Long Lost Review: Chart Throb by Ben Elton

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Chart Throb

by Ben Elton.

Ben Elton is about to put the “real” back into Reality TV in his biting satire of one of today’s most popular cultural phenomena — the TV talent show.

95,000 hopefuls. Three judges. Just one winner.

And that’s Colin Simms, the genius behind the show.

Colin always wins, because Colin writes the rules. But this year, as he sits smugly in judgment on the mingers, clingers and blingers whom he has pre-selected in his carefully scripted “search” for a star, he has no idea that the rules are changing. The “real” is about to be put back into “reality” television, and Colin and his fellow judges (the nation’s favourite mum and the other bloke) are about to become ex-factors themselves.

From the best-selling author of The First CasualtyPopcorn, and Dead Famous comes Chart Throb. One winner. A whole bunch of losers.

Taken from book blurb

I have extremely vague memories of this book, however I always remember it fondly. While I could not tell you much about the plot, I do remember one character arch that has stuck with me ever since I put the book down.

Alert – Spoilers Ahead

Continue reading “Long Lost Review: Chart Throb by Ben Elton”

Christmas Book Gifts under $20

While certainly I hope for books for Christmas, or at the very least money to buy myself more books. Others may not have that need for more reading material. So why not do them a favour and get them some good books as presents this year.

Who knows, you may ignite a life long love of reading!

Be sure to click the book covers to be taken the to site/company with the books available for under $20. So with this in mind, check out my recommendations for book presents you can get for cheap this holiday period!


So popular you can’t go wrong

Surely they’re popular for a reason?

The Chef by James Patterson.

No matter my personal feelings towards James Patterson, he is incredibly popular. I can only take solace in the fact that he probably wrote none of this book. The Chef is a stand alone or but could potentially be the start of a new series – so hopefully whoever you get this for can jump on the Patterson bandwagon.

The Tattooist of Auschwitz
by Heather Morris

Fast becoming an Australian classic this incredible story is a fictionalised account based off of a true story. Rumour even has it that the book is being made into a BBC series!

The Rise of Magicks by Nora Roberts.

Another big name that you can’t go wrong with – while the book is the third in a series you can easily find the first two for under $20 each. So depending on how much you like the person, you could get them the whole series. But like Patterson you can’t go with Roberts.

The Secret Runners of New York
by Matthew Reilly

A stand alone, time travelling, dystopian, young adult novel. The master at fast paced action, larger than life stories and engaging characters- you can’t go wrong with Reilly.


For the Binge Watchers in your life

Now they’ve binged the show, get them to read the book!

Good Omens by
Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

Honestly you can’t go wrong with Good Omens – Gaiman and Pratchett do what they do best and just make good stories.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
by Jenny Han

One of the most popular Netflix original moves in 2018, why not buy the whole box-set and get the person up to date with the whole story.

The Handmaid’s Tale
by Margaret Atwood

Fans of the show can now devour the original novel and the newly released and award winning sequel, The Testament.

Catch 22 by Joseph Heller

Truly a classic piece of black humour and indeed literature as a genre. Catch 22 is a perfect gift for your history buffs or those who are hard to shop for.


Young Adults

Who says YA books are only for young adults?! Some of the best fiction out there is classified as YA. So why not expand peoples perceptions by getting them an amazing YA novel.

Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton

If you can make it past the first couple of chapters – you’re golden!

Illuminae : The Illuminae Files_01
by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Illuminae may tickle the fancy of people who aren’t too keen on reading as the book itself is quite different. The story is told through official document, transcripts, and often involves tilting the book to read all the text.

Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend

Touted as an Australian mix of Harry Potter and Alice in Wonderland. So great!

The Queen of Nothing
by Holly Black

The third and final book of The Folk of Air series, Black is always a great choice. If you know someone who is interested in fantasy, the fae, and dark YA then this series is for you!


2020 Reading Challenge Card

I’m officially ready for 2020!

I kid, of course I’m not, I’m just very excited because I have finished making my 2020 Reading Challenge Card. Similar to this years Book Bingo, which I have really enjoyed, I am toning it down and focusing on 12 tropes of 2020.

I had previously asked for some recommendations for tropes that I could explore and read, and I have been able to flesh them out to the below 12 tropes:

  • Cinder(f)ella.
  • Enemies-to-lovers.
  • Fake/Pretend Relationship.
  • Ice King/Queen.
  • Love Triangle.
  • Marriage of Convenience.
  • May/December.
  • Mistaken Identity.
  • Soul Mates.
  • Superheroes.
  • Wallflower.
  • Free choice.

So without further adieu, check out my 2020 Trope Challenge.


