Thursday, 21 September 2017

Kindle Sample - What? Again?!

Oh yes! This is back for a fourth visit! I have been downloading a lot of samplers on my Kindle iPhone app recently. This is for a number of reasons: a reminder to buy this in the future, am curious to see, the cover is pretty, there's buzz and I missed it, etc.

So, here's a tiny handful of titles that I have downloaded to read and figure out if I want to buy/borrow for library or to go "Nope!" over!

A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES by Deborah Harkness
Truth time: I have audiobooked this years and years ago. I remember liking it, but when I was chatting to some family members of my Other Half's a week or so ago, I realised that I didn't remember a single thing about it. Plus, with it being turned into a TV show on Sky1 and with me trying out reading more "grown up" fantasy, I feel ready to go back into this book and, hopefully, read the rest of the trilogy (I only audiobooked the first then stopped as the second book was a monster of a book! IT WAS HUGE!!!)

THE REDEEMER by Jo Nesbo
While chatting to my Other Half's family, one asked if I had read Jo Nesbo. "I have The Snowman for review" I admitted (which I do. Movie tie-in). He replied "Really? Well, I think you might prefer the book before, The Redeemer. It's quite dark and I think you might like it more." So, I downloaded a sampler, just to keep fresh in my mind. I will only read this once I have read The Snowman and if I enjoyed myself while reading (I do like reading crime books so the signs are positive so we shall see...)

CALL ME BY YOUR NAME by André Aciman
I saw the trailer for the movie and went "Oh!" over it as I don't read a lot of mainstream literature which tackles LGBT relationships and other aspects and went "I need to investigate this book when I have the time". I haven't had the time to investigate but from the little I know, this might be a book I need to investigate...

HARVEST by Tess Gerritsen
I remember watching an episode of Blindspot (I think) where it touched upon the organ harvesting and I instantly went "I read something about this" and went hunting. This was the book and I read it YEARS ago. It's been a very long time since I read Tess Gerritsen and the last time I attempted to read her (Playing With Fire), I just didn't click with it. But I remember devouring this so I want to go back and reread this!

DIGITAL FORTRESS by Dan Brown
As you guys might be aware, I have preordered Dan Brown's upcoming novel, Origin, and I'm not 100% sure why. I was chatting to my other half who has read one or two titles by him, and he said "You should read Digital Fortress. It's a standalone and you won't feel guilty about series binge reading due to THAT TBR" (which I will get under control. Not sure when or how, but I WILL!) so popped this on here. But reading this (and Da Vinci Code [I never read that! DON'T GIVE ME THAT LOOK!]) will probably depend on my reactions to Origin.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Book Review - The Loneliest Girl...

I'm not 100% certain how to write this review without spoiling it? This is one of those books (very much like E. Lockhart's We Were Liars) that it's best if you go into the book as blind as you can.and just dive in.

But, I have to say something so you guys understand what this book is about and why I decided to read it after read two adult LGBT+ romanic novels.

Ok, let me explain why I decided to read this. There are a few reasons. First, I have wanted to read this for what feels like AGES. A bunch of you guys got early copies of this at YALC. And you guys SCREAMED (well, tweet-screamed) at how good this book was! So, when the lovely people at Walker asked if I wanted to have a copy for review, I jumped at the chance. But when I got my copy, I suddenly realised that I had a lot of books on my TBR and as I planned to read a lot of quick reads throughout September so I can tackle big, chunky reads throughout October so I wasn't sure when I was going to read this. That was until I asked Twitter. When in doubt over what to read next, TWITTER!


So, I read this because of you guys. You only have yourselves to blame. Now, where to begin...? 

Romy is the only survivor on a spaceship bound for a new Earth-like planet. She is the loneliest girl in the universe (hence the title), until she hears that a spaceship has launched from Earth. Then she gets email from the spaceship from a boy called J. Is it possible for her to fall in love with someone she's never met, who's light years away...? 

I'm trying to keep it vague. Am using the blurb on the back of my copy as outline (but they go much further than I am). 

