Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Book Review - The Witch's Kiss

After reading Felix - The Railway Cat (blogpost for that is here!), you guys voted on what I should read next (this is the plan for the next month or so - though I might have to break it now due to getting a book in post and am PUMPED for it!) and you guys voted for The Witch's Kiss by Katherine and Elizabeth Corr.

Now, I've had this book (and its sequel) for a while but never been in the right frame of mind. Hence why these polls are such a good idea. Pushing me to read books I wouldn't normally rush towards unless I was in that mood.

Anyway, Witch's Kiss. Merry just wants to be a normal teenager. Shame that's not going to happen. She's a witch - a witch that doesn't want to be a witch, and her powers either exploding out of her fingertips when she's not in control or not there when she really needs them.

But it looks like she needs to embrace her witchy side and fast. Something dark is slowly waking and when Merry and her brother, Leo, meet Jack and discover he's under a centuries-old curse. A curse Merry must now break.

But Merry and those she love must be careful. Being a witch is dangerous, but so is falling in love and a heart is such an easy thing to break. So easy, in fact, that's true love's kiss might not be enough to save it...

Now, this is an odd book. Because there was faults - oh, so many faults, which I will go into in a bit - but it was a fun, addictive read. I read most of this book in one go (a good chuck of the book I read over the Easter Weekend - most of it on Easter Sunday).

The writing was fast paced and you had to run with the story to keep up. I liked some of the characters - mainly the brother, Leo. I really liked him and wish we saw more of his life outside of magic (he's an outsider, like us. Plus, if we saw his life, it would have been more powerful as the story grew) and I liked the hints towards fairy tales (mainly Sleeping Beauty and Maleficent with hints of the Lady in the Lake) and other things (Grey's Anatomy and Once Upon A Time - I really need to stop watching so much telly!). This is very much a book for fans of fast-paced magic.

But, like I said, this book had faults. A lot of faults. Most of which can be summed up in one way, I think. The story had a good idea and plot, but it felt skeletal. There was no real meat to the story. If there was, it would have given us something extra. See how Merry's magic affected her life in school and with friends, see the mysterious attacks (include the most personal), show us Leo's life with his friends and his romantic feelings towards a character we heard of but never met. But because the book is so focused on Merry's magic and the curse, there was no room for anything else.

While I say this book does have a lot of faults, I enjoyed the reading blitz I went on with this book and looking forward to finding time to read the sequel, The Witch's Tears... 

Thursday, 20 April 2017

The Audiobook Tag


Anyway, I listen to quite a few audiobooks (and am getting better DNFing audiobooks I loathe), so when I saw this tag, I thought "This could be fun!" So, while checking my Audible history and popping onto my iTunes history, let's get started in my audiobook weirdness!

This is a hard one. There are so many! I feel the urge to say any Harry Potter because it's Potter and any way you read it (book, ebook, audio) is a wonder way to discover this world. I also would say the same for Sabriel by Garth Nix, read by Tim Curry. This series is wonderful so discover it any way you can.

This has never happened to me. If I hate the audiobook, nothing will make me switch to the printed version. Am getting more ruthless with DNFing audiobooks, but if I hate an audiobook, I won't go near the book version. I have switched from audio to print before, for Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor. Not because the audio was awful (it wasn't in the slightest!), but due to time. It took over two weeks to get halfway through with audio and I was too impatient to find out what happened next to wait, so jumped to my pretty hardback copy.

This is tricky. A narrator can make or break an audiobook for me. I have three types of readers in my head: The Narrator that is perfect from the start, the Narrator you have to warm to but you click with a few chapters/halfway in or the Narrator that is such an ill-fit for the audiobook.

Am torn over top narrators. Am very tempted to say Stephen Fry or Tim Curry for male narrator. Both their voices just work with the stories I have listened to them reading. With female narrators, the first name that pops to mind is January Lavoy - I only listen to a few audiobooks read by her and every time I listen to her, it sounds like she's living the story.

When I looked on my Audible history, it says the longest audiobook I bought was A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness at just under 24 hours. But this isn't the longest audiobook I have listened to. That is Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by JK Rowling (which is 29 hours and 46 minutes - I checked). 

I had to double check this as I misremembered. It's Go The **** To Sleep by Adam Mansbach (read by Samuel L Jackson). It's only 6 minutes long! 6 MINUTES!!!

iPod for me. I would do it by my iPhone but I like listening to my podcasts on my iPhone and like to keep them separate (no idea why!). And earbuds... whatever comes to hand. But, normally, it's just the standard iPod earbuds. I do have other round the house but those are small and easy to pop into my pocket.

Ooooh! This is a tricky question to answer. Some authors, yes. Others, not so much. Sometimes, it's better for the story to be read by the author as they know the beat of how the story should be read. And it helps the reader to get into the story better. Note I say sometimes. I have listened to a few authors read their own audiobook and it doesn't sound right. There's something missing. So, I think authors should have the choice on whether they want to read their own books, but they shouldn't be forced if they say no.

Now this is hard, as I have a lot of series that I would love to be redone. How about keep one reader for a whole series or trilogy, and not switch them every book? That would be nice. (I would say can I have Tim Curry read Clariel and Goldenhand but I know he won't due to his health.).

Of course am going to say Harry Potter! This is me we're talking about here! Am very tempted to say which Potter, but very hard to decide. Am leaning towards either Philosopher's Stone, Prisoner of Azkaban or Goblet of Fire (but these are my faves so of course will go that way). I love how Stephen Fry reads these (not heard Tim Dale's version but I REALLY REALLY WANT TO!)

I always love Tim Curry reading of Sabriel. I love how he reads Mogget. I don;'t care what I need to do, if a movie of this book is going to be made, I MUST HAVE TIM CURRY BE MOGGET!!

I did not finish (DNF) Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard so I guess that doesn't count. I am currently (and VERY slowly) listening to Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen (just started Chapter 3: The Fetch). And while I am not a fan of the narrator (Katherine Kellgren) at the moment (though I am growing to like how she reads this story), I feel quite certain I will complete this. This is very different to what I was expecting...

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

eBook Review - Felix the Railway Cat

As you guys know, I have started (for this month and maybe next month) to do polls on Twitter so you guys decide what I read next. And this is the first book you guys picked! And the only reason I think you guys chose this book is because CAT!!!

When Huddersfield Train Station decided to get a railway cat for their station, they had no idea how the tiny fluffy kitten will affect their lives and the lives of their passengers. From helping a child come out of his shell to providing comfort to a runaway child, Felix changed everyone's lives. But it's a chance friendship with a commuter that brings Felix into the media spotlight and international stardom. 

