Tuesday, 15 September 2020

Audiobook Review - The Murder Room

I'm surprised that this is the first review am writing for the new Pewter Wolf. As you know, from my Sit Crooked And Talk Straight post, the last few months have been a bit of a struggle so am trying to find a new medium of writing the blog and having fun with it, so am trying things out. The next few months are going to be very trial and error. 

But this is a book reviewing book, so I should write a few bookish things on here, right? Something to reflect my, hopefully, new change in direction. Something fun, light, hopefully in these dark times, something - *checks notes* - nope, let’s talk murders, shall we? 

  • Title And Author: The Murder Room by PD James
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber
  • Physical, eBook or Audiobook: Audiobook
  • Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Bought
  • Length: 560 Pages or 12 Hours 39 Minutes
  • Buy From: Book Depository - Foyles - Waterstones - Audible UK

Commander Adam Dalgliesh knows of the Dupayne Museum in Hampstead. He took one of his friends there one Friday. He knows about niché museum’s commitment to preserve the history of the interwar years, including its sinister murder room. Now, he and his team are asked to investigate the murder of one of the trustees. Petrol was thrown on him and his car and set alight. With news that the this trustee was refusing to sign a new lease, meaning the museum would close, it now looks like his death was targeted. 

But what makes the murder more creepy is how similar it is to one of the murders in the Murder Room. A coincidence? Or is the killer using the Murder Room for inspiration and, if so, what murder are they going to do next…?

Friday, 11 September 2020

BBC National Short Story Award 2020 - PRESS RELEASE!!!

***Embargoed until Friday 11 September 2020, 1945hrs ***




2013 BBC NSSA winner and four-time nominated Sarah Hall joined by 26-year-old British-Ghanaian photographer Caleb Azumah Nelson, Creative Writing lecturer and James Tait Black Prize winner Eley Williams, poet and newcomer Jack Houston, and Belfast-based writer and 2019 EU Prize for Literature for Ireland winner Jan Carson to complete shortlist of writers exploring race, family politics, millennial relationships and inner-city life.

www.bbc.co.uk/nssa #BBCNSSA #ShortStories

The BBC National Short Story Award with Cambridge University (BBC NSSA) shortlist was announced this evening, Friday 11 September 2020 during BBC Radio 4’s Front Row. Celebrating 15 years of the Award, the shortlist included established and new voices with 2013 winner of the Award Sarah Hall shortlisted for the fourth time. The judges praised the shortlist for its energy, experimentation and versatility with the stories ranging from ‘perfectly miniaturised flash-fiction’ to the ‘fully literary and layered’ via diverse and topical inspirations including Black Lives Matter, millennial relationships, addiction, loss and family politics. 

BBC National Short Story Award with Cambridge University 2020 shortlist is:

  • ‘Pray’ by Caleb Azumah Nelson
  • ‘In The Car With the Rain Coming Down’ by Jan Carson
  • ‘The Grotesques’ by Sarah Hall
  • ‘Come Down Heavy’ by Jack Houston
  • ‘Scrimshaw’ by Eley Williams

The BBC National Short Story Award is one of the most prestigious for a single short story, with the winning author receiving £15,000, and four further shortlisted authors £600 each. The 2019 winner of the BBC National Short Story Award was Welsh writer Jo Lloyd, who won for The Invisible’. 

The 2020 winner will be announced live on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row on Tuesday 6th October.

All five stories will be broadcast on Radio 4 and on BBC Sounds and published in an anthology produced by Comma Press. The readers of this year’s stories include award-winning actress of stage and screen Anne-Marie Duff, who reads ‘Come Down Heavy’; Law and Order actor and rapper Ben Bailey-Smith, aka Doc Brown, reading ‘Pray’; and Outlander star and Northern Irish actor Laura Donnelly reading ‘In The Car With the Rain Coming Down’. Lydia Wilson, whose television credits include Requiem and Flack reads ‘The Grotesques’, with Call the Midwife and Fresh Meat actor and singer-songwriter Charlotte Ritchie completing the line-up with ‘Scrimshaw’. 

