Monday, 22 May 2017

The Shondaland Book Tag (Original)

With me chatting to the lovely Luna's Little Library about a possible Book Tag idea and me trying to get a mini blog tour organise and figure out how to design a logo for said tour (as well as needing to write my post for this tour! ARGH!!!), you would think I wouldn't have think to create ANOTHER book tag thingy, would you?

Well, folks, you would be wrong. Apparently, I love the panic I put myself! So, here we are, welcome to my attempt of making an original book tag. I give you... THE SHONDALAND BOOK TAG!!!


Each question is linked (in one way or another) to Shondaland's TV show (past, present and future). Does that make sense? So, why don't we get started?! (and if you wanna do this tag, GO FOR IT! Just tell me or credit me so I know you've done it as am curious on what you guys say/think!)

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Noah Can't Even Do An Extract!

I mean, come on Noah!

*sigh* Fine, Noah. I will do the extract for you as part of the Noah Can't Even tour.

Anyway, hello Internet! Today is my (and the lovely Jim from YA Yeah Yeah) stop on the Noah Can't Even blog tour! Jim, to my knowledge, has a different stop post compared to mine so once done here, pop over to his and check it out!

But before I tell you guys what my stop is, let me explain what Noah Can't Even is. Noah Can't Even follows Noah who isn't having the best time at the moment. His dad went missing years ago. School is hell as his classmates discover that his mum is a BeyoncĂŠ tribute act. His gran isn't really herself any more. And he only has one friend, Harry.

Why can't he be normal and have a normal life? When the lovely Sophie asks if he wants to come to a party, he wonders if this is the moment his luck is going to change. But life takes an unexpected turn when Harry kisses Noah...

So, as you can tell, my stop is an extract and am thrilled over what little titbit am showing you guys! Probably one of my fave moments in the book!

So, before I hand you over to the extract, just wanna thank Olivia from Scholastic for inviting me on this tour and to apologise for all the tweets I send her while reading this book (sorry about them!). I also want to thank Simon James Green for writing this book and to apologise for all the times I tweeted him while reading this (and those tweets demanding a sequel that contains kissing. Lots and lots of kissing...)

You can check out Simon online via his website (simonjamesgreen.com) and via his Twitter (@simonjamesgreen). And I believe Noah has his own twitter (@noahgrimes12) because, apparently, Simon and Scholastic are liars... *says nothing*

Now, with all that out of the way, ONTO THE EXTRACT!!! (Sorry about the long type. Was meant to be a PDF you could read and flick through but no idea how to upload it on here. Sorry in advance!)

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

eBook Review - The Heart Collector

As you guys know, I blitz the whole Sin Eater's Daughter trilogy the early part of this year (Sin Eater's Daughter in January, Sleeping Prince in February and The Scarecrow Queen in March). And I really liked this series, with Scarecrow Queen being my favourite. And I remember chatting to Melinda at one point, going "You should write a small collection of short stories set in this world."

This must have been in the works because, a few months later, a small ebook collection of short stories set in this world was published!

The Heart Collector is a collection of three short stories set in the Sin Eater's Daughter world. We have two that have been released on the Waterstones's website for a limited amount of time - The King of Rats and The Heart Collector - and a third being published for the first time in this collection - Mully No-Hands.

All are prequel stories and you don't need to have read these to enjoy the trilogy. I want to make this clear before I go any further, explain what each story is.

The King of Rats is the story of when rats plague the city of Tallith and what triggers events that will reshape the world in centuries to come. The Heart Collector is a story of the Bringer who must wake and bring a girl to the Sleeping Prince for, one day, one girl will wake him from his slumber... Mully No-Hands is a fairy tale of a boy who has a beautiful mother and a rich father, who is destined to live a fairy-tale like life. But not all fairy tales end happily ever after...

Now, I have already read King of Rats (write-up for that is here) so I just jumped into The Heart Collector and Mully No-Hands. But out of the three stories, I enjoyed The Heart Collector the most. This story, I wished, was written as a standalone novella, almost in the same vein as The Second Short Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer. I feel that this would stand up on its own, but add extra insight into the Sin Eater's Daughter story as this follows a different character.

This collection is very much for fans of the series and it adds an extra layer to the world.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

The Fallen Children Launch Party

Or, as I like to the call it, NICHOLAS CAGE CAKE!!! (hence the link and my reason why is coming soon!) 

So, last week, I was very kindly invited to the launch of David Owen's The Fallen Children. This was fluke as I met David at the launch party for Melinda Salisbury's The Scarecrow Queen and he asked if I wanted to come along. So, hidden in the depths of London, a small launch party for David and his slightly creepy book was taking place, filled with lovely kind people such as family, friends, authors, book publishing peeps, bloggers gathered. 

And I managed to sneak in! 

After sneaking in and buying a mystery copy of The Fallen Children (I have always told David I was going to buy a copy at his launch party), had a glass of pale ale (NOT WINE THIS TIME!), I spent time chatting briefly to David but to other people who turned up such as Jim from YA Yeah Yeah, Darran from ShinraAlpha, Charlie from @charlieinabookNicola Burstein, Non Pratt, Lisa Williamson, Robin Stevens, Simon P Clark and others (who's names I have forgotten as my memory is useless! But you know who you are and I hope you shout at me!). 

During this time, we had a speech from David (a clip is down below and I want to apologise for the audio. Hand was on my phone's mic!) 

Monday, 15 May 2017

Eurovision Failing to Celebrate Diversity - A Rant

So, as you guys know, last Saturday was my birthday and, to celebrate it, I had a lovely chill out day with my other half and, in the evening, went round neighbours to watch this year's Eurovision. (We agreed to do this last year before we realised it fell on the same day). It's going to be fun, silly and a good laugh, right? 

Oh... how my chill went flying out of the window within the first 5 minutes of Eurovision. And I spent the entire evening swearing at the telly (much to my neighbours shock. I swore more times in that 3 and half hour period than I have in the two-ish years I have known them!).

Why, I hear you ask. Because of so many things. But it comes down to one HUGE thing. 

This year's theme for Eurovision was "Celebrating Diversity". And guess what? DIVERSITY WASN'T CELEBRATED! 

We had three white male hosts hosting the event (this is a first from what I could research). Barring the singer for Australia, all the singers were white and able-bodied (Australia's singer is aboriginal). And, from what I saw, there was only two backing dancers/singers who were black. There was no one that I could see who was wearing a headscarf or reflect their faith. There are rumours that one of the singers involved has been accused of being homophobic and, because Eurovision tries to be political unbiased (ignore the votes, everyone!), there was no signs of LGBT+ on stage (maybe the Italian entry with the rainbow stripes on his sleeves. But that is kinda taken away due to the man in an ape outfit, dancing next to him. Make of that what you will...). 

I could go on. I could even point out that, during the point giving part of the show, one of the hosts thought it was ok to ask for a female hosts for their phone numbers. Not one, but three times and each time, the female hosts laughed it off but you can sense that they were uncomfortable. 

Basically, the fact that this show was celebrating diversity, it failed in a spectacular fashion. 

We all saw. And it was all we could talk about on social media! 
 

We all saw it and we all spoke about it. So why did it upset and anger me so much? 

Because it comes back to this idea that diversity is a buzzword. That there are people who see the term diversity as a fashionable issue to talk about now (until the next buzzword comes along). 

I've spoken about my views on this before on Luna's Little Library so won't go into it again. But SERIOUSLY?! Are we having this discussion again? 

We live in a world full of diversity. And this should be celebrate. So when you're going to celebrate it,  CELEBRATE IT AND SHOW US! 

