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Judging a book by its author

Judging a book by its author

I’m sure I’m not the only one who has noticed that there are a lot of controversial authors writing YA novels. Recently, it seems as though a new author to blacklist is revealed every day. It makes it impossible for me to find the energy […]

Review: Second Best Friend by Non Pratt

Review: Second Best Friend by Non Pratt

I wasn’t planning on writing a full-length review for Second Best Friend, because it’s only 137 pages long. However, I read it in one sitting on Monday and I’ve been unable to stop thinking about it since. I loved Non Pratt’s Unboxed – her first collaboration with […]

Review: Don Broco – HMV Oxford Street, 02/02/18

Review: Don Broco – HMV Oxford Street, 02/02/18

To celebrate the release of Don Broco’s third album, Technology, the four Bedford boys decided to precede their UK headline tour with a series of acoustic sets and signings.

With the band arriving 30 minutes later than expected, eager fans were treated to a playback of Technology in full via the speaker system. As it was the album’s release day, it’s likely that the majority of people in the room were hearing the songs for the first time, and the general consensus seemed to be a positive one. Heads were nodding, mouths were moving along to the words from the previously released tracks, and the half an hour wait passed in the blink of an eye.

Vocalist Rob Damiani excused the band’s tardiness by explaining that he’d been doing a photoshoot for a special Technology jacket designed by the band’s friend, Meg. Rushing through the world’s quickest soundcheck, guitarist Simon Delaney melted the crowd’s heart with his polite request for more sound in his wedge, before Damiani finally asked the question on everyone’s mind: “What we doing first?”.

As this acoustic set was arranged to celebrate the release of Technology, it was unsurprising that the three songs the band chose to play were all from their newest album.

Kicking off the set with T-Shirt Song, Damiani expressed his appreciation to the one fan at the back of the crowd who was swinging a t-shirt around their head during the song, before he started laughing. “You brought a spare?” he asked, to which the guy responded with a cheer. Don Broco fans come prepared.

Between songs, Damiani attempted to get the crowd to shout out their favourite song on Technology, but with one eager beaver screaming “Priorities!” the results were inconclusive.

Deciding to play Stay Ignorant, the acoustic version that they performed gave the song a completely new vibe:

The band then shared the fact that they’d attempted to play an acoustic version of Thug Workout – their heaviest song – at a house show in the past. Damiani physically cringed as he recalled the moment fans separated into a wall of death, crawling across the living room carpet towards each other. “It really didn’t translate,” Donnelly admitted, before Damiani said, “It’s probably on Youtube… But don’t find it! It’s embarrassing!”.

Last, but certainly not least, it was time for most recent single Come Out To LA. They had one last chance to plug the album, with Damiani telling the crowd that it was the perfect Valentine’s day gift before Donnelly quipped, “Get a head start on Christmas!”. It’s obvious that the band are proud of the album they’ve created, and so they should be: Technology has been three years in the making, and it was worth every second of the wait.

With drummer and co-vocalist Matt Donnelly taking a central role on Come Out To LA, it sounded vastly different to the two other songs they performed:

Seeing the band in a stripped back environment like this really showcased all of their individual talents. Donnelly’s voice soared while Damiani’s vocal, normally overshadowed by the screams of thousands of fans, sounded better than ever. Delaney’s intricate guitar work is always a delight, but bassist Tom Doyle proved that he’s the glue that holds the band together. Don Broco are a well-oiled machine.

If you have the chance to see the band on their UK headline tour, I’d highly recommend it. The tour starts tomorrow, though, so don’t sleep on getting tickets: the majority of dates are already sold out!

You should also make sure to pick up a copy of Technology. (Disclaimer: if you use my Amazon Affiliate link I’ll receive a few pennies, but at no extra cost to you!).

Alyce

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Spotlight: Unconvicted by Olly Jarvis

Spotlight: Unconvicted by Olly Jarvis

Hello, and welcome to my stop on the Unconvicted blog tour. You might have noticed that the tour banner features my old blog’s name – that’s because I’m a forgetful fly and didn’t update my blog details with the lovely folks at Canelo. Sorry for the confusion, […]

Top Ten Tuesday: My forever TBR

Top Ten Tuesday: My forever TBR

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish, but was recently relocated to That Artsy Reader Girl.  With hundreds upon thousands of books being released every year, it’s not hard for a TBR to grow out of control. These ten books are […]

Review: Force of Nature by Jane Harper

Review: Force of Nature by Jane Harper

Welcome to my stop on the Force of Nature blog tour! Before I jump into my post, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the folks at Little, Brown for allowing me to get involved and for giving me early access to a copy of Force of Nature.

