Friday, 18 June 2021

eBook Mini-Reviews - Turnabout & Insatiable

I never plan to write reviews for these two MM romances. I thought I might as they come under one series, but I felt that doing this might be a bit.. well, odd. I do crime, fantasy, teen and a dash of romance here and there, but not often to say I know what works for romance. But it seems my reading wants me to try new authors, new genres and not really caring on other people's opinions of late. 

So, earlier this month, I went on a small walking holiday with my Other Half (all careful! I promise) and my reading said "ROMANCE! I WANT KISSING!" and I decided to read a bunch of short, free MM romance short stories and novellas (not gonna review them here but will do on Goodreads - hang on, let me give you the titles: The Day Pass by Slade James, Door Number Two by Vinni George, French Tryst by Isla Olsen and Fan Service by Zoe Lee). Once I blitz through them in several days, I went "I'm not ready to leave MM romance just yet. Am having fun at the moment" (and reading should be fun!), so I picked the other Vino and Veritas I have and blitz that in two days (the first I read last month). 

So, before I go any further, let me touch on what Turnabout by Laurel Greer and Insatiable by Rhys Everly. 

In Turnabout, Carter has spent the last ten years working at a big chain office store, leaving his father's small letterpress business behind. But when his father calls out of the blue, begging Carter to come home as his mom has run off to Paris and threatened to end the marriage, Carter manages to get time off and go home, planning to make small changes to help his father's business and his parents's marriage.
But he isn't braced for Auden who still works with his dad. And who happens to be Carter's ex. Auden is Scottish, wears a kilt from time to time, still cautious as heck (hence why when Carter left, Auden stayed) and soon, the two are finding themselves in a second chance romance. But will there be a happily ever after for them both?

And in Insatiable, forty-something Logan is looking for inspiration. His last erotic novel didn't do well with fans and as he uses his own sexcapades as inspiration. But he has hit a wall. So when he bumps into grumpy Brody, Logan and an old friend of his make a bet: Logan will get Brody into bed or go without sex for three months. But once Logan tries to know Brody better, he realises that Brody has every reason to be wary: his maple wine business is struggling and the ex who stood Brody up at the altar is still lurking around, shaking Brody's confidence in himself and in love. When Brody and his ex accidently meet up and Brody freezes, Logan jumps in and pretends to be Brody's boyfriend...

Wednesday, 16 June 2021

Audiobook Review - Right As Raine

Slow putting my toe into MM romance over the past year or so. But have been a little uncertain over trying new authors in this genre as I discovered that I seem to enjoy romances that have very little to no angst and when trying someone new in a genre you're only just started checking out, it can be very hit and miss. So, when I, on an impulse, bought this audiobook, I wasn't sure if I was going to enjoy the romance/angst or not. IMPULSE BLIND BUY!!!

Tiller is the first openly out American Football player and, when he was first signed, he was forced to hire Mikey (his Coach's son) as a private chef. They both decided to that this situation was only for a short period of time. That was five years ago, and the two have grown to like and respect each other (and have crushes on each other). So when Tiller gets an injury and needs time to recover, Mikey puts his foot down and makes the pair go away to a private cabin in Aster Valley over Christmas.

One night, they cross the line and decide that whatever this is can only happen in Aster Valley. But what happens when the real world comes knocking? And what happens when Mikey's dad find out? Will they call time on their relationship or will they realise there's more to life than American Football?

Friday, 11 June 2021

Audiobook Review - Anne Boleyn: A King's Obsession

I've been "ooh"ing and "ahh"ing over this title for quite some time. I ever had an eProof of this YEARS ago, but I wasn't as well read in historical fiction back then and, after a chapter or two, I put it down and went "This isn't for me"

Fast forward till now and I keep looking at the Six Tudor Queens series and going "I really should try again", and I had a spare Audible credit to use before I cancel my account with them (for now). Then the news broke that Channel 5 in the UK were doing a three part thriller based on Anne Boleyn's last few months starring Jodie Turner-Smith in the title role, which causes a bit of controversy as Jodie is a black actor playing a white historical figure. (Here's the link to the trailer, if you're curious)

Now, I am very intrigued and excited to watch this three-parter so I went "Sod it!" and bought the audiobook, planning to listen to it before the show aired. Just so I have some of the key information straight in my head.

