Friday 24 November 2017

#re3 - A Discovery of Witches

I listened to this audiobooks years ago (I just checked. It was back in 2011 when I was only just getting the hang on this book blogging - and probably when I was better at reviewing a story), and for a while, I've been wondering if I should relisten to this story again for the past few months.

It's mainly because of the news that this book and the rest of the trilogy is being turned into a TV series that will be aired on Sky One (late 2018, I think but don't hold me to that) that made me go "Ok, I want to return to this world".

Ok, let me go back to the beginning. The story follows Diana Bishop, a witch who is trying hard not to be a witch. When she was in an Oxford library, she is given a manuscript which has magic within its pages. But she has no idea how important this manuscript is. If she had, she wouldn't have returned it.

But she did and now, every witch, vampire and demon is watching her, waiting for her recall the manuscript in question. One of which is Matthew Clairmont, a vampire who has been looking for the manuscript for over a century. But as two begin to work together, they are breaking rules about how creatures such as witches and vampires intermix. And if they are not careful, they're are going to find themselves falling into something worst than danger: they could fall in love...

So, how do I feel about returning to this world? It surprised me a little as, while I did enjoy it the first time round, I think I enjoyed this story a little bit more. I still have problems with this (which I am coming to in a moment) but there was something about the story and writing I enjoyed. It felt oddly rich in mythology and in story-telling and I liked this. Maybe I am more "grown up" enough to enjoy this series.

I think the problems I have with the audiobook originally are still there. The length is a problem. Mainly because, as time, it felt oddly too much. There was so much detail that weren't need or necessary, and it slowed the story down. Also, there were moments with one or two characters that I went "I don't like this character trait". Matthew is a good example. I fully get why he is the way he is - because he's a vampire and his history - but there were times I went "Even though you warned Diana and the readers about this trait, I don't like it. I don't warm to this" and because of that, I questioned Diana's relationship with him.

Another thing is one or two things felt very convenient. I was more aware of this near the end of my listening. Mainly because I listened to the last few chapters back to back (over two hour-ish binge). But I did go "Oh" over it.

But, with that all said, I am more intrigued to carry the series on. I might not rush out to get second book, but I might make plans to get my hands on a copy in 2018.

Wednesday 22 November 2017

End of The Year Tag

I have no idea how I came across this tag, but as soon as I did, I went "I want to do this!". I think it's because I keep saying I want to do more tags (I have done a few in my blog life, ranging from Sailor Moon, Disney, Addams Family, Shondaland to Books I'll (Probably) Never Read, The TBR Tag, Audiobook Tag, Book Sacrifice Tag among others). The one I keep going "I should do this" is the First Chapter Tag and the Reread, Rewrite, Burn tag, but time is the enemy, hence why I haven't done them yet. One day, but not yet... So, let's get going with this tag as the questions look short and quite easy to answer. So, LET'S GO! 

Thursday 16 November 2017

#re3 - Artemis Fowl

I read Artemis Fowl years ago - actually, read the first three books in the series. And I really enjoyed them back in the day. But, for one reason or another, I never carried on after the third book - Artemis Fowl And The Eternity Code - in the series. I think there was a cover change or maybe I felt that  it was the right place for me to stop.

But recently, over the past year, I have been wanting to going back and reread Artemis. Mainly the first 2 books - Artemis Fowl and Artemis Fowl and Artemis Fowl and the Arctic Incident - as I have warm feelings about them. Maybe if I get sucked into them again, I will reread Artemis Fowl and the Eternity Code and want to carry on and read the rest of the series that I have missed out on. Plus, with Disney making a movie based on the first book (something I discovered back in the summer), I knew it was time...

But would it still stand up to my memory... I mean, this was firs published in UK in 2001 and a lot has changed. For example - that cover. I hate this cover! I much prefer the original - the shiny gold cover that, if anyone annoyed you, you can reflect light off it and use it as a weapon... if I can find it, will pop it down below somewhere!

Any, let's get past the cover and talk about the book, shall we?