The BBC did better with diversity on Eurovision through the semi-finals and the finals. Barring our singer, we had 4 hosts (if we include Katrina Leskanich who gave out our points this year). And while they were all white, all were over the age of 40, two of them were women and the two of them were gay. Plus, the ident that the BBC aired before Eurovision had more diversity within 30 seconds than Eurovision showed in over 3 hours. When this happens, you know there's a problem...


Now, I know I might be wrong on some of my info and hell, I still need to educate myself on diversity and I will sometimes get it wrong. But we need to champion diversity, regardless of gender, skin, religion, sexual identity. Diversity isn't a buzzword, isn't a flash in the pan. It's a long road and we've only just started... 

Thursday, 11 May 2017

DNFing Caraval


So, as you can see from my Twitter poll as part of my "Pick My Next Read", Caraval by Stephanie Garber won (which is surprise as, after reading Queen of the Tearling [review here, FYI], I thought you guys would pick The Bone Season or the sequel, The Invasion of the Tearling). So, on Sunday, I started this... 

So, I have made it a rule now to chat to you guys on if I ever DNF a book. I don't want you guys to read my blog and go "Oh, he's always so positive about books he write on his blog", which is true as I feel it is important to enjoy what you read. Reading should be a pleasure, something happy and should make you happy. Life is too short to read crap books. 

So, it pains me a lot that I have decided to put Caraval in my DNF pile. It pains me as I had such hopes for this. 

Now, before I go further, I am not saying this book is awful. I'm not. I have read and watch a ton of reviews where people are singing this book's praises. And I have read and watch a ton of reviews where people are more judgemental. This book is very much a marmite read, from people's reactions (I always like these type of books, truth be told). 

But I have decided to put this on my DNF (for now) pile. Notice I say, for now. Will explain in a tick. 

But my reasons for putting the brakes on this reading experience. The first was I wasn't enjoying reading this book. I am still in that heavy-fantasy reading mood. I want to read fantasy that has an edge or a bite to it. Hence why I kinda wanted to read The Bone Season or Invasion of the Tearling (as well as a few others). It's very difficult when you're in that headspace, I find. To jump from one extreme of one genre to the other end of that genre. It's jarring. 

There are other reasons linked to my brain going "Where's the meat" to this story. But the main thing I thought while I was reading the first 100-odd pages was "This would have been an awesome middle-grade book". I kept thinking that this was written as a middle-grade story - the style and the ideas just fitted middle-grade for some reason in my head - but, somewhere along the way of writing/edit, they tried to YA it by adding a possible love interest (it felt like it was going to go down the insta-love/lust route). Why, oh why, do we need another insta-love story in YA novels? I thought we were done with this troupe!  

Now, I do want to come back to this. I'm not DNFing this completely. There is potential here for me liking this story. I want to see what happens as people have opinions on this and I think, once am out of my heavy-fantasy reading mind space, I might like this. So, I'm not DNFing it completely (not now, anyway. Ask me in a few months time as I might change my mind), but I'm in no rush to return to it. Maybe when the second book in the series is published next year (this might be a series/duology)... 

So, I'm putting this on hold and, as I don't want to veto this vote, am going to try and read the runner-up of the poll, The Bone Season. Hopefully, this will go down better for me. 

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Audiobook Review - The Queen of the Tearling

I have been listening to this audiobook for over a month. I know I started this back in March and only told my Goodreads that I was listening to this in April. Plus, I finished this last weekend. So I have been with this story for longer than I normally would if I had the book version at the start. But I got a copy of the audiobook from Midas PR & Audible.co.uk and, halfway through listening to the audiobook and wanting to read this faster, I was given a copy of the book via Transworld Books themselves. Which was super lovely of these parties so thank you all. When I needed a break from one format, I jumped straight into the other! Plus, it was always nice to check where I was and see names of characters and compared to how I heard them. 

Kelsea is nineteen. Because of this, the soldiers have come for her. To take her to the city and reclaim what is rightfully hers - the throne. Kelsea is Queen of the Tearling. Because of this, she must leave her adopted parents, go to the city and take the throne and, somehow, begin the huge unspeakable task set before her - figure out how to save her people from the corruption from within her kingdom and the overwhelming threat of the Red Queen in the neighbour kingdom, who needs little excuse to invade. 

Kelsea has all the marks of a true Queen: fair, just and powerful. That is, if she can stay alive long enough... 

This book is an interesting creature. It's not your typical YA book. If you went into a bookshop, you would have to go into the adult fantasy/sci-fi section. But this has really strong crossover appeal. It's a mix of genres - historical, but set in the future and with hints of dystopian in it. Has fantasy elements, but they are few and far between. It's more political and has a wider cast of characters. It's difficult to explain this book. 

But, for some reason, it worked. A good chuck of this book, I really enjoyed it. It felt like a fantasy novel I have been waiting to read for ages and, at last, here it was! It was something I could sink my teeth and, once I found my footing with the story, I whizzed through. I wanted to know all the political and see the beginnings of the alliance that are setting up for, not only this book, but the trilogy as a whole. It had magic but used sparing. And there was strong characters and ideas and themes. It felt like a grown-up fantasy, something I really should be getting into more as I enjoy fantasy. And I wanted more. This story ticked most of my boxes when it comes to fantasy. 

I am going to admit there are problems. This wasn't perfect. I wasn't the biggest fan of the audiobook's narrator when I started this. I warmed to her as the story went along and, by the time we got a few chapters in, I couldn't imagine anyone else reading this. But, there were times, when she read it, I just didn't click. And when an action scene was happening, she would read louder and faster. 

But the reason it took such a long time to audiobook is because the first 100/120 pages, the characters were travelling on horseback. I get why this happened - we had to get to know some of our main players in this story and this is the best way - but it was SO SLOW! 

Another thing some people won't like while reading/listening to this story is that there is a lot of backstory to characters and a lot of long-winded descriptions/details. Now, I liked this, but I know some people won't. 

But I really enjoyed this. I'm surprised how much I did enjoy this! This felt like a fantasy book I have been waiting for a very long time to read, and I can not wait to read The Invasion of the Tearling

Monday, 8 May 2017

Noah Can't Even Launch Party

Last Wednesday, in the secret heart of the theatre area of London, a small book launch party was thrown. This is the launch party of Simon Can't Even by Simon James Green. And it was filled with family, friends, book publishing people, people from that glittering world of theatre and TV...

... and me. [insert the awkward here. No, wait. Insert that picture to the right now!]

Thanks to the lovely people at Scholastic (who will never invite me to anything again. See further down for reasons), I was invited to come to this launch party and, for once, I realise that I could (moved departments at work). So, out of work, changed into normal human clothes, popped onto train and, was shocked to discover that I had time to spare in London. I could pop into Foyles bookshop and have a snoop at the pretties (and, even though I should be saving money due to rent, I treated myself to a copy of The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen. So, guess what I'll be reading soonish... maybe...). Then, once I figured out where the launch party was being held (very close to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and Aladdin! And not that far from The Mousetrap [if you've read Simon Can't Even, you know why I reference that!]), I went in and discovered...

...bananas. Quite a few bananas. Not real bananas (because fruit is healthy and that is not allowed on this blog!), but inflatable toy bananas. Because we need any more reason to be a filthy-minded lot. (If you haven't met any YA book blogger/vlogger/person, our minds live in the gutter!)

Thursday, 4 May 2017

This Blog Post Will Spontaneous Self-Combust!

