Tuesday, 30 November 2021

Book Review - Terciel and Elinor

AT LAST! IT'S TIME FOR A NEW OLD KINGDOM BOOK! ANYONE ELSE EXCITED? ... no? Just me then.


Title And Author: Terciel and Elinor by Garth Nix
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Copy gifted by UK publisher in exchange of honest review/reaction. I, also, preordered the Forbidden Planet special edition 


If you have followed me for a little while, you know that I adore this series. I reread via audiobook the series in summer 2020 (Covid 19 lockdown burnout and a terrible case of reading slump) and it was a wonderful experience - even Clariel, a book I'm not the biggest fan of, I went "This is lovely. I missed this world." Plus, I think about the lead, Clariel, quite often. So, when it was announced that we were getting another instalment in this world, you can guess how excited I was? And the fact that it was a prequel to the first book in the series, Sabriel, looking at her parents made me more excited. 

Now, before I go further and explain the book, we get most of the information about Sabriel's parents in the prologue of Sabriel so we know where their story ends. But we don't know how they met and how the relationship evolved and that's what this book is about: her parents meeting.

Ok, I need to talk the story, don't I? In the Old Kingdom, where Charter Magic and Free Magic exists, 18 year old Terciel is the Abhorsen-In-Waiting. A necromancer to bind the Dead down and lay them to rest. Soon, he will be the Abhorsen and soon, he will have to face the Dead and, maybe, Greater Dead. But when he is sent south into the Ancelstierre, he doesn't realise the ploy he's walking into...

In Ancelstierre, where magic usually doesn't work (unless close to the Old Kingdom or the winds blowing from the north), 19 year old Elinor lives a seduced life. Her closest friends are her governess and a former circus performer. Her mother lies in bed, close to death. But in a space of a night, everything she knows is burnt, killed or ripped away from her as a ploy from an ancient enemy brings Terciel into her life and the truth of her connection to the Old Kingdom is revealed.

And still, the enemy is waiting, buying their time...

Thursday, 25 November 2021

November Mini-Reviews

My reading has been ... well, mad. And here’s why: one book am currently reading is taking much longer to read than I expected, one audiobook that I have written the review for might be being used for a blog tour next month so holding fire, and I only finished a short audiobook a few hours ago. Plus, the idea of writing a blog post about the TV adaptaion of Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol, though tempting, feels me with dread as SO DIFFERENT FROM THE BOOK! Oh, so very different! And the podcasts I been dipping in and out of the past few weeks/months (The mini series in the Shedunnit podcast, Queens of Crime At War, I highly recommend)... 

Anyway, I warned you in my November And December Reading Plan that my reading was going to be a bit different. I might not read as much as I normally would and some of my reading choices might not be my normal, but I wanted to mix my reading/blogging up a little bit before I go on my winter break (I might go on my blog break a tad longer than I normally do)...

I've always said that I would try an Agatha Raisin mystery. There's something intriguing about her that made me want to try. Plus, she doesn't sound like a typical detective you read in a "cosy village mystery" - she's not likeable, quick to temper, a little prickly and bitter, and yet someone people like. And yet, I start with this one, rather than an older case such as Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death or Agatha Raisin and the Haunted House, or even Agatha Raisin: Beating About the Bush (which I have from UK publisher via NetGalley for review and not got the courage to read yet).

And yet, this is me we're talking about so, of course, I do this book blogging reading the wrong way round.

Private detective Agatha Raisin, having recently taken up power-walking, is striding along a path in Mircester Park during her lunch break when she hears a cry for help. Rushing over, she finds an elderly couple in the middle of a bowling green—with the body of an old man lying at their feet. 

The Police writes off the death as an accidental poisoning as the man is notorious for his bullying and his heavy drinking and drunk weed killer that he stored in rum bottles. Agatha isn't convinced that anyone would make that mistake, but carries on with her work... until she receives an anonymous letter saying that the man\'s death was no accident...

There's not much to say about this, if I can be honest. This was a nice, fun audiobook (Penelope Keith narrates the audiobook and there's something wonderful about her take on the story), and yet... and yet, the characters felt a tad softer than I was expecting. I saw flashes of Agatha being quite prickly and blunt, but she seems much softer. Not sure if it's because the characters are getting older from when we first met them in book 1 or if because MC Beaton died and a new author (R.W. Green) taking over writing (he's done it with a previous Agatha Raisin, Agatha Raisin: Hot to Trot, and an upcoming novel from another of MC Beaton's series, Death of a Green-Eyed Monster and not got the character's down quite yet...

Probably not the best place to start but am intrigued to try one more of her earlier cases... We shall see...

And moving onto another mini-review of a different genre: Emperor Mage by Tamora Pierce. 

