Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Down The TBR Rabbit Hole

I found this randomly at the weekend on a book blog I have never read before and I loved the idea so much, I had to "borrow" it. The blog I saw this on was A Cascade of Books and the original idea came from another book blog I have never read called Lost In A Story.

And I call myself a book blogger and I fail at keeping up with the young, cool, hip, new book bloggers. I am basically this gif:


Getting away from the point! Anyway, this blog meme idea is basically go to your Goodreads TBR shelf, put it in ascending order (so oldest titles first), take the first 5/10/whatever number you fancy, read the synopsis and decide whether you want to keep them or let it go?


Oh, come on! How could I not put this here?! 

Now, I checked my list and, out of the five am going to talk about, four live on my kindle and one is a physical book. So this is going to be interesting/terrifying for my kindle. Let's get this over and done with...

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

NetGalley Declined - The Revenge

Why do I keep writing these types of posts, I hear you ask. I mean, I've done them a few times before - once in 2015, second in 2016 and a third earlier this year - so why is it back again? This should be a yearly thing.

Well, I have a lot of eProofs/NetGalleys on my kindle (a few days ago, my NetGalley TBR folder [which I made recently on my kindle so I can keep up] went over 60 - insert nervous laughter here). But, I get a weird thrill when a publisher rejects me on NetGalley. It can be for a number of research - haven't got high enough score, not exactly the book blogger they want to read this, the genre of this story isn't a genre I read, etc.

But I like writing these as they show you guys several things.
- One: there are other books out there that I don't read. Go forth and discover them!
- Two: I am trying to read more widely and push myself out of my comfort zone.
- Three: And, finally, just because I am a book blogger , it doesn't mean I get every story I want to read from the publishers.

I'm going to show you all my declined NetGalleys - that would take too long - but I want to show you a tiny handful, explain why I requested it and thoughts and reactions to them now... So, let's get started!

THE MARSH KING'S DAUGHTER by Karen Dionne
(Little Brown/Sphere - Goodreads Link)
For most of this year, I have been on the lookout for thrillers that have an edge to them. Something that makes them standout. I have been ready for a thriller that has so many twists and "OMG!" moments. And this looks like perfectly creepy and twisty. I have seen it in shops recently and I am still tempted to go out and read this. And with winter just round the corner (we're on the home straight of leaving this ghastly season known as summer!), this might be one I have to look into...

CRAZY HOUSE by James Patterson & Gabrielle Charbonnet
(Random House/Cornerstone - Goodreads Link)
I have no idea why I requested this. I really don't. Whenever I read or attempt to read James Patterson, I end up getting hugely annoyed. He pulls the same tricks over and over and over again and it always feel like he never brings anything new to the table for me. But the idea for this intrigued me, hence why I requested it. But, you know what, dear reader? Am kinda relieved that I was declined on this one. James Patterson just doesn't work for me any more and I need to make my peace with that and move on...

CARNIVALESQUE by Neil Jordan
(Bloomsbury/Circus - Goodreads Link
Does the cover look lovely? This is the main reason why I requested this - the cover. Plus, it had a vibe of Erin Morgenstern's The Night Circus (a book I read years ago and I really want to reread in the next 12 months, hopefully), which was a small bonus. And with one of the selling points being a young man's reflection comes out of a mirror and starts living his life both intrigues and terrifies me. I have fears of my reflection coming out of the mirror. And while I was a little disappointed over being declined for this, I have seen other people's reviews to this book and I sense I had a bit of a lucky escape... It's not awful, but it wouldn't live up the the Night Circus, which I had put on it.

ALL THAT SHE CAN SEE by Carrie Hope Fletcher
(Little Brown/Sphere - Goodreads Link)
I do watch Carrie's videos on YouTube and I wanted to read her latest because I'm curious. It seems to be a thing recently that publishers are publishing YouTube stars books and they feel a bit of a cash-in. But with Carrie, it felt like she's hugely passionate about writing and books. Because of this, I was curious to read this. It might not be my cup of tea (the blurb does seem a little sugary-sweet for my taste), but I do want to try new things. Plus, this book reminded mea book I read many, many years ago called The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen, which had the same gentle magic sprinkled in.

