Saturday 24 December 2016

End of Year Note

When in doubt on how to start a blog post, use a gif. Hence why I used a Friends gif yesterday, a Modern Family gif now and goodness knows what gif I'll use to end this post! Shall we go and find out? 

*scrolls down* ... oh. Really, Andrew? Letting the side down, aren't you? I mean, this is the final post of the year - oh, you guys didn't know that? Ooops. 

Yeah, sorry to throw this at you. But this is my final post of the year, so I can enjoy the holiday season the only way I can... 

Ok, if you know me at all, you know I won't get stinking drunk. In fact, when I do have an alcohollic drink, most of my family/friends/partner look at me in shock. "You're drinking? Are you ill?! What's wrong?!" 

But after the year we've all had, I think we're allowed to let loose for a day or two. Within reason. I mean, 2016... wow, 2016. A year most of us will want to forget. Brexit, Trump, all the people we love/admire/respect dying. Yeah... 2016 wasn't a happy year. So, we will be running into 2017 and, when we do, we'll turn to 2016 and either give it a rude gesture or 

How many of you, I wonder, saw this gif and went either "CURSE YOU, PERRY THE PLATYPUS!!!" or sung "Doofenshmirtz Evil Incorperated"? (That's the only reason this gif is in here. A tiny, tiny bit of humour!)

But, honestly, we'll be walking into 2017, hoping that this new year will be better than the last! We'll be staring at it, waiting for the moment it begins to look like it's going to misbehave so we can either do this...

... or this...

Well, this blog post isn't going the direction I was hoping for. So much for fun and light. 

So, this year was difficult, but we've made it. And hopefully 2017 will be easy on us (it better!!!). And reading was fun this year. A mixed bag as well and finally, I seem to have discovered that I can be ruthless on my reading (at last! Am practicing what I say!) 

And, hopefully, the new year will be the same. I will be reading and listening to stories that will excite me and I will fall in love with. So much so, I will turn to you guys and go "GUYS! GUYSGUYSGUYS!!! YOU HAVE TO READ THIS!!! IT'S SO COOL!!!"

And, hopefully, I will be more proactive on future blog posts. Hopefully, it will be a mixed bag of stuff I hope you guys will like to read. 

Now, am going to sign off now. Have been rambling. But, before I do, I want to thank you all. To all the publishers, all the authors, all the PR people, to you readers, to my fellow bloggers/vloggers/podcasters... I want to thank you all for making this year so much fun blog wise. It has been a struggle and there have been a few times I have gone "Should this be the end I wrap this up?"

But am having far too much fun now! AM BACK IN MY GROOVE!!! 

To my family, friends, fiancee - thank you for putting up with me. I love you all. 

So, I should wish you all a very merry Christmas or whatever festive holiday you keep and I shall see you in the new year (I am thinking either Thursday 5th or Tuesday 10th so mark those dates in your calendar!). 

Ok, that's a bit of a scary gif to leave you on. Ok, let's leave this post on here. See you in the New Year! 

Friday 23 December 2016

Books And Their Theme Songs - Volume 36

Because of the last few months and their oddness, I decided quite late in the game to merge 4 months worth of reading/music listening into one blog post. I have listened to a lot of audiobooks which has kinda messed up my music-listening while reading and, because I went to New York, took a RSM break and then had a possible reading slump right before my ALM (oh, joy!), it's kinda threw my reading out of the loop!

But here is some music I listened to while reading. Hope you guys liked the music choices!

"The Walk" (Instrumental) and "Half-Life" (Instrumental) by Imogen Heap [Not Available]

HEARTLESS by Marissa Meyer (DNFed)
"Shape" by Sugababies

"It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas" by Perry Como & Michael Buble

"Carol of the Bells" & "The Holly and the Ivy"

Thursday 22 December 2016

eBook Review - Three Men and a Maybe

Last review of the year! LAST BOOKISH POST OF 2016! I never thought this day would come! But here we are, people! And let's leave this year with a short story for your eReader. And it's free as well. BONUS!!!

Men are like buses. None will come for a long time and then three come at once. But three marriage proposals as the clock strikes midnight at a New Year's party? Cerys doesn't know what to think when her ex, her oldest friend and the hot barman all propose to her...

Three proposals, two real contenders for Cerys's heart. but one choice. what is a girl to do...?

Ok, this isn't my normal genre of reading. This is very romance, very Mills and Boon. You know this stories is going to end in a "happy ever after" type way and you know from the title how the book is going to end.

This is a very fluffy romantic read. Plus, it's a short story so you can blitz through this very quickly. I paced it through two evenings as I wanted to take my time over this. I did enjoy the writing and I think the writing fits perfectly with this genre.

But this is a bit predictive. I knew, as soon as I got a good way into the story, where we were going and how the story was going to end. And while I was happy with this when I was proved right, I do wish it was a tad stronger. The ending felt a bit "We're all friends and everyone gets a happy ending" for my taste. I wish Cerys was a bit stronger or the ending was more reflective to real life.

It was a nice fluffy read - not perfect for someone who likes a bit of grit in their stories - but a nice way to end this year of reading.

Now, let me start reading books to chat to you guys about next year!

Wednesday 21 December 2016

Audiobook Review - Talking As Fast As I Can

Ok, I wasn't going to talk about this till next year. I genuinely did think "This could be my first review of 2017. Start as you mean to go on in 2017. Start with a bang!"

Expect... I changed my mind. There are reasons I changed my mind. Which I will say why further down.

But, when Midas PR asked if I wanted to listen to some audiobooks from Audible (in exchange for an honest review), I jumped on a few. I still have a few I need to listen to and play catch up (one or two. I have DNF one which I spoke about last weekish. Yes, go backtrack by clicking here!), but I asked if I could listen to this. They said yes and I got very excited. When I listened to the teaser before I requested this, I choked with laughter and went "Ok, I need to listen to this!"

We all known Lauren Graham from Gilmore Girls and Parenthood. But here, in this collection of non fiction essay (oh yes, this is non-fiction. I know, very rare for me!), Lauren chats about life, love and acting. What it was like growing up, acting, dating, what it was like playing Lorelai Gilmore the first time, stop playing her after seven years and what it was like going back...

Ok, I have to admit this, I am not the biggest Gilmore Girls fan. I have seen episodes and I love the speed of character's speaking. I shout at the TV "Why isn't Luke and Lorelai not together yet?!" and "Rory and Jessie!". This is the same with Parenthood (the first 2 seasons were airing in the UK on 5Star/Fiver/whatever it was called back then!). I would watch it, like it hugely ("The characters talk over each other! My sister and I do this ALL THE TIME!!! This show gets it!"). But I always seem to like Lauren. I watch her when she does interviews and find her funny and quite refreshing, so I knew when I started listening to this that it was going to be the same: fast talking, funny with touches of loveliness in it.

And I got all that. I couldn't be happier.

For something that's 4 hours and 38 minutes, I whizzed through it. Within 4 days. 4 DAYS! With audiobooks this length or longer, it takes me quite a while to complete it. A good two or three weeks. So the fact this audiobook took me four days shows how obsessed I got and how I need to another Lauren Graham novel/audiobook (her debut fiction novel, Someday Someday Maybe, isn't published in the UK to my knowledge...)

This, weirdly, reminded me of Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes audiobook (review for that is here). Both had that pace, that speed, that humour and that honestness which I found gripping.

