Wednesday 29 November 2023

Redundancy Short Reads

My NetGalley November hasn’t been as big as success as I would have hoped when I first thought of doing this, hence why I might carry this over till I go on my Christmas/New Year blog holiday (I still need to figure out when that will be and for how long? It was going to be for a month, but things have changed as I will explained below). 

Reason why? Before I went on my little sunshine/reading holiday, I was suddenly and unexpectedly made redundant. Which was fun (insert heavy sarcasm here). I was made redundant, then went on holiday and then, once I got home, sent next few days trying to find a job. 

So, as you can expect, while I did blitz some NetGalley proofs reading, there were one or two times when my brain went “Nope. I need something short and achievable!”.

The three novellas I did were The Thief by Ruth Rendell, Serpentine by Philip Pullman and The Christmas Guest by Peter Swanson. 

The Thief by Ruth Rendell was a Quick Reads novella (2003?) which follows Polly who is a liar and a thief. There was her aunt, a girl in her school, a boyfriend who dumped her. But she stopped and is trying to be better for her new boyfriend. But when a man on the plane leaves her scared and humiliated, she takes his suitcase, not knowing that the things will take a dark turn…

Serpentine by Philip Pullman is set in the His Dark Materials world and is set a year after Lyra’s Oxford. Lyra and her dæmon Pantalaimon have left the events of The Amber Spyglass behind them, though the events still lingers… In this little snapshot of their lives, the pair return to the North, when they discovers somethings aren’t exactly as they first appear…

And, finally, The Christmas Guest by Peter Swanson follows Ashley, an American who is happy to be alone at Christmas. One Christmas Day, she is cleaning her apartment and discovers her diary of 30 years ago when she was an Art student in London and she’s invited by her friend, Emma, to stay at her country home for Christmas. But when she arrives, this Christmas isn’t going to be cosy as the little country village is still recovering from the shocking murder of a woman who looks just like Ashley…

Friday 24 November 2023

NetGalley November 2023 - Hercule Poirot’s Silent Night

You think, while I was on holiday to a warm climate, I would read warm, sunny reads. Nope. Of course not. You all have been following this blog and most of my social media outlets for how long now? I wanted for something cold, something Christmas, something murder. 

And I had an itch to read one. So, imagine my surprise after attempting to read the prologue of Hercule Poirot’s Silent Night that I powered through, even though my brain was going “You should save this for Christmas…” and “You didn’t like the previous outings with Sophie Hannah’s take on Poirot. Why would this time be any different?”

Title and Author: Hercule Poirot’s Silent Night by Sophie Hannah
Publisher: HarperCollins
Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Gifted by UK publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review/reaction
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It’s 19th December, and both Poirot and Inspector Edward Catchpool are planning their Christmas together, when a woman bursts in and begs for their help. This turns out to be Inspector Catchpool’s mother and she insists Poirot and Catchpool come to a Norfolk mansion to solve a murder and prevent another. In the safe haven of a hospital, a well liked man was murdered - hit over the head with a heavy vase - and soon, Arnold Laurier will be going to the same hospital (to the private room next to the murder scene) and his wife is convinced he will be murdered too, though she can’t explain why. 

Against both their wishes, Poirot and Catchpool go and, if they want to be home by Christmas, they will need to get their little grey cells working quickly to catch the killer and maybe prevent a second murder. 

Thursday 23 November 2023

NetGalley November 2023 - The Rosewood Hunt

Oh, the joy of going away on a well-needed holiday. Time to catch up on some much needed reading, especially for my NetGalley To Be Read List (see why I choose to do NetGalley November now?). Much needed time to escape the huge issues of real life (one was dropped on my head over 24 hours before I got on a plane. So that was fun!)

One of the things I wanted to do this month was tackle some of my older backlist. Did I do that? NOPE! I went for something a little newer (and I have loads of newer titles to tackle). But seeing as I was on holiday, I wanted to tackle some fun, light, fluffy. And after a few other titles that I picked up, read the first few pages and went “Not in the mood”, this came up and I devoured the first few chapters at breakneck speed. 

Title and Author: The Rosewood Hunt by Mackenzie Reed
Publisher: Harper360
Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Gifted via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review/reaction
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Lily Rosewood has been living with her grandmother for the past year and, over that time, the two have become close. Lily hopes one day to her grandmother with her fashion business. But when Grams suddenly and unexpectedly dies, Lily is in completely shock. And when, at the will reading with her uncle and cousin, she discovered a her grandmother’s quarter of a billion dollar fortune is missing and all three are banned for the estate, Lily doesn’t understand. 

But Gram loves her little games. So, when Lily receives a letter written in invisible ink, she begins to question why Grams would hid her fortune. And when three random teens come to Lily, all with a letter from Gram, the unlucky four are forced to team up and go on a real life treasure hunt. But treasure hunters are coming for the fortune also, and someone is willing to go to extreme lengths to get that cash…

Friday 10 November 2023

NetGalley November 2023 - The Christmas Appeal

My first NetGalley November Read! And I’m putting it up now as I will be away from my iPad next week and the NetGalley proofs I am reading/audiobook are a tad chunky so it will take me some time on them. But I wanted to kick this month off properly by attacking one of my most recent - The Christmas Appeal by Janice Hallett. 

Actually, this was a Wish Granted on NetGalley. I clicked on this on a whim, not thinking I would have my wish granted. I just liked the sound of it. Hang on, before I go into this, let me give you some details and we can begin. 

Title and Author: The Christmas Appeal by Janice Hallett
Publisher: Viper Books
Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Gifted by UK publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review/reaction
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The Fairway Players of Lower Lockwood are back, getting themselves involved in another murder mystery (haven’t they not learned from Janice Hallett debut, The Appeal?). This time, the cutthroat of amateur dramatics are busy rehearsing for the Christmas panto, Jack and the Beanstalk. Expect, not everyone is feeling the good cheer. The fake smiles and catty, pettiness is out in force. The beanstalk might be full of asbestos and, of course, there’s the matter of the dead Santa… 

Lawyers Femi and Charlotte are reading the emails, the WhatsApp, the Police reports to find out the truth.

