Thursday 28 May 2020

If I Made a TV Soundtrack for... HIDEOUS BEAUTY

It's been a while since I've done a music-themed post linked to a book I've read or am desperate to be turned into a TV show/movie. But when I read Hideous Beauty by William Hussey earlier this year (review for that is here, in case you're curious), I had a strong reaction to it. I thought it would make a good UK TV version of 13 Reasons Why (I can see this on Netflix or BBC iPlayer/BBC Three) and, for the first time in a very long time, I started listening to music and going "Oooh, this fits" and "That song would be perfect for this moment here". 

Which makes a weirdly mixed list of music. And, as today is Hideous Beauty's bookish birthday, I thought I would pick some for the music songs that I would use if I was in charge of the music playlist if this was turned into a TV series.

No, I'm not going to put spoilers in my reasons and I'm not going to put all songs on my list down (five, maybe? If there are a few songs I want to have an Honourable Mention, I will put at the bottom of the post. So, get your headphones and have a listen.

Wednesday 27 May 2020

Self-Isolation Blog Tour - Fair Warning

SURPRISE BLOG TOUR REVIEW ALERT! I bet you weren’t expecting this, were you? Well, it’s always nice to keep you guys on your toes! So, before you send off your DNA off to that DNA ancestry site, sit down, have a cuppa and read my review of my first Michael Connelly, Fair Warning!
  • Title And Author: Fair Warning by Michael Connelly
  • Publisher: Orion
  • Physical, eBook or Audiobook: Audiobook
  • Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Gifted by publisher in exchange for an honest review/reaction
  • Length: 416 Pages or 10 Hours 14 Minutes

So, my first Connelly! When I was asked if I wanted to review this, I jumped at it, only reading the first few lines at the press release. Then self-isolation happened and that affected how I audiobooked this so, heads-up that this review might be a tad more clinical than it would have been if life was “normal” and was listening to this a few months ago and a few months into the future. So, this is my first Michael Connelly so forgive me if I make a mistake or question something that is explain in previous novels. 

Anyway, with all that out of the way, let’s get to it! 

Veteran journalist Jack McEvoy is used to tracking down killers - he’s done that with The Poet and The Scarecrow. But he thought that when he started working at non-profit consumer journalism website, Fair Warning, those days were behind him. But when the Police come to his home and question him about a one-night stand he had over a year ago, he’s confused. Till it’s revealed that the woman is now dead, and she believed she was being cyber-stalked and the Police, having little to no evidence, think Jack is a possible suspect. 

Horrified, Jack begins to investigate, against the warning of the Police and his own editor. But when he stumbles on the fact that this death isn’t the other death with the same method of killing. And all the killings have another thing in common - they all send their DNA off to the same cheap DNA testing site. Is there a serial killer out there, using the same DNA profiling to select their victims? Is it the same person who, on the Dark Web, calls themselves the Shrike?

Tuesday 26 May 2020

Self-Isolation Read - Nailed

  • Title And Author: Nailed by K.M. Neuhold
  • Publisher: Self Published [?]
  • Physical, eBook or Audiobook: eBook
  • Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Bought
  • Length: 337 Pages

It’s rare that I read the same author back-to-back. Very rare. And within the same series. Even rarer. So, me buying and instantly read Nailed, the second book in the Four Bears Construction series, after having a blast reading the first book, Caulky, seemed to make perfect sense! 

Stone doesn’t understand why his neighbours hates him so much. He seems to have hated Stone almost as soon as they met, and there seems to be no reason for it. Well, if Dare thinks Stone is the neighbour from hell, Stone is going to be: mowing his lawn at dawn at the weekend, leaving his rubbish bins in front of Dare’s driveway, renting out a petting zoo without checking… 

But when it’s revealed why is a simple minunderstanding, the anger between these two men have for each other turns into an angry, yet hot make-out section. So, where does that leave them now?

Thursday 21 May 2020

Self-Isolation Reading - Caulky

  • Title And Author: Caulky by K.M. Neuhold
  • Publisher: Self-Published (?)
  • Physical, eBook or Audiobook: eBook
  • Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Bought
  • Length: 316 Pages

I have no idea how this book got on my radar. I generally don’t know. I think I was research another book and I stumbled on Caulky that way or if someone mentioned this on Goodreads and I preordered it on a whim. I can’t remember, but I might have started self-isolating by then and, as you have seen, I have gone hard on the romance side of my TBR. 

The first book in a gay romance series, Ren is going through a nasty break-up. With another relationship down the drain, Ren decides to give up hope of ever finding the One and decides to try hook-ups with random guys every now and then while living a solitary life. In a bar, Ren picks up a handsome stranger, thinking he’ll never see him again. Shame that Cole is an owner of the construction company and the constructor who’s redoing Ren’s bathroom… 

And, to make things more You’ve Got Mail, both guys have faceless profiles on a gay dating app and they chat to each other, becoming friends with snarky comments. 