I follow Felix the Huddersfield Cat on Facebook (not sure how I discovered this fan page, truth be told!) and love it. So when this was chosen, I was a little thrilled. And it was a fun read - what I expected. It was fun, gentle, candy floss read. Something you can read on the beach during the summer holidays. There is a few sad moments but it feels very heartwarming. 

I do have some issues with this. Mainly, the writing style. I couldn't gel with it. It was as if the author couldn't decide who they were writing for. For an adult audience (on NetGalley, this is under the category of "General Fiction (Adult)") or for a younger, child friendly audience. At times, the writing felt confusing over target audience. 

But cat lovers and fans of Felix will love reading this on a train with their cup of coffee on their morning commute. 

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Goodbye Days Playlist

Welcome to your second stop on the Goodbye Days tour! Yes, it's my stop today! And am thrilled to be involved (The Serpent King was a gripping debut and I can't wait for you guys to get involved in this book!).

ANYWAY, If you are not aware of what Goodbye Days is about, a quick overview (keeping spoilers to a min, of course). As Carver waited for his three friends to pick him up to go for a drive, he sends a text. The next thing he knows, their car has crashed, all of his friends are dead and there are people - himself included - who blame him for their deaths. If only he didn't send that text...

Then, one of his friends's grandmother ask Carver to take part in a "goodbye day" together, doing things that his friend loved. Soon, the other families want to hold goodbye days. But not everyone wants to forgive and with Carver's own grief and despair threatening to drown him, are these goodbye days helping people cope or doing more harm than good?

As you know with this tour, Jeff Zenter is giving us each a song from his Goodbye Days playlist and a tiny write-up on why this song is important. In exchange, we were asked to write our thoughts on the book or what we would do if we spent a goodbye day with a loved one.

Before I show you today's music choice, I would just like to say thank you to Jeff for finding time to writing this and making me discover a new song (always on the hunt for new music) and for Harriet at Andersen Press for asking if I wanted to be involved in this tour!

Tomorrow's stop is at Chouett.com so check that out! And now, over to Jeff (and myself!)

Thursday, 13 April 2017

The Left Hand Easter Contest

Who's in the mood for a Easter giveaway?

Ok, quick contest time! The lovely Stevie at Gollancz has given me a copy of the newly rejacketed The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K LeGuin to do a tiny giveaway!

For those who don't know about this book (I didn't till a few months back), this is written by the author of the well-loved Earthsea series and is deemed by many as one of the great science fiction stories. On a planet that is in constant winter, Gently Ai observes its people. They are androgynous - neuter in general but can become either male of female at the peak of their sexual cycle. They seem alien to Gently Ai, but he is slowly pulled into the complex politics of the planet and losses his professional detachment and must cross the ice with a politician who has fallen from favour and been outcast... But what will happen when they get to the other side...

Intrigued? Well, I have one copy to giveaway and this contest is a UK only contest (Soon, international readers! I promise I will do an international contest soon!). This contest will close on Easter Monday at 5pm and will be chosen at random by random.org! Will Announce winner via Twitter and will be email them for their address so the publisher can send it directly to you (no middle person [aka me!]).

To those of you entering, good luck. And may the odds be in your favour!

Book Review - Noah Can't Even

I have to make a quick statement before I go any further: I don't like cringe. You know what I mean: those moments that make you cringe. Like watching a TV talent show and having someone on who believes that they really have talent in that field but they don't. Or watching a hidden camera prank show and one of the hosts having to do something as a punishment (not all but a few). Yeah, I can't do cringe well. This is why I haven't (nor probably will never) watch The Inbetweeners. If I can make it through an episode of X Factor or that episode of Friends that make me want to claw my ears off, how am I going to survive The Inbetweeners?!

I state this now because this book has moments of cringe in it. I mean, the cover is a clue (the cover is ace, by the way!) Well, for me, it has moments of cringe. Where I would have to put the book down and leave it alone for a few moment while I go "WHY?!" at it. This isn't a bad thing but still...

Anyway, now I have that out of the way, let me chat about this book. Now, since I first heard of this book back in January at Scholastic's Blogger Event, I have been quite keen to read this. It sounded like fun. I sensed there might be moments I will dislike or go "Well, this is very Hollyoaks for my tastes, but it looks like a laugh". So, of course, when it appear in my letterbox due to Scholastic sending me a copy, I jumped at it without much thought.

Noah is having a bad few years. His dad's disappeared. His mum is a total embarrassment. His gran is suffering from dementia and isn't always there. He has only real friend - Harry. School's hell. But life might be on the up when he strikes up a friendship with Sophie and she invites him and Harry to a party. This is perfect, right?

But the party takes a turn when Harry kisses Noah. What does that mean? From there, things just keep going downhill.

I have to admit this, I am writing this a good week after I have finished this and posting this a few days later so my memory of this book is shot (this is why I write these posts within 24 hours after finishing the book)!

And while I did cringe OH SO MANY TIMES and wanted to grab Noah and shake some sense into him, I did enjoy it. I wouldn't say it was a fun read for me as, at times, it reminded me a little too much of me in my teens. Maybe this is why Noah grated on me at times - because he did things that I could have easily done myself in my youth (though, never to the extreme Noah did!).

At times, this did feel very Hollyoaks. I know some of you guys like Hollyoaks so that's not a bad thing. But at times, was a little overwhelmed with some of the stories that was thrown at Noah. Or maybe it was how Noah reacted to them that felt overwhelming.

I feel like am being mean about this book. I did like this book! Honest! I like Noah's Gran - possibly my fave character, truth be told. She gives Noah a lot of good advice and gave the book an edge of humour (I nearly choked on my cup of tea when reading one section, which was lovely and tender, Gran shouts the word "HERPES!"). And I like Harry and Sophie. They're characters I wanted to spend more time with and hopefully, we do in the next book. Plus, I liked the last 100 or so pages. It tied everything up nicely but gave character development to Noah and this helped me warm to him HUGELY! Plus, these 100 pages give room and new ideas for the sequel (yes, there is a sequel).

Now, not everyone is going to like this. This isn't going to be everyone's cup of tea. This coming-of-age/coming out story is madcap, awkward, cringey, yet oddly charming. And I kinda want the sequel. If, for no other reason, just to shout "Just kiss, you morons!" at certain unnamed characters...

