Friday 19 April 2024

Neverending Reread List

 I am going to admit that my To Be Read list is very out of control (at the time of writing this, Goodreads and StoryGraph both tell me I have over 400 books that I would like to read one day). Some are recent, others have been on my shelves (both physical and electronic) for a very, very, very long time. 

But I love a good reread. And I discovered that I didn’t do any last year as I had too much to read and review. So, this year, I want to allow myself the chance to reread stories that itch at me and beg for the chance. 

Now, I have several on my radar and I have openly chatted about and I am making plans to attack them (or at least start) over the course of the Spring and Summer months. Plus, there are a few others that are sitting patiently on my kindle and I know that holding them off to next year isn’t going to be an opinion. I sense I might have to allow myself a month of hardcore rereading pleasure.

Now, before I chat about some of the titles, I will be putting affiliate links to bookshop.org to some titles (not all as I do ramble) so if any titles tickle your fancy and you want more details, you can click there and research. But if you want to use Amazon, Waterstones, Foyles or any other bookseller (indie or otherwise), please do so. Let’s share the bookish love!

Wednesday 17 April 2024

Golden Age of Crime TBR

As you guys know, I love my fantasy and crime reading. These (YA, middle-grade, adult, New Adult, etc) is my bread and butter when it comes to reading. But with the role of being a book blogger, you feel guilty if you’re not reading the newest or newer releases compared to books that were written and published decades go. Yes, I feel this guilt all the time and, remember, when I first started blogging 14-odd years ago, I focus SOLELY on YA fiction whereas now, I am a magpie and love to take risks with my reading/reviewing (sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t). 

And because I go flit about with my reading and my podcast listening when it comes to fiction, I wanted to make a small(ish) post about some crime titles I have on my “I Will Read You One Day” list that fit in the “Golden Age of Detective Fiction” (for those of you curious, the years most people class as this Golden Age is 1920s and 1930s). 

Now, I am not going to reference EVERY book that fits this term that’s on my To Be Read List as we will be here all day, but I wanted to pick a few out as, I am hoping that if I do, it will make me more likely to read them this year. Now, before I go any further, I have a good mix of books that I have bought, am borrowing from my library and titles that were gifted to be by the publisher in exchange for an honest review, so I will make this a short (for me) post and I will let you know if the title I am chatting about is a gifted book for review as I will put a * by the title. Plus, I will put links to bookshop.org, which will be affiliate. 

Now, get your Jessica Fletcher on and let’s begin!

Thursday 21 March 2024

eProof Review - Rough Justice

The last few months of reading for me has been all over the place. I know I have blogged my reading earlier this month of Evil Under The Sun and Bedknobs and Broomsticks earlier this month, then me DNFing The Glutton by A.K. Blakemore & The Doctor’s Mistress by Daniel Hurst and then reading the platter-cleanse reading Tristan and Lancelot: A Tale of Two Knights by James Persichetti & L.S. Biehler. Maybe I am being more brutal with reading things that make me happy and if it’s not, bye bye or maybe I’m struggling and I need a better balance (maybe I need to do a book cult). 

That’s tomorrow’s challenge, me thinks. After Apple Fitness+ yoga… 

But let’s change the subject. Completely. With something a little different. 

Title and Author:
Rough Justice by Her Honour Wendy Joseph KC
Publisher: Transworld
Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Gifted by UK publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review/reaction
Buy From (affiliate): https://uk.bookshop.org/

Old Bailey judge Her Honour Wendy Joseph KC talks the reader through four very different cases, each looking at the women in the dock and wonders how easy it is for any one of us to be in a court, whether that be a member of the jury, a witness or the person on trial. And, as she looks into these four cases, she discovers horrifying similarities between now and possible miscarriages of justice from years ago and wonders if the law has changed and how the law affects the marginalised and the easily exploited?

Friday 15 March 2024

The Glutton - Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize


To celebrate the longlist for this year’s Dylan Thomas Prize (and the shortlist to be announced on Thursday 21st March), a bunch of book bloggers were asked very kindly if they fancied read one of the books on the longlist. One of them was me and it was a mystery which book I was going to get to read as I wanted it to be a surprise. 

The Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize is an award gifted annually and is opened to published writers in the English language under the age of forty. Let me put the link to Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize here so you can read more details at your leisure. 

Now, like I said earlier, it was surprise which book from the longlist I was going to get for review and, I will be honest, the title that was sent to me was one of titles I didn’t want. But, I knew whatever title I was going to receive, I was going to start reading that very day as I do always like a challenge and to try something new. 

The book in question: The Glutton by A.K. Blakemore. 

Title and Author:
The Glutton by A.K. Blakemore
Publisher: Granta Books
Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Gifted by PR company, Midas Campaigns, in exchange for an honest review/reaction
Buy From (Affiliate): uk.bookshop.org

Inspired by the French showman and solider Tarare (sometimes spelt Tarar) who lived from 1772 to 1798, we start the book with Sister Perpetue who is caring for a frail, dying man. A man who is once famed for having a ferocious appetite, the man who was once called the Great Tarare, The Glutton of Lyon. A man rumoured to have eaten a child. 

As this man tells his story, we see him from his humble beginnings and, as unrest slowly begins to grip France, a violent act leaves Tarare left for dead and his hunger awaken…

Sunday 10 March 2024

Let’s Lie and Play Mafia


You guys know I am a huge fans of the BBC show The Traitors, right? Same with the movies Knives Out and Glass Onion? So, the idea of these two being mashed together in a book excites me hugely. You can see where this is going, right? When the lovely people at Firefly Press asked if I wanted to be involved in a blog tour to celebrate the release of Lie Or Die by A.J. Clack, I knew I had to jump on it. 

Before I go any further, let me tell you about Lie Or Die. Kass is tricked by her best mate to get involved in a new TV reality show. Imagine Big Brother meets The Traitors and you get the idea. Ten contestants, one studio, forty four remote cameras. But when contestants start dying (for real), Kass and her fellow contestants are no longer fighting to win the game, but gifting for survival. 

I am thrilled that A.J. Clack has written a small guest post for this tour (and for this tiny little blog) about the game that inspired their debut: Mafia (sometimes is called Werewolf). I have never heard of this so quick Google/Wiki search for me, but I bet you guys know the game. If not, am going to pop a YouTube video below so you can watch…



Now we are all on the same page, I can hand over to A.J. Clack and their tips on playing Mafia/Werewolf. But before I do, I want to say a huge thank you to A.J. for writing this guest post and to Graeme at Firefly for emailing me and chatting about Lie Or Die. And if you’re curious over the book, you can check out either Firefly Press’s website or via Bookshop.org (Affiliate Link)

With that out of the way, let’s lie, cheat and murder… 

Friday 8 March 2024

Mini Catch-Up

Oh, the joy of blogger’s guilt. Been blogging for over 14 years (flipping heck, feeling old in book blogosphere! Hey Siri, play something young as I AM YOUNG, DAMNIT!) and, after a period of time, if you’re not blogging, you feel guilty for not blogging and chat about reads past, present and future. 

Plus, been going through a bit of a blogging/real life slowdown. Nothing wrong with that, but let me touch base with you as you guys know I haven’t vanished off the face of the earth with me blogging and reading (though if you follow me on my socials, you know I am very active). 

The main audiobook I listened to since we last chatted was Evil Under the Sun by Agatha Christie (affiliate link to bookshop.org is here). It seems that I might be considering doing an Agatha Christie a month or an Golden Age Mystery a month as I seem to have a load of these on my To Be Read lists (either on my physical shelves, my e-reader shelves or on my radar to investigate at a later date). Now, this seems to be one of the faves of the Poirot fans as it ticks all the boxes: a closed circle mystery of suspect on an holiday island off the coast, a messy love triangle (of sorts) and Poirot at his finest. I can see why fans of Agatha Christie rate this so highly. There is elements that are stuck in its time (the sexism at the end of the book where a successful businesswoman is told to quit her business so she can marry and be a good little wife left a sour taste in the mouth) and the case hinging on a lot of chance/luck…