Thursday 9 November 2023

All Hallows Reads - Ghosts From the Library

My last All Hallows Reads (I did plan to read and audiobook a lot more, but got completely side-tracked. The two titles that jump out in my mind at time of writing this is Tag, You’re Dead by Kathryn Foxfield and A Taste of Darkness [Edited by Amy McCaw and Maria Kuzniar]). But not meant to be. Instead, we are wrapping up the spooky with Ghosts From the Library.

Title: Ghosts From The Library
Publisher: Collins Crime Club
Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Audiobook borrowed from local library via BorrowBox
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This anthology is a collection of either unpublished or previously uncollected supernatural short stories written by authors from the Golden Age of Crime. There’s not much more I can say about the collection but the authors involved range from Josephine Tey, Daphne du Maurier, Christianna Brand, M.R James, Dorothy L. Sayers, Agatha Christie, Margery Allingham and Arthur Conan Doyle to name but a few.

Tuesday 7 November 2023

The Disappearance Boy Extract

I have an extract for you guys! And, if all goes to plan, I am hoping to get my hands on a copy of this book and be reading it before the end of the year (yes, I have plans for this!)

The Disappearance Boy by Neil Bartlett follows Reggie Rainbow, the disappearance boy After having polio as a child and leaving him with a limp, his strong arms and nimble fingers make Reggie perfect for behind the scene theatres where he helps illusionist Mr Brooks’s assistant “disappear”. So when Mr Brooks takes a job down in Brighton, Reggie has to come to. But Brighton is a different world and Reggie finds that the sea air and the life of the Brighton Grand has its own magic. Soon, Reggie begins to wonder about secrets and how long he can keep them for a living… 

Like I said, I am hoping to read this in the coming week (possible over the Christmas period due to November being NetGalley November) so I am quite excited to hear your thoughts on the extract I am popping below. 

Now, before I hand you over to the extract, I must thank Justin at Inkandescent for letting me share the extract and answering my queries over this title and one other Inkandescent title (publishing early next year so no spoilers!). And I am going to put an affiliate link to this for, just in case the extract went your appetite, as well as link to Inkandescent’s website in case you want more info and want to buy direct. 

All good? Ok, ONTO THE EXTRACT!!!

Monday 6 November 2023

Blog Tour - Tiffany Aching’s Guide to Being a Witch

As you know, I have been slowly tackling the Witches sub-series within the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett. I have one more to go (Carpe Jugulum) and then I am done. Unless I want to go onto the Tiffany Aching series where Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg pop up (and oh, it is so tempting! I do miss them!)

So, when I was emailed by the lovely Bee from Kaaleidoscopic Tours about Tiffany Aching’s Guide to Being a Witch, I knew I had to be involved. I’m actually a little surprised at how quickly I replied and went “Yes! This! This sounds perfect!”. And yes, it does clash with my NetGalley November, I know, but I feel that this would be a lovely way to ease self into the world of the Free Wee Men and the Chalk. 

Title and Author: Tiffany Aching’s Guide to Being a Witch by Rhianna Pratchett and Gabrielle Kent, & Illustrated by Paul Kidby
Publisher: Puffin
Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Gifted by Kaleidoscopic Tours as part of review-based blog tour. Gifted in exchange for an honest review/reaction
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Ever wanted to be witch (haven’t we all?)? Even wanted to be a witch in the Discworld? Well, this guide will help you in the right direction. Written by Tiffany Aching (who first appeared in The Wee Free Men and her final outing was in Sir Terry Pratchett’s final Discworld novel, The Shepherd’s Crown) and with “helpful” footnotes from Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg, Mrs Tick and the Wee Free Man known as Rob Anybody, this will give helpful information about magic, headology, bees, magic cheese, Death, sheep and everything in between.

Friday 3 November 2023

NetGalley November Maybe Audiobook TBR

I did warn you that I was thinking of doing this: a NetGalley TBR of some of the audiobooks the lovely publishers/authors/PR companies have gifted to me via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review/reaction. 

Now, I have quite a few to power through (too many, if I am going to be complete honest with you all), but there are a few that I would like to attempt to listen to (or just start then rage-quit them. These still count, and I fear I will write a post of my DNFs for your reading pleasure. Sorry in advance). So, while I am in the depths of October, writing this and wondering if I will actually follow through with my reading plans (I am a mood reader, we all know this), let me share a few audiobooks that I have my eye on…

Oh, not sure if this will be of any use to you but I have put some affiliate links in this post for some ease if any titles catch your eye. I’ll put a * next to the links for openness. Now, the titles on my radar this month…

Wednesday 1 November 2023

NetGalley November 2023

I decided that I’m going to do this back in the middle of August (same with my All Hallows Reads!), but I’ve decided that it’s time that I get my TBR under control. Mainly my NetGalley TBR (both my eProofs and my audiobooks).

Now, I did this last year (I forgot I did), but for those of you not sure what NetGalley is, NetGalley is a website where publishers can “aimed at the distribution of digital … proofs of books [and audiobooks], 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.

Now, earlier this year, something strange happened my kindle/Amazon account (was it hacked? Did they delete it by accident? Who knows?!) but most of my eProofs from NetGalley that were on my kindle were wiped so I had to start again from scratch. And with NetGalley’s ideal feedback percentage for users being 80% (and mine is at 51% at time of writing), I needed to get self back on track with reading/review. I have been a bit on-the-outs of blogging/review of late so I want to push self into blogging again. 

I have some titles in mind I want to read/audio this month. I want them to be slightly different from last month’s “spooky” reading, but you know me, I love a good creepy thriller/fantasy. Plus, I don’t exactly stick to my reading plans as I am very much a mood reader. But, like I said, I do have a few titles I would like to attempt to read this month/by the end of the year. 

