Friday 23 December 2022

Reindeer Readathon - Update The Second

This might be one of my last posts of 2022 as going to go on a short book blogger break and binge read without worrying about blogging my thoughts/reaction for a while. 

But I wanted to touch base with you all to explain what I have audiobooked/read since I last blog. So, I read two ebooks and DNFed an audiobook. (The DNF doesn't count, but I gave it good shot. 50%). 

So, the first ebook - ok, let's say short novella so I don't feel like I cheated (it's a short story. At least, I would consider it a short story, but I want the points) fits under the prompt Rudolph, which is a start a new series. Now, I have seven I could go towards, but what I read was A Loch of Grace and Greed by A.P. Beswick. A prequel short story/novella, this dark fantasy (tempted to say grimdark, but we shall see with the series) is inspired by Loch Ness and (maybe) the Lady of the Lake (with the first instalment a dark reimagining of Robin Hood so, I'm in!), and I flew through this. I needed something I could read quick and enjoyed self with. Plus, it gave me a taste for the world and the writing, and I am intrigued... 

The audiobook I DNFed was The Cat Who Caught A Killer by L.T. Shearer. I thought that this might fit Rudolph or Cupid (a book with a favourite troupe in - talking cats), but I got halfway through and, while I liked the start, I found it repetitive and I began to lose interest with it. There wasn't anything wrong with the book, but it wasn't hitting that sweet spot of cosy crime. But I will try this author again.

The book I did read for the prompt Dasher (Finish a series or a book you picked up but put down. If neither are an option, a short story/novella). And I've just realised I could have used A Loch of Grace and Greed on this. Instead, I finished (or, at least, am up-to-date) A Cast of Falcons by Sarah Yarwood-Lovett. This is the second book in the Nell Ward Mysteries (Oh, I got an eProof of this from the UK publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review - but when have I ever lied to you, dear reader?). Now, I was surprised how much I liked the first instalment so, of course, I wanted to read the second instalment. 

While I did like it, I didn't warm to the story as a whole, if I am being completely honest with self. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because it took me nearly the whole month to read it. I did enjoy this - mainly because of the characters and I did like the mystery, up to a point. But something kept holding me back and I can't figure out what it was. 

But I do love a good murder mystery this time of year so, of course, I have very high expectations. I going to change reading tack and read some Christmas queer romances and then going hard with murder mysteries (mainly collections of spooky short stories... Can't wait!)

Saturday 10 December 2022

Reindeer Readathon - Update The First

I haven't done reviews for my Reindeer Readathon on here (or the one that I finished a few days into December, but I didn't think it would be fair to include that into this readathon as I audiobooked a good chunk of it in November). 

I have reviewed that on Goodreads, so you can go there and have a look, but am telling myself that it's ok to not review EVERYTHING I read/audiobook on here. But I like doing little write-ups on Goodreads and I do link them in my Review Listings tab so you can go snooping there (though I must state that I have been running this as a book blog since 2010 so be warned. Maybe I should do another tab to show reviews in Year Order. Thoughts?)

So, let me give you an update of where I am at this present moment of time in this readathon:

I have audiobooked two prompts: Donner and Vixen. Donner's prompt is "A Book You Want To Read But You Are Not A Fan Of The Cover" and Vixen's "A Book You Want To Read But Think It Might Be Overhyped"

Now, I had very different books in mind for both these prompts (For Vixen, I was going towards The House In The Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klume [an author I know am going to love, but everyone RAVES about this book and that worries me] or Scythe by Neal Shusterman (again, a book I think I am going to devour!). For Donner, there are a few on my TBR that I could lean towards...

But instead, I audiobooked two novellas. For Vixen, I audiobooked Killing The Dead by Marcus Sedgwick. This was a World Book Day novella and the "fifth" story in connection to his previous novel, The Ghosts of Heaven (I haven't read this and in two minds if I will... it doesn't grab me compared to his other novels which I'm going to try and read next year). The audiobook is only 2 hours long and yet, I listened to it in one sitting - I DEVOURED this and I loved it. I now "get" the cover, but I am still not a fan of it. 

For Donner, I audiobooked The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy. It's, also, read by the author with music by Max Richter and Isobel Waller-Bridge. This was everywhere during the Covid Lockdowns in the UK, and it's turned into a Chritmas feature for BBC One's Christmas Day viewing. It's surprisingly a very gentle, calming read. A bit philosophic at times and that might rub some readers up the wrong way, but I got why the hype was there and I really liked it. 

Oh, and the book I read that I said doesn't count as a Reindeer Readathon read? A Taste of Poison by Neil Bradbury. A fascinating insight into poisons, but after a while, I felt it got bogged down with the science rather than the crime where the poisons were used. Plus, the crimes used were very USA and UK based, and I was hoping for more global used of crimes. 

So, that's where I am at the moment. I am a slow reader so will update when I have a few more reads under my belt. 

Monday 5 December 2022

I Am not Raymond Wallace Extract

I have an extract for you guys! It's a little grown up, but I think you will like it!

I Am not Raymond Wallace by Samuel Kenyon (Inkandescent) follows Raymond Wallace in Manhattan, 1963, a few weeks before the shocking events of President Kennedy's assassination. Raymond joins the New York Times newsroom on a three month bursary from Cambridge University. But it's not easy because, soon, he finds out that his boss is being blackmail by his estranged wife and he finds himself getting involved in the straight-laced Dotty's assignment about the "explosion of overt homosexuality" in the city. 

While on an undercover assignment, Raymond discovers a world where he feels like he can be himself and stop pretending to be someone else. This is where he meets Joey. But both men are in a time where the choice facing them is conformity or courage, and Reymond's decision will have far reaching consequences for decades to come until, in 2003 Paris, Joey meets a young man named Joe whose life is deeply connected to Raymond's... 

I am thrilled to be involved in this online blog tour and I am honoured that Justin from Inkandescent asked if I wanted to be involved and share an extract. It's a tiny extract from Chapter Six where Raymond meets Joey for the first time. 

Now, before I share the extract with you, I want to thank Justin for asking me to be involved and if you want to say hi to Sam, you can via his website - - or popping him a quick tweet (although the way Twitter is going the past few weeks, tweet while you can) at @ogleforth. If you want more info about I Am not Raymond Wallace, you can check out Inkandescent's website -


Thursday 1 December 2022

December 2022's Reading Plan

HAPPY DECEMBER TO YOU ALL! We are so close to Christmas and I am panicking. Of course I am! But I wanted to chat about my reading plans for the last month of 2022 and what my blogging is going to be like because this is going to be an odd month so brace yourselves. 

