Sunday, 10 December 2017

Doomspells and Silver

This was meant to be going up in a day or two times, but because it's snowing, I decided to push it forward a few days. Seemed a little apt somehow... anyway!

I'm not sure how this happened, but I am thrilled to have Cliff McNish on the Pewter Wolf!

Cliff McNish is the author best known for his Doomspell trilogy and the Silver Sequence, but has written other novels such as Breathe: A Ghost Story, The Hunting Ground, Angel and Savannah Grey. I devoured the Doomspell trilogy and the first two Silver Sequence when they first came out many years ago, so when I heard that, after years of them being out of print, they were going to be republished, I knew I had to email Cliff to see if would have time to answer a few questions about Doomspell and Silver. And he came back and went "Sure!".

So, to Cliff for finding time to answer my questions, thank you.

Now, before I hand you over to our Q&A, if you want to know more about Cliff and his books, check out either his website - www.cliffmcnish.com - or his Twitter - @cliffmcnish.

Now, ONTO THE QUESTIONS!

Thursday, 7 December 2017

eBook Review - Played!

I have to admit this: this was an impulse request read. I was snooping on NetGalley over the past few months to read things a little out of my comfort zone and spied this and went "Why not?". Yes, it is an adult gay romance and I want to read more LGBT reads. Plus, one of the leads in this suffers from dyslexia, I thought that this would be interesting to see how this was tackled.

Tristan has one last summer of freedom before he moves to New York and work for his father's finance company, giving up his acting career. But he has one summer and while he visits the small country town of Shamwell to set his recently deceased Danny's affairs in order, he can't help getting involved in the town's local dramatics version of Midsummer's Night Dream.

Con like to hide behind his staging. With his late diagnosed dyslexia, he doesn't even think about acting. But when an incident at a local cricket match means he has to fill a role last minute, he is thrown into Tristan's orbit, who offered to help Con learn his lines.

The more time they spend together, they begin to fall for each other, but a slip of the tongue could easily ruin them...

This is an easy, fluffy read. It was easy to read and was nice to read something that I could switch off to as I have been worrying that the last few weeks, I have been on the verge of a possible reading slump. So this was perfect for me.

HOWEVER! There is so many problems to this.

This felt very insta-lust between Tristan and Connor (Con for short) and as for the characters, primarily and secondary - oh, the characters! Most of the characters in this aren't exactly characters I cheered for. I mean, this is a romance, so we want the romantic leads to be characters we want to cheer for! We want them to be together at the end...

... but Tristan... oh, Tristan. There was potential here for character growth! I like Con (I can count on one hand how many characters I liked), but Tristan was arrogant, self-centred and a bit mean at time. And he learnt nothing. Maybe the reveal of the "slip of the tongue" was sooner (not 85-90% in the story), we had longer for them to get some resolution and it wouldn't be so rushed and so fake. Con deserved better - and there was a moment I wonder if this was going in a different direction with another character - I think I would have preferred that compared to how it went.

I think the problem with this whole story is that it had potential but it failed to reach it. I had low hopes so I wanted some fun to read, and while it was, it's hugely problematic.

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

eBook Review - The Tower Is Full of Ghosts Today

I have been in two minds about doing a write-up over this. But I am thinking of reading this series (I do have the second book in the series, which follows Anne Boleyn, on my kindle due to NetGalley) so I wanted to read this to see if I could click with the author's writing style.

In this (very) short story, we join Jo at modern day Tower of London where she takes a group of tourists round the Tower. But she becomes enchanted by the tour guide, who knows with accurate historical knowledge about Anne Boleyn's time in the Tower...

This is a free eNovella so I knew it was a marketing ploy. But what annoyed me about this was the length of the short story. The story itself was only 12% (only a few pages in total). So, the rest (88%) was either copyright, content, information about the author and the opening chapter of the three novels within the series (Katherine of Aragon: The True Queen, Anney Boleyn: A King's Obsession and Jane Seymour: The Haunted Queen).

I decided that I wasn't going to read the opening chapters as I am going to read at least one novel within the series so, what are my thoughts on the short story.

Truth be told, it was ok. But it was very short and quite abrupt. There was no resolution and even though it featured/hinted at ghosts, it wasn't that spooky. I think this would have been better if there was more padding to it, more resolution and less marketing.

Friday, 24 November 2017

#re3 - A Discovery of Witches

I listened to this audiobooks years ago (I just checked. It was back in 2011 when I was only just getting the hang on this book blogging - and probably when I was better at reviewing a story), and for a while, I've been wondering if I should relisten to this story again for the past few months.

It's mainly because of the news that this book and the rest of the trilogy is being turned into a TV series that will be aired on Sky One (late 2018, I think but don't hold me to that) that made me go "Ok, I want to return to this world".

Ok, let me go back to the beginning. The story follows Diana Bishop, a witch who is trying hard not to be a witch. When she was in an Oxford library, she is given a manuscript which has magic within its pages. But she has no idea how important this manuscript is. If she had, she wouldn't have returned it.

But she did and now, every witch, vampire and demon is watching her, waiting for her recall the manuscript in question. One of which is Matthew Clairmont, a vampire who has been looking for the manuscript for over a century. But as two begin to work together, they are breaking rules about how creatures such as witches and vampires intermix. And if they are not careful, they're are going to find themselves falling into something worst than danger: they could fall in love...

So, how do I feel about returning to this world? It surprised me a little as, while I did enjoy it the first time round, I think I enjoyed this story a little bit more. I still have problems with this (which I am coming to in a moment) but there was something about the story and writing I enjoyed. It felt oddly rich in mythology and in story-telling and I liked this. Maybe I am more "grown up" enough to enjoy this series.

I think the problems I have with the audiobook originally are still there. The length is a problem. Mainly because, as time, it felt oddly too much. There was so much detail that weren't need or necessary, and it slowed the story down. Also, there were moments with one or two characters that I went "I don't like this character trait". Matthew is a good example. I fully get why he is the way he is - because he's a vampire and his history - but there were times I went "Even though you warned Diana and the readers about this trait, I don't like it. I don't warm to this" and because of that, I questioned Diana's relationship with him.

Another thing is one or two things felt very convenient. I was more aware of this near the end of my listening. Mainly because I listened to the last few chapters back to back (over two hour-ish binge). But I did go "Oh" over it.

But, with that all said, I am more intrigued to carry the series on. I might not rush out to get second book, but I might make plans to get my hands on a copy in 2018.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

End of The Year Tag


I have no idea how I came across this tag, but as soon as I did, I went "I want to do this!". I think it's because I keep saying I want to do more tags (I have done a few in my blog life, ranging from Sailor Moon, Disney, Addams Family, Shondaland to Books I'll (Probably) Never Read, The TBR Tag, Audiobook Tag, Book Sacrifice Tag among others). The one I keep going "I should do this" is the First Chapter Tag and the Reread, Rewrite, Burn tag, but time is the enemy, hence why I haven't done them yet. One day, but not yet... So, let's get going with this tag as the questions look short and quite easy to answer. So, LET'S GO! 