CIRCE by Madeline Miller
(Bloomsbury - Goodreads Link
I know! I KNOW! I still haven't read The Song of Achilles yet. I KNOW! And still, I went ahead and requested this. Because I got so excited to see this when I saw it on NetGalley, I requested without thinking. I have EVERY plan to read Sonf of Achilles. I will. And, hopefully, this was going to kick-start it for me. I was declined, which is probably for the best, which means now I have to find/make time to read Song of Achilles before Circe comes out next year. I WILL DO IT ... I hope...

Sunday, 20 August 2017

30 Minute Writing Sprint - Week 3

Ok, I know this is week 4. But last week I got a little busy so I forgot. Whoops! BUT, I did write a short story and submitted it to Shift, where they asked for something Halloween-themed. It's the first time I've submitted something in a very, very, very long time so am quite scared of their reaction and their feedback, if they do that. So ARGH to that!

Anyway, the week's 30 Minute Writing Sprint. I decided, for a reason I'm not 100% certain on, to ask Twitter what I should attempt to write. So, you voted for this. This is all on you!

Friday, 18 August 2017

The Potion Diaries Contest!

SURPRISE!!! Another Contest for you guys!

Thanks again to the lovely Hannah at Simon & Schuster UK, I have a entire trilogy of Potion Diaries to give away!

That includes The Potion Diaries, Royal Tour and the latest book in the series, Going Viral.

For those of us who don't know the series, the first book starts with the Princess of Nova accidentally poisoning herself. Not with poison but a love potion meant for her crush. Now, she's in love with her own reflection.

Enter Samantha Kemi, a girl whose family was once the most respected alchemists in the kingdom. Was - past tense. With a nationwide hunt to find the cure and competitors travelling far and wide to find rare ingredients, can Sam really compete to save her family and the princess? And how close is Same willing to get with Zain Aster, former classmate and now enemy?

And oh, just to make things a little more complex, the quest is all over social media. And the news. No biggie... right?

So, my lovelies, if you want to get into this series, all you have to do is fill in the form below!

Boring info time now: This is a UK only contest and you had till 5pm on Tuesday 22nd August! The winner will be picked at random via random.org and will be emailed sometime that evening to get contact information (aka how the publisher can send your winnings!).

All that is left to say is good luck!

Thursday, 17 August 2017

DNFing (For Now) Rubyfruit Jungle

As you guys are probably aware, I wanted to read an LGBTQIA+ book last month. I had big plans for this, but Invasion of the Tearling threw those plans and my plans for this month kinda out of the window.

But I wanted to read a LGBT+ book before I got attacking my Advance Reader Copies and eProofs (my kindle is getting a little angry at me that I haven't read it in MONTHS!!!). And the lovely people at Penguin Platform sent me two books to promote their #PrideBookClub - Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda and Rubyfruit Jungle. Now, I knew nothing about Rubyfruit Jungle so decided to go into that.

And I stopped after a few chapters. I didn't click with the voice of the main character and... well...  after everything that I have been reading lately (the word am going to use is "heavy") and all the news and awfulness in the world (I fear for humanity and am terrified for future generations), I decided very quickly to put it down and read something fun, silly and a beach/candy-floss read.

And this is ok. It's ok to go "You know what? I'm not in the right frame of mind for this. I still want to read this so, am going to put this on hold and read other things before I come back." And I am planning to go back to this before the year's out. Or I will try.

But this is on hold, for now. Now, to read fun stories and listen to music full blast while I do so!

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Book Review - Two Nights

As you guys know, I am a bit of a fan of Kathy Reichs. And it's been a while since I read a good thriller lately, so when I heard that her latest was a standalone, I got excited and a little nervous. So, I requested madly on NetGalley and started trying to power-read it once I finished Invasion of the Tearling when I knew I was going to an event where Kathy Reichs was at (want to read my write-up? TA-DAH!!!).

Well, I finished this last week (just before my blog break, FYI) and I've had time to thing about my thoughts and feels on this. But before I go head-first, let's talk about that this is about.