Ok, my thoughts. Well, this an addictive little thing. Fast, gripping, edge of your seat and very We Were Liars. If you have read both books, you understand why I keep comparing the two. Because, in the best way I can describe it, both books are paranoid reads. Well, for me, they were. I read them both with the huge sense of uneasy and mistrust. Maybe it's because I enjoy reading crime and thriller stories or maybe because I am a hugely suspicious reader (I trust the author, but never the story nor characters), but I would read something and an alarm would ring in my head... 

I do like this book because it tackles some really interesting themes. Space travel, science (there's real science in here!), isolation, paranoia, mental health. Plus, with Romy being a strong, yet flawed character, reading her and what was happening to her made me turn the pages faster. 

I do have one or two things. The first is length. I wish this book was a fraction longer. I could very easily read an extra 50 or 100 pages. But mainly because I was so sucked in, I just wanted it to keep going for just a little longer

My other thing is more a me thing than anything else. There were one or two things I did see coming quite early on. Now, I don't think 13/14 year old me would have seen them coming, but I would have been suspicious. 

An addictive read. Now, to backtrack and read The Last Beginning! Like I have said loads of times, very behind on my reading! 

Sunday, 17 September 2017

30 Minute Writing Sprint - Week 5

OH! It's been a while since I've done one of these. I am not going to lie and say "I was busy" or I lacked time. I just haven't. I was lazy and every time I thought "I have an idea for this", I would go "Later, later..." and wave it off. Plus, been trying to get myself all originzed for the next few weeks as, in October, am taking a small blog holiday and planning to read some beasts of books so am trying to have good content for you to read, so this has been on the back burner (plus is trying to get something  planned for my friend - cinema or inviting them for meal round mine. I am so bad at meet-ups with friends).

So, because I feel guilty about skipping out on me doing writing sprints, am going to do two. One now that will take 22 minute playlist (I can't use my timer as am using it for washing - don't ask) and if I found my writing groove, I will do another but won't post till tomorrow or later in the week!

So, got my music playlist at the ready, I have word open and I have one of two ideas to play with. See you on the other side!

Thursday, 14 September 2017

eBook Review - Illegal Contact

"Two adult LGBT romances in one week? Andrew, are you feeling well?" I hear you ask. Well, yes. I have been hammering out reading in the past few weeks (I found my groove again - only for it to be ruined in the next few months by Fate of the Tearling, Origin and La Belle Sauvage!) so I wanna share the reading goodness while I can!

Anyway, I have been trying to get my NetGalley eProofs under some control (got over 60 still to read) and this called to me. And after reading Foxglove Copse (review for that is here, in case you're curious), I fancied some more man on man kissing (don't give me that look!) and this called to me. I remembered requesting on NetGalley because I liked the sound of the story.

Nothing to do with the hot cover. Nope. Not at all. *shifts uncomfortably in my chair* MOVING ON!

Gavin Brawley is star tight end (Who sniggered?) of the New York Barons's American football team. And he's got himself a six month house arrest because he couldn't control his temper. This temper is well know both on and off the field and now, because of his house arrest, he needs a personal assistant who can stand up to his temper.

Enter Noah Monroe, a guy who needs a job - any job. With student debt, his father being sacked and leaving his last job under a cloud (thanks to his boss/ex), he thinks taking this job will be easy. It's only for six months. What's the worse that could happen?

So, out of the Foxglove Copse and Illegal Contact, I prefer this one a little more. I still whizzed through them both within four/five days (which, as you know, is fast for me!) and they both were fun, addictive reads. But Illegal Contact had a little more meat to sink my teeth into, and for that, I liked even though it did take me a few chapters to switch my brain to.

Also, I liked that, even though the timeline was six months and the story jumped forward a few weeks every now and then (and sometimes, that did annoy me), I liked that it was a slow burn romance. It wasn't insta-love (a troupe I am slowly growing to dislike) and it did have a level of snark that I warm to. Plus, I liked reading from both Noah's and Gavin's points of view (though I do wish that, when this happens in books, each character has a different font so readers can go "Oh, am reading Character X or Character Y).

