Thursday, 24 May 2018

Audiobook Review - Mythos

I think we all have a soft spot for Greek mythology. I do. I love myths in general and, if I wasn't scared of debts and everything else that comes with going to university, I think I would've loved to study myths (which would have been Classics, I think) or English. But I never went, but that's getting away from the point.

A few weeks back, I got a few credits on my Audible and asked what audiobooks I should listen to. I had a vague idea of one of the titles I wanted to do (Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel, though Forever and a Day by Anthony Horowitz did call to me as well) but I wanted something different. I wanted to try something new and something I would be a little afraid to try. The lovely Virginie at Chouett tweeted me and said she was nearly finished audiobooking Mythos and was hugely enjoying herself and thought I might like. A few days later, she sent me a copy of the audiobook via audible, which was a lovely surprise. Plus, neither she nor I lost a credit over it (it's a one off thing Audible do, according to my research so am planning to return the favour with a surprise audiobook choice of my own... be afraid, Virginie. Be very afraid.)

Mythos is Stephen Fry's attempt to retell some Greek myths. From the dawn of creation, the war between the Titans and the Olympians, the creation of mankind through to the myths told within the Gold and Silver Ages of Greece.

There's not much else to say about what the book is about as it's just that: Stephen Fry retelling some Greek myths. And guess what: I adore this. So much so, I am very tempted to buy the hardback edition of this to use for research or when the mood takes me to reread/relearn the myths. I didn't know them all, so there was always a new myth to discover and me to go "Oh!" over.

I devoured this audiobook and Stephen is a wonderful narrator. I love him reading Harry Potter and it carried over. Plus, when the author reads their own work, there's something more special about it. They get the rhythm of the story and the humour, and Stephen does add a lot of humour to the myths he decides to retell.

He admits from the start that he tries to put the myths in an order to make it easier for himself and the reader to understand, and this does help with him doing this.

There are two faults with this, and they aren't really Stephen's fault. The first is the names. There are so many of them. There are gods, titans, demi-gods, nymphs, furies, humans, and that's to name a few. It can be overwhelming if you're not on the ball. I might have to do a relisten myself to get them straight in my own head.

The second is length. Like I said before, Stephen tackles the gods and their lengths and he tackles the myths told from the beginning to creation all the way through the Golden and Silver Ages. He goes into a little more depth with the myths he tackles. But, because of this, ee doesn't touch the three other stages in Geek myths - Bronze, Heroic and Iron - so he doesn't tackle Hercules, Jason, Troy and other myths we're probably more aware of. But this gives me a small hope that maybe, just maybe, that Stephen will do a sequel and tackle these ages.

I adore this and I do hope Stephen does do another book about Greek myths. If not, I will probably go on the prowl for other books that tackle myths (hopefully Egyptian as I am fascinated with Egyptian gods, but open to read Roman, Native American, Indigenous Australians - in fact, will happily read any myths and legends. Recommend to me, dear readers!). My copy of Neil Gaiman's Norse Mythology is getting me the eye - should I be worried?

PS - Zeus. Mate, could you not stay faithfully? I mean... either see a sex therapist to talk about your sex addiction or let Hera leave you...

Monday, 21 May 2018

Death Is Not Enough Contest

I have a contest for you guys! And it's not YA. I know! But I want to try new things with my reading and, as you guys know, I like dipping in and out of crime and this author keeps catching my eye so, as soon as I saw this on BookBridgr, I knew it was time!

Death Is Not Enough is the sixth book in the Baltimore series (but I've been told you can read these as standalones) and this sounds like a neck-breaker of a read!

Defence attorney Thomas Thorne knows violence all his life. He has overcome these with determination and is ready to left his guard down and finally let the woman he always admire from afar into his life.

But his world is torn apart when he is four in his own bed with a lifeless body of a stranger lying next to him, her blood all over his hands. But his friend, Gwyn Weaver, knows Thorne could never commit such a terrible crime. So she and his friends rally round to clear his name, but someone has a deadly vendetta and they're not going to stop till they've destroy Thorne...

This sounds dark and Mctwisty as heck. Perfect for me! I can't wait to find time to dive into this novel. But, to wet my appetite, the lovely people at Headline are allowing me to do a small contest to give away a copy of Death Is Not Enough.

