Spotlight: Happy Hour and Other Philadelphia Cruelties – Tony Knighton

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Friends, I’m really excited to read this book. It’s got some fantastic reviews on Goodreads, and seems really interesting. I love short story collections, and this definitely feels right up my street.

The book, by author Tony Knighton, is currently $0.99 on Amazon until Friday, November 22nd, 2019 and can be found here.

You can also check out a video from the book’s author below, which has just added to my eagerness to read this collection.

And check out this video of the author discussing the book – I promise it’s worth a watch!

The Author

Tony Knighton is a Lieutenant in the Philadelphia Fire Department, a twenty-nine year veteran.

He has published short fiction in Static Movement Online and Dark Reveries.

“The Scavengers” was previously published in the anthology Shocklines: Fresh Voices in Terror from Cemetery Dance Publications. “Sunrise” originally appeared in the anthology Equilibrium Overturned from Grey Matter Press.

Books: Happy Hour and other Philadelphia Cruelties, Three Hours Past Midnight.

Amazon Author Page

Book on Goodreads

Book Reviews

Anyone who follows me on here and on Twitter might be aware I, not that long ago, started reviewing for Dead Head Reviews. The focus on there is horror, but I review a variety of genres here on my blog, too.

More and more recently, I have been contacted directly by publishers and authors with requests to review their work. For me, that is so exciting, and I love having the opportunity to help promote new and indie authors. I’ve also started taking part in blog tours!

Because of this, I have now added a Review Policy to this website, with my contact details for any authors, publishers etc who might be interested in me reviewing one of their books.

It basically outlines the ideal information for requesting reviews, but importantly also has my new review e-mail address, so if you’re trying to promote a book, please feel free to get in touch, either on Twitter (@elleturpitt) or via my new e-mail, elleturpittreviews@gmail.com.

 

Twisted Tales Books

Twisted TalesWelcome to day three of my Disney blog themed posts, during which I will be in both Disneyland AND Walt Disney Studios. Exciting times. I am also now officially thirty, which is odd cause in my head I’m still somewhere in my early 20s. Today I’m going to talk about one of my favourite book series, and don’t forget you can enter my Twitter giveaway to win any Disney themed book of your choice – details at the end!

Twisted Tales

Twisted Tales are a series of books, written by three different authors. Each book tackles twisted 1a Disney film, inserting a twist into the story we know and love – A Whole New World asks ‘What if Aladdin never found the lamp?’ Reflection – ‘What if Mulan had to travel to the underworld?’ Mirror, Mirror – ‘What if the Evil Queen poisoned the prince?’ etc. There are currently seven books in the series, with two more coming out soon.

This is probably my current favourite book series, and it’s introduced me to three fantastic authors. Each book is skillfully twisted 2written and thought out, with the characters we love, yet giving them just enough changes to make the story feel fresh and exciting. And so far, the choices for stories has been really good, with a focus mainly on the princesses, but exploring a couple of others as well.

The only released one I haven’t yet read (at the time of writing) is Conceal, Don’t Feel/Let It Go (it seems to have a different title everywhere I look), which is focused on Frozen. I’ve been saving it for my Disney trip, so perhaps by the time you read this, I might have read it. Either way, look out for my review!

twisted 3The three authors are Liz Braswell, Elizabeth Lim, and Jen Calonita. Each have their own distinctive writing style, yet still feel like they match the stories really well. And it’s clear from the writing and characters how much love they have for these tales – Elizabeth Lim recently released Spin the Dawn (my review is here), a Mulan retelling, which is definitely worth checking out. Not to mention Reflection is currently my favourite of this series.

But this is the kind of series where everyone has their own favourite,. There are three of us in work who get every book, as soon as it comes out, and we each prefer different ones. Overall, the series has proved imaginative, with interesting storiestwisted 7 about the characters and adding further depths to these worlds.