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

The Hype Monster (But Let's Call It Colin)

As you guys know if you have followed me for the past few months, one of my most high anticipated reads of 2017 is The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. Ever since I heard that Walker Books were going to publish this, I have been excited to read it. I've been HUGELY open about how desperate I have been to read this. Hell, I even talked about this being one of my most anticipated reads for 20167 on the WHSmiths' Blog! So, imagine my delight (and high pitched squee-ing [it's a Hufflepuff term, don't you know!]) when I got a proof of this through the door just before Christmas 2016!

It's not April, just before Easter, the book is out on general sale and I STILL HAVEN'T READ MY PROOF COPY! I HAD THIS BEFORE CHRISTMAS AND I STILL HAVEN'T READ IT!

"Why?" I hear you ask. "You've been so excited to read this. Why haven't you?"

Because of one main reason. The Hype Monster that lives inside my head (There is the Other Hype Monster - The the word of mouth one. But let's not take about them today). And, for the sake of this blogpost (and to make myself seem quirky), we're going to call Colin (it was going to be called Steve, but I have a Dementor Funko Pop which I call Steve so that would be weird).

As you know, I have been excited to read The Hate U Give since I first heard of it. That's been over a year or so ago. I have had a over a year for Colin to work on overtime to hype it up in my head. So now, I have the book. But I now have this huge, UNNATURALLY BIG expectation for this book to be beyond brilliant. And I am terrified that, because of Colin, this won't happen.

And I do this ALL THE TIME! That's why I haven't read Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman yet (even though had it on my kindle for nearly 4 years now!). That's why I haven't read The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon yet. That's why I haven't gone anyway near a good chuck of my To Be Read shelves in physical and eBook form. Colin has, without realising it, ruined my enjoyment of these stories.

And it's not books he's done this with. TV shows, movies, music, theatre, places, people. And we all have a Colin in our heads. We all hype something up to such a point, we damage the thing in question. A good example is Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Now, I loved seeing it in the West End, but reading it... oh man, reading it was just... LET'S NOT GO THERE!!!

But now, I have a problem. How do I not let Colin go out of control and hype something so much that am too fearful to go near? And the answer to that is... I have no idea. I will always hype things up. Not on purpose, but I will. I can't start that.

So, how can I get over "The Hype Fear"? Again, no idea. I can either just dive right in into whatever I have hyped up. Or I can let some time pass before I go in. The latter is what I normally do. Sometimes, distance does the world of good. And other times, dive right in and to heck with the consequence is just as good (hence why some of the books in question are opinions on my Twitter polls for the next few weeks - if you vote for me to read it, I can't exactly go "I can't. Colin" now, can I?)

I know this isn't a normal blog post of mine, but I wanted to type this up so, if you have the Hype Monster in your head, working overtime over something (and the people around you are making Colin work overtime - that does happen and sometimes, this is a good thing. Other times, not so much [Throne of Glass is a good example for me]), YOU ARE NOT ALONE! Maybe we should band together, form a group where we can go "Oh no! Colin's done that to you too!" and then, find ways to overcome it together...

Ok, I have nowhere else to go with this post. Don't let the hype get you down. And don't let the Colin in your head get you down and ruin your enjoyment.

Friday, 7 April 2017

NetGalley Declined - You Voted For This Post

You voted for this. I thought you would really want me to talk about Disney - you surprised me! 

Now, I've done this before. Twice in fact. One back in 2015 (TA-DAH!) and another last year (TA-DAH!). With this, I might only show three or four (I know, am cheating you guys. You want to see a LOT more), but I want you guys to see that I am trying to push myself to reading more widely and more bravely, within reason.

So, here are my recent(ish) declined request from NetGalley. And if you have read any of these and you think I would like, let me know! Am curious on your thoughts of these five!

A CROWN OF WISHES by Roshani Chokshi
(St Martin Press - Goodreads Link)
I blame you, dear book bloggers pals who are reading this. You know who you are. You all who told me to read Roshani Chokshi's A Star-Touched Queen. I couldn't get Star-Touched Queen anyway (well, not everywhere. Internet, but the SHIPPING!!!). Then, I saw this on NetGalley and requested without a second thought. You all loved the first book and this was a companion book, not a sequel. BONUS! Plus, LOOK AT THAT COVER! LOOK AT THE GREEN AND PURPLE!!! Now, this is here because I was declined - only for me to discover a few days later that Star-Touched Queen was on Kindle. So that's awaiting my attention - all I know (and I might be wrong here so forgive me if I am) is that it's twisting a well known Greek myth but setting it in a mystical Indian setting. HERE, TAKE MY MONEY!!!

THE BONE WITCH by Rin Chupeco
(Sourcebooks Fire - Goodreads Link)
It was the cover with The Bone Witch. I mean, LOOK AT IT! Aren't it beautiful? I didn't read the synopsis when I requested it. But then I did and I hoped that I would be approved. It just ticked all my boxes. Plus, I have read some of the reviews and I knew this would be for me! Now, I have been declined and I am intrigued to read this as it is getting mixed reactions and I, weirdly, like trying to read this kinda books. I know, I'm weird!

AT ATTENTION by Annabeth Albert
(Carina Press - Goodreads Link)
Like I said earlier or if you ask me, I like it when book bloggers/vloggers push themselves into trying new genres and I, at times, feel we should all do this. And with NetGalley, I feel a little brave in requesting books out that are outside my comfort zone. What's the worse that coudl happen? They decline me (I wish more would. Have you not seen my NetGalley TBR, publishers?!) So, trying this out was a bit of a no-brainer. An adult gay novel set in the army. I don't really read much LGBT novels - well, I read a lot of YA LGBT books where the character comes out, but not afterwards. And that is what I want to read. Plus, I have read a novella by this author so I wanted to see what a novel by her would be like... Not sure if I will read something else by her (so many other books to read!), but it's nice every now and then to push myself and try something new, right?

(Marvel Press - Goodreads Link)
This was an impulse for me. I was approved to read the Black Widow novel and I decided, for a reason I'm not 100% certain on (as I never do this!), to read them back-to-back. Black Widow is a badass and, while I am not a graphic novel reader (coming into Marvel via films and TV), I wanted to know more about her and her life before she joined SHEILD. I got declined to this and, once I realised this, I decide to try and read Black Widow. I barely made it past the first 3 chapters. I just couldn't click with the writing. I'm not giving up with Marvel novels, but am going to hold off... maybe if you guys think of a graphic novel I would adore, that might be a good way to enter.