So, shall I tease some titles that I would like to try/attempt to read this month…? (Oh, if any titles catch your eye, I have put some affiliate links in this post for some ease. I have put a * next to the links in question. Hope these help!)

Saturday 28 October 2023

All Hallows Read - Wicked Lovely

I keep saying that I am not a fan of books featuring fairies or the fey, and yet, here I am, reading another book featuring the Fair Folk. I thought that this might be a good read for Halloween for those among us that aren’t the biggest fan of horror. So, here we are. 

Title and Author: Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr
Publisher: HaarperCollins
Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Bought
Buy from (Affiliate): 

Aislinn has seen faeries all her life. She hides this secret as she knows what will happen to her if the fae discover this truth. So, she lives by three simple rules: don’t stare at the invisible faeries, don’t speak to an invisible fae and don’t attract their attention.

She thought these rules would keep her safe. But now powerful and dangerous faerie are stalking her, including Keenan, who is positive she is important to his and the Summer Court’s survival. But Aislinn isn’t going to give her humanity so easily… but it might already be too late.

Tuesday 17 October 2023

All Hallows Reads - Lords And Ladies

What’s Halloween and spooky reading without some witches to cause havoc? And what witches are best suitable for havoc and mischief than the Witches of the Discworld…

Title and Author: Lords and Ladies by Terry Pratchett
Publisher: Transworld
Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Audiobook borrowed from local library & BorrowBox app
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After the events of Witches Aboard, Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg and Margat have returned to Lancre from their holidays and discover that things aren’t quite right. Margat finds herself engaged and to be married to the King at Midsummer, Granny seems distracted lately and the someone has been dancing round the stone Dancers and crop circles have beginning to appear. And last time those happened, the Lords and Ladies came…

Friday 13 October 2023

All Hallows Reads - Sword Catcher

This post is a long time coming. Why, I hear you ask? Because I have been reading my limited edition Advance Reader Copy of Sword Catcher by Cassandra Clare for approximately FOUR MONTHS!

Ok, a bit of backstory is needed. But at the start of Summer this year, the lovely people at Black Crow PR emailed if I fancied going to a limited edition event for Cassandra Clare’s upcoming novel, Sword Catcher, her first adult fantasy novel. I replied very quickly saying yes, and thought nothing of it. I just thought it would be the publisher chatting about the book and meeting up for other bloggers who I haven’t seen in years (investigation only been to one book blogger event this year and I think that was the first time in a while due to work and COVID). And I knew Cassandra Clare would be at the event, but I thought that she was only there to say hi and have a quick chat as even well-known authors need a holiday. So, off I went after work, feeling sudden very anxious and very old (everyone at the event was SO YOUNG! I felt like a fossil in blogging) and, out of nowhere, I was gifted a beautiful, limited edition hardback proof and then, Cassandra Clare did a signing!

I knew that I was going to read this very slowly. I wasn’t going to rush. I was going to savour, but I hoped this would hold my attention. I thought this would take me a month or two. Maybe even the whole summer. Not well into autumn (though have you seen the UK weather lately?!). But, ha-ho! We’re here so let’s get chatting!

Title and Author: Sword Catcher by Cassandra Clare
Publisher: Tor/Pan MacMillan
Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Gifted by UK publisher and PR Company, Black Crow PR, in exchange for an honest review/reaction
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In the city-state of Castellane, young orphan Kel is taken from his old life in the vibrant, lush world of royalty and peril. He becomes the young prince, Conor’s, guard and body-double: his Sword Catcher. He has one purpose: to die protecting the Prince. 

Lin Caster is an Ashkar physician, part of a community ostracised for its rare magical abilities. But soon, her path and Kel crossed and get pulled together by events outside of their control via the ruler of Castellane’s criminal underworld, the Ragpicker King. 

But things are happening in Castellane. The Ragpicker King is losing his grip on the criminal underworld, whispers of an attack on the royals and the Charter families and people are beginning to double cross each other. If everyone isn’t careful, things will spiritless out of control and will end in fire and blood…

Wednesday 11 October 2023

All Hallows Reads - Spooky TBR

I know I should have planned my Halloween reading/TBR lists in advance. But am a mood reader, so when have I ever done that?!

But I do have titles on my radar that I know I would like to read over the course of the month. Highly unlikely, truth be told, but these titles feel like PERFECT reads and listens so I thought a little post to shout a few titles out would be a good idea. Plus, you might think that there would be good reads for you as the nights draw in for us lot in the Northern Hemisphere (there will be affiliate links in this post when referencing titles in this post.

Monday 9 October 2023

All Hallows Reads - Grishaverse Fairy Tales

Let’s start the spookiness with some fairy tales, shall we?

Well, I say fairy tales. They’re folktales from the world of Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse . Now, I only done two (and not the whole collection from The Language of Thorns), which were released individually – The Too-Clever Fox and Little Knife. Both I did via audiobook from local library and both have the same feel to it so merging their write-ups together.

Companion folk tales to novels Siege and Storm and Ruin and Rising, The Too-Clever Fox is about a fox who has escaped traps all his life. But just because you avoid one trap, doesn’t mean you will escape the next. While Little Knife is about a young woman whose beauty causes discord in her town that her family makes plans to have her wed. But plans will go awry, like the turning of the current in a river…

Sunday 1 October 2023

All Hallows Reads

My brain decided this back in August, but I wanted to make my future reading months fun. And Halloween and spookiness jumped to mind (as well as something linked to Jay’s Virtual Pub Quiz - but that idea needs more thinking over). 

I am not a summer person. The other seasons are more me, but I do like Halloween. In theory. In practice, not so much. But this year, I wanted to add some spookiness to the reading. Sorry. SpoooOOOOOOoookiness (see what I did there? Ghostly). 