Force of Nature is the second novel by Jane Harper, author of The Dry. If you haven’t heard of The Dry I’ll be surprised: it was one of the biggest debuts of last year, and since its release has sold over 200,000 copies in the UK alone. It also became a New York Times bestseller, a Sunday Times bestseller and was Top Ten in Ireland and a Number One Bestseller in Australia.

What’s the sequel, Force of Nature, about?

Where did Alice Russell go?

Is Alice here? Did she make it? Is she safe? In the chaos, in the night, it was impossible to say which of the four had asked after Alice’s welfare. Later, when everything got worse, each would insist it had been them.

Five women reluctantly pack up their backpacks and start walking along the muddy track. Only four come out the other side.

The hike through the rugged landscape is meant to take the office colleagues out of their air-conditioned comfort zone and teach resilience and team building. At least that is what the corporate retreat website advertises.

Federal Police Agent Aaron Falk has a particularly keen interest in the whereabouts of the missing bushwalker. Alice Russell is the whistleblower in his latest case – and Alice knew secrets. About the company she worked for and the people she worked with.

The Dry was one of the best books I read last year, so my expectations for Force of Nature were higher than normal. The focus is vastly different: rather than the crime being what appears to be a murder-suicide, Alice Russell’s disappearance is surrounded by uncertainty and intrigue.

Is Alice still alive? Has she been kidnapped? Or is she simply lost?

What did I think of Force of Nature

Force of Nature by Jane Harper review

Unsurprisingly, I gave it five stars. I was torn, because The Dry is better than Force of Nature, but only marginally. I’m not going to give any spoilers, so it’s difficult to say exactly why I liked this book so much, but it’s for many of the same reasons that I loved The Dry.

The Australian setting is still a character of its own, but compared to the drought in the first novel, Force of Nature is filled with water. It rains almost constantly, increasing the difficulty of the terrain and making the search for Alice near futile. Harper’s skill at describing weather conditions still astounds me: I was genuinely shivering at points throughout the novel, even though I was curled up in my pyjamas under a blanket!

 

Jumping between Falk’s investigation and the events unfolding on the disastrous hike, it takes a little while to get into the flow of Force of Nature, but the non-chronological narrative is gripping (particularly towards the end, when the chapters get shorter and the pace dramatically increases).

We get to know the other girls in Alice’s hiking group – Jill, Lauren, Beth and Bree – through the flashback chapters and through Falk’s encounters with them, and it’s easy to swing from suspecting someone to thinking they had nothing to do with it within the space of a couple of sentences. It helps that there’s a large cast of background characters who look as though they might become relevant to the investigation – it’s up to you to decide who to suspect, and why!

When Alice’s fate is eventually revealed, it’s a big surprise. I had an idea of what was going to happen, but didn’t manage to guess all of it. If you figure out exactly what’s going to happen before Harper reveals it, I’ll be shocked.

If you’re a fan of crime novels that aren’t too technical, focusing more on the plot than on the investigative techniques themselves, you’ll love Force of Nature. You’ll also adore it if you’re interested in Australia, and the way that the wildness of the outback can have a psychological impact as well as a physical one. I’m seriously hoping that Harper will write another book following Falk: no details of a potential third installment have been revealed yet, but I’m crossing my fingers that there will be some news soon.

About the author: Jane Harper

Jane Harper is the author of The Dry, winner of various awards including the 2015 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript, the 2017 Indie Award Book of the Year and the 2017 Australian Book Industry Awards Book of the Year Award. Rights have been sold in 27 territories worldwide, and film rights optioned to Reese Witherspoon and Bruna Papandrea. Jane worked as a print journalist for thirteen years both in Australia and the UK and lives in Melbourne. Force of Nature is Jane’s second novel.

You can visit Harper at her website, or find her on Twitter.

 

I hope you enjoyed this stop on the Force of Nature blog tour!

 

If you’re interested, you can purchase copies of The Dry and Force of Nature using my Amazon Affiliate links: I’ll get a few pennies in return, but you won’t be charged any extra.