Thursday, 16 November 2017

#re3 - Artemis Fowl

I read Artemis Fowl years ago - actually, read the first three books in the series. And I really enjoyed them back in the day. But, for one reason or another, I never carried on after the third book - Artemis Fowl And The Eternity Code - in the series. I think there was a cover change or maybe I felt that  it was the right place for me to stop.

But recently, over the past year, I have been wanting to going back and reread Artemis. Mainly the first 2 books - Artemis Fowl and Artemis Fowl and Artemis Fowl and the Arctic Incident - as I have warm feelings about them. Maybe if I get sucked into them again, I will reread Artemis Fowl and the Eternity Code and want to carry on and read the rest of the series that I have missed out on. Plus, with Disney making a movie based on the first book (something I discovered back in the summer), I knew it was time...

But would it still stand up to my memory... I mean, this was firs published in UK in 2001 and a lot has changed. For example - that cover. I hate this cover! I much prefer the original - the shiny gold cover that, if anyone annoyed you, you can reflect light off it and use it as a weapon... if I can find it, will pop it down below somewhere!

Any, let's get past the cover and talk about the book, shall we?

Artemis Fowl the Second is a criminal genius and, at only twelve, is plotting his biggest money making scheme to date. If he's going to restore the family fortune, a bit of kidnapping will have to do.

But to kidnap a fairy?

When Artemis kidnaps Captain Holly Short of the LEP (Lower Elements Police), he doesn't realise that the world he's about to discover has highly armed, highly dangerous and extremely high-tech - fairies that will fight back.

Artemis Fowl might have underestimated them and, in the process, could trigger a cross-species war...

I couldn't help smiling while reread this. I forgot so much detail and yet, remember the basic plotline so I flew through. It was fun, and that's why rereads are a good thing to us readers/bloggers.

I think if I discovered this when I was 12, I would have devoured this series. This could have been my Harry Potter if I was 12 when this first came out. But I was in my late teens when this came, hence maybe one of the many reasons I didn't carry on with this series.

There is one or two things that niggle at me (the timeline in the first few chapters are off - Artemis seems to take place over a series of weeks/months whereas Holly takes place over a night, but there is no telling them apart due to how the scenes are written). Plus, I think it could have a few extra pages due to some pacing.

But, this was fun and I loved returning to this world. I am very much looking forward to read Artemis Fowl and the Arctic Incident in the coming few months (soon!) and, hopefully, this will spur me on to read the rest of the series.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

#re3 - The Sunday Philosophy Club

Ok, I have to admit this before I go any further. I have read this once before, many many years ago. I vaguely remember liking it, but I can't for the life of me tell you what happened. It was an easy, cosy read. I must have liked it back then as I am certain I read the second book in the series, Friends, Lovers and Chocolate afterwards (again, no idea what the mystery was. I only remember really one detail).

So, when earlier this year (Spring), I saw this and The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency on NetGalley for review, I jumped at the chance to reread them both. I wanted to see if I would still hold them to my memory of them. I reread The No. 1 Detective Agency back in February (review/#re3 for that is here), but I held this one off as I wanted the time to be right. And, with my job at the start of the month being all over the place with shift work (6am to 2pm for me), it screwed up my reading of La Belle Sauvage so I picked this one up instead. I wanted something light and easy and thought this would do the trick.

Oh, dear reader, how very wrong I was. But more on that later!

When philosopher and amateur detective Isabel Dalhousie saw a man fall from the gods at the Usher Hall in Edinburgh, her instincts are telling her that the man didn't fall, but was pushed. With this in mind, Isabel decided to find out the truth...

Out of the two, I much prefer Precious Ramotswe over Isabel Dalhousie. Precious is much more a warmer character, a character I related to very easily and I wanted her to succeed. But Isabel isn't warmer. She's more spiky and prickly, so it makes it harder for me to relate to her.

Plus, as she is the philosopher, there were times were she would go off on a philosophy trail of thought. And this dragged. There were times, the whole chapter would be philosophy and ethics, and because of this, I felt the story slowed to a grinding halt and struggled to care about the mystery Isabel was trying to solve or about her and her family/friends.

I know I like reading crime/thriller books that have a bit of pace to them, so I am not use to much gentler, cosier crimes, but this was a struggle, whereas The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency was a joy to read.

The writing is good, don't get me wrong. Fans of Alexander McCall Smith will enjoy this book and will enjoy the series. But this isn't my cup of tea, I'm afraid. And, if I decide to go back to his books, I think I will go toward Precious and read Tears of the Giraffe.

Friday, 10 November 2017

eBook Review - London Affair: The Weekend

"An adult romance? Andrew, you don't like romance. Why did you read this?"

Well, dear reader, I fancied a change. Like I have said in the past on here and most of my social media outlets, I want to push myself as a reader and read things that are a little outside of my comfort zone. Plus, this sounded like fun. And I want to read more fun.

Emmy Reed, an American art history graduate, can't stop staring at a hot guy on the London Underground. And when he saves her from a dangerous situation at her stop, she's grateful. Until she discovers he's a millionaire playboy - the type of boy who breaks hearts without a moment's second thought. So when he asks her to be his plus one at an upcoming wedding that weekend, she's determined to turn it down... until he offers her a deal. If she comes, he will try and arrange a meeting with a sought-after artist - who happens to be his grandfather.

As the weekend goes on, Emmy starts to see the man who's her "boyfriend" - Jase - isn't the man she thought he was and with the chemistry between them, they won't want the weekend to end. But the weekend will end... but what does that mean for them?

This is the first of a three novella series - London Affair. Both the second - The Chase - and the third - The Confession - follow in weekly instalments (at the time most of you are reading this, all three should be out).

This was fun. I read this on holiday and it was a light, fun, easy read. I read in short, quick moments and was finished before the holiday was over (though I know if I had more time, would have read it sooner).

But, this isn't anything new, though. At times, it felt very troupe - with hints of Twilight and 50 Shades of Grey. Plus, there were times I was reading going "You have got to be kidding me". There were events that happened that I wanted to read but we changed character POV so we heard it secondhand plus the main male leads family - I find it impossible to believe that everyone he is related to is THAT unlikeable.

Now, it was fun, light, sexy read, and if I was offered to read the rest of the series, I would happily do so, as curious to see where this story ends. But am not sure if romance/erotica are the genres for me...

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

#VisitOtherworld - Extract and Contest!

I am thrilled to be part of the #VisitOtherworld blog tour to celebrate the release of Otherworld, written by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller.

Welcome to life 2.0. There is no screen or controls. You not only see and hear this world - you can touch, taste, smell... In this new reality, there are no rules to follow, no laws to break, where you can indulge in every one of your desires... so, why would you ever leave...?

To celebrate this book, I am allowed to share an extract for you. And if this wets your appetite, I am hosting a tiny contest to win a copy! All the details of the contest will be on the Google Form so check them before you enter.

Now, with that out of the way, ONTO THE EXTRACT AND THE CONTEST!

Monday, 6 November 2017

Book Review - Origin

Before you give me that look, dear reader, allow me to explain why I decided to read this.