(Corsair - Goodreads Link)
Am going to be utterly truthful here: I have absolutely no idea why I requested this. None whatsoever! It's very grown-up and I sense I requested this because the cover caught my eye. But I don't think I would have liked reading this. Maybe it would have surprised me, but it seems a tad too dark for my taste now that I read the synopsis. Plus, with what I have read about the author, probably best I didn't read this...

And there we are. This was weirdly fun. I should do more polls about what I write for the blog (and as you will see in the next few weeks, I will be doing more polls on Twitter [also Facebook and Instagram] for reasons I will explain a little later...) so keep your eyes peeled!

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Naondel Blog Tour - Stop The Seventh!

I am so thrilled to be part of the Naondel Blog Tour and I am very excited to welcome Maria Turtschaninoff onto the Pewter Wolf. Maria is the author of the Red Abbey Chronicles, which contains not only the newly released Naondel but also Maresi, which has been desercibled by some as a dark feminist fairytale. If that doesn't wet your appetite, the people at Film4 Productions have optioned the film rights for Maresi. These are the people who have produced and co-produced a ton of hugely successful movies over the past few decades including 12 Years A Slave, Suffragette, both Inbewteeners movies, Room, American Honey and 127 Hours to name a few!

Now, because of this news, Maria has very kindly decided that, on this stop, to talk briefly about the news of Maresi being optioned for a movie and her reactions to this. (My reaction is being very excited so I hope we get to see the badassery of Red Abbey on the big screen!)

Now, before I hand you over to Maria, I want to thank Maria for finding time to write this post. I know you must be very busy with everything at the moment so thank you. Plus, I want to thank Vicki at Pushkin Press for asking if I wanted to be involved in this tour and all the last minute emails from me when I feared I had lost Maria's post!

Now, before I hand you over to Maria, if you want to check her out online, go to either her website - www.mariaturtschaninoff.com/ - or check her out on Twitter at @turtschaninoff! Now, with that out of the way, OVER TO YOU MARIA!

Monday, 3 April 2017

Reading Plan for April & May (Maybe)

I saw Beauty and the Beast today (I treated myself to a day off!) and it was lush like you all said. I hate it when you're all right. Curses! (And before you ask, I had preordered the movie on iTunes before my wonderful Other Half [who loathes the cinema, FYI] got us tickets and I have listened to the soundtrack... oh, a lot. And got teary-eyed over Days in the Sun, Emma Watson's How Does A Moment Last Forever and Evermore. WHY DISNEY?! WHY DO YOU WANT TO MAKE ME CRY?!)

Plus, the film was visually stunning! Just stunning.

Anyway, as much as I would adore to write a blog post solely on my feels on this movie, that's not what this post is about! No, dear readers, this is something I have been thinking about for a while about how I should read and how to get you guys involved. Because, at times, because I have so many books and ebooks to read, I get a little... well... overwhelmed. And because of this, I thought that, for the next month or so, you guys and pick my next few reads.

This was meant to be a way for me to read some of my NetGalley/Proofs, but I am behind of reading some boos you guys recoil about when I say I haven't read them yet... And it's because of several reasons (size, time, Hype Monster, mood, etc). So, why not go to you guys as you have ace tastes?

Now, I do have some rules (for myself at least). I have to put a poll up of 4 choices on Twitter (but might mix if up and go Instagram or Facebook. So, keep eyes peeled on my Twitter so you know where to look!) and each poll will be around 24 hours long and whatever wins will be the book I am going to try and read. I can still DNF if I don't like and I am allowed 2 vetos if I disagree with your choice. If I do use a Veto, I need to either do another poll or pick the runner-up book.

And oh, I am making plans to do a few Big Guns books that I know you guys all love and it will hurt you to choose one (Strange The Dreamer, The Bone Season, The Graces, Noughts and Crosses, The Hate U Give, etc). Yes, I know. I am a complete monster.

That ok? Is that a crazy idea to leave my reading fate to you? I think you guys will picks some wonderful/crazy choices and I can not wait!

Well, you guys are going to hate me because... well... the first poll will go up quite soon after this post goes live... So, I need to pick 4 choices. Hang on...

So, I made my picks! And you have till tomorrow (let's say half past 5 in the afternoon UK time) to pick so I can start reading that evening.

Thank you all in advance for voting and happy picking!

Friday, 31 March 2017

DNFing Guarding Mr Fine

As you guys are aware, I don't DNF that often. But am become far more ruthless with deciding to DNF something or putting it back on TBR pile (physical or kindle) and returning to it at a later date. Like I say to you guys, life is too short to read crap books (well, crap in your opinion. Everyone's opinion is different and, now more than ever, we need to be respectful and kind to one another). This, sadly, is a DNF for me.

Now, like always, I am not saying this is a bad book. This just isn't for me. I have seen reviews on Goodreads of this book and people loving the very Not-Safe-For-Work of it (for those curious, we have swearing with the first paragraph of chapter one and we have gay sex in chapter two. It's like the first episode of Torchwood when it was first launched on BBC Two and BBC Three. It did this so viewers knew that this Doctor Who spinoff is not for children). This is one of the reasons I requested this on NetGalley. It's adult LGBT romance with a thriller edge to it - what more could I ask for when trying to branch out and try new things?!

Now, while I am all up for adult reading, I have two reasons for DNFing this (and one is more important than the other).

The first is this book is the third in a series and I believed that this could be read as a standalone. While you probably could read this as a standalone, within chapters three and four (I gave it four chapters so around 20% of the story), you had a lot of important thrown at the reader which might be linked to the previous stories. Maybe I'm wrong and I'm jumping the gun on this, but feeling overwhelmed, information-wise, isn't the greatest start.

The second and (probably) my main reason why I DNF is the I kept getting confused/muddled over the main characters. One is Seth and the other is Rick. You think I would keep them separate and know which one is a CIA agent and which one is the US consul general. Nope. I kept getting them confused. I kept having to stop and go "Which one is Seth again? Is he Rick? Do I need to go back and reread?". I don't mind getting confused over plot (this is a thriller after all), but characters...? Nope - not going to do that. I want to enjoy the thriller/romance and this was going to be ruined with me, double checking who's who! This isn't an episode of The Blacklist or Line of Duty, where I mistrust every suspect bought to me!

So, am putting this on my DNF list and moving on with my day. And, hopefully, I will be reading something gripping by the time you read this... Hopefully...

Thursday, 30 March 2017

#re3 - Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them

I have been in two minds over whether I should get this on audiobook or not when it was announced. On the one hand, IT'S AN AUDIOBOOK! With Eddie Redmayne (aka Newt Scamander in the Fantastic Beasts movie) narrating it! But on the other, it's not really adding anything new to this. And I have other reasons, which I will go into later.