In some, the book is set in the middle of the film, either changing the outcome of the rest of the story – as in A Whole New World – or giving more weight to middle-scenes, the book taking place in a contained moment which feels like it could fit easily into the classic animated film, such as Reflection. In others, the twist comes right at the very end of the film, giving us a chance to see what happens to the heroes if they don’t actually win, as in Part of Your World, which explores what happens to the kingdoms under and above the sea, if Ursula actually won.

twisted 5If you are a Disney fan, I cannot recommend this series highly enough. With talented authors telling fantastic stories, this series really does add a lot to classic animated films, and I can’t wait to see what comes out next, after Elizabeth Lim tackle’s Cinderella and Liz Braswell takes on Peter Pan.

 

The Series, In Order

A Whole New World – Liz Braswell – What if Aladdin never found the lamp?

Once Upon a Dream – Liz Braswell – What if the sleeping beauty never woke up?

As Old as Time – Liz Braswell – What if Belle’s mother cursed the beast?

Reflection – Elizabeth Lim – What if Mulan had to travel to the underworld?

Part of Your World – Liz Braswell – What if Ariel had never defeated Ursula?

Mirror, Mirror – Jen Calonita – What if the Evil Queen poisoned the prince?

Conceal, Don’t Feel/Let It Go – Jen Calonita – What if Anna and Elsa never knew each other?

Upcoming

So This Is Love? – Elizabeth Lim – What if Cinderella never tried on the glass slipper?

Straight on Till Morning – Liz Braswell – What if Wendy first travelled to Neverland with Captain Hook?

twisted 6twisted 4

 

 

 

 

 

Giveaway

I am currently hosting a Disney book themed giveaway on Twitter. Just follow that link, make sure you’re following me on there, and retweet. You could, if you so wanted, pick any of the fantastic Twisted Tales books, or Elizabeth Lim’s Spin the Dawn. Good luck!

Giveaway Time!

Disney Book GiveawayI promised before I would do a book giveaway if I hit 100 followers before my birthday, and somehow it actually happened! With over a week to spare, too.

So firstly, huge thank you to everyone who follows this blog. It really does mean a lot to me, and I just hope you get some enjoyment out of reading my various ramblings.

This giveaway is Disney themed because it’s where I’m going to celebrate my 30th birthday. I’m flying to France on 11/11, back on 14/11, so the giveaway ends 17/11 and that’s when winners will be drawn.

To enter, just make sure you’re following me on Twitter (@elleturpitt) and retweet (don’t QT) my pinned tweet. The giveaway is for a Disney or fairy tale retelling book of your choice, up to £15. It includes Star Wars and Marvel, and graphic novels as well as long as they’re below the price limit.

It is international as long as Book Depository ships to you.

That Dreaded TBR #2

A while ago, I did a post about cutting down my Goodreads TBR. I thought it would be worth revisiting, and seeing if I can’t get it down just that little bit more.

I originally saw this at Becky’s Book Blog, as explained in the previous post.

Rules

Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.

Order on ascending date added.

Take the first 5/10/however many books. If done again, start form where you left off.

Read the synopses of the books

Decide: should it stay or should it go?

what happensWhat happens in office, stays in office – Ankur Mithal

A no-holds-barred account of life in the cut-throat world of large corporations, told in a unique humorous and ironical style. A world where millions are employed and are forever engaged in finding a balance between doing right for the organization and doing right for themselves. The domineering boss, the whining employee, the counter-productive policy-making, the jockeying for visibility, are all products of this interesting world. Not all, however, is as it appears on the smooth and shiny surface of this world. There are personal anxieties and fears which get carried into business interactions.

Though informal outlets are available to people in corporations, mostly through the often innocuous art of bitching, many of these subterranean currents never get recognized or discussed openly. Perhaps for the first time ever, this book discusses situations where these subtle (to the doer) and shameless (to the doee) acts often create outcomes that are both poignant and funny and, at times, downright disgusting. In the garb of humour and satire, this book delivers some hard-hitting management lessons. In doing so, however, Ankur may have inadvertently let out some never before talked about secrets of success of The Club that the Corporate world appears to be from outside.

