Thursday, 22 June 2017

We're Allowed To Like Different Books

Earlier today, Penguin in the UK and the US excitedly announced that John Green, author of The Fault in Our Stars and Paper Towns, was publishing a brand new book in October this year. It's called Turtles All The Way Down (isn't that a Discworld quote or some kind of old saying?) and the internet, of course, exploded. Everyone was excited, thrilled, preordering it and using a lot of gifs.

My reaction: "Oh, that's nice." And then I went to eat my dinner and drink my mug of tea.

Now, before you grab your pitchforks and lit-torches, let me say this: we can have different opinions and tastes and still be happy, kind, respectful people. That's why I never say on my blog "This is my opinion". I trust you guys know and get that.

See, I tried John Green. I REALLY DID! I read Paper Towns, his short story in Let It Snow and The Fault In Our Stars. I have read him and I liked them. I didn't love them, but I didn't hate them. I liked them enough. I get why you guys like and love John and his writing - but he's not for me.

Same with Sarah J Maas. I have read Throne of Glass and I struggled. But I read it. And, while this book also wasn't my cup of tea, I get why you like and love the story. And I respect your thoughts and opinion.

And there are books you guys hate and I love. I met someone a few weeks back who hadn't read Harry Potter and, while I was shocked over this news (Harry Potter is MY series), I got why and respected them. I know people who read and liked 50 Shades of Grey and while I will never read the series (ever!), I know this series brings some fun to its readers.

This has taken a while to get to this realisation, but in a world that has suddenly got dark and we all need a bit of fun in our reading lives. But let's be respectful to what everyone likes to read, can we?

With that, here's a picture of of turtles all the way down...!

Book Review - The Art of Moana

I had this book for quite a while - thank you Chronicle Books. But I wanted to read this after I saw the movie. Whenever I have read these types of books (which I love - if you backtrack far enough, you see that I have read a few - The Art of Finding Dory, The Art of Up, The Art of Frozen to name a few...) before watching the movie, there are little spoilers about the end of the movie so, as much as I wanted to devour the beautiful art designs in this, I wanted to see the movie first.

In this, we see the art designs and ideas for the art that went into creating the world of Moana, a Disney films most of you guys love.

Now, because it took a while to read this after I watched the film, I was surprised about the lengths the directors and art departments went to get this right - spending a long time researching Polynesia and the Pacific Islands, with the people, sounds, rituals, plantations and other things to make the story ring true and respect the region of Oceania, while telling Moana's story with its magical twist.

And this book, like the other The Art of books I have read (or need to read - I was recently given another for review which I will do nearer the movie's release date, me thinks...). This shows the art and the process it took from starting idea to final design. For example, very early in design, Maui was drawn being bald, but it was changed after the team chatted to their Mo'oera consultants and they were told that they envisioned Maui having a Sampson-like hair, long like a lion's mane. And seeing the different start points to the Te Kā and Te Fiti made an interesting "oh!" moment.

I do like these types of coffee-table books and I think older Disney fans who enjoy how Disney created the film from its starting idea drawings... And because I feel like I can show you, let me show you one or two images I think you will like!





Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Book Read - My Name is Not Refugee

This has been sitting on my TBR shelves for a while. It was one of those books that, as soon as I read Nina Douglas email about it, I wanted to read it. But when I got a copy, I was a bit hesitant over how, in a picture book aimed for younger readers (aka the tiny humans in your lives) was going to tackle the issue of refugees.

The story follows a small boy who is told by his mother that they have to leave their home, because it's no longer safe. There, we follow their story as they leave, travel, wait and then find a safer place to stay and live.

This book explains the refugee crisis in a simple, very child-friendly way. Almost with an innocent outlook of a young child which shows that, while this is scary and "...a bit sad but quite exciting too" (taken from one of the earliest pages).

On each page, the book asks the reader questions - what would you take? How far could you walk? What's the strangest food you've ever eaten? - while showing images of his journey, simple but powerful.

I get that some parents and teachers won't want to read this to young people, but I think this will help some youngsters understand the very basic of the refugee crisis and should be more readily available.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Book Review - Never Say Die

After a weird reading slump (that's the only why I can discover the past few weeks) and then me trying to read 3 books on the go (because that's going to help me SO MUCH after crawling my way out of a reading) just so I can read/reread some books that will make me happy (have you not watched the news?!).