But I am not much of a horror fan. I love a good creepy read, but I am not a fan of horror. Plus, there is something really creepy about the depths of evil and darkness we human beings have. So, yes, I want to spooky reads, both normal and paranormal. Join me for the next few weeks as I decide to try and creep myself out. 

Oh, you want to know what stories I have in mind? Maybe these clues will give you a clue…

Friday 22 September 2023

Audiobook Review - The Wife In The Photo

Hey Siri, please play “No Body, No Crime” by Taylor Swift.

Right, now we’ve got the right back music, let’s talk about The Wife In The Photo by Emily Shanter, shall we?

Title and Author: The Wife in the Photo by Emily Shiner
Publisher: Bookoutrue Audio
Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Audiobook gifted by publisher via NetGalley in exchange for honest review/reaction

Evan Warner needs help. He and his daughter, Jessica, are struggling to cope after the death of his wife, Lola, and the house has become too much. He needs a housekeeper. Someone to take the pressure off for a while. So, when his PA at work mentions Ariel, someone from her church who would be perfect as his temporary housekeeper, he jumps at the chance.

But Ariel isn’t who she says she is. She knows that Lola’s death wasn’t a tragic accident. She’s positive that Evan killed Lola. And she’s going to prove it…

Monday 18 September 2023

Another DNF Post

I doin’t often chat about quitting reads on here. I think I am more open about quitting reads or knowing when books aren’t for me, but there is a bit of a guilt and (dare I say it?) shame about quitting a book or an audiobook. I mean, before I started book blogging, I used to quit reads left, right and centre. I had no shame or guilt over it. It might be my mood at the time, the writing, the story, an element or plot twist that didn’t work. There are hundreds of reasons why we as readers quit books or audiobooks. And that’s ok. 

However, when I started book blogging, I felt this guilt over quitting reads and I spent many years reading every books I started and reviewing them. Even if I didn’t like them. 

Now, am more ok with quittting/DNFing. Same goes with writing up my thoughts on every book (I chat about them on social media) on here. But two books I have tried just didn’t work and I wanted to chat about them because these are big deal books. Books I should love but nope, they just didn’t work.

Wednesday 6 September 2023

Mini-Review Time!

I thought I would have got these both finished in August. I didn’t. I finished the first on the 2nd September and the other the following day, on the 3rd. And they are so far removed from each other, I felt that it should be fun to put them in a same blog post (not sure why). 

The first is Spiced Kisses by Charlie Novak, an MM low angst romance set in the lead up for Christmas and the other is The Doctor’s Widow by Daniel Hurst, sequel to The Doctor’s Wife, a domestic thriller. 

Spiced Kissses is the third book in the Kiss Me series (I haven’t read either the first or second book in this series, Strawberry Kisses and Summer Kisses - will add these to my Kindle wish list) but we follow Ben and Ianto. Ben is co-owner of the Pear Tree pub and is just trying to get through the upcoming hell known as Christmas. But when he breaks his collarbone at rugby, he finds himself spending time with Ianto, who feels guilty for the accident. Unbeknownst to either of them, they have a crush on each other… will Christmas bring this grumpy Yorkshire men and Christmas-loving Welshman together?

In The Doctor’s Widow, we pick up the story several months after the events of The Doctor’s Wife. Fern has gotten away with it. Away with murdering her adulterous husband, framing his mistress for his murder and killing the mistress’s husband to keep the truth from coming out. She just wants to put the past behind her and move on with her life. A new life with Roger, a man she is falling for. But Roger isn’t who she think he is. In fact, Roger isn’t Roger at all… 

The Doctor’s Widow was gifted by the UK publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review, FYI. 

Tuesday 29 August 2023

Audiobook Review - Witches Aboard

I’ve been holding off reading/audio booking this Discworld novel. I wanted to do a few others before I tackled this one as this one intrigues me. I wanted to do one of the City Watch books (Guards! Guards!), a standalone (The Truth) or a Death novel (reread Reaper Man or try Soul Music). But, in the end, I had to read more of Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Oog. It would be rude not to!

Title and Author: Witches Aboard by Terry Pratchett
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Audiobook borrowed via Library’s BorrowBox app  
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Stories have powers, and we all know the fairy tales of our children: the shoe fits Cinderella, True Love’s kiss awakens the sleeping princess, the Yellow Brick Road leads to the Great City. But this is the Discworld, and stories take a life of their own. 

Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Oog and Magrat Garlick are tasked to travel to the city of Genua to stop a wedding and save the kingdom. Easy, right? But stories have power and how can you fight a Happily Ever After, especially one that has a glass slipper, a ball and a Fairy Godmother who is determined to get the happy ending, even if no one else wants it?

Tuesday 22 August 2023

Audiobook Review - The Bone Hacker

Kathy Reichs is one of my favourite crime writers (I have a few that I have a soft spot for), and after having fun with Tempe’s Brennan’s previous outing, Cold Cold Bones, and my plans to try and read some of her earlier novels (mostly rereads, with one or two noticeable expectations), I knew I had to get Bone Hacker, and preordered it, ready. 

Title and Author: The Bone Hacker by Kathy Reichs
Publisher: Simon and Schuster UK
Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Bought
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Called in to examine what is left of a body struck by lightning, forensic anthropologist Dr Tempe Brennan traces an unusual tattoo on the body and finds herself looking into another, much larger case. Young handsome men – all tourists – have been disappearing on the islands of Turks and Caicos for years. Seven years ago, the first victim was found with his left hand cut off; the other visitors vanished without a trace.

Against her better judgement, Tempe finds herself getting involved in the case and what starts as possible gang violence turns into something much, much bigger...

Thursday 10 August 2023

eProof Review - Open Throat

I have no idea how am going to write this write-up for Open Throat by Henry Hoke. It’s one of those books that I only came across because I saw a tweet on Twitter - sorry, X (let’s not get into my thoughts over this AWFUL rebranding) - and I went “what is this weirdness?!” 