But, when Midas PR (people who I chat with for Audible credits - they are very kind and lovely people) gave me an extra two credits a month or so bad by mistake, they said I could keep them and use them for any audiobooks that catch my eye. So, I used one of the credits on this (even though I have a ton of audiobooks I really should be listening to instead). And after the drama of trying to get this onto my iPod (don't ask! It was a nightmare and only with the help of Audible.co.uk's Twitter did I figure it out as this has never happened with any of my other audiobooks!)

In this updated version of the Harry Potter textbook, we discover the magical beasts that live in the Wizarding world that was referenced or we have seen in both Harry Potter books/movies and the Fantastic Beasts movie. Because this is updated, we have a new foreword from Newt himself (with information/hints linking to the Fantastic Beasts movie) and addition of six new beasts (why these have been added have been explained in the foreword).

Now, as a Harry Potter fan and as someone who has read and reread this over the years, what i found so enjoyable is how in-depth this "textbook" goes. Plus, it was cool to go back and go "oh! That was in the movie!" and compare to my old edition of Fantastic Beasts.

There was a bit of drama before Christmas when the movie was released and no bookseller could get a copy as publishers in UK/US were publishing the new, updated version in time for DVD release and Comic Relief (which donates a percentage of money towards this charity as well as the Lumos Foundation). So, while it's a bit of the pricy side for a under two hour audiobook, knowing that some of that money is going to good causes makes me feel warm, fuzzy inside and glad the world isn't such a dark place (have you not seen the news the past week?!)

And as for the new six beasts... I only spotted three to my knowledge. Might have to go back when I have an afternoon free and listen to this with my now "out of date" copy in hand and compare...

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Book Mini-Reviews - The Fox Wish & The Giant Jumperee

I decided (No idea why! Maybe I thought I would be easy to do this. We shall see...) to put these two books together in one review! Both are picture books (which is rare for me to talk about on my blog, I know!) and both are perfect to be read by parents to children and together.

The first is The Fox Wish by Kimiko Aman and illustrated by Komako Sakai, and the second is The Giant Jumperee by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury.

In The Fox Wish, we follow a sister and brother who go back to the park to find their jump rope. Only to find a group of fox cubs playing with it and believing it to be the answer to their wish. And in The Giant Jumperee, Rabbit comes home to find a loud voice in his burrow. When his friends (Cat, Bear and Elephant) come to help, they each get scared by the loud voice. But who is the Giant Jumperee?

Both, in my opinion, are wonderful stories to read to little ones, each with a gentle charm to them.

While both do have a charm, there is something on each you need to be aware. While picture books are often glossy in their illustrations, The Fox Wish doesn't have that. It's more ink-stamped and watery in tone compared to other picture books and, with The Giant Jumperee, there were moments when reading it felt a little too close to The Gruffalo in tone (yes, I know both are written by the same author but if your child knows The Gruffalo, they might spot how similar they are. Plus, nothing Julia writes really beats the Gruffalo. Although, What the Ladybird Heard does come close...)

But barring this, both are lovely reads to read to your little ones at bedtime...

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Stanly's Ghost Tour - Stop 2!

Hello and welcome to my stop on the Stanley's Ghost blog tour! Hope you're all good this Tuesday (or whatever day you are reading this!) and I would love to welcome Stefan Mohamed to the Pewter Wolf! Stefan is the author of the Bitter Sixteen trilogy, starting with Bitter Sixteen, Ace of Spiders and the final book in the trilogy, Stanly's Ghost, which came out a few weeks ago!

As Stanly's Ghost is the last book in a trilogy, I don't want to give too much away. So, going to give tiny info from the first book, Bitter Sixteen. Stanly is a typical teenager - expect the fact that his best friend is Daryl, a talking beagle. And expect for the fact that, when he turned sixteen, he gained the power of flight and telekinesis. And seeing as his rural Welsh town doesn't need a superhero, Stanly goes to London. Only to discover a good deal more weird and terrifying. Maybe he should have stayed in Wales...

Now, before I throw you into Stefan's guest post, a few thank yous and some links. I would like the thank Stefan for finding time to write this post. I know he must be super busy at the moment but thank you. Also, would like to thank Emma for asking if I wanted to be involved in this tour.

And now, for links. If you want to check Stefan out, you can check him out either via his website - stefmo.co.uk - or via his Twitter at @stefmowords.

Now we got that out of the way, over to you, Stefan!

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Book Review - The Scarecrow Queen

I DID IT!!! I READ THE ENTIRE TRILOGY IN A SPACE OF THREE MONTHS!!! Bit late to the party but I DONE IT!!! (and to that fan who tweeted Melinda that she read the whole trilogy is less than 16 days, shame of you. Melinda kept giving me tweets to say "er... LOOK!")

In this, the third and final book in the trilogy, the Sleeping Prince has taken control of Lormere and with Twylla in hiding and Errin in his clutches, time is running out to them and their band of rebels to stop him taking full control.

But Aurek will stop at nothing to keep the throne and to keep it forever.

Anymore than that and I might spoil a lot of details within the previous two books in the trilogy, The Sin Eater's Daughter and The Sleeping Prince. But it's gonna hit the fan, so brace yourselves...

This is the strongest and my favourite book in the trilogy. Things are put into place and the pay-off worked excellently, characters have grown from when we first met them and we have a climax which left me breathless.

This is how a final book in a trilogy in a dark fantasy trilogy should be: dramatic, badass, tender, creepy as heck (I couldn't stop thinking about the prologue for days after I read it, and those interlude chapters were just ), breath-taking as you want to sped through to the end yet want to savour the writing at the same time. It's been so long since I read a faultless finale, and this ticked every box!

Shame it's taken me so long to discover this trilogy (blame the hype fear and the wrath of nearly EVERY BLOGGER/VLOGGER WHO SCREAMED AT ME TO READ THIS TRILOGY [and Melinda who threatened to send a Dementor at me - I swear she's Voldermort's secret daughter!]) but Mel has a new fan and I await her next book, Floored (which she is co-writing with Sara Barnard, Holy Bourne, Tanya Byrne, Non Pratt, Lisa Williamson and Eleanor Wood) and her just-announced trilogy with baited breath!

EDIT: Just when you thought I can't mess up the author's name further (have you guys not see me say Mel's surname wrong. I called her a supermarket chain!!!), I then type up her first name wrong! AND IT'S THE AUTHOR WHO TELLS ME ABOUT IT!