There is one thing I didn't like (barring the fact that this was short and I wanted it to be longer). Throughout the audiobook, Lauren would mention photographs and go "See photograph 1/2/3/etc". And, with an audiobook, you can't see them and I thought that there was a problem with editing. It wasn't till me writing this review (so now) did I release that, when I purchase the audiobook, there is a PDF which have all the photos! So, when Lauren says "See photograph 5", you go to the PDF and look. But, because I didn't know that till now, ARGH!!! Not sure if this was stated in description of audiobook on Audible but maybe, when audiobook do have added extras, maybe it should be stated at the start on audiobook that there is extra content that came with audiobook so check it you have everything before you go further...

Fans of Gilmore Girls and Parenthood will love this, and people will enjoy Lauren's fast talking humour. So yes, I liked this. A lot. In the same way that Lorelai loves her coffee...

Thursday 15 December 2016

DNFing The Girl Who Saved Christmas

I hate DNFing audiobooks. It makes me feel uncomfortable. It's like when I DNF eBooks in some respects. But audiobooks, it makes me feel... it's hard to describe.

Now, like some of you would be aware, I would pretend this didn't happen. I would keep it a secret. But earlier this year, I decide to tell you guys every time I DNF something - whether be book, ebook, audiobook, etc - because I wanted to be honest with you, dear reader. Sometimes, you just don't click with a story and it's ok to put it down and each of you go on your merry way.

But what is more annoying about this DNF is the fact that while I didn't like this and had to stop over an hour into the story, I LOVED the prequel.

So, why did I DNF The Girl Who Saved Christmas?

Now, if I can answer that question honestly, this post would be so easy to write. But, in fact, it's not. There was nothing wrong with the story. I've seen people read/audiobook this and LOVED it. So... why didn't I?

It's a mix of reasons. I wonder if it's because I listened to this so quickly after finishing the audiobook of A Boy Called Christmas. I fell in love with that story and it's so rare for me to read/listen to the second book in a series so quickly after finishing the first. I usually give it a few weeks and a book or two before I go back. I only gave it around 3 days...

The second is the reader. There is nothing wrong with Carey Mulligan. But I couldn't connect with her reading. I just couldn't gel with it, and I have no idea.

The third is the story - ok, this is a weird one but it was little things in the story that didn't work with me. Because I had listened to The Girl Who Saved Christmas so soon after A Boy Called Christmas, I kept comparing characters who featured in both and kept going "That character wouldn't have behaved like that in the previous story so why are they acting this way now?"

I kept nitpicking. I had no rush to return to the story (whereas now, with the audiobook I started a few days ago, I am blitzing through it and I have that itch to go back and listen to some more chapters). Nothing nagged me to get my iPod and listen.

So, as much I don't like DNFing audiobooks, am going to with this one. I might come back... one day... maybe... but it's not the end of the world if I do or don't.

Wednesday 14 December 2016

eBook review - Wrapped Together

Because it's Christmas, I been feeling the past few days/weeks that I should read more Christmasy reads. Normally, I don't. You might have noticed over the past few years if you have followed my blog for quite a while, I usually just continue to read what the mood takes me. Whether that be crime, fantasy, sci-fi...

but this year, I wanted to read stories set round Christmas-time. That and get my ARCs and eARCs in some sort of order from this month till February-ish time (but I will let you guys probably do some voting on my Twitter when that happens so you have some input!).

So, one evening, while skimming NetGalley, Wrapped Together caught my eyes. A romance LGBT story set round Christmas time. And it's a novella to boot. And it's a grown-up read so is outside my comfort zone. Requested before I could stop myself (I have no self-control, have I?)

The fifth (or 4.5) in the Portland Heat series, Christmas is meant to be great business for retail. And it is, expect store owner Hollis. Christmas reminds him of a tragedy that happened three years ago. But fellow store owner (and twin brother to Hollis's brother-in-law), Sawyer, has decided to make it his mission to make Hollis enjoy the holiday. And the more time they spend together, the more it looks like it could be working. Hollis is slowly coming out of his shell and enjoying the season - and Sawyer's company.

But Hollis's heart is fragile and with him being scared of it getting broken, could he take a leap of faith when it comes to his and Sawyer blossoming relationship?

I must state something here: whenever I pick LGBT books on NetGalley, it usually a very bad decision. It's one reason or another: it's badly written, it goes into S&M/BDSM literature (something I don't like reading. You have your no-goes in reading, I have mine.), it feels fake or out of place. So, requesting then reading this was a bit of a risk.

This is a sweet, fluffy, holiday romance. I accept this, and I enjoyed it. I didn't love it the way I hoped (more on that later), but I did blitz through this quite quickly - about three days (at the beginning of the month. Because of how I schedule last week's reviews, I only just posting this now). It is very fluffy and Christmasy. And it does scream Christmas TV movie, with it being a bit painted-by-numbers - you know where the plot is going and you know that, when you get the end, you will get your Happily Ever After.

I didn't mind this. It's kinda why I signed up for. I don't read many romanic stories.

This wasn't perfect, though. I didn't really see the point of the epilogue. It could have been removed and it wouldn't have made any real difference to the story.

I have one big flaw with this story. Like you have probably guessed, this is very much aimed towards an adult audience - I suspected that - but why, OH WHY, is it when I read an adult LGBT romanic is there BDSM? I get that this isn't a big taboo anymore (Fifty Shades of Grey), but it feels like every times I try and read a grown-up LGBT story, there is bondage and one of the people entering this relationship is a newbie and has their eyes open to this world. Really? Does this happen in every adult LGBT book or am I picking up the wrong ones to read? I don't mind stories with a bit of kink in it, but having this within this story, for some reason, I found a little jarring.

Barring this, I found this a fast, fun read. I might read more from this series in the future. Maybe... Not sure... But this was a nice fluffy Xmas read. Just the kinky moments might not be for everyone...

Tuesday 13 December 2016

Andy Robb Talks Last Librarian Music & Movies

Today, I would like to welcome Andy Robb to the The Pewter Wolf.

Andy Robb is the champion of the UKYA Blogger Awards and is author of the Geekhood books. And now, Andy is releasing his new novel (deep breath time!) The True and Untold Story of the Outlaw Tam Barker

A strange mix of sci-fi and western (so, am imagining Firefly [never seen that show. Is it good, Internet?]), Tam is the last librarian and must some protect a book and return it to the Library. Sounds simple, right? Well... dark forces in her world are after the book and, oh yeah, the book is very, very special. 

So, when asked if I wanted Andy on the blog, I jumped at it and did my normal thing of going "if Andy has time to talk music, I would love that!". And Andy did - with the added extra of movies! Andy, you are spoiling us! 

Before I hand over to Andy to talk about movies and music that made this story, I just want to thank Andy (for writing this post - oh! If you fancy checking Andy out online, check out his website & Twitter.) and Laura (for asking if I wanted Andy on the blog - though she knew the answer to that!)

Now, over to you, Andy...

Friday 9 December 2016

#YAXmasTour - A Boy Called Christmas

And on the ninth day of Christmas, my True Love gave to me -

- a review of a Christmas audiobook. ... really?

Ok, before you go all "YOU FAILED US!!!", hear me out. It's Christmas. It's meant to be peaceful, happy, joyful. And after the year we've all had, damnit, I want this last few weeks to have happy, feel-good stories before I go on my Christmas break!

