Saturday, 16 December 2017

Johnny Depp - Toxic To Harry Potter?

Before I go any further, I just want to say that this post, for some people, might have triggers so if you feel uncomfortable about reading this post, please don't read. I want you to stay safe physically, mentally and emotionally. 

That's why am going to insert a page-break here so, if you do want to read about Johnny Depp, his involvement in Fantastic Beasts, the allegations and me trying to figure out how I feel about this, carry on reading. If not, please don't read. 

Friday, 15 December 2017

Audiobook Review - The Arrangements: A Work of Fiction

This, I feel, is going to be my last book/eBook/audiobook review of this year! My last of 2017! But is it going to be a good'un? Well, let's go for it, shall we?

The Arrangements: A Work of Fiction is a short story commissioned by the New York Times, who went to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and other authors to write any aspect of the 2016 Presidential Elections. Chimamanda's tale is the first to be published (the others will be coming in the near future, I believe) and it takes the story of Mrs Dalloway and spins it on its head with Melania Trump being Mrs Dalloway in this fictional imagining of Melania's day...

If you know me well enough (via Twitter and my other social media platforms), you know my opinions on President Trump, his family and his government. If not, it's highly negative. Let's leave it at that, shall we?

So, you might ask, why did I want to listen to this 30-odd minute reading of this short story? Several reasons. One is the narrator - I have only heard January Lavoy a few times in other audiobooks and I knew I would enjoy her reading of this satire.

The second was Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. After reading We Should All Be Feminists (which I read last year), I wanted to read more Chimamanda's writing, but have been a bit overwhelmed on where to start. I do have Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions on my kindle, but have been uncertain on when I should read it. But, when I saw this, I felt ready to attack it. It felt right to listen to this story in the current political climate in both the USA and in UK/Europe.

This story/satire intrigued me. I know it's fiction and I would have loved to be a little longer (this could have been longer and it still would have worked, in my opinion), but it made me tilt my head and go "what goes on behind closed doors? Does Melania like Donald's thirst for power? Does she like his children from his previous marriage? What if she's lonely? Or struggling with her sexuality? What if?"

It is a short story so you are skimming, but there was something here I sunk my teeth into. I enjoyed the writing, the reading and the ideas of The Arrangements so I think, next year, I am going to try my hardest to read Americanah or one of her other titles.

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Library Book Review - A Wrinkle In Time

This might be my last book review of this year! Might be! That's the words of importance in this first paragraph. And look! It comes under a different banner - this will be explained in my New Year's Resolutions in 2018 so keep your eyes peeled on that front.

Anyway, why did I want to read this book? Well, Disney is turning this into a movie and it stars Oprah, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling and Chris Pine (I'll pop the trailer or teaser trailer at the bottom of the post). And it's just sounds good! With this book being a huge thing in the USA (but not so much in the UK. Actually, it's really under the radar), I wanted to see what this book was all about.

Published in the 1960s, this middle grade story follows Meg who, one night, meets a stranger called Mrs Whatsit who mentions something that shakes her scientist mother up. When she, her younger brother Charles and their friend Calvin meet up with Mrs Whatsit and her two companions, Mrs Who and Mrs Which, the three travel through a "wrinkle" in time and space to rescue Meg's father...

Hmm... I'm not sure how I feel about this as I am very much in the middle on this. On the one hand, it was a good read. I sense my younger self would have read this much faster than I did and would click with the story and the situation better than my adult self.

BUT! But, I can't help but feel that this is Narnia but with science. Both are good stories for middle grade readers, but I have huge problems with children's books where religion is forced onto young readers. It makes me uncomfortable and I'm not sure on how other readers would feel about this...

But if you know readers who like Narnia but want to read something more sci-fi, this might be the book you should give. It might feel dated at times due to the writing (remember, was written in the 1960s) but I am still excited to see how the movie is going to update the story! It's going to be huge in the US, but outside of the states, we shall see...

Monday, 11 December 2017

BBC National Short Story Award 2018 & BBC Young Writers' Award 2018 - Press Release

I have a long press release to share with you guys so bear with me a few moments before I share it!

As you know, I was asked (kindly but randomly) if I would blog about the BBC Young Writers' Award 2017. I did (because am always on the hunt for fresh stories - basically, I feel like a bookshark. Hey, maybe instead of bookworm, we readers should call ourselves booklions or booksharks!) and I was luck to be invited to the BBC to watch the winner be announced on BBC Radio 4's Front Row (write up for that is here!).

Well, the lovely PR at ED PR emailed me and asked if I would a press release for next year's BBC National Short Story Award 2018 and BBC Young Writers' Award 2018, I jumped at it! I mean, FRESH TALENT!

Anyway, enough of my jabba-jabber! Let's show off the press release!

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.