I have signed up to do Reindeer Readathon. I did this a few years back (2020?) and I wanted to do this again. I didn't last year due to work/anxiety/reading slump. You know, the normal reasons. But this year, I feel in a mildly ok headspace to attempt this. I am on Team Candy Cane (I feel like I should apologise now as I will be taking December reading quite easy so am not going to go too hard) and, as you guessed, all the prompts are linked to Santa's reindeer! 

Finish a series or pick up a book that you started and put down. If neither of these are options, a short story/novella. 
A book with a cursive/flowy/elegant font on the cover. 
A book with your favorite season on the cover or the book cover has colors from your favorite season on it. 
A book you want to read but think it might be overhyped. 
A book with an astronomical word in the title (sun, moon, star, sky etc.) 
A book with a favorite trope in it. 
A book that you want to read but are not a fan of the cover. 
Use a random number generator to find a number between 0 and 9 and find a book that ends in that page number. 
Start a new series.

Christmas Star (25 pts): A book over 500 pages. 
Christmas Lights (15pts): An ebook. 
Christmas Carols (20pts): An audiobook.
Sleighing It (50 pts): 
If you have completed all of your prompts and the Christmas Star, Christmas Lights and Christmas Carols bonus prompts, you can redo one prompt of your choice for extra points.

Like I said, this is going to be easy month for my reading and it's going to be the same with my blogging. I will be taking an Christmas/New Year break. Not sure when I will take it, but I want my reading for the next few weeks to be fun, merry and bright!

Wednesday 30 November 2022

NetGalley November - Murder Most Royal

Ok, so my NetGalley November wasn't exactly as good as I would have liked, but I am trying to be a bit better in going "I'm not in the mood for this. Ok, will come back to that later and find something that I want to read and savour". And this was a surprise one as was going to save this for next month, in the run up for Christmas (plus, I did want to read a title that fit under indie publisher but ha-ho). 

Title and Author: Murder Most Royal by S.J. Bennett
Publisher: Zaffre
Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: eProof and Audiobook gifted by UK publisher via NetGalley in exchange for honest review/reaction
Buy From (Affiliate):

December 2016. The Queen and Prince Philip arrive at Sandingham for their Christmas break, only to be told that a severed hand has been found, washed up on a beach near the estate. 

The Queen, who has a knack for solving crimes, vows not to get involved. It's Christmas and both she and Philip have terrible colds. But when she recognised the signet ring as old family friend, Edward St Cyr, the Queen realises that she might have to get involved after all. Plus, when she heard that a local woman has been a terrible victim of a hit and run, and a local man drowned while open water swimming, the Queen can't help but feel that these are all connected in some way...

Monday 28 November 2022

Restless Truth UK Blog Tour

AHOY AHOY, LAND LOVERS! Here we are on my stop on the UK Blog tour, celebrating the release of A Restless Truth by Freya Marske! And it's a review-based tour so let's get going! 

Title and Author: A Restless Truth by Freya Marske
Publisher: Tor
Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Gifted by publisher and PR company via physical and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review/reaction
Buy From (Affiliate):

In the second book in the Last Binding trilogy, Maud Blythe finds herself on the RMS Lyric, returning to England from New York. Her reason for going is because of her brother, Robin, and the cause to protect magic in the British Isles. It should be an easy trip back. 

Expect when she discovers a dead body, a bad-mouthed parrot, missing silver and jewels. She, also, meets the beautiful stranger, Violet Debenham - a magician, an actress, a scandal, a siren - all the things Maud should fear and yet, desires. As the two grow closer, they have only six days to untangle a conspiracy and solve a murder, all of which started generations ago...

Friday 25 November 2022

#SmallPressBigStories - Ravencave & Marcus Sedgwick

This is going to be awkward to write as I got approved for this via NetGalley and started reading the same day the news broke that Marcus Sedgwick died suddenly and unexpectedly. So, of course, reading this had a very different feel. It was the same when I read Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett so soon after his death. There was something poignant about the story and it hit much close to home because of the suddenness of Sedgwick's death. 

I was, also, in two minds own if I wanted to talk about this book so soon. I'n not sure what the publisher's plans are now for this title. But, in the end, I decided that I wanted to talk about Ravencave because it's a beautiful swansong to Marcus's writing so please forgive me for making this so short. 

Title and Author: Ravencave by Marcus Sedgwick
Publisher: Barrington Stoke
Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Gifted by UK publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review/reaction
Buy From (Affiliate):

On a family holiday to Yorkshire due to his dad trying to trace his family roots, James is slowly watching his family fall apart. His parents bicker and his teenage brother ignores him, James sees a ghost of girl, asking him to follow her. Afraid, he runs away, but when she appears again, James decides to follow her... 

I honestly don't know where to start with this. There's a gentle gothicness to this story and, at the same time, it was poignant look at family and loss. It was just a joy to read. 

I've only ever read one of Marcus's previous titles - Midwinterblood - and I've always said I would come back to his body of work. But sadly I've never had, though I am planning to with two or three titles in mind... But before I go, I want to raise a toast to Marcus: thank you for the stories. 

Tuesday 22 November 2022

Another #SmallPressBigStories TBR

Another day, another #SmallPressBigStories TBR. Now, I kinda wanted to share some non-crime stories that have caught my eye and are on my radar. But when I sat down to have a think and look through my Goodreads, I realised that I have more crime and thriller stories from indie publishers than fantasy and something with magic. 

And as someone who sees fantasy books as his bread and butter when it comes to reading, this came as a shock. But I still wanted to show a few books on my radar as I want to show you guys that indie publishers can publisher gripping stories. You just need to know where to look...

Friday 18 November 2022

Some #SmallPressBigStories TBR

I was planning to write a small blog post about A Good Year by Polis Loizou to celebrate #SmallPressBigStories (created and celebrated by Runalong The Shelves), but the story didn't hit me in a way that I felt like I could blog about it (it was ok, but it wasn't for me). 

Oh, #SmallPressBigStories is a way to celebrates stories and authors published by smaller, independent publishers (aka not the big 5/6 publishers - Penguin Random House, Simon and Schuster, HarperCollins, Bonnier, Hachette Book Group and PanMacmillan). So, in theory, I can include Walker Books, Head of Zeus, Oneworld Publication, Bloomsbury, etc. Plus, if you look hard enough, there are small indie press everywhere - Firefly Press, Nosy Crow, The O'Brien Press, Hera, Black and White Publishing, 404 Press, Knights Of, and so many more that I can't remember at time of writing. 

But what I thought would be fun is to show some that are on my radar and explain why they're on my radar. Am not going to show you all, as am a bit of a magpie reader (though I do read fantasy and crime reader of all age ranges) and I want to give these books some love as I haven't heard much about these titles, but I think you should.