So, before I go any further...!

Ok, happy now I got that out of my system! Now, I can begin...

Do you know the true story of Father Christmas? No...? You don't know the story about snow, kidnapping, flying reindeer, elves, magic and a boy called Nikolas who, one day, went to the north...? No? Well then, let's get comfortable and I will tell you...

I was very lucky to be given the audiobook version from the lovely people of Midas PR and Audible, in exchange for an honest review, of course. That goes without saying. But thanks you guys for the Xmas treat...

This story is bewitched with Christmas magic. I fell under its spell and enjoyed myself immensely. This is a little younger than I usually read (this is middle-grade), but it has a simple lightness in the writing which works.

What works even better is Stephen Fry narrating the audiobook. I remember listening to the first few chapters and getting the same reaction as I did when I first heard Stephen narrating Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. Stephen's voice and Matt's writing work beautifully.

There were one or two scenes that did grate on me (this is me. Of course I will find something to be negative on), but these moments are kinda important for Nikolas so I forgive them.

But like I said, filled with Christmas magic and I can't wait to start audiobooking the sequel, The Girl Who Saved Christmas (which I believe is narrated by Carey Mulligan)!

Wednesday 7 December 2016

#re3 ReRead 2017 Challenge

Was planning to reveal this before I go on my Christmas break and I have mentioned this a few months back. But after chatting to a few people on Twitter last week, I decided to tell you guys my plan. 

Earlier this year, I has an idea to reread all five of the Garth Nix's The Old Kingdom series. I have reread all seven Harry Potter a few years back and I think it's important to, every now and then, reread a book or a series that you love. So, 2017 was going to be my Old Kingdom reread! 

This is still going to happen. I haven't changed my mind on that. However, there is now going to be a small twist. 

Last week, I was chatting to a few people about rereading a series and few said "What about His Dark Materials?" Now, this is a series I loved and I haven't reread in a VERY VERY long time. And when they mentioned it, I went "Yes! We should reread this. But at a pace we can all do."

Which got me thinking... 

So, throughout the course of 2017, I would like to invite you to reread either The Old Kingdom series or the His Dark Materials. Or, in fact, any book or series that you love and you want to reread. 

And whatever you decide to reread, there is no pressure over how long you take to reread it. As long as you start in 2017, then woo-hoo!!! 

I just want to say what books am reread and hope you join in as well. 

So... see you in 2017 for our rereading! 

Monday 5 December 2016

Book Review - Inside The Magic

I don't think I make it a secret on this blog that I love Harry Potter. Nor do I hide the fact that I love reading making of movies/TV shows books (a few publishers know of my love and I thank them deeply for allowing me the pleasure of reading these delights. I have three awaiting my attention with one I have bought coming into my possession the next few days...)

So, when I saw this in my local Asda, I couldn't resist. I was curious over the new movie (I own the screenplay but not read it - I plan to read it after seeing the movie. Which, by now, I have seen but need time to process and I will talk about it once I have read the screenplay. I am doing the opposite of what I did with the Cursed Child so shhh...!) and I love behind the scenes information. And... I mean, POTTER!!!

This is a behind-the-scenes book revealing most (not all, but most) of the film-making of Fantastic Beasts, with character profiles (and small interviews with the actors), props and sets, information about New York, MACUSA and The Blind Pig, the characters within Newt's case and other titbits.

I am a little torn on this. Now, I love these types of books so, yes, this book can't go too much into depth because of spoilers. And, because this is an adult companion, it is more aimed for movie-goers and people who like this type of books (aka me). I loved the photos and the details. The amount of text is aimed more for an adult audience but I don't see why teens or children with a higher reading level can't read it.

However, there are problems. This isn't perfect. This does feel a bit like a whistle-stop tour of how the movie was made. Again, this is something I see in most "making of [insert film here]". Actually, compared to most of them, this has more information. So, for that, I will let slide, but it still felt like we were skimming...

But the main issue, the thing that tainted this book for me, was a small line. A sentence of 8 words. I know... I know... this is stupid to say, but I am going to state it. On one of the pages, linked to costume design, we have a small photograph of the actor Gemma Chan (you will know her from the Channel 4 show, Humans). She isn't an important character - her character has one sentence in the movie (and she is one of the few speaking characters in the movie who isn't white unless I am misremembered...), but we see her in character. The line that accompanies this photo is "Gemma Chan plays an exotic witch visiting MACUSA".

Why, OH WHY, is it that when a non-white character/actor (who isn't really important to the story) is in movie/TV show/radio/etc, they are described as "exotic"? It's a lazy writing, a throw-away remark which could and can be seen as a racist term. In this instant, the term devalues her character. She, to my knowledge, is a foreign representative visiting MACUSA to take part in a wizarding equivalent on United Nations. Her character even has a name - I checked! Madam Ya Zhou. So, why isn't her character name or the term "foreign representative" used? Why isn't it "Gemma Chan plays a foreign representative witch visiting MACUSA"? Or "Gemma Chan playing Madam Ya Zhou"? The term "exotic" should never have been used - it's cheap, lazy, sloppy writing.

*deep breath*

So, book overall. While it's one of the better "making of [insert movie name here]" books, it does have some faults.

Thursday 1 December 2016

British Book Challenge 2017

I did this in 2013 and again in 2015. So, of course, to keep the pattern going, am going to do the British Book Challenge again next year!

Because I like to punish myself, that's why. Plus, with me plotting to do a ton of rereads next year (blogpost explain this plan will be up next week sometime!), I thought this would add something fun to the reading mix.

If I actually remember that I'm actually doing this.

So, for those of you not sure what this is, the British Book Challenge has been running for the past few years where people taking part (bloggers, vloggers, podcasters, Goodreads, etc) read/reread at least 12 books from British authors (aka 1 book a month).

And when the term "British authors" is used, it's authors that either born and live in the UK (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland), born overseas but currently living in the UK or born in UK and living overseas. All of these must have books either published in the UK or be published in the UK first.

I think I have that right. If not, shout at me!

Now, I am still going to be reading widely across a ton of genres, a ton of age ranges and a ton of formats, so that's not going to change. Actually, I think I will do this without really trying but am going to do this to try and expand my reading. Try new genres, try new authors and reread some books that been meaning to read for a while.

Now, Michelle from Tales of Yesterday (who is running this year's BBC - like the shorthand?) asked to write a tony post, stating some books we want to read next year as part of it. Now, I don't like doing TBR lists as I never stick to them! So, instead, am going to show a tiny handful of books that am thinking of reading... maybe... if I have time... and am in the mood...

And, of course...

eBook Review - You Will Not Have My Hate

This, I am going to admit, is going to be hard to write. I'm not 100% certain where to start, truth be told.

Last year, Paris came under attack by a small group of terrorists. Antoine was at home, looking after his young son when he started getting text messages, asking if he and his wife were ok. He was fine, his baby was fine... but his wife, Hélène was out with friends at a music concert. Hélène was one of the people who died that night.

Three days later, Antoine wrote an open letter to his wife's killers on Facebook. He stated to them that he would not let himself or his 17 month old son cower or be defined by their acts. That his son will insult them by his happiness and freedom. That they will not have either his or his son's hate. The Facebook message went viral and this memoir follows both Antoine and his son, Melvin, in the days that followed.