Now, we all know Anne Boleyn and a little of her story. She is the woman who Henry VIII divorced Katherine of Aragon and broke England from the Vatican for and, in many adaptions (ranging from HBO's The Tudors to The Other Boleyn Girl and Wolf Hall), we are told she was a temptress, desperate and hunger for power and no-one will stand in her way, or a woman who fell in love with the wrong man. We never got the same version of her and even historians have different interpretations.

So having Alison Weir, a public historian who has written many non-fiction novels and now fiction (many set in or around the time of the Tudors), tell each of Henry VIII"s wives for their point of view will make fascinating and gripping reading, right?

Wednesday, 9 June 2021

Audiobook Review - Thin Air

This is going to be a bit of a ramble of a write-up so, please bear with me! 

I'm not sure why I decided to audiobook Thin Air by Michelle Paver. I should be finishing one of her other series, but was chatting to Ryan from Empire of Books on Twitter and I mentioned, in passing, that I had a spare Audible credit to use as thinking of closing my Audible subscription for a while and Ryan jumped on it and said "You have to get Thin Air!" and I thought "Why not?"

In 1935, Stephen Pearce joins an mountain climbing expedition with his older brother, Kits. The elite team of five will climb Kangchenjunga, the world's third highest mountain (and one of mountaineering's biggest killers). No one has scaled it before and the expedition is planning to following the footsteps of one of the mountain;'s most famous disasters, the 1907 Lyell Expedition, where five men lost their lives. Lyell survived and become a British hero when his memoir, Bloody But Unbowed was published. 

But before Stephen is ready for the climb, he meets the only other survivor the 1907 expedition, who tries to warn him off. He hints of dark things on the mountain and that Lycell's account isn't as true as it appears as five men died, but other four were laid to rest... 

As the expedition climbs up Kangchenjunga, Stephen is sure he's seeing thing out of the corner of his eye, hearing shouts of "Below!", and he's unsure whether it's the lack of oxygen and the mountain playing tricks, or if something dark and angry is on the mountain, and it's singled Stephen out...

Monday, 7 June 2021

DNF Isn't A Bad Thing

We've known each other long enough, haven't we dear reader? We all know that I quit books/audiobooks more ruthlessly than I did when I started book blogging over ten years ago. 

Before I started book blogging, I would quit books or put them down and return to them at a much later date. Then I started book blogging and for several years, every book I started I would finish. No matter if I liked it or hated it. And it's only been in the last few years I have been more comfortable to quit/Do Not Finish (DNF). I would use the rule "Life's Too Short To Read Crap Books" (bit misguided phrasing, as every person's opinion is different. One person "this book's sucks" is another "this book's amazing!", hence why I changed the wording for a year or two, then completely dropped it) to help. And now, I am a bit more ruthless (maybe too ruthless) in quitting a story if something doesn't work with me or not enjoying it. 

There is no right or wrong reason to quit a book. Same goes with TV shows, podcasts and films. During the UK lockdowns of COVID-19 here in the UK, the Other Half and I would start TV shows and then, quite quickly, quit them for one reason or another. And that wasn't a big deal. It happens. Maybe it wasn't the show we were expecting, or we didn't gel with the writing/actors/tone or, in most cases, one of us liked the show and the other didn't. The same goes with books and films and every other form of media. Not everyone is going to like it. It happens. 

I have talked more openly on my Twitter (@PewterWolf) and my Goodreads (goodreads.com/pewterwolf) on why I DNF a book. It's a number of reasons. But there's always a fear to explain why you DNFed and then, the guilt of DNFing. Like you failed and it's shameful. And it shouldn't be. Sometimes, you like a story and others, you don't. No guilt. 

But yes, I quit books. I quit for one reason or another. Some books I DNF because I hated the book. Others I DNF because, while I see the book's qualities, I just don't get along with the book. The latter is the main reason lately why I quit books several books in the past few months. I get why people love them and I know I will push them onto people, but they didn't really work for me in that moment (yes, there are one or two I do think I was in wrong headspace so might try them again in the future). 

I might write a post about some titles I DNF in the future. Might being the word here as I don't want to write a post and it read like I am destroying them. I have reasons and most of them are "It's not you, book, it's me!" (pacing is slow, character issues, triggers, etc). 

DNFing a book isn't a bad thing. It's not admitting defeat, but knowing that the book isn't for you and putting it down so you can find a story that is more for you. But for a long time, bookish content makers have treated DNFing a book as a bad thing, a thing of shame, and it shouldn't. If a story doesn't make you happy, you know yourself the best and you can put it down if it doesn't work for you. Reading should be fun and a pleasure and I think, sometimes, we forget that... 

