Tuesday 27 April 2021

TMST: What's your blog hopping strategy?

This week's question for Tell Me Something Tuesday is... What's your blog hopping strategy? 

People have strategies?!! I wish I had a strategy. I just play whackamole. 

Joking aside (I’m not really joking), I have blogger lists set up in Feedly that I can click through painlessly and it works when you don’t go on an unplanned semi-hiatus for three months - like I did this year…  I’m sure I’ll get back to checking it regularly, eventually, and some kind of normal will resume. 

I try to return all comments left on my blog posts... I try to hop around everyone’s blogs when taking part in a weekly meme with the exception of when the list of participants hits the 100’s. In that situation, I nope out… Who has the time for that?! When that happens, I usually scan for my blogger bud’s and other favourites and visit those. I also select a few randomly as it’s nice to find “new” blogs and then I call it a day. 

Blog-hopping can be draining and feel counterproductive (eats into reading and post creation time) but I do enjoy it. I love “talking” to people and over the years I feel like I’ve gotten to know many of you from your posts and comments and that’s why I’ll never stop with the hopping and comments even if I’m continually bashing away haphazardly… I just ask for patience when I’m tardy with the responses and reciprocation. 😉


Tuesday 20 April 2021

TMST: Have you ever dreamed of becoming an author?

This week's question on Tell Me Something Tuesday... Have you ever dreamed of becoming an author?

Several years ago this would have been a super simple question to answer and the answer would have been no. However, I participated in Nanowrimo a couple of years ago as a challenge and even though I never managed to “write a novel in 30 days” I did get bitten by the writing bug and never really stopped pecking away at various stories. I even self-published one for about 5 minutes before getting mugged by a serious case of imposter syndrome and pulling it down. 
Do I dream of becoming an author? I don’t think so… But would I say no if I was given the option of becoming an author in the future? (With the caveat of being successful enough to give up the day job...) Absolutely not. 

For now, I’m content to potter along doing my own thing and writing for myself whenever the urge strikes. One day - I hope sooner than later - I may be brave enough to share that writing and “own” being a writer but that day has not yet come!


Tuesday 13 April 2021

TMST: When is a book too long?

This week's question for Tell Me Something Tuesday.... When is a book too long?

When it has a million sub-plots that I don’t care about.
When it bores me.
When it’s full of words for the sake of there being words. (Aka, overly padded with useless information.)
When you think it’s finished but it just keeps on rolling...

You know what though? You can never judge a book as too long just on it’s word count. I’ve read many a chonker (600-900ish pages) that I’ve wanted to keep reading forever and many 200-250 page books that were too long for the stories they were telling. 
There is no right or wrong answer to this question... It's highly subjective. 


Wednesday 7 April 2021

Blood and Ash & Death and Desire by Deborah Wilde (Jezebel Files 1 & 2)


A fabulously sassy start to a new Urban Fantasy series!

Cold-blooded kidnappers. Long-lost magic. When things get serious, she goes full Sherlock.

Ashira Cohen takes pride in being the only female private investigator in Vancouver. With her skills, her missing persons case should be a piece of cake.
She wasn’t counting on getting bashed in the skull, revealing a hidden tattoo and supernatural powers she shouldn’t possess.
Or the bitter icing on top: a spree of abductions and terrifying ghostly creatures on a deadly bender.
And don’t even get her started on the golems.
Reluctantly partnered with her long-time nemesis Levi, the infuriating leader of the magic community, Ash resolves to keep her focus on the clue trail and off their sexual tension because WTF is up with that?
But with a mastermind organization pulling strings from the shadows and Levi’s arrogance driving her to pick out his body bag, can Ash rescue the captives and uncover the truth or will the next blood spilled be her own?

I thoroughly enjoyed this! I read a lot of UF so it doesn't take much for things to feel "samey" but Blood and Ash - book one in the Jezebel Files - was a breath of fresh air!
The world created was different to typical UF in that magic existed but other supernatural beasties didn't and the reason for magic existing was rooted in Jewish mysticism which was awesome! I'm not going to pretend to have the faintest clue about Judaism beyond the basics so learning a little bit through reading the story was great.