I am going to admit that this isn't my normal reading. This is so far removed from my normal reading, I can't even really tell you why, when I got the email from NetGalley, I rushed there and requested it. This felt vital to read.

This isn't an easy read. This is a short novel, with short chapters (as Antoine describes it later in the memoir, these chapters are like polaroid shots of those days, touching on some events but not all), but I found reading them difficult. I would only read a few pages - maybe a chapter - before having to put my kindle down. This isn't an easy read - the event is recently, it's fresh in everyone's mind and with events that have recently happened, it feels more closer to the bone than ever.

But, saying that, there is a hopefulness to Antoine and his son's story. Yes, what they went through those days and the days/weeks/months/the year that followed and the future to come is hard and painful, but there is hope. There is hope, joy, love, kindness in the world and, no matter how dark the world is, we still have these elements and we must treasure them with every fibre of our being.

Antoine says he started writing this after Hélène's death to cope, and because of this, you can feel the rawness to it. And the fact this is felt through the translation work of Sam Taylor is beautiful.

Not everyone will like this book, but it is important to take the themes - hope, kindness, love - can carry them with us.

Tuesday 29 November 2016

Audiobook Review - Betrayal

Not sure how audiobooks are saving me from my weird reading slump, but I am very grateful! GO AUDIOBOOKS!

Today, am going to review/chat about Betrayal by Martina Cole. Now, I must admit I have read Martina Cole many MANY years ago - around the time The Know was published in hardback. Yes, THAT FAR INTO THE PAST!!! I remember reading it over Christmas (was Xmas present) and loving it because it was so grown up and so very unlike my normal reads. I was meant to go back to reading more Martina but got sidetracked. So, when the lovely people at Midas PR asked if there was any audiobooks coming out in October/November I wanted to review, I jumped on Betrayal. 

Aiden O'Hara has been the head of the family for as long as he can remember. And with him rising quickly in the London underworld, he wants to be on head. Head of the family. Head of the game. And he's going to stay there.

His lover, Jade, has been in the game for longer than Aiden. Mother to his son, calmer of his temper and rage and a force in her own right, Jade knows the truth. She knows that no one is indestructible. Especially in their line of work.

Keep your friends close, your enemies closer and your family close of all, because betrayal comes in all shape and sizes...

I am going to admit this: I am in two minds over Betrayal. I enjoyed the story and kept listening to the audiobook, but at the same time, I kept help but think that I had read this story before...

I enjoy Martina's writing and I like that, while this is very much outside my comfort zone, I sped through and enjoyed the story. This is readable fun and shows Martina is still a force to be reckon with in the crime gangster genre.

However, Betrayal felt lacking. I know some readers of Martina have voiced their disappointment over this book and I understand and agree with some of their problems. The story felt stale and wasn't anything new - I am sure we have all read/watched this story before. There's ever a scene where characters discuss what film is better: Goodfellas or The Godfather (does every gangster-type story have this conversation in?). The characters didn't feel quite fleshed out. Certain words and phrases were used repetitively over the course of several paragraphs. Certain elements of the story were dragged out while the ending felt rushed.

The best way to describe it is this story felt very cookie-cutted. The story, the characters, the situations, they were all cookie-cutted. All very tried and tested. While I don't think that this is a bad thing in some books and series, it felt out of place here. And for an author like Martina Cole to use this formula is off.

I liked listening to the story, don't get me wrong. But it's was lacking. It felt very flat and very paint-by-numbers. And while this might be ok for some readers, other readers will not be so forgiving...

Sunday 27 November 2016

Who Owns the Story?

This is something I keep coming back to. It doesn't happen often that an idea keeps coming back to me. I chatted about it a while ago for the Bookish Brits in a roundabout kinda way a few years ago. Since then, I think about it when something happens or a debate flares up. Then I carry on with my day.

But in the past few days/week, events have happened on TV and books that made me go "Ok, I have an hour spare, let's try and write this up".

So, question: when a story is released into the world, who owns it?

Before you all go "That is a stupid question!", hear me out.

In the past few days, the TV show Gilmore Girls has released 4 feature-length episodes and we have been told that the final ever (to my knowledge) episode will end with 4 words. These four words are important as these were the words the creator of the show, Amy Sherman-Palladino, always wanted to end the show on. But, due to events (aka her leaving the show at the end of season six due to network and then the show getting cancelled the following season), fans never got them. Now, fans have seen the show and have heard the words, it's thrown a mix of reactions. Some fans are excited, and others... not so much. 

This is the same with How To Get Away With Murder. In the winter finale of season three, we discover that one of the main character is dead. This is a huge shock for fans as it's such a small cast... and fans reacted with shock and panic and "This is going to ruin EVERYTHING about the show!"

This is the same with books, films and radio. Remember readers react when they were reading Veronica Roth's Allegiant? Or film goers reactions when they were watching the Hans scene in Frozen? Or certain moments in BBC Radio 4's The Archers while it was tackling Helen's domestic abuse storyline? Or fans reactions when JK Rowling shot down a question on whether Sirius Black was gay? 

Yes, these stories belong to the creators. But once it's out of their hands/control, does it still below to them? 

Technically, yes. It does. Open up any book and you will see, on the information page, that story's copyright belongs to the author. With TV shows and films, the ownership belongs to either the broadcaster (BBC, ITV, BSkyB, etc) or the production company (Warner Bros, ABC Studios, Endemol Shine Group, etc). 

But... and here is where things get a little tricky with my thinking. Has anyone heard of the term "The Author is Dead"?

The term means that, once the story is out of the creator's control, they no longer have input. Because all the information should have been told. So, some people would say that, unless certain information/facts are put into the story and the creator states it in an interview or on their website, that information isn't valid. 

So, this would mean things like Pottermore wouldn't count because it's "outside" the story. 

Let's stay with Harry Potter. A good example of this is Sirius and Lupin's relationship. In the books, they are shown as close friends. In some parts of the fandom, fans wonder if they were gay or bi and might have feelings for one another. It's never stated in the books that they are gay or bisexual so fans can say that they are. JK Rowling tweeting that Sirius isn't gay is null and void because of the Author is Dead and this wasn't in the story. 

Let's say one reader who has read the Harry Potter novels has always read Neville as having autism. There's nothing in the book confirming or denying this, but if the reader sees Neville this way, then there's nothing wrong with that. This reader just reads a character different, compared to another reader who might say "I never read Neville as having autism. But I always read Luna as Muslim." Which could be different from a third reader going "Never saw Luna or Neville that way. But I do think Dean Thomas and Seamus Finnigan are in a same sex relationship". A fourth reader might go "Really? Never saw those characters the way you guys have, although, I've read Professor Flitwick as a baddass transgender..."

And I could go on and on. You see, every reader comes into a story and away from a story differently compared to the next reader. 

These readers might read any book - say, Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell and all could say "I saw Cath, Wren and their father as black" which goes against what most illustrations show.

But these ideas that readers have could go against the creator's own. 

So, who's right? The creator or the audience? 

My theory? Both. Yes, the creator created this story and we, the audience, must respect the work and their own ideas. If the creator says "I wrote a character this way because ...", the audience must respect this is how the author saw them.

However, this is the two-way street. Just because the creator saw this character one way, doesn't mean the audience should either. If they see said character a different way, the author must respect this, not try and shoot it down and go "No, you're wrong!". The creator should go "I thought of them this way, but if you see them different, that's ok." 

