New Year NetGalley

Happy 2023 everyone!!

I thought I would use today, which is a public holiday here in the UK, to look at my NetGalley shelves. I joined NetGalley in June 2021 after seeing so many bloggers talk about books that they had received as ARCs and since then I’ve read and reviewed 192 books. It’s a brilliant way to discover new authors and I’ve read so many books that I never would have discovered otherwise.

It can be a bit dangerous though as it is basically a sweet shop for book lovers and it’s all too easy to request everything that takes your eye. Or in my case, all those books that I see mentioned on other blogs and I just go over to Net Galley to see if it’s available here. It is – brilliant – that’s another one added to my shelf. 😃

I have tried lately to reduce my requests so that my shelf stays manageable. I’ve currently got 20 books on my shelf waiting to be read and I would really like to get that down to single figures. That probably isn’t going to happen though.

This is what I currently have waiting to be read and I am really looking forward to reading all of them:

January Releases

February Releases

March Releases

April Releases

May Releases

Releases June and after

Non Fiction

I try to read my books more or less in publication order and to get them read and reviewed before they are actually published. At the moment it’s working out to about one a week which is perfectly manageable. That is of course, unless I spot unmissable books with a January or February publication date.

The odd one out is the non fiction book, The Darkness Manifesto, which was published in November 22. However, I wasn’t approved for it until after publication date so I don’t feel too badly about not having read it yet. I will start it this week.

My review rating is currently 89% and it would be nice to get it above 90. I’m at 192 books reviewed so I’m well on the way to getting to 200. Do I get a new badge? That would be quite nice😃

Do you read Net Galley ARCs? What is your current shelf looking like?

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The Circus Infinite – a review

Space, a circus and found family. What a great recipe for a novel!

I really enjoyed this story of Jes, a half human teenager who is the subject of horrific research into his unusual powers. at the Institute on his home planet. The story opens as Jes makes his escape from the institute to the pleasure moon Persephone. We are dropped straight into his situation and discover the background gradually as we read through the story. On Persephone, Jes finds his way to the circus and there he discovers friendship and acceptance. However, his powers come to the attention of the local crime lord and he finds himself being forced into actions that are unacceptable.

I loved so much about this story. Jes is vividly written and you really feel for him as he comes to terms with his emotions as well as his mental powers. It isn’t just about Jes though, other characters such as Bo and Esmee all have their own character arcs and I loved the relationships that Jes forms with the other circus performers.

The world created by the author is a very inclusive one. I really liked the representation of the different races, each with their own characteristics. There are several characters who are hybrids or mixed race and the discrimination against these people felt very real. As with a lot of Science Fiction, characters of different gender identities and sexualities are shown as completely normal. Jes himself is almost asexual and finds close relationships difficult. The growth of his relationship with Bo was lovely to read.

The world building is great and there are some gorgeous moments as the characters explore the different aspects of the moon. The author provided enough detail so that the story made sense without it being overwhelming. I also loved the flashbacks as we learn more and more about Jes’s backstory and what happened to him prior to the beginning of this story. The whole concept of this particular universe was really well worked out and was a great background to the main story.

There are one or two very dark moments in the story, some in Jes’s back story but others in his dealings with the crime lord as he is made to carry out more and more atrocious acts to save himself and the circus. I think that although these scenes may bother some people, they do keep the story balanced and stop it being too light and fluffy.

My only real issue is that I felt the ending of the story was quite rushed in comparison to the earlier parts. One minute they were planning and then it was all over. I also felt that the final resolution was all a bit too neat and tidy. However, they are minor points and overall, I thought that this was a great read.

This book will be published by Angry Robot Books on March 8th. Thank you to Net Galley and the publishers for providing this ARC in exchange for my honest review.

The Song that Sings Us – A Review

Blurb:
When animals talk, it’s time humans listened.

Harlon has been raised to protect her younger siblings, twins Ash and Xeno, and their outlawed power of communicating with animals. But when the sinister Automators attack their mountain home they must flee for their lives. Xeno is kidnapped and Harlon and Ash are separated.

In a thrilling and dangerous adventure they must all journey alone through the ice fields, forests and oceans of Rumyc to try to rescue each other and fulfil a mysterious promise about a lost island made to their mother.

My Review

Harlon lives with her mother and two siblings, Ash and Xeno, in an isolated cottage in the mountains. They live in a society ruled by the Automators, people who hate nature and only want to subdue and use it for their own devices. Ash and Xeno are listeners, they can hear the thoughts of animals and this skill has been outlawed by the Automators. The story opens with a force of Automators coming for the family and the three children have to escape. Their mother stays to fight off the attackers and there follows a thrilling account of the children’s escape down the mountain on snowboards.

Very soon, the siblings get separated and they end up trying to bring down the automators in very different ways as they meet different groups of people who are rebelling against their rule. As they join the rebellion, the children also find that there are a lot of unanswered questions about their mother. Who was she really?

This is a fantasy adventure story with a very strong environmental message. The three children each have very distinct personalities and story lines which all combine at the end for the climax of the story. The novel is fast paced with lots of action as the siblings get involved with the different forces in opposition to the Automators. There is quite a lot of violence as the Automators are ruthless and don’t care who or what they destroy although this is not too graphic. I liked the different points of view throughout the story and the way the animals are given importance including a ship being captained by a tiger. Nicola Davies portrays the world of Rumyc vividly and it is easy to picture the oceans and landscapes where the story takes place.

This is a great teenage or YA read and I’m really grateful to Net Galley and the publishers, Firefly Press for providing me with an ARC in exchange for this review.

The Bookbinder’s Daughter – a review

The Bookbinder’s Daughter by Jessica Thorne

“The song surrounded her now, the murmuring of the library insistent, and her foot took the first step on the winding stairs. She knew it wasn’t entirely a dream. It was the library calling her, its magic driving her.”

I really enjoyed this book. It’s not particularly quick moving but it gradually draws the reader into the world of the Ayredale Library, home to some of the most special books ever written. It’s set in present day London and then moves to the library where Sophie returns after a period of 15 years having lost most of her memories of her previous life there. Her loss of memory means that she isn’t sure about her past and especially what happened to her mother. As Sophie finds out more about the library and what happened 15 years ago, we gradually begin to understand the importance of this library.

I really liked the whole concept of the library and the tree. The description of the actual library is incredible. I also really loved the historical context for the book and the inclusion of characters such as the mysterious Dr Dee. The idea of creativity being born of chaos and let into the world as the leaves of the tree are bound into books. I thought was a really interesting one. I really enjoyed Nightborn and Mageborn, previous books by Jessica Thorne and this was just as good although very different.

Thank you to Net Galley and the publishers for letting me read this advance copy.