Monday 29 January 2018

Book Review - Complete Sookie Stackhouse Stories

Not sure how I heard of this (chatting to Stevie at Gollancz or seeing the US edition on NetGalley), but as soon as I did, I knew I wanted to read it. A complete collection of all Sookie Stackhouse short stories - yes please! Plus, I have read a tiny handful of Charlaine Harris (3 novels and a collection of five short stories of Sookie Stackhouse and audiobook of the first Midnight, Texas trilogy) so I know her writing style and get on with it.

So, when Stevie emailed a month or so ago about this and another title (The Seventh Decimate by Stephen Donaldson), I jumped at them both! I have said that this year I want to read more adult fantasy but I knew that I could devour the stories set in Bon Temps.

Within this collection, we have ten short stories (ok, nine and one novella) that follow Sookie as she tackles the paranormal world, from investigating the murder of a fairy, discovering her cousin was a vampire to going to a wedding with her shapeshifter boss and remodelling her best friend's house. All have a supernatural twist in the tale.

To me, this is a better fitting farewell to the Sookie Stackhouse series then After Dead, which most fans really disliked. But seeing as I haven't read the complete series or After Dead, I can't comment but this felt like a fun collection.

There is a snag before I talk about each story quickly in turn. Five of the short stories - the first five, truth be told - have already been published in the a collection a good several years back called A Touch Of Dead (my review for that is here), so I you have already read or bought the book and going towards this, you have already ready five and are paying for the five you haven't read... Although all these stories have been published in other collections.

So... thoughts on the stories. I do want to go into each in turn but that would make this blog post boringly long so I won't. I am going to mention some of the stories I really liked and the ones that surprised me. That to me sounds more like fun.

Out of the ten, the novella Small-Town Wedding surprised me the most. I saw it was the only novella in the collection and groaned. I want fast, fun stories, I remember thinking to self when I read the introduction, not this! But once I started reading this, I didn't want it to end. I forgot how much I like Sookie and Sam's relationship (I don't know if they get together at the end of the book series. I kinda ship them but I'm not sure I want to read Dead Ever After as I feel I need to read the other books before can attempt that) and  I had fun with the story. But, there was a bit of a punch to this as with the political climate at the moment with race, same sex marriage and rallies/marches, this came close to home. But showing the important message that love is always more powerful than hate.

I also enjoyed reading If I Had A Hammer and Playing Possum, both of which featured characters I haven't met in my readings of Sookie so might have to backtrack a little on that front.

However, like with most collections of short stories, there are going to be some that don't grab you. And I have problems clicking with some. I liked the first half of Two Blondes, a short stories that explored Sookie's friendship with Pam but then, the story took a turn and I was doing a "Huh? WTF? Am I reading this right?". Though I liked Gift Wrap when I read A Touch of Dead, I reread this and I kept putting the book down. It was fun, but there was something about this story that didn't sit right with me. And, though I didn't warm to the last short story in the collection, In The Blue Hereafter, I get why. This story was written in third person (Sookie's stories are usually written in first) and it followed a character, Manfred Bernado (who we first met in another of Harris's series, Harper Connelly, and becomes one of the main characters in Harris's latter series, Midnight, Texas), who meets Sookie...

A mixed bag of Sookie Stackhouse stories, but it reminded me how much I enjoy reading this character and Charlaine's writing. I sense I might have to read a Sookie Stackhouse novel sometime this year (I keep leaning towards Dead Ever After, maybe another story... All Together Dead? Dead as a Doornail? Deadlocked? Club Dead?). Or maybe I should try the second book in the Midnight, Texas trilogy? Decisions, decisions...

Friday 26 January 2018

Below Zero Blog Tour Review

Hi guys and welcome to today's post that co-insides with the Below Zero blog tour. Yep, it's my turn and I have a review for you! So bear with while I do a tiny write-up about the book itself.

When Zak's parents are called to go to Outpost Zero, a small Antarctic research base to help prepare a group of volunteers for a one-way trip to Mars, to help fix a problem with the drone Spiders that made, Zak and his sister go as well. But when they and their pilot get there, something is very wrong. The power is out, everyone who's meant to be living there has vanished and there are insect shells all over the floor. 

Then the pilot vanishes. 

Something is happening to Outpost Zero - something below the ice - and if they are not careful, Zak and his family might be the next to vanish... 