Artemis Fowl the Second is a criminal genius and, at only twelve, is plotting his biggest money making scheme to date. If he's going to restore the family fortune, a bit of kidnapping will have to do.

But to kidnap a fairy?

When Artemis kidnaps Captain Holly Short of the LEP (Lower Elements Police), he doesn't realise that the world he's about to discover has highly armed, highly dangerous and extremely high-tech - fairies that will fight back.

Artemis Fowl might have underestimated them and, in the process, could trigger a cross-species war...

I couldn't help smiling while reread this. I forgot so much detail and yet, remember the basic plotline so I flew through. It was fun, and that's why rereads are a good thing to us readers/bloggers.

I think if I discovered this when I was 12, I would have devoured this series. This could have been my Harry Potter if I was 12 when this first came out. But I was in my late teens when this came, hence maybe one of the many reasons I didn't carry on with this series.

There is one or two things that niggle at me (the timeline in the first few chapters are off - Artemis seems to take place over a series of weeks/months whereas Holly takes place over a night, but there is no telling them apart due to how the scenes are written). Plus, I think it could have a few extra pages due to some pacing.

But, this was fun and I loved returning to this world. I am very much looking forward to read Artemis Fowl and the Arctic Incident in the coming few months (soon!) and, hopefully, this will spur me on to read the rest of the series.

Tuesday 14 November 2017

#re3 - The Sunday Philosophy Club

Ok, I have to admit this before I go any further. I have read this once before, many many years ago. I vaguely remember liking it, but I can't for the life of me tell you what happened. It was an easy, cosy read. I must have liked it back then as I am certain I read the second book in the series, Friends, Lovers and Chocolate afterwards (again, no idea what the mystery was. I only remember really one detail).

So, when earlier this year (Spring), I saw this and The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency on NetGalley for review, I jumped at the chance to reread them both. I wanted to see if I would still hold them to my memory of them. I reread The No. 1 Detective Agency back in February (review/#re3 for that is here), but I held this one off as I wanted the time to be right. And, with my job at the start of the month being all over the place with shift work (6am to 2pm for me), it screwed up my reading of La Belle Sauvage so I picked this one up instead. I wanted something light and easy and thought this would do the trick.

Oh, dear reader, how very wrong I was. But more on that later!

When philosopher and amateur detective Isabel Dalhousie saw a man fall from the gods at the Usher Hall in Edinburgh, her instincts are telling her that the man didn't fall, but was pushed. With this in mind, Isabel decided to find out the truth...

Out of the two, I much prefer Precious Ramotswe over Isabel Dalhousie. Precious is much more a warmer character, a character I related to very easily and I wanted her to succeed. But Isabel isn't warmer. She's more spiky and prickly, so it makes it harder for me to relate to her.

Plus, as she is the philosopher, there were times were she would go off on a philosophy trail of thought. And this dragged. There were times, the whole chapter would be philosophy and ethics, and because of this, I felt the story slowed to a grinding halt and struggled to care about the mystery Isabel was trying to solve or about her and her family/friends.

I know I like reading crime/thriller books that have a bit of pace to them, so I am not use to much gentler, cosier crimes, but this was a struggle, whereas The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency was a joy to read.

The writing is good, don't get me wrong. Fans of Alexander McCall Smith will enjoy this book and will enjoy the series. But this isn't my cup of tea, I'm afraid. And, if I decide to go back to his books, I think I will go toward Precious and read Tears of the Giraffe.

Friday 10 November 2017

eBook Review - London Affair: The Weekend

"An adult romance? Andrew, you don't like romance. Why did you read this?"

Well, dear reader, I fancied a change. Like I have said in the past on here and most of my social media outlets, I want to push myself as a reader and read things that are a little outside of my comfort zone. Plus, this sounded like fun. And I want to read more fun.