Ok, boring stuff now. I have only one copy to give away and this contest is a UK and Ireland only contest. This contest will close at 3pm this coming Sunday (Sunday 27th May 2018). The winner will be chosen at random via random.org. I will tweet and email the winner to get their address so the publisher can send the winner their copy of Death Is Not Enough.

If you're going to enter, I wish you good luck and hope that the odds are in your favour!

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Audiobook Review - Uprooted

I've been aware of this book for a while, but it took me a while before I went "Ok, I want to listen to this" I'm not sure why I decided to listen to the audiobook version over reading the book, but I thought this might be a good way to get into this as, after listening to all Deborah Harkness's All Souls trilogy, I feel that audiobooking adult fantasy is the way to go...

Agnieszka loves her valley. She loves her beautiful friend, Kasia, and she's bracing herself, for it's nearly time for the Choosing. The Choosing, where the Dragon comes and takes a girl to his tower for ten years.  It's his exchange for keeping the Wood and it's corruption. And everyone in the village knows that it's Kasia who the Dragon is going to choose - she's beautiful, clever, ready to go and have an adventure.

But when he comes to the village, it's not Kasia he chooses... it's Agnieszka.

On the surface, this book sounds like it's a reimagining of Beauty and the Beast (which is my jam!), but set within a Polish or Russian fairytale, which sounds intriguing or I should read more outside UK/USA versions. But this story... For me, it's very much a story of two halves. The first half wasn't to my taste while the second half was more up my street. And I know why, and I will explain a little further down.

No, let's get into that now.

This story's pacing was the biggest problem I have. I have read and listened and watched other people's reactions to this book, and am surprised over the fact they all say the pacing was relentless. Because I don't feel that way. The first half of this audiobook was, to me, slow and a bit of a slog to go through. I get why as this half to place over a long period of times - months, maybe years. And I get why - we need world building in place, we need to understand the basic of magic (it's vague, and it works for this fairy-tale feel that this story has), events happen which are solved a chapter or two later, and we need to get understand Agnieszka's skin. But it dragged for me - I don't mind if a story is set over a long period of time, but I need something to keep me interested. I need something to keep pulling me back, and there were several points when I did consider quitting this audiobook. Around the halfway point, something happened and, though I still struggled, I liked the direction the story began to take and the promise of "This is getting better" kept me coming back. Plus, the second half of the book, took place over a much shorter time frame - a fortnight, maybe a month? - and I just prefer a faster pace.

Another problem I had was the romance. This book has romance in it, but it's more a background thing. But, I didn't see it. I kept questioning the romance. I wondered "why?" over it. Why does Agnieszka like the Dragon? When it did start for both of them? Is it because of their magic? Is it because of Stockholm Syndrome? Are we meant to like the Dragon, because he's a mean, cruel, jack***? Are we being led down the garden path with Angieszka and the Dragon, when the romance is actually Angieszka and Kasia (even though I don't want that as I really like this strong female friendship)? I kept questioning it and I didn't believe it.

I think my problem overall is there was potential and it just fell short for me. It was a bit wishy-washy. But, I did enjoy the latter half of the book - I like the pacing, I liked the action, I liked the magic and this latter half is the reason I am thinking of reading the companion novel, Spinning Silver, which is set in this world but not with these characters. Plus, it's a reimagining of Rumplestiltskin, which I have never read so this is going to be intriguing.

But Uprooted is a very mixed bag for me. It missed the bullseye for me in the first half, but on the money in latter half, but as I hate DNFing audiobooks, I wonder if I would have kept going if I was reading this...

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Book Review - Lord of Shadows

Oh, Cassandra Clare. Every time I think I am through with you and the Shadowhunter world, I somehow get sucked back in. Now, I read the eNovella, Son of the Dawn, while I was on holiday in Cyprus (write-up for that is here), but I did wonder whether I was done with the world or not. Lord of Shadows was sent to me by the publisher, Simon and Schuster, so I knew I was going to read this. I just wasn't sure when or if I wanted to. It's a beast of a book and anything longer than 500 pages makes me nervous.

But after my holiday in Cyprus, I wasn't sure what to read. I felt a bit in a weird reading funk and I want to keep my fun reading groove going. So, I grabbed a bunch of books off my TBR shelves and went to my Other Half, saying "Pick one". After skimming a few blurbs, he chose Lord of Shadows because it sounded my kind of weird.