Jonathan Freedland, journalist, author and Chair of Judges for the BBC National Short Story Award 2020, says: ‘In a strange, perplexing year, we five judges were privileged to be taken away to worlds both faraway and near, rendered by five brilliant writers. These stories deal with the timeless human preoccupations – family, love, loss, longing – but with freshness, energy and great skill. Any reader picking up the collection or tuning into them on air has a variety of delights to look forward to and – luckier than us – they'll be free of the painful task of picking a winner.’

Jonathan Freedland is joined on this year’s judging panel by Commonwealth Prize winner Lucy Caldwell, who was shortlisted for both the 2012 and 2019 BBC NSSA; British-Nigerian writer Irenosen Okojie, a Betty Trask and Caine Prize winner; Edge Hill Prize shortlistee and Guardian short story columnist Chris Power; and returning judge Di Speirs, Books Editor at BBC Audio.

Di Speirs, Editor of Books at BBC Audio and judge of the Award since its launch says: ‘I am inordinately proud of this year’s shortlist – it’s sharp, relevant, sometimes heart-rending, sometimes funny! If we set out 15 years ago to help save the short story, what this year’s writers prove is that in 2020 it is rude health and more versatile and flexible than ever. From what is practically but perfectly miniaturised flash fiction, to the fully literary and layered, via bold new voices tackling tough realities and incisive humour within domestic tensions, this list reflects a generation of writers playing with form, range and the freedom of short fiction. Do listen to or read them.’

The BBC National Short Story Award with Cambridge University was established to raise the profile of the short form and this year’s shortlist join distinguished alumni such as Zadie Smith, Lionel Shriver, Rose Tremain, William Trevor and Mark Haddon. As well as rewarding the most renowned short story writers, the Award has raised the profile of new writers including Ingrid Persaud, K J Orr, Julian Gough, Cynan Jones and Clare Wigfall.

Dr Sarah Dillon, University of Cambridge says: 

It is a pleasure this year to see the shortlist represent both established writers of short stories, and new emerging writers, reflecting Cambridge’s commitment both to studying the canonical history of short fiction, and its focus on nurturing students’ creativity and voice. In a year such as this, the shortlist yet again demonstrates the importance of creative writing, especially the short form, for making sense of the world we all share.’

About the short stories:

British-Ghanaian Caleb Azumah Nelson’sPray’ is a ‘vibrant, invigorating and agile’ story set over a summer in South East London. Charged with ‘wit, anger, affection and sorrow’, the story shows the reality for young black men navigating a world that ‘wasn’t built with us in mind’.  With characters and dialogue so alive they reach out from the page, ‘Pray’ explores fear, injustice, masculinity, race and the origins of violence. Caleb’s eagerly anticipated debut novel Open Water recently sold in a nine-way auction and publishes in February 2021.

Jan Carson, winner of the EU Prize for Literature for Ireland 2019, is shortlisted for her ‘tender, humane and sharply observed’ story ‘In The Car With the Rain Coming Down’. Inspired by her upbringing in rural, Protestant Northern Ireland, she takes both her characters and readers on a literal and emotional journey, weaving together family politics and community rivalries as a family set off on an ill-fated picnic. Tender, nuanced and funny, it will resonate with anyone who is part of an extended family.

Carson is joined on the shortlist by Sarah Hall, the 2013 BBC NSSA winner, twice nominated for the Booker prize and the author of five novels. ‘The Grotesques’ is the ‘brilliantly observed and layered story’ of a young woman’s birthday gathering. Set against the backdrop of privilege and inequality in a university town, it explores themes of toxic mother-child relationships, covert control, scapegoating, and the masks we can wear to either challenge or conform to our place in society. 

Shortlisted for the Award for the first time is Keats-Shelley Prize runner-up and one-to-watch Jack Houston with the ‘uncompromising, compelling’ ‘Come Down Heavy’, inspired by his own experiences. Echoes of Kae Tempest and Irvine Welsh imbue the prose-poetry of his ‘breathless’ work – a spiralling, unsettling and disorientating story of two women’s seemingly unstoppable descent into a world on the fringes of society; a world of poverty, violence, addiction and despair. 

Completing the shortlist is Eley Williams, Creative Writing Lecturer at Royal Holloway and winner of the James Tait Black Prize, shortlisted for her surreal and succinct ‘Scrimshaw’. A ‘fresh, funny’ take on millennial relationships and the perils of modern smartphone communication, this ‘taut tale’ told via a late-night text session and inspired by the ‘literary nonsense’ of Edward Lear and Ivor Cutler, explores self-censorship, anxiety, attraction and the boundaries of language. 