Am I going to do another Christie this month? Yes, I think I am. I am leaning over between 3 titles (maybe a poll is needed on my socials?) and i am eyeing my British Library Crime Classics (I have one I am desperate to read but saving that for nearer the General Election as the murder is set at the Houses of Parliament). Would you guys like to know the British Library Crime Classics on my TBR? I am very tempted to blog them as they are a weird little mix…

Because I was having a bit of a DNFing blitz, I wanted to read something comforting but I wasn’t in the mood to reread (something I do want to do this year as I did NO REREADING last year. At ALL! I have three books I want to try and reread this year so hopefully, will attack them before the year is out). So, I dived into Mary Norton’s Bedknobs and Broomsticks 
(affiliate link to bookshop.org is here). This is a bind up of two stories (The Magic Bedknob and Bonfires and Broomsticks), which acts as the inspiration to the Disney movie, starring Angela Lansbury (I adore this movie. Yes, it’s trying too hard to be catch the success of Mary Poppins). And it was a delightfully cosy read but oh my, SO DIFFERENT from the movie. Yes, I knew going into this that the books were inspiration for the movie so there will be huge changes, but I was shocked on how different the two medias were and how dark the book got compared to the movie (yes, the movie is set during the Second World War, but we saw no one die. In the book, we saw someone get nearly burnt at the stake for being a witch).

But it was a nice read. Something I desperately needed as I go into reading some non-fiction (Rough Justice by Her Honour Wendy Joseph KC) and some literary/historical fiction (The Glutton by A…). Don’t worry, normal reading (and I use the term “normal” loosely) will return as I suspect that once these are done, I will be attacking my NetGalley backlog of audiobooks and eProofs (sorry in advance).

Wednesday 21 February 2024

eProof Review - The Mystery Guest

Oh boy, where do I start with The Mystery Guest? I liked the first outing with Molly, The Maid, but when I discovered that there was going to be a sequel, I was very hesitant over the announcement. To me, The Maid felt really good and fairly solid as a stand-alone and, because of this, I couldn’t see how the sequel would work.

Title and Author: The Mystery Guest by Nita Prose
Publisher: HarperCollins
Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Gifted by UK publisher via NetGalley in exchange for honest review/reaction
Buy From (Affiliate): uk.bookshop.org

Set around four years after the events of The Maid, Molly is now Head Maid at the Regency Hotel and the hotel is about to open its new Tearoom with a reclusive author doing a press conference. But when the author falls dead before he could announce his news, Molly finds her trying to figure out what is happening at the hotel.

Thursday 15 February 2024

Book Review - The Fury

Like I said in my previous post this week (The Spy Coast by Tess Gerritsen), I bought this after a job interview as a treat to self. I thought I did really well in the interview (I get really nervous in interviews) and went into Foyles and got a signed copy. Now, I wouldn’t have picked this up if it wasn’t for an interview did on a podcast I listen to call All About Agatha, and I was so intrigued by one or two of the details, I knew I would have to buy it. 

I, sadly, didn’t the job, in case you were wondering. 

Title and Author: The Fury by Alex Michaelides
Publisher: Michael Joseph
Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Bought
Buy From (Affiliate): uk.bookshop.org

Seven guests go to a private Greek island. One of them being the former movie star, Lana Ferrar. Here, she hopes that she and her guests can unwind and enjoy themselves. 

But when the island gets suddenly cut off by violent winds, something awful happens. One of them is murdered and one of them is the killer… 

Tuesday 13 February 2024

Audiobook Review - The Spy Coast

Normally, I usually like a post up on here once a week. Otherwise, the blogger anxiety kicks in and I feel like I have failed as a book blogger (even though, compared to other cooler blogosphere [on booksagram, booktube or booktok and other places], my little corner of the Internet is tiny!) and I know I shouldn’t worry so much, but I do. I should practice what I preach over doing this your way and no one else. 