Why, hello Internet! No, don't panic. This blog isn't going to spontaneous combust like that character from Bleak House! No, it's a clever pun (well, for me anyway) of a title as I would like to welcome Aaron Starmer onto the Pewter Wolf!

Aaron is the author of Spontaneous, a story which follows Mara who is having a dull senior year at school. Until Katelyn Ogden explodes during third period. That's right. Katelyn spontaneously self-combusts. And she's the first. Teens are exploding left, right and centre. And with no-one knowing what's causing these teens to explode, Mara just wants to know if she's going to make it to graduation. It's going to be one hell of a year, but Mara is going to try and figure out how to stay alive, but also discover that falling in love might be the worse thing she could do...

Doesn't that sound NUTS?! I can't wait to find time to read this! Plus, with this being developed into a movie and John Green (oh The Fault in Our Stars fame) giving this book high praise, I need to find time soon! Because of this, the lovely Claire at Canongate asked if I would like to ask some non-spoiler questions to Aaron and I jumped at the chance!

So, to Aaron, thank you so much for answering these questions and thank you Claire for asking if I wanted to ask these questions and acting as our go-between!

Before I hand you over to past me and Aaron, if you wanna check Aaron out online, you can go to his website at aaronstarmer.com, or check him at on Twitter at @AaronStarmer!

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Book Review - Release

I know! I know am meant to be reading stories that won my "Pick my Next Read" polls on Twitter and elsewhere. I know this. But when this came through my letterbox via the lovely people at Walker Books, I knew I had to read it. There was no discussion over if I should wait. I was going to read this as soon as I was book-free!

Adam Thorn has to go get the flowers himself. That's how his Saturday starts. He has to go buy new flowers for his mother. After that, he has things to do: go for a run, go to work, spend some time with his boyfriend (though his existence isn't known to his religious parents), help his father at the church and go to a farewell party. It's a Saturday. Nothing is going to happen to him today...

Across town, a ghost has risen from the lake. A ghost who is searching for something. Yearning for something. And could leave a trail of destruction in her wake to find this... something...

Two stories. Two characters. But will they find their release at the end of the day?

Inspired by Virginia Woolf's Mrs Dalloway and Judy Blume's Forever (books I have never read but feel like I should investigate), it was a book I forced myself to take my time over to read. I had to make myself read this slowly. I'm glad I did but I think I didn't have to force self as this book made me slow my reading down with me mentally going "Take your time, Andrew. Take your time!"

I liked this. I didn't devour it within 3 days like I did with The Rest of Us Just Live Here, and I adore TROUJLH (blogpost for that is here). But, saying that, I seem to enjoy this book a lot more compared to my time with More Than This, a book that chilled my blood every now and then (blogpost for that is here). I prefer this book more than More Than This, but just not enough to destroy my love for The Rest of Us Just Live Here. (Noticed I haven't mentioned A Monster Calls. This book hit me in the feels so the less we say about that, the better...)

I found this a strong coming-of-age story. Adam's story just worked. And I found the sections in here about him spending time with his boyfriend refreshing. It's rare to see that in books (this is Judy Blume's influence, me thinks) and am very happy to read it. But Adam's story is more than him being gay, it's him growing up and going "That's it" over who he is. It's a coming-of-age story that, I think, nearly every teen reading this will get. And many adults as well. And it takes place over the course of one day - and that is all it takes for something to click in our brains and for something/everything to change - one day.

It's the second story - the one about the ghost - that might throw people a little. Yes, it follows them throughout the course of the day and this story does follow some of the themes that Adam goes through - but this story is told in a different way. There are hints of magical realism and when you're reading Adam's story, only to jump to these sections, it's a little jarring and you might wonder "ok, how does this fit in?".

But this, for me, works a good chuck of the time. Yes, I did have moments where I went "Ok, how is this going to interlink with Adam's? Because it has to", but there were moments in Adam's story where I needed a break, I needed a break so these sections worked for me. And visa-versa, 'cause when I found my reading beat, it felt effortless to read. But there were moments I would read these sections and be thrown out. I preferred Adam's story but I get why this story is here and, at times, just as important.

This isn't going to be everyone's cup of tea (which book is?), but I enjoyed reading this hugely! And I can't wait to go back to this in the future and reread it. Once I find time to read Mrs Dalloway and Forever, me thinks. But soon, I will reread this. And I can't wait!

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Books And Their Theme Songs - March & April 2017


HAPPY MAY DAY BANK HOLIDAY EVERYONE!

It's about time I changed the name of this to reflect the months I read/listen to music. Plus, it gives me a bit of flexibility. So, instead of doing this every two months, I can change it up, depend on how many books and how much music I listen to. Plus, I can add a gif or two, just to make it more fun!


Now I got those gifs out of my system, let's get on with the music, shall we? Let's listen and dance it out together!!!

THE SLEEPING PRINCE by Melinda Salisbury
"High Hopes" by Quails

THE SCARECROW QUEEN by Melinda Salisbury
"Right Where I Want You" by Selah Sue


NOAH CAN'T EVEN by Simon James Green
"Crazy Fool" by Girls Aloud


THE WITCH'S KISS by Katharine and Elizabeth Corr
"The Ghost of You" by Caro Emerald with "The Huntsman" & "This Boy Will Be Your Undoing" by Mark Isman




RELEASE by Patrick Ness
"The Rain That Never Came" by Apache Sun and "Serious Love" by Anya Marina


And that's it. Hopefully, I will have more songs and books in the coming months. If there is any songs/bands/albums I MUST listen to, leave a comment or tweet me! I'm always on the hunt for new songs!

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Press Release - DC Icons Coming To The UK!

Ok, I know. I am very rare when I put Press Release up on the blog. It has to be news that makes me jump up and down in my chair and go "I HAVE TO SHARE THIS ON MY BLOG BECAUSE ARGH!!!". And I feel that this warrants that. And hopefully, you guys will be excited too.

I have to thank Ryan from Empire of Books (who has a puppy! A CUTIE PIE PUPPY!) for getting me in the loop and then Sarah from Penguin Random House Children's UK (that's a mouthful!) who saw my tweets and asked if she could send me the email in question because I wasn't on her radar. Hence the squealing!

But... guys, this sounds good! And all I can think of here is "BRING ME WONDER WOMAN!", "This is gonna be awesome!" and "Please don't screw this up!"

From Darkest Skies...

Surprise blog post time as The Pewter Wolf would like to welcome Sam Peters! Sam is a debut author  who has just published From Darkest Skies. A sci-fi thriller, we follow Keon, an Intelligence Service Agent, who is grieving for the loss of his wife. Desperate for the truth, he creates an AI version of her using every digital trace to help solve the crime. But as they try and discover the truth, the relationship begins to changes into something more, something frighteningly dependent, something that could be on the verge of love...

I am thrilled that Sam has written this guest post (thank you Sam! Know how busy you must be!) and to celebrate the release of From Darkest Skies, I am allowed to host a small giveaway (thank you Stevie from Gollancz). You can find all the info for contest on the Googleform below!

Oh, if you want to check Sam out online (or want more details over the book), you can go to the website - liss.ai - or check out his Twitter at @sampeters679! Ok, now with that out of the way, over to Sam!

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Book Review - The Witch's Kiss

After reading Felix - The Railway Cat (blogpost for that is here!), you guys voted on what I should read next (this is the plan for the next month or so - though I might have to break it now due to getting a book in post and am PUMPED for it!) and you guys voted for The Witch's Kiss by Katherine and Elizabeth Corr.

Now, I've had this book (and its sequel) for a while but never been in the right frame of mind. Hence why these polls are such a good idea. Pushing me to read books I wouldn't normally rush towards unless I was in that mood.