The BBC also continue to celebrate young, emerging talent with the sixth BBC Young Writers’ Award with First Story and Cambridge University shortlist announced on Sunday 20th September. Open to 1318 year olds, the aim of this Award is to inspire and encourage the next generation of short story writers and is a cross-network collaboration between BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio 1. The winner of the BBC Young Writers’ Award will also be announced on 6th October on Front Row.

Key Dates: 

  • From Friday 11 September: Front Row will broadcast interviews with each of the 2020 shortlisted writers on Radio 4 and on BBC Sounds from 7pm on Friday 11, and from 7.15pm on Monday 14, Tuesday 15, Wednesday 16 and Thursday 17 September 2020. 
  • From Monday 14 September: Shortlisted stories will be broadcast on Radio 4 and on BBC Sounds from Monday 14 to Friday 17 September 2020 from 3.30 to 4pm.
  • From Monday 14 September: An anthology – The BBC National Short Story Award with Cambridge University 2020 – introduced by Chair of Judges Freedland and published by Comma Press will be available at www.commapress.co.uk and all good bookshops priced £7.99.
  • Sunday 20 September: The stories shortlisted for the BBC Young Writers’ Award with First Story and Cambridge University will be announced on Radio 1 and on BBC Sounds on Sunday 20 September from 4 – 6pm.
  • Tuesday 6 October: The announcement of the winners of the two awards and a celebration of the 15th anniversary of the BBC National Short Story Award will be announced in a special short story edition of BBC Radio 4’s Front Row from 7.15pm. 



For AWARD PRESS ENQUIRIES contact Emma Draude, Bethan James or Annabelle Wright at [email protected], [email protected] or [email protected] 

or call 020 7732 4796 or 

for BBC RADIO 4 PRESS ENQUIRIES contact Sean Harwood at [email protected]
or on 07718 695382 

Photos of the shortlisted writers and logos are available to download here


  • Caleb Azumah Nelson is a 26-year-old British-Ghanaian writer and photographer. His writing has been published in Litro and is forthcoming in The White Review. He was recently shortlisted for the Palm Photo Prize and won the People's Choice prize. Open Water, his eagerly anticipated debut novel, is published by Penguin Viking (UK) and Grove Atlantic (US) in February 2021. Caleb lives in South East London. 

  • Jan Carson is a writer and community arts facilitator. Her debut novel Malcolm Orange Disappears and short story collection, Children’s Children, were published by Liberties Press, Dublin. A micro-fiction collection, Postcard Stories was published by the Emma Press in 2017. A second volume is forthcoming in August 2020. Jan’s novel The Fire Starters was published by Doubleday in April 2019 and subsequently won the EU Prize for Literature for Ireland 2019, the Blackwell’s Books Kitschies Prize for speculative fiction and was shortlisted for the inaugural Dalkey Book Prize 2020. Jan has also been shortlisted for the Sean O’Faolain Short Story Prize and in 2016 won the Harper’s Bazaar Short Story Prize. Her work has appeared in journals such as Banshee, The Tangerine, Winter Papers and Harper’s Bazaar and on BBC Radio 3 and 4. In 2018 Jan was the Irish Writers Centre’s inaugural Roaming Writer in Residence on the trains of Ireland. She is the 2019 recipient of the Jack Harte Bursary. Jan has curated the CS Lewis Festival, the Hillsborough Festival of Literature and Ideas and the inaugural Belfast Lit Crawl. She specialises in arts engagement with older people living with Dementia and has received funding through Queen’s University Belfast to carry out a research project into the representation of Dementia in literature. Carson has a BA in English from Queen’s University Belfast and a MLitt in Theology and Contemporary Culture from St Andrews University, Scotland. She has facilitated creative writing workshops for the University of Ulster, Irish Writers Centre, Dublin, John Hewitt Summer School, West Cork Literary Festival and many other universities, festivals and organisations. Jan was born in Ballymena and now lives in East Belfast, Northern Ireland.

