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OutsmartYourShelf
Hamlet, Prince of Robots | M. Darusha Wehm
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Pickpick

Elsinore Robotics maker of humanoid androids powered by true artificial intelligence are continually in competition with their rival, Norwegian Technologies. The last public contest was between their model, Fortinbras, and Elsinore‘s HAM(let) v.1 & Hamlet was victorious. Shortly afterwards he was found deactivated at Elsinore, possibly by rogue malware. Hamlet v.2 mourns the loss of his progenitor, & he becomes obsessed by thoughts of revenge.

OutsmartYourShelf A retelling of Shakespeare's 'Hamlet' with the lead character an android rather than flesh & blood. The book looks at what is means to be human, about free will & choice. It mostly works quite well. I haven't read the original play but, like Cher Horowitz in Clueless, I've seen the Mel Gibson film version, so I knew what was coming & who the characters were. 8mo
OutsmartYourShelf It's a quick read at just under 170 pages for the Kindle version so it doesn't outstay its welcome. An intriguing take. 3.5🌟

Full Review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/5721280995
Read 30th-31st Oct 2023

Readathons 210 pts
Post 1pt
Words 220 pts
Genre 10 pts

Total 441 pts

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8mo
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TheSpineView Great job! 8mo
Catsandbooks 🙌🏼🦇🧡 8mo
DieAReader 🥳🥳🥳 8mo
24 likes6 comments
review
OutsmartYourShelf
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Pickpick

Leeds, UK & Gobbelino London (feline PI) & his human sidekick, Callum, are hired by a mysterious client to find a missing book that belongs to her. Gobbelino is a little apprehensive as there is something about the woman that is off but he can't quite put his paw on what. As the hunt begins, it soon becomes clear that Gobbelino's sixth sense was right & this is much more than just a missing book. (Continued)

OutsmartYourShelf I loved this. What a change from the usual morose human detectives, instead we have a snarky feline & his human sidekick. Gobbelino is instantly lovable even though he is unfailingly sarcastic & a bit of a curmudgeon - although he's quick to act the innocent kitty if needs be! Believe me, if you have ever owned a cat, you will recognise your feline friend here. I actually laughed out loud in several places. 8mo
OutsmartYourShelf I am definitely going to read the rest of the series. 4🌟

Full review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/5338532956
Read 28th-30th Oct 2023

Readathons 385 pts
Post 1pt
Words 620 pts
Genre 20 pts

Total 1026 pts

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8mo
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TheSpineView Great job! 8mo
Catsandbooks 🙌🏼🦇🧡 8mo
DieAReader 🥳🥳🥳 8mo
25 likes6 comments
review
OutsmartYourShelf
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Mehso-so

Following the loss of a lucrative contract due to internal rivalries, a group of seven feuding office workers are sent on a team-building weekend by their boss. On the way there the private plane develops engine trouble & the group wake up marooned on a deserted tropical island. There the rivalries become magnified as the group struggle to locate water, food, & shelter plus look for a way off the island.
(Continued)

OutsmartYourShelf The synopsis to this sounded great but it never really got going for me. The tensions were pretty petty & became annoying really quickly. It's quite a short book at just over 200 pages & I think the characters weren't really given time to develop so the reader isn't really invested in what happens to them & the conclusion was very quick. It was OK but I think many things could have been improved on if it had been slightly longer. 3⭐ (edited) 8mo
OutsmartYourShelf My thanks to #NetGalley & publisher, BooksGoSocial, for the opportunity to read an ARC.

Full review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/5876804406
Read: 27th Oct 2023

Readathons 192 pts
Post 1pt
Words 290 pts
Genre 10 pts

Total 493 pts

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8mo
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DieAReader 🥳🥳🥳 8mo
TheSpineView Fantastic! 8mo
Andrew65 Brilliant 👏👏👏 8mo
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27 likes7 comments
review
OutsmartYourShelf
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Mehso-so

A book of 13 haunting stories which all involve fishing of some description. Now I'm not the least bit interested in fishing but I do like a book which deals with hauntings & water. These were mostly a mixed bag, with the one about a Victorian serial killer, & another about a group of friends out fishing in a boat with a broken radio being the standouts for me. (Continued)

OutsmartYourShelf None of them were particularly chilling but some have the reader tempted to 'bite' only to deliver a sting in the tail. If you are a keen fisher then these may appeal to you a little more. 3⭐

My thanks to #NetGalley & publisher, Cranthorpe Millner Publishers, for the opportunity to read an ARC.