Shh I know free choice isn’t actually a trope but let me have my wild card/free choice 😋

So what do you think? Do you like the new layout? Digging the trope choices? If so, leave a comment and let me know!


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Girl Meets Duke Series by Tessa Dare

The Girl Meets Duke series by Tessa Dare has been my introduction to all things Tessa Dare. The historical romance series is also the first time that I have managed to finish and enjoy a fictional audiobook.

I’m really happy to have found this new historical romance author (well new to me 😋) and after listening to the first book in the series, quickly devoured all that I could. So the below quick little reviews are just my comments on the books that make up the Girl Meets Duke series. Enjoy 💌


The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare

Girl Meets Duke: Book 1

The Duchess Deal was my first ever audiobook that I finished and that I loved. The narrator of the audiobook was amazing and really brought the characters to life.

I absolutely loved the story and characters of this romance novel, the romantic lead Ashbury is such a gruff bastard but he was one that I fell in love with – he had the incredibly endearing and humourous trait of only swearing in Shakespearean quotes. Also Emma was such a strong and beautiful character – I was honestly rooting for the pairs happy ending.


The Governess Game by Tessa Dare

Girl Meets Duke: Book 2

Once again I fell in love with the characters of this novel. I listened to the audiobook narrated by the amazing, Mary Jane Wells, and once again the whole cast were brought to life through not only this narration but storytelling.

The multiple doll funerals really made me fall in love with, not only the two girls, but Chase himself. The resigned patience and punny eulogies really made the novel and made me see past the libertine archetype that I usually dislike. Also Alexandra was a true treasure as she helped the girls explore and learn as pirates, not to mention her inner strength and Filipino representation!


The Wallflower Wager by Tessa Dare

Girl Meets Duke: Book 3

I loved this story – Penny had always been a character from the previous books that had stood out to me and I really enjoyed seeing her story with her romantic lead Gabriel.

Be warned – spoilers ahead

I really loved this story until about three quarters of the way through – the book takes a serious turn with a revelation of childhood sexual assault. This revelation really did sour the book for me – I am not saying that historical romances shouldn’t tackle hard issues but the previous books had been quite lighthearted so this was not what I was expecting.

I’m not saying I hated the book because I didn’t, I’m just saying that I was quite shocked that this content was included. Also the way that the characters in the novel decided to deal with it was, in my opinion, quite hodgepodged and really detracted from the end of the story.


I am really enjoying the Girl Meets Duke series and despite the one hiccup with the third book, I am looking forward to reading about Nicola in the fourth book, The Bride Bet.

Have you read the series? Do you love them or hate them? Do you agree with me about the third book? Leave a comment and let me know 😊

2020 Reading Challenge

Ally Asks

In preparation for next year, I’m starting to think about what I’m going to do for my next reading challenge. I’ve really enjoyed my Book Bingo this year and am looking forward to doing something similar next year.

The wonderful Jess from The Never Ending Bookshelf made a really cute book bingo template for this year that I just love! So much so, I am thinking of stealing her idea.

The template that Jess created is tamer than the huge monstrosity of my 2019 book bingo card, and I just love the way the template looks. Instead of a typical bingo card layout, Jess created a nice three line style which is not only different but has a really nice look and feel to it. If you haven’t you should totally check out Jess’ 2019 Book Bingo challenge, and see for yourself how damned cute it is!

With this in mind, I am thinking about ditching the 25 squares and instead only using 12 squares. There will also be a shift in focus, instead of offering things like ‘Goodreads Rec’ or ‘Read because of a pretty cover,’ I was thinking of focusing on tropes only.

This would mean potentially sticking to one challenge a month – which does leave me open to having to complete a challenge even if I change my mind and hate it, so I shall have to think carefully 🧐

In light of this, I am trying to think of challenge squares and am struggling. So far I have thought of a few and have really just hit the wall in terms of thinking of others. Also lets be honest, I’m probably only going to read romance novels so the tropes are focused towards that genre.

The below are some of my current ideas:

  • Marriage of Convenience.
  • Fake/Pretend Relationship.
  • Cinder(f)ella.
  • Ice King/Queen.
  • Superheroes.
  • Wallflower.

So once again, I’m putting it to you, do you have any suggestions for tropes?


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Cover Reveal: Shots on Goal by Amy Aislin

Shots on Goal

by Amy Aislin

Recently traded to the newly formed Vermont Trailblazers, professional hockey player Roman Kinsey needs to focus on helping the team win games and filling the stands, not on the blond, bespectacled part-timer who works at the library he volunteers at. He knows all too well that outing himself equals heartache and ridicule…or worse.

Cody Evans, psych major and grad school hopeful, notices everything and thinks too much. But he doesn’t know what to think when he sees Roman reading to kids. The rugged hockey player just doesn’t look like the type. But it stirs something in him, something he’s never felt before.