I added this book to my TBR way back in May 2013, just under a year after graduating from uni, less than a year into an office job I would remain at for five years. Something about this book really intrigued me at the time, but I feel like now it might even have more of an impact. I’ve been in two office jobs since leaving university, and it would be great to read about different experiences. The one I was in for five years was for a big, global organisation. The company I work for now is much smaller, but some elements remain the same. I’m going to keep this one on, because rereading the synopsis has rekindled my desire to read it.

a prayer for owenA Prayer For Owen Meany – John Irving

Eleven-year-old Owen Meany, playing in a Little League baseball game in Gravesend, New Hampshire, hits a foul ball and kills his best friend’s mother. Owen doesn’t believe in accidents; he believes he is God’s instrument. What happens to Owen after that 1953 foul is both extraordinary and terrifying. At moments a comic, self-deluded victim, but in the end the principal, tragic actor in a divine plan, Owen Meany is the most heartbreaking hero John Irving has yet created. 

I’m kind of on the fence about this one. Okay, so it has a lot of positive reviews on Goodreads and is one of those ‘must read’ books, but I’ve had really mixed experience with all kinds of absolute must reads. Hmm. Although I do kind of want to read this, I don’t really think I’m ever going to. It goes.

something wicked this way comesSomething Wicked This Way Comes – Ray Bradbury

A carnival rolls in sometime after the midnight hour on a chill Midwestern October eve, ushering in Halloween a week before its time. A calliope’s shrill siren song beckons to all with a seductive promise of dreams and youth regained. In this season of dying, Cooger & Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show has come to Green Town, Illinois, to destroy every life touched by its strange and sinister mystery. And two inquisitive boys standing precariously on the brink of adulthood will soon discover the secret of the satanic raree-show’s smoke, mazes, and mirrors, as they learn all too well the heavy cost of wishes – and the stuff of nightmare.

This is another of those must read books, but more for horror rather than ‘literary’ purposes. I know this book has inspired a fair few American horror authors. Goodreads has it noted as the second in a series (after Dandelion Wine) but as far as I’m aware, they can be read as standalones? I definitely still want to try and read both, however. This one stays.

divine comedy

The Divine Comedy – Dante Alighieri

The Divine Comedy describes Dante’s descent into Hell with Virgil as a guide; his ascent of Mount Purgatory and encounter with his dead love, Beatrice; and finally, his arrival in Heaven. Examining questions of faith, desire and enlightenment, the poem is a brilliantly nuanced and moving allegory of human redemption.

I want to read this, I really do, and I’ve tried a few times, but I never can quite get into it. Maybe I need to give it another chance. Or, as I did with Camilla, try and find an audio version? I slogged my way through Paradise Lost, and most of that was – excuse the pun – hell to get through. There’s just too many other books I physically have that I know I’m going to enjoy, to get a book which I have a feeling I might not enjoy as much. Like I said, I’ll probably check out an audio version eventually, but for now, this goes.

brave new world.jpgBrave New World – Aldous Huxley

Far in the future, the World Controllers have created the ideal society. Through clever use of genetic engineering, brainwashing and recreational sex and drugs all its members are happy consumers. Bernard Marx seems alone in feeling discontent. Harbouring an unnatural desire for solitude, and a perverse distaste for the pleasures of compulsory promiscuity, Bernard has an ill-defined longing to break free. A visit to one of the few remaining Savage Reservations where the old, imperfect life still continues, may be the cure for his distress …

Huxley’s ingenious fantasy of the future sheds a blazing light on the present and is considered to be his most enduring masterpiece.

I have a feeling this is one those books which are now considered…problematic. I’m not entirely sure, but the fact ‘Savage Reservations’ is in the blurb makes me think yeah, I probably wouldn’t want to actually touch this. Even if that wasn’t the case, it’s another of those ‘classics’ that probably don’t hold up well, and there are way too many better books out there, by writers who aren’t white men, I’d rather spend time on. This one goes.

Not too bad today – three out of five taken off the Goodreads TBR. These ones leaned more towards ‘classics’ too, and I think I’ve grown out of feeling there are particular books I have to read. I’d rather spend my time now reading books I enjoy.

Have you read any of these? Agree or disagree with my choices?