Title and Author: Open Throat by Henry Hoke
Publisher: Picador
Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Gifted by UK publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review/reaction
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A mountain lion roams the drought-ridden hills of Hollywood. He is hungry but watches and protects the humans at their homeless encampment. But when he is forced to leave them, he finds himself in the heart of LA, he begins to wonder: whether he wants to eat one or be one?

Tuesday 8 August 2023

Unscheduled Blog Break

Oh, the joys of reading/blogging burnout. Aren’t it grand?!

So yeah, my brain wasn’t happy with me last month so decided to “Nope!” itself out of here while I was planning to read a few short novels/short story collections and then indulge myself into slowly reading Cassandra Clare’s upcoming adult fantasy novel, Sword Catcher (which I got at an bookish event that I was very excited to be invited and go to. Second bookish event of the year that I managed to go to - and be invited to as I am not longer youthful or down with the kids with TikTok & Threads [innit?])

But nope, not happened like I planned. I still am reading Sword Catcher and I am enjoying the world and sinking into it. I am going to enjoy taking my time over this so no rushing me on this one as I want to savour!

I have done some short, quick reads (a novella [mini-review for that is coming], a short story prequel to a MM romance series I started via audiobook & the first book in that series [yes, a reread - sometimes, you need a platter cleanser] and sample chapters of an recently released novel [which am in two minds about finishing as, while good in places, I wasn’t completely sold on finishing]) and I am going to try and do a few audiobooks this month - should I make this month an audiobook only reading month?

So, yeah, last few weeks hasn’t been great. But am slowly getting back on track with my reading and audiobooking by allowing myself to not worry about it. Easier said than done. I am a worry wart at heart and things do get the best of me, but I feel like with my reading and blogging, I can allow myself to go “ok, I have blogged and read solidly for over 12 years now. I am allowed to not blog everything I read.”
So, that’s what I’m going to do. Take my time, blog not every book and audiobook, and think of some new ideas for fun blogging. I have ideas… let’s see if I follow through with them…

But yes, here I am, once again. Slowly trying to get out of a funk of my own making. Hopefully, normal service will resume shortly with a slightly different twist.

Thursday 13 July 2023

Audiobook Review - The Housekeepers

One of my favourite podcasts, All About Agatha, have a saying as they read and review each Agatha Christie novel: never underestimate the help. And this couldn't be more true for The Housekeepers by Alex Hay. 

Title and Author: The Housekeepers by Alex Hay
Publisher: Headline
Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: eProof and Audiobook gifted by UK publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review/reaction
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When housekeeper, Mrs King, is dismissed from her role at a luscious house in Mayfair, she has a plan. A plot that has been brewing for quite some time. She plans to pull off one of the biggest heist from her former employer. And she knows who she can call on to pull it off... 

A black-market queen, an actress, a seamstress, a former housekeeper. All have a reason for the heist to work. But can they pull it off while the Mistress of the house is planning to host the biggest ball of the season?

Monday 10 July 2023

eBook Review - HappyHead

I've been sitting on this review for a while as I'm not sure how to write it. Even now, I'm still not exactly sure how I feel about this, but I wanted to show you guys that I have read this. 

The backstory to this is the same as some of my other reads of late: I originally had an eProof from the lovely publisher via NetGalley. However, over Easter weekend, my Amazon was hacked/deleted, all my eProofs got wiped off my kindle. But, I saw this on sale for 99p, I bought it without a second thought, as this book intrigued me as soon as I first heard it. 

Title and Author: HappyHead by Josh Silver
Publisher: Rock The Boat
Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Bought but I did have eProof via NetGalley in exchange for honest review/reaction
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When Seb is offered a place at a radical retreat to tackle the national crisis of teenage unhappiness, he is determined to do well. But he find himself being pulled to the mysterious Finn, Seb begins to realise that there's something deeply wrong with HappyHead as the tasks that are meant to be help their wellbeing become more and more disturbing...

Wednesday 21 June 2023

Quickie Catch-Up

It’s been a while since I actually sat down and wrote a post about reading. I have been radio-silence for a while for a few weeks (sorry about that). Let me explain why it’s taken so long – laziness. There’s no other excuse. Sometimes, you need to reset and take your time to enjoy yourself. I don’t need to review every story I read/audiobook, right? Plus I did start then put down several titles because I wasn’t in the right mindset for them (Broken Light by Joanne Harris, Old Babes In The Wood by Margaret Atwood, and several others).

Also, I was binge-watching a lot of TV. I have, finally, caught up with Succession (well, that didn’t go in a direction I was expecting and, at the same time, it did. Satisfyingly so) and I have started Pokerface (which I am thoroughly enjoying).

So, here I am. Touching base with a small write up on a few books I’ve read and maybe a plan for the next few weeks as I’m thinking of taking a short blog holiday at the end of July/start of August. Just for a week or two, nothing major, but want to do some other non-blog related things before I can back for a summer of reading (I feel like I should have a theme for August reading. Thoughts?)

Since my last posts (Sara Barnard’s Where the Light Goes and Tales from Beyond the Raindow by Pete Jordi Wood), I have read/audiobook three books and just started a book (which I am going to mention before I sign off this post) and I am going to touch all each of the read titles now. Now, all of these were gifted to me from publishers either direct or via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review and, if I can, I will include affiliate links for these titles, though I believe one is only available as an ebook at the present so no link to that one, sadly.

Friday 9 June 2023

Blog Tour Review - Tales from Beyond The Rainbow

Another day, another blog tour review. And this is so up my street that as soon as Bee from Kaleidoscopic Tours emailed about this title, I instantly emailed back and went "PLEASE LET ME BE INVOLVED! PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE!!!"

And here we are!