Anyway, no blog posts last week and two this week. One audiobook that I preordered and one physical that I treated self to after I did a job interview that I thought I did really well (I didn’t get the job so can’t of gone that well). Now, getting sidetracked so let me get the details of this preordered audiobook up and then we can have a chat. 

Title and Author: The Spy Coast by Tess Gerritsen
Publisher: Penguin
Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Bought
Buy From (Affiliate): uk.bookshop.org

The first in the Martini Club series, The Spy Coast follows Maggie Bird in Purity, Maine. She’s a nice neighbour, loves her chickens and is a good shot with a gun. She, also, doesn’t talk about her past. 

So, when an unidentified body is dumped on her drive while she was at “book club”, Maggie realises that the past is coming for her. 

She and her fellow book club members (former spies for US government) must find out what is going on and why quickly is Maggie wants to keep her new, peaceful life. But the past is a tricky thing and Maggie’s past might get her killed…

Friday 2 February 2024

One Last Song Extract

I have an extract for you, with thanks for the lovely people at Inkandescent, that should get the weekend off on the right foot! 

One Last Song by Nathan Evan is a queer novella about Jim and Joan, two gentlemen in a care home and what happens when Joan arrives, a whirlwind that triggers Jim. The battle is on, but under both their armour plating, both are hiding sides of themselves…

I’m not going to go too in-depth over this as I have plans to read this myself and I want to know as little as possible. It sounds like something that will tickle me pink (no pun intend) and I might plan someone on Instagram when I do start reading it. 

Before I go any further, I want to thank Justin at Inkandescent for emailing me and asking if I wanted to share this book (and sorry for not being able to come to the book launch yesterday! Oh, the joys of being unemployed!). And, if you want to know more info about the book, you can go and check out either Inkandescent.co.uk or uk.bookshop.org (this is an affiliate link, FYI). 

Are we ready? LET’S GO!!!

Wednesday 31 January 2024

Book Review - Goddess Crown

You know that feeling when you randomly discover a book and you go “I need to read this as soon as I can”? It’s almost a physical reaction. Well, that was me when I first heard of Goddess Crown by Shade Lapite. It just ticked all the boxes for me: a standalone fantasy with deep inspiration of Nigerian mythology. And as soon as I got an Advance Reader Proof copy front the publisher, I practically dropped what I was reading and started this. 

Title and Author: Goddess Crown by Shade Lapite
Publisher: Walker Books
Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Gifted by UK publisher in exchange for an honest review/reaction
Buy From (Affiliate): uk.bookshop.org

Kalothia has grown up in the shadow of the her kingdom, hidden away after her parents were outed as enemies of the king. But when assassins attack her home and kill her guardians on her sixteenth birthday, Kalothia is forced to flee and finds herself in the king’s court.

But the king’s court is no safer. Men think they are entitled and someone is plotting against her. How far will Kalothia be willing to go to keep herself and the kingdom safe?

Saturday 27 January 2024

Audiobook Blog Tour - We Play Games


My first blog tour of 2024! Feels like I’ve not done one of these in a while, and we start with a domestic thriller with a twist. 

Title and Author: We Play Games by Sarah A Denzil
Publisher: Audible
Bought, Gifted or Borrowed: Gifted by Midas Campaigns on behalf of Audible for review in exchange for an honest review/reaction. 
Listen from (Non-Affiliate): Audible 

Ben and Effie have moved to the beautiful yet exclusive Ivy Oaks and they look like there are the perfect couple. Beautiful, wealthy, friendly. But behind the smiles, both Ben and Effie are dark hearted and like to play games. Games that will hurt other people and rip communities apart. And Ivy Oaks seems like the perfect place to do one of their games. 

The couple has two rules: no lies, no ties. But Ben has broken these rules and Effie is beginning to realise that. Soon, not only are the pair scheme and manipulate the people around them, but they are doing it to each other. 

For this game is their final. Losing isn’t an option for either of them. Let the games begin…

Thursday 25 January 2024

eProof Review - Ink Blood Sister Scribe

One of my bookish resolution of 2024 is to try and get my eProof backlog under control. I do have a lot of books and audiobooks gifted to me very kindly by publishers and authors, and I would like to try and tackle this backlog.