I was meant to read/audiobook this last year after I blitz a few other Tamora Pierce books, and I did start this. But I put it down round the 30% mark and didn't go back till earlier this week and I thought it would be a good idea to continue from where I left off... yeah, that wasn't my best idea... 

The third book in the Immortals Quartet, Daine's wild magic with animals is growing and under the magical care of her teacher, Numair. So when they go to help the Emperor Mage of neighbouring kingdom, Carthak, it's in the hope that they can help smooth international relationships by helping the emperor's ailing birds. 

But Carthak's emperor, Ozorne, is charming but treacherous and ruthless and the kingdom is built on the suffering of slaves. And Daine's finds herself a pawn in the game of the mysterious Graveyard Hag...

I keep saying this when I read/audiobook Tamora Pierce that I wished I discovered her when I was much younger. Say in the early teens rather than in my mid-30s, as I think I would have devoured these and treasured all of Tamora Pierce's books. She is very much an author who knows how to write fantasy in a way that feels grounded and have the characters feel real without writing a mammoth of a book. There's something simple yet it sucks you in. 

I think, out of the books in the Immortals Quartet, I liked this a lot more than the second in the series, Wolf Speaker, but less than the first, Wild Magic. I'm in two minds over if I want to read the fourth and final in this series, Realm of the Gods, as I have heard very mixed things about it. VERY MIXED. However, I do have the first in a prequel series, Tempests and Slaughter, and I am hoping to read that in the next few months. 

I do like this book, but I wish I discovered this series when I was much younger... 

Friday, 5 November 2021

SpoOOoky Mini-Reviews

Yes, I know it's November. But I read these two in October (one I finished on All Hallow's Eve) so I'm going to pop these here in one post and hopefully, by the time you read them, you can forgive me. 

So, the two reads. One was a free short story/novella that acts as a prequel (of sorts) to a MM romance I read a few weeks back for a blog tour (Hostile Takeover by Lucy Lennox) - Luca and Marcel - and the other was a YA thriller that I had high hopes for as it felt perfect for Halloween - It's Behind You by Kathryn Foxfield. 

Ok, I'm not going to do my list of info, so I will say that Luca and Marcel was free on Amazon and I enjoyed their characters in Hostile Takeover, while It's Behind You was gifted to me by the UK publisher, Scholasticv, in exchange for an honest review/reaction. 

With all that out of the way, let me do a quick overview of both stories. 

With Luca and Marcel, this acts as a prequel (of sorts) to Lucy Lennox's MM romance, Hostile Takeover. When billionaire hotelier Luca Bernardi discovers his assistant can't come with him on an important business trip (due to her breaking her leg), he panics. Thankfully, she calls in a backup - PA to renowned venture capitalist, Marcel Abbott. Only... she was a little under the influence of heavy narcotics when she made the call and wires are definitely crossed as when Marcel turns shows up wearing sequins and a tiara (he came straight from a bachelorette party), Luca wonders if his PA might have accidentally hired him a rent boy and Marcel is confused over why Luca is acting all flustered around him? 

And in It's Behind You, five teen contestants enter one of the UK scariest reality TV shows (Imagine Most Haunted on ITV2 or E4) - staying the night in a haunted location. This episode is in haunted caves where a ghost haunts who eats the hearts of lovers and suffered a cave in only a few years ago. But as the night begins, things take a turn and secrets slowly come to light. And that's when the body count begins...

Tuesday, 2 November 2021

November and December Reading Plan

I'm not entirely sure why I'm writing this post, but if you have been following the blog or me on ANY of my social medias, you probably have guessed by now that me sticking to a monthly TBR doesn't exactly work for me. I do much better with themes or ideas, but even then, I have a habit to break the theme when the mood takes me or if/when I need a break. 

Yep, am very much a mood reader. 

But I wanted to write something about my reading plans for the rest of 2021, maybe even the start of 2022, for the main reason that I can say "Ok, I might be having a wobble with my feelings with reading and blogging of late, but here's an idea of what I should read the next few weeks till 2021 is over [thank goodness!] or till the blog goes on Christmas holiday". 

So, my crazy, shocking idea: to read fun and no pressure on self. 

Yes, I know, I say this all the time, but it's hard to not put pressure on yourself when you are involve in the book blogging community (and when I say this, I am using this term VERY loosely, to include book vlogging, bookstgramming, podcasts, TikTok, Goodreads and anything else that I know exists but can't think of right about now) and everyone is reading at warp speed and you feel slow, not reading books on trend and what not. 

And so, am going to try not to worry about that and read/audiobook stories that call to me. Which means over the next few weeks, my reading (therefore, my blog post about these stories) is going to be deliciously weird! If you look at my Currently Read on my Goodreads, you'll see what I mean! Same goes if you ask me what I'm eyeing up to read next on Twitter (I'm not know to keep things secret!)