This was a surprisingly addictive little clean-teen thriller that, at times, had a feel of that Doctor Who episode - Kill The Moon - and those Doctor-less episodes such as Blink and Midnight. It had a good speed and with the chapters jumping back and forth in time and location (this does make sense when you read it), it kept me turning the pages. 

However, I do have one or two problems, (this is me - of course I'm going to nitpick! I can do this to my favourite novels and have no problems sleeping that night) most of which comes down to length. I wish this was a little longer. If it was, it could fleshed out and drawn out certain elements. Plus, with this having the vibe of being the first book in a series, having it a tad longer would, I feel, have worked in its favour. 

But this was fun little scifi thriller - very different from what I normally read (am a fantasy person) - and I will be intrigued to see where the author goes next with these characters...

Thursday 25 January 2018

Mini Book Reviews - My Lazy Cat & I Am A Cat

If you guys know me, I love cats. I own a cat - Bagheera (he's not all black, sadly, to make him look like a panther), have a tonkinese cat patronus, according to Pottermore, and I sense I will be a cat in my next life...

Plus, I am a little addicted/obsessed to BBC One's Big Cats series (which is ending tonight and it's NOT FAIR!).

So, today seems to be the perfect time to review these two cat-themed picture books: My Lazy Cat by Christian Roussey and I Am A Cat by Galia Berstein.

My Lazy Cat follows a little girl and her cat, Boomer. Boomer is lazy, but she isn't. She does judo, yoga, swimming, biking, rugby, she has things to do. But one day, Boomer accidentally keeps the little girl from getting out of the door and she decides to stay with Boomer that day and enjoy herself at his pace...

I Am A Cat follows Simon, a house cat who encounters some big cats: Lion, Tiger, Panther, Puma and Cheetah. When he says he's a cat, the big cats laugh and say he's can't be a cat as he's too small. But as the story goes on, Simon shows the big cats that he's just like them...

I adore both of these pictures books. They are very different from each other and yet, both were simple and fun to read. Yes, I know they are picture books but I like the illustrations in both (My Lazy Cat looked like a young child has drawn it, which will make it relatable while I Am A Cat is crisp and strong, showing the cats off). Both stories are perfect for adults to read to child and, when they are older, for the children to read to themselves (though I Am A Cat might be easier to read than My Lazy Cat due to words per page and font).

Plus, the meaning behind each story is important. With My Lazy Cat, it shows that no matter how busy you are, it's important to have time to stop and take it easy. And with I Am A Cat, it shows that we have more in common then at first glance and celebrates individuality and community. And with everything that is happening in the world at the moment, both messages are hugely important.

Out of the two, I think I prefer I Am A Cat, but I think both books are perfect for the tiny humans in your lives.

Tuesday 23 January 2018

Kindle Samplers - New Year Edition

I got a new Kindle for Christmas, so I went through my kindle and did a bit of a cull of eProofs and eBooks I bought. I always went through my Kindle Samples that I downloaded onto my phone and got rid of them all. I wanted to start the new year with a fresh slate and wanting to try new, fun stories!

Not sure if that's a wise thing as I keep looking things up and going "That looks like fun!" and I wanted to show you some titles that I downloaded the samplers for. Not all, but I wanted to show you guys that I am going to try new things this year... So, let's get started!

There's no reason for me wanting to read this. I just really want to read Carrie Fisher - when she was alive, I loved watched her on TV and in interviews. She was just a badass and she was funny. And I keep going "I want to read her. I really want to read her, but the timing never right". It's me - I'm worried that if I read one of her books, I will fall out of love with her. I doubt it, but it's there... But am going to try this...

[EDIT: Since writing this, I actually went out and got it on Kindle so keep eyes peeled for a write-up about this in the future (no idea when as have loads to read but soon! I want to attempt to read this before May! Or the DVD/Blu-Ray release of The Last Judi)]

THE EYE OF THE WORLD by Robert Jordan
I'm in the mood to read fantasy this year. Adult fantasy, to be correct. I feel that this is the right thing for my reading as I want to read fun. And I have the most fun reading fantasy. And I have started wondering if I should read Lord of the Rings. Mostly everyone I have mentioned this to has gone "DON'T DO IT TO YOURSELVES!" and have said "Have you considered Wheel of Time series, starting with The Eye of the World?". I have heard of the series title but I know NOTHING about this series - just that they are LONG! But if I feel brave... I might read this sampler and see if I can sink my teeth into this. If I like, I will try and read this and take it from there...

