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...