I have, in the past, read Dan Brown. Two, to be exact. Angels and Demons (which I surprisingly liked) and The Lost Symbol (which I liked at the time [I wrote a review on it and everything], but looking back, I hold a "What the?" reaction to it). I am considering reading all his novels next year as a challenge to push myself into reading more grown-up books (because, as I told one person jokingly, I hate myself...). And I wasn't planning on reading this, truth be told. I was going to let this slip on by. I thought I was done with Dan Brown. I thought I was done with Robert bloody Langdon. I was done.

Until I preordered the book. I'm not entire certain when I did this...

Anyway, to the review/discussion/whatever the hell this is.

Robert Langdon has been invited to the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao to watch an announcement from his friend and former student, Edmond Kirsch, make an announcement that he claims with challenge and shake the fundamentals of human existence.

But before this revelation is unveiled, Edmond is shot and the Langdon is on the run, his life in danger. He runs with museum's director, Ambra Vidal, who wants to discover the truth. But as they run round Barcelona, looking for clues and symbols in modern art to help bring the truth to light, an enemy is getting closer to them. An enemy that might have connections to the Church or the Spanish Royal Family...

Out of the three Dan Brown books I have read, this is the worst. It's not awful, but it's lacking so much.

Am going to get this off my chest: this is meant to be a thriller. I'm meant to be on the edge of my seat, holding my breath, hoping that Langdon will survive at the end. But a thriller needs to grab me from the start - and this didn't. It took over 100 pages for something to happen that kickstarted the story (in my opinion), and then took another 100 pages before I felt the pace kick into gear.

That's 200-odd pages before I felt sucked in. That's half the book! Normally, I would have given up and moved on, but I was on holiday and thought "Let's see if this can save itself."

But this sticks to the Dan Brown formula. Smart male lead, a smart and beautiful female lead who has a personal connection to the mystery (in this case, she was close friend to Edmond and there's a second reason which comes later), a secret that will shock the world, a baddie assassin, religion, art, high-powered originations trying to stop our leads revealing the secret... It's all there!

This should work as a thriller. Dan has stuck to this formula with most of his books and they work. But this time, it doesn't. He throws subplots, facts that have no importance to the story whatsoever, things that slowed the plot down and weren't needed. Info-dumping stopped the story moving at a fast pace. If these were removed or put in footnotes, the plot would have moved faster and the story would have been tighter.

Plus, I thought he had jumped the shark in Lost Symbol with the breathable gel. Well, he outdid himself this time with Winston...

Now, if you are a fan of Dan Brown, you know what you're going to get and if you enjoy reading him, go forth and read him! Read what makes you happy!

But for me, this didn't work. It felt dull compared to Angels and Demons and, after my possible Dan Brown 2018 Reading Challenge (still in two minds over this), I think I'm done with Mr Brown and Langdon. I have to make peace with this and move on...

Friday, 3 November 2017

Daniel A. Cohen Talks The Coldmaker

It's been a busy few days on the Pewter Wolf, hasn't it? Well, not going to stop just yet, as I am excited to welcome Daniel A. Cohen on the blog!

Daniel is the author of The Coldmaker and it's sound super intriguing (it's on my NetGalley, along with 68 other NetGalley on my TBR). It is said that when the Jadans angered the Crier, the Crier took their cold away, punishing them to live in a world of unspeakable heat.

But that was eight hundred years ago. And a story... so when the evening bells ring, and everyone is asleep, Micah escapes into the night, his secret life of finding broken things and tinkers at them. But his secret is threatened to be exposed when a masked Jadan publicly threatened the authority, as well as waves of rebellion.

But another secret could be on the verge of discovery... the secret of the Cold.

It's intriguing, as am excited that Daniel has found time to write this guest post, so thank you. I also want to thank Jaime at HarperCollins for helping me set this up!

Now, with that out of the way, over to you, Daniel!

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Books And Their Theme Songs - August, September & October 2017

OH MY! WHAT'S THIS?! A BOOKS AND THEIR THEME SONGS POST! It's been so long!!!

After reading a ton of books and ebooks and no real music clicking with them for one reason or another, am back! This is why in my last Books and Their Theme Songs post that this might be changing style.

Anyway, am back and hopefully you'll like the song choices for these stories so, ONWARDS!!!

SONGS ABOUT US by Chris Russell
"What About Us" by P!nk

DR JEKYLL AND MR SEEK by Anthony O'Neill
"Monsters" by Ruelle and "Look At What You Made Me Do" by Taylor Swift


FOXGLOVE COPSE by Alex Beecroft
"Wish You Were Here" by Florence And The Machine


ILLEGAL CONTACT by Santino Hassell
"Wildest Dreams" and "I Know Places" by Taylor Swift and "Craving You" by Thomas Rhett (featuring Marine Morris)




EVERY HEART A DOORWAY by Seanan McGuire
"Crybaby" by Paloma Faith 

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Katharine McGee Talks the Dazzling Heights of the Thousandth Floor

I am excited to welcome Katharine McGee onto the Pewter Wolf! Katharine is the author of The Thousandth Floor and its sequel, The Dazzling Heights, which was published last month. 

Now, the best way to describe this series (as both books are still on my To Be Read shelves - yes, I am THAT SLOW a reader! Don't let the blog & the blog break fool you, dear reader!) is Pretty Little Liars meets Gossip Girl but set in the future. (I know, it sounds like the perfect soapy show for ITV2 and the CW, doesn't it?)

Now, before I hand it over to Katharine, I want to thank her for writing this guest post. I know she is currently writing/editing the third and final book in the trilogy, The Towering Sky (correct me if the title is wrong), but I was thrilled that you could find time to write this. I devoured this as soon as I could (was on holiday so had to wait till I got home) and it makes me want to discover a working Time Turner so can read this! I, also, want to thank Jessica at HarperCollins, who was super helpful when my unannounced email enquiry popped into her Inbox and she acted as Katharine and my in-between! You rock!

Ok, with that out of the way, over to you, Katharine!

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

#ScarecrowBook Trick or Treat


TRICK OR TREAT!!!

Well, as I am not a huge fan of Halloween (yes, I know. Am a strange blogger!), I am excited to give you a treat and be the last stop on the #ScarecrowBook Blog Tour! And am a little creeped out to welcome Danny Weston onto the blog.

Danny has written several creepy stories - The Piper, Mr Sparks, The Haunting of Jessop Rise and his newest (hence the tour!), The Scarecrow.

Jack's dad turned whistleblower about several very powerful people and their illegal dealings and now both are on the run, fearing for their lives. While laying low in a remote hunting cabin in Scottish Highlands, Jack notices a scarecrow outside and when he notices something incredible, Jack realises that this scarecrow isn't a normal scarecrow. It's alive, hungry and full of unspeakable rage. So when things turn dark, the scarecrow might turn out to be Jack's best chance of survival...

I am thrilled to have Danny on here, and I want to thank him for writing this post for the tour! And I want to thank Harriet from Andersen Press for allowing me to be involved in this tour!

Now, I will hand it over to Danny!


Monday, 30 October 2017

Friendships in the Not Yet Darkness...

It's Halloween tomorrow and, to get your creep on, I am thrilled to have Simon P. Clark on the Pewter Wolf to talk about his latest novel, Not Yet Dark.