After the events of Lady Midnight, Emma, her parabatai Julian and the other Blackthorns feel the betrayal of their once close friend. But that's not all they're worried about. Emma discovered a horrible truth about why parabatai should never fall in love with each other: they will be cursed. To protect Julian, she starts "dating" Julian's brother, Mark...

But even that might not be enough when it becomes clear that enemies are on all sides. The Unseelie King - the Lord of Shadows - want the Black Volume of the Dead. With this, he plans to break the Cold Peace and rule over both the Unseelie and Seelie Courts.

And with rising tensions between Shadowhunters and Downworlders, comes a extremist brand of Shadowhunters called the Cohort, who want to register all Downworlders and "unsuitable" Nephilim, now is a dark time. But the Blackthorns are desperate and when Julian decides to depend on a unpredictable enemy, the repercussions are beyond anything they can imagine...

I am going to say this right off the bat: I am still in two minds about this trilogy. It doesn't grab me the same way the first Mortal Instruments books and Infernal Devices trilogy did. There is something that doesn't click with me. Maybe if I read the latter Mortal Instruments books, I would be sucked in but I don't feel that need to read City of Fallen Angels, City of Lost Souls or City of Heavenly Fire.

I've said this before and I will say this again, Cassandra Clare is awesome with diversity. Like I said in my Lady Midnight write-up, she has diversity left and right and it feels nature. It doesn't feel shoehorned in. And it grows with this book. We have a character who is on the autism spectrum, a character who is suffering mental health issue, a underage carer, Mexican characters, characters who cover the LGBT spectrum and it's glorious! It's wonderful to read this and it not feel like the author is ticking each of the diversity and representation boxes. This is one of this trilogy's strongest qualities.

This book does grow in character development and exploring the Shadowhunter world and that pushes this story arc forward nicely. I'm intrigued to see where this trilogy goes in this respect, hopefully it will show us the Shadowhunter world outside of the US and the UK. I wanna know what Shadowhunters in China or Australia are like...

I do have a few nitpicks with why I wasn't as blown away compared to other readers. Like I said before, I'm still not sure how I feel about this trilogy as a whole. I'm not sure why I'm holding back from being invested in this trilogy compared to other Shadowhunter books I've read. This is a me thing, not a book thing. Plus, the appearances of characters from other Shadowhunter books - Yes, this is going to be a hugely unpopular opinion - but I am done with these characters. To me, these characters's stories are done within their respected series, so while nice to see them pop up, it's kinda distracting me from liking the main characters from this trilogy...

But one of my biggest issues with this book is this book's length. It's under 700 pages long, and there was a good 100-150 pages in the middle where I really struggled with. I was dragging my feet through these pages and, though I really enjoy reading some of the characters, I did wonder if it was worth me continuing this book if I was struggling this badly. This just felt too long and with the final book in the trilogy, Queen of Air and Darkness, rumoured to be even longer (720-ish pages according to Amazon.co.uk), I am worried that I am going to hugely struggle to read and finish this trilogy. Hell, I'm wondering if I should read the next book if it's going to be that long and if it's going to be real slog to read...

I am in two minds about this. There are chapters and characters that I do like (the ending pulled the rug from under me) and I am intrigued to see how Cassandra Clare wraps everything up, I am worried about the book's length and whether my enjoyment will carry all the way through. We will have to wait and see...

Monday, 14 May 2018

Lucky Break

Give a warm Pewter Wolf welcome to author (and pilot!) Rob Stevens. His latest book has just been released and it sounds like one that will make you laugh and cry in equal measure.

Leon's twin, Lenny, had the coolest imagination. The best. But Lenny died a year ago and Leon and his family haven't been the same since.

So when Leon meets Arnold at school, Leon's not sure what to make of the new boy: he doesn't understand jokes or gets sarcasm and can be completely blunt. But the two make an unlikely friendship and before long, the pair keep finding themselves in trouble. And within the trouble the two cause, is Arnold helping Leon comes to terms with Lenny's death and move forward with his life?

This sounds like one of the those books I could probably read super fast and go "Oh, it's tackled this and this and I like how he did that!", hence why I jumped at the chance to have Rob on the blog when Harriet at Andersen Press asked me.

Now, because Rob is a hugely busy pilot (he might be in the air, flying a plane RIGHT NOW! Now, as you're reading my tiny little post!), he wrote this for me. A small list of authors that write humour brilliant (writing comedy is hard because humour is so subjective, depending on the person listening/reading the joke!), but hopefully, you will read this list and check out these authors!