When the library is threatened with closure, Cody enlists Roman’s help. As they get to know each other better…much, much better…they realize that they have more in common than books. But Roman’s keeping a big part of himself from his team, and giving in to his feelings for Cody might be more than he’s willing to risk.

Book Blurb

Series: Stick Side #3

Release Date: January 7, 2020

Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance


Excerpt

Getting to know Roman Kinsey was going to be all kinds of interesting.

“Mr. Kinsey, this is Cody Evans,” Eileen said. “Cody’s one of our part-timers and he’ll be running Tiny Tot Storytime on the Tuesdays you’re unable to make it.”

Roman nodded once. “Thanks.” It was so grudging that Cody’s smile widened.

Roman’s lips pinched.

Holding out a hand, Cody said, “It’s nice to meet you, Mr. Kinsey.”

“It’s just Kinsey. Or Roman. Whatever.” His voice was pitched low, almost rough from thirty minutes of reading aloud.

“Which do you prefer?”

Something flickered across his face, and his hand jerked in Cody’s before he pulled back. “Roman’s fine.”

“Let me grab your things from the staff lounge, Mr. Kinsey,” Eileen said with a pat on his arm.

“Oh no, I can . . .”

But Eileen was already walking away, her old lady loafers with the buckle on the side silent on the carpet. Leaving Cody alone with Roman Kinsey. He bit the inside of his lip to conceal a grin.

Roman parked his butt against the hip-high bookshelf and crossed his arms. Silent. So, not one to fill awkward silence with inane chatter then. Cool. Except Cody, for some reason he couldn’t name, itched to get him talking.

“Good game last night,” he said.

That startled Roman, surprise crossing his features before he schooled them again. “We lost.”

“Only by one point, and you guys put up a hell of a fight. And Mr. Hannigan was right, you know.” Cody jerked his chin toward Mr. Hannigan, trailing his twin boys out the door. “Ritz is a left shooting center.” Meaning that on rushes down the ice, he tended to pass to his right winger more often than his left winger. “And you’re now the strongest right winger on the team. You really would be well-matched. Oh, and Mr. Mulligan’s right too—you guys really do need more shots on goal.”

Surprise crossed Roman’s face again, and this time it stayed there. “You know hockey?”

Cody shrugged. “Some.”


Author Bio

Amy Aislin’s lived with her head in the clouds since she first picked up a book as a child, and being fluent in two languages means she’s read a lot of books! She first picked up a pen on a rainy day in fourth grade when her class had to stay inside for recess. Tales of treasure hunts with her classmates eventually morphed into love stories between men, and she’s been writing ever since. She writes evenings and weekends—or whenever she isn’t at her full-time day job saving the planet at Canada’s largest environmental non-profit.

An unapologetic introvert, Amy reads too much and socializes too little, with no regrets. She loves connecting with readers. Join her Facebook Group to stay up-to-date on upcoming releases and for access to early teasers, find her on Instagram and Twitter, or sign up for her infrequent newsletter here.


Giveaway

Amy Aislin will be giving away an e-ARC of Shots on Goal to celebrate this cover reveal!

Follow this link to enter.

Confessions of a Professional Book Lover: I Cannot Stand Fictional Librarians

My name is Ally and I am a Librarian.

I am also a Librarian who cannot stand fictional librarian characters.

I love my job and I am very proud to call myself a Librarian. I am also passionate about freedom of information, which to me means that people can borrow whatever they want and that I will never censor their choices. Nor will I stand for people attempting to remove content from libraries.

Libraries will of course stick to the traditional censorship guidelines of films and television shows. In my current library these restrictions are related to ages and what patron accounts can borrow MA15+ and R18+ movies.

I say that I can’t stand reading books with librarian characters because so many of the authors get the profession wrong. While yes, I may check a lot of books in and out, shelve, and help people with reference questions – I never shush people and I also never stop people from borrowing ‘inappropriate’ content.

Continue reading “Confessions of a Professional Book Lover: I Cannot Stand Fictional Librarians”

Blog Tour: The King’s Dragon by W.M. Fawkes & Sam Burns

The King’s Dragon

by W.M. Fawkes & Sam Burns

Lord Tristram Radcliffe has a secret—he is the only dragon at the king’s court in Llangard. It’s a secret he’s kept from the knights he’s fought beside, from the ladies who bat their lashes at him, and from his closest companion, Prince Reynold. If it were to get out, he’d be banished to the Mawrcraig Mountains along with the rest of his kind, but the kingdom of men is the only one he’s ever known, and his heart lives in the stone halls of those who’d count him an enemy.