Not Yet Dark follows Danny and Philippa, who have been friends for years. And yet, things are changing between them. Danny has new friends - the rugby boys - when rumours and whispers of "Phil the Thrill" begin to follow Philippa around, she knows where they came from.

When, one night, Philippa goes to an abandoned house by the sea to clear her head, not only does she discover the Danny secretly followed her, but something is happening in the house. Something dark. When the two escape, Philippa and Danny discover that two children are following them. Two children that claim not to be human. But, if they are not human, what are they? And what do they want?

I met Simon briefly at the launch party of David Owen's The Fallen Children earlier this year, so am thrilled that Simon wrote this and I can share with you guys! (if you haven't met him, he's super nice!)

But before I hand you over to Simon and his guest post about friendships in Not Yet Dark (now you see why I called the blog post what I did - I know, bad pun alert!), I just want to thank Simon for writing this (and so quickly! I've been sitting on this post for a few weeks because I wanted this for this week!). And I also want to thank Stephanie from Atom for setting this up!

And now, over to you, Simon!

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Book Review - Grave Matter

As you guys know, I was away the past two weeks on holiday/blog holiday. So when I came home from the Lake District and getting ready for the second week of holidaying, I got this book through my letterbox and got excited. A creepy/ghosty story by Juno Dawson and it has illustrations by Alex T Smith. Sign me up to put down Dan Brown for an hour so I can read this!

Since the crash, Samuel is lost. Eliza is dead and he wants her back. Overwhelmed by his grief and his need to see her again, Samuel remembers his Aunt Marie and her healing powers. But remembering this takes him down a dark path of Hoodoo and making a pact with the Milk Man. A pact he might live to regret...

I'm going to admit something to you guys right now: I'm not sure how I feel about it. Am torn over my feelings.

On the one hand, this is a fast, addictive read. I read this in practically one sitting. I couldn't put this down. I liked that this book tried to tackle issues such as grief and, very VERY briefly, feminism. I like that this written and laid out in a dyslexia-friendly way. I liked the illustrations by Alex T Smith, which added something extra to the story.

And yet... And yet, I can't help but feel a tiny bit disappointed. It just wasn't creepy enough for my tastes. I know, I am a huge wuss so me saying that is a bit of a contradiction, but bear with! I have read Juno's other works and I know she can crank up the creepy factor. But with this, we had hoodoo and the dead so I expected something to creep me out or gasp, but it never came. It felt like it always just missed being creepy and spine-tingling. Maybe it's because I was expected so much from a 140-ish page novella and it was never going to deliver - maybe reading Juno's other works have spoilt me a little...

While this wasn't creepy enough for me, I hoovered this book and I expect several of you will devour this on dark, snowy, moonless nights....

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Christmas At Woolworths Blog Tour


Today is my stop on the Christmas At Woolworths blog tour! And I have a tiny Q&A with the author, Elaine Everest!

Christmas At Woolworths is the second novel in the series (though we do have a eNovella set just before Christmas, Carols at Woolworths) went we follow Sarah, Maisie and Freda. The friends bonded together while working at Woolworths and try and bring Christmas cheer to their customers during the dark days of the Second World War.

But as Christmas creeps closer, and their loved ones on the front lines, can their friendship survive the war?

Before I hand it over to the questions and answers, I just want to thank Elaine for taking time out to answer these questions and to Faye for organising this tour (and allowing me to tag along!). Now, with that out of the way, who's ready to get into the holiday spirit...?


Friday, 27 October 2017

Book Review - The Fate of the Tearling

I did it! I read the whole Tearling trilogy! And I read and finished the third and final book in the series before I went on my holiday! HOORAY!!! And it took me just over 2 weeks to read (compared to however long the audiobook of Queen of the Tearling took me and two months for Invasion of the Tearling).

So, here we are. The third and final book in the trilogy and the one most book bloggers who have read this were going "NO! Don't do it, Andrew! It's a trap!" over...

It's been less than a year since Kelsea took the Tearling throne and already, she has become a powerful Queen. But with power comes danger and enemies, one of which is the Red Queen who, in the last book (Invasion) was on the verge of invading and easily conquering the Tearling until Kelsea made a huge sacrifice - she offered herself and her magical sapphires to the Red Queen to save the Tearling, leaving the head of her Guard, the Mace, as Regent till her hopeful return.

But the Mace isn't going to sit back and wait. He's going to rescue Kelsea and nothing will stop him...

And all the while, an enemy is slowly growing in power. An enemy that scare the Red Queen, and an enemy Kelsea has unleash onto the world. And this enemy isn't going to rest till it gets what it has long desired...

The fate of the Tearling is now on the line... and not everyone is going to be around to see the final outcome...

Ok, dear readers. I have to admit this: this is a strong fantasy trilogy and I am really surprised on the writing, the world development, the magic and the complexity of the characters. This is a strong, solid adult fantasy trilogy that just work.

And yet, I completely get why I was told to avoid this book. It doesn't reach the same heights of Queen of the Tearling (out of the three books, I feel that the first, Queen of the Tearling, was this trilogy's strongest) and it either just on par or below my feelings of Invasion of the Tearling. And it's mainly because of the ending...

For three quarters of the book, this was solid! It felt stronger than Invasion and I was impressed on what this book was showing. But the last 20-ish percent of the book - oh boy. It's an ending you are going to love or hate. I am very much on the "meh" side - right in the middle. I saw it coming and went "Oh no... no, really? You want to go down this route? I hate this troupe so why are you doing this?" so had time to brace myself. And while I understand why this was the direction the series took (and it shouldn't be much of a shock for us - there were clues from Queen and it got more clue heavy in Invasion), I get everyone reaction of "This is a cop-out ending" because it is. It's a cheap "Get Out of Jail Free Card" trick that most readers don't like, because it really undermines the whole story.

I like this trilogy and I will be intrigued to see what Erika Johansen writes next. But the last 20-odd percent of Fate of the Tearling is going to be the thing that defines most readers thoughts on the series. But this series and this ending - you are either going to love it or loathe it.

Thursday, 26 October 2017

RSM - Am Back!

Am back from my holiday and my blog holiday! Did you miss me?

Well, it's so nice to have a few weeks off work/real life/blog life and just chill out. I went travelling (I will put a pic of where I went on Instagram in the coming few days once I got my work groove back (this week, they doing shifts and am working 6am till 2pm. meaning am awake at 5 and walking to work at half 5...).

ANYWAY, I thought to celebrate me coming back to the blog world (and me VERY SLOWLY AND VERY LEISURELY reading La Belle Sauvage), I thought I would put some songs up that my other half and I had on our holiday driving playlist as we have quite different taste in music.

So, sit back and relax/dance and see you tomorrow for my first "true" post back!

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

RSM - A Break

I'M GOING TO BE ON HOLIDAY FOR THE NEXT FEW WEEKS!!! A NICE LITTLE BREAK WITH MY OTHER HALF!!!


Which means, for a little while, am going to go on a blog break. Nothing hugely. Maybe two weeks, maybe longer...