And this seems the perfect place to start. Truth be told, I didn't know Anthony Horowitz was bringing back Alex Rider in Never Say Die till I got the email from Walker Books, asking if I wanted to go to the book's launch party. You can read my writeup about that here. While I was there, I bought a copy and started reading it on the way home that night.

After the shocking and heartbreaking events of Scorpia Rising, Alex Rider is recovering. He's fifteen and he's done. Done with MI5. Done with risking his and the people he cares about lives all the time. And with what happened to Jack... he's done. But when he get a cryptic email, Alex finds himself in something much bigger. Scorpia might be finished, but there are still bad people who will do anything to achieve their ends. Alex must stop whatever he's found himself involved in and he must find the truth: is Jack Starbright really dead?

Am going to admit this, it's been a while since I read Alex Rider. The last book I read was Ark Angel. So returning to this world was a bit of a risk. Would it live up to how I remember the book series being? I mean, I haven't read this series for over 10 or so years.

Best way to describe my read of this is nostalgia. The first hundred or so pages, I had this very happy feeling about returning to this world and getting sucked back into this world. The writing and pacing was fast (perfect for a spy thriller like this) and the plot was interesting to read. It wasn't as huge a scale as Ark Angel (nothing can be as huge [or maybe a bit bonkers] as Ark Angel) but this felt realistic. It could happen and Anthony always have a habit of writing a fast story where the story could happen. It might seem a bit out there but it could happen.

I'm not going to gush over this book too much as this isn't flawless. No book is ever flawless with me - even my beloved Harry Potters aren't - but there's one or two things that felt off. Even though you can read each Alex Rider book separately and you have no real need to read the others, I did feel like I should go back and read Scorpia Rising. There were little references to what happened in that book and as this book involves a huge moment from Scorpia Rising, I felt like I should go back (and yet, I didn't really have a need to. Odd blend). The reason for this is, I think, because Never Say Die feels like a start of a "new, more grown-up series" within the Alex Rider series. Alex is less gadgets and more grown-up compared the the original Alex Rider novels when he was fourteen. Because of this, Anthony needs to tread a fine line where we're starting a new book in a new series (the last chapter definitely hinted that more books are to come) but, at the same time, being respectful to "original series" and respectful to the fans who have been with Alex since Stormbreaker and Point Blank.

Yes, I get some of you will go "it's unrealistic" and "how stereotypical" but it was fun. I forgot how much I enjoyed this series and I haven't read a YA spy thriller that comes anyway near Alex Rider. And with the world as it is at the moment, I think we need a bit of fun. So, hearing that ITV is going to turn this into an "older family series" gives me hope that this series could react new readers (as long as ITV doesn't mess it up!). But, as someone returning to this world, all I can say is: welcome back Alex.

Friday, 16 June 2017

The TBR Tag



After discovering this on YouTube, I thought it would be fun to try this out. I mean, my TBR in both physical and ebook is a little out of hand and I think it will be a good way to show you what I have and that I am trying (!) to get it in some control. 

Before I do, the tag was originally created by A Perfection Called Books (you can check the post out here!). Now with that out of the way, let me try and answer these! 

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Disney Villains Takeover Wrap-Up

This is a quickie wrap-up post for the Disney Villains Takeover blog tour! I think the evil, vile, wickedness we have created the past few days is enough from us (for now... though, with the world being as it is, we might have to band together and either spread love, peace, unity [like the bloggy Avengers] or join together and be more wicked [like Suidice Squad - but better than the movie]. Because, remember... 

So, as this is a wrap, I better give you all the links of everyone's posts and be evil about it! So, let's get those flying monkeys started! 

Monday, 12 June 2017

Why Gaston and Hans are the Scariest Villains...

One of the main reasons why I wanted to do to try and create this mini blog tour of Disney Villain Takeover (I am awful with bog tour banners so you can blame that on me! Sorry about that!) is because I wanted to write this very blogpost. Or attempted to write it in a way that made sense to me.

So, Disney Villains. There are a lot of them. The Evil Queen. The Wicked Stepmother. Scar. Frollo. Maleficent. Jafar. Ursula. We know them and we love/hate them in equal measure. But when it comes to Hans and Gaston, I can't help but wonder about them. They feel different from the other Disney villains. 