[Edit: Since writing this, I bought this on my Kindle. I know! But it was a Kindle Daily Sale offer for 99p so I couldn't refuse. Plus, with me wanting to read more widely within adult fantasy, this felt like a good move to make! Not sure when I will read this but once I've figured that out, will let you all know. But it won't be for a while as I want to read Priestess of the White by Trudi Caravan and The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin before I attempt this!]

I like crime novels. It's not a genre I am well read in the genre of crime/thriller but when I do sit down and read it, I enjoy myself. I keep hearing this name from one or two authors I like that say Josephine Tey is just as good (if not, better) than Agatha Christie. And this is one of her most interesting mystery stories, following a modern policeman who has injured himself and, out of boredom, decides to investigate the alleged crimes against King Richard III. Crime meets history - this sounds outside of my comfort zone but in a good way...

GOOD OMENS by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman & SOUL MUSIC by Terry Pratchett
Over the Christmas period, I was given Terry Pratchett's Hogfather and I enjoyed myself hugely while reading this. So much so, I bought Witches Aboard and eyeing a few other of Terry Pratchett titles. But with the BBC and Amazon Studios co-producting a Good Omens adaption, I want to see what the fuss about this is about.

As for Soul Music... well, I love Death in Discworld and as this is another story in the Discworld series that has Death as a main character, am going to see if I would enjoy this...

You can blame Sophie of So Many Books, So Little Time & The Copper Boom for putting this on my radar. She instagram the book (along with a few other books) and, after chatting and reading the blurb, I am intrigued over this. I must admit now that I am not a big fan of essays but, like I said, I am intrigued to see if I can sink my teeth into this...

Sunday 21 January 2018


Every now and then, I have a mini impostor syndrome. And this week I had this two or three times. I rarely suffer from this with my blog, but then I got to an event or something happens and it creeps back!

First of all, I was at the #WalkerYA Bloggers Event on Tuesday (you can read my write-up on that here) and I mentioned this in passing. But every blogger and vlogger I mentioned this to said "we all suffer from that. Don't worry about it." (I am a worrier! Ask my Other Half about that!) Anyway, it was on the way to the event I remembered that the longlist for this year's UKYA Blogger Awards was going to be announced the following day.

I didn't think much of it - I managed to use a day's holiday to write up the event and go to the dentist (which I dislike hugely) so when the longlist was announced, I was in a bit here, there and everywhere. For a good five minutes, I stayed away from my twitter as I didn't want to see if my name was on the longlist.  It'll be nice to be on the longlist, I thought, but it won't be there. Am a bit of grown up on my reading lately.. 

And then I saw my @ replies had exploded. So I looked. And...


As my Other Half was out most of that evening, I spent most of that evening pacing round my kitchen and lounge going "What?! WHAT?! How?! HOW?! THERE MUST HAVE BEEN A MISTAKE!

I was shocked, overwhelmed, delighted and honoured to be longlisted on these four categories! Plus, with some wonderful, badass book bloggers! It was just wonderful! 

Once I calmed down and thought "This is super cool!" and then carried on with my life on this mental high. Then I checked Twitter the following day, and then I read "The shortlist will be announced on Friday" ... wait. This Friday? THIS FRIDAY!? 

No time to get over this news. Have to go to work and carry on. So, by the time I got my head round it, it was Friday and the shortlist was going to be announced. Plus, I had to get ready to go out with Other Half and Neighbours as Neighbours were taking us to bingo. 

So, Friday evening was a blur of driving home from work, getting dressed, eating a quick dinner, reading shortlist then out the door. No time to process what I read till later that evening/Saturday. So, it was in a bit of a haze when I read this...

Ok, I do remember this. I read this tweet (my @ replies were freaking out again) and I sat next to my heating and said to my Other Half "I'm on the shortlist". Once I told him, he laughed and went "You're Old Now!" 

Hence my reaction to dye my hair silver and see if I figure out how to be what the gay community call an otter or a daddy. Let's see if he likes that reaction! 

... wait. Does this mean I need to be more a grown up now on my blog...?

Moving quickly away from that question, I was shocked, delighted and hugely honoured to be on the shortlist for Champion Adult Blogger with some wonderful bloggers (Hi Layla at @readable_life, Jo at @bookloverJo and Beth at @BookLoverx). 

There is no words to say. None. But thank you. 