It works both way. Stories and information isn't going to be please everyone, but we should respect each person's take on stories, characters and themes within the story. Respect is key. 

Thursday 24 November 2016

Book Review - An Illustrated History of Notable Shadowhunters & Denizens of Downworld

I am a bit behind on my Shadowhunters reading. I have, on my current TBR; City of Fallen Angels, City of Lost Souls, Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy and Lady Midnight (though, when I do get my rear in gear to read these, I won't be reading these in order. I sense I might read Shadowhunter Academy and Lady Midnight before I read City of Fallen Angels and City of Lost Souls. And let's not get me start of the upcoming Last Hours trilogy coming soon...).

So, imagine my surprise when, out of nowhere, Simon and Schuster sent me a copy of (brace yourselves for long title to say in one breath) An Illustrated History of Notable Shadowhunters and Denizens of Downworld. And with my weird reading slump, I decide to blitz this tiny gift. 

In this anthology, we see characters from all of Cassandra Clare's Shadowhunter world - The Infernal Devices, The Mortal Instruments, Tales from the Shadowhunters Academy, The Dark Artifices and the upcoming The Last Hours - with never before known titbits of information on each character and with illustrations from Cassandra Jean - creator of the Shadowhunter Tarot that we've seen on Clare's website. 

I am a bit torn over this book. On one hand, I think true fans of this series will love this christmas stocking filler. Cassandra Jean's art is beautiful and is the real selling point for this book, in my opinion (and I love reading art books and spent quite a bit of time looking at illustrations in the books I read). 

Like I said, true fans of the series - all of the Shadowhunters series - will love this. But for someone who isn't up to speed (aka myself), the information given is a bit of a problem. While new information (and fans will be reading these and going "oh, that makes sense with so-and-so"), it doesn't feel entirely important to the world. For example, why is it important to tell us that, when younger, this one character had a brief spell at stamp collecting? 

There were times that I looked at this and thought "Is this a cash cow moment?". 

This is a die-hard fan book. But if you are a casual fan, I would say get a copy from your library. But go enjoy the art. 

Monday 21 November 2016

Audiobook Review - Fun Science

So... my AFN was a bit of a bust, wasn't it? STUPID READING SLUMP!

But, because of this, I treated myself to listening & reading what I wanted for first few weeks in November to get myself out of reading slump and get myself up straight before the blog goes off on it's Christmas holiday. So, let's start the Xmas countdown with Fun Science.

I was given this audiobook via Midas PR and (thanks, you guys!) in exchange for honest review so, like with every book/ebook/audiobook review on this blog, am going to be honest!

Charlie McDonnell (also known as youTuber, CharlieIsSoCoollike) has a thing about science. Not in school, but once he left and started reading up about it. And here is the bases of the book. Where Charlie writes about life, the universe and explaining why science is actually pretty cool.

I am not a fan of non-fiction. It's not my go-to when I read - and this is something I want to change a little in the future. So... for someone who doesn't like non-fiction, what was this audiobook like?

Quite good, actually. I was surprised how much I enjoyed listening to Charlie talking science and not making it sound overwhelming (which, let's face it, it can be!). He tried, as a science fan himself, not to be all technical and simplify it down enough. It was a good mix of humour from Charlie himself and his editor's notes, while breaking down science into bite size chucks.

I do have a few problems with the audiobook. Mainly that I believe this would be better in book form rathe than audiobook form. I say this as there were times, I felt like I was missing something. I was missing an illustration/editor's note or a joke that would work on paper but not in audio. There was one or two things, also, that the I wanted to go back and relisten to a piece of science for one reason or another, but couldn't on an audiobook (whereas a book would be easier).

But this is a good gateway to making science fun and easier for people to read and understand without readers going "Oh no! Science is so dull!!!". I am hopefully that Charlie writes another science book - the solar system would be my hope.

Friday 18 November 2016

Flash UK Contest!

Surprise 24 hour flash contest!

I don't do these but, ok, am doing a quick contest that will end tomorrow (Saturday 19th November 2016) at midday UK time!

So, while I was in New York last month (before the US election - the one we don't speak of because of our rage!), I went into the Disney Store in Time Square and bought two small Tsum Tsums. I bought more for myself (am beginning to think I might have a problem), but I wanted to give these two away!

Wednesday 16 November 2016

Carve The Mark Event

Last week, I was very kindly invited to HarperCollins HQ, along with a few others bloggers and booksellers. Why, I hear you ask. Well, HarperCollins was getting a few people together to do a live web chat with Veronica Roth about her upcoming novel, Carve the Mark

I don't know how I got invited, but I must say thank you to Jessica at HarperCollin for inviting me and everyone at HarperCollins for being so nice and lovely (and for giving me three glasses of wine -a dangerous thing to give a blogger who ate a very rich chocolate moouse from a tiny coffeeshop round the corner). 

Unfortuately, I left my notepad in my bag (and put said bag in the building's cloak room) so I have made no notes. 

I know, blogger fail. 

And there are some things I can't get into because... well, spoilers (well, I say spoilers. HarperCollins UK and US are keeping this book very under wraps!). And with this book, I sense you guys should go into this knowing as little as possible. That way, you can't compare to Divergent. But from the little we know, this book is rumoured to be Veronica's best book to date. 

Can not wait! 

Anyway, there was a tiny Facetime/web chat (not web cat as I wrote a few minutes ago!) with Veronica and she is lovely. And very cool. It's sickening how cool she is. She talked about writing Carve the Mark, fan expectations and, very briefly, about the US elections (aka The Subject Of Which We Do Not Speak Of!). 

And then, out of nowhere, Veronica read a tiny snippet of Carve the Mark. This was the first ever reading from this book. Ever. Big deal. Huge. So, how everyone in the room wasn't freaking out over this, I don't know! But you could hear a pin drop while Veronica was reading and, from that tiny snippet, I can say it's gonna be good. Right up our street - well, my street - reading wise. I can not WAIT! 

After chatting to a few bloggers, booksellers and publishing peeps (and realising that I barely know anything about the book industry!), I came away excited for next year but also two book titles I need to research and being told off for not reading The Good Immigrant yet (I WILL!!!). 

Again, I thank HarperCollins for inviting me, everyone at the event who was a laugh and putting me at ease (I always feel like am faking at being a blogger and last Thursday, I felt very much like I was conning everyone) and for Veronica for putting time out to answer some questions. Including my own (where I was sliding down in my seat, going "I didn't know I had to talk to an international best selling author and my questions are crap!" while trying to get my phone to actually work so I can answer said questions and wondering why my grandparents were trying to call me [wrong number. I checked!]). 

So thank you. Now... who fancies getting their ninja-gear in and breaking into Harper to steal a copy of Carve the Mark? (Am kidding, Harper Collins!)

Monday 14 November 2016

ALN Update

Ok, am going to write this tiny post to say ALN isn't going the way I hoped.

Due to a huge reading slump (thank you Goldenhand by Garth Nix) and the events of the past few weeks (I have now banned myself from watching the news because it upsets/angers me to no end!), am calling time of ALN.

I am going to do an adult literature month in the future. I am not giving up on it, but because the world has gone dark, I decide to read things that make me happy. We need some light in the world. Some humour. Some fun. And I can only do that if I get a little selfish and read books/listen to audiobooks that make me happy.

Mental health is important so I want to make me happy.