Maybe it's the way they are drawn. When you look at certain villains, they are drawn and coloured in a way that we, the viewers, know instantly that they are the villain. Drawn in rather severe way or in a quite comedic way. We have Maleficent who is drawn with horns and Ursula is drawn with lavender-coloured skin. Scar is a different colour compared to the other lions and both Jafar and Dr Facilier are tall and drawn with sharp lines. All Disney villains have clear indicators that they are villains. 

While Gaston is drawn in a comedic way (those muscles), Hans doesn't fit either. Hans is drawn to the hero, the dashing prince who (we are told in every Disney film) will come and save the day. Hans is, to Anna, the prince who came. It's not until much, much later that Anna sees his true intent. 

And intent is another villain trait. In nearly all Disney films, the villains intent is always there. We see it from the off. We know they are the villains and we know why they're doing what they're doing. Both Gaston and Hans are, at the start of the films, don't reveal their intent. With Hans, he lies and pretends to be the wonderful person, but when his mask slips when he thinks Anna is going to die and, when he think she does, he spins more lies and becomes more ruthless in his pursuit of power, not pausing for a second before he tries to kill Elsa, while grieving for Anna after being told that she was dead and with her back to Hans. 

But Gaston doesn't fit this. He doesn't lie to the viewer. He's not being deceitful. Not at the start of either the animated or the live action movies. He wants to marry Belle become she's the most beautiful and that makes her the best. He believes that, because he is the most handsome man in the village, marrying the most beautiful girl in the villain will make him happy. But as the story goes forward in both version, we see that he sees Belle as a object, a thing to be control and no one will stand in his way of getting what he wants, making his actions of trying to put Maurice in a mental hospital or, in the live action, tying him up to a tree and leaving him in the woods, hoping the wolves will eat Maurice because he said "No" when Gaston wants Belle's hand in marriage. Gaston, though no starting the movie as a villain, grows into one. 

But this isn't the reason I think Hans and Gaston are scary villains, probably the scariest out of them. 

My main reason is quite frightening and it's this: They exist out of their movie. 

With most of the Disney villains, they live in a world of fantasy, with magic at their fingertips. We can separate fantasy from reality. We're never going to meet a witch, a woman who can turn into a dragon or a half-woman, half-octopus trying to steal our voices. 

But Hans and Gaston can be so easily taken out of their movie and easily exist in our world. There are men and women out there who can easily be Hans and Gaston. They can be our friends, people we work with, people we're related to, people we're in relationships with. People who think it's ok to do the things they do and to have no one call them out on it because they are handsome or their status. 

But - now this is a huge but - for every Hans and Gaston in the world, there are loads of princes and princesses. People who will have your back. People who will be kind, thoughtful, loving. People who will be there for you, no matter what. The Mulans, the Tianas, the Meridas, the Flynn Riders, the Prince Philip and the Beast/Prince Adam. These are the people who, when the Hans and Gastons appear on our lives, will always have our back. 

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Disney Villains Takeover


Because I suck at creating a blog tour banner (nothing ever looked right! Maybe I set myself too high a standard!), this is it. Me explain my mini-blog tour between a few lovely, kind hearted heroes and saviours... ok, maybe not heroes and saviours. For this weekend, let's call ourselves villains in training...

This, my lovelies, is the Disney Villain Takeover! Over the next four days (Friday 9th to Monday 12th), a bunch of wicked bloggers, vlogger and authors are joining together to chat about ... well... Disney Villains, of course...


Now, I must thank everyone for taking part in this madcap idea of a blog tour! It was wonderful for you all to say yes (and no poison apples to tempt you either!). I asked them to write/record a post about a villain of their choice and they could write whatever they liked! So... this is going to be interesting for me to read as well as you guys who fancy following the tour...

Friday 9th June

Saturday 10th June

Sunday 11th June

Monday 12th June

My post is going to be a villain in itself and lurk in the background, buying its time. But I sense Sunday. But thank you again to everyone taking part and I hope you guys like the tour when it kicks off tomorrow! 

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Never Say Die Launch Party

Let me tell you a story. Are we all sitting comfortable? I first discovered the Alex Rider series back when I was in college (in around 2003 - work the mental math of how old I am!). It was Eagle Strike, the fourth book in the series. I remember reading and enjoying it. So I backtracked to Stormbreaker then attack the books from there. I got to Ark Angel a few years later and went "He can't top this so am going to stop while ahead" (plus, I was going "Where the hell is Anthony going to take this now? WE WENT TO SPACE AND EVERYTHING!!! He's going to kill Alex and nope. NOPE! Or he's going to do a evil twist involving the ending of Point Blanc [FYI, which is my fave out of the series]").