Before I go into my nitpicking, just wanna say that, unlike Foxglove Copse where the sex scenes were more "Fade to Black", we saw the sex scenes in Illegal Contact. So, if you are not a fan of sex scenes, you might want to fast forward these chapters.

There are one or two things I want to nitpick over. The first is that, at times, there was a few troupes and cliches that I saw and went "... really?" over. I know that this is going to happen with romance novels - I know this, I accept this - but am always a fan of a surprise twist or someone taking a troupe and turning it on its head. Plus, there was one or two moments I thought "I wonder if this is going to go Scandal and we have Noah doing the "If you want me, EARN ME!" scene [probably the best in Scandal from the little I have seen - plus, if anyone fancies writing a romance with a gay/bi/pan president or Prime Minster, please do and shout at me! I will read the heck out of it!)

The second nitpick is the pacing. Most of the time, I was on board with it. The romance is a slow burn and I like a nice slow burn. But then, with the last 20% of the book, things happened which felt a little fast. I get why, but there was a moment I went "If this had a extra few percent, this could be dragged out a little more". Maybe I like the angst and the heartbreak and I wanted to see the fallout.

I liked this (though adult romance is outside my comfort zone) and am tempted to see what happens in the next book in the series, Down by Contact, which follows another character who I really loved reading. As long as it's just as fun, sexy and addictive, this series and me should get on...

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

The Disney Book Tag

IT'S TAG TIME! And it's goes towards one of my movie loves - DISNEY!!!

This tag was created by Kat from Katytastic (the video for her creating this tag is here!) and I was tagged very kindly/meaningly (depending on how I feel once I have answered all the questions) by Amy from Golden Books Girl (thank you).

Ok, let's get this Disney Party Started! Hang on, I need a Disney Gif before I go ANY FURTHER!!!


Now, I need to answer these without using my default of Harry Potter as my answer. Ok, wish me luck!

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

eBook Review - Foxglove Copse

This isn't my normal read. I know that. I fully accept that this is a little out of my comfort zone, but I liked the sound of the blurb for this so requested it on NetGalley. I didn't think I would be approved nor did I think I would have read it yet. But as I plan to try and read two or three eProofs this month so I can focus on big, meaty books next month (and get myself ready for La Belle Sauvage), I thought I would hammer this out.

After suffering a huge anxiety attack six months ago, Sam has left his high-powered job, his emotionally-bullying family and has been living in his van. But with his savings running low, Sam is beginning to run out of opinions.

So, when he decides to park up in a copse and goes for a walk, the last thing he expected to find was a murdered sheep. And when he's found next to the body, he has a lot of explaining to do. Especially when it looks like it was a ritual killing.

Ruan, who finds Sam with his aunt, doesn't believe Sam did it. When he first saw Sam, he felt some kind of connection and when he sees how Sam has been living, Ruan decides that he needs to save Sam. But when the killing escalate and it looks the killer could be the same person behind some nasty cyber-bullying, the two need to work fast on stopping him before they can figure out their feelings for each other...

This book is part of a series - the Porthkennack series (which is split into two sections - contemporary or historical) - so while you can read them in order, you can read each novel as standalone as they are written by different authors (it looks like there are four authors involved). And the fact that each book tackles an issue in one form or another, it appealed to me when I requested this as this tackled LGBT characters, a mystery involving someone pretending to practice the occult and having a character sugaring from anxiety - something I'm not well read in nor do I see often tackled in books.

Anyway, reactions to this. I read this within three/four days earlier this month when I was super lazy and very tired (I had several late nights with friends/neighbours/family/etc) so, when I started this, I thought it was going a light, fluffy, LGBT love story with a mystery twist to it. Oh, how wrong I was. And, in a weird way, am kinda ok with that. Up to a point.

It was a fast, addictive read. I would sit and whizz through, surprised at how involved I got and wondering if I should investigate the rest of the series (the only title within this series that caught my eye at the moment is House of Cards, though I will keep eyes peeled for upcoming titles). It was much darker than I was expecting and, as someone who does like to read a good crime novel, this appealed to me.