  • Sarah Hall was born in Cumbria in 1974. Twice nominated for the Man Booker Prize, she is the award-winning author of five novels and three short-story collections – The Beautiful Indifference, which won the Edge Hill and Portico prizes, Madame Zero, shortlisted for the Edge Hill Prize and winner of the East Anglian Book Award, and Sudden Traveller (2019). She is currently the only author to be four times shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award, in 2010, 2013, 2018, and now in 2020; she won in 2013 with her story ‘Mrs Fox’. Sarah was born in Cumbria and lives in Norwich. 

  • Jack Houston’s poetry has been published in a wide range of literary magazines and in a few anthologies, been shortlisted for the Basil Bunting and Keats-Shelley Prizes and taken 2nd Prize in the 2017 Poetry London Competition. He works within Hackney’s Libraries where he has held a range of poetry events, most recently an online Lockdown Poetry Workshop. He also teaches a poetry writing course for a local chapter of Age UK. As a mature student, he received a BA in Creative Writing from London Metropolitan University and then went on to receive an MA in Writing Poetry from the Poetry School / Newcastle University. Jack is from, and still lives in London. 

  • Eley Williams lectures at Royal Holloway, University of London. Her short story collection Attrib. and Other Stories (Influx Press) won the James Tait Black Prize and the Republic of Consciousness Prize. The Liar’s Dictionary (William Heinemann) is her debut novel and is published this year. Eley was born in Chiswick and lives in Crouch End, London. 


  • The BBC National Short Story Award with Cambridge University (NSSA) celebrates its 15th anniversary in 2020 with the aim to expand opportunities for British writers, readers and publishers of the short story and honour and celebrate the UK’s finest exponents of the form. James Lasdun secured the inaugural Award in 2006 for ‘An Anxious Man’. In 2012, when the Award expanded internationally for one year, Miroslav Penkov was victorious for his story, ‘East of the West’. Last year, the Award was won by Jo Lloyd for her story The Invisible’. K J Orr, Sarah Hall, Cynan Jones, Jonathan Buckley, Julian Gough, Clare WigfallKate Clanchy, Ingrid Persaud and David Constantine have also carried off the Award with authors shortlisted in previous years including Zadie Smith, Jackie KayHilary Mantel, William TrevorRose Tremain and Naomi Alderman.

  • The BBC National Short Story Award with Cambridge University is open to authors with a previous record of publication who are UK nationals or residents, aged 18 years or over. The story entered must either have been unpublished or be first published or scheduled for publication after 1st January of the previous year. The story should have a maximum of 8000 words and must have been written in English. The Award offers £15,000 for the winner and £600 to four shortlisted writers. For more information please visit www.bbc.co.uk/nssa

  • BBC Radio 4 is the world’s biggest single commissioner of short stories, which attract more than a million listeners. Contemporary stories are broadcast every week, the majority of which are specially commissioned throughout the year www.bbc.co.uk/radio4 

  • The mission of the University of Cambridge is to contribute to society through the pursuit of education, learning and research at the highest international levels of excellence. To date, 107 affiliates of the University have won the Nobel Prize. Founded in 1209, the University comprises 31 autonomous Colleges, which admit undergraduates and provide small-group tuition, and 150 departments, faculties and institutions. The University sits at the heart of one of the world's largest technology clusters. The 'Cambridge Phenomenon' has created 1,500 hi-tech companies, 14 of them valued at over US$1 billion and two at over US$10 billion. Cambridge promotes the interface between academia and business and has a global reputation for innovation. The BBC National Short Story Award is being supported by the School of Arts and Humanities, Faculty of English, University Library and the new University of Cambridge Centre for Creative Writing which is part of the University of Cambridge Institute of Continuing Education, which provides a range of part-time and courses to members of the public. https://www.ice.cam.ac.uk/centre-creative-writing

Tuesday, 8 September 2020

Future Rereads... Maybe...

If you read my "Ten Years of The Pewter Wolf" post at the start of the year, you might have read a small paragraph where I said I would like to try and reread some books from my early blogging days. And while I have done some rereads (at the time of writing this posts, I have reread around 11 books - check out the #re3 tab to see some of my rereads this year and back in the past (up to around 2013 when I started #re3), I've not done some of the titles I had in mind. So, here's a small post, chatting about SOME of the titles I have my eye on trying to reread by the end of this year/end of next year (2021).