Emmy Reed, an American art history graduate, can't stop staring at a hot guy on the London Underground. And when he saves her from a dangerous situation at her stop, she's grateful. Until she discovers he's a millionaire playboy - the type of boy who breaks hearts without a moment's second thought. So when he asks her to be his plus one at an upcoming wedding that weekend, she's determined to turn it down... until he offers her a deal. If she comes, he will try and arrange a meeting with a sought-after artist - who happens to be his grandfather.

As the weekend goes on, Emmy starts to see the man who's her "boyfriend" - Jase - isn't the man she thought he was and with the chemistry between them, they won't want the weekend to end. But the weekend will end... but what does that mean for them?

This is the first of a three novella series - London Affair. Both the second - The Chase - and the third - The Confession - follow in weekly instalments (at the time most of you are reading this, all three should be out).

This was fun. I read this on holiday and it was a light, fun, easy read. I read in short, quick moments and was finished before the holiday was over (though I know if I had more time, would have read it sooner).

But, this isn't anything new, though. At times, it felt very troupe - with hints of Twilight and 50 Shades of Grey. Plus, there were times I was reading going "You have got to be kidding me". There were events that happened that I wanted to read but we changed character POV so we heard it secondhand plus the main male leads family - I find it impossible to believe that everyone he is related to is THAT unlikeable.

Now, it was fun, light, sexy read, and if I was offered to read the rest of the series, I would happily do so, as curious to see where this story ends. But am not sure if romance/erotica are the genres for me...

Wednesday 8 November 2017

#VisitOtherworld - Extract and Contest!

I am thrilled to be part of the #VisitOtherworld blog tour to celebrate the release of Otherworld, written by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller.

Welcome to life 2.0. There is no screen or controls. You not only see and hear this world - you can touch, taste, smell... In this new reality, there are no rules to follow, no laws to break, where you can indulge in every one of your desires... so, why would you ever leave...?

To celebrate this book, I am allowed to share an extract for you. And if this wets your appetite, I am hosting a tiny contest to win a copy! All the details of the contest will be on the Google Form so check them before you enter.

Now, with that out of the way, ONTO THE EXTRACT AND THE CONTEST!

Monday 6 November 2017

Book Review - Origin

Before you give me that look, dear reader, allow me to explain why I decided to read this.

I have, in the past, read Dan Brown. Two, to be exact. Angels and Demons (which I surprisingly liked) and The Lost Symbol (which I liked at the time [I wrote a review on it and everything], but looking back, I hold a "What the?" reaction to it). I am considering reading all his novels next year as a challenge to push myself into reading more grown-up books (because, as I told one person jokingly, I hate myself...). And I wasn't planning on reading this, truth be told. I was going to let this slip on by. I thought I was done with Dan Brown. I thought I was done with Robert bloody Langdon. I was done.

Until I preordered the book. I'm not entire certain when I did this...

Anyway, to the review/discussion/whatever the hell this is.

Robert Langdon has been invited to the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao to watch an announcement from his friend and former student, Edmond Kirsch, make an announcement that he claims with challenge and shake the fundamentals of human existence.

But before this revelation is unveiled, Edmond is shot and the Langdon is on the run, his life in danger. He runs with museum's director, Ambra Vidal, who wants to discover the truth. But as they run round Barcelona, looking for clues and symbols in modern art to help bring the truth to light, an enemy is getting closer to them. An enemy that might have connections to the Church or the Spanish Royal Family...

Out of the three Dan Brown books I have read, this is the worst. It's not awful, but it's lacking so much.

Am going to get this off my chest: this is meant to be a thriller. I'm meant to be on the edge of my seat, holding my breath, hoping that Langdon will survive at the end. But a thriller needs to grab me from the start - and this didn't. It took over 100 pages for something to happen that kickstarted the story (in my opinion), and then took another 100 pages before I felt the pace kick into gear.

That's 200-odd pages before I felt sucked in. That's half the book! Normally, I would have given up and moved on, but I was on holiday and thought "Let's see if this can save itself."

But this sticks to the Dan Brown formula. Smart male lead, a smart and beautiful female lead who has a personal connection to the mystery (in this case, she was close friend to Edmond and there's a second reason which comes later), a secret that will shock the world, a baddie assassin, religion, art, high-powered originations trying to stop our leads revealing the secret... It's all there!

