Monday, 9 July 2018

#OrionBloggerBrunch 2018


So, Saturday was fun. Not only was the England game against Sweden of the World Cup 2018 gripping the nation nor that London Pride was happening (one year, I will go to this!) nor did the UK seemed to be gripped by the fiery thing in the sky (I loathe Summer. Heat, hayfever, lack of sleep, do you really want me to go on? but I was invited to a book blogger event! 

It’s feels like years since I’ve been to a book blogger event (was it the the beginning of this year my last? I miss being with my people!) 

Anyway, after since I had moved house the previous week and managed to get a Saturday off work (sadly meaning I have to do a six-day week the following week…), I decided to go. And wow, I forgot what London was like in summer. Plus, with Pride happening, I kept seeing sickeningly attractive people around… 

I wasn’t staring! 

Anyway, onto the books. Once at the event, there was drink, Pride cupcakes, pizza at the halfway point and books! Delicious and wonderful books. And after Orion chatted some titles (I am going to talk about a handful that sound delicious [to me and I wanna read] and I totally want to read! Stay with me, folks!), two lovely authors chatted about that it was like to write the dreaded Second Novel - Catriona Ward and Ed McDonald (just so you know as I didn’t till they talked about to Catriona wrote Rawblood and her second novel is Little Eve while Ed wrote Blackwing and its sequel, Ravencry. Now I need to go forth and read them as these 4 books sound dark, twisted and I love dark ’n’ twisted! I will touch on both their novels in a tick). After that, quick pizza break (aka snoop into the free books - we bloggers are vultures. But I had to go to the bathroom so I didn’t get my hands on any, till the lovely Sarah from FeelingFictional gave me her copy of Little Eve by Catriona Ward, saying that this sounds more up my street than hers - “It’s more crime and dark and much more twisted than what I’m used to”, and the author very kindly signed for me. Thanks Sarah! After that, Orion talked about two titles that won’t be published till early 2019, both of which sound good. 

Ok, enough of this. We know why we’re here: the pretty books that caught my eye. So, where should we begin…?

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Garage Band Blog Tour Alert!


BLOG TOUR STOP TIME!!! And I am quite excited to welcome Adam Alexander to the Pewter Wolf!

Adam is the author of Garage Band, and it's a little outside my comfort zone (hence why I was super excited to be on board with this tour! I like pushing myself into trying new things). Garage Band follows Lanthus who, after 17 years of working at Eastland Insurance, has been let go for "young, fresh minds". Angry and betrayed, Lanthus wants his boss - no, the entire company - to feel his rage. He decides that he wants to take down the entire company - but one man can't do it alone. And as he begins to put together his team, things start going awry. The Police are closing in, someone else wants a piece of the action and Lanthus is beginning to wonder if he can keep it together long enough to pull his plan off...?

See... not my typical read, huh?

Anyway, before I hand it over to Adam, who wrote the guest post, I just want to thank him for taking time out to write this - I know how busy you must be, so thank you! And thank you for Faye for asking if I wanted to be on this blog tour!

Oh, if you want to say hi to Adam, you can go to his website at adam-alexander-author.com/ or pop over to his Twitter at @AdamAlexAuthor! Now, onto the Adam chatting about Lanthus!

Saturday, 30 June 2018

Who's Potterless About Potter?

I have a random surprise for you!

Ok, back storytime! A week or so ago, I was at work, playing around with their Spotify, trying to figure out if I wanted to listen to music or podcasts as I didn't want to listen to one of my many audiobooks (oh, the joys of being a book blogger in a reading slump), when I randomly came across a image that catch my eye. This is the image you are probably seeing now. I clicked on it, read the first few lines of the write up - excuse the paraphrasing but it was "Twenty-something reads Harry Potter for the first time and podcasts about it". And you know, I am a bit of a Potterhead so dived straight in.

I cackled and went "Just you wait till book 5...!" at it and, on impulse, I tweeted the show, saying I discovered it, and was enjoying myself hugely. I, then, tweeted cheekily "Do you want to do something on my tiny pathetic blog?". And the show went yes. ... ah. So, next few days were a whirlwind of packing, thinking of questions, trying to listen to this and other podcasts (I went on an "Discover New Podcasts" Binge and I discovered some good'un. Might do blog post about them in the future if I want - you know, to share the love!) and here we are! I was going to post this next week sometime, but I wanna share this!