It's not a big deal. I will be in the country for the next few days so will be tweeting/Instagraming like normal. Plus, with October being a month where am focusing on quite a few meaty books (Fate of the Tearling, Origin, La Belle Sauvage, etc), so a blog break might do me some good as I won't (in theory) worry about getting reviews up.

When I come back from my break and have got myself more in control of blog posts and ideas, will shout at you. But am off on my hols now so I'll see you all when I get back. Stay safe, stay happy and I will see your faces all real soon!!!

Monday, 9 October 2017

Quieter Than Killing Blog Tour Stop

Why, hello and welcome to my stop of the Quieter Than Killing blog tour. As you guys know, I enjoy reading a good crime novel and am always on the hunt to discover new authors in the genre. So, when this blog tour came on my radar, I couldn't resist.

Quieter Than Killing is the fourth DI Marnie Rome series where she and her partner, Noah, are investigating a series of random assaults. But they're not random as they first appear as all the victims have been convicted of violent crimes and have just been released. But as they investigate further, outside dramas effect them both: Marnie's parents' home has been targeted by a gang of youths and her tenants have been attacked in an apparent robbery and Marnie can't help but feel that there's a connection between what happening and  her foster brother, Stephen. All the while, Noah's brother might be involved in gang, though he claims that he isn't.

As Marnie and Noah investigate the three cases, they can't help but wonder whether the cases are connected in some way. Because some crimes are much quieter and more insidious than killing... and if this true, they all better be careful...

Doesn't that sound tense and creepy?! Right up my street for crime! I can't wait for it to get darker and sink my teeth into this!

But that's not what this stop is about. I am very lucky to have Sarah Hilary talking about some chilling Autumn reads, books that will give you a shiver (and not just because of the turning weather!).

So, before I hand it over to Sarah, I must thank her for finding time to write this tiny post (and I blame her for me looking up one or two of her titles and go "That sounds good...") and I want to thank Katie at Headline/BookBridgr for allowing me to pop on this!

Now, are we sitting comfortably? ... good. Then Sarah will begin...

Friday, 6 October 2017

A Shiver of Snow and Sky Extract & Giveaway!

SURPRISE!!! This is my day on the A Shiver of Snow and Sky blog tour! And I have a double-whammy for you all!

For those curious, A Shiver of Snow and Sky is set on the island of Skane where the sky speaks. Beautiful, colourful lights fill the sky, relaying a message from the Goddess. Green means all is well, blue means a snow storm is coming and red... red is rare and it's a warning... 

And the last time the sky turned red, it was seventeen years ago, Ósa was just born and a disease went through her village, killing hundreds of villagers, including her mother. Now Ósa is determined to figure out how to stop the onslaught before it destroys her village... 

Now I have wetted your appetite, I'm going to tease you with an extract from the story and, if that grabs your attention, I have a small contest for you to enter (if you want to enter, all the details will be on the Google Form so check that before you enter, ok?). All the details for the contest is on the form so read before you enter.

With all that out of the way, ONTO THE EXTRACT AND THE CONTEST!!!

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

BBC National Short Story Award & BBC Young Writers Award 2017

Or, if you fancy a subtitle, "A Boob At the Beeb" (You can blame @gavreads for that and all will be revealed in the next few paragraphs).

As you know, I have been blogging/tweeting about the BBC Young Writers Awards in the past few weeks and, because of this, I was asked very kindly if I wanted to go to the award ceremony for the BBC Young Writers Awards and the BBC National Short Story Award 2017. I jumped at the chance! I mean, it's the BBC! And I love stories - and I love any excuse to book a half day off work to come to London to celebrate stories! (Booked today off as can write this and one other blog post up)! Plus, the idea of discovering new authors I have never heard of before was delicious!

So, yesterday, after panicking about train strikes (because I couldn't get my train app to work!), I made my way and, after getting off a tube stop two stops earlier than I needed to (was power-reading Fate of the Tearling and thought I had missed my stop!), I found the BBC.

It's an odd feeling as the BBC is a huge thing. We all use the BBC in one form or other (TV, radio, internet, app, podcast, etc) so to be there was a surreal moment. And exciting! I saw the window into the One Show studios opposite a coffee shop where I bought coffee and cake. Only to have the plastic fork snap and the cake go splat on the floor.

I dropped cake outside of the BBC! I DROPPED CAKE OUTSIDE THE BBC! It can't get worse than that on my first visit, I thought to myself as I went into receptionist to find where I was going.

How very wrong I was.

After I was pointed in right direction and did quick security check, had to put my bag and hoodie into coat-locker. Which is fine. So, I took off my hoodie. And my T-shirt decided that it loved my hoodie too much and didn't want to be parted from its lover. When I realised what was happening, my naked stomach and a good chuck of my chest were on show. I FLASHED MY MALE BOOBS TO SEVERAL SECURITY GUARDS AT THE BBC! OH! MY!! GOD!!!

Am never going to be invited back. Ever.

Moving quickly away from that! After that, I chatted to the lovely ladies at ED PR (Emma, Frances and Annabelle) who invited me to the event and an editor at Fleet Books (who's name has gone completely out of my head as I am useless with names! Sorry! And sorry for grilling you about your job - I went a bit OTT on the question front!).

And after discovering there were more people there I knew than I first realised, we had to be whisked into the BBC Radio Theatre where the winners to both the BBC National Short Story Awards and BBC Young Writers Award were going to be announced live on BBC Radio 4's Front Row. (Yes, dear reader, it was announced on Radio 4 so I had to pretend to be smart!). And after a quick speech from three editors at the BBC (I have forgotten one name already [sorry], but we had Di Speirs [Editor of Books] and Aled Haydn Jones [Radio 1's Head of Programmes]), we had the host of Front Row, chat to us and then, we were on the air!

For those of you who want to listen to the show, check out the show here or download the podcast here (it's the National Short Story Awards 2017 episode you want)!

Both winners were announced live on the radio. The winner of the National Short Story Awards 2017 was Cynan Jones's The Edge of the Shoal and the Young Writer's Award winner was Elizabeth Ryder with The Roses. Now, I haven't read/heard any of the stories on the National Short Story shortlist yet (you can read them in the small collection, published by Comma Press or listen to the them via the BBC's new Short Stories podcast), but I have spent most of this morning reading all five entries of the BBC Young Writers Awards 2017 (all are on the website!) and all are extraordinary, and I hope that all five will have literary agents before next year's awards...

After the show, most of us were thrown into the area where there was wine, a view of the BBC News area (Very open-planned. Very swish!) and I chatted books with people I knew [Hi Rosi, Nina and everyone!]. We chatted about the World Book Day list, books we have/haven't read recently (the reaction I got when I admitted I still haven't read The Hate U Give because the hype I built for it in my head was priceless!), and other odds and ends.

And after that, I went home. I know. A bit anti-climatic. But I had three glasses on wine on a semi-empty stomach so that made things interesting! But to everyone involved in last night's events and involved with both awards, thank you for a wonderful evening. I can't wait to see what you guys are going to do for next year's National Short Story Awards, Young Writers Awards and the new Student Critics Award...!