Full review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/5922816112
Read 24th-26th Oct 2023
(edited) 8mo
TheSpineView Well done! 8mo
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27 likes6 comments
review
OutsmartYourShelf
The Twelve Days of Murder | Andreina Cordani
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Pickpick

A group of friends from university days are invited to a Christmas Masquerade murder mystery break at a remote hunting lodge. At the last one, the 'victim' disappeared from a locked room & was never seen again. This time it is based around the song 'Twelve Days of Christmas', i.e. Lord Leapworth. As the game begins, past secrets are revealed & friendships are strained until on Christmas morning, Lady Partridge is found hanging from a pear tree.

OutsmartYourShelf The present narrative is told from the point of view of Charley, the outsider in the group of friends. Charley came from a working class background whilst all the others were from rich families & she was treated rather badly by most of the group. Even in the Christmas Masquerade she is playing 'Miss Colly', the only servant in the game & her costumes are dull & boring. 8mo
OutsmartYourShelf The reader gets some background from chapters set twelve years ago one from each of the friend group & as their secrets are gradually revealed you see that none of them are particularly nice people . I did actually guess the guilty party but not the whole reason. I thought it was a diverting, entertaining read & if you like 'locked room' murder mysteries I would recommend this one. 4🌟
8mo
OutsmartYourShelf My thanks to #NetGalley & publisher, Bonnier Books/Zaffre, for the opportunity to read an ARC.

Full review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/5641748023
Read 17th-20th Oct 2023

Readathons 585 pts
Post 1pt
Words 2310 pts
Genre 10 pts

Total 2906 pts

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(edited) 8mo
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Andrew65 Excellent 🎃🎃🎃 8mo
TheSpineView Fantastic! 8mo
StayCurious great job! 8mo
26 likes7 comments
review
OutsmartYourShelf
When Ghosts Call Us Home | Katya de Becerra
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Pickpick

Sophia Galich was twelve when she starred in her older sister Layla‘s amateur horror movie 'Vermillion' filmed in the house their parents were renovating. Originally owned by a rich couple who held wild parties & seances until the tragic death of the wife, it stood empty for years before the Galich family moved in to renovate it. The movie gained a cult following online alongside a website which people use to travel 'The Path'. (continued)

OutsmartYourShelf Layla disappeared two years ago & it seems that she was still obsessed with Cashore & Vermillion & the last known sighting of her was at the house. Now seventeen, Sophia agrees to star in a remake being filmed at Cashore in the hope that this will lead her to the truth of what happened to Layla.

This had a slow start but once it got going it was a good read. The narrative is told from Sophia's point of view mostly in the present,
8mo
OutsmartYourShelf although the reader experiences Sophia's returning memories as she starts to film the remake. Suspicious of everyone & their motives, including Arthur the director's son, as they start to film scenes Sophia starts to remember more of what happened five years before & realises her sister wasn't telling her the complete truth. She also realises that she is now travelling The Path - but what or who is at the end? 8mo
OutsmartYourShelf It wasn't terrifying but it was a spooky unsettling read. 3.5🌟

My thanks to #NetGalley & publisher, Macmillan Children's Books, for the opportunity to read an ARC.

Full review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/5761905163
Read 13th-17th Oct 2023

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8mo
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DieAReader 🥳🥳🥳 8mo
TheSpineView Fantastic 8mo
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30 likes7 comments
review
OutsmartYourShelf
My Brother's Keeper | Tim Powers
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Pickpick

The Brontes & werewolves - even before starting it, I knew this would be either a triumph or a disaster. It's definitely going to polarise opinion as it's a required taste, but I loved it. I particularly like the way that the author wove actual events into the supernatural narrative, such as when Branwell paints over himself in the portrait of himself & his three sisters. (continued)

OutsmartYourShelf Branwell comes off the worst here as he comes across as petulant, cowardly, & self-centered & I really didn't like him. The others were as you would expect & I felt the author got Emily's character just right. Read it with no preconceptions & no expectations of what a book featuring the Brontës should be like & you may be pleasantly surprised. I thought it was extremely entertaining. 4.5🌟

8mo
OutsmartYourShelf My thanks to #NetGalley & publishers, Head of Zeus/AdAstra Books, for the opportunity to read an ARC.

Full review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/5722038873
Read 12th-14th Oct 2023

Readathons x Hours Read 902 pts
Post 1pt
Word Challenge 3160 pts
Genre 20 pts

Total 4083 pts

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8mo
OutsmartYourShelf My thanks to #NetGalley & publishers, Head of Zeus/AdAstra Books, for the opportunity to read an ARC.