So, Potterless is a podcast where we follow Mike, a twenty-six year old man reading the Harry Potter series. Come as we see him sip the tea over plot holes, rant over Quidditch, and puts a fun, funny twist on the whole Harry Potter experience. I am thrilled that Mike agree to come on the Pewter Wolf so for that, I thank him hugely!

Now, before I hand it over to Q&A, the boring stuff. If you want to listen to Potterless, check out potterlesspodcast.com or jump over to Twitter and Instagram (both can be found at potterlesspodcast.com/social-media). Or, if you want to say hi to Mike, check out his Twitter at @Schubes17! And oh, heads-up, there is adult language in the podcast so you have been warned! And now, as they say in the wizard world, WIZARD ON!



Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Ruth Estevez Chats Jiddy Vardy

It's that time again! I have a guest blog post for you and I am thrilled to welcome Ruth Estevez onto the Pewter Wolf!

Ruth is the author of Jiddy Vardy, a historical novel that follows a young woman, Jiddy Vardy, as she tries to find out who she is and begins to fall in love, all the while growing up in a seaside community that is hiding one big secret. A secret that could easily get you killed...

I don't want to go any further in depth over this as I don't want to give away spoilers.

As you guys know, I'm not much of a historical reader, but I wanted to try and read outside my comfort zone more. So, when Emily from Zuntold Publishing/Corker Communications emailed, I jumped at the chance to try something new! Plus, I was intrigued what Ruth would write as a guest post!

And now, I get to share with you guys! But, before I do, I just want to thank Ruth for finding time to write this guest post! And thank you to Emily for asking if I wanted to be involved!

Also, if you want to check Ruth out, you can pop over to her website - artgoesglobal.wordpress.com - or say hi to her on twitter at @RuthEstevez2. Now, with all that out of the way, over to Ruth!

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

I Never Lie... Right?


Today, I want to welcome Jody Sabral onto the Pewter Wolf!

Jody is the author on new adult psychological thriller, I Never Lie, which follows TV journalist Alex South. Her career is hanging on by a thread since her on air drunken rant and now she has to prove that she's ok, even though her drinking is spiralling out of control. When a series of murders happens near her East London home, Alex believes this is the chance to prove herself. But she starts having gaping holes in her memory and wakes up finding out she's done things she can't recall. As Alex loses her grip on her drinking and the story she's following begins to creep into her life, she has to wonder if she's in danger. Is she the next victim? Or is she the culprit...?

Tense, huh?

Anyway, before I hand it over to Jody, I just wanted to thank her for finding the time in her super busy schedule (she works as Foreign Desk Editor and Video Producer at the BBC [!]) to write this! Do you sleep?! Also, quick thank you to Ellie at Canelo for asking if I wanted to be involved in this tour!

If you want to say hi to Jody on Twitter, pop over to @jsabral and tweet away!

Now, over to you, Jody! (Note: Sorry for the shortness of my blog post. Will explain in the next few weeks! But real life is getting busy!)

Friday, 22 June 2018

#re3 - Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

As you guys know, I have been feeling in a bit of a reading slump - which is weird when you look at the blog posts that have been going over the past few weeks. Still talking and reviewing stories in book/ebook/audiobook form. But it has been a weird few weeks as I have been feeling a tad ... it's hard to explain. I have wrote a blog post (which will never see the light of day - not yet, maybe never), where I tried to figure it out and while I'm still in that blogger/reader mindset, real life has thrown a huge "life-changing" thing at me (not bad, FYI. Is good. Very good. But not gonna say anything for another few weeks), so my reading and blogging is going to be a bit erratic for a while. I might even do a small blog break randomly till things calm down.

Now with that public announcement out there (if anything changes, I will let you know via Twitter), let's reread Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

Ok, back story. Because of reading slump, I decided I wanted to do a few rereads. A bit overwhelmed where to start, I did a poll of twitter, asking what series to go towards: Harry Potter, Twilight Saga, The Old Kingdom, or Hunger Games/Artemis Fowl (I wanted 4 opinions here the merging of these two series). Just the series, not the book. And, of course, you chose Potter. So, decided to do another flash poll of Twitter on which Potter book to read: Chamber, Prisoner, Goblet or Order (no to Philosopher as this is my usual fail-safe for reading slumps. Plus, I thought you would say Goblet or Chamber for some reason). But, of course, you chose Prisoner. Which I am grateful for as I have this on several forms (book and audiobook - Chamber would have been a tad tricky as I don't have this on  audiobook - I had on CD but not audible...), so I could jump back and forth between the two styles of storytelling while at work and home.

