Thursday, 27 April 2017

Press Release - DC Icons Coming To The UK!

Ok, I know. I am very rare when I put Press Release up on the blog. It has to be news that makes me jump up and down in my chair and go "I HAVE TO SHARE THIS ON MY BLOG BECAUSE ARGH!!!". And I feel that this warrants that. And hopefully, you guys will be excited too.

I have to thank Ryan from Empire of Books (who has a puppy! A CUTIE PIE PUPPY!) for getting me in the loop and then Sarah from Penguin Random House Children's UK (that's a mouthful!) who saw my tweets and asked if she could send me the email in question because I wasn't on her radar. Hence the squealing!

But... guys, this sounds good! And all I can think of here is "BRING ME WONDER WOMAN!", "This is gonna be awesome!" and "Please don't screw this up!"

From Darkest Skies...

Surprise blog post time as The Pewter Wolf would like to welcome Sam Peters! Sam is a debut author  who has just published From Darkest Skies. A sci-fi thriller, we follow Keon, an Intelligence Service Agent, who is grieving for the loss of his wife. Desperate for the truth, he creates an AI version of her using every digital trace to help solve the crime. But as they try and discover the truth, the relationship begins to changes into something more, something frighteningly dependent, something that could be on the verge of love...

I am thrilled that Sam has written this guest post (thank you Sam! Know how busy you must be!) and to celebrate the release of From Darkest Skies, I am allowed to host a small giveaway (thank you Stevie from Gollancz). You can find all the info for contest on the Googleform below!

Oh, if you want to check Sam out online (or want more details over the book), you can go to the website - liss.ai - or check out his Twitter at @sampeters679! Ok, now with that out of the way, over to Sam!

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Book Review - The Witch's Kiss

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, 20 April 2017

The Audiobook Tag


CURSE YOU, @LOVEMIKAYLAEVE! AND CURSE YOU DARREN AT BART'S BOOKSELF! CURSE YOU BOTH!!! CURSE YOU FOR MAKING ME AWARE OF THIS TAG AND MAKING ME DO IT!!! (where's a good gif of Maleficent when you need one...?)


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

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

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

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

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

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

WHAT'S THE SHORTEST BOOK YOU'VE EVER LISTENED TO?
I had to double check this as I misremembered. It's Go The **** To Sleep by Adam Mansbach (read by Samuel L Jackson). It's only 6 minutes long! 6 MINUTES!!!

HOW DO YOU LISTEN TO YOUR AUDIOBOOKS (IPOD, MP3 PLAYER, PHONE, ETC?) WHAT KIND OF EARBUDS DO YOU USE?
iPod for me. I would do it by my iPhone but I like listening to my podcasts on my iPhone and like to keep them separate (no idea why!). And earbuds... whatever comes to hand. But, normally, it's just the standard iPod earbuds. I do have other round the house but those are small and easy to pop into my pocket.

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

eBook Review - Felix the Railway Cat

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Goodbye Days Playlist

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, 13 April 2017

The Left Hand Easter Contest

Who's in the mood for a Easter giveaway?

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

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

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

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

Book Review - Noah Can't Even

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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