One of the titles that have been on my backlog radar is Ink Blood Sister Scribe by Emma Törzs, It’s one of those titles that tickled my fancy for quite a while, but, for one reason or another, I’ve kept putting it off. But, with everything that has happened to my reading over the past few months, I decided to audiobook this from my local library and hope I will fly through it.

Title and Author: Ink Blood Sister Scribe by Emma Törzs
Publisher: Penguin
Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: eProof gifted by UK publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review/reaction & library audiobook.
Buy from (Affiliate): uk.bookshop.org

In this fantasy thriller debut, we follow estranged sisters Joanna and Esther. Joanna lives alone in Vermont, the sole protector of a collection of rare magical books. One of these books killed their father.

Esther moves every few months. Different country, different jobs, staying no longer than a year, desperate to avoid the magic that her father and stepmother warned her about. But she’s found love on a research base in Antarctica and she wants to stay… then she discovers blood on the mirrors and she knows someone on the base is using blood magic and they are coming after her and her sister’s collection.

Esther and Joanna are in danger. But from who and where? And how is this connected to a young man in London who's uncle won’t let him out of his sight?

Friday 12 January 2024

Audiobook Review - Lord Edgware Dies

Because of the events of the last few months with my employment and, because of this, falling into a bit of a reading/audiobook slump, I had no plans to do a library audiobook for a while. I am desperate to get my TBR piles of books/audiobooks publishers have kindly gifted me (in exchange for an honest review/reaction) under some control (remember last April when my Amazon was hacked/deleted and all my proofs were wiped off my kindle? I am still affected by that!). 

But I couldn’t bring myself to start audiobooking one of my many audiobooks that I have got from publishers or bought myself. I just wasn’t in that headspace. I needed something short, something I can listen to really quickly and that would kick me out of my audiobook slump. 

Then this became available on my library’s audiobook app. And who doesn’t love a classic murder mystery? 

Title and Author: Lord Edgware Dies by Agatha Christie
Publisher: HarperCollins
Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Borrowed via library’s audiobook app
Buy from (Affiliate): uk.bookshop.org

In Poirot’s ninth outing, after seeing an impressionist performance of Carlotta Adams, Poirot is approached by the actress Jane Wilkinson. She is currently married to Lord Edgware and, according to her, he will not give her a divorce and asks Poirot for help. Though Poirot doesn’t get involved, he agrees and visits Lord Edgware where he discovers that Lord Edgware is happy to give a divorce and wrote a letter to let Jane know. 

Poirot tells Jane Wilkinson and she is thrilled over the news, and Poirot thinks that is that. Except the following day, Poirot discovers that Lord Edgware has been murdered. Stabbed at the base of the skull, and witnesses say that they saw Jane Wilkinson at the family home at the time of the murder. But that can’t be possible as she had been at a party and there are twelve witnesses that can testify to that. 

Is it possible for a woman to be in two places at once? Who murdered Lord Edgware? How is it connected to a drugs overdose of Carlotta Adams? And how did a chance remark from a stranger help Poirot come to the truth?

Tuesday 9 January 2024

eProof Review - The Butcher Of The Forest

Happy First Read of 2024! Fingers crossed all your have been fun and great. 

Mine? Not so much. You’ll see why in the moment in gif form and for that, I do apologise. 

Anyway, let me get all the details for you and we can get this party started!

Title and Author: The Butcher Of The Forest by Premee Mohamed
Publisher: Titan Books
Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Gifted by UK publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review/reaction.
Buy from (Affiliate): uk.bookshop.org

In the dark, fairytale-like novella, a ruthless Tyrant forces an ordinary woman into an enchanted forest to retrieve his two missing children. The enchanted forest is full of dark things and won’t let the heirs go easily. And the woman isn’t as ordinary as she’s the only person known to have gone into the forest and to have come out again, all to save a child. 