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Through the Kindle TBR

I try not to look at my kindle TBR. I buy a lot of ebooks on my kindle - usually when they are on sale. And, as am in the mood for sharing/having you all gasp in horror and go "WHY HAVEN'T YOU READ THAT YET?!", I thought I would pick a few out at random and go "I have this on my kindle and one day... one day, I will read this!"

Oh, just to be clear, these are ebooks I have bought. None on this is my eProofs. I will reveal a few of those one day... maybe not yet though...

MARIA V. SNYDER
I have three of her books on my kindle - Poison Study, Touch of Power and Scent of Magic. I know, I know. I am a huge fantasy reader and, somehow, this author has gone by me. I was aware of her but it was only in the past few years that I have gone "Ok, I need to make an effort to read her as this author sounds right up my street". So, I got these... and I have never read them. Now, I have every intention to read them. I am thinking I will read either Poison Study or Touch of Power before the end of 2018. I'm not sure which, but I am aware I need to get my rear in gear on this author!

THE SEVEN KINGDOMS Trilogy by Kristin Cashore
I have all three books within this trilogy on my kindle. THEY WERE ON SALE AND I AM WEAK AND I STILL HAVEN'T READ THEM! But the hype! Oh, the hype, dear reader when this trilogy came out was scary. I love fantasy and this sounds perfect for me - very much in the same way that Maria V. Snyder (and Trudi Canavan - some of you mention her in passing). But the hype and the passion the fans have for this series scare me a little. I would like to read Graceling soon (very much like Poison Study and Touch of Power), but when I do, I want to read it with very low expectations. I don't want the hype to to lead me to a "It's ok, I guess" situation.

FALLING KINGDOMS by Morgan Rhodes
I swear, most of my kindle TBR isn't just fantasy. Honest! But fantasy and crime/thrillers are genres I go towards normally, hence my choices. But I saw the cover and hear the early buzz about this series and I was intrigued. Not sure now and heard that one or two books in the series aren't really needed, but I want to give this a try! Same goes with Crown of Midnight that is still sitting on my kindle, demanding I get into the Throne of Glass fandom.

HAVEMERCY by Jaida Jones and Danielle Bennett
You can blame Stevie from SableCaught for this being here. She was the one who got me aware of this and a few Terry Pratchett books that are on my radar (but not on my kindle. One mission read at a time!). But a book about clockwork dragons with LGBT+ leads? SIGN ME UP!

NOUGHTS AND CROSSES by Malorie Blackman & TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee
Do I really need to go into this? *Picks two other titles on my kindle to distract*

U IS FOR UNDERTOW by Sue Grafton
Like I said earlier on, I like a bit of crime. And this book - along with another book in Sue Grafton's Alphabet Series (R is for Ricochet) - catch my eye. This title follows someone who claims he remembered a crime happening when he was six year old - a kidnapping. But is it a case of the boy who cried wolf or is there some truth to his memory?

THE CHRESTOMANCI SERIES by Diana Wynne Jones
I got this when there was a glitch on price on Amazon preorder. It's the whole series and everyone who I chat to when I mention I have this LOVES Diana Wynne Jones. Though I think everyone has read Howl's Moving Castle (I haven't and not sure I will - the movie's has excited/spoilt me a little). Plus, I think I have read one of these titles many, many years ago. I'm not sure and I can't remember the plot. Am such is was Witch Week, but until I sit down and start making my way through this collection, we will have to see...

Saturday, 30 September 2017

BBC Young Writers' Award 2017 Shortlist!

If you were just listening to BBC Radio One, you would have just heard Alice Levine announce the shortlist to this year's BBC Young Writers' Award 2017! 

For the third year running, this contest is on the hunt for fresh writing talent from teens aged 14 to 18 and this year, there were over 500 entries, which Alice (the head judge) and her fellow judges, authors Holly Bourne and Nikesh Shukla had to read and judge. 

And it is an honour to be asked to reveal the shortlist on the Pewter Wolf with little info from the press release! Each of these stories sound gripping and something I would happily devour in one sitting! 

Now, for those curious about when the winner is revealed, they will be revealed this coming Tuesday  on BBC Radio 4's Front Row (7:15pm, just after The Archers) with the announcement of the winner of the BBC National Short Story Award and the Young Writers' Award winner will have their story read on Alice's show the following Saturday. Fast turnaround, I know! 

Ok, before I give you the press release, if you are curious over this and want to know more, check out www.bbc.co.uk/ywa or follow the #BBCYWA hashtag on social media (here's the link to Twitter!). 

Anyway, ONWARDS TO THE PRESS RELEASE! 

Friday, 29 September 2017

Another NetGalley Declined

I do believe that my cries to publishers of "You can't decline me on NetGalley and other review sites! I won't mind! Honest!" are beginning to be heard. And I'm a mix of thrilled (my TBR thanks you) and, in one case recently, a little disappointed as I REALLY WANNA READ IT!

Oh well! No biggie.

For those curious, when I say NetGalley, it's basically me being too lazy to say eProofs/Advance Reader Copy. And I have four declines that I want to show you as I want to show you guys that I am trying to read different books outside my comfort zone (and because I'm not reading/going to read these, doesn't mean you shouldn't if they call to you!).

So... let's get start!

A CHRISTMAS RETURN by Anne Perry
Ballantine Press - GoodReads Link
A historical mystery set round Christmas? Perfect! I am trying to read more seasonal reads and get myself more in sync with books and weather. Plus, I am always a fan of a good murder mystery. I get why I was declined this - this being published in the US so why have a UK-based blogger read and review it - but I believe this does have a UK publisher so if I am still in the mood to read this in a month or so, I will try and


THE QUARTERBACK by Mackenzie Blair
Riptide Publishing - GoodReads Link
Ok, I have to admit it. The cover was the first thing that caught my attention. I am that shallow. But once I read the blurb, I was intrigued to read this LGBT romance. Yes, it's a coming-out story and I am very uncertain of these (sometimes, the handling of these can be very heavy-handed), but I thought "Why not?" on requesting it. They declined but that's ok. It was a late night whim!



JEK/HYDE by Amy Ross
Harlequin Teen Australia - GoodReads Link
An Australia reimagining of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde - this hook and the cover were the reasons I requested this. Plus, I had read a "sequel" to Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, which tackled the issue of identity thief, so I was in the mood for trying this out. Plus, I was curious/worried over how the author was going to bring this story into the present day. And from the looks of the reviews, while I would whizz through this, there would have been one or two things I would go "Hang on a second!" and question... Maybe I had a lucky escape.


HOW TO BE CHAMPION by Sarah Millican
Trapeze/Orion Books - GoodReads Link
Like I said at the start of this post, there was one book that I got the "Thank you for requesting this eProof, and sadly, you have been declined" email and I went "NO!" and would have a tiny book blogger sulk. This was that book. I find Sarah funny (will put a link to her standup here and here - there might be some sweary) so reading this was going to be either hilarious or am going to tear my hair out (look at the cover! She did something weird with the buttons of her cardigan). But I am going to read/audiobook this! It might not be when it's realised but I will do some plotting and soon... soon... if I have the funds, of course!