Ash is a beautifully snarky and fierce character with a love of Sherlock Holmes. She's fiercely loyal, her determination and ambition were admirable and I absolutely adored her! She's surrounded by larger than life characters who each have their part to play and who have their own distinct personalities and roles. From the quirky, tech wizard, flat-mate, to the grumpy head of Nefesh (magic people) security, and everyone in between, I just enjoyed the heck out of them but none more so than Levi... Oh my. I loved Levi. Sexy, powerful, dutiful, and ruthless when needed - Levi rocked. The chemistry between Ash and Levi? Scorching. But more important than the romantic fireworks was the banter between these two! OMG, I laughed, laughed and laughed even more. They are savage and I ate it up!

In fact, the entire book is a bit of a riot. Fast-paced, engrossing and hilarious with a diverse range of characters and a side serving of delicious will they/won't they romance... It made my soul happy.

It's four-stars instead of five only because I found it a little confusing at times and it feels like there is a lot of world-building yet required to give the world suitable depth.

I started Blood and Ash as an audiobook but I only got to chapter 7 before I had to switch to reading the ebook. I could not stand the narrator. I found her voice and style grating and thus wouldn't recommend it in audio format.

Angel of Death.
Black market magic.
When you’re Ashira Cohen, smart is the new kickass.

When Ash is hired to solve her first murder, it seems like a perfectly normal, open-and-shut case of family feuds and bad blood. Until Ash discovers an evil magical artifact and her lead suspect is of the winged, white-robed, celestial variety. As if that weren't bad enough, if she can't find the perpetrator quickly, fourteen vials of lethal, ghostly magic will be sold to the highest bidder.

Her quest to figure out her Jezebel powers and find the shadowy organization responsible for stripping teens of their magic isn't going any smoother, either. Can't a girl just pursue her dream career without getting caught up in a mysterious destiny or playing a dangerous Sherlock-Moriarty game with her annoyingly hot nemesis?

But when Ash accidentally crosses the cunning and deadly Queen of Hearts, ruler of the magic black market, all those cases may go unresolved.
With the clock ticking, it’ll take all of Ash’s intelligence to survive with her moral center–and her head–intact.
The game is afoot and failure is not an option.

Death and Desire is book two in the Jezebel files and wastes no pages before jumping straight into the action! It's a snark-filled rollercoaster of fun that doesn't shy away from dark and gritty realities.
Ash has a new mystery to solve but she's not alone... Her colourful assortment of friends and frenemies are on hand to lend a hand!

Throughout the book, we learn more about the origins of Ash's powers, her relationships evolve, the world-building improves (or maybe its easier to follow after the crash course of book one?) and the series plot thickens.
Pretty much everything I said regarding book one can be applied here: Fast-paced, engrossing, and hilarious. Wonderful characters and a romance that is still very much will they/won't they (with a side dish of super-steamy fun).

Deborah Wilde writes spiky women with heart. There's bad language and hard realities galore. Characters make decisions that you'll find frustrating and people will annoy you more than they thrill you but that's part of what I've enjoyed about the first two books... This may be urban fantasy but the problems arising, the political wrangling (between those with and without magic) and the personal trials and issues of the characters are all too real.

I'm very much loving this series and will be continuing... Not to mention reading the author's other work.


Tuesday 6 April 2021

TMST: If you could live anywhere in the real world, where would you move?

This week's question... If you could live anywhere in the real world, where would you move?
Oooh, this is tough! The truth is, I tend to be happy wherever I am. I don’t dream of moving abroad, I don’t dream of living in exotic locations… I like living rural and having easy access to cities. Sometimes, I think I’d like to live near a beach as I love the sound of the waves but I don’t have a burning desire to make it a reality (and I live within an easy drive of the beach so this would be totally doable without up-ending my life.)

Sometimes the yearning to move back to Edinburgh is almost overwhelming - I miss that city the way I’d miss a limb - but I’ve come to accept that that isn’t where my life is anymore… Even though it breaks my heart. 

I think that my ideal situation would be having the freedom (otherwise known as the time and money) to travel more and be able to spend lengthier periods in different locations. Holidays are great but one two-week holiday anywhere doesn’t quite cut it. I’d love to be able to go to Florida once a year for, say, a month, have regular city breaks in Edinburgh (maybe own a holiday home there?) as well as travel to all the other places I want to visit on a steady rotation… That would probably be my best life and then I wouldn’t have to move ever. I could continue living in the South West of England happy as a clam. :) 
(Although, I’d totally buy a bigger house.)

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