MEL, I AM SO SORRY!!! Thanks for pointing it out to me and being very kind and laughing at it (better than my reaction which involved swear words and me blaming auto-correct and a podcast I have recently discovered called My Dad Wrote A Porno [don't ask. Will blog about this in future once all catch up - not sure if that's a good thing or not]). SORRY! 

Monday, 20 March 2017

The Scarecrow Queen Launch Party

Last Wednesday (because I have been weirdly busy - thanks work, reading and Breath of the Wild!), I was very kindly invited to the launch party of Melinda Salisbury's third and final book in the Sin Eater's Daughter trilogy, The Scarecrow Queen.

Now, as you know, I have been trying to blitz this trilogy and, since been invited, I have been trying to finish Scarecrow Queen before I got to the party. And I failed. I got a good chuck in but, alas, not completed it.

So, after doing a half day at work, rushed home, changed and on the train to London I went, speed reading (or trying to. You can't rush this book, I found!) Scarecrow Queen. After getting there a bit early (for reasons am going to explain), I popped to Kings Cross to see Platform 9 and 3/4 and the shop (it was MAD!). And bought myself some pens - because that's what this Hufflepuff likes.

Then, off to where the launch party was being held - in a crypt. That's right, dear readers, a crypt. It wasn't Melinda's natural writing habitat (I checked) and we weren't going to get locked in and have to offer a blood sacrifice to get out and go home (though, I would have loved to see how work would have reacted if I phoned up and went "I'm going to be in today. Why, you ask? Well...". Plus, I could have finished Scarecrow Queen in peace!).

But, I had to get there a little bit early because Lorraine from Scholastic asked if I fancied asking Melinda some questions on their Facebook Live feed. I said yes, then panicked because I have no filter. So I had to be professional and control and not panic over the fact that, before I left for the event, I spend ages trying to figure out what to wear! I HAVE TO LOOK ME BUT PROFESSIONAL  BOOK BLOGGER/LOVER!

I haven't watched the video. I just can't. Not only because I'm not a fan of watching myself on film, but a little bit because I got Melinda's surname wrong. Of all the things that could go wrong, I didn't think me GETTING THEIR NAME WRONG TO THEIR FACE would be one. And after me panicking over getting the characters's names wrong (how many times I asked how to pronounce Twylla before the interview?). But Melinda has a great sense of humour (as you can see) so, hopefully, she didn't get that annoyed with me. Plus, if we play our cards right, we might be able to annoy Sainsbury's supermarket chain for some freebies (unlikely but you never know!). 

Oh, if you want to enter the contest I mention, go to Scholastic UK's Facebook page and like the video. And that's it! 

Anyway, after that whirlwind panic, the launch party started! The crypt was creepy and filled with people - family, friends, publishing people (some who needed wine after London Book Fair - apparently, it was manic!) and bloggers! There was (hang on, let me check my Twitter as have a bad memory and I did have two glasses of wine on an empty stomach!): George from @TheGeorgeLester, Kate from @Magic_Kitten, Darren from @ShinraAlpha, Bex from @MyShelfMyself, Jess from @bookendsending@littlehux (Am positive we chatted very briefly, or am I misremembering), Grace from @_gracelatter & Stephen from @MyBookishLife. I spoke to David Owen (whose upcoming novel, The Fallen Children, is coming out soon) who is very cool and will be helping me out with Zelda if/when I get stuck/find time to play it. I saw (but was too scared to talk to) CJ Daughter (Night School series and Secret Fire duology) and Chris Russell (Songs About A Girl) and I discovered that Katharine Corr (co-author of the Witch's Kiss series), Lindsay Galvin (whose novel, The Breathing Sea, will be out next year) and L.D. Lapinski (not sure if I spoke to you. If I did, yeah! If not, sorry! NEXT TIME, HUNT ME DOWN AND SAY HI!!!). 

After small, very sweet speeches, we had tiny cup cakes and got copies signed. And this is what Melinda wrote in mine... 

This fits perfectly with what Melinda wrote in my copies of Sin Eater's Daughter and The Sleeping Prince. But, HA-HA! I FINISHED SCARECROW QUEEN YESTERDAY (my reactions to this will be coming soon!) 

And then, due to it being a work night and the train journey back, we left. And the crypt looked SUPER CREEPY at night! 

Anyway, I would like to thank Melinda Salisbury, Lorraine from Scholastic and everyone at Scholastic for inviting me. It was such a fun evening and can't wait to see what Melinda writes next! 

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Book Review - 100 Hugs

Even since I first saw this on Twitter, I knew - KNEW - I had to buy it and read it. It's a small book with a simple idea from the current Children's Laureate: a book filled with illustrations of hugs. 100 hugs in total, hence the title. Nothing else. Just hugs, ranging from people, animals, fairy tales, magic, real, heartfelt and one or two slightly sinister hugs (it's the eyes, people! And you know the illustrations I mean if you've read this).

This isn't going to much of a review. More of a gush. I found this simply enchanting and utterly heartwarming.

There's not much else I can say about it. But this book - perfect for small hands - proves one of the many reasons he is a well-loved and respected illustrator.

If not, check these out. Aren't they wonderful?

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

DNFing Red Queen

As you guys know, I'm not a big lover of DNFing stuff. But, I am becoming more ruthless when I decide that am going to cut my loses with something I'm not clicking or loving.

And sadly, Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard is the latest.

Now, before most of you who love this series grab your flaming torches and pitchforks and come after me, let me just say I am not saying this is a bad book. It isn't. I know most of you guys really like this series and I get why from what I listened to. But I just didn't click with it. Or I did, but I would lose interest with it.

And it my main reason why I stopped. I just lost interest.

Red Queen had moments I really liked and would go "This is going to be good/interesting/how unique" but then something else would happen and I would go "That's very cliche/urgh". I would keep jumping back and forth between these two feelings.

And then, something exciting happened. At first, I was "Now, we're cooking" but within a chapter, I lost interest. I just lost it... and I'm not sure why.

I think it's a mix of things: I kept flip-flopping over how I felt over the story, finding time to listen to the audiobook, private life went a bit loopy as did work. But after a while, I listened to it and thought "I've lost it. I've lost that spark to keep going with this. So... why am I pushing myself with this when I have a ton of other audiobooks (which are for review and I bought myself) to listen to?"

So, that's why, if you have been following me on Goodreads/Pinterest, it's move from "Currently Reading" to "DNF". I might return to it one day. Maybe. But not yet.

Friday, 10 March 2017

Front Lines - What If...?