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

eBook Review - Every Heart A Doorway

This was a mistake buy. I feel like I need to state that. I was aware of this eBook and I was intrigued by it. So, I was going to download the sampler of it on my kindle and read it quickly as there was an offer on its price. Expect I hit buy instead. I was at work on my phone when I bought it and knew I couldn't return it till I get home and on my laptop, so when I told people on Twitter, everyone basically said "No! Keep it! Trust us on this!". And I trusted you guys so, kept on my kindle for the perfect moment. And seeing as next month is my holiday month and am planning to read a lot of thick books, it felt right to read now. (Plus, other half saw cover and went "Read that next").

Ever wondered what happened to kids who step through a magic door into another world? Step into the wardrobe, crawl under the bed, step into a chest, fall down the rabbit hole. Well, that's not what this novella/series is about. It's the not what happened to them in the world they discovered - it's what would happened when they come back...

The Miss Eleanor West's Home for Wayward Children accept children that slip into other worlds and help them find themselves once they come back. For every child attending this school all want to return to the world they discovered.

Nancy is a new student, sent her by her parents who believe the school will help her over her "trauma", not believe that she travelled to a world very similar to the Underworld. But her arrival has a knock on effect when something terrible happened... And it's going to happen again if Nancy and her classmates can't stop it.

This is a weird novella to describe. The best way I can think of is it's a bit of a mash-up between Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children and X-Men, with the feeling/tone of The Night Circus about it.

It's a little gem of a book. It's not perfect (more on that later), but for the most part, it works. It tackles an idea of "what happened when the kids who discovered a wonderful world return?" and flip it on its head. And the world of this idea is intriguing - I know at the time of writing this, this is meant to be a trilogy but I want it to be a series as there are ideas/places/characters that call to me and I want to know more and I would happily read full-blown novels about them. I would happily read them and go "MORE!".

One of the aspects of this story I love is the diversity! The diversity in this book is on point. Nancy, our main character, identifies herself as asexual. Another main character, Kade (who I love and I will pay good money to read him!) is transgender. We have characters in here that hint that they are part of the LGBT community and the BAME community without saying outright. I love that this felt like it had a wide range of characters.

I do have problems. But these can be summed up in one fault. This is a novella of 176 pages. This length is too short for this story and the ideas mentioned and touched upon. The last quarter felt rushed and lacked depth. The murder mystery element was rushed and felt anti-climatic when who/what/why was revealed (I guessed these quite quickly), character development wasn't fleshed-out as I hoped and there was several things that happened in final chapter and epilogue that made me go "Oh, that's convenient.".

If this story had a hundred pages extra, it would have worked in my opinion. We would have built the tension to the mystery, spent time with characters and saw their development (one character came in quite late in the story and the world he went to intrigues me but due to how late he appeared, we know incredibly little), we could have explored the ideas, worlds and places (there's a second school briefly mentioned that similar to this school and I WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT IT!). But it felt as if the author had a word count or page limit and she was going to stick to it, no matter what.

I am going to read the other stories in this series (at the moment, we have Down Among the Sticks and Bones [a prequel following two characters we meet in Every Heart a Doorway] and Beneath the Sugar Sky [a sequel, I think. Don't hold me to that]). Let me make that clear - if I can get my hands on them, I will read them.

Every Heart a Doorway has so much potential, and while it doesn't hit all of them, it looks like it's going to be a start of a wonderful series.

Monday, 25 September 2017

The Red Ribbon Contest

I have a contest for you guys!

Today, I managed (via some lovely people at Midas PR) to get my hands on a copy of The Red Ribbon by Lucy Adlington.

The Red Ribbon follows fourteen year old Ella as she starts her first day at work. She enters the world of silks, fashion and fabric. She's a dressmaker, but the place she's working isn't a normal sewing workshop. Her clients aren't normal clients. She has joined the seamstresses of Birkenau-Austchwitz, and every dress she makes is the difference between life and death...

And if you want to enter to win this book, all you have to do is fill in the GoogleForm below! And that's it. Nothing else.

Like I said before, I have only one copy of The Red Ribbon to give away! YEAH!!! This is a UK only contest (I'm sorry! I swear, I am trying to plot something more international soon!!!) and this contest is opened till 5pm-ish this coming Sunday (1st October). There can be only one winner (due to me only giving away one copy) and the winner will be chosen at random via random.org and will be emailed later in the day or the following day to get contact details.

All that is left to say after that is good luck to those of you entering and may the odds ever be in your favour!

Sunday, 24 September 2017

30 Minute Writing Sprint - Week 6

I feel like I have missed a week (I haven't. I've checked) but I have been having lazy days this weekend (getting ready to go on holiday and just started reading Fate of the Tearling. Just under a 100 pages in and I am enjoying it). Now, am trying to do a quick 30 minute writing sprint. I have ideas and I have discovered a note on my phone, full of title ideas for short stories! So, am ready to go!

But, am currently cooking my dinner so am going to be jumping between the two during this 30 minutes so it might be more 25 minutes instead of 30 minutes. So, forgive me if I fail this week!

Anyway, onto the writing! See ya in the tick!

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Kindle Sample - What? Again?!

Oh yes! This is back for a fourth visit! I have been downloading a lot of samplers on my Kindle iPhone app recently. This is for a number of reasons: a reminder to buy this in the future, am curious to see, the cover is pretty, there's buzz and I missed it, etc.

So, here's a tiny handful of titles that I have downloaded to read and figure out if I want to buy/borrow for library or to go "Nope!" over!

A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES by Deborah Harkness
Truth time: I have audiobooked this years and years ago. I remember liking it, but when I was chatting to some family members of my Other Half's a week or so ago, I realised that I didn't remember a single thing about it. Plus, with it being turned into a TV show on Sky1 and with me trying out reading more "grown up" fantasy, I feel ready to go back into this book and, hopefully, read the rest of the trilogy (I only audiobooked the first then stopped as the second book was a monster of a book! IT WAS HUGE!!!)

THE REDEEMER by Jo Nesbo
While chatting to my Other Half's family, one asked if I had read Jo Nesbo. "I have The Snowman for review" I admitted (which I do. Movie tie-in). He replied "Really? Well, I think you might prefer the book before, The Redeemer. It's quite dark and I think you might like it more." So, I downloaded a sampler, just to keep fresh in my mind. I will only read this once I have read The Snowman and if I enjoyed myself while reading (I do like reading crime books so the signs are positive so we shall see...)

CALL ME BY YOUR NAME by André Aciman
I saw the trailer for the movie and went "Oh!" over it as I don't read a lot of mainstream literature which tackles LGBT relationships and other aspects and went "I need to investigate this book when I have the time". I haven't had the time to investigate but from the little I know, this might be a book I need to investigate...

HARVEST by Tess Gerritsen
I remember watching an episode of Blindspot (I think) where it touched upon the organ harvesting and I instantly went "I read something about this" and went hunting. This was the book and I read it YEARS ago. It's been a very long time since I read Tess Gerritsen and the last time I attempted to read her (Playing With Fire), I just didn't click with it. But I remember devouring this so I want to go back and reread this!