Now, I suppose I better do the boring thing of going "if you want to vote for me...". I am but only on the condition that if you decide to vote, you vote for who you think deserves the award in that category. Ok? Ok. 

Right, apparently, my category is author only. So, authors, if you want to vote for Champion Adult Blogger (and other categories. You have 9 include mine!), check out UKYABA's website and details are there for voting form. 

There are always categories that us book bloggers/vloggers can vote for (I only realised this now. Shows how slow I am over the past few days!). Again, if you (and I, for that matter) wanna vote (there are 5 categories for us bloggers), again check out UKYABA's website and details will be there for your pleasure. 

Happy voting, and again, thank you. 

Friday 19 January 2018

Book Review - Hogfather

My first read of 2018 (I read The Uncommon Reader and Cardcaptor Sakura just before Christmas but was on blog break so here they are now)! Though, I did start this on Christmas Eve, I finished it last week so am classing it as a 2018 read!

And I got this for Secret Santa via Shannon Bookworm's blog. My Secret Santa was Virginie at Chouett, who got Hogfather, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (a book I keep wanting to read and I buy/get given but am always too intimadated to read so never have. THIS YEAR, DEAR READER, THAT WILL CHANGE!) and The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin (a book I only found out late last year after it was announced to be a TV show for TNT and am super excited to read. This feels like a Februray/March read and I am trying to figure out how can get Virginie to buddy-read this with me... I sense I am going to adore this strange little book...). So, Virginie, thank you. As soon as I saw I had Hogfather, I knew I was going to read this over Christmas - even though it screwed up my Christmas reading plans...!

It's a silent night, Hogswatch night. Too quiet... The Hogfather is gone. He's not coming down the chimney, delivering presents to children. No, instead Death is coming down the chimney, wearing a fake beard, having a pillow stuffed up his borrow red outfit and saying HO HO HO in his monotone way. On Discworld, superstition makes things work, and when this is undermined, there are Consequences. But where does Death's adopted granddaughter, governess Susan, fit into all of this? And if she can't fix it, the sun won't rise...

You better watch out and you better not cry...

I have been wanting to read Hogfather for years. Ever since I was a teenager and saw the cover of Death wearing a Father Christmas outfit! But I have always been intimidated by Discworld and Terry Pratchett and it has been only in the past few years (I only read Mort and Reaper Man back in 2015 and I have dipped in and out of Terry's other writings over past few years when I feel brave). Now, at the time of reading them, I was very mixed on my feelings on Mort but I loved Reaper Man. So, where does Hogfather fit?

Right in the middle, though leaning more towards Reaper Man than Mort. I had such a wonderful, fun time with Hogfather. I didn't truly love it, but it was fun - and my reading this year is focused on fun. There were several moments I actually snorted out loud, scaring my cat (the first time this happened, it caught me so off guard I had to explain my howl of laughter to my partner "The Grim Reaper owns cats!") and I liked the ideas behind this - why do we believe in fairy tales when we are children? Why do we believe in monsters under the beds and bogey men and tooth fairies?

Plus, Death is an awesome character. In all three Discworld books I have read (all within the "Death Series"), he has always come out as my favourite character. Though I loved Susan and her no nonsense attitude. I know her teenage self is one of the lead characters in another Discworld novel, Soul Music, which I might read when I have got my TBR under control.

I do have issues with this book. Pacing at the start is my biggest problem, but this is a me thing more than anything else. It was a bit slow, but that's because it was setting everything up. Once it was set up, the book moved! But I can't figure out if it was slow because it was slow or because I had such expectations over this book (again, wanting to read this since I was a teenager!) that the start didn't live up to the bar I had in my head (hence why I have held off read Angie Thomas's The Hate U Give and Philip Pullman's La Belle Sauvage).

But, I enjoyed myself reading Hogfather. So much so that I have two more Discworld novels on my TBR that I hope to read sometime this year - The Wee Free Men (that I discovered I had on my kindle for over a year without me knowing about!) and Witches Aboard (which I bought with a ton of other adult fantasy books the Friday before New Year's Eve) - so buckle up, everyone. You might be seeing more Discworld on my blog/social media outlets this year...

Thursday 18 January 2018

#WalkerYA Bloggers Event

Or, as it's subtitle, Chicken Kiev or (my fave at the time of writing this) "WOLF!!!"

Tuesday night, I attended a blogger event for Walker Books and hear some upcoming YA titles that will be publish sometime this year. I wasn't 100% sure I could come to this due to my recent job change but I figured out very quickly that I could go so HOORAY!!!