Life is too short for crap books and I am going to read what makes me happy. Once I do, I will fight for the things I am passionate about and for things I believe in.

So... yes. Writing this to keep you up to speed.

Hope you all are safe and are reading stories that are making you happy. I hope you and your loved ones are happy (physically, mentally and emotional) and this blog will be getting its smile on in the coming few days.

Now, before I leave you, let me leave you with this Vine that made me howl with laughter when I saw it at the weekend!

Saturday 12 November 2016

I Can't Think Of A Good Title For This Post/Contest...

The world is dark at the moment. It has become a lot darker as the year has coming gone by, but it seems that in the last week, most of us have definitely seen the shift.

Because of this, I decided that now is time to try and throw a bit of light out there. I want to be a better person, and try and fight the dark.

So, I have a small international contest for you. It's not much, but it's a start.

Because of funds, one winner will win a book (or, in one option's case, two - again, funds) of their choosing from the shortlist I have created (see below).

I am using Book Depository so, if you want to enter, please check they can send books to where you live. This contest will end on Wednesday 16th November 2016 at 5pm UK time and I will be using to pick a winner at random. After that, will email to get your address and confirm the book you want. After that, will buy and your prize will be in the post, heading your way!

I know this post isn't my normal jokey self but I really think, after the week we've had, we need something light to help us fight but also to give us hope, compassion and empathy.

Good luck to everyone who enters.

Wednesday 9 November 2016

DNFing Heartless

Because I have said that I will try and be as honest as I can about (and it's important to be honest with each other, dear reader, in my opinion). Sometimes, no matter how much we want to "click" with a story, for one reason or another, you just don't.

And sadly, Heartless is one of them. I think I know why, but let's talk about the book first before I explain my thinking.

We all know the story of Alice in Wonderland. But do we know the story about the Queen of Hearts? Before she became Queen, Cath just wanted to be the best baker in Hearts. She just wanted to fall in love.

The King Of Hearts wants to marry her, much to Cath's horror, and when she meets the new court jester, Jest, Cath feels a pull towards him. She wants to have control over her own life, her own destiny. But in Wonderland, where magic, monsters and madness go hand in hand, fate has other plans...

This type of book, I should be all over! I always seem to like Alice in Wonderland reimaginings/retellings and go towards them, and I have been excited to read this since I first heard of it a few years ago.

But why am I DNFing this? At 50 percent (yes, half way!)?

I have a mix of reasons. I think I might be in a bit of a reading slump since reading Garth Nix's Goldenhand and because of this, I am a bit harsh on my reading. And I did try to read several other stories before I started Heartless and seeing as I made it to 50%, I'm not entirely certain if this is the full reason.

I think I have two problems: the pacing and the characters. From what I have read, the majority of the story is quite slow in pace. I don't mind a slower paced story, but there were times I really struggled with the pacing. When it got going, I flew through those pages, but then it's slowed and I struggled to keep my reading pace going.

My problem with the characters is that they felt flat at times and, because of this, I didn't connect with them. If they were a little fleshed out, I think I would be on board with them. But they felt flat and, because of this, I didn't related.

I am saying this now that this isn't a review. I am not reviewing Heartless. I'm stating why I decided to stop reading this now (even though I'm currently meant to be in an adult literature reading month). I would like to return to read this once I feel more out of my reading slump and maybe closer to UK publication date.

Thursday 3 November 2016

ALN - Bridget Jones's Diary (Audiobook)

Confession to make time: I asked to review this back in September and the lovely people at Midas PR and Audible happily said yes. I asked if I could listen to this to celebrate the move release of Bridget Jones's Baby, but when I thought of my "Adult Literature Month", I knew I had to push this back and talk about it here.

This is Bridget Jones's diary. We see inside her head as she tackles modern day London, being a modern woman, her parents, relationships, career and everything else.

I have seen the movie (and from what I remembered, I enjoyed it) and I have audiobook Pride and Prejudice at the beginning of this year (Bridget could be seen as a modern-day reimagining of P&P) so going into this was interesting as I knew vaguely where the plot would go but wasn't sure where...

It is my honest belief (and I know this because I have tried to read a sampler of this and the sequel, Edge of Reason) that I couldn't and wouldn't have read this book and audiobooking it was a great help. I couldn't get my head round the writing style (I am not the biggest fan of books told in diary entries), but while it did take a while for me to warm to this style in audiobook form, once I got it, I got it. I think this is because of the reader, Imogen Church. She made Bridget seem more real to me and, even at times when I was frustrated with Bridget (will get there, hang on), Imogen made her likeable.

I liked the story. I liked how Bridget tried to figure out her life. I could relate to one or two things in it. And Bridget's entries made me smile. I didn't laugh at them, but I thought "I had something similar, but this is so heightened!"

However, while I liked the story (fun, fluffy read), Bridget frustrated me to no end. She would write or say one thing then completely contradict herself a entry or two later. It annoyed me endlessly! For example, there was one point she talked about her weight and how she will never count calories again and enjoy life because after so many years of trying to get to the perfect size, she applies ill. And yet, she still carried on counting her calories. She talks about her being single is wonderful and great, only to whine about being single a few hours later. There were occasions I would question Bridget's stance on her feminism as she would say one thing, only to do something which contract it. And, at times, she comes across completely unlikable (the reader, Imogen Church, does a lot to save this character for me).

She's flawed and, while this is refreshing (how many times have we read characters that seem too perfect or have one tiny flaw?), there are other times I couldn't help but get angry at her.

While I liked this audiobook, I'm not sure if I want to continue with series (unless I get audiobook for Edge of Reason and have the same reader). But not sure if I would read it. This sits in the middle of the fence for me as some of you will enjoy and love Bridget, others not so much.

Wednesday 2 November 2016

ALN - We Should All Be Feminists

Let's start this themed month of reading (well, for me, anyway) as I try to go on and read something that will make me think. And this essay from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's speech about feminism is a perfect place for me and this month to start.

There is very little to say on this essay's description, expect this is an essay based on a talk Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie gave in 2012 for the TEDxEuston. She talks about feminism but touches on other things: how society shapes both genders from sure a young age, all with a hint of humour.

Now, I know some of you will have read and watched this (I will put the video down below as I think we should all watch it) and go "This isn't anything new. This has been discussed a hundred times over by different people" and I agree with you. But I think this makes the scary subject of feminism easier for some people to understand, because it tackles the idea of feminism and how the world sees feminism and inequality.

I think I have talked about my feelings of feminism on here and on Twitter but reading and watching this pointed things out that I missed. It made me more aware of the world around me. That this is so deeply engrained into us, it will take years/decades/centuries to unlearn.

There was a section in the essay (In the video below, the section starts around 17 minutes and 30 seconds in) where a paragraph stuck me. It made me stopped reading, made me put down and kindle and think. Because I realised that this does happen. This happens. Let me quote it (sorry if I get it wrong. Using video and my Twitter as, at time of writing, Kindle is on charge):

We teach girls shame. Close your legs. Cover yourselves. We make them feel as though by being born female, they are already guilty of something. And so girls grow up to be women who cannot say that they have desire. Who silence themselves. Who cannot say what they truly think. Who have turned pretence into an art form. 

This is an important subject and we must keep talking about it. And I think this is a really good way to start or continue the conversation. (Sorry if this isn't much of a review but highly important essay. Go out and read it)

Tuesday 1 November 2016


So... if this all goes to plan and I haven't been an awful blog planner like I normally am, I am welcoming you to ALN.