Anyway, Witch's Kiss. Merry just wants to be a normal teenager. Shame that's not going to happen. She's a witch - a witch that doesn't want to be a witch, and her powers either exploding out of her fingertips when she's not in control or not there when she really needs them.

But it looks like she needs to embrace her witchy side and fast. Something dark is slowly waking and when Merry and her brother, Leo, meet Jack and discover he's under a centuries-old curse. A curse Merry must now break.

But Merry and those she love must be careful. Being a witch is dangerous, but so is falling in love and a heart is such an easy thing to break. So easy, in fact, that's true love's kiss might not be enough to save it...

Now, this is an odd book. Because there was faults - oh, so many faults, which I will go into in a bit - but it was a fun, addictive read. I read most of this book in one go (a good chuck of the book I read over the Easter Weekend - most of it on Easter Sunday).

The writing was fast paced and you had to run with the story to keep up. I liked some of the characters - mainly the brother, Leo. I really liked him and wish we saw more of his life outside of magic (he's an outsider, like us. Plus, if we saw his life, it would have been more powerful as the story grew) and I liked the hints towards fairy tales (mainly Sleeping Beauty and Maleficent with hints of the Lady in the Lake) and other things (Grey's Anatomy and Once Upon A Time - I really need to stop watching so much telly!). This is very much a book for fans of fast-paced magic.

But, like I said, this book had faults. A lot of faults. Most of which can be summed up in one way, I think. The story had a good idea and plot, but it felt skeletal. There was no real meat to the story. If there was, it would have given us something extra. See how Merry's magic affected her life in school and with friends, see the mysterious attacks (include the most personal), show us Leo's life with his friends and his romantic feelings towards a character we heard of but never met. But because the book is so focused on Merry's magic and the curse, there was no room for anything else.

While I say this book does have a lot of faults, I enjoyed the reading blitz I went on with this book and looking forward to finding time to read the sequel, The Witch's Tears... 

Thursday, 20 April 2017

The Audiobook Tag


CURSE YOU, @LOVEMIKAYLAEVE! AND CURSE YOU DARREN AT BART'S BOOKSELF! CURSE YOU BOTH!!! CURSE YOU FOR MAKING ME AWARE OF THIS TAG AND MAKING ME DO IT!!! (where's a good gif of Maleficent when you need one...?)


Anyway, I listen to quite a few audiobooks (and am getting better DNFing audiobooks I loathe), so when I saw this tag, I thought "This could be fun!" So, while checking my Audible history and popping onto my iTunes history, let's get started in my audiobook weirdness!

NAME A BOOK THAT WAS BETTER ON AUDIO
This is a hard one. There are so many! I feel the urge to say any Harry Potter because it's Potter and any way you read it (book, ebook, audio) is a wonder way to discover this world. I also would say the same for Sabriel by Garth Nix, read by Tim Curry. This series is wonderful so discover it any way you can.

NAME A BOOK THAT WAS WORSE ON AUDIO THAN IN PRINT (AND YOU SWITCHED)
This has never happened to me. If I hate the audiobook, nothing will make me switch to the printed version. Am getting more ruthless with DNFing audiobooks, but if I hate an audiobook, I won't go near the book version. I have switched from audio to print before, for Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor. Not because the audio was awful (it wasn't in the slightest!), but due to time. It took over two weeks to get halfway through with audio and I was too impatient to find out what happened next to wait, so jumped to my pretty hardback copy.

TOP MALE AND FEMALE NARRATORS
This is tricky. A narrator can make or break an audiobook for me. I have three types of readers in my head: The Narrator that is perfect from the start, the Narrator you have to warm to but you click with a few chapters/halfway in or the Narrator that is such an ill-fit for the audiobook.

Am torn over top narrators. Am very tempted to say Stephen Fry or Tim Curry for male narrator. Both their voices just work with the stories I have listened to them reading. With female narrators, the first name that pops to mind is January Lavoy - I only listen to a few audiobooks read by her and every time I listen to her, it sounds like she's living the story.

WHAT'S THE LONGEST BOOK YOU'VE EVER LISTENED TO?
When I looked on my Audible history, it says the longest audiobook I bought was A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness at just under 24 hours. But this isn't the longest audiobook I have listened to. That is Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by JK Rowling (which is 29 hours and 46 minutes - I checked). 

WHAT'S THE SHORTEST BOOK YOU'VE EVER LISTENED TO?
I had to double check this as I misremembered. It's Go The **** To Sleep by Adam Mansbach (read by Samuel L Jackson). It's only 6 minutes long! 6 MINUTES!!!

HOW DO YOU LISTEN TO YOUR AUDIOBOOKS (IPOD, MP3 PLAYER, PHONE, ETC?) WHAT KIND OF EARBUDS DO YOU USE?
iPod for me. I would do it by my iPhone but I like listening to my podcasts on my iPhone and like to keep them separate (no idea why!). And earbuds... whatever comes to hand. But, normally, it's just the standard iPod earbuds. I do have other round the house but those are small and easy to pop into my pocket.

SHOULD AUTHORS NARRATE THEIR OWN BOOKS?
Ooooh! This is a tricky question to answer. Some authors, yes. Others, not so much. Sometimes, it's better for the story to be read by the author as they know the beat of how the story should be read. And it helps the reader to get into the story better. Note I say sometimes. I have listened to a few authors read their own audiobook and it doesn't sound right. There's something missing. So, I think authors should have the choice on whether they want to read their own books, but they shouldn't be forced if they say no.

IS THERE AN AUDIOBOOK YOU WISH COULD BE REDONE? BY WHICH NARRATOR?
Now this is hard, as I have a lot of series that I would love to be redone. How about keep one reader for a whole series or trilogy, and not switch them every book? That would be nice. (I would say can I have Tim Curry read Clariel and Goldenhand but I know he won't due to his health.).

BEST AUDIOBOOK YOU'VE EVER LISTENED TO OR YOUR FAVOURITE?
Of course am going to say Harry Potter! This is me we're talking about here! Am very tempted to say which Potter, but very hard to decide. Am leaning towards either Philosopher's Stone, Prisoner of Azkaban or Goblet of Fire (but these are my faves so of course will go that way). I love how Stephen Fry reads these (not heard Tim Dale's version but I REALLY REALLY WANT TO!)

I always love Tim Curry reading of Sabriel. I love how he reads Mogget. I don;'t care what I need to do, if a movie of this book is going to be made, I MUST HAVE TIM CURRY BE MOGGET!!

WHAT'S THE MOST RECENT BOOK YOU LISTENED TO?
I did not finish (DNF) Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard so I guess that doesn't count. I am currently (and VERY slowly) listening to Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen (just started Chapter 3: The Fetch). And while I am not a fan of the narrator (Katherine Kellgren) at the moment (though I am growing to like how she reads this story), I feel quite certain I will complete this. This is very different to what I was expecting...

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

eBook Review - Felix the Railway Cat

As you guys know, I have started (for this month and maybe next month) to do polls on Twitter so you guys decide what I read next. And this is the first book you guys picked! And the only reason I think you guys chose this book is because CAT!!!

When Huddersfield Train Station decided to get a railway cat for their station, they had no idea how the tiny fluffy kitten will affect their lives and the lives of their passengers. From helping a child come out of his shell to providing comfort to a runaway child, Felix changed everyone's lives. But it's a chance friendship with a commuter that brings Felix into the media spotlight and international stardom. 