Friday 11 November 2022

NetGalley November - Jumping Jenny

As this is going to be a mix of NetGalley November and me reading books from smaller, indie publishers, this month's reading is going to be a mixed back. So, what a good place to start with a crime story from the British Library Crime Classic (yes, the British Library has publishing arm and the Crime Classic collection publishes a crime story from the Golden Age of Crime that hasn't been in print for years. They are forgotten stories). 

Title and Author: Jumping Jenny by Anthony Berkeley
Publisher: British Library
Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Gifted by publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Buy From (Affiliate):

First published in 1933, we are invited to a fancy dress party where everyone is dressed up as famous murderers and their victims. One person attending the party is famous author and detective, Roger Sharingham who is delighted at the level of detail the hosts have thrown at the party. The host constructed a gallows that have three dolls hanging from them - two jumping Jacks and one jumping Jenny. And the party would be fun - if it wasn't for the host's sister-in-law who must be in the centre of attention and being a horrid person. 

So when she is found hanging in the gallows instead of jumping Jenny, it looks like she committed suicide. But when Roger realises that it can't be, he decides to meddle with the scene, fearing that this key detail will implicate his friend...

Monday 7 November 2022

NetGalley November 2022

Hey Upper East Siders! Gossip Girl here. Did you miss me? Well, I sure missed you…

I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist. Anyway, hi! I’m back! Did you miss me?

Did we all have a lovely spooky October? I am not much of a horror fan, so I dove into crime and stories with a slight edge to them. Same with TV and films – I’m not a horror fan, but I do like a good twisted thriller (and fun, goofy spookiness as well)!

But now, we are in the month of November, and I need to get some of my reading under control. Mainly my NetGalley proofs.

Now, I know I have chatted to you about what NetGalley is, but let me refresh your memory. NetGalley is a website where publishers can “aimed at the distribution of digital … proofs of books, some of which have not yet been released” to booksellers, librarians, reviewers, educators and bloggers to help promote the title. So, it’s free? No, because in exchange for this, you must leave a review and promote the title.

I’m happy to read on my kindle. In fact, this seems to be the year I have read more stories on my kindle than physical. But the problem with my eReader is that I can constantly surprised to discovered titles on there (that I have either bought or have requested/been approved to read). It’s either a lovely surprise or a “What on earth was I thinking?” kinda surprise.

And earlier last month, I got approved for several titles in one evening. No biggie, I thought. Until I saw the number on titles approved on my NetGalley shelf. This includes audiobooks. It was a large number, and it made me panic! So, I wanted to focus on reading a few and getting some titles that I am excited about (and some that I have forgotten about) read. This, also, means me being brutal – if I start a title and I don’t like within the first few chapters, that book is gone and I will not write a review for it (though of course, I will chat about it on Goodreads and maybe plan something on here…)

Also, I want to focus on some smaller, independent publishers and the stories they are publishing this month as well (aka not the big 5/6 publishers - Penguin Random House, Simon and Schuster, HarperCollins, Bonnier, Hachette Book Group and PanMacmillan). Now, this is going to be more tricky as you have to go hunting for indie publishers without going into self-publishing, but I think I have a few titles up my sleeve that I wanna try out! 

Plus, the awesome Matt from Runalong The Shelves (@runalongwomble on Twitter) is do an gentle month long blog tour to support indie publishers and stories. And I am in involved in the tail end of the month, but as this is gentle, might only be one of two posts [I have read one that will go live later this week that is published in the UK by the British Library publishing arm, which is class as indie so HAHA!). If you follow the hashtag #SmallPressBigStories, you can keep up to date with all the happenings...

Anyway, am going to try and get my reading under control. Or attempt to. I mean, this is going to go so badly. We all know it, but let’s pretend for a moment, shall we?

Friday 7 October 2022

Surprise Blog Holiday Time

Last minute surprise, but am taking a few weeks off blogging. 
No big secret on why (in fact, I don’t need to tell you am taking a blog holiday, dear reader, as I’ve seen so many bloggers/vloggers take time away then come back and go “I needed a break”, but I like telling you), but am going on holiday for a few days/weeks and am not taking my laptop with me. Then, when I return, I want a few more days to play catch-up on real life (work, family, mental health, cleaning – oh, I need to do so much cleaning, etc) 
Another reason (again, I never hid this) but recently, have been finding blogging a bit of a struggle. I don’t have the energy like I used to. I know it’s because of the events of the last few years and, while I’m out of my summer reading slump, it’s taking me longer to get my blogging mojo back on track. So, hopefully, this little time away will help me come back with zest and vigour. 
Plus, my To Be Read has got a little out of control. Earlier this week, I got approved to read several eBooks for review in a space of an hour (HOW?! WHEN DID I REQUEST YOU ALL?!). That doesn’t include the books/eBooks/Audiobooks I already have for review (gifted very kindly by publishers/PR companies/authors/etc in exchange for an honest review/reaction), audiobooks I would like to borrow from my local library and books/ebooks/audiobooks that I have bought. So… yeah, I might need a few weeks away from laptop to focus on reading, hopefully at a leisurely pace, but there are titles I want done… 
Plus, I have a plan or two for November and December (plus, I would like a few weeks off for Christmas) but I want to enjoy blogging again and, hopefully, this mini-blog break will do the trick. (Maybe I should book some time away in 2023 for a reading retreat. Just me, my books/kindle and NO WIFI. Maybe some nature walks – sounds like heaven!)

Thursday 6 October 2022

Audiobook Review - Marple

I am not the biggest Agatha Christie fan (though I do plan to read more of her work and more crime novels from the Golden Age of Crime... they are sitting on my kindle, awaiting angrily for me!), but when I first heard of this new collection of short stories, written by twelve female authors, where they tackle one of the greatest crime fighting creation, created by the Queen of Crime, Agatha Christie, I jumped on it! I preordered the author and, being impatient, requested an eProof from NetGalley. 

Title and Author: Marple by Various
Publisher: HarperCollins
Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: eProof gifted by UK publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review and bought (then returned) audiobook. 

Oh, you saw the little detail in the info paragraph, did you? I will explain, but stay with me for a little while. 

If you ask most Agatha Christie what format works best with Miss Jane Marple - novel or short story - you might get a split, but most people I know think that she works best in short story form. There's something delicious about her in short stories that work so much nicer than when I read short stories with Poirot as the star (he works best in the novels, I found). But here is Miss Marple, solving crime for a new generation. Miss Marple tackling cases in St Mary Mead, London, New York, Hong Kong and beyond.

Tuesday 4 October 2022

The Boy Lost In The Maze Extract Alert

An extract from a book, told in verse, where Greek myths is mixed with a modern day quest, written by the UK Children's Laureate 2022 to 2024, Joseph Coelho with illustrations by Kate Milner? HOW COULD I NOT SHARE THIS?! 