I do have one or two things that I would like to do in the next few weeks that might be seen as "rules", but am planning real fast on loose on these: read at least three eProofs from NetGalley/publishers as it's getting really out of hand (that or do a cull), try and do some rereads (I keep saying this every year and every year, I don't!), make a decision on when the blog is going on Christmas break and to plan my 2021 year long reading challenge (I have the series in mind and it's a long series. I need to read either the first in December 2021 or read two books in one month and I haven't decided which is better...)

So yes. Randomly decided to read freely the next few weeks. What are your reading plans for now till one minute to midnight, 31st December 2021? 

Monday, 1 November 2021

Macaw!


This is very unlike me, I know, to chat about book subscription book, but when I heard about this via a lovely email from the gang at Parrot Street Book Club, I was intrigued. Plus, this sounds cool (yes, I know there are a ton of book subscriptions boxes), hence the short little post with Schitt's Creek gif about The Crows Have Eyes 3: The Crowening (if not now, when?) about Parrot Street Book Club's newest feather to the flock. 

Bored of the bird jokes yet?

Friday, 29 October 2021

HOSTILE TAKEOVER - Blog Tour Review

Yes, am breaking my SpoOOoky Halloween reading month with a book review that I agreed to do back in... er... July and is in no way spooky. In fact, it's romantic. I know - another MM romance. WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO ME SINCE THE UK FIRST WENT INTO LOCKDOWN?! I SEEM TO BE HAPPY READING LOW TO NO ANGST MM ROMANCES WITH HUNKY COVERS ... for the story, never for the hunky model on the cover. Nope. Not for the cover model AT ALL! Just... don't look at my Kindle app on my iPhone - the samples I've downloaded would tell a totally different story. 

ANYWAY, moving on. So, back ground, I had an out-of-the-blue email from PR company, Social Butterfly, chatting that I read MM romance and wondered if I would be up for reading Lucy Lennox's upcoming standalone, Hostile Takeover. I was intrigued by the idea and I knew that I wanted to do an extract reveal, but it took me a little longer to say yes to reading I was in two minds over this one. Then I went "Barring the one or two moments in my first Lucy Lennox, Right As Raine, that upset and stressed me out no end, I really enjoyed myself so this should be fun" then dived in. 

Title And Author: Hostile Takeover by Lucy Lennox
Publisher: Self-Published [?]
Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: eProof gifted by PR company, Social Butterfly, for blog tour in exchange for honest review/reaction.

It was meant to be a prank. Only it's wasn't, not really. And now, years later, Grey Blackwood is out for revenge. That's what's made him an excellent billionaire venture capitalist. So when he does a hostile takeover on Ellison York's father's company, he wants the whole family to suffer. 

But he doesn't know that Ellison has regretted the fall out of what happened 15 years ago. That, though it was a dare, he wanted what happened with Grey to happen and the guilt of not speaking up sooner has haunted him. Plus, Ellison is trying get away from being a corporate lawyer and out from his father's manipulative clutches. So when Ellison's father phones and begs him to save the company, Ellison reluctantly goes to help and is shocked at seeing Grey again, hotter than ever. 

Two weeks. Ellison can work for Grey for two weeks and, somehow, figure out what to do about his father's company, right? But the lines between enemies to lovers is blurred and getting blurrier by the minute... 

Friday, 22 October 2021

The Last Roman Excerpt


Oh my! We have something different on here! Yes, I know, it's historical so very outside my wheelhouse, but when Erik from Breakeven Books messaged and asked if I wanted to be involved in this, I thought I would dive in and try something new! 

The Last Roman series By RK Greenwood follows imperial officer Marcus Sempronius Gracchus from the 9th Roman Legion into battle against a fierce barbarian rival. It's a battle he won't survive.

So, when he awakens three days later, clawing his way from a shallow grave, Marcus must face the reality of his new existence. He cannot be killed - but that won't stop him from dying time and again over the next 2,000 years to try. But while he's doing that, others like Marcus plan to bring the world crashing to its knees...


I have a sneak peek into the first book in the series, Exile. The second in the series, Abyss, is out now and the third will be out early next year (Spring, I believe. Don't hold me to that). If you want more info on the series, you can pop over to bkgreenwood.com and have a look round. 

Now, shall I just give you the excerpt now? I think I shall... 

Wednesday, 20 October 2021

Quickie SpoOOoky Halloween 2021 Reviews

So, my SpoOOoky Halloween reading isn't exactly going to plan. Come on, did we really think it would? I did start (then stopped for one reason or another) Malice by Heather Walter (I think I might save for this for when I go on a blog break next [Christmas/New Year?]). And with me still finding my feet with new job (when we do stop calling a new job new, exactly?) and my reading/audiobooking taking a bit of a nosedive/spiral, I thought I would throw these two VERY different mini-reviews at you!