ALN is Adult Literature November. Which, basically, I am going to try and spend the whole month reading "grown up" books.

I chatted about this back in "My Reading Identity" blog post back in September, that I wanted to reading more adult fiction and, back in September, I thought I would do a month reading (and reviewing on the blog) adult fiction. But the more I thought about it, the more I went "Hang on, I want to try and read other things. Non fiction. Short stories. Essays." and I saw that there were books I wanted to read that wasn't called "fiction".

So this changed to Adult Literature. And because I wanted this is last for a whole month (have you seen the sizes of some of these books?! THE SIZE OF HOUSE BRICKS!!!), I decided to call it "Adult Literature Month" or ALM for short (much easier as a hashtag, I think you'll agree).

So, I hear you ask, what am I going to read? Hopefully, a good mix of things. And because I have been thinking about this since early September, I should have a good few reviews and discussion blog posts all scheduled and ready to go (hence why I took an extra few days in last month's RSM. I wanted to read a few of these without people going "Why are you doing that?")

I'm not going to say what I have read or I hope to read now (I did that in my Murder Month - and I did that because I knew I would have them read and reviewed in time and as am writing this a little ahead of time, I don't wanna jinx myself). However, I will be creating a ALN board/s on my Pinterest that you can check out. And I will create a shelf on my Goodreads so you can have a look there also (it should have been created a few days ago. If not, shout at me and I will get myself in order). If you are not friends with me on Goodreads or Pinterest, go check me out at or visit me on Pinterest at

There are other social media you can check me out on. All on the side or on my "Find Me" page, but yes! Am going to try and read more "adult" and pretend to be an adult for the next month... I doubt this will last, but it's going to be an interesting reading experience for me!

Friday 28 October 2016

Book Review - Library Lion

I got this in New York Public Library (along with an awesome T-shirt which I might wear for Bookish Brits). Of course I had to get a book while in New York! And of course I had to get this when in New York Public Library's Shop. THEIR MASCOT IS A LION!!! BOOKLIONS FOR THE WIN!!!

In this picture book, a lion comes to the library. There are no rules of what to do when a lion comes to library and stays for story hour. And Miss Merriweather is very particular about rules. Soon, he comes back day after day. And he becomes perfectly suited for the library. His paws are quiet on the floor, he's very helpful and he never roars in the library - at least, not any more.

But when something awful happens, the lion helps the only way he knows how. Is there ever a good reason to break the rules?

Utterly charming. This book is utterly charming and I adore it! How have I not thrust this into my nephews's and other young children's hands, I have no idea.

The illustrations within this story - done by Kevin Hawkes - are simple yet lovely and work beautiful with the story - written by Michelle Knudsen. The two work beautifully together to show the importance of friendship, libraries and rules.

This reminded me of The Tiger Who Came To Tea. I can't say why, but it does. Library Lion is simply enchanting and an instant classic.

Wednesday 26 October 2016

Book Review - Goldenhand

As you guys know, I adore this series. It's one of my favourite fantasy series. So, of course I was going to buy this and read this. How could I not?! While I wanted to start and finish this before New York (I planned to have a "Only Take My Kindle to New York" Rule), that went flying out the window. I forgot I need to take my time with this series.

Set after the events of Abhorsen and running (up to a point) parallel with Nicholas Sayre and the Creature in the Case (if you haven't read this, go get a copy of Across the Wall and it's in there), Lirael is no longer the shy Second Assistant Librarian in the Clayr, but the Abhorsen-In-Waiting. She has a half-sister in Sabriel, is an aunt and is grieving for the loss of her closest friend, Dog. But when an urgent message from her nephew's friend, Nicholas, begs for help, she rushes to his aid. Not only does she find him unconscious by an attack of a Free Magic creature, she finds deep taints of Free Magic within him. Unsure of what to do with this (and her muddle feelings for him), Lirael has to do something she's been trying to avoid - return to the Clayr and ask for help. 

Meanwhile, a messenger from the deep north, Ferin, is trying to get into the Old Kingdom. She has an urgent message that must be delivered at all costs. But the Witch With No Face doesn't want this to happen. Being ruthless pursuit, Ferin must get to the Clayr and deliver the message from a mother to her daughter. That daughter being Lirael... 

For everyone and everything, there is a time to die. But will anyone survive the watery embrace of Death...?

Where do I start? Well, after having such high hope with Clariel and getting a little upset over it (I put too much pressure on it, but thinking it over, it was very good.), I went into Goldenhand with little to no information. I knew Lirael would be in it, but that's it. And it was wonderful going into this world - a world I adore - with little to no information as I watched Garth build the world and characters. 

Garth Nix does something very interesting. I know other fantasy authors do this as well, but Garth is one of the only few who I think does it right, is that he builds the world. He doesn't throw things at you for the sake of it. He adds layers and layers. The Old Kingdom in Sabriel isn't the same Old Kingdom we read about in Goldenhand. But it is. He's just added more to our knowledge. It's like the real world and I adore how he does it. 

The story and characters were welcomed with open arms. I must admit, it's been a very long time since I have read Lirael or Abhorsen, but I didn't realise how much I missed these characters till I started this book. I was going "LIRAEL!!! SAM!!! NICK!!! I MISSED YOU SO MUCH!!!" and making these characters grow into strong characters I could read again and again. 

New characters and cultures intrigued me hugely and I like how Garth introduced them in. I think there is a lot more going on in this world and I do hope Garth explores beyond the Old Kingdom - say further north or beyond the sea/oceans to the east and west... 

Ferin, a new character who we spend around half of the book with, I found fascinating. She is a strong female character, very different from Sabriel and Lirael. Even Lirael niece, Ellimere, who we spend very little time with in any of the books (again, another character who I would like to know more about as strong doesn't always mean strong physically). While it took me a chapter or two to warm to her ("No! Go back to Lirael!"), I liked her hugely! 

Lirael and Nick's relationship made me happy. I love these two characters and have hoped there might be romantic feelings there since the end of Abhorsen but very much from Nicholas Sayre and the Creature in the Case (whether or not on both sides I am not going to say), but I loved watching it play out. 

There are problems - of course I find these. Some people will say certain situations were resolved far too easily (but I disagree up to a point). Yes, one or two things were a little easy, but other situations made sense to have it done this certain way because it moved the story forward. If not, we would be stuck for another few chapters. While this is ok in some books, it's not ok here. There is a sense of urgency so we need to keep the story moving. 

My biggest thing which I must point out is that you can't read this book without reading the other books in the Old Kingdom series. You must have read all of them and, though not essential, the two novellas (Nicholas Sayre and the Creature in the Case and To Hold The Bridge). If you haven't read the series, I would strongly advise you to start with Sabriel or Clariel. While I think Sabriel is the better starting point (as there are events in Clariel that kinda effect Lirael, Abhorsen and Goldenhand), both of these are standalones and it's easier to enter this world via these two rather than the other three. 

Another thing here is that, while reading this, I couldn't help but feel that this could be the last book we get from Garth set in Old Kingdom. While this is sad (Garth nor any of his publishers say this is the last book in the series, let me make that clear!), I am kinda ok with Garth leaving the world at this novel. Yes, if this is true, I will be sad and thinking "Just one more story. Even if it's a novella or a tweet-a-long, I will take it", I think Goldenhand is the perfect place for us to say goodbye. 