When Bee from Kaleidoscopic Tours emailed this, I had an immediate reaction and knew I had to be involved in this tour! I HAD TO BE INVOLVED!

In Ancient Greece, Theseus makes a dangerous and courageous journey to find his father, finally meeting the Minotaur in the heart of the Labyrinth. Theo, a modern-day teenage boy, finds himself on a maze-like quest to find his own father. Both boys quests mirror each other as the two step into manhood, and what true manhood really means... 

And all the while, the Minotaur waits in the darkness... 

Now, before I share the extract, I just want to thank Bee for asking and allowing me to pop onto this tour, and to the lovely people at Otter-Barry Books for sending me a copy of The Boy Lost in the Maze. At the time of writing the beginnings of this post, I am in the depth of the prose and am enjoying myself. I, also, want to point you in the right direction if you want to say hi to Joseph or Kate. You can go to or tweet a quick hi at @JosephACoelho. You can find Kate at @abagforkatie. And if you want to know more about Children's Laureate info, you can go to or @UKLaureate on Twitter. 

Now, onto the extract!!!

Thursday 29 September 2022

Audiobook Review - Unlawful Killings

I am not much of a true crime fan. Funny that I'm writing that as I do listen to true crime podcasts (not many and I am very fussy over what episodes/crimes I listen to), but when I first discovered this book on an episode of a crime fiction podcast, Shedunnit, I was instantly fascinated about it. An Old Bailey's judge talking about her time being a High Court judge and talking about the law, the role of a judge and several of her cases. Took me a while to get my hands on a copy (I wanted physical or ebook, but went for audiobook in the end). 

Title and Author: Unlawful Killings by Her Honour Wendy Joseph KQ
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Bought

Her Honour Wendy Joseph KC (This has been changed from QC to KC due to the death of Queen Elizabeth II's death) has been a judge at the Old Bailey for over ten years. She's one of a handful of judges at the Old Bailey licensed to try murder cases at the Old Bailey and, in this, she tries to talk about the role of law, how the court works and talks about six murder and manslaughter cases, each with compassionate, humour and tries to show that, while the law is flawed and society is becoming more and more fractured, how each of us should have a cashed interest in what happens in the court room, especially when it comes to the death of a fellow human being.

Monday 26 September 2022

re3 - Soulless

I'm not sure what made me desperately wanted to reread the first book in the Parasol Protectorate, Soulless, by Gail Carriger. It's been on my mind that I wanted to reread it for the last year or two but I seem to become desperate to find time to reread this and see if it was as fun as when I first read this back in 2013 (I had to backtrack through the blog to double check my dates but yes, I first read this nearly ten years ago!)

So, for those of you curious, Soulless is set in an alternative, steampunk London where vampires, werewolves and Alexia Tarabotti exist. Alexia Tarabotti has no soul - literally, though you wouldn't see it. All you would see is a spinster with Italian blood and speaks her mind. How very unladylike. 

But when Alexia is attacked by a vampire and accidentally kills it, breaking all social etiquette, she thinks it can't get worse. Boy oh, it does, as the handsome, gruff (and Alpha werewolf) Lord Maccon is sent to investigate by Queen Victoria. 

For you see, vampires are disappearing and new, rogue vampires are appearing. For some reason that no one seems to understand, Alexia keeps herself in trouble because of it. Something is afoot and whether Lord Maccon wants her help or not, Alexia is going to get to the bottom of it with her trusty brass parasol and a good cup of tea.

Friday 23 September 2022

A Cast of Falcons Extract

I have an extract for you all! And it happened on sheer impulse - and by that, I mean, after finishing Sarah Yarwood-Lovett's A Murder of Crows and discovering that I needed to know what happens next (that took me by surprise, truth be told), I (impulsively) emailed the publisher - Embla Books - and went "I want to do something to get everyone excited for the next book in the Dr Nell Ward series, A Cast of Falcons, as I need to know what's going to happen next to these characters". Next time I know, I got a reply going "Fancy sharing a small extract from A Cast of Falcons?"

And here we are! So, before I share a tiny sneak peek of A Cast of Falcons, let me tell you what this is about. 

When her oldest friend announces that she's impulsively engaged to the almost too good to be true Hawke McAnstruther, Dr Nell Ward rashly offers to host the wedding at her family's estate of Finchmere. But if she thinks it's going to be a joyful event, she's in for a nasty shock when she discover's her friend's parent strong dislike of their soon-to-be son-in-law. 

But before the ceremony is even over, Hawke's shady personal and professional lives begin to unravel and before the evening is out, a shocking murder takes place and the list of suspects is long. Nell finds herself investigating what happened at her home with her best friend, Rav, and PC James Clarke, desperate for the truth. But that might not be the only truth as Nell finds herself in the middle of a love triangle between Rav and James, and she's able to find out where her heart truly lives... if she lives long enough. 

Now, this isn't out till next month (the 18th, if I remember right), but excited to read the chapter and share a snippet. Now, I could have share the first, dramatic page or something more romantic to wet your appetite... decisions, decisions...

Thursday 15 September 2022

Audiobook Review - Equal Rites

I've been dipping in and out of the Discworld books over the past few years. I plan to do more in the coming few months (mainly the novels featuring DEATH. I read Reaper Man years ago and class it as one of my favourites. One that I should reread before I dare tackle the next DEATH book, Soul Music - which is on my kindle as we speak), but I seem to have been going towards the Witches series, reading Wyrd Sisters, Maskerade and now, Equal Rites (which is classed as the first book in the Witch series, but at the same time, reads as a standalone). 

Title and Author: Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett
Publisher: Penguin
Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: eProof gifted by UK publisher via NetGalley in exchange of honest review/reaction though listened to audiobook via library audiobook app.

Wizards in the Discworld know when they are going to die. So, before Drum Billet does, he goes and passes his staff to the eighth son of an eighth son. But he didn't check the newborn's gender until it was much too late...

For you see, girls can't be wizards. It's the lore in the in the chauvinistic (not to say misogynistic) world of magic. And yet, here we are with our first female wizard. And it's up to local witch Granny Weatherwax to somehow train and keep an eye on the girl as she grows into her magic...

Wednesday 7 September 2022

Audiobook Review - A Murder of Crows

I'm not sure how this got on my radar. I want to say Twitter, but I think I might have got an email from the publisher's publicity department, saying "Vote for this upcoming release's cover!" and I am a sucker for a mystery poll for a new series. And this is a cosy murder mystery series so, of course, this is right up my street, people! 

Although, this wasn't what I was expecting for a cosy mystery. But more on that later... 

Title and Author: A Murder of Crows by Sarah Yarwood-Lovett
Publisher: Embla Books
Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: eProof gifted by UK publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review/reaction, though listened to audiobook via library audiobook app.