Sunday Night is a woman with scars - both physical and psychological - and a woman who is running from her past, burying secrets and trying to build a life as far removed from her childhood as possible.

But someone comes to her for a job, needing a private investigator, Sunnie feels like she has to take it. A girl is missing and Sunnie is drawn to this child. And the child vanished mere moments after a bomb went off outside a Jewish school, killing her mother and brother. Is the girl dead, snatched or has something more terrifying and disturbing happened?

As Sunnie hunts down the truth, her past begins to blur with her present and soon, one has wonder how connected Sunnie and this child is...

Ok, now it's time to talk about this. If I am honest, it's not the best Kathy Reichs I've read, but it's solid. It's fast-paced, full of action, drama and the twists kept me on my toes. All very Kathy Reichs.  I can see this working as a mini TV drama (three episodes, maybe, to keep the plot and action tight) and I can see this being the start of a new series (which I would be on board with).

However - yes, there is a however. Like I said, this isn't my fave Kathy Reichs. There are things that people won't warm to. For a start, Sunday Night isn't Temperance Brennan. People are going to compare - I did for a first few pages. This is natural. But, unlike Tempe who is warm and relatable, Sunnie is cold and very prickly. It takes time to warm to her as a character. I liked characters like this but I know some of you won't - plus, with Sunnie not apologising for her coldness, some of you won't like her at all.

While I liked the pacing and the twists, there's something about the story that doesn't right with me. I like the ideas and theories Kathy throws at us - cults, home-grown terrorism, zealots, etc - but there were times I did feel a little overwhelmed. It's as if Kathy was throwing a lot of ideas at the wall and seeing what would stick. It felt messy at times.

Though there were moments that I felt disjoined from the book, I did like it. Maybe not as much compared to other Kathy Reichs's novels but it's refreshing to see an author try and write new characters and ideas outside their series. And I do think Two Nights would make a good TV adaption and is a good solid start to a series, if Kathy wants to return to Sunday Night and her complex backstory. If for nothing else, I want to spend more time with Sunday's brother, August...

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Sneak Peek Into My NetGalley TBR

I sense this is going to be a running thing on the blog, but as some of you know, my NetGalley TBR folder on my kindle is getting out of hand! I have over 50 at the moment and I might need to do a cull.

For those of you that don't know what I mean by NetGalley, NetGalley is a website publishers use to give away ebook versions of advance reader copies of upcoming novels for librarians, booksellers, bloggers/vloggers and other people.

After resisting for a long time, I got an account and... well, it's far too easy to request an eProof and to be accept (publishers, you can decline me if you want. I get thrilled when I get a "We're decline your very kind offer"). I do culls if my tastes change but some books I've requested have been on my kindle since 2015/2016 and I feel like I should admit to my guilt of a slow reader and the fact I request these and I will read them or might read them one day.

I won't show you my most recent request as I have plans on a few. Maybe in a few weeks/month. Definitely am going to do this again before the year is out so, let me show you some of the oldest and the oddest choices (as I like to choose random stories on NetGalley to push myself in reading new genres/authors/etc)...


Sunday, 13 August 2017

They Both Die At The End Contest

I don't normally write blog posts at the weekend. I try and make weekends be blog free (posting, I mean. Writing blog posts is mostly at weekends), but today, I'm hosting a contest!

I am, via the lovely Hannah at Simon and Schuster UK, giving away three advance reader copies of THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END by Adam Silvera to give away. Oh, and they're signed as well. Just an extra magical touch.

Now, if you haven't heard of this, THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END follows Mateo and Rufus. Both get the dreaded call from Death-Cast, sadly informing them that today is their last day alive. Alone and isolated, the two boys reach out via an app and, together, they spend their last day on earth together... Living their lives to the full... Neither expecting that this would include falling in love...

Does that sound wonderfully heartbreaking?

If you want to win one of three signed advance reader copy, all you have to do is fill in the form below! This is a UK only contest (sorry international readers. I am planning a contest for you guys in the coming months!) and you had till 5pm on Thursday 17th August! The winners will be picked at random via random.org and will be emailed sometime that evening to get contact information (aka how the publisher can send your winning book!).

All that is left to say is good luck!