This should work as a thriller. Dan has stuck to this formula with most of his books and they work. But this time, it doesn't. He throws subplots, facts that have no importance to the story whatsoever, things that slowed the plot down and weren't needed. Info-dumping stopped the story moving at a fast pace. If these were removed or put in footnotes, the plot would have moved faster and the story would have been tighter.

Plus, I thought he had jumped the shark in Lost Symbol with the breathable gel. Well, he outdid himself this time with Winston...

Now, if you are a fan of Dan Brown, you know what you're going to get and if you enjoy reading him, go forth and read him! Read what makes you happy!

But for me, this didn't work. It felt dull compared to Angels and Demons and, after my possible Dan Brown 2018 Reading Challenge (still in two minds over this), I think I'm done with Mr Brown and Langdon. I have to make peace with this and move on...

Friday 3 November 2017

Daniel A. Cohen Talks The Coldmaker

It's been a busy few days on the Pewter Wolf, hasn't it? Well, not going to stop just yet, as I am excited to welcome Daniel A. Cohen on the blog!

Daniel is the author of The Coldmaker and it's sound super intriguing (it's on my NetGalley, along with 68 other NetGalley on my TBR). It is said that when the Jadans angered the Crier, the Crier took their cold away, punishing them to live in a world of unspeakable heat.

But that was eight hundred years ago. And a story... so when the evening bells ring, and everyone is asleep, Micah escapes into the night, his secret life of finding broken things and tinkers at them. But his secret is threatened to be exposed when a masked Jadan publicly threatened the authority, as well as waves of rebellion.

But another secret could be on the verge of discovery... the secret of the Cold.

It's intriguing, as am excited that Daniel has found time to write this guest post, so thank you. I also want to thank Jaime at HarperCollins for helping me set this up!

Now, with that out of the way, over to you, Daniel!

Thursday 2 November 2017

Books And Their Theme Songs - August, September & October 2017


After reading a ton of books and ebooks and no real music clicking with them for one reason or another, am back! This is why in my last Books and Their Theme Songs post that this might be changing style.

Anyway, am back and hopefully you'll like the song choices for these stories so, ONWARDS!!!

SONGS ABOUT US by Chris Russell
"What About Us" by P!nk

DR JEKYLL AND MR SEEK by Anthony O'Neill
"Monsters" by Ruelle and "Look At What You Made Me Do" by Taylor Swift

FOXGLOVE COPSE by Alex Beecroft
"Wish You Were Here" by Florence And The Machine

ILLEGAL CONTACT by Santino Hassell
"Wildest Dreams" and "I Know Places" by Taylor Swift and "Craving You" by Thomas Rhett (featuring Marine Morris)

"Crybaby" by Paloma Faith 

Wednesday 1 November 2017

Katharine McGee Talks the Dazzling Heights of the Thousandth Floor

I am excited to welcome Katharine McGee onto the Pewter Wolf! Katharine is the author of The Thousandth Floor and its sequel, The Dazzling Heights, which was published last month. 

Now, the best way to describe this series (as both books are still on my To Be Read shelves - yes, I am THAT SLOW a reader! Don't let the blog & the blog break fool you, dear reader!) is Pretty Little Liars meets Gossip Girl but set in the future. (I know, it sounds like the perfect soapy show for ITV2 and the CW, doesn't it?)

Now, before I hand it over to Katharine, I want to thank her for writing this guest post. I know she is currently writing/editing the third and final book in the trilogy, The Towering Sky (correct me if the title is wrong), but I was thrilled that you could find time to write this. I devoured this as soon as I could (was on holiday so had to wait till I got home) and it makes me want to discover a working Time Turner so can read this! I, also, want to thank Jessica at HarperCollins, who was super helpful when my unannounced email enquiry popped into her Inbox and she acted as Katharine and my in-between! You rock!

Ok, with that out of the way, over to you, Katharine!