To celebrate the second book in the Front Lines series by Michael Grant, Silver Stars, Electric Monkey/Egmont asked if I wanted to be involved in this tour and I said yes. I haven't read the series, but in a world that is in the terrifying climate we're in, reading books like this are vital, in my opinion.

In this series, Michael goes "What If...?" on us. What if, during the Second World War, women were allowed to join the US army and fight alongside their male counterparts. What would have happened to the war in the USA? What would have happened to the Second World War in general?

So, where can I go with a post about "What If" during the second World War? Well, you can thank a random [contains swear words] youTube video about that... (and please forgive me if I make a mistake. I am not well-versed in US history so had to use the Internet to get information).

For a long time, the United States didn't realise how terrible the Holocaust was in Europe. Americans, at the time, knew the Nazi were encouraging vandalism and hate crimes towards Jews. But the US government didn't feel strongly enough to give refugees a safe place. At one point, the US turned a ship, filled with approx 900 Jews, back to Europe - most are feared to be have died in gas chambers. After this, the US Government reject a proposal to allow 20,000 Jews children to claim sanctuary. Anne Frank and her family were refused asylum. Albert Einsten wrote letters, begging Franklin D. Roosevelt to let Jews in.

The reason? Taken from a speech made by then-President, he said "Today's threat to our security is not a matter of military weapons alone. We know of other methods, new methods of attack. The Trojan Horse... Spies, saboteurs and traitors." (Fireside Chat 15: On National Defence - May 26th, 1940).

But what if... what if the US did allow Jewish refugees in during the Second World War? What if that bill to allow 20,000 Jewish children to stay in the US went through? Or the US didn't order the boat with 900 Jews to turn back to Europe? What would have happened if the American Government was brave enough to help those in need of help? Countless Jewish lives would have been saved, right? The death toll of those who died due to Nazism could have been lower than it is today.

But could this have changed when America joined the war? Japan bombed Pearl Harbour on 7th December 1941 and Germany decaded war on the US four days later. The vote on the bill to allow 20,000 Jewish Children to come and stay in the US was on January 20th 1939, less than 2 years earlier. So, if this bill went through, would have the US joined the war against Nazi Germany and its allies sooner? If so, would the war have ended sooner?

And after the war, what would have happened to the US then? Would the US be more kind toward refugees? Show empathy and compassion? Or would there be more cruelty and a possible rise of white supremacy, all in the name of "America First"?

And far would the effects be felt, both good and bad? Would it be a short period of time (a few years?) or would be we be feeling them today? Would be living in a kinder world for showing kindness and empathy? Or would be living in a crueller world, because people feel that their kindness was abused in some form?

This is the problem with "What If". You ask a simple question and the answer is far more complex than we expected. It's a butterfly effect - a small change could create huge consequences, both good and bad.

So, until we can treat time travel, we can play what if in our heads, in books, in Tv and radio and films. And we can look back into history and make sure we don't repeat the mistakes of our past and, because of this, create a hopeful, better future...

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Book Review - The Sleeping Prince

I am powering through this series, aren't I? By the time you'll be reading this, I should be a good chuck of the way into the third and final book in the trilogy, The Scarecrow Queen.

But that's not the book we're talking about today.

The Sleeping Prince is the second book in the series and we follow, Errin, sister to a character we met in Sin Eater's Daughter. Errin lives with her mother who is suffering a misery illness. When the village has to be evacuated due to an fairy tale comes to life and begins war in the neighbouring country. But when events take a dark turn, Errin has to fled. But with her father dead, the mother ill and her brother missing, the only person she can turn to is Silas, who's face she has never seen...

But can she trust him?

This is an interestingly odd book. Not in a bad way, but this is a mix of being a first book in a series and the second. Bear with me while I explain why.

This is the second book in the trilogy. There is information and details from Sin Eater's Daughter is reference so reading the first book is important. This is the same with characters. This is a second book in the series and should be read as the second (I did try last year to read this without reading Sin Eater's Daughter and I struggled).

BUT... reading The Sleeping Prince does have elements of first book in a series. We have new characters, new situations and elements that feel very book one of a series. Plus, with this book timeline that overlap ever-so-slightly with Sin Eater's Daughter, you could read them side-by-side and you would be alright, in theory.

Although, I would say that if you are going to read this trilogy, read Sin Eater's Daughter first then Sleeping Prince.

This book I would say is split into two. Part one and part two. Part one is setting everything up. Character development, information dropping, setting things up. While the writing is dark and seductive, this is very slow. It is a bit of a struggle at times to push forward and I think, because of this, it took me longer to read. I don't mind reading slower pace - because this is a new character and we have to get to know them and their situation - and once I got to know Errin, I liked her and her attitude, but there were moments in part one I wished the book would pick up pace.

Part two is when the pace picked up and I whizzed through. This is the strongest part of the story because you go "This is why Melinda did this. This makes sense now. There's a plan!". Plus, like I said, I like pacer chapters. I like it when characters feel like they are doing something - and with Errin, it felt like she was more proactive in part two than in part one (but once you read part one, you understand why).

And because of part two and how it ended, I am excited/worried over Scarecrow Queen. Melinda has put her characters and story in position and now we're going to have to wait and see how she's going to wrap this up...

While I like Sin Eater's Daughter more, once it found it's footing, The Sleeping Prince is a worth sequel. Now, am excited/terrified over how Scarecrow Queen is going to end...

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Scarecrow Queen Contest

Ok, this is a lazy post today as I'm not reading as much as I should be reading and have rediscovered gaming (weird, I know). But the lovely people at Scholastic wanted me to let you guys know that they are hosting a contest in a similar vine of the Vision Boards you've been seeing throughout the tour (if you want know what I mean by Vision Board, check out my stop in the tour that went up yesterday!) 

Now, before I show you what Scholastic sent me in the email, let me remind you this is Scholastic contest, not mine. But as I had a blast doing a vision board for Helewys, I thought you might wanna try and enter. I believe this is UK only but if you want to be sure, pop them an email and double check. 

Now, handing you over to Lorraine at Scholastic! 

The Scarecrow Queen vision board competition

Hello fellow bloggers and readers! It is time to get creative and win some prizes courtesy of Melinda Salisbury! Melinda would love for bloggers and readers to take part in creating a vision board of any character in The Sin Eater’s Daughter trilogy, as you have seen us do during the blog tour. Feel free to check out what we have created over the course of the week to inspire you!  

The competition will run for 2 weeks from today and closing date is Friday 24th March, at midnight.