That’s right. We have a weird little love triangle with two people, but who don’t realise that they are the same person…

Monday 18 May 2020

Self-Isolation Audiobook - The Green Mill Murder

  • Title And Author: The Green Mill Murder by Kerry Greenwood
  • Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press/Constable or C&R Crime
  • Physical, eBook or Audiobook: Audiobook
  • Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Borrowed from local library via BorrowBox
  • Length: 224 Pages or 6 Hours 19 Minutes

My self-isolation reading has pinball all over the place the past few weeks. But the audiobooks I’ve requested from my library has been very hit and miss. I would request an audiobook WEEKS ago/before self-isolation, excited to audiobook it, only for it to come available to me now during these crazy times and my brain going “Nope!” over it. 

But my brain allowed me to listen and enjoy The Green Mill Murder, the fifth book in the Phryne Fisher series and my third outing (after Murder on the Ballarat Train and Flying Too High). 

Phryne Fisher is dancing to jazz at the Green Mill in 1920s Melbourne, when a man collapses to the floor, stabbed in the chest. But no one was near the man so how was he stabbed? 

When the Police arrive at the Green Mill, Phryne’s dance partner goes to bathroom to be ill, and vanishes without a trace… 

Soon, Phryne is investigating the case of the dead man and her dance partner’s disappearance and the trouble he left in his wake…

Thursday 14 May 2020

Self-Isolation Read - Tough Guy

  • Title And Author: Tough Guy by Rachel Reid
  • Publisher: Carina Press
  • Physical, eBook or Audiobook: eBook
  • Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Gifted by publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review/reaction
  • Length: 262 Pages

I was meant to be reading Agatha Christie’s Death on the Nile. That was the plan. But after reading 20-odd%, my brain wasn’t in the right head space while self-isolating. So, I needed something light and easy. Something that didn’t involve much brain-power, and then I remembered I requested this adult gay romance a while back from the publisher and went “I’ve read a bit of romance the past few weeks, let’s try you out!”

Ice hockey player Ryan Price has recently moved to Toronto Guardians to play their enforcer, but he struggles with self-esteem issues and anxiety. But he’s determined to make a fresh start in the city’s LGBTQ Village. The last thing he expected was to bump into Fabian Salah, a blast from the past who has sworn never to date an ice hockey player. They shouldn’t have a strong attraction, but it’s there… But can these two, who seem completely incompatible, make it work?

Tuesday 12 May 2020

Self-Isolation #re3 - Twilight

  • Title And Author: Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
  • Publisher: Atom
  • Physical, eBook or Audiobook: Audiobook
  • Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Bought
  • Length: 513 Pages or 12 Hours 51 Minutes

Well, this is a turn-up for the books. I decided to reread Twilight. Now, I hold this series quite close to my heart (not Harry Potter close, but I do have affection for this series) and in times of darkness, such as self-isolation/furlodged due to COVID-19, sometimes rereading a book you love or rewatching that TV show, film or playing that video game is needed. 

So, not sure why I went to Twilight and not my normal go-on of Harry Potter or Sabriel, but Twilight I did. 

Now, this isn’t a review. There is no point me doing a review for this book as we all agree that, yes, this is a fun, beach read and a perfect read for something to sweep you along and you happily go along with it. HOWEVER, this book is very problematic. 

The book is very much split into two parts. The first half focuses on the romance, the falling in love for the first time. It’s Bella moving to Forks and falling into lust then love with Edward over a period of several weeks/months. I keep forgetting that the first chunk of the book takes place over a long period of time. That’s because Bella rarely mentions time pasting. 

And yes, people have said Bella is very blank-state Mary-Sue character as you insert yourself into her character (had to rewrite that line as “insert yourself into her” sounds increasely filthy!), and because she’s falling in love for the first time, we too are inserting our first time as well. Plus, as we all know, when you are at the beginning of a relationship, we all are wearing rose-tinted glasses and inserting the qualities we most admire onto the other person and not seeing their flaws, hence why Bella sees Edward’s behaviour as romantic and not as toxic masculainy (though why no one else in the book sees it is anyone’s guess).

Then we have the thriller second-half. I’m not against this - I read/audiobook most of this section in one or two days, but I sense that there were some aspects that were a little too easy. A little too convenient. But I read this section at speed and most readers forget this latter part as, when we think about Twilight and the Saga as a whole, we remember the romance. 