But I liked this series and am very fond of them. So, when I got an out-of-the-blue email from Walker Books, asking if I wanted to come to the launch party of the latest Alex Rider book, I emailed "Yes!" almost as soon as I read it, then went "HANG ON! I thought Anthony had finished the Alex Rider series with Scorpia Rising... I know there's a prequel - Russian Roulette. Is this a prequel? Is Alex back in a new book? What is this?" And I decided to go into this as blind as I could. Little to no information WHATSOEVER (oh, that's a brave/stupid idea when you're going to an event where you think you might be meeting the author, dear readers...)

So, last Thursday, after a long day (up at 5am to do work from 6am till 2pm only to go to London and knew I was going to be up late due to train journey home), I rushed to London and made my way to the launch party (which was only a few minute walk from my train station - THIS NEVER HAPPENS!). And I almost didn't go in as the venue looked very swish (and I'm probably not cool enough to enter the building). But after going "I'm probably at the wrong place, what's the worse that could happen?" and discovering I was in the right place (by, I didn't realise till I got home, JR Moore who was doing an internship at Walker!), I slipped into the venue and did what all book bloggers do - I saw that there were people there and went "ARGH! PEOPLE!! FIND A DARK CORNER AND HIDE!!!" 

This event was filled with people in connection with the book. Book publishers, TV peeps (well, ITV are in the early stages of turning Alex Rider into a "older family series" [PLEASE DON'T MESS THIS UP, ITV!]), friends, family, author... Oh yes, Anthony Horowitz was there. THE ANTHONY HOROWITZ! 

You guys have rock stars, actors, musicians to get starstruck over. I go starstruck over authors. Plus, Anthony is a big author of my teens and early twenties so it's kinda a big deal, ok? 

A post shared by Andrew (@thepewterwolf) on

After a small speeches from Anthony's editor and Anthony himself, people got food, drink and got their copies of Never Say Die signed. I was too terrified to go over - do I need to remind you who he is [plus, I saw from a distant his sons - both very attractive and I didn't want to go "Whoa! Your sons are fit!" (I have the habit of putting my foot in it when I feel out of my element - as you are about to find out in the next paragraph or so!)

And then, out of nowhere, Jane from Federation of Children's Book Groups (who I met at the Noah Can't Even launch) appeared. We chatted and she asked if I had my copy of Never Say Die (which I bought that evening) signed. "No," I replied. "It's Anthony Horowitz. I can't go over there and ask. He -" I didn't get to finish that sentence. Jane and Rosi from Walker (who, also, just appeared - both are ninjas!) practically frog-marched me over to Anthony and went "This young man is a fan of yours! Sign his book as he's slightly imitated by your awesome!" [Ok, am para-phrasing, but you get the idea[. He signed my copy and we chatted - Rosi created a boomerang of us as Anthony wondered how you make a gif (if I can find it, will share in post!)

WE INTERRUPT THIS BLOGPOST TO BRING YOU A BOOMERANG!

Now we're back! Now, for the awkward "ahh..." moment. While chatting to Anthony (and with Rosi and Jane in earshot!), I mentioned how, earlier that day, I mentioned to my friends/other half (can't remember which) that was going to even and said "He writes the Alex Cross books". Anthony looked at me weirdly. "Apparently, in that moment, you are James Patterson in disguise" I now explained/backpedalled/blabbed. "We've never seen you in the same room together!"

[insert cringe here]

After that, Anthony had to go and chat to other people who came and I got chatting to Anthony's publicist/author pal, Justin Somper (via Jane. Thanks Jane!). He writes the Vampirates and Allies & Assassins series. It was really cool to chat to him about books, politics (is that a wise thing to chat about with a snap election in a few days time, one wonders?) and a few other things before it was time to go.

Before I wrap this up, I want to thank the people at Walker Books for inviting to this event. It was an honour and, once I found people to talk to (I need to be more outgoing to go to people I don't know and chat at these events), I have such fun. Thank you Anthony for signing that slightly hyper 30-something fan's book - and dealing with my tweets going "What the actually hell?!" and "I blame you for listening to Sheryl Crow's Tomorrow Never Dies" and now, am going to get that stuck in you head now!

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 Beyoncé 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...