Full review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/5722038873
Read 12th-14th Oct 2023

Readathons x Hours Read 902 pts
Post 1pt
Word Challenge 3160 pts
Genre 20 pts

Total 4083 pts

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8mo
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PuddleJumper 🧡🖤 8mo
TheSpineView Well done! 8mo
Andrew65 Well done 👏👏👏 8mo
dabbe 🖤🧡🖤 8mo
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24 likes9 comments
review
OutsmartYourShelf
The Patient | Jasper DeWitt
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Panpan

A short but definitely not sweet book, The Patient follows newly qualified psychologist, Parker, who has taken a job working at a mental hospital. The book is written in the form of blog posts detailing Parker's contact with a patient named 'Joe' who is a forty-one-year-old man who has been at the hospital since he was a young boy. Few people have contact with him & he seems to be incurable, but Parker thinks he may be able to get through to him.

OutsmartYourShelf As the book is so short, it was difficult to get to know or really care about Parker & some of his decisions were strange. Parker's naiveite & youthful enthusiasm lead him astray & disaster is only narrowly averted initially. I can't imagine being that gullible to be honest. The writing style was okay but I think a slightly longer book may have fleshed out the characters more & given the reader more time to actually connect with the MC. 8mo
OutsmartYourShelf It was a gripping read but can't say I actually enjoyed reading it due to some of the subject matter (trigger warnings below). 2.5⭐

TWs: suicide, sexual assault, animal cruelty/death, coarse language.

Full Review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3457719688

Read 12-13th Oct 2023

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8mo
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TheSpineView Great job! 8mo
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25 likes7 comments
review
OutsmartYourShelf
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Mehso-so

1913 sees the deaths of Scott and his 4 companions who set out to reach the South Pole only to find that Roald Amundsen had gotten there first. Demoralised, defeated, & despite their efforts suffering from varying degrees of frostbite & malnutrition, they fail to return. Fellow explorer Cherry-Garrard hikes out to One Ton depot as agreed but sees no sign of them. (continued)

OutsmartYourShelf Their bodies are found a year later just ten miles from the depot & Cherry-Garrard lives with feeling of guilt for the rest of this life.

1969 - WWII orphan Falcon Grey who grew up on Cherry-Garrard's estate is left a small bequest in the will which includes a red notebook found in Scott's tent. This diary tells a different story to the official version & it seems that Scott & his companions were sabotaged & their deaths were cold-blooded murder.
8mo
OutsmartYourShelf I love books based on true events especially mountaineering or Arctic/Antarctic exploration, so this fictional mystery take seemed tailor-made for me. The sections on the Scott journey were indeed riveting & it was a pity that so much of the book was focussed on Grey's private life leading up to being bequeathed the diary. It was very slow & the pace didn't really pick up until about 70% of the way through, which was disappointing. 8mo
OutsmartYourShelf I really didn't care about his relationship with Sofya. A missed opportunity for me.
3⭐

My thanks to #NetGalley & publishers, Hodder & Stoughton, for the opportunity to read an ARC.

Full review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/5722042573
Read 2nd-13th Oct 2023

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8mo
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PuddleJumper 🖤🖤 8mo
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TheSpineView Great job! 8mo
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33 likes9 comments
review
OutsmartYourShelf
#MurderTrending | Gretchen McNeil
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Pickpick

17-year-old Dee Guerrera wakes up on the ground of a dimly lit warehouse & realizes with growing horror that she is about to star in the reality TV hit, Alcatraz 2.0. Justice has been outsourced to the private sector & a shadowy figure, known only as The Postman, is the controller of a show where convicted killers are shipped to Treasure Island in San Francisco's Bay area & picked off one by one by a group of masked serial killers. (continued)

OutsmartYourShelf From the off there's a blistering pace, nonstop action, & lots of over the top violence. The premise neatly skewers the fascination with reality TV & why so many people believe everything they see is the gospel truth. Dee is a great MC, one who the reader can identify with & get behind. Can she trust the other members of the “Death Row Breakfast Club“ (Nyles, Griselda, Ethan, & Mara)? 8mo
OutsmartYourShelf I thought they were good too although Ethan was a bit more of a caricature than the others with his obsession with quoting lines from action films. I also thought the ending was little bit too convenient which is why I haven't given it full marks.

TWs: graphic violence, death, cannibalism (not graphic), kidnapping.

Full review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2397309655
Read 10th-12th Oct 2023
(edited) 8mo
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ReadingOver50 Sounds so interesting 8mo
OutsmartYourShelf Readathons x Hours Read 807 pts
Post 1pt
Word Challenge 1510 pts
Genre 10 pts

Total 2328 pts
8mo
PuddleJumper 🖤🧡🖤 8mo
TheSpineView Great job! 8mo
Emilymdxn This sounds really good! 8mo
DieAReader 🥳🥳🥳 8mo
Catsandbooks 🙌🏼🐈‍⬛💚 8mo
36 likes10 comments