 

Have you read The Dry yet, or is it still on your TBR?

Alyce

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Review: Everless by Sara Holland

Review: Everless by Sara Holland

‘Most people find the forest frightening, believing the old tales of fairies who will freeze the time in your blood, or witches who can spill your years out over the snow with only a whisper. Even the spirit of the Alchemist is said to wander […]

Cover reveal: Balam, Spring by Travis M. Riddle

Cover reveal: Balam, Spring by Travis M. Riddle

Another week, another cover reveal! I’ve hosted a couple recently, but this is a very exciting one. Balam, Spring is the second book by an author whose debut I loved, but it’s a completely different genre to his first book, Wondrous. That means the cover is also […]

January wrap-up

January wrap-up

January is finally drawing to a close, so it’s time for The Bumbling Blogger’s first wrap-up post. It’s been a while since I’ve written one of these because I kept forgetting to do them on my old blog – forgive me if I’m rusty!

Personal: 

I was ill for nearly three weeks of January, dealing with two ear infections and a cold. Things got far more bearable when my hearing came back, but it was extremely weird to start the year off unable to have a conversation with any of my friends or my family. Also this month, my mum was admitted to hospital – thankfully it was nothing serious, but it was a worrying couple of days when the doctors couldn’t get to the bottom of what was wrong with her.

With all of that going on, it’s a miracle that I managed to keep the blog updated. When I launched The Bumbling Blogger, I decided that I was going to put a post up every weekday and let myself relax at the weekends. So far, I’ve managed to achieve that! I’m very proud of myself for posting regular content and for allowing myself the chance to have a break. Blogging feels far more enjoyable to me now.

That’s mostly because of my Dodo Pad. It’s so easy to separate out blog commitments from personal commitments, and I’ve been able to keep on top of deadlines with ease. I’d highly recommend getting your hands on one – it’s so much easier than creating a bullet journal, especially if you’re not artsy!

Talking of the blog, this month The Bumbling Blogger has had 742 views and 131 comments. Although the pageviews are far lower than they were on my previous blog, the comments have gone through the roof! I’ve been making a lot more effort to interact with other bloggers, and because of that I’ve discovered some great new blogs and have had some very fun conversations with people from across the globe. I’m hoping to continue prioritising this in the future.

My most viewed blog post this month was my review of Frank Turner‘s show at Level III in Swindon.

My most viewed posts in January
These are my five most viewed posts in January. Quite a jump between the top two!

 

Music:

The other live reviews I wrote this month were of Fall Out Boy and Paramore.

On this site I posted an album review of Of Mice and Men’s Defy, but I’ve also been contributing reviews to afterLIVE, where I reviewed Fall Out Boy’s MANIA, Tonight Alive’s Underworld and Waterparks Entertainment (which will be posted later today!).

My reviews on afterLIVE
I even have my own author page on afterLIVE, where you can find all of my posts.

If you have an album that you’d like me to consider reviewing – either here or on afterLIVE – visit my contact page and drop me an email.

 

Books:

Because I couldn’t hear much at the start of the year, I had nothing to do but read. I managed to read 10 books in January, and I’m already halfway through another three! I’m not going to be able to read much after March because I have other commitments, but I’m hoping to get as many books as possible read in the next two months.

This month I reviewed:

  1. Meet Cute (which I finished in December)
  2. Before I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp
  3. The Fandom by Anna Day
  4. The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
  5. Bad Girls With Perfect Faces by Lynn Weingarten
  6. A Map of the Dark by Karen Ellis
  7. The Sacrifice Box by Martin Stewart

My review of Sara Holland’s debut novel, Everless, is going up later in the week: make sure to check back to find out what I thought!

I also participated in two cover reveals – Rafferty Lincoln Loves… by Emily Williams and True Storm by L.E. Sterling, respectively – and I’ve got another one lined up for later in the week. Exciting times!

 

That’s it for this month. What were the best and worst things about your January? Are you glad the month is finally over? Leave your comments down below, and if you’ve written your own wrap-up post make sure to link to it!

 

Alyce

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books I can’t believe I read

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I can’t believe I read

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish, but was recently relocated to That Artsy Reader Girl.  This week’s topic stumped me a little bit. At first, I thought about solely focusing on books I didn’t like… But the majority of them […]