I follow Felix the Huddersfield Cat on Facebook (not sure how I discovered this fan page, truth be told!) and love it. So when this was chosen, I was a little thrilled. And it was a fun read - what I expected. It was fun, gentle, candy floss read. Something you can read on the beach during the summer holidays. There is a few sad moments but it feels very heartwarming. 

I do have some issues with this. Mainly, the writing style. I couldn't gel with it. It was as if the author couldn't decide who they were writing for. For an adult audience (on NetGalley, this is under the category of "General Fiction (Adult)") or for a younger, child friendly audience. At times, the writing felt confusing over target audience. 

But cat lovers and fans of Felix will love reading this on a train with their cup of coffee on their morning commute. 

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Goodbye Days Playlist

Welcome to your second stop on the Goodbye Days tour! Yes, it's my stop today! And am thrilled to be involved (The Serpent King was a gripping debut and I can't wait for you guys to get involved in this book!).

ANYWAY, If you are not aware of what Goodbye Days is about, a quick overview (keeping spoilers to a min, of course). As Carver waited for his three friends to pick him up to go for a drive, he sends a text. The next thing he knows, their car has crashed, all of his friends are dead and there are people - himself included - who blame him for their deaths. If only he didn't send that text...

Then, one of his friends's grandmother ask Carver to take part in a "goodbye day" together, doing things that his friend loved. Soon, the other families want to hold goodbye days. But not everyone wants to forgive and with Carver's own grief and despair threatening to drown him, are these goodbye days helping people cope or doing more harm than good?

As you know with this tour, Jeff Zenter is giving us each a song from his Goodbye Days playlist and a tiny write-up on why this song is important. In exchange, we were asked to write our thoughts on the book or what we would do if we spent a goodbye day with a loved one.

Before I show you today's music choice, I would just like to say thank you to Jeff for finding time to writing this and making me discover a new song (always on the hunt for new music) and for Harriet at Andersen Press for asking if I wanted to be involved in this tour!

Tomorrow's stop is at Chouett.com so check that out! And now, over to Jeff (and myself!)

Thursday, 13 April 2017

The Left Hand Easter Contest

Who's in the mood for a Easter giveaway?

Ok, quick contest time! The lovely Stevie at Gollancz has given me a copy of the newly rejacketed The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K LeGuin to do a tiny giveaway!

For those who don't know about this book (I didn't till a few months back), this is written by the author of the well-loved Earthsea series and is deemed by many as one of the great science fiction stories. On a planet that is in constant winter, Gently Ai observes its people. They are androgynous - neuter in general but can become either male of female at the peak of their sexual cycle. They seem alien to Gently Ai, but he is slowly pulled into the complex politics of the planet and losses his professional detachment and must cross the ice with a politician who has fallen from favour and been outcast... But what will happen when they get to the other side...

Intrigued? Well, I have one copy to giveaway and this contest is a UK only contest (Soon, international readers! I promise I will do an international contest soon!). This contest will close on Easter Monday at 5pm and will be chosen at random by random.org! Will Announce winner via Twitter and will be email them for their address so the publisher can send it directly to you (no middle person [aka me!]).

To those of you entering, good luck. And may the odds be in your favour!

Book Review - Noah Can't Even

I have to make a quick statement before I go any further: I don't like cringe. You know what I mean: those moments that make you cringe. Like watching a TV talent show and having someone on who believes that they really have talent in that field but they don't. Or watching a hidden camera prank show and one of the hosts having to do something as a punishment (not all but a few). Yeah, I can't do cringe well. This is why I haven't (nor probably will never) watch The Inbetweeners. If I can make it through an episode of X Factor or that episode of Friends that make me want to claw my ears off, how am I going to survive The Inbetweeners?!

I state this now because this book has moments of cringe in it. I mean, the cover is a clue (the cover is ace, by the way!) Well, for me, it has moments of cringe. Where I would have to put the book down and leave it alone for a few moment while I go "WHY?!" at it. This isn't a bad thing but still...

Anyway, now I have that out of the way, let me chat about this book. Now, since I first heard of this book back in January at Scholastic's Blogger Event, I have been quite keen to read this. It sounded like fun. I sensed there might be moments I will dislike or go "Well, this is very Hollyoaks for my tastes, but it looks like a laugh". So, of course, when it appear in my letterbox due to Scholastic sending me a copy, I jumped at it without much thought.

Noah is having a bad few years. His dad's disappeared. His mum is a total embarrassment. His gran is suffering from dementia and isn't always there. He has only real friend - Harry. School's hell. But life might be on the up when he strikes up a friendship with Sophie and she invites him and Harry to a party. This is perfect, right?

But the party takes a turn when Harry kisses Noah. What does that mean? From there, things just keep going downhill.

I have to admit this, I am writing this a good week after I have finished this and posting this a few days later so my memory of this book is shot (this is why I write these posts within 24 hours after finishing the book)!

And while I did cringe OH SO MANY TIMES and wanted to grab Noah and shake some sense into him, I did enjoy it. I wouldn't say it was a fun read for me as, at times, it reminded me a little too much of me in my teens. Maybe this is why Noah grated on me at times - because he did things that I could have easily done myself in my youth (though, never to the extreme Noah did!).

At times, this did feel very Hollyoaks. I know some of you guys like Hollyoaks so that's not a bad thing. But at times, was a little overwhelmed with some of the stories that was thrown at Noah. Or maybe it was how Noah reacted to them that felt overwhelming.

I feel like am being mean about this book. I did like this book! Honest! I like Noah's Gran - possibly my fave character, truth be told. She gives Noah a lot of good advice and gave the book an edge of humour (I nearly choked on my cup of tea when reading one section, which was lovely and tender, Gran shouts the word "HERPES!"). And I like Harry and Sophie. They're characters I wanted to spend more time with and hopefully, we do in the next book. Plus, I liked the last 100 or so pages. It tied everything up nicely but gave character development to Noah and this helped me warm to him HUGELY! Plus, these 100 pages give room and new ideas for the sequel (yes, there is a sequel).

Now, not everyone is going to like this. This isn't going to be everyone's cup of tea. This coming-of-age/coming out story is madcap, awkward, cringey, yet oddly charming. And I kinda want the sequel. If, for no other reason, just to shout "Just kiss, you morons!" at certain unnamed characters...

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

The Hype Monster (But Let's Call It Colin)

As you guys know if you have followed me for the past few months, one of my most high anticipated reads of 2017 is The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. Ever since I heard that Walker Books were going to publish this, I have been excited to read it. I've been HUGELY open about how desperate I have been to read this. Hell, I even talked about this being one of my most anticipated reads for 20167 on the WHSmiths' Blog! So, imagine my delight (and high pitched squee-ing [it's a Hufflepuff term, don't you know!]) when I got a proof of this through the door just before Christmas 2016!

It's not April, just before Easter, the book is out on general sale and I STILL HAVEN'T READ MY PROOF COPY! I HAD THIS BEFORE CHRISTMAS AND I STILL HAVEN'T READ IT!

"Why?" I hear you ask. "You've been so excited to read this. Why haven't you?"

Because of one main reason. The Hype Monster that lives inside my head (There is the Other Hype Monster - The the word of mouth one. But let's not take about them today). And, for the sake of this blogpost (and to make myself seem quirky), we're going to call Colin (it was going to be called Steve, but I have a Dementor Funko Pop which I call Steve so that would be weird).

As you know, I have been excited to read The Hate U Give since I first heard of it. That's been over a year or so ago. I have had a over a year for Colin to work on overtime to hype it up in my head. So now, I have the book. But I now have this huge, UNNATURALLY BIG expectation for this book to be beyond brilliant. And I am terrified that, because of Colin, this won't happen.