Anyway, after getting to London a little earlier to snoop round Tottenham Court Road (mainly Foyles [I bought a book, EVEN THOUGH I AM ON A BOOK BUYING BAN! And for those of you wondering, Eragon by Christopher Paolini - not a grown-up fantasy that my recently book buying has taken me but I'll take it] and drool over some West End shows I would love to watch or rewatch - Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Aladdin, The Mousetrap, Wicked - it's probably a good thing am going to see Hamilton in the coming few months), I made my way to a pub in near Farringdon for wine, books and a good ol' catch-up with bloggers and vloggers. I have been very out of the loop.

And my sense of direction kinda failed me a little. I got to Euston/King's Cross and thought "I'll walk there. It won't take that long..." OH, PAST ANDREW, YOU ARE STUPID. Walking and you are not friends...

Side-tracked, but once I got there (after getting a Pret Hot Chocolate), caught up with the lovely bloggers, vloggers and peeps at Walker (who are beyond wonderful. I love our little community and how positive and hopeful we try to be with this passion of ours) (plus, It's been a while since I've been to a last blogger event as Dani from Dani Reviews Things wondered when we met last. We think it was around 2 years ago [real life sucks at times] and met some new bloggers and vloggers (one came up to me - Amy from YA Under My Skin - and said "Due to you and my passion/hyperness with Laura and Michelle when we did a panel at YALC in 2015, I started my own blog" - which is a lovely but surreal. Plus, I discovered new bloggers that I've started following but didn't realise I was chatting to them till a few minutes into the conversation [Olivia from That Fiction Life is a good example. How did I didn't go "OH MY GOD, IT'S YOU!" to her face is anyone's guess!)

But you don't want me to talk about us book bloggers and vloggers chatting about books and the looks of shame I got when I said I STILL haven't read Patrick Ness's Chaos Walking trilogy or The Hate U Give (one of these I said to an EDITOR OF WALKER without realising it - but Chaos Walking has a huge following and am scared of reading it, only to not like it! I DON'T WANT TO BE THAT GUY!), you want to know the titles they mentioned. Well, I'm going to mention a few as these caught my attention and made me go "OOOH!"

The first title is How To Hang A Witch by Adriana Mathew. Ok, this doesn't grab me in the way I hoped, but I think you guys might like this. Having a feel of Lauren Kate's Fallen series (no idea why), this book follows Sam who moves from New York to Salem with her stepmother after her dad is hospitalised. But her homecoming is far from warm. Sam is related to Cotton Mather, one of the men responsible for the Salem Witch Hunts and some teens in her new school won't let her forget it. As their bullying tactics being to unnerve her and begin to parallel the witch hunts, Sam finds herself in a weird love triangle, between the boy next door and the angry ghost who haunts her bedroom. And now, with a centuries old curse now being rekindled, Sam find herself at its centre. History is going to repeat itself if she doesn't try and stop it...

Scythe by Neal Shusterman has been doing the rounds on US Booktube and, I don't know much about it, but I love the cover. So, when Walker announced that they going to publish the first book next month and the sequel in August, I was excited. Plus, the idea behind it is good. Dark, but good! Imagine a world where disease, crime, homelessness has been cured, the only way to die is to be "gleamed" (randomly killed) by a Scythe, a professional grim reaper if you will. Citra and Rowan don't want to be scythes - which makes them perfect to be apprentices and learn the fine art. But the Scythedom is corrupt and with only one of them going to become Scythe Apprentice, Citra and Rowan discover that whoever becomes the apprentice must gleam the runner up...

Earlier on, I admitted that I still haven't read Chaos Walking trilogy. Hopefully, this might changed as Walker is going to rejacket the series to co-inside with its ten year anniversary and the movie being filmed (starring Tom Holland and Dairy Ridley). We will have a black cover and sprayed edges. I hope that I will try and attempt to read this trilogy later this year/next year. I feel ready! Plus, with Release coming out in paperback this year and with his newest, And the Ocean Was Our Sky, rumoured to come out later this year, you are going to be busy if a Patrick Ness fan!

This is a little clean-teen for me but Flying Tips for Flightless Birds by Kelly McCaughrain does yummy and I will pop this on here and I sense I will need something light compared to my heavier reads. Debut set in Northern Ireland, we follow twins Finch and Birdy who are stars of the flying trapeze at their parents's circus. But when Birdy is hurt, Finch teams up with new kid, Hector Hazzard, to save he circus. But along the way, they have to high wire friendship, homophobic bullying at school, finding themselves and falling in love for the first time... all under the big top.