I’m surprised at some of the writing. In some places, it’s fairly solid and others, not so much. As someone who has read most of Stephenie’s novel (barring the Eclipse novel, The Second Short Life of Bree Tanner), I can see that she’s grown as a storyteller and go better with her plotting. Her adult novels, The Host and The Chemist are far better and much stronger (though, out of the two, I would say The Host is far superior. Though I do think The Chemist has its moments and would work much better as a TV show, similar vine to Killing Eve, The Blacklist or Blindspot). 

It was nice going down nostalgia reading lane, and seeing as I want to do a lot more rereads as part of my “Ten Years Book Blogging”, it was nice to reread this and make plans to reread a few other titles… gonna keep these under my hat, for now, though keep eyes peeled on my #re3 page as they might offer you clues…

Thursday 7 May 2020

Self-Isolation Read - One By One

  • Title And Author: One By One by Ruth Ware
  • Publisher: Harvill Secker
  • Physical, eBook or Audiobook: eBook
  • Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Gifted by publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review/reaction
  • Length: 352 Pages

Another self-isolation read and I got my dates muddled. After reading Boy Queen by George Lester and audio booking The Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly Lives In Your Home, I craved a murder mystery. I wasn’t sure if I wanted anything heavy, but I was leaning towards Agatha Christie, only to remember I was approved to read this via NetGalley and with some people saying this has strong And Then There Were None vibes, I jumped at it. 

It was when I was a good chunk into the story did I check release date and release that the book was going to be released in November of this year, so, I can release review now and be SUPER EARLY or hold off and hope my opinions on this book stay the same. I’m going to risk being early and, by the time this comes out, I will be more well-read in Ruth Ware’s novels so I can give a more honest and truthful reply/reaction. 

Snow is falling in the exclusive French ski resort of Saint Antoine and the shareholders and directors of the hottest music app, Snoop, hope that, but the end of the corporate retreat, they will have decided their company’s future: a billion pound dot com by out or the not sell. But with a near split on what to do, a decision must be made. 

But when one board member vanishes moments before an avalanche cuts the chalet, its guest and the two staff, off from help, business tensions turn to a desperate urge to survive. But something doesn’t feel right about the disappearance… it’s as if this was a murder. But was it murder, an accident or are they safe somewhere else? Because, if it was murder, that means the murderer is with them…

Wednesday 6 May 2020

Self-Isolation Audiobook - The Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly Lives In Your Home

  • Title And Author: The Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly Lives In Your Home by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor
  • Publisher: Orbit
  • Physical, eBook or Audiobook: Audiobook
  • Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Bought
  • Length: 384 Pages or 9 Hours 13 Minutes

It’s been a while since I listened to the podcast, Welcome to Night Vale. But I always say it’s one of my fave podcasts as it has that level of creep, unnerve and yet a big hearted and very diverse! One of the fans’s favourite character is The Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly Lives In Your Home. She tried (and failed) to become the town’s Mayor and little is known about her barring her living in your home, in every home. Though, in an episode The April Monologues, she says “I haven’t begged since I was a child aboard that wicked ship. Those men didn’t listen either … which is the reason I lived at the bottom of the ocean for so many years before this place, this desert, this town, this apartment…” 

So, who is/was she? How did she come to Night Vale? This book gives the answers as this book goes back in 19th century Europe and slowly pieces her past together with the present as she guides, haunts and sabotages a young man called Craig…

Tuesday 5 May 2020

Self-Isolation Read - Boy Queen

  • Title And Author: Boy Queen by George Lester
  • Publisher: Macmillan
  • Physical, eBook or Audiobook: Physical and eBook
  • Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Both gifted by publisher in exchange for an honest review/reaction
  • Length: 400 Pages

I’ve followed George’s video on writing, book reviews and other stuff for quite a while. Hell, I’ve met him once and twice through book blogging events and he is lovely and fun to chat with. So, when it was announced that he had signed a publishing deal and his first book was coming out this summer, I knew I had to get my hands on it. 

So, was thrilled when I managed to get my hands on a physical copy and, because I need to learn to STAY AWAY FROM NETGALLEY (!), an eBook ARC. And, even though I have nearly 300 other books to read (review, bought, gifted, etc), I pushed everything aside and devoured this (self-isolation. What else am I going to do but read all the books that siren call my heart?) 

Robin Cooper’s life is falling apart. While his friends are ready to go to uni, all he seems to be getting is rejection letters from most/all drama schools of the UK and Robin’s life seems to be spiralling. Unsure of himself and his talent, he and his best friends take him to a local gay bar on his birthday to cheer him up and, when there, they watch a local drag show. And Robin gets a strong reaction and he should, in the words of RuPaul, Sashay away. 

But how can he get to grips with drag performing when he has a secret boyfriend who won’t acknowledge in public, his mother can talk for England, his best friends are planning their futures without him and the new boy at school is making Robin’s heart beat a little faster?