And I do this ALL THE TIME! That's why I haven't read Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman yet (even though had it on my kindle for nearly 4 years now!). That's why I haven't read The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon yet. That's why I haven't gone anyway near a good chuck of my To Be Read shelves in physical and eBook form. Colin has, without realising it, ruined my enjoyment of these stories.

And it's not books he's done this with. TV shows, movies, music, theatre, places, people. And we all have a Colin in our heads. We all hype something up to such a point, we damage the thing in question. A good example is Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Now, I loved seeing it in the West End, but reading it... oh man, reading it was just... LET'S NOT GO THERE!!!

But now, I have a problem. How do I not let Colin go out of control and hype something so much that am too fearful to go near? And the answer to that is... I have no idea. I will always hype things up. Not on purpose, but I will. I can't start that.

So, how can I get over "The Hype Fear"? Again, no idea. I can either just dive right in into whatever I have hyped up. Or I can let some time pass before I go in. The latter is what I normally do. Sometimes, distance does the world of good. And other times, dive right in and to heck with the consequence is just as good (hence why some of the books in question are opinions on my Twitter polls for the next few weeks - if you vote for me to read it, I can't exactly go "I can't. Colin" now, can I?)

I know this isn't a normal blog post of mine, but I wanted to type this up so, if you have the Hype Monster in your head, working overtime over something (and the people around you are making Colin work overtime - that does happen and sometimes, this is a good thing. Other times, not so much [Throne of Glass is a good example for me]), YOU ARE NOT ALONE! Maybe we should band together, form a group where we can go "Oh no! Colin's done that to you too!" and then, find ways to overcome it together...

Ok, I have nowhere else to go with this post. Don't let the hype get you down. And don't let the Colin in your head get you down and ruin your enjoyment.

Friday, 7 April 2017

NetGalley Declined - You Voted For This Post


You voted for this. I thought you would really want me to talk about Disney - you surprised me! 

Now, I've done this before. Twice in fact. One back in 2015 (TA-DAH!) and another last year (TA-DAH!). With this, I might only show three or four (I know, am cheating you guys. You want to see a LOT more), but I want you guys to see that I am trying to push myself to reading more widely and more bravely, within reason.

So, here are my recent(ish) declined request from NetGalley. And if you have read any of these and you think I would like, let me know! Am curious on your thoughts of these five!

A CROWN OF WISHES by Roshani Chokshi
(St Martin Press - Goodreads Link)
I blame you, dear book bloggers pals who are reading this. You know who you are. You all who told me to read Roshani Chokshi's A Star-Touched Queen. I couldn't get Star-Touched Queen anyway (well, not everywhere. Internet, but the SHIPPING!!!). Then, I saw this on NetGalley and requested without a second thought. You all loved the first book and this was a companion book, not a sequel. BONUS! Plus, LOOK AT THAT COVER! LOOK AT THE GREEN AND PURPLE!!! Now, this is here because I was declined - only for me to discover a few days later that Star-Touched Queen was on Kindle. So that's awaiting my attention - all I know (and I might be wrong here so forgive me if I am) is that it's twisting a well known Greek myth but setting it in a mystical Indian setting. HERE, TAKE MY MONEY!!!


THE BONE WITCH by Rin Chupeco
(Sourcebooks Fire - Goodreads Link)
It was the cover with The Bone Witch. I mean, LOOK AT IT! Aren't it beautiful? I didn't read the synopsis when I requested it. But then I did and I hoped that I would be approved. It just ticked all my boxes. Plus, I have read some of the reviews and I knew this would be for me! Now, I have been declined and I am intrigued to read this as it is getting mixed reactions and I, weirdly, like trying to read this kinda books. I know, I'm weird!

AT ATTENTION by Annabeth Albert
(Carina Press - Goodreads Link)
Like I said earlier or if you ask me, I like it when book bloggers/vloggers push themselves into trying new genres and I, at times, feel we should all do this. And with NetGalley, I feel a little brave in requesting books out that are outside my comfort zone. What's the worse that coudl happen? They decline me (I wish more would. Have you not seen my NetGalley TBR, publishers?!) So, trying this out was a bit of a no-brainer. An adult gay novel set in the army. I don't really read much LGBT novels - well, I read a lot of YA LGBT books where the character comes out, but not afterwards. And that is what I want to read. Plus, I have read a novella by this author so I wanted to see what a novel by her would be like... Not sure if I will read something else by her (so many other books to read!), but it's nice every now and then to push myself and try something new, right?


BLACK WIDOW: RED VENGEANCE by Margaret Stohl
(Marvel Press - Goodreads Link)
This was an impulse for me. I was approved to read the Black Widow novel and I decided, for a reason I'm not 100% certain on (as I never do this!), to read them back-to-back. Black Widow is a badass and, while I am not a graphic novel reader (coming into Marvel via films and TV), I wanted to know more about her and her life before she joined SHEILD. I got declined to this and, once I realised this, I decide to try and read Black Widow. I barely made it past the first 3 chapters. I just couldn't click with the writing. I'm not giving up with Marvel novels, but am going to hold off... maybe if you guys think of a graphic novel I would adore, that might be a good way to enter.

SARAH by JT LeRoy
(Corsair - Goodreads Link)
Am going to be utterly truthful here: I have absolutely no idea why I requested this. None whatsoever! It's very grown-up and I sense I requested this because the cover caught my eye. But I don't think I would have liked reading this. Maybe it would have surprised me, but it seems a tad too dark for my taste now that I read the synopsis. Plus, with what I have read about the author, probably best I didn't read this...

And there we are. This was weirdly fun. I should do more polls about what I write for the blog (and as you will see in the next few weeks, I will be doing more polls on Twitter [also Facebook and Instagram] for reasons I will explain a little later...) so keep your eyes peeled!

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Naondel Blog Tour - Stop The Seventh!


I am so thrilled to be part of the Naondel Blog Tour and I am very excited to welcome Maria Turtschaninoff onto the Pewter Wolf. Maria is the author of the Red Abbey Chronicles, which contains not only the newly released Naondel but also Maresi, which has been desercibled by some as a dark feminist fairytale. If that doesn't wet your appetite, the people at Film4 Productions have optioned the film rights for Maresi. These are the people who have produced and co-produced a ton of hugely successful movies over the past few decades including 12 Years A Slave, Suffragette, both Inbewteeners movies, Room, American Honey and 127 Hours to name a few!

Now, because of this news, Maria has very kindly decided that, on this stop, to talk briefly about the news of Maresi being optioned for a movie and her reactions to this. (My reaction is being very excited so I hope we get to see the badassery of Red Abbey on the big screen!)

Now, before I hand you over to Maria, I want to thank Maria for finding time to write this post. I know you must be very busy with everything at the moment so thank you. Plus, I want to thank Vicki at Pushkin Press for asking if I wanted to be involved in this tour and all the last minute emails from me when I feared I had lost Maria's post!

Now, before I hand you over to Maria, if you want to check her out online, go to either her website - www.mariaturtschaninoff.com/ - or check her out on Twitter at @turtschaninoff! Now, with that out of the way, OVER TO YOU MARIA!

Monday, 3 April 2017

Reading Plan for April & May (Maybe)

I saw Beauty and the Beast today (I treated myself to a day off!) and it was lush like you all said. I hate it when you're all right. Curses! (And before you ask, I had preordered the movie on iTunes before my wonderful Other Half [who loathes the cinema, FYI] got us tickets and I have listened to the soundtrack... oh, a lot. And got teary-eyed over Days in the Sun, Emma Watson's How Does A Moment Last Forever and Evermore. WHY DISNEY?! WHY DO YOU WANT TO MAKE ME CRY?!)

