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
Buy From (Affiliate):

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
But From (Affiliate):

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!)