When the old king dies and Prince Reynold takes the throne, two visitors from the north throw Tristram into the middle of the ancient conflict between dragons and men. They put him on a collision course with the king’s shadow, Bet Kyston, a dangerous assassin who may want him dead or may want more of Tristram that he’d ever thought to give.

With the eyes of dragons upon him and a threat from the north creeping toward the home he loves, Tristram must weigh his allegiances before his dual legacies tear him apart.

Taken from Book Blurb

Series: Fire and Valor #1

Release Date: September 26, 2019

Genre: QUILTBAG, High Fantasy, Romance.


Excerpt

When he glanced up to meet Bet’s eyes, they were wide, the whites showing all around them. He wondered, for a moment, if he’d earned a stabbing, but then those eyes dropped to his lips, and Bet’s own parted a fraction.

As was his most unfortunate habit, Tris dove in head first.

Their mouths crashed together, a clash of tongues and teeth that started out anything but good. Tris tasted blood in his mouth, and he wasn’t sure whose it was.

In a flash, Bet turned them so that Tristram was the one with his back to the wall. He wrapped a hand around the side of Tristram’s neck, thumb coming up to hold his jaw in place in a grip that felt downright dangerous. Then he turned his head a fraction, opening up a little space between their noses and allowing himself full access.

Not to stab anyone, thankfully, though he pushed his way into Tris’s mouth as though convinced he’d be rebuffed and wanted to taste his fill before that. Tris just tilted his head up to meet the onslaught, eyes sliding shut and fingers scrabbling against the tapestry on the wall.

Bet kissed like he fought: hard, fast, and with no intention of taking prisoners. His free hand fell to Tristram’s trousers, as though he would strip them off right there in the hall, and slowed to press against his growing arousal. It seemed he appreciated what he found there, because he let out a growl that reminded Tristram of his own nearly inhuman one.

What he’d have done, Tris would never know, because a giggle echoed down the hallway, and Bet pulled back as though he’d been slapped. He turned to see a couple of ladies’ maids enter the hall, and before Tristram could so much as say his name, Bet turned and melted into the shadows.


Author Bios

W.M. Fawkes is an author of LGBTQ+ urban fantasy and paranormal romance. She lives with her partner in a house owned by three halloween-hued felines that dabble regularly in shadow walking.

Sam lives in the Midwest with husband and cat, which is even less exciting than it sounds, so she’s not sure why you’re still reading this.

She specializes in LGBTQIA+ fiction, usually with a romantic element. There’s sometimes intrigue and violence, usually a little sex, and almost always some swearing in her work. Her writing is light and happy, though, so if you’re looking for a dark gritty reality, you’ve come to the wrong author.


Giveaway

Win one of 2 e-copies of any book from the Lords of the Underworld series by Sam Burns & W.M. Fawkes!

Follow this link to enter.

Long Lost Review: Snakes Among Sweet Flowers by Jason Huffman-Black

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Snakes Among Sweet Flowers

Jason Huffman-Black.

Two-time ex-con Camden Sanders has decided that Hog Mountain—an isolated community on the outskirts of Atlanta, Georgia—is the perfect place to continue running small scams without the threat of more prison time. But there are a few problems with this plan. One is the neighbourly citizens of Hog Mountain thwarting his dirty dealings at every turn with their kindness. Another is Jackson Rhodes, a closeted Hog Mountain police officer who can see right through Cam’s good ol’ boy act and plans to catch him red-handed despite the attraction they both can feel. But the biggest problem of all is that Cam’s past is threatening to catch up with him, and it could mean trouble for more than just himself.

Taken from book blurb

Okay so I had always intended to review this book because I loved it. When I first read Snakes Among Sweet Flowers, it was a highlight of the year and I gave it a re-read last year and it stood the test of time because I still loved it.

I am a big sucker for stories that feature down trodden, poor, or struggling characters. I do not know why I love them so much but I really enjoy seeing characters suffer (omg I am terrible) but still manage to fall in love. I especially love the stories where the problems of a character aren’t magically fixed by falling in love, they just have someone else to share the struggles.

Continue reading “Long Lost Review: Snakes Among Sweet Flowers by Jason Huffman-Black”

Confessions of a Book Lover – I Don’t Read Unfinished Series

My name is Ally and I don’t read unfinished series.

Let me unpack this because I know that it can come across as very problematic. I shall rephrase:

My name is Ally and I don’t read unfinished series by bestselling authors.

I am more than happy to support smaller authors, independent publishers, and people who need the support so they can keep writing their books. I love you all and want you to keep writing so I will happily read your unfinished series!

All those multi-millionaire, best selling authors though – you can wait.

Continue reading “Confessions of a Book Lover – I Don’t Read Unfinished Series”