Now, some of these titles I have read and reviewed on the Pewter Wolf and others were before Pewter Wolf began. Plus, am going to pick a few that you might not see coming and only going to give you a few titles as the rest I want to be a surprise to you and to myself. As you are probably aware, I don't do monthly TBR posts... though maybe I should for a while...

Getting away from the point of this post!

Friday, 4 September 2020

Texts From Dad Blog Tour - Guest Post

BLOG TOUR ALERT!!! And it's a little different from my normal as this is for a non-fiction title.

I know, what have I become?!

Anyway, I was asked if I wanted to be involved in this, read the blurb, laughed and said yes very quickly.

Texts from Dad is a collection of daily texts sent from a father to his daughter, detailing 57 days of lockdown due to COVID-19. And then, these texts go viral...

Of course I had to say yes to be involved in this blog tour! I mean, come on!

Now, I have a guest post from Peter Barber, texter at large, chatting about this book as I am thrilled to be sharing it with you guys! But, before I do, I just want to thank him for writing this post. I, also, want to thank Blue from Kaleidoscopic for asking if I want to be involved in this tour! And, if you want more info of the book, check out Book Depository!

Ok, with all them out of the way, OVER TO YOU PETER!

Wednesday, 2 September 2020

#re3 - Illuminae

Ok, I did warn you that I might mix things up on the Pewter Wolf and on my Goodreads (goodreads.com/pewterwolf) for the next few months, till I find my groove back with reading and blogging (this is a strange new time!), but after listening to the audiobook of Illuminae (a reread, as first read it back in 2018), I knew I wanted to talk about this so, let me get the typical “Here’s all the Info/links” rubbish out of the way and we can talk! 

  • Title And Author: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
  • Publisher: Rock The Boat
  • Physical, eBook or Audiobook: Audiobook
  • Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Bought
  • Length: 608 Pages or 11 Hours 40 Minutes
  • Buy From: Book Depository - Foyles - Waterstones - Audible

Now, I’ve already read this so this is a reread and I know most of you guys have read this as you are much better readers than me, but if you haven’t, Illuminae is a bit of a weird one. But in a good way. Stay with me with this as I try (and fail) to explain this. 

The year is 2527 and two megacorporations are at war over a tiny, ice-speck of a planet. Shame no one thought to warn the people on the planet. As enemy fire falls down on them, Kady and Ezra must make their escape to the evacuating fleet. There, they will be safe. Right? 

Wrong. A deadly plague has broken out on one of the ships and is mutating, the ships’s AI has gone AWOL and the enemy ship that was destroying the planet is chasing them, wanting to kill them all. And no one is saying or doing anything. Kady knows her way round computers so she decides to hack their computers to find the truth, but soon realises that she needs one person’s help: Ezra. Yet, there’;s a problem with that: they broke up mere hours before all this crazy started and she’s not sure she wants to talk to him…

Tuesday, 1 September 2020

September 2020 TBR

I don’t do Monthly TBRs. I never stick to them. I am very much a mood reader, as you guys can probably tell from how I pinball around genres. But, I want to try this out for a month or two, see if it keeps me on track on one or two books. 

Now, before I go further, I want to say that I am not going to list EVERY book/audiobook I want to read/listen to this month. That will defeat everything. I want to say one or two titles, maybe three at a push. This is because I am a little of a slow reader, normal life is slowly returning (define “normal life” lately) so I will have to adapt my reading to that, I have a ton of preorders coming out this month and I’m very much a mood reader so I want to be flexible! Plus, it’s nice to surprise you guys with a curveball once in a while… 

But, there are a few titles I do want to try and read/audiobook this month for one reason or another. So, am going to reference these now and, hopefully, will stick to my reading plan.

I can’t go any further without mentioning To Sleep In A Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini. Quick backstory time. I preordered the audiobook version of this at the beginning of the year, but I was very kindly sent a limited edition Advance Reader Copy of this, and I planned to read this and Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer back-to-back last month. However, Midnight Sun (which I thought I would fly through) is taking longer than I thought so this is on backburner. I suspect that I will be starting to read this again at the end of the month so I might go quiet for a while. You have been warned. 

