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
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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
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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
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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
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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?