Dr Neil Ward is an ecologist, not a detective. So when she took on a job for a local Manor House in Cookingdeal, this thinks it will be an easy open-and-shut to discover the building's wildlife. When she discovers a hidden tunnel, perfect for bats, she thinks she overhears something. It's not till a day or two later that she realises that she heard the home owner being murdered...

Desperate to help, she shows all her findings to the Police. But this has the opposite effect as the Police turn their sights on Neil being the prime suspect. Trying to clear her name, Neil and her colleague Adam decide to look into the murder. But that might be easier said than done...

Saturday 3 September 2022

The Last Girl to Die Blog Tour

What's this? An extract from a crime novel that sounds utterly creepy, that fits perfectly for now as we slowly begin to enter autumn? How very nearly on brand for me... 

The Last Girl to Die starts with a desperate family. Their sixteen year old daughter has vanished after they move to the island of Mull, far off the coast of Scotland. But with hostile local and the Police that don't seem to care, the parents turn to private investigator, Sadie Levesque. 

Sadie is the best at what she does, so when she discovers Adriana's body in a cliffside cave, her body posed with a seaweed crown carefully arranged on her head, Sadie knows she is dealing with something truly sinister. But as Sadie begins to look for the truth and digs into the island's secrets, danger is edging closer to her... 

I am thrilled to share an extract with you from Helen Fields's The Last Girl to Die as this sounds like a deliciously creepy thriller and you know me with creepy thrillers. 

Now, before I tease you with an extract (I think it's the start of chapter 11, but I might be wrong), I just want to thank Olivia from Midas for emailing me about this book, tempting me with the blurb and going "Oh, do you want to share an extract?". And, if you want to know more about the book or the author's other works, you can pop over to or say hi to Helen on Twitter at @Helen_Fields


Wednesday 31 August 2022

Audiobook Review - The Bone Garden

Tess Gerritsen is one of the first crime/thriller authors I tried when I was in my late teens/early twenties that I enjoyed (same goes for Kathy Reichs, not so much for Patricia Cornwell but THAT'S a different story!) and I have always dipped in and out of her books. I first read Body Double, then dipping in and out of her Rizzoli and Isles series.

Tess's stand-alone were very hit and miss with me. I really enjoyed Harvest when I read it YEARS ago, I DNFed Life Support & Playing with Fire and The Shape of Night was a bit meh for me (review for that is here, if you're curious on my thoughts when I first read it in 2019

But I have always, ALWAYS wanted to read Bone Garden. It just sounded creepy with how it looks at early medicine in Boston 1830s.

Title and Author:
The Bone Garden by Tess Gerritsen
Publisher: Transworld
Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Bought eBook and borrowed audiobook from library via BorrowBox app.

In the present day, Julia impulsively bought a house to get over her divorce. As she is digging up the garden, she discovers a skull. The skeleton, it seems, was buried over a hundred years ago. But who is she, and how did she die?

In 1830s Boston, an impoverished medical student and a young Irish immigrant who suddenly becomes guardian of her baby niece find their paths keep crossing as a terrifying serial killer. Something sinister is happening in Boston, and it has nothing to do with the grave robbing or body snatching...

Wednesday 24 August 2022

Blog Tour Review - With Fire In Their Blood

I think am out of my reading slump! Good grief, I hope so! And with a book to read for a blog tour that I dived into because I loved the cover! It looks weird and gothic and with that title, how could I not say yes to being involved in this blog tour when I was asked by the lovely folks at Write Reads on behalf of Penguin (thank you Write Reads for allowing me to be involved in this tour)!

The hidden, crumbling Italian city of Castello was at war with itself. Two families were involved ed in a brutal clan war, spanning generations, till a mysterious leader survived a church fire, killing all but him, determined unity against a common, hidden enemy. 

When Lilly moves to town from the US due to her father's new job, she finds herself drawn to the rebellious Liza, the brooding Nico and sensitive Christian. But with her emotions pulling her in different directions with this strange love square, she finds that Castello is a city that will lead everyone to ruin because no one can be trusted. Not even herself. 

Because sins of the past are close to destroying and consuming the present and future. Because Lilly, unknowingly, has broken Castello's most sacred rule: when your blood is tested, you better be damn sure you not anything more than human...

Sunday 21 August 2022

From The Lost Diary of Samuel Pepys

I have an extract from you! And it's from a book I'm actually reading at the time of writing this (I'm not far in, but so far, I'm enjoying myself). 

The diaries of Samuel Pepys have been read for centuries due to their detail account of the Great Fire of London, his racy assignments and his detail and wit. But, at the age of 36, he stopped writing. Or did he?

It's the summer of 1669 and England is in dire straits. The treasury has very limited funds and tensions with the powerful Dutch Republic are beginning to boil over. An investigator for the Crown was sent to look into corruption in the Royal Navy, only for him to be murdered. Samuel Pepys has been asked to look into the corruption and the possible murder. 

As he begins to look into this, his health is on the turn and his marriage is very close to collapsing. Can Pepys discover the sinister truth and make sure England doesn't get into a war...

Like I said earlier, I am currently reading The Lost Diary of Samuel Pepys by Jack Jewers and I'm enjoying myself, though I am not always the biggest fan of historical thrillers, but I am intrigued where this is going to go. 

So when I was asked by Midas PR if I wanted to share an extract, I jumped at it. I always like to share extracts from books that don't always fit my typical reading, but this caught my attention and as I am now (hopefully) out of a reading slump, this felt like the perfect time to try something new!

So, before I hand you over to the extract, just wanna thank Funmi from Midas for asking if I wanted a copy of Lost Diary and if you wanna know more about the book (or just wanna say hi to the author), you can go visit or @jackjewers on Twitter!

Now, ONTO THE EXTRACT (and yes, I picked this because this is, so far, one of my fave scenes! But it's so long, I picked this little scene, just because!)

Friday 5 August 2022

More Short Stories Read During Reading Slump

I think I said in an earlier blog post that I was out of my reading slump. I hope I'm out of my reading slump (goodness helps me if I'm not) and last week, my company went on its annual summer shutdown so my partner and I went away for a free days to Alton Towers and, while there, I decided to read some more short stories from Amazon's Black Stars collection, 

Black Stars is a collection for short sci-fi stories, written by black authors, which can be read within 30-odd minutes. (There are other short story collections on Amazon, ranging from sci-fi, fantasy, contemporary, and others. All of which I will have to investigate)

Now, in an earlier post, I read one of the stories within Black Stars - The Visit by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I did like reading this short, but it's hard to explain this. I keep thinking of it as a gender-flipped Handmaid's Tale told from the point of view of Mrs Dalloway. Plus, it did hit close to the bone as I read within weeks of the US Supreme Court overturning Roe v Wade, making safe abortions illegal in certain states, so that was very much on my mind as I read this. 