Title and Author: Tales from Beyond the Rainbow by Pete Jordi Wood
Publisher: Puffin
Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Gifted by UK publisher and PR Blog Tour Company, Kaleidoscopic, in exchange for an honest review/reaction for blog tour. 
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There are fairy tales and folklore that time has forgotten or concealed in one form or another. This could be for a number of reasons. They became out of fashion. The morale of the story doesn't fit with the changing world. Or because the stories in question tackle the issue of gender and sexual identity, and all end (mostly) with happy ever afters. 

In this collection of short fairy tales and folklore from around the world (ranging from Germany, Russia, China, Taiwan, Cape Verde, Canada and other corners of the world), Pete Jordi Wood has collected and adapted them, each illustrated by an artist who shares heritage with he culture of where the stories have come from.

Tuesday 6 June 2023

Mini-Review - Where The Light Goes

I've been sitting on writing this review for several reasons. The first is I really needed to think about how I was going to write this. This book was SO GOOD, and yet, point out that there are trigger warnings to you guys. The second was time. I just didn't seem to have the time since I finished this book to actually write a review down. And the third was the recent news in the UK about ... yeah ... 

Title and Author: Where The Light Goes by Sara Barnard
Publisher: Walker Books
Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Gifted by Walker Books in exchange for an honest review/reaction. 
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Friday 19 May 2023

Audiobook Review - The Witch In The Well

Title and Author:
The Witch In The Well by Camilla Bruce
Publisher: Transworld
Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: eProof Gifted by UK publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review/reaction, though I listened to audiobook, borrowed from local library
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Hundreds of year ago, the town of F- did something bad. Even now, the ripples of that event affects the town and Catherine Evans has been researching and writing a novel about what happened when Ilsbeth Clark drowned in the local well when the townsfolk accused her of being a witch. According to Catherine Ilsbeth wasn't a witch, but a woman who knew her own mind and who didn't fit the norm of what a woman/wife should be... 

But when her old childhood friend, Elena, comes to town, stuck for an idea to follow up her successful book, Whispers Inside: A Reawakening of the Soul. When she rediscovers the story of Ilsbeth Clark, she thinks that would be a great book idea, focusing on her natural magic, and accidentally mentions her idea in an interview, a rivalry between Catherine and Elena form. 

By the end of the summer, one woman will be dead and the other will be accused of her murder. But did she do it? And who is Ilsbeth Clark, really? An innocent, a witch or something much, much worse?

Tuesday 16 May 2023

Blog Tour Review - If Tomorrow Doesn't Come

I have a blog tour review for you! Brace yourselves, as I don't normally write reviews for blog tours if I can help it. Mainly because I'm always worry about what would happen if I said yes, then I read the book and go "Oh no, I don't like this. Now what?"

But with this, I knew I had to make an exception as when the Write Reads emailed and I read the synopsis for this, I got very excited. A book that tackles queerness, mental health and it's going to be beautiful and yet, utterly heartbreaking. SIGN ME UP!

Title and Author: If Tomorrow Doesn't Come by Jen St. Jude
Publisher: Penguin Random House Children
Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Gifted by UK publisher and PR Blog Tour Company, The Write Reads, in exchange for an honest review/reaction for blog tour. 
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On the morning that Avery Byrne plans to kill herself, the world discovers that an asteroid is heading to Earth and there is only nine days left to live. 

With time running out, Avery rushes to get home to be with her family and the girl she's been in love with her whole life. But can Avery try and save her family, the girl she loves and, maybe, even herself...

Thursday 11 May 2023

May Mini-Review - What Walks These Walls

Another day, another mini-review and this book is one I did a blog tour for! Yes, I finally read a book that I did a blog tour for! WHO WOULD HAVE KNOWN I CAN ACTUALLY DO THIS!?

Title and Author: What Walks These Halls by Amy Clarkin
Publisher: The O'Brien Press
Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Gifted by the publisher in exchange for an honest review/reaction and to partake in online blog tour
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Hyacinth House is the most haunted house in Ireland. So haunted in fact, that it's not reported about at all. Raven doesn't remember what happened in Hyacinth House five years ago. Her father died in that house during a paranormal investigation and, though everyone says it was a terrible accident, Rave is certain that it was her fault.

So when her younger brother, Arthur, decides to start up the family business of paranormal investigating and he's asked to investigate Hyacinth House for a house sale, he can't resist even though Raven is horrified by the idea...

Éabha can see and hear things no one else can. She's not sure if it's emotions from the past, ghosts or something else, but she decides that she has to find out. When she crosses paths with Arthur and his ragtag team of paranormal hunters, she thinks it's a great place to start.

But everyone has a secret or two to hide. And Hyacinth House has its own as well...

Monday 8 May 2023

Extract Of The Suburbs

I have an extract for you all today. And yes, it's a not fantasy or crime. I have checked and yes, I am feeling well. Honest. 

This extract is part of the Tales of the Suburbs by Justin David. Prequel novella of Kissing the Lizard and The Pharmacist and part one of the Welston World Saga, we follow Jamie who dreams of escaping his small town to be with the those strange yet beautiful creatures he sees in Smash Hits magazine. 

But being in a small town under the reign of Margaret Thatcher and trying to discover who you are isn't exactly easy. Over the course of Jamie's teen years where he survives secondary school, teen problems and art college where he follows in love with Billy. But then what? Does he escape to London or return to the safety of West Midlands...?

I am thrilled to be sharing an extract with you guys (this is from chapter two) and, before I share with you all, I just want to say a quick thank you to Petronella at Inkandescent for emailing me and asking if I wanted to be involved). And if you want to say to the author, Justin David, you can hi to him on Twitter at @Justin_Writer &, if you want more info on the book, you can check out either Inkandscape's website at or (if you want to use an affiliate link)!


Friday 5 May 2023

eProof Mini-Review - Green for Danger

I want to write a short, quick mini-review for this and one other books as I am still in the depth of Amazon doing something weird/strange to my account and me trying to figure out what is going on and trying to fix it. Because of that, I wanted to write something short of both of these reviews so you are up-to-date with all my reading. Maybe I should give myself some time off blogging, but I want to do that more over the summer/October... 