I still haven't read The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. I'VE PYSHED MYSELF OUT OVER IT! I mean, I have been so excited for this book for so long but since I have the advance reader copy, I've been terrified to read it in case it doesn't live up to my unnaturally high expectation. But I know I will read it in the coming months as Angie's second novel, On the Come Up is coming out in June. Set in Garden Heights, we follow an aspiring teen rapper who goes viral online. Record labels want to sign her up, but people are also ready to abuse her success to get what their want. What happens when you get everything you thought you always wanted?

And now, the big mama! The reason for the blogger event - White Rabbit Red Wolf by Tom Pollock. Now, I was planning to go into this book knowing nothing, but a few elements of this story was revealed and I still want to read it. Maybe more. It's a thriller - with maths. STAY WITH ME HERE! Peter is a math prodigy and suffers from crippling panic attacks. But when his mother gets stabbed at an award ceremony and his sister disappears, Peter finds himself being dragged into the world of espionage where state and family secret emerge and blur...

And Tom Pollock was at the event. You might know him because of his Skyscaper Throne trilogy, but this is his first YA book. He chatted about what made him want to write this (the three stool legs for this book were "Spy novel inspired/fear/maths". He also read a tiny snippet from the start of White Rabbit Red Wolf (which was both funny, gripping and also a little heartbreaking). And some of us drooled over his arms (don't just us!). I mean, HAVE YOU SEEN THEM?!

A post shared by Tom Pollock (@thjpollock) on

Am saying nothing. Also, it didn't help that while I was doing some tweeting, Tom was talking about mental health (he is an ambassador for TalkLife) and he yelled "WOLF!", making me jump out of skin, think there was a wolf in the bar and then wonder if this was a gay term I wasn't aware of (You have bear, otter, daddy, DILF... maybe wolf was a new one. Or what Tom was calling his arms. Ok, will stop that now...) 

After all the book were talked about, there was more chatting, more wine and food. Which was good as book bloggers/vloggers are a hungry lot. And once all that was done. I had the joy of trying to get home before midnight... 

Anyway, I did get home (only to have my cat be super hyper and find my foot was a great toy for his very sharp claws! Hence why I have plastics on my right foot) and I want to thank everyone who was at the event. It was a wonderfully fun evening and I can't wait to sink my teeth into these stories and to see you all soon!!!

Wednesday 17 January 2018

The Last Mrs Parrish - Q&A Time!

I am thrilled to welcome Liv Constantine onto the Pewter Wolf today!

Liv Constantine is actually two sisters, Lynne and Valerie Constantine, who wrote The Last Mrs Parrish via Skype, FaceTime and emails as they live three states away from each other in the United States.

Now, I won't go too much in depth into what The Last Mrs Parrish is about (I have questions linked to that further down), but when I got an email from Felicity at HarperCollins to ask if I wanted to do a tiny Q&A, I jumped at the chance! I was intrigued on how these sisters write this story living so far away from each other.

Now, before I hand it over to part me and both Lynne and Valerie, I want to thank them both for answering my questions and Felicity at HarperCollins for asking me if I wanted to be involved in one form or another.

OH! If you want more info on Liv Constantine, check out their website at or follow them at @LivConstantine2. Now, over to the questions!!!

Monday 15 January 2018

Library Book Review - The Uncommon Reader

This is actually a reread (or a #re3, if you want what I call). I read this years ago when this first came out and I enjoyed it back then. So, when I started thinking about rereading (you can blame Radio 2 who has a thingy of "Alan Bennett" on the Steve Wright show in the afternoons - my old job had Radio 2 on ALL THE TIME!!!), it made me think of this and I went "Ok, maybe I should reread this." So, I requested this from my library and here we are!

When the corgis take the Queen to a travelling library that was just outside the kitchens of Buckingham Palace, she feels guilt and takes a book out. The book she picks wasn't to her liking, but she feels guilty and takes out another. This book is a huge success and it turns the Queen into a reader. Soon, the Queen is reading more and more and people around her become concerned about her...

This is, very much, a novella for readers. It's a gentle read which is very much an ode to books and libraries. There's not much I can say about this, but it is a gentle read which I hugely enjoyed.