After that, I wanted to go back into a novel so I tried to read another Diana Wynne Jones: The Many Lives of Christopher Chant. But I only got to chapter five. It wasn't holding my attention and though I wanted to, I knew I couldn't go on at the current moment. So, I decided to go back on my myself and read some more shorts from Black Stars collection: Clap Back by Nalo Hopkinson, The Black Pages by Nnedi Okorafor and These Alien Skies by C.T. Rwizi. 

Clap Back follows Wenda, a protest performance artist, who doesn't believe the stories about fashion designer and biochemistry, Burra, who's new clothing line will have nanotech weaved into the fabric to tell the wearer about African history and forgiveness. The Black Pages follows Issaka as he returns home to Timbouctou from his studies in the US, only for his family home to be attacked by al-Qaeda. And These Alien Skies follows Msizi as he pilots a spaceship to test a new wormhole jump that could lead to unsettled yet possible habitable planets, but when an explosion causes the ship to go off course, he and his co-pilot fear the worse... 

I'm not going to write full-blown reports on each of these, but I will touch on them in quick summaries of my thoughts. I had high hopes for Clap Back, and it didn't quite hit the right notes for me. I liked the story when it was being told in media reports. But when it switched out of that, I didn't warm to the story. It had potential, but it didn't high the sweet spot for me. 

Black Pages, out of the three, felt the strongest. Maybe because it felt more fantasy than sci-fi, but this felt like a story I could sink into. Plus, it felt like this could be the start of something: a prologue of introduction short story to a novel with these characters and I would have enjoyed seeing more of them.

And These Alien Skies. Sadly, this didn't work for me. It felt as if it was trying to tackle too many things in a short time-frame. Maybe I read this at the wrong time, but it just didn't work for me. 

But collection of short stories are going to be hit and miss. Some stories you are going to love, other stories not so much. I have a few collections that I want to read in the coming months, and we'll see where we go from there. 

But, my reading slump has ruined my reading and I have several novels that I am desperate to read (and I can't wait!). So, might take a week or two off my blog and come back swinging! Wish me luck!

Tuesday 2 August 2022

Short Reads I Read During Reading Slump

After finally (hopefully) killing my reading slump with Diana Wynne Jones's Witch Week, I decided that I was going to slowly ease myself back into read. I'm not going to throw self into the deep end. I wanted to take my time and, hell, maybe even read some short stories or novella. A gentle getting back to normal with my reading (not my life. Still trying to figure how to get back to normal on that one!). And, at the same time, I wanted to try something new. But ease of reading. 

So, while snooping on my Amazon's Prime Reading, I discovered some short stories as part of their Short Stories collections and, after having a quick snoop, I downloaded a few (as I have Prime, the stories were free under their Prime Reading). I downloaded a few under the Forward collection (sci-fi about the future), Trepass collection (unsettling stories about nature) and Black Stars (sci-fi stories written by black authors), I dipped my toe in. 

My first was The Visit by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the first short story in the Black Stars collection. In this, gender roles have been flipped and it shows how easy we are conditioned to see the world. Plus, this kinda hits close to current events as the law banning men from masturbating in US and in Lagos are in force with no plans to remove or change, dangerously similar to recent Roe vs Wade events in the US and certain states planning to ban abortions (which won't work. They're banning safe abortions). And while I did like this short as I found the ideas interesting, creepy and frighteningly real, I didn't warm to this. It felt like a cross over between Mrs Dalloway and The Handmaid's Tale. This could have so easily been longer. 

My second was The Tiger Came To The Mountain by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, the first short in the Trepass collection. Set in Mexico 1917, at the height of the revolution, two children hide in a cave to stay safe. But a threat is close to them, prowling, waiting... Now, I have tried to read one of Silvia Moreno-Garcia's novel, Mexican Gothic, and I didn't like it. But this shirt fitted my mood wonderfully. I just clicked with this story and it felt delicious to read in almost one sitting. I might need to try this author again in future...

I audiobooked a short audiobook from may local library - Notes on Grief by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Now, I'm not going to write a review about this as it feels wrong to that, but this is a short collection of essays about Chimamanda processing her grief over the death of her father in the high of the COVID pandemic. Now, grief is a complex creature and no two people's grief is the same. But oh, there were moments in this collection that hurt. The last essay/chapter is short and kicks you in the feels (I think every person who has lost someone will get what I mean when you read/hear it!) 

Monday 25 July 2022

Reading Slump ReReading - Witch Week

I am 95% certain that I've read this YEARS ago. I am sure I bought a paperback edition from my local ASDA when children's fantasy was booming (Yes, Harry Potter). I can't remember anything about the book barring the start - someone wrote a note saying that someone in the class is a witch. 

So, now that I am making my way SLOWLY through the Chrestomanci series (I really start continue with Wolf Brother by Michelle Paver but, OH, the fear as I was enjoying myself SO MUCH!), when this came up, I was excited as I went "I know this. Vaguely. Hey, this might be The Book that kills my reading slump."

Now, in the series collection I have, this is book three. This is because it was the third book published. However, Diana Wynne Jones recommended that Witch Week should be the fourth book you read, and other people say that this, chronically, is the sixth book in the series (however, other people say that Witch Week can't actually be placed int he sequence as there's no clue to who the Chrestomanci is when the book takes place...)


The note, written in simple blue biro, is discovered in the homework books by Mr Crossley during his markings and it upsets him. For this is Larwood House, a school for witch-orphans, and they are in a world where witchcraft is forbidden and the witches caught are burnt alive. And yet, magic is breaking out throughout the school and it looks there might be more than one witch... 

There was something utterly joyful about reading this. I think this is the book that broken my reading slump because I just had fun with it. Yes, there are problems with this book - the fatphobia, the writing of characters of colours (there was one character from India who turned yellow with fear. Every time I saw this line [I know it was said twice], I would winces) and there were other things that felt of its time, but there was something utterly lovely about this book. I think it's because it wasn't a typical Chrestomanci book. 

I mean, Chrestomanci didn't turn up to very late in the book. Plus, I'm not the biggest of the second book my kindle Chrestomanci collection - The Magicians of Caprona. So, going into this and not was a break from the series, was refreshing. Plus, the characters weren't nice. There were flawed and mean - like kids are. 

So, yeah, I think this is the book that broke my reading slump and am excited to get my reading groove back. But am going to go back slowly and not rush into it (though my proofs on my TBR shelves [all physical, ebook and audiobook] are STARING at me with fury - but when has that ever stopped me from reading what I want to read). So, please bear with me as I returned to reading. And yes, this was a hoot! 

Thursday 21 July 2022

The King Is Dead! Long Live The King!