Friday, 4 June 2021

Mini-NetGalley Reviews - May 2021 Part Two

I should be writing my proper full blog post reviews/write-ups on Pewter Wolf reads. But I don't think I can with these two titles that I read earlier this month. So, I decided to do another mini-review post. Plus, these are both books I was gifted via the publisher via NetGalley (in exchange for an honest review/reaction, of course) and as both have LGBTQ+ themes to them, I thought it would be nice to put them together. Plus, I did rate these quite highly on my Goodreads (goodreads.com/pewterwolf) so I think putting them together makes sense.

Tuesday, 1 June 2021

Let's Raise Some Hell!

HAPPY FIRST OF THE MONTH! AND I HAVE A GUEST POST FOR YOU ALL! 

But before we go any further, let's chat Raising Hell, the first in a new urban fantasy series by Bryony Pearce. It sounds dark, a tad messy and has a nice dash of humour. Sounds very me! 

Ivy and her friends did a stupid thing once, causing a nice little rift to let dark matter in the world. Dark matter which manifests as dark magic. Oh yeah, that exists. And every teen with access to the Internet can raise hell. Literally. 

Ivy is trying to do the best she can. But working school security barely covers the bills, and there's only so much one girl with a machete (and, oh yeah, a cat who happens to be possessed by her own dead grandmother) can do. And now, Ivy facing a teen goth with attitude, her handsome but ruthless brother and possible zombie apocalypse on the horizon... 

I am thrilled that Bryony Pearce has written a small guest post about the five (scary) influences on Raising Hell. Some of them surprised me (not sure why - maybe because am not a huge horror/fantasy fan like I thought myself to be), but I can't wait to share with you! 

Now, before I hand you over to Bryony, I just want to thank her for writing this guest post. I know she must be very busy with Raising Hell coming out in mere days (3rd July 2021). I, also, want to thank Graeme from UCLan Publishing for saying yes when I, randomly, emailed "So... what do you think of...?"

If you want more info on Raising Hell, you can check out UCLan Publishing website. Also, if you want to check out Bryony online, you can say hi either on her website - bryonypearce.wordpress.com - or tweet her at @BryonyPearce!

Now, ONTO THE POST!

Friday, 28 May 2021

Crown of Talons Lockdown

I am so thrilled to welcome back Katherine and Elizabeth Corr, sisters and authors of two series that I chat about on this blog, The Witch's Kiss trilogy and the Throne of Swans duology. Their latest is the conclusion to the Throne of Swans duology, Crown of Talons, and the best way to describe this series (and this book in particular) is imagine Game of Thrones had a baby with Swan Lake and you have a vague idea.  

Now, seeing as Crown of Talons is a sequel, I don't want to do a write-up in case of spoilers, so how far can I go to talk about this world... After the events on Throne of Swans, Aderyn is on high alert. Enemies outside and within court are watching her and thinking she and Aron, her cousin, aren't enough to rule. But with nobles from neighbouring country fleeing for their lives - the flightless have risen up and overthrown their rules - and an attempted assassination is made on Aderyn's life, the world is changing and Aderyn must have the strength to overcome everything to save her kingdom. Or die trying... 

It's going to be a bloody, feathery fight to the death!

Now, before I hand you over to the Katherine and Elizabeth, I just want to thank and apologise to them for writing this. I popped a random email at them (I love having them on the blog as they are a delight!) over Easter, saying something along the lines of "Hey, am reading Crown of Talons. Fancy popping on the blog for a guest post, if you have time?" and them saying "Sure, what do you want us to write, though?" and us bouncing ideas till someone (Katherine, was it you or Elizabeth? It wasn't me, am not this clever) said "What about what TV shows they watched or books they read if they were in lockdown with us?" and I jumped up and down in my seat, going "YES! THIS! CAN YOU WRITE THIS?!"

Ok, quick house-keeping. If you want to know more about either the Corr's series (Throne of Swans and their debut trilogy, The Witch's Kiss), pop over to their website - corrsisters.com - or you can jump on their social media and say hi to them both. Elizabeth is on Twitter at @lizcorr_writes and Katherine can be found at @katharinecorr.

Now, what would the characters in Crown of Talons read/watch during lockdown. Shall we find out?