I adore this novel. I adore this world, these characters (good and evil) and I adore the series as a whole. Like I said before (and I will say again), this series is one of my favourite fantasy series out there and, barring a select few, I haven't found anyone who can write a complex fantasy world the way Garth Nix does. I can't wait to reread Goldenhand and the other books in the series next year! Oh, I am making plans. I won't announce it just yet (look towards end of December 2016/early January 2017).... be afraid, Internet. 

Monday 24 October 2016

Paul Gamble Talks Strange, Unusual and Impossible Things

AM BACK FROM MY NEW YORK RSM! Did you miss me? No? Rude.

This isn't the post I was planning to write for my first day back on the job but this comes a few days ago and it just felt like the perfect post to start my post New York blogging.

So, today, I would like to welcome Paul Gamble, author of Ministry of SUITS, to the Pewter Wolf. (Strange, Unusual and Impossible Things) is a ministry hidden in a museum in Belfast. Here, its members must investigate the strange, weird, unusual and impossible. This includes Jack and his frenemy Trudy have to work together to uncover one mystery: where are all the school's oddbods disappearing to...

Before I go further, I want to thank Paul for finding time to write this post and Andrea from Little Island for setting this and the contest below (oh yeah, there's a contest at the bottom of this post! SURPRISE!!!).

Now, over to you, Paul!

Monday 10 October 2016

RSM Time Again

If you guys have followed me on Twitter and on other social media, I am going away for the next few days. Actually, am going out of the country. Actually, am going to New York City.


You can guess am a little excited. So, because of this, I am going on a tiny blog holiday - or RSM - for maybe two weeks.

The reason I say "maybe" is because I'm not sure how long I want to be away from my laptop and the blog. I know I won't do 7-10 days. I know this without hesitation. So, sorry in advance for seven to ten days with you miss my beautiful words [yes, you can laugh here. You have my blessing].

But beyond that, I have no idea. I have time off work and am planning to take a few days off to recharge. So, might be reading, catching up on TV, hugging my cat because he will miss me... ok, he will miss my lap and crushing my bladder (why do cats like sitting on your bladder? WHY!?).

Or I will be blitzing this so I can schedule a ton of posts for the rest of this month and next month. I have plans for next month and I have no idea how I am going to do it without some planning (and we all know I am not a natural planner!).

So yes, am going to take some time off. Sorry it's short-noticed but yes. Am away from laptop and country so... yeah.

I shall return to you refreshed from visiting the US of A and, with hopefully, a ton of books to talk to you guys about.

Until then, let me kiss you goodbye....

Sunday 9 October 2016

Kindle Samples - A Sneak Peek

When I saw Carly from Writing from the Tub doing "Kindle Sample Reviews" (click here to check it out!), I loved it. I download Kindle Samples on my iPhone (never one my kindle. I like to keep the my eBooks and my sample separate. Plus, I'm more likely to read Kindle Samples in bed as I use my phone as my alarm) and I do this when I am uncertain of a book. Or as a reminder to myself that I want to buy this.

But where this post and Carly's post differs is that Carly reviewed and I won't. Like I said, I download them to remind me to buy the book/ebook or because I am uncertain if I will like it. Usually, once I have read the sampler (or half. Or ever the first few pages), I delete it. I mean, until very recently, The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Puley and Hide by Matthew Griffin had been living on there for quite some time, as did The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (all of which, I now own). 

But I love this idea. So, I decided I wanted to show you guys some of the samples I have on my iPhone Kindle App. Not all, but some. Just to show you guys some of my reading taste, me experiencing with books and stories, almost in the same way as I did with my NetGalley Declined Requests posts (click here and here to check them out!). Like I said in my reading taste post a few weeks back (ta-dah!), I wanna read more

Ok, time for show and tell. Only going to show you five samples so... 

WE SHOULD ALL BE FEMINISTS by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
I know this is online and is a video (will put it under this tiny write up) but I saw this a few weeks/months ago and I keep forgetting to buy it. Now, I believe I'm a feminist (I hope I am!), but I say believe as I don't feel I fully understand feminism. I believe in equality, but I personally feel that to get a better understanding of this, I should read stories, essays, see the world around me. I will fight for equality. I try my hardest. But that doesn't mean I should take what I have for granted. I need to check my privilege, keep learning and keep fighting. 
EDIT: Since writing this, I have purchase and read this essay. Review for this will be coming up in November-time. But is good. Highly recommend it. 

Tiny confession. I audiobooked an abridged version of this trilogy YEARS ago. Can't tell you anything about the series - I have made it a rule now that if I am going to audiobook something, get it unabridged. But even though I can't remember anything about this story as a whole, I remember loving the world that Trudi created. It's a fantasy that tackled issues that I don't see that often int he fantasy books I read: religion, magic, culture, race. I've always said I will return to this series and read them. I sense I will enjoy myself HUGELY when I do...

Ok, this is a tiny cheat. This is an audiobook sampler. The first chapter is available to download from Now, the only reason I downloaded this is because I'm thinking of reading Martina's newest novel, Betrayal, when it comes out later this month, and I wanted to see if I could get use to her style. I read her once YEARS ago - The Know, if I remember right - and I found it gripping (and terrifying. There's one moment that involved a kettle full of boiling water which chills my blood everytime I think about it!) and I'm hoping listening to this sampler will get me in the mood for Martina's brutal writing style.
EDIT: I listened to sampler as I wrote this post. Nope. Not going to audiobook this. I am not a fan of the narrator and I'm not sure I'm going to enjoy the subject matter this book is gonna tackle... But at least I tried!

THE BONE GARDEN by Tess Gerritsen
I seem to have a lot of crime samplers on my iPhone, but I have a soft spot in my heart for Tess Gerritsen and Kathy Reichs. These two were my first "adult" crime authors I read. With Tess, I read Body Double and with Kathy, Bones to Ashes. I haven't read so much of either author lately (I have several Kathy Reichs I need to read in my TBR!) but this title seems to catch my eye. A standalone thriller that primarily takes place in the 1830s and, while giving us medical practices and body snatching (which, back then, sounds terrifying compare to modern medicine) but we also have a serial killer on the loose - the West-End Reaper.

I sense I will be getting this before the year is through. Am very tempted to get audiobook...

VALENTINA by S. E. Lynes
I don't know much about this book. No, I don't think I know ANYTHING about this book. I just keep seeing the beautiful cover on Twitter and keep saying to self "I need to investigate this. I have to find out more about this book.". So, when I saw it on Amazon, I downloaded sampler without reading the synopsis. So, I am still very much in the dark over this story, but I sense it will be a story that will keep me on the edge of my seat... Hopefully... Maybe I should do my homework on this book before I go any further...

A STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN by Roshani Chokshi
Another book I keep seeing on Twitter and YouTube, which sounds very up my street. With influences from Hindi mythology and a possible Hades/Persephone retelling, this sounds something I can devour. And plus, that cover looks gorgeous! So gorgeous, I just discover you can download a sampler of the first 5 chapters to wet your appetite... *downloads*

Now, let's have a tak. What samplers are on your Kindle or your Kindle App? Is there any that I have to investigate myself? Leave a comment here on the blog, send me a tweet or leave a comment on the blog's Facebook page. All the links are on the side or you can find all my social media outlets on the "Find Me" button on the top of the blog!