Anyway, here is the first mini-review for May. Will it be the last?

Title and Author: Green for Danger by Christianna Brand
Publisher: British Library Crime Classic
Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Gifted by US publisher, Poisoned Pen Press, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review/reaction
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Set in a military hospital during World War Two, a patient dies on the operating table. It's believed by the doctors and nurses that it was a reaction to the anesthia, but when one of the nurses is found stabbed, it's becomes clear that both these cases are murder and are connected.

Tuesday 2 May 2023

Audiobook April - The Murders at Fleat House

As many of you know Lucinda Riley sadly passed away in June 2021 due to cancer and was the best-selling author of the The Seven Sisters (the surprise eighth and final book in the series, Atlas: the Story of Pa Salt was started before her death and her son, Harry Whittaker, finished). But Lucinda touched into different genres and The Murders at Fleat House has an interesting history. 

Lucinda wrote this murder mystery back in 2006. Once written, she put it to one side and it's believed she would return to this once she had finished the Seven Sisters series. After her death, her family discovered the manuscript and, with the lightest of touches, edited and allowed to be published. 

I have never read a Lucinda Riley novel (I do own the first book in the series on my Audible and I would like to listen to it once Amazon figure out what the hell they did to my account!), but I have always wanted to read The Murders At Fleat House, but was saving it. And then, out of nowhere last month, my brain went "Now! I want to listen to this NOW!"

Title and Author: The Murders at Fleat House by Lucinda Riley
Publisher: PanMacmillan
Bought, Gifted or Borrowed: Audiobook Bought and Borrowed via library's audiobook app
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The death of a student at a small private boarding school of St Stephen's sends shockwaves within the school and the head teacher is desperate for it to be a tragic accident. But why would the boy take aspirin when he was deathly allergic to them?

The boy's father demands the Police to look into it and the case prompts the return of Detective Inspector Jasmine 'Jazz' Hunter to the force. Jazz has her reasons for leaving the Met and the Police as a whole but, as a favour for her old boss, she decides to look into the death. 

As she enters the closed world of the boarding school and the boarding house of Fleat House, she discovers that the student was a bully and not well liked. Plus, with it being common knowledge that the student was allergic to aspirin and took drugs to control his epilepsy, it would have been easy to swap his medication. 

But when one of the teachers kills himself and another student vanishes, it looks like Fleat House has a dark secrets and history and Jazz needs to figure out what is going on. And fast.

Friday 21 April 2023

What Extract Walks These Halls

I have a spooOOOOOOooookkky extract for you guys for this blog tour. It was touch and go for a moment due to the saga happening with my Amazon and my kindle at the moment (see previous post for more details on that battle at the moment), but I have an extract and I didn't have to do some late night internet doom scrolling for creepy-yet-cool Irish ghost stories to get you excited for What Walks These Halls by Amy Clarkin. 

Hyacinth House is the most haunted house in Ireland. So haunted in fact, that it's not reported about at all. Raven doesn't remember what happened in Hyacinth House five years ago. Her father died in that house during a paranormal investigation and, though everyone says it was a terrible accident, Rave is certain that it was her fault. 

So when her younger brother, Arthur, decides to start up the family business of paranormal investigating and he's asked to investigate Hyacinth House for a house sale, he can't resist even though Raven is horrified by the idea... 

Éabha can see and hear things no one else can. She's not sure if it's emotions from the past, ghosts or something else, but she decides that she has to find out. When she crosses paths with Arthur and his ragtag team of paranormal hunters, she thinks it's a great place to start. 

But everyone has a secret or two to hide. And Hyacinth House has its own as well... 

Now, I am not the biggest ghost/horror reader, but I couldn't resist reading this (which is what I am doing now. At the time of writing this, I am on page 101), and when asked if I wanted to be involved in this tour, I couldn't say no! 

Now, before I share the extract for you (which is the start of chapter eight), I just want to say a quick thank you to Chloe at the O'Brien Press for asking if I wanted to be involved in this tour. And if you want to know more info about the book, you can check out or (for an affiliate link) Plus, if you want to say hi to Amy, you can via Twitter at @AmyClarkin or Instagram at @amyclarkinwrites.

Now, are we sitting comfortable? Good. Then let us begin...

Wednesday 19 April 2023

Why Do I Bother With Themed Months?

Well, this themed month of mine has been a bit of a train-crash, hasn't it?

I mean, I was hoping to have more listened to more audiobooks or, if not that, then have a few short stories or novels that I can reveal. But, alas, my oh-so-clever plans went out of the window over the Easter weekend.
Allow me to explain as three things happened in quick succession and, because of that, my plans are shot (though I am determined to keep April very audiobook-driven – though I might pop a podcast or two).
First, it took me far longer to finish Green for Danger by Christianna Brand that I was expecting. I thought I would whizz through the book as it’s a Golden Age Murder Mystery and I really enjoyed the writing. But, for some reason, I couldn’t warm to the characters and I tend to read historical fiction a little slower than when I read fantasy or crime in general. So, though I enjoyed it, I read this in a more leisurely way, which knocked one of my reading plans but not badly.
The second (and this one did affect my reading/audiobook plans A LOT) was that I was ill over the Easter weekend. I wasn't feeling great beforehand but I was stubborn and, on Good Friday, I was ill in bed and had the attention span of a cockroach. If I did listen to podcasts or audiobooks, it would be in very short 5-10 minutes sprints and then, I wouldn't go near it again for a good chuck of the weekend. Podcasts became my friends that weekend as I mainly stuck to short, 30 minutes or less episodes that I can tune in and out off (such as The News Agents, My Favourite Murder [the mini-sodes] and a few others that I will need to relisten to as they touch on subjects that am curious over). I have no idea what it was (there's a bug going round that's very cold/flu like so I suppose that) but I was ill for the whole weekend so that ruined my reading/audiobooking (and Easter family meet -ups!). 