I am thrilled and honoured to be involved in The King Is Dead blog tour! I am excited to get back into this book after my recent reading slump made me stop at the halfway mark (CURSE YOU ANXIETY-RIDDEN READING SLUMP!), so when the call to be involved in the blog tour came, I jumped at it! 

If you aren't aware of this, The King is Dead follows James, the first black heir to the throne. But when his father dies unexpectedly, James is thrown into the spotlight as the first Black King of the United Kingdom.   As well as trying to navigate this new world - a world he doesn't want - he is hiding his sexuality and his secret relationship. 

But when his secret boyfriend vanishes without a trace and royal secrets and scandals begin to leak, James realises that someone close to him can't be trusted...

Now, I was meant to have Benjamin on the blog in video form (heavens hopes that I can upload the video on here otherwise we are in TROUBLE), chatting about the book. But technology has got in the way (Once I have the video working, I will upload!) 

So, in the meantime, I have created a mood board to inspire you guys to pick up The King is Dead! I hope you like. 

Now, before I show my handle-work, I just want to thank Ellen and Simon and Schuster for asking if I wanted to be involved (thank you!) and thank you Benjamin for finding time to record upcoming video that should be here soon! I know how busy you both must be (and with the weather we had on Tuesday, am surprised we're all still functioning!) 

Oh! If you want to find Benjamin online to say hi, you can find him on Twitter at @NotAgainBen and on Instagram at @notagainben! Now, ONTO THE BOARD!

Wednesday 13 July 2022

What I Tried To Read During Reading Slump

As you know if you've follow me on here or any of my social medias, I am in the depths of a reading slump. Am hoping to get out of it by the time this post goes up (I highly doubt it, but one can hope, right?), but I thought, in the meantime, I would write a small post about some of the books/audiobooks I attempted to read to get me out of the slump. 

You all know I tried to read Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and you all saw how salty I got before I quit around the half way mark (link for that post is here). But there are so many others that I tried and a few I really want to talk about as I want to read them SO BADLY!!! So, let me chat quickly over some titles!

THE KING IS DEAD by Benjamin Dean is the first book am gonna chat about. My slump made me stop around the halfway mark, as I wasn't gelling with the book's pacing. But, in theory, this is perfect for me. Black, queer, mystery and, while looks gossipy and gloss, has an undercurrent of darkness to it. James is the first black heir to the British throne, so when his father suddenly dies, James's life is turned completely upside down as he is now king. But when his secret boyfriend vanishes and secrets are beginning to leak out of the Palace, James begins to realise that someone close to him can't be trusted... 

DAUGHTER OF DARKNESS by Katharine and Elizabeth Corr is a second book I'm going to chat about, and this one is one of the books I am desperate to get back to as I love reading Katharine and Elizabeth's writing. And here, we have a dark reimagining of the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. I only got a few chapters in and I know that I will enjoy myself hugely once I'm back in my reading groove. 

Another DNF I started then put down is a reread - THE DOOMSPELL by Cliff McNish. Not sure why I want to reread this trilogy, but I've been wanting to reread it on and off for the past few months. Plus, it's celebrating being published for past 20-odd years so it feels time. Rachel and Eric have been snatched to another world, like hundreds of children before by the Witch. She plans to use them to overthrown her enemies, the Wizards. But has the Witch met her match in Rachel and Eric? 

Let's do one more then I'll let you get on with your day. BLUE BLOODS by Melissa de la Cruz. Now, I have read the first three in this series YEARS ago (over ten or so years ago) and I have fond memories of these books as I read the first on my first trip to New York City. Now, I have the first five in the series (three I read and two I haven't) and I wanted to see if they stood the test of time. Imagine Gossip Girl with vampires, but I sense there's a dark overarching story (but I never got to that part so goodness know where this series is going to end up!). 

Am going to leave it there as I think, I think, I might be on the up with my reading. FINGERS CROSSED!!!

Sunday 10 July 2022

The Midnighters Extract

HERE WE ARE! The last day of the Midnighters tour and I have a delicious extract to share with you guys! 

Ema has always felt different. Her family are filled with famous scientists, so there's not much room for omens and superstitions, even though they follow Ema wherever she goes. Nor does it help that she appears to predict events before they happen or has a peculiar fear of shadows...

So when Ema is sent to live with her uncle in Prague, she fears that she'll never fit in. Then she meets Silvie, a girl who sees Ema and soon, the two are having midnight adventures and facing Emma's fears together. 

Then Silvie vanishes...

As you know, I'm in a bit of a reading slump, but this book sounds delightfully weird for me to pass up! I am excited to sink my teeth into this world that Hana Tooke has created (and with lush illustrations by Ayesha L. Rubio)! 

Now, before I give you the tiny sneak peek of the prologue, I just wanted to thank Bee from Kaleidoscopic Tours for inviting me to tag along and being very kind to gifting me a copy of The Midnighters. And, if you want to check out Hana online, you can visit or you can tweet her at @hannekewrites!


Wednesday 6 July 2022

Reading Slump Audiobooking - Murder Before Evensong

Not sure how to write this one as still in slump with blogging/reading (oh, the joy of anxiety-include reading slumps), but I preordered this and decided to give it a listen as I thought this, as a cosy murder mystery, might ease me back into reading/audiobooking on a more, regular bases. 

Well, that was the plan. It took a good few weeks for me to complete it. And I would make myself listen to this either on the way to or from work. Most days, I did both to help men unwind from work, but I would try and do at least 20 minutes a day. 

So, where the heck do I start here?

Title and Author: Murder Before Evensong by Reverend Richard Coles
Publisher: Orion/W&N
Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: eProof gifted by UK publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review/reaction, though I bought and listened to audiobook. 

Canon Daniel Clement is the Rector of Champton for the past eight years. He lives with his eldery spitfire of a mother, Audrey, and his two dachshunds, Cosmo and Hilda, and he had his brother, Hugo, popping in and out of his life.

Life in Champton is a typical, country village in the mid-1980s. But when Daniel suggests installing a lavatory in the church, the parish is unexpected divided. Then things take a turn when the Anthony Bowness – cousin of Bernard de Floures, patron of Champton – is found dead in the church, stabbed in the neck by a pair of secateurs, the village is close to fracturing. As the Police begin to investigate, Daniel must try to keep his community together and try and figure out who the killer is for who knows how many more will die before the truth comes out…

Friday 1 July 2022

Reading Slump Reading - Mini Write-Up One

As I said earlier, I fell hard into a reading slump. Things happened and it's one of those things. At the time, I was mildly ok with the slump, then I went  "Enough now!" as I had to DNF two reads that I was quite excited to read - one was a proof of a book that I was kindly sent by the publisher for review which I am excited to read as I love these authors's previous books (Daughter of Darkness by Elizabeth and Katherine Corr) and I had to put it down and hope that I will return to this before its publication so can have a review or something ready. 