Plus, the film was visually stunning! Just stunning.


Anyway, as much as I would adore to write a blog post solely on my feels on this movie, that's not what this post is about! No, dear readers, this is something I have been thinking about for a while about how I should read and how to get you guys involved. Because, at times, because I have so many books and ebooks to read, I get a little... well... overwhelmed. And because of this, I thought that, for the next month or so, you guys and pick my next few reads.

This was meant to be a way for me to read some of my NetGalley/Proofs, but I am behind of reading some boos you guys recoil about when I say I haven't read them yet... And it's because of several reasons (size, time, Hype Monster, mood, etc). So, why not go to you guys as you have ace tastes?

Now, I do have some rules (for myself at least). I have to put a poll up of 4 choices on Twitter (but might mix if up and go Instagram or Facebook. So, keep eyes peeled on my Twitter so you know where to look!) and each poll will be around 24 hours long and whatever wins will be the book I am going to try and read. I can still DNF if I don't like and I am allowed 2 vetos if I disagree with your choice. If I do use a Veto, I need to either do another poll or pick the runner-up book.

And oh, I am making plans to do a few Big Guns books that I know you guys all love and it will hurt you to choose one (Strange The Dreamer, The Bone Season, The Graces, Noughts and Crosses, The Hate U Give, etc). Yes, I know. I am a complete monster.

That ok? Is that a crazy idea to leave my reading fate to you? I think you guys will picks some wonderful/crazy choices and I can not wait!

Well, you guys are going to hate me because... well... the first poll will go up quite soon after this post goes live... So, I need to pick 4 choices. Hang on...

So, I made my picks! And you have till tomorrow (let's say half past 5 in the afternoon UK time) to pick so I can start reading that evening.


Thank you all in advance for voting and happy picking!

Friday, 31 March 2017

DNFing Guarding Mr Fine

As you guys are aware, I don't DNF that often. But am become far more ruthless with deciding to DNF something or putting it back on TBR pile (physical or kindle) and returning to it at a later date. Like I say to you guys, life is too short to read crap books (well, crap in your opinion. Everyone's opinion is different and, now more than ever, we need to be respectful and kind to one another). This, sadly, is a DNF for me.

Now, like always, I am not saying this is a bad book. This just isn't for me. I have seen reviews on Goodreads of this book and people loving the very Not-Safe-For-Work of it (for those curious, we have swearing with the first paragraph of chapter one and we have gay sex in chapter two. It's like the first episode of Torchwood when it was first launched on BBC Two and BBC Three. It did this so viewers knew that this Doctor Who spinoff is not for children). This is one of the reasons I requested this on NetGalley. It's adult LGBT romance with a thriller edge to it - what more could I ask for when trying to branch out and try new things?!

Now, while I am all up for adult reading, I have two reasons for DNFing this (and one is more important than the other).

The first is this book is the third in a series and I believed that this could be read as a standalone. While you probably could read this as a standalone, within chapters three and four (I gave it four chapters so around 20% of the story), you had a lot of important thrown at the reader which might be linked to the previous stories. Maybe I'm wrong and I'm jumping the gun on this, but feeling overwhelmed, information-wise, isn't the greatest start.

The second and (probably) my main reason why I DNF is the I kept getting confused/muddled over the main characters. One is Seth and the other is Rick. You think I would keep them separate and know which one is a CIA agent and which one is the US consul general. Nope. I kept getting them confused. I kept having to stop and go "Which one is Seth again? Is he Rick? Do I need to go back and reread?". I don't mind getting confused over plot (this is a thriller after all), but characters...? Nope - not going to do that. I want to enjoy the thriller/romance and this was going to be ruined with me, double checking who's who! This isn't an episode of The Blacklist or Line of Duty, where I mistrust every suspect bought to me!

So, am putting this on my DNF list and moving on with my day. And, hopefully, I will be reading something gripping by the time you read this... Hopefully...

Thursday, 30 March 2017

#re3 - Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them

I have been in two minds over whether I should get this on audiobook or not when it was announced. On the one hand, IT'S AN AUDIOBOOK! With Eddie Redmayne (aka Newt Scamander in the Fantastic Beasts movie) narrating it! But on the other, it's not really adding anything new to this. And I have other reasons, which I will go into later.

But, when Midas PR (people who I chat with for Audible credits - they are very kind and lovely people) gave me an extra two credits a month or so bad by mistake, they said I could keep them and use them for any audiobooks that catch my eye. So, I used one of the credits on this (even though I have a ton of audiobooks I really should be listening to instead). And after the drama of trying to get this onto my iPod (don't ask! It was a nightmare and only with the help of Audible.co.uk's Twitter did I figure it out as this has never happened with any of my other audiobooks!)

In this updated version of the Harry Potter textbook, we discover the magical beasts that live in the Wizarding world that was referenced or we have seen in both Harry Potter books/movies and the Fantastic Beasts movie. Because this is updated, we have a new foreword from Newt himself (with information/hints linking to the Fantastic Beasts movie) and addition of six new beasts (why these have been added have been explained in the foreword).

Now, as a Harry Potter fan and as someone who has read and reread this over the years, what i found so enjoyable is how in-depth this "textbook" goes. Plus, it was cool to go back and go "oh! That was in the movie!" and compare to my old edition of Fantastic Beasts.

There was a bit of drama before Christmas when the movie was released and no bookseller could get a copy as publishers in UK/US were publishing the new, updated version in time for DVD release and Comic Relief (which donates a percentage of money towards this charity as well as the Lumos Foundation). So, while it's a bit of the pricy side for a under two hour audiobook, knowing that some of that money is going to good causes makes me feel warm, fuzzy inside and glad the world isn't such a dark place (have you not seen the news the past week?!)

And as for the new six beasts... I only spotted three to my knowledge. Might have to go back when I have an afternoon free and listen to this with my now "out of date" copy in hand and compare...

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Book Mini-Reviews - The Fox Wish & The Giant Jumperee

I decided (No idea why! Maybe I thought I would be easy to do this. We shall see...) to put these two books together in one review! Both are picture books (which is rare for me to talk about on my blog, I know!) and both are perfect to be read by parents to children and together.

The first is The Fox Wish by Kimiko Aman and illustrated by Komako Sakai, and the second is The Giant Jumperee by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury.

In The Fox Wish, we follow a sister and brother who go back to the park to find their jump rope. Only to find a group of fox cubs playing with it and believing it to be the answer to their wish. And in The Giant Jumperee, Rabbit comes home to find a loud voice in his burrow. When his friends (Cat, Bear and Elephant) come to help, they each get scared by the loud voice. But who is the Giant Jumperee?

Both, in my opinion, are wonderful stories to read to little ones, each with a gentle charm to them.

While both do have a charm, there is something on each you need to be aware. While picture books are often glossy in their illustrations, The Fox Wish doesn't have that. It's more ink-stamped and watery in tone compared to other picture books and, with The Giant Jumperee, there were moments when reading it felt a little too close to The Gruffalo in tone (yes, I know both are written by the same author but if your child knows The Gruffalo, they might spot how similar they are. Plus, nothing Julia writes really beats the Gruffalo. Although, What the Ladybird Heard does come close...)

But barring this, both are lovely reads to read to your little ones at bedtime...

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Stanly's Ghost Tour - Stop 2!