The third is one I am still in, which is my Amazon kindle/audible has gone strange. No idea what has happened but let's say I am chatting to Amazon to see if I can fix it. Which means I can't read anything on my kindle at the moment and I have no idea how this will effect the eProofs I need to read for NetGalley (I bet my rating on that is going to go down VERY quickly if I don't figure something out. Or maybe this is a sign to quit book-blogging while I am ahead)... 

Anyway, just wanted to keep you in the loop with my blogging as it's not going to plan. But ha-ho, life happens and not much can be done about it. Hopefully, I will keep my eye on having some fun and, like I said, I am now feeling better so my reading and my audiobook listening is slowly going back on track... 

Thursday 13 April 2023

Audiobook April - Mini-Reviews

Another day, another mini-review write-up on two audiobooks: one I got for review (in exchange for an honest review/reaction, of course) and the other from my local library (because why not!) 

We have (for review) One of Our Ministers Is Missing by Alan Johnson and the other (from library's audiobook app) Miss Marple's Final Cases by Agatha Christie!

Monday 10 April 2023

Audiobook April - Into Shadow Mini-Reviews

HAPPY EASTER MONDAY TO YOU ALL! And here we go with my first Audiobook April.

Welcome to my (hopefully not a complete car-crash of a themed month) Audiobook April. Like I said last month before I took a small, Easter blog holiday, this month is me trying to showcase some lovely audiobooks (and to get my audiobook TBR list down a little). Also, to have a little fun (fun is the name of the game this blogging/reading year)!

So, let’s start with something light, something easy, right? Nope. I listened to something short (my podcast backlog is getting quite long so, hopefully, will be able to have a listen to a few of them this/next month).

What I listened to is two short stories from the Into Shadows collection, a collection of short stories from Amazon. Amazon do a few collections of Amazon Original Stories, all short stories or novellas that, they hope, you will be able to read or listen to in one sitting. Very similar to Quick Reads.

The two am going to chat briefly about are The Six Deaths of the Saint by Alix E. Harrow (narrated by Saskia Maarleveld) and What the Dead Know by Nghi Vo (narrated by Natalie Naudus).

In The Six Deaths of the Saint, the Saint of War comes to an ill servant girl so she can fulfil her destiny to come the kingdom’s greatest warrior. But will it be worth it?

In What The Dead Know, a woman posing as a medium finds herself trapped in a school due to a blizzard starts to hear something. A voice in the dark that wants to be heard…

Wednesday 29 March 2023

Theakston Old Peculiar Crime Writing Festival 2023 - Press Release

















20-23 July 2023 | Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate | #TheakstonsCrime 




Harrogate, Tuesday 28 March 2023. Harrogate International Festivals has today announced the programme for this year’s 20th anniversary Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, the world’s largest celebration of crime fiction and thriller writing, which runs from 20 – 23 July 2023 at Harrogate’s Old Swan Hotel.


The 2023 Festival Chair, award winning crime and thriller author Vaseem Khan, has curated a ground-breaking programme. Alongside the special guests headlining the Festival, including literary legends Lee Child, Andrew Child, Lisa Jewell, Ruth Ware, Ann Cleeves, Jeffery Deaver, Lucy Worsley, S. A. Cosby, Val McDermid, and Chris Hammer, the full programme includes some of the biggest names in crime fiction.


Exploring everything from the perfect murderous opening, police procedurals and dark obsessions to legal thrillers and the golden age of crime, this year’s 20th anniversary programme will see a variety of acclaimed crime and thriller authors discussing the genre and influences on their writing, including Janice Hallett, Shari Lapena, Louise Candlish, Abir Mukherjee, Steve Cavanagh, Elly Griffiths, Ragnar Jónasson, Clare Mackintosh, Mick Herron, Will Dean, Laura Shepherd-Robinson, Chris Brookmyre, and many more!


The Festival will start with Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award ceremony, where the winner of crime writing’s most prestigious accolade will be revealed alongside the recipient of the Outstanding Contribution to Crime Fiction Award.


This year’s Festival also includes two ‘who dunnit?’ themed author dinners, giving a unique opportunity for crime fans to get to know authors in a fun and informal environment. Richard Armitage, Stuart Neville, David Hewson, Emma Christie, Steph Broadribb, Alex Dahl, Greg Mosse, Leigh Russell, S.E. Lynes and many others will partake in a murder mystery with a twist!


The all-star line-up of events includes the return of Val McDermid’s New Blood panel, celebrating four brilliant debut crime writers, and the popularLate-Night Quiz, hosted by McDermid and Mark Billingham, armed with trivia, titles and tricks to test the knowledge of crime fiction fanatics. 


Vaseem Khan, award winning author and 2023 Festival Chair, said: “It’s a privilege to chair this year’s Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival. My late father and I watched Poirot together and we’d never imagined that decades later I would chair a Festival so closely connected to Agatha Christie. It feels special to be the first British Asian crime writer to chair the Festival, and even more special for the monumental 20th anniversary. The Festival team have pulled together an Avengers Assemble line-up of crime writers to celebrate the monumental anniversary. You’d be (criminally) insane to miss it."


Sharon Canavar, Chief Executive of Harrogate International Festivals, added“This year marks 20 years since the Festival launched in Harrogate, and what wonderful two decades we’ve had celebrating the world of crime fiction. In that time, the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival has welcomed some of the biggest names in crime fiction and this year is no exception. In collaboration with our 2023 Festival Chair, Vaseem Khan, we are delighted to announce this year’s full programme for what will be the best Festival yet!”


Simon Theakston, Executive Director of Theakston, commented“This year’s Festival will be another monumental event for the world of crime fiction. It has been a pleasure to be a part of the Festival over the past 20 years and following the full programme announcement, I am thoroughly looking forward to celebrating once again at the world’s best crime writing Festival over a pint of Old Peculier!”