But this reading slump might be over. Maybe. At the time of writing this, I am unsure if am out of the reading slump woods, but am tentatively hopefully. 

The two books that, I hope, have got me out of my reading slump is Crankshaft by K. M. Neuhold and Maskerade by Terry Pratchett (this is audiobook, FYI). 

Crankshaft, the first book in the Big Bull Mechanics series (this is a spin off series of Four Bear Construction that I class as my COVID Lockdown obsession) is a MM, low angst romance, while Maskerade is a Discworld novel (the 18th in the whole series and, I think, the 5th or 6th in the Witches series), which pokes fun at opera. 

So, not gonna write full-on reviews (these were fun! Perfect for getting out of reading slumps), but these were fun. I knew I would love Crankshaft as this is the first book in a spinoff series that I devoured during COVID, Four Bear Constructions. And I knew this would be light, fun and angst-free (or very low angst). 

Maskerade, on the other hand, was a bit of a risk. I'm not 100% sure about Terry Pratchett and his Discworld series, though I seem to have gained a few titles on my kindle. But Maskerade has been one that I've had my eye on for a while for some unknown reason, and while I did warm to the story and the characters (mainly Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg - it did some time for me to like them, and I audiobooked Wyrd Sisters, and I found the lack of Magrat in this story a nice bonus). It seems that I like Discworld novels, but the latter half of the novels when things are beginning to go off the rails. I can't seem to warm to the set-up of the first half of the novel... 

But, like I said, am in the depths of a reading slump and slowly, oh-so-slowly, am trying to crawl out of it, so I'm not exactly going to rush my next few reads/audiobooks. Am nearly finished one and it's a "meh", but I can't decide if that's because am still in slump or if the story just didn't work... we shall see...  

Tuesday 28 June 2022

Theakston Old Peculiar Crime Novel of the Year 2022 Shortlist Revealed


Elly Griffiths | Joseph Knox | Laura Shepherd Robinson 
Mick Herron | Vaseem Khan | Will Dean 

The shortlist for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2022, presented by Harrogate International Festivals, has been announced today, with six bestselling authors competing to win the UK’s most prestigious crime writing prize.

The coveted award, now in its eighteenth year, celebrates crime fiction at its very best, with this year’s shortlist taking readers from newly independent India to the tension of a remote Fenlands cottage, from a nail-biting missing persons investigation in Manchester to the wilds of North Norfolk, and from the hedonism of Georgian London to the murky world of international espionage. Selected by the public from a longlist of eighteen novels, with a record number of votes being placed this year, the list of six novels features newcomers to the shortlist, two New Blood panellists, a previous Festival Programming Chair, and a five-time shortlistee. None of this year’s shortlistees have ever taken home the prize before, making the competition even more tense.

Elly Griffiths, who was the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival Programming Chair in 2017, is shortlisted for the fifth time for The Night Hawks, the thirteenth instalment in her popular Ruth Galloway series. The Night Hawks sees Norfolk’s favourite forensic archaeologist Galloway called when a group of metal detectorists discover a body buried on a beach with Bronze Age treasure, a find which will lead to a series of murders seemingly linked to the local legend of a spectral dog whose appearance heralds death.

Sunday Times bestseller True Crime Story, the first standalone novel from Joseph Knox, blends fact and fiction to tell the gripping story of a 19-year-old university student who leaves a party in her student halls and is never seen again. Knox, who was selected by Val McDermid as a New Blood panellist in 2017, was longlisted for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2018 for his thriller Sirens the following year, but has never previously reached the shortlist stage.

Historical crime writer Laura Shepherd Robinson continues her incredible streak as her second novel Daughters of Night is shortlisted for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year, two years after her debut Blood & Sugar was longlisted for the award in 2020. Robinson’s evocative novel transports readers to the seedy underworld of Georgian London, as Caroline ‘Caro’ Corsham tries to solve the murder of a prostitute in the infamous Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, an investigation which will delve into the darkest corners of high society.

Bestselling author Mick Herron is longlisted for Slough House, the tenth instalment in his series of the same name, which was recently adapted by Apple TV as spy drama Slow Horses, starring Gary Oldman and Kristin Scott Thomas. Herron will be hoping to take home the prize this year, with 2022 marking the fifth time in the past six years he has secured a place on the shortlist.

Midnight at Malabar House by Vaseem Khan, the first in a new series chronicling the investigations of India’s first female police detective, marks Khan’s first time reaching the shortlist. The novel introduces readers to Inspector Persis Wadia as she is plucked from obscurity in a basement office and tasked with solving the murder of an English diplomat as the country prepares to become the world’s biggest republic.

Finally, The Last Thing to Burn sees bestselling author and New Blood 2018 panellist Will Dean move away from the Nordic setting of his acclaimed Tuva Moodyson series in favour of a claustrophobic thriller set on the British fenlands. The Last Thing to Burn, which has secured Dean his first ever placement on the shortlist, sees a woman held captive in a remote cottage by a man who calls her Jane and insists she is his wife. She has long abandoned hopes of escape, until she finds a reason to live and finds herself watching and planning, waiting for the right moment to act.

The six novels shortlisted for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2022 are:

· The Night Hawks by Elly Griffiths (Quercus Fiction)

· True Crime Story by Joseph Knox (Doubleday)

· Daughters of Night by Laura Shepherd Robinson (Mantle/Pan)

· Slough House by Mick Herron (Baskerville)

· Midnight at Malabar House by Vaseem Khan (Hodder & Stoughton)

· The Last Thing to Burn by Will Dean (Hodder & Stoughton)

Simon Theakston, Executive Director of Theakston, added: “What a fantastic shortlist, six thrilling tales which deliver shocking twists and unforgettable characters! We raise a glass of Theakston Old Peculier to all of the shortlistees and look forward to revealing the winner in July as we kick off the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival.”

Sharon Canavar, Chief Executive of Harrogate International Festivals, commented: “We are delighted to announce this year’s Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year shortlist, featuring six novels by some of the most exciting crime writers working today. Whisking readers around the world and through time, this shortlist is a fantastic demonstration of the variety to be found in crime fiction. The public have a tough task ahead choosing just one winner and we can’t wait to see who they vote for!”

The public are now invited to vote for a winner at Voting closes on Friday 8th July, with the winner to be revealed on the opening night of Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, Thursday 21st July. The winner will receive a £3,000 prize, as well as a handmade, engraved beer barrel provided by T&R Theakston Ltd.

The Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year is run by Harrogate International Festivals sponsored by T&R Theakston Ltd, in partnership with Waterstones and the Express, and is open to full length crime novels published in paperback 1 May 2021 to 30 April 2022 by UK and Irish authors.