DIGITAL FORTRESS by Dan Brown
As you guys might be aware, I have preordered Dan Brown's upcoming novel, Origin, and I'm not 100% sure why. I was chatting to my other half who has read one or two titles by him, and he said "You should read Digital Fortress. It's a standalone and you won't feel guilty about series binge reading due to THAT TBR" (which I will get under control. Not sure when or how, but I WILL!) so popped this on here. But reading this (and Da Vinci Code [I never read that! DON'T GIVE ME THAT LOOK!]) will probably depend on my reactions to Origin.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Book Review - The Loneliest Girl...

I'm not 100% certain how to write this review without spoiling it? This is one of those books (very much like E. Lockhart's We Were Liars) that it's best if you go into the book as blind as you can.and just dive in.

But, I have to say something so you guys understand what this book is about and why I decided to read it after read two adult LGBT+ romanic novels.

Ok, let me explain why I decided to read this. There are a few reasons. First, I have wanted to read this for what feels like AGES. A bunch of you guys got early copies of this at YALC. And you guys SCREAMED (well, tweet-screamed) at how good this book was! So, when the lovely people at Walker asked if I wanted to have a copy for review, I jumped at the chance. But when I got my copy, I suddenly realised that I had a lot of books on my TBR and as I planned to read a lot of quick reads throughout September so I can tackle big, chunky reads throughout October so I wasn't sure when I was going to read this. That was until I asked Twitter. When in doubt over what to read next, TWITTER!


So, I read this because of you guys. You only have yourselves to blame. Now, where to begin...? 

Romy is the only survivor on a spaceship bound for a new Earth-like planet. She is the loneliest girl in the universe (hence the title), until she hears that a spaceship has launched from Earth. Then she gets email from the spaceship from a boy called J. Is it possible for her to fall in love with someone she's never met, who's light years away...? 

I'm trying to keep it vague. Am using the blurb on the back of my copy as outline (but they go much further than I am). 

Ok, my thoughts. Well, this an addictive little thing. Fast, gripping, edge of your seat and very We Were Liars. If you have read both books, you understand why I keep comparing the two. Because, in the best way I can describe it, both books are paranoid reads. Well, for me, they were. I read them both with the huge sense of uneasy and mistrust. Maybe it's because I enjoy reading crime and thriller stories or maybe because I am a hugely suspicious reader (I trust the author, but never the story nor characters), but I would read something and an alarm would ring in my head... 

I do like this book because it tackles some really interesting themes. Space travel, science (there's real science in here!), isolation, paranoia, mental health. Plus, with Romy being a strong, yet flawed character, reading her and what was happening to her made me turn the pages faster. 

I do have one or two things. The first is length. I wish this book was a fraction longer. I could very easily read an extra 50 or 100 pages. But mainly because I was so sucked in, I just wanted it to keep going for just a little longer

My other thing is more a me thing than anything else. There were one or two things I did see coming quite early on. Now, I don't think 13/14 year old me would have seen them coming, but I would have been suspicious. 

An addictive read. Now, to backtrack and read The Last Beginning! Like I have said loads of times, very behind on my reading! 

Sunday, 17 September 2017

30 Minute Writing Sprint - Week 5

OH! It's been a while since I've done one of these. I am not going to lie and say "I was busy" or I lacked time. I just haven't. I was lazy and every time I thought "I have an idea for this", I would go "Later, later..." and wave it off. Plus, been trying to get myself all originzed for the next few weeks as, in October, am taking a small blog holiday and planning to read some beasts of books so am trying to have good content for you to read, so this has been on the back burner (plus is trying to get something  planned for my friend - cinema or inviting them for meal round mine. I am so bad at meet-ups with friends).

So, because I feel guilty about skipping out on me doing writing sprints, am going to do two. One now that will take 22 minute playlist (I can't use my timer as am using it for washing - don't ask) and if I found my writing groove, I will do another but won't post till tomorrow or later in the week!

So, got my music playlist at the ready, I have word open and I have one of two ideas to play with. See you on the other side!

Thursday, 14 September 2017

eBook Review - Illegal Contact

"Two adult LGBT romances in one week? Andrew, are you feeling well?" I hear you ask. Well, yes. I have been hammering out reading in the past few weeks (I found my groove again - only for it to be ruined in the next few months by Fate of the Tearling, Origin and La Belle Sauvage!) so I wanna share the reading goodness while I can!

Anyway, I have been trying to get my NetGalley eProofs under some control (got over 60 still to read) and this called to me. And after reading Foxglove Copse (review for that is here, in case you're curious), I fancied some more man on man kissing (don't give me that look!) and this called to me. I remembered requesting on NetGalley because I liked the sound of the story.

Nothing to do with the hot cover. Nope. Not at all. *shifts uncomfortably in my chair* MOVING ON!

Gavin Brawley is star tight end (Who sniggered?) of the New York Barons's American football team. And he's got himself a six month house arrest because he couldn't control his temper. This temper is well know both on and off the field and now, because of his house arrest, he needs a personal assistant who can stand up to his temper.

Enter Noah Monroe, a guy who needs a job - any job. With student debt, his father being sacked and leaving his last job under a cloud (thanks to his boss/ex), he thinks taking this job will be easy. It's only for six months. What's the worse that could happen?

So, out of the Foxglove Copse and Illegal Contact, I prefer this one a little more. I still whizzed through them both within four/five days (which, as you know, is fast for me!) and they both were fun, addictive reads. But Illegal Contact had a little more meat to sink my teeth into, and for that, I liked even though it did take me a few chapters to switch my brain to.

Also, I liked that, even though the timeline was six months and the story jumped forward a few weeks every now and then (and sometimes, that did annoy me), I liked that it was a slow burn romance. It wasn't insta-love (a troupe I am slowly growing to dislike) and it did have a level of snark that I warm to. Plus, I liked reading from both Noah's and Gavin's points of view (though I do wish that, when this happens in books, each character has a different font so readers can go "Oh, am reading Character X or Character Y).

Before I go into my nitpicking, just wanna say that, unlike Foxglove Copse where the sex scenes were more "Fade to Black", we saw the sex scenes in Illegal Contact. So, if you are not a fan of sex scenes, you might want to fast forward these chapters.

There are one or two things I want to nitpick over. The first is that, at times, there was a few troupes and cliches that I saw and went "... really?" over. I know that this is going to happen with romance novels - I know this, I accept this - but am always a fan of a surprise twist or someone taking a troupe and turning it on its head. Plus, there was one or two moments I thought "I wonder if this is going to go Scandal and we have Noah doing the "If you want me, EARN ME!" scene [probably the best in Scandal from the little I have seen - plus, if anyone fancies writing a romance with a gay/bi/pan president or Prime Minster, please do and shout at me! I will read the heck out of it!)

The second nitpick is the pacing. Most of the time, I was on board with it. The romance is a slow burn and I like a nice slow burn. But then, with the last 20% of the book, things happened which felt a little fast. I get why, but there was a moment I went "If this had a extra few percent, this could be dragged out a little more". Maybe I like the angst and the heartbreak and I wanted to see the fallout.

I liked this (though adult romance is outside my comfort zone) and am tempted to see what happens in the next book in the series, Down by Contact, which follows another character who I really loved reading. As long as it's just as fun, sexy and addictive, this series and me should get on...