Anyway, before I go, wanna say thank you to Rob for writing this blog post, even though I know he's super busy and thank you to Harriet at Andersen for asking me if I wanted to be involved. Thank you!

Now, over to Rob and his fave funny authors!

Saturday, 12 May 2018

I Was Born For This Blog Tour Music Alert!

As you guys know, I love listening to music while I read. Sometimes, that perfect song comes along that just click with the book in one form or other: the story, the characters (or one in particular). 

So, when I was asked if I wanted to be involved in the I Was Born For This blog tour, I jumped at the chance. Books and music! And I am a little obsessed with Alice's Heartstopper (if you haven't read it, YOU MUST). I mean, HOW COULD I REFUSE?! 

I don't want to say too much about I Was Born for This as I am playing to read this book sometime this month and I want to go in as blind as I can, but it has music, fandom, friendship and facing up to reality. 

And, to celebrate this book release, there's a blog tour where Alice picks a song that has a connection to I Was Born to This and we bloggers have to pick a song that links to reading, fandom or this book. I've gone with fandom and reading (why not). So, Alice's song choice is first and mine second... 

Before I throw you over to Alice, I wanna thank Alice for doing this and letting us snoop into her music (she's even created a Spotify playlist so, if you just can't wait, CHECK THIS OUT!!!) and Nina for organising this tour! It's been a blast to follow and discover new music and some old music I forgotten about. Now, onto the good stuff!



Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Kim Culbertson Talks Summer Reads

I am excited to have Kim Culbertson on The Pewter Wolf today! Kim is the author of The Wonder of Us, a summery read that I think some of you guys will devour by the pool or on the beach with a cocktail in your hand.

The Wonder of Us follow two friends - Riya and Abby - two best friends who been friends ship preschool. But when Riya and her family move to Germany and Abby stays in California, their friendship comes under strain so when Riya proposes a two week, six country adventure to save their friendship, they both jump at it.

But they haven't spoken to each other in weeks and both girls are keep secrets. Can this holiday really save their friendship or does growing up really mean growing apart?

It feels like a fun read, and because it feels very summery, when Kirsten from Walker asked if I wanted to do something on the blog, I jumped out it. I need a bit more fun on this blog, me thinks.

And what I got back from Kirsten is this yummy post from Kim, chatting about summer reads, which I think some of you guys will love! So, before I hand it over to Kim, two small things. First, thank you Kim for writing this post - I know you must be busy but thank you! And thank you Kirsten for emailing me and me going "Did I email you about this? My memory is ruined!"

And if you want to find Kim online, check her at kimculbertson.com or on Twitter at @kculberston. Now, over to Kim to talk her summer reads!


Monday, 7 May 2018

How Politics Changed Night of the Party


Why, hello y'all! Welcome to the first stop in the Night of the Party blog tour! Yes, I am kicking this tour off - not sure if this was a smart idea from Scholastic or not, but let's getting this party started!

... don't give me that look! I had to put a terrible pun in this post, somewhere!

Anyway, Night of the Party is a post-Brexit thriller, where we follow Zara. Zara who is dating Ash. Zara who is keeping secrets from Ash. She's the only person who knows what happened the night her friend, Sophie, died. But she can't tell anyone, because she's an Illegal - she and her family were born outside the UK and if the Government, ruled by The Party, find out, she and her family will be arrested on the spot and deported, and failing to report an Illegal is a crime in itself.

But she can't tell Ash either, as Ash is Sophie's brother, putting Zara in an impossible situation. Tell him and risk her and her family's lives, or stay quiet and risk the secret being exposed down the line. As the country is gearing up for an election, Zara must make a choice... Speak or stay silent...

Doesn't it sound messed-up? RIGHT UP MY STREET! I can't WAIT to sink my teeth into this book!

To kickstart the tour, Tracey Mathias has kindly written a tiny piece about how Night of the Party changed over the course of two years as she wrote it due to the UK politics!

But before I hand you over to Tracey, I just want to thank Tracey for finding time to write this - it's really interesting to read this! - and for Rachel at Scholastic who asked if I wanted to be involved in this tour! If you want to check Tracey's online home, go to either traceymathias.wordpress.com or @traceymathias.

Now, with that out of the way, over to Tracey!