If the woman fails, all she lives will be destroyed. So, she must step carefully as one misstep could be the end of everything…

Friday 5 January 2024

Audiobook Review - Mother Daughter Murder Night

Let’s start the blogging new year with one of the rare audiobooks I listened to over the December period (I would have listened to more, but I was made redundant and it effected my reading and audiobooking more than I realised). Now, this one I bought and I started this, thinking it would be one thing but it turned into another. 

Title and Author: Mother Daughter Murder Night by Nina Simon
Publisher: HarperCollins
Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Audiobook Purchased
Buy From (Affiliate): uk.bookshop.org

Lana Rubicon is a high-powered businesswoman with lots of be proud of. But when she faints one morning and discovers that she has cancer, Lana is forced to live her with estranged daughter, Beth, and her granddaughter, Jack. 

When Beth discovers a body while kayaking one morning, one of the male lead detectives believes she is a prime suspect, much to Lana’s furious. While Beth wants Lana to recover and stay out of it, Lana can’t. She doesn’t trust the Police, even though the female lead detective seems to have a good head on her shoulders. Lana decides to look into the case herself and prove Jack’s innocence - even if that means putting on a wig and leaving the house for the the first time in months. 

Soon, all three Rubicon women are looking into the murder. Butt can a murder really bring these three very different women together? And will they catch the killer?

Wednesday 3 January 2024

Happy 2024!

Hello and happy 2024! How we all feeling so far? Have you enjoyed the festive season and looking forward to this fresh new year? 

As you probably noticed, I took December off. It happened by accident. Due to redundancy in November, my reading and my attention span to audiobooks took a hit and, by the time I realised, I went “Well, I usually take a few weeks off over Christmas and New Year, why not start now and return in January…?”

So that is what I did. It helped as I decided to tackle so books on my To Be Read list that are a little bigger and longer than my normal reads and pick some titles that have been on my list for FAR TOO LONG!

While I await the new series of The Traitors to start tonight (anyone else excited?!), I might as well chat about some (not all) of the books I read over the Christmas period. 

Most of these are short stories or novellas. Don’t get too excited. 

Choice by Jodi Picoult is a 40-odd minute long audiobook, which came from the Wade vs Roe overturning that happened in USA, and the fact that states decided that ban legal abortions, even if the woman was a victim of rape or incest or if the abortion will save the women’s life. In this shorty story, men are beginning to wake up pregnant and women aren’t, and follows a recently broken up couple where, on the morning of getting a huge promotion, James finds out he is pregnant and, because of this, is refused the promotion and Margot, a social worker, is seeing young, desperate teenage boys who are pregnant and are begging for help. help she can’t provide because, if she did, she would be arrested. 

This turns on the tables on the US Supreme Court overturning Wade vs Roe and, while looking at sexism and why choice is so important. I wish this was longer than 40 minutes as I would love for it to go further, but is hugely timely. 

Another short novella I read during December was The Invitation by Ajay Chowdhury. Taken place after the events of the third book in the series, The Detective, it follows Kamil Rahman who offers to help his boss, Anjoli, when she receives a strange email entitled Beheading. Claiming it’s an invite to the Tower of London to celebrate the 500 year anniversary since Anne Boleyn’s beheading, the pair go. But when they get there, things take a sinister turn when they discover an old uni friend of Anjoli has been kidnappped and they are against the clock to save her… 

I have been meaning to read Ajay Chowdhury for YEARS now. Even since the first book in the series, The Waiter, first came out but I never get round to it. So, when I saw this short story and it was free, I jumped on it and devoured in almost one sitting, just like Choice… In 2024, I will be reading The Waiter

I read one more short story (an MM romance called Not In It For the Money by Gabbi Grey - which was a nice quick read that I read in less than 20 minutes) and I quit a ebook (that I purchased for free so no guilt) at the 60% mark called 1st Shock by Misty Evans and Adrienne Giordano. It wasn’t for me as was a tad too dry for my tastes. 

I did audiobook and read a few novels over December and I will probably chat to you about one or two in the coming days/week. 

So, Happy 2024! I hope your reading over the festive period was fun and your 22024 reading will be a delight!!!