I have actually gone back to my previous #re3 of Prisoner of Azkaban back in my Harry Potter #re3 Challenge (if you want to check out my rereading of Harry Potter in 2015, ta-dah!) to see if I agreed of disagree with myself and, for the most part, I do. I still think Snape is a bad person - a bully, hypocrite, bitter, an abuser ever (I am willing to go that far). And yet, the fandom sees him as flawed.... I need to sit down and do a blogpost about Snape in the future as OH, I have thoughts and opinions on this and I really, REALLY want to vent.

What does surprise me is my thoughts of Lupin? Now, I love Lupin. He's a flawed human who is kind and a decent human, but makes mistakes and suffers terribly. He says and does things that, when other characters say them seem underhanded and a tad cruel, he says it in a way where Harry and us go "He's right". Though, on this reread, he doesn't seem as fleshed out as I remember him behind. Same with Sirius and Pettigrew, but these two have very little screen time compared to Lupin. I still love Lupin, but, as this is a children's book and Lupin is a teacher, we don't see him as a human being. We see him as a teacher. Harry (and us) see a more fleshed-out, rounded character at the end of the book and in the upcoming books, which now I might have to read.

What's so interesting to read this time round is the tiny little clues with the future and how this mirrors Order of the Phoenix. Most fans believe in the "Ring Theory" - where each book reflects a later book (Philosopher's reflect Deathly Hallows, Chamber reflects Prince, Prisoner reflects Order and Goblet stands alone because it's the turning point in the series). Harry "officially" mets the Minister of Magic in Prisoner and it's on friendly terms whereas in Order, the terms have become dangerous frosty. We met Sirius in Prisoner and we say goodbye to him in Order. We're told Trelawney has made a second correct prophecy in Prisoner and in Order, we find out her first and we have to deal with prophecies as a whole. We talk about Harry's dad (Harry hero-worships, up to a point) and Snape's hatred for him in Prisoner and in Order, we see why Snape disliked James so much and the rose-tainted glasses come off Harry when he thinks about his father. He's just a human who made mistakes and is hugely flawed. Yes, Prisoner and Order are very much Harry's books about his father...

I adore Hermione in this and am still hissy over Ron and Harry's treatment of her in the book. I get why, but still...

Also, what surprised me was there were one or two occasions, I paused the audiobook and didn't return to it for a while due to a knot in stomach over what was about to happen next. This happened a lot in the chapters Talons and Tea Leaves but it happened once or twice with other chapters - I believe it was Grim Defeat - and there were times I had to stop audiobook as I wanted to read the next section (in some cases, this was great idea. In one, not so sure as I sped-read!).

But I really enjoyed returning to rereading Harry Potter and I should reread this series (and other books) in general. So, this might be something I do more often in the coming few months. You have been warned.

PS - I now own the illustrated version of Prisoner of Azkaban (the only illustrated I own... I plan to get Goblet and, possibly, Order as well) and i jumped a few times to see what Jim Kay drew in where I was reading. Some I went "YES!" and others I went "...what?". But it's a beautiful edition and I plan to pour over my copy soon... ish...

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Audiobook Review - Forever And A Day

A few years back, I listened to the audiobook of Anthony Horowitz's Trigger Mortis (write-up for that is here!) and I wrote "I hope Anthony Horowitz writes another Bond book". Well, the Fleming estate decided that they did want him to write another and, finding material Ian Fleming for a possible idea of turning James Bond into a TV serial (this was before the film rights were bought, to my knowledge), they give him the material and let him run with it.

007 is dead. He was shot in the French Rivera and MI5 wants to find out who and why he was killed. They promote a new recruit to the number and send him out to find out the truth. The new recruit's name? James Bond.

That's right, this is a "prequel" of Bond's first mission. And oooh... ooooh, I had problems. So many problems.

Ok, before I sink my teeth into the problems and issues I had, let's get into the positives. There are a few that I can talk about. Now, I have never read a Bond book, so bear with me, but the second half of the story had really good pacing. It moved faster. Plus, some of you guys will like reading this as this is Bond's first mission so you get to see what happened to make him tick.

My biggest positive is the "Bond Girl" (I loathe that term!) - the character of Sixteen. I found her fascinating, and she was, possibly, the only character I felt was fleshed out. She had a history, motivations, character traits and flaws. I wanted to read more about her. Possible spinoff prequel, anyone?