Blogtober Day 19: Paranormal Romance

Blogtober Day 19

Day One: Spooky TBR    /   Day Two: October Releases    /   Day Three: Bookish Autumn Bucket List    /   Day Four: Perfect Cosy Reading Nook    /   Day Five: Top 5 Disney Villains    /   Day Six: Strong Woman Horror Trope    /   Day Seven: Reading Snacks    /   Day Eight: 5 Autumn Reads    /   Day Nine: Vampires and Werewolves    /   Day Ten: Spooky TBR Update    /   Day Eleven: Witches    /   Day Twelve: Books I Should Have Read    /   Day Thirteen: Review – Under My Hat Anthology    /   Day Sixteen: This Time Last Year    /   Day Seventeen: Reading Drinks

Challenge List – Anniek’s Library 

Paranormal Romance is one of those genres I really don’t read enough of. Whenever I do read it, I tend to really enjoy it. I just need to pick up more, really.

And I fully believe paranormal romance = written by women. Urban fantasy = written by men, judging by what I used to find shelved under each in bookshops, even if they have the same tropes and type of characters.

Anyway, before this becomes a rant…

Paranormal Romance comes in many different types. For every paranormal creature out there, there’s probably a romance book featuring them and a human protagonist. The ones I’m most failiar with tend to be vampires and werewolves, but the list is endlist. The main reason I know these two is because many years ago, I read two series which featured vampires and werewolves quite heavily.

Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter – Laurell K Hamilton

Something about Guilty Pleasures, the first book in the series, must have really intrigued guilty pleasuresme, because even though I only gave it 3 stars on Goodreads, I still continued with the series, reading 22 books before stopping. I didn’t even stop intentionally, I just picked up other books instead. But, honestly, this series started strong – I remember loving the first few books, really enjoying this world, and the blend of romance and crime Hamilton weaved into the story. The love interests were sexy and dangerous, and the horror elements were handled brilliantly.

But at some point, the books kind of tipped into just being about sex. Anita gains a power, and it turns out to be the power of sex, meaning she has to sleep with some characters pretty much instantly to save the day. And it was repeated. A lot. To the point where the sex scenes weren’t even very enjoyable any more, but repetitive. And every male character has a huge cock? I have heard it picks up again later, so I do intend to continue reading to see where the rest actually goes.

Sookie Stackhouse – Charlaine Harris

I think I read the first of these books way back in high school, and picked it up again when I was at university. The Sookie Stackhouse books are the basis for the TV dead until darkshow True Blood, but after the first book they diverge a lot, retaining some elements while making others much better suited to long-running TV series.

I managed to complete this series, at the insistence of a friend, and enjoyed it. The writing in the first few is pretty simplistic, but it matches Sookie’s character, and as the novels progress, the writing improves. And like Anita Blake, there are plenty of paranormal creatures to keep the reader invested.

Although both the Sookie Stackhouse and Anita Blake’s books have vampires and werewolves as their primary love interests, there are many others to be found within their pages, and both draw on various folklore for their monsters.

I’d suggest both these series, for anyone interested, but I really do need to read more paranormal, both with and without vampires involved, so if you have any recommendations, I’d love to hear them.

Blogtober Day 16: This Time Last Year

Blogtober Day 16

Day One: Spooky TBR    /   Day Two: October Releases    /   Day Three: Bookish Autumn Bucket List    /   Day Four: Perfect Cosy Reading Nook    /   Day Five: Top 5 Disney Villains    /   Day Six: Strong Woman Horror Trope    /   Day Seven: Reading Snacks    /   Day Eight: 5 Autumn Reads    /   Day Nine: Vampires and Werewolves    /   Day Ten: Spooky TBR Update    /   Day Eleven: Witches    /   Day Twelve: Books I Should Have Read    /   Day Thirteen: Review – Under My Hat Anthology

Challenge List – Anniek’s Library 

As mentioned in a previous post, I’m going to be more selective with what Blogtober prompts I use for the last few days left of this month, mainly as I was struggling with some of them and I’m already behind, and at least this way I can do posts I enjoy, rather than forcing myself to spend ages stuck on one.

So! Books I was reading this time last year.

I often read graphic novels at my desk, between doing other things, so when I have some, quite often I’m reading them as well as a sort of ‘main’ book, so I actually have two books I was reading around this time last year.