A main prize will go to the most creative vision board (images, lettering, drawings all welcome!). The main winner will win a prize pack of all three novels in the trilogy  and *signed* The Sin Eater’s DaughterThe Sleeping Prince and The Scarecrow Queen, a pair of The Scarecrow Queen socks, the King of Rats short story, a set of badges and postcards, a golem, a necklace and a golem/alchemical text bookmark which Melinda picked up on a recent trip to Prague.

Two runners up will win a copy of The Scarecrow QueenThe Scarecrow Queen socks, and a set of postcards and badges.

You can send your entries to publicity@scholastic.co.uk

Good luck everyone!

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Scarecrow Queen - Helewys's Stop

Today is my stop on the Scarecrow Queen tour! And as you know, each of us bloggers are doing vision boards to reflect a character. So does the lovely author Melinda Salisbury and we compare. This can go either really well or very badly wrong! 

And I have the terrifying stop to make a vision board for the Queen of Lormere, Helewys, who appears in the first book in the Sin Eater's Daughter trilogy, The Sin Eater's Daughter

Now, we were meant to pick six images each. But I am a total rule breaker and, without me even realising it, I chose 10! WHOOPSIE! 

Whereas Melinda, though a Slytherin, actually stuck to the rules. I didn't realise Slytherins could do that...!

Friday, 3 March 2017

Sue Wallman's Zoella Experience

I am SUPER THRILLED to welcome Sue Wallman to the The Pewter Wolf! Sue's second novel, See How They Lie, has just come out and promises to just as addictive reading as her debut, Lying About Last Summer. Which, as some of you are aware, was one of the chosen book for Zoella's Autumn Book Club last year and, a few weeks ago, was announced winner of the Zoella Autumn 2016 Book Club!

If you're not heard of either books, let me give you the briefest of outlines on them both. Lying About Last Summer follows Skye who is sent to a camp for grieving teens after the shock death of her sister. But when Skye receives a text message from her dead sister, Skye has to confront the past and figure out the truth of the texts, even though the danger might be closer than she thinks...

In See How They Lie, we follow Mae, who lives at a luxurious psychiatric and well-being facility. There are rules for everyone who lives and work there. When Mae breaks the rules, she is punished and everything Mae believes is throw upside down. She's there because her psychiatrist father works there... right?

To celebrate this, Sue has kindly (and at a super fast speed! Do you authors ever sleep?!) written this lovely guest post about her Zoella Book Club experience!

Now, before I hand you to Sue, I just want to thank her for writing this post. I know this week is a bit of a whirlwind with See How They Lie coming out but thank you! I, also, want to thank Olivia at Scholastic for asking if I wanted to be involved in some way. Thank you both!

One more thing! If you want to check Sue out online, she has her own website - suewallman.co.uk - and you can check her out on Twitter at @swallman. All set? Ok, over to you, Sue!

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Winds of Change


To celebrate this, I would like to welcome Fiona Kennedy to the Pewter Wolf. You might not know of Fiona but she is the publisher of the new Children/YA imprint coming from Head of Zeus, Zephyr.

When this news was announced, I emailed Head of Zeus, curious on Zephyr's first publication, The White Hare by Michael Fishwick. What I got back was a lovely email from Fiona. We chatted and she agreed to write a small guest post for the blog, chatting about Zephyr's creation and what they hope to achieve.

So, before I hand you over to Fiona, I just want to thank her for finding the time to write this. I know she must busy at the moment so thank you. Now, dear readers, am handing it over to Fiona!

Friday, 24 February 2017

Books And Their Theme Songs - Volume 37

HOW IS IT THE END OF FEBRUARY ALREADY?! What is happening, everyone?!

Anyway, it's that time on the blog again where I show you some of the music I was listening to while reading or a song that made a strong reaction while reading a book/ebook or listening to an audiobook!

Anyway, I hope you like the pics and if there is any music I should check out, leave a comment down below and I'll check them out!

CARVE THE MARK by Veronica Roth
"Renaissance Moon" by Laura Mvula

THE SIN EATER'S DAUGHTER by Melinda Salisbury
"People" by Laura Mvula (featuring Wretch 32)

RED QUEEN by Victoria Aveyard (Still Listening to Audiobook)
"Lethargy" by Bastille

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

#re3 - The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency

This, like Northern Lights, was a reread. I wanted to read something completely anti-fantasy before I dive back into the world of Sin Eater's Daughter. I know that, once I start reading Sleeping Prince, I would binge this and Scarecrow Queen so I can finish them before the end of March. And I love fantasy but worried that if I binge-read these after finishing Sin Eater's Daughter and Northern Lights, I would be a little sick of fantasy so, when I saw this on NetGalley, I went "Let's read this. It's a reread, it should be a fast fun read".

Oh, Andrew. Never think "This is will a fun, fast read". I started reading this and, like Northern Lights, I soon realised that there was a lot of things in here that I forgot. I mean, how old was I went I read this? Late teens? So, over ten years ago... Yeah... there is a lot I forgot. 

The first in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, we follow Precious Ramotswe, Botswana's first - and finest - female private investigator. Following her starting up her business and investigating cases such as cheating husbands and wayward daughters. All the while, with warmth, humour and a gentle understanding of human nature. 

Now, it's been so long since I read this that I am going to have to treat this like a review rather than a reread. This is a very different crime/thriller I am use to reading. I like pace, I like action, I like twists. This is a complete gear shift for me as this is a gentle crime. And Precious Ramotswe is probably the Queen of gentle crime within the past two decades. 

There is a cosy, warm feel to this. Perfect reading for the cold months of January/February. It's a bit like Sunday evening TV. You can curl up on the sofa with a hot chocolate, wearing your comfortable, happy clothes and feel happy. It's a feel-good factor to them, something I remember from when I read them YEARS AND YEARS ago. This carried over when the BBC/HBO turned a few of these into a TV series back in 2007/2008 (if I can, I will include a pic from the TV series somewhere in this post!)

Some crime readers might not like this series as the mysteries in this book and within the series aren't exactly thrilling or compelling. They're quite laid-back mysteries and some are quite easy to figure out. But this is more a look at life and human nature - something that applies to me. It's refresh for me to read something that isn't running at a hundred miles an hour. I can just relax and enjoy. 

I might have to get my hands on the second book in the series, Tears of the Giraffe. But, at the same time that I requested No 1 Detective Agency, I requested another of Alexander McCall Smith's stories, The Sunday Philosophy Club (which I think I might have read but I can't remember if I have or not!), so this will be my next Alexander McCall Smith read.