Hello and welcome to my stop on the Stanley's Ghost blog tour! Hope you're all good this Tuesday (or whatever day you are reading this!) and I would love to welcome Stefan Mohamed to the Pewter Wolf! Stefan is the author of the Bitter Sixteen trilogy, starting with Bitter Sixteen, Ace of Spiders and the final book in the trilogy, Stanly's Ghost, which came out a few weeks ago!

As Stanly's Ghost is the last book in a trilogy, I don't want to give too much away. So, going to give tiny info from the first book, Bitter Sixteen. Stanly is a typical teenager - expect the fact that his best friend is Daryl, a talking beagle. And expect for the fact that, when he turned sixteen, he gained the power of flight and telekinesis. And seeing as his rural Welsh town doesn't need a superhero, Stanly goes to London. Only to discover a good deal more weird and terrifying. Maybe he should have stayed in Wales...

Now, before I throw you into Stefan's guest post, a few thank yous and some links. I would like the thank Stefan for finding time to write this post. I know he must be super busy at the moment but thank you. Also, would like to thank Emma for asking if I wanted to be involved in this tour.

And now, for links. If you want to check Stefan out, you can check him out either via his website - stefmo.co.uk - or via his Twitter at @stefmowords.

Now we got that out of the way, over to you, Stefan!

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Book Review - The Scarecrow Queen

I DID IT!!! I READ THE ENTIRE TRILOGY IN A SPACE OF THREE MONTHS!!! Bit late to the party but I DONE IT!!! (and to that fan who tweeted Melinda that she read the whole trilogy is less than 16 days, shame of you. Melinda kept giving me tweets to say "er... LOOK!")

In this, the third and final book in the trilogy, the Sleeping Prince has taken control of Lormere and with Twylla in hiding and Errin in his clutches, time is running out to them and their band of rebels to stop him taking full control.

But Aurek will stop at nothing to keep the throne and to keep it forever.

Anymore than that and I might spoil a lot of details within the previous two books in the trilogy, The Sin Eater's Daughter and The Sleeping Prince. But it's gonna hit the fan, so brace yourselves...

This is the strongest and my favourite book in the trilogy. Things are put into place and the pay-off worked excellently, characters have grown from when we first met them and we have a climax which left me breathless.

This is how a final book in a trilogy in a dark fantasy trilogy should be: dramatic, badass, tender, creepy as heck (I couldn't stop thinking about the prologue for days after I read it, and those interlude chapters were just ), breath-taking as you want to sped through to the end yet want to savour the writing at the same time. It's been so long since I read a faultless finale, and this ticked every box!

Shame it's taken me so long to discover this trilogy (blame the hype fear and the wrath of nearly EVERY BLOGGER/VLOGGER WHO SCREAMED AT ME TO READ THIS TRILOGY [and Melinda who threatened to send a Dementor at me - I swear she's Voldermort's secret daughter!]) but Mel has a new fan and I await her next book, Floored (which she is co-writing with Sara Barnard, Holy Bourne, Tanya Byrne, Non Pratt, Lisa Williamson and Eleanor Wood) and her just-announced trilogy with baited breath!

EDIT: Just when you thought I can't mess up the author's name further (have you guys not see me say Mel's surname wrong. I called her a supermarket chain!!!), I then type up her first name wrong! AND IT'S THE AUTHOR WHO TELLS ME ABOUT IT!



MEL, I AM SO SORRY!!! Thanks for pointing it out to me and being very kind and laughing at it (better than my reaction which involved swear words and me blaming auto-correct and a podcast I have recently discovered called My Dad Wrote A Porno [don't ask. Will blog about this in future once all catch up - not sure if that's a good thing or not]). SORRY! 

Monday, 20 March 2017

The Scarecrow Queen Launch Party

Last Wednesday (because I have been weirdly busy - thanks work, reading and Breath of the Wild!), I was very kindly invited to the launch party of Melinda Salisbury's third and final book in the Sin Eater's Daughter trilogy, The Scarecrow Queen.

Now, as you know, I have been trying to blitz this trilogy and, since been invited, I have been trying to finish Scarecrow Queen before I got to the party. And I failed. I got a good chuck in but, alas, not completed it.

So, after doing a half day at work, rushed home, changed and on the train to London I went, speed reading (or trying to. You can't rush this book, I found!) Scarecrow Queen. After getting there a bit early (for reasons am going to explain), I popped to Kings Cross to see Platform 9 and 3/4 and the shop (it was MAD!). And bought myself some pens - because that's what this Hufflepuff likes.

Then, off to where the launch party was being held - in a crypt. That's right, dear readers, a crypt. It wasn't Melinda's natural writing habitat (I checked) and we weren't going to get locked in and have to offer a blood sacrifice to get out and go home (though, I would have loved to see how work would have reacted if I phoned up and went "I'm going to be in today. Why, you ask? Well...". Plus, I could have finished Scarecrow Queen in peace!).

But, I had to get there a little bit early because Lorraine from Scholastic asked if I fancied asking Melinda some questions on their Facebook Live feed. I said yes, then panicked because I have no filter. So I had to be professional and control and not panic over the fact that, before I left for the event, I spend ages trying to figure out what to wear! I HAVE TO LOOK ME BUT PROFESSIONAL  BOOK BLOGGER/LOVER!


I haven't watched the video. I just can't. Not only because I'm not a fan of watching myself on film, but a little bit because I got Melinda's surname wrong. Of all the things that could go wrong, I didn't think me GETTING THEIR NAME WRONG TO THEIR FACE would be one. And after me panicking over getting the characters's names wrong (how many times I asked how to pronounce Twylla before the interview?). But Melinda has a great sense of humour (as you can see) so, hopefully, she didn't get that annoyed with me. Plus, if we play our cards right, we might be able to annoy Sainsbury's supermarket chain for some freebies (unlikely but you never know!). 

Oh, if you want to enter the contest I mention, go to Scholastic UK's Facebook page and like the video. And that's it! 

Anyway, after that whirlwind panic, the launch party started! The crypt was creepy and filled with people - family, friends, publishing people (some who needed wine after London Book Fair - apparently, it was manic!) and bloggers! There was (hang on, let me check my Twitter as have a bad memory and I did have two glasses of wine on an empty stomach!): George from @TheGeorgeLester, Kate from @Magic_Kitten, Darren from @ShinraAlpha, Bex from @MyShelfMyself, Jess from @bookendsending@littlehux (Am positive we chatted very briefly, or am I misremembering), Grace from @_gracelatter & Stephen from @MyBookishLife. I spoke to David Owen (whose upcoming novel, The Fallen Children, is coming out soon) who is very cool and will be helping me out with Zelda if/when I get stuck/find time to play it. I saw (but was too scared to talk to) CJ Daughter (Night School series and Secret Fire duology) and Chris Russell (Songs About A Girl) and I discovered that Katharine Corr (co-author of the Witch's Kiss series), Lindsay Galvin (whose novel, The Breathing Sea, will be out next year) and L.D. Lapinski (not sure if I spoke to you. If I did, yeah! If not, sorry! NEXT TIME, HUNT ME DOWN AND SAY HI!!!). 

After small, very sweet speeches, we had tiny cup cakes and got copies signed. And this is what Melinda wrote in mine... 


This fits perfectly with what Melinda wrote in my copies of Sin Eater's Daughter and The Sleeping Prince. But, HA-HA! I FINISHED SCARECROW QUEEN YESTERDAY (my reactions to this will be coming soon!) 

And then, due to it being a work night and the train journey back, we left. And the crypt looked SUPER CREEPY at night! 


Anyway, I would like to thank Melinda Salisbury, Lorraine from Scholastic and everyone at Scholastic for inviting me. It was such a fun evening and can't wait to see what Melinda writes next!