Like I said, I am not well read or well-informed on how the subject of Sam's anxiety and his panic attacks was handled. So, I'm not going to go too in-depth with that. If someone knows more information and has read this, could you let me know your thoughts and opinions.

Like I said earlier, I was kinda on board with the fact that this book was darker than I expected. But up to a point. There were issues I do have with Foxglove Copse. I wasn't a fan of the instalove between Ruan and Sam. It was just too fast for my taste. Plus, Sam does suffer for anxiety, so I did find it a little hard to believe that Sam would fall for Ruan as quickly as he did.

I suppose this lends itself into the pacing. I get why the pacing was a little faster than expected, but for some reason, it felt off. The off-ness felt the same with some of issues raised - the cyber-bullying, ritual killing and a the possible suicide that could be linked to the cyber-bullying. To me, these are quite dark issues, but with the writing's tone, it didn't sit right with me. Plus, the climax felt like an anticlimax. It felt too easy. I can't put my finger on why, but I'm not a fan of how these issues were tackled.

It felt like, even though this is written for a more grown-up audience, this was written for a New Adult audience. And, if it was, it feels a bit disrespectful to the subject matter and to the reader.

Maybe I am being a bit harsh. I did whizz through the book and I might return to this series and try another author and this probably is a good airport/beach read, but along the way, it misses the mark on certain subject matters.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Book Review - Dr Jekyll and Mr Seek

I don't normally write reviews for blog tours. This is usually a big fat no-no with me and the blog. So, me breaking this rule is a very strange move, you might think. And you would be right.

But stay with me on this one. Stay with me.

Dr Jekyll and Mr Seek takes place several years after the shocking events of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, and Mr Utterson is shocked. A man claiming to be the missing Dr Jekyll has reappeared. But this is impossible as Mr Utterson knows the truth. The truth that Dr Jekyll was Mr Hyde and Mr Hyde is dead. But as this claimant charms Jekyll's friends and reclaim his estate and fortune, Mr Utterson decides to find proof to unmask this Jekyll. But with the body count beginning to rise, Mr Utterson wondering if he's losing his grip on reality and wonders how far he will go to get to the truth...

Now, this shouldn't be my cup of tea read. This really shouldn't. I never like "sequels" of classic stories as it makes me uncomfortable and wonder if it's disrespectful to the original. But I devoured this is less than 5 days. I couldn't put it down!

Now, I haven't read the original Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (something I will have to correct in the future), I can't tell you if this sits well next to it, but I enjoyed this story and the twist on the original on identity thief and, because of this, you start to question Utterson and his motives.

Ok, I have to admit there are little things I don't like. The final chapter bothers me as, without revealing too much, leaves the door open for you to connect the dots. Now, in some books, I am on board with this, but with this, I'm not sure I'm 100% behind it. I see why it went that way, but I feel that maybe something more solid would be helpful...

Barring the last chapter, I found this a gripping read and I can see it being adapted for TV very easily. Very much a creepy, gothic Halloween tale for the BBC, with lots of fog, shadow and unsettling moments where you don't trust the show...

Anthony O'Neill Talks Dr Jekyll & Mr Seek

Today is my stop on the Dr Jekyll and Mr Seek tour! So here we are!

Now, the plan was to get a review of the book itself up on time (and I still hope to do so but in a seperate post - FINGERS CROSSED!). But, I am very honoured to have Anthony O'Neill on the Pewter Wolf and asked a few non-spoiler questions about Dr Jekyll and Mr Seek.

I won't talk about what the book is about (I ask an elevator pitch question so wait, dear reader), but Anthony is author of several books, such as The Lamplighters, the Empire of Eternity and The Dark Side, which 20th Century Fox have bought the film rights to and has Oscar-winning screenwriter Steven Zaillian attached to produce.

Before I hand over to past me asking Anthony questions, I just want to thank Anthony for taking time out to answer my questions and Lina at Black & White Publishing for allowing me to take part in this blog tour!

Now, onto the questions and answers!