The Vampire Diaries: The Awakening & The Struggle- L.J. Smith

Date Finished: October 14th, 2018

vampire diariesA long time ago, I was in a Very Bad Place. Couldn’t sleep, and when I did, I faced nightmares. So I’d often stay up late, watching TV after my dad had gone to bed, and one day I decided to check out a series I’d been hesitant about until then. I didn’t realise it was a spin-off, but I quickly got absorbed into watching The Originals, and when I caught up, I devoured The Vampire Diaries, catching up with both right before their final seasons. So once they were all over, and I needed some sort of Vampire Diaries fix while waiting for Legacies, I picked up this book. And you know what? It was all right! (In the totally British way ‘all right’ way, imagine it with a certain inflection that indicates it’s somewhere around ‘good’) The writing isn’t amazing, and it kind of doesn’t hold up that well, but the characters were fun and tension ran throughout, and it was nice to lose myself in that world again.

It’s hard to say if you’d enjoy this book if you like the show. Certain elements are completely different, but it’s fun to read and see what the showrunners lifted, and the sort of things they decided (for the better) were best left out. The show remains true to the novel in the best way, while improving on a lot of it, for sure.

Damon is still absolutely drop dead gorgeous in it though.

Game of Thrones: The Graphic Novel, Volume Two

got graphic novelI’m a big fan of graphic novel adaptations. Actually, I’m just a big fan of graphic novels in general, but when a book is transformed into one, it feels like it adds a whole new layer to the text. And it’s great to see an artist’s view on the characters and settings. One thing I really like about the GOT ones in particular are the fact they can put in so much more than the show could. Everything feels that more accurate to the book – character ages, the size of the Iron Throne, appearances, etc. It works really well, and it’s an absolute pleasure to read. The writers and artists have done an excellent job.

(I would also recommend The Dark Tower graphic novels. They are bloody brilliant.)

I’m kind of surprised no one’s done a Harry Potter one, as it’s a story that could work really well in this format.

Anyway, if you like the TV show and/or the books, I really do suggest picking this up. Overall, it’s a nice addition for any fan’s collection.

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Possible Giveaway For November

Disney Book Giveaway

Anyone who follows me on Twitter will be aware of this, but thought I’d mention it on the blog too, and look, you get a not-great graphic to go along with it!

So basically, I currently have 88 blog followers (love you all!). I am turning 30 on November 12th, at which point I will be in Disneyland, Paris and yes, I am very, very excited for the trip. Got my countdown at my desk in work AND my ears to wear in the park!

Where does the giveaway come into this, then?

Well, if I hit 100 followers before my birthday, I’m going to do a Disney themed book Twitter giveaway. It’ll be up to £15, international if Book Depository ships to you. And by Disney, I’m also including Star Wars and Marvel. Which yes, could mean graphic novels, too! And I’m also going to say the book can be a fairy tale retelling, so even if you’re not a Disney fan, there should be something for you, too. Though personally, I am a huge fan of the Twisted Tales series, and if you haven’t tried it yet, it comes highly recommended from me.

So spread the word – help me reach 100 followers in the next three weeks. As soon as I hit 100, I’ll post the giveaway. If that happens soon, I’ll pick the winners once I’ve returned from holiday, so the 15th November. If it doesn’t happen until early November, I’ll extend it a little.

Blogtober Day Twelve: Books I Should Have Read

Blogtober Day 12

Day One: Spooky TBR    /   Day Two: October Releases    /   Day Three: Bookish Autumn Bucket List    /   Day Four: Perfect Cosy Reading Nook    /   Day Five: Top 5 Disney Villains    /   Day Six: Strong Woman Horror Trope    /   Day Seven: Reading Snacks    /   Day Eight: 5 Autumn Reads    /   Day Nine: Vampires and Werewolves    /   Day Ten: Spooky TBR Update    /   Blogtober Day Eleven: Witches

Challenge List – Anniek’s Library 

I don’t tend to set myself goals for reading specific books in a certain year or month, but I do admit I have a problem with picking up books, putting them on my TBR and letting them slowly get covered by others. My TBR is a literal stack, which means the older books tend to get lost. They’re still visible, I just can’t get to them without difficultly or risking the whole thing coming down.

For this list, I checked some of the books I purchased last year on Amazon, and came across three I haven’t yet read. I could have used my TBR, but honestly, unless I’m picking out a book, looking at it kind of induces slight panic.

