Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Library Book Review - A Wrinkle In Time

This might be my last book review of this year! Might be! That's the words of importance in this first paragraph. And look! It comes under a different banner - this will be explained in my New Year's Resolutions in 2018 so keep your eyes peeled on that front.

Anyway, why did I want to read this book? Well, Disney is turning this into a movie and it stars Oprah, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling and Chris Pine (I'll pop the trailer or teaser trailer at the bottom of the post). And it's just sounds good! With this book being a huge thing in the USA (but not so much in the UK. Actually, it's really under the radar), I wanted to see what this book was all about.

Published in the 1960s, this middle grade story follows Meg who, one night, meets a stranger called Mrs Whatsit who mentions something that shakes her scientist mother up. When she, her younger brother Charles and their friend Calvin meet up with Mrs Whatsit and her two companions, Mrs Who and Mrs Which, the three travel through a "wrinkle" in time and space to rescue Meg's father...

Hmm... I'm not sure how I feel about this as I am very much in the middle on this. On the one hand, it was a good read. I sense my younger self would have read this much faster than I did and would click with the story and the situation better than my adult self.

BUT! But, I can't help but feel that this is Narnia but with science. Both are good stories for middle grade readers, but I have huge problems with children's books where religion is forced onto young readers. It makes me uncomfortable and I'm not sure on how other readers would feel about this...

But if you know readers who like Narnia but want to read something more sci-fi, this might be the book you should give. It might feel dated at times due to the writing (remember, was written in the 1960s) but I am still excited to see how the movie is going to update the story! It's going to be huge in the US, but outside of the states, we shall see...

Monday, 11 December 2017

BBC National Short Story Award 2018 & BBC Young Writers' Award 2018 - Press Release

I have a long press release to share with you guys so bear with me a few moments before I share it!

As you know, I was asked (kindly but randomly) if I would blog about the BBC Young Writers' Award 2017. I did (because am always on the hunt for fresh stories - basically, I feel like a bookshark. Hey, maybe instead of bookworm, we readers should call ourselves booklions or booksharks!) and I was luck to be invited to the BBC to watch the winner be announced on BBC Radio 4's Front Row (write up for that is here!).

Well, the lovely PR at ED PR emailed me and asked if I would a press release for next year's BBC National Short Story Award 2018 and BBC Young Writers' Award 2018, I jumped at it! I mean, FRESH TALENT!

Anyway, enough of my jabba-jabber! Let's show off the press release!

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Doomspells and Silver

This was meant to be going up in a day or two times, but because it's snowing, I decided to push it forward a few days. Seemed a little apt somehow... anyway!

I'm not sure how this happened, but I am thrilled to have Cliff McNish on the Pewter Wolf!

Cliff McNish is the author best known for his Doomspell trilogy and the Silver Sequence, but has written other novels such as Breathe: A Ghost Story, The Hunting Ground, Angel and Savannah Grey. I devoured the Doomspell trilogy and the first two Silver Sequence when they first came out many years ago, so when I heard that, after years of them being out of print, they were going to be republished, I knew I had to email Cliff to see if would have time to answer a few questions about Doomspell and Silver. And he came back and went "Sure!".

So, to Cliff for finding time to answer my questions, thank you.

Now, before I hand you over to our Q&A, if you want to know more about Cliff and his books, check out either his website - www.cliffmcnish.com - or his Twitter - @cliffmcnish.

Now, ONTO THE QUESTIONS!

Thursday, 7 December 2017

eBook Review - Played!

I have to admit this: this was an impulse request read. I was snooping on NetGalley over the past few months to read things a little out of my comfort zone and spied this and went "Why not?". Yes, it is an adult gay romance and I want to read more LGBT reads. Plus, one of the leads in this suffers from dyslexia, I thought that this would be interesting to see how this was tackled.

Tristan has one last summer of freedom before he moves to New York and work for his father's finance company, giving up his acting career. But he has one summer and while he visits the small country town of Shamwell to set his recently deceased Danny's affairs in order, he can't help getting involved in the town's local dramatics version of Midsummer's Night Dream.

Con like to hide behind his staging. With his late diagnosed dyslexia, he doesn't even think about acting. But when an incident at a local cricket match means he has to fill a role last minute, he is thrown into Tristan's orbit, who offered to help Con learn his lines.

The more time they spend together, they begin to fall for each other, but a slip of the tongue could easily ruin them...

This is an easy, fluffy read. It was easy to read and was nice to read something that I could switch off to as I have been worrying that the last few weeks, I have been on the verge of a possible reading slump. So this was perfect for me.

HOWEVER! There is so many problems to this.

This felt very insta-lust between Tristan and Connor (Con for short) and as for the characters, primarily and secondary - oh, the characters! Most of the characters in this aren't exactly characters I cheered for. I mean, this is a romance, so we want the romantic leads to be characters we want to cheer for! We want them to be together at the end...

... but Tristan... oh, Tristan. There was potential here for character growth! I like Con (I can count on one hand how many characters I liked), but Tristan was arrogant, self-centred and a bit mean at time. And he learnt nothing. Maybe the reveal of the "slip of the tongue" was sooner (not 85-90% in the story), we had longer for them to get some resolution and it wouldn't be so rushed and so fake. Con deserved better - and there was a moment I wonder if this was going in a different direction with another character - I think I would have preferred that compared to how it went.

I think the problem with this whole story is that it had potential but it failed to reach it. I had low hopes so I wanted some fun to read, and while it was, it's hugely problematic.

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

eBook Review - The Tower Is Full of Ghosts Today

I have been in two minds about doing a write-up over this. But I am thinking of reading this series (I do have the second book in the series, which follows Anne Boleyn, on my kindle due to NetGalley) so I wanted to read this to see if I could click with the author's writing style.

In this (very) short story, we join Jo at modern day Tower of London where she takes a group of tourists round the Tower. But she becomes enchanted by the tour guide, who knows with accurate historical knowledge about Anne Boleyn's time in the Tower...

This is a free eNovella so I knew it was a marketing ploy. But what annoyed me about this was the length of the short story. The story itself was only 12% (only a few pages in total). So, the rest (88%) was either copyright, content, information about the author and the opening chapter of the three novels within the series (Katherine of Aragon: The True Queen, Anney Boleyn: A King's Obsession and Jane Seymour: The Haunted Queen).

I decided that I wasn't going to read the opening chapters as I am going to read at least one novel within the series so, what are my thoughts on the short story.

Truth be told, it was ok. But it was very short and quite abrupt. There was no resolution and even though it featured/hinted at ghosts, it wasn't that spooky. I think this would have been better if there was more padding to it, more resolution and less marketing.

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.