There were one or two things that made me go "Huh" over but, as I read her over a month go (before Christmas Eve, FYI), I can't remember what they were.

But this is a gentle ode to readers and libraries. Not sure if I would read other Alan Bennett's as I heard that his humour is a little more in your face and I prefer this subtle humour.

Thursday 11 January 2018

Library Book Review - Cardcaptor Sakura: Volume 1

Come on. Admit it You didn't think I was going to make this my first review of 2018, did you? Well, SURPRISE! I did warn you that this year, I was planning on reading more fun, and seeing as I have wanted to read the manga version of Cardcaptors for a while (I used to watch this years ago when it was on CITV - anyone watch it? If I can find a start of the first episode in English dub, I will pop it at the bottom of the post!), when I saw it on the Essex Libraries website and I could request it, I went for it (as well as requesting a few other books - this might be a dangerous thing for me to do! BE AWARE, LIBRARY!). 

And it came quicker than I expected so I read it just before Christmas. 

In this first volume of the series, we follow fourteen year old (though Wiki said she's ten so maybe I am misremembered) Sakura who accidentally release the Glow Cards, magical cards created by magician Clow Reed. After the guardian of the cards, Cerberus (or Kero) chooses her to reclaim the cards, each card has its own abilities. 

In this volume, Sakura captures Jump, Fly, Water and Illustration and already captured Windy and Wood (we have a few flashback moments to explain this). 

And I enjoyed this. This was a fun, whizz of a read and I enjoyed this hugely. It was very PG friendly (this did have an age rating on the back of the book saying "For All Ages") and I feel that this is safe for younger readers. Plus, it has magical elements that work nicely. Plus, the art work is lovely. It felt very nostalgia.  

The huge problem with this is that, in my library book had three pages missing. THREE PAGES WERE RIPPED OUT! It's hugely annoying and it kinda annoys with the flow of the story, but not so much as I have seen the manga so I connected the dots up to a point. But it meant going to my library and explaining that the book was ripped out and I didn't do it (so please don't charge me!)

But what really surprised me is how, while it was hugely similar to the anime, there were huge difference. How Sakura caught the Fly Card in the manga is hugely different to how she caught it in the anime (unless I am misremembering). 

But this made me smile and I am hugely, HUGELY, tempted to request the second volume of Cardcaptor Sakura... We shall see how I feel in the near future...  

Wednesday 10 January 2018

New Year's Book Tag

Just before Christmas, I was tagged by Emily from alwaysopinionatedgirl to take part in the Winter Tag. However, I kinda forgot to do it (I hope to attack it in the next few weeks, if not... oops!) but I saw this and went, "Till I have a moment to do SavidgeReads's Page 112 Tag (so next month or so as I really want to do this!), this would be fun to do!" So, blame Bookables with this tag, but let's go!

Tuesday 9 January 2018

HAPPY 2018!


So, we made it. We survived 2017! So, what's the plan for this blog this year? What is my blogging New Year resolutions? I must have loads, I hear you cry! I mean, I write one of these EVERY YEAR, outlining my plans and ideas and going "I'm going to do THIS! And THIS! And maybe even THIS!"

Well, I do. I have ideas of what I want to blog to do and went I want it to go in resolutions. I made a list and everything. But something made me go "Actually, I want to do all the things I want to do - use the library, read more diversity, take risks, reread more, use my kindle more, do more culls on my TBR. Yes, I want to do all them, but what I really want to do is one key thing."

So, that's what I'm going to do. This year, my main aim for my reading is fun. Reading for fun. Bring the fun back.

Sounds simple, doesn't it? It's not.

I enjoy reading, don't get me wrong. And I enjoy blogging, again don't get me wrong. But I want to inject the fun back. I want to read books that make me smile, laugh, gasp, scream in anger but go "I enjoyed myself with this. It's not perfect, but it was fun and I had a whale of a time!"

Now you see why the whale gif was put at the very start of this post...

Because, that's what's reading about. Having a whale of a time. Yes, I want books to challenge how I see the world or do reading challenges that make me go "Why did I think this was a good idea again? (yes, I might still do the Read All Dan Brown Novels This Year... maybe... I'm still in 2 minds about that) but I want to read fun!

So, that's what I am planning to do. Read more fun. This will mean that I might not read the latest "OMG!" read, or will post as often as I like (some of the books I have my eye on reading are over 500 pages long - ARGH!!!), but I am going to read some books that, I hope, are going to make me smile!