So, three books I purchased and should have read last year.

The Girl and the Grove – Eric Smith

the girl and the grove.jpgI picked this up because a long time ago, I started following Eric Smith on Twitter. For those aren’t aware, he’s an agent and now also a writer, who always seems really supportive of his writers. I really think I’ll like this one, let’s hope I can get to it some time before 2030!

Empty Cradles – Margaret Humphreys

empty cradles.jpgI can’t remember how I heard of this book, but I knew instantly it was one I had to read. I try to read a variety of nonfiction, and the stories of children shipped across the British empire is one that really intrigues me. But it’s quite a big book, and one that deals with a fairly emotional topic, so every time I’ve gone to pick it up, I’ve sort of hesitated. I think I need to be in the right frame of mind to tackle this one.

Mondays Are Red – Nicola Morgan

mondays are redThis is one I picked up, because it sounded intriguing, put on my TBR, and watched as other books appeared on top of it – funny how that happens, isn’t it? It’s not got great reviews on Goodreads, but I still want to read it. I just need to clear the books from on top of it, first.

So there we go, three books I should have read last year. Let’s hope they don’t appear on the same list this time next year. Are there any books you’ve put off reading? Or have you read any of these and think I should definitely check them out urgently?

 

 

 

Blogtober Day Eleven: Witches

Blogtober Day Eleven.png

Day One: Spooky TBR    /   Day Two: October Releases    /   Day Three: Bookish Autumn Bucket List    /   Day Four: Perfect Cosy Reading Nook    /   Day Five: Top 5 Disney Villains    /   Day Six: Strong Woman Horror Trope    /   Day Seven: Reading Snacks    /   Day Eight: 5 Autumn Reads    /   Day Nine: Vampires and Werewolves    /   Day Ten: Spooky TBR Update

Challenge List – Anniek’s Library 

Another slight amendment from the list – the challenge notes ‘Witchy YA’, but I don’t read enough YA (I wish I did – I love YA!) to talk about that. So I’ll talk more about witches in fiction in general.

Firstly, I can’t do a blog about witches without mentioning Harry Potter. This series Harry_Potter_and_the_Philosopher's_Stone_Book_Cover.jpgreally got me hooked on reading, and reading about J.K’s struggles (I know, not as many rejections as they made out, but to 10-year-old me it was A LOT, not to mention everything else) made me think maybe it was something I could do, too. And the female characters (in the books, maybe not the films so much) helped me see how strong  and varied women could be, from Ginny to Hermione to Luna to Tonks, Lily, and even McGonagall. These were women to admire, and as a kid who loved nothing more than reading, Hermione was great to read about, and earned a place in my heart right next to Matilda.

The next book is one I’ve mentioned a few times this month, and I finally finished reading it last night! Under My Hat is an anthology about witches, fromunder my hat a variety of different authors. It’s a great collection of short stories, each story presenting something different, and the book itself was an absolute pleasure to read. From young teenage girls trying to protect their school, to older witches trying to ensure their family’s happiness, each story was intriguing and interesting in different ways. A book very fitting for spooky season,

Next, Equal Rites. It’s the third Discworld novel, and the first of the Witches series. This novel introduces us to Granny equal ritesWeatherwax, who travels with a young woman to the wizard’s university, trying to help her learn how to control her powers. It’s a fantastic book, full of Pratchett’s brilliant humour, and well worth a read.

The last book I’ll mention here is a bit different than the ones above. Although there are some elements of horror in Under My Hat, and really dark moments through the Harry Potter series, they aren’t full horror, unlike Hex (review and review-with-spoilers). This novel deals with a town held hostage by a witch who died a long time before. She wanders the streets, her eyes and lips stitched shut, and is very much part of hexthe town. But the townspeople cannot stay away for long, and the younger generation, fed up of this arrangement, look for ways to stop her. The book is eerie in ways that haunt the reader, especially with the imagery of the witch, standing in the corner of a living room, unseeing yet always watching.

So there we have it! Some of my favourite witches in fiction. Do you have any favourites? Have you read the books listed here? I’d love to know!

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