Half the World by Joe Abercrombie – two books which were started a considerably long time ago but got left behind when I moved house.

They are joined this February by the esteemed company of Lois the Witch by Elizabeth Gaskell, which I’m reading as part of The Gaskell Society lecture events in Manchester, The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu and The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, as part of my There and Back Again feature (see below). heart


| Coming Up on Books by Proxy |

There and Back Again: A Journey Through Middle Earth, is an indefinite season of all things Tolkien here at Books by Proxy. Join me as I make my journey through the most defining literature of my childhood, and unravel the details behind one of the most spectacular fantasy worlds ever made.

Beginning with a re-read of The Hobbit – where week by week I explore the novel in Chapter and Verse – I aim to bring you a series of continuing posts which take us on a journey through the works of Tolkien.

This series will be ongoing and fluid with both regular, weekly posts and one-off explorations – Expect Middle Earth related content a-plenty!

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It’s back! I couldn’t return to this blog without returning to one of my favourite memes of all time – Tough Travelling, now hosted by The Fantasy Hive. Join me once again as I explore the biggest tropes and clichés in fantasy fiction.heart

During my prolonged absence, my wonderful blogger friends have continued with The Friday Face-Off and kept it alive for well over a year – something which makes me immensely happy! I’ll be jumping back into the meme with the list compiled by the amazing Lynn over at Lynn’s Books, where you’ll be able to see all upcoming themes.

Here’s what’s coming up this February in The Friday Face-Off:

02nd February 2018 | Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds

A psychedelic cover

09th February 2018 | My, What Big Teeth You Have

A cover featuring a cloaked figure

16th February 2018 | Groovy Baby

A cover that is retro

23rd February | There are too many steps in this castle, and it seems to me they add a few every night, just to vex me

A cover featuring a staircase


| February Goals |

To read four books

Status: 0 of 4 Complete

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To write a review once a week

Status: 0 of 4 Complete

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What are you reading at the moment? What are your goals for the month ahead? 

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Teaser Tuesdays: July 11


Welcome to Teaser Tuesdays – a weekly feature hosted by The Purple Booker.


| Teaser Tuesdays: July 11 |

The Vagrant

Book One of The Vagrant Trilogy

by Peter Newman

Fantasy | 400 Pages | Published by Harper Voyager in 2015


“Giant fists raise, open and plaster themselves over her face. Her body shakes with sadness, each sob ringing the armour like a dolorous bell. Harm edges closer, reaching out to rest two fingers on her exposed skin. He is careful to pick a place where the green is unbroken. In time, quieter tears spill.”

~ p. 186 | The Vagrant by Peter Newman


| Synopsis |

The Vagrant is his name. He has no other.

Years have passed since humanity’s destruction emerged from the Breach.

Friendless and alone he walks across a desolate, war-torn landscape.

As each day passes the world tumbles further into depravity, bent and twisted by the new order, corrupted by the Usurper, the enemy, and his infernal horde.

His purpose is to reach the Shining City, last bastion of the human race, and deliver the only weapon that may make a difference in the ongoing war.

What little hope remains is dying. Abandoned by its leader, The Seven, and its heroes, The Seraph Knights, the last defences of a once great civilisation are crumbling into dust.

But the Shining City is far away and the world is a very dangerous place.

Amazon | The Book Depository | Goodreads


| Join In |

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Please leave a comment with either the link to your own Teaser Tuesdays post, or share your ‘teasers’ in a comment here!

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Friday Firsts: The Vagrant by Peter Newman


Welcome to Friday Firsts – a new weekly meme created by Tenacious Reader. New Book: First paragraphs. First impressions. New favourite?


| Friday Firsts: July 07 |


The Vagrant

Book One of The Vagrant Trilogy

by Peter Newman

Fantasy | 400 Pages | Published by Harper Voyager in 2015


| First Paragraphs |

Starlight gives way to bolder neon. Signs muscle in on all sides, brightly welcoming each arrival to New Horizon.

The Vagrant does not notice; his gaze fixes on the ground ahead.

People litter the streets like living waste, their eyes as hollow as their laughter. Voices beg and hands grasp, needy, aggressive.

The Vagrant does not notice and walks on, clasping his coat tightly at the neck.

Excited shouts draw a crowd ahead. A mixture of half-bloods and pimps, dealers and spectators gather in force. Platforms rise up in the street, unsteady on legs of salvaged metal. Wire cages sit on top. Within, shivering forms squat, waiting to be sold. For some of the assembled, the flesh auction provides new slaves, for others, fresh meat.

Unnoticed in the commotion, the Vagrant travels on.

The centre of New Horizon is dominated by a vast scrap yard dubbed ‘The Iron Mountain’, a legacy from the war. At its heart is the gutted corpse of a fallen sky-ship; its cargo of tanks and fighters has spilled out in the crash, forming a skirt of scattered metal at the mountain’s base.

Always opportunistic, the inhabitants of New Horizon have tunnelled out its insides to create living spaces and shops, selling on the sky-ship’s treasures. Scavenged lamps hang, colouring the shadows.

One tunnel is illuminated by a glowing hoop, off-white and erratic. In the pale light, the low ceiling is the colour of curdled milk.

Awkwardly, the Vagrant enters, bending his legs and bowing his head, his back held straight.

Corrugated shelves line the walls, packed with bottles, tins and tubes. The owner of the rusting cave hunches on the floor, cleaning a syringe with a ragged cloth. He appraises the Vagrant with a bloodshot eye.

‘A new customer?’ The Vagrant nods. Syringe and cloth are swiftly tucked away and yellowing fingers rub together. ‘Ah, welcome, welcome. I am Doctor Zero. I take it you’ve heard of me?’

The Vagrant nods.

‘Of course you have, that’s why you’re here. Well, what can I get you? You look tired. I have the finest selection of uppers this side of the Breach, or perhaps something to escape with?’ His eyes twinkle, sleazy, seductive.

One hand still on his collar, the Vagrant’s amber eyes roam the shelves. They alight on a small jar, its label faded to a uniform grey.

‘Ah, a discerning customer,’ says Doctor Zero, impressed. ‘Rare to have somebody who knows what they’re looking for. Most of the rabble I get through here can’t tell the difference between stardust and sawdust.’ He picks up the jar, flicking something sticky from the lid. ‘I assume whoever sent you appreciates the scarcity of good medicine … and the cost.’

In answer, the Vagrant kneels and places two platinum coins on the ground, sliding them across the floor towards the Doctor.

‘I hope you aren’t trying to trick me,’ the Doctor replies, picking them up and tapping each one in turn with his finger. The coins vibrate and a brief two-note duet fills the cramped space. For a moment neither speak, both moved to other memories by the sound.

Doctor Zero holds them to the light, the clean discs incongruous with his sallow skin. ‘My apologies,’ he says, handing the jar over quickly, hoping no change will be asked for. ‘And if you have any other needs, don’t hesitate to come back.’

Amazon | The Book Depository | Goodreads


| First Impressions |

It’s impossible not to fall in love with Newman’s writing style. Even from the opening paragraphs the flow of his words and the lyrical construction of his sentences drew me deep into its pages and refused to let me go. The mystery and tension is palpable, the world a dark unknown, and the characters ever more so. This is one novel which already has me hooked.

First impressions? Breathtaking. If The Vagrant continues in the vein in which it started I have high expectations of it being an outstanding and incredibly memorable read.

Fingers crossed.

What are you currently reading? What were your first impressions?

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