Now, onto the problems and issues. I have a long list! I didn't like the narrator for a good chunk of the audiobook (sorry!) , the first half of the story was slow in pace and it was a struggle to get to the heart of the story, not much was fleshed out, the idea of another prequel story coming out (I'm intrigued over Solo: A Star Wars Story but I know a lot of you don't want it). But the main thing that happened was, for the good amount of the audiobook, I frankly didn't care.

I know I am going through a bit of a reading slump, but I didn't care for the story. I never felt any true moment of danger for Bond and, because of that, I didn't care what happened because I thought "He'll be fine...". I just didn't really care about the story until the very end.

Now, I'm not sure if I feel like this because I'm in a weird reading slump, and I've only begun to crawl out of my reading slump but... yeah... this wasn't for me. I wonder if I had read a collection of James Bond stories, each story written by a different author, if my opinion was have been more favourable.

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Two eNovella Reviews

After reading Noah Could Never (write-up for that is here), I fell into a bit of a reading slump. For several days, I kept picking books up, reading a chapter or two, then putting it down and going "Nope". So, when Katharine Corr (co-author of the Witch's Kiss trilogy) suggested I try reading a novella or flash fiction or a reread (something I am currently doing now as real life is going to get a little nuts for next few weeks), I went "I do have one or two I could try..."

And I read them both. It was a slow trek - a week prior novella, which is bad for me as I could usually hammer a novella or flash fiction out in a day or two. But I think I need the time to break the water's surface, so to speak, with my reading of late.

One novella is The Cat Who Walked A Thousand Miles by Kij Johnson and the other was Bottled Goods by Sophie van Llewyn. The prior I bought several years back and the other I was given for review via NetGalley a week or two back and both are very different from each other.

The Cat Who Walked A Thousand Miles is set in Ancient Japan and follows Small Cat, who after her garden burns in a fire and the colony scatters, decides to find the home of her ancestor, the Cat from the North, and try and make a name for herself along the way...

Whereas Bottled Goods is set in communist Romania in the 1970s, and it follows Alina who, after her brother-in-law defects to the West, she and her new husband become people of interest to the secret services. As this strain takes root in their marriage, Alina turns to her aunt for support, not her mother...

So why, I hear you ask, have I decided to put these two very different novellas together in one review? Is it because I am a lazy so&so? Is it because I am going through a slump with reading and blogging? Is it because real life, like I have previous mentioned, is going to go crazy the next few weeks? Is it because both stories have very similar pros and cons? You decide...

Both stories held my attention, even though am going through a reading funk. I really liked the writing styles in both, which is the main reason why I kept reading (though I do have faults with both). In Bottled Goods, each chapter's writing style is different from the previous - first person, third person, diary entry, list, first person of one chapter, first person of a second chapter, third person. Both stories, also, always had something happening. Each chapter ended with a cliffhanger of sorts so, of course, I had to keep clicking on my kindle to find out what happened next.

Plus, the chapter art of The Cat is wonderful. Shame my kindle is black and white, as I'm intrigued to see these in colour.

But because am in this reading funk, I did have problems. Problems I would normally get over very quickly, but in this mindset, all I could see were these problems. As I mentioned earlier on, the writing styles of both novellas were good, but both had problems. At times, The Cat Who Walked A Thousand Miles felt... off. I can't really explain it. There was something that held me back from being full invested within the story. This is the same with Bottled Goods, but with this, I do think it's the style of writing, how each chapter changed how it was written. I liked this, but it does take a little while for you to get use to. Plus, when there were two chapters told in first person but from two different chapter and you have no indicator of who it is in the chapter title, it's throws you out a little bit.

Plus, both have an element of magic, but I kinda wanted more. With Cat, the animals do speak to each other but I wanted something more. As for Bottled Goods, the magic element comes quite late in the story, and with the story's blurb hinting that it's there from the start, it got annoying waiting for it to come and, when it did, it was a side step. I do wonder on if the magical element was completely removed from Bottled Goods, if the story would have still worked (barring one element, I think it might have).

I did like both of these, don't get me wrong, I did. But because of my reading frame-of-mind at the moment, am super nit-picky. Maybe if I reread these in the future, these won't bother me so much, but it was nice to read something not over 300 pages long and yet still packed a punch, which both still did.