But the first book I want to mention on here is The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien. I know, I’ve never read Lord of the Rings and while I have no need to, I put this on my Amazon Wishlist MONTHS ago as I kept going “I do want to read Tolkien. Or, at least, attempt to.” I kept getting pulled to it. And someone very kindly gifted it to me (thank you!). But the main reason I want to read it (or attempt to) is because two booktubers I love are doing a readalong to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings - #TolkienALong. And seeing as I missed another readalong of The Bone Season by Samatha Shannon, I REALLY want to do this one, just to say I have read the Hobbit and see everyone’s reactions to it. I will put announcement videos from both booktubers down below! 

Another title I want to try and read this month is The Hungry Ghost by H.S Norup. I don’t know much about this book. I got a copy of it via NetGalley and I want to try and read it this month as I really like the cover and, because of cover, I might be involved in a possible blog tour for this book next month so, for once, I want to be ahead of the game! It’s rare, I know, but I want to try! And because I might be involved in tour, I don’t really want to say much about it, but it’s a middle-grade and set in Singapore at the time of the Hungry Ghost Festival. 

Third and final book - ok, audiobook - I would like to read/listen to this month is Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. In a few days times, you will read my write-up of my reread/listen of Illuminae and because of this, I bought audiobooks 2 and 3 in the trilogy and hope to audio them by end of the year! Gemina follows two new characters, Hanna and Nik, two teens so far removed from each other on the Heimdall space stations, little realising that Kady and the space ship, Hypatia, is coming towards Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion (from Illumanae)… 

That’s all I am going to admit here and now. I do have a ton more books/audiobooks I want to read this month, but like I said, I want this to be causal and relaxed so I have room to be a mood reader. Plus, if doing this the next few months works, I might do a small TBR Jar next year of 12 titles. But it all depends on how this works out so, we shall see… 

Saturday, 29 August 2020

Best Reads/Audiobooks Of The Past Two Months...

As you probably noted, I haven't really talked about what I read/audiobooked via the past few months. July was a surprise blog break and then, to ease self back into blogging this month, I took on a bunch of blog tours (which were fun as this made look into books and series, some of which I wouldn't have noticed till I was asked and now am going "I need to put this on my radar, if I have time/space on my TBR") to help me ease back into blogging.

But that didn't mean I have stopped reading. Oh no. I have still been reading. And, for the most part, I have been reviewing them on my Goodreads (goodreads.com/pewterwolf). But there were a few I wanted to reference on here as they were SO GOOD, that I wanted to share with you guys. I hope you don't mind...

Thursday, 27 August 2020

Burn The Kingdoms Down

SURPRISE! This is a last minute decision as, on a whim, I emailed Phoebe at Penguin, wondering if Sally Green, author of the Half Bad trilogy and the Smoke Thieves series, fancied writing a small guest post for me to celebrate to release the third and final book in the Smoke Thieves, The Burning Kingdom. Phoebe asked Sally and both were thrilled to. As am I as I got quite obsessed with Half Bad, Sally's debut trilogy!

I'm not going to do a write up about The Burning Kingdoms as third and final in series (I'm not going to spoil! I'm not a monster!), so let me do a tiny write-up of Smoke Thieves. Smoke Thieves follows several leads, each from four different kingdom.

In Brigant, Princess Catherine prepares for a loveless political marriage arranged by her brutal and ambitious father. In Calidor, downtrodden servant March seeks revenge on the prince who betrayed his people. In Pitoria, feckless Edyon steals cheap baubles for cheaper thrills as he drifts from town to town. And in the barren northern territories, thirteen-year-old Tash is running for her life as she plays bait for the gruff demon hunter Gravell.

As alliances shift and things take several sharp turns, throwing everything off course, our four heroes find their past lives transformed and their futures inextricably linked by the unpredictable tides of magic and war...

I am thrilled that Sally found the time to write this guest post, so thank you Sally. I, also, want to thank Phoebe for saying yes and chatting to Sally about this post.

Now, before I hand over to Sally, if you want to say hi to her, you can say hi to her via her Twitter (@Sa11eGreen). Plus, if you are curious on The Burning Kingdom or any other of Sally's novels, you can always check her Penguin's website or Book Depository!

With this all out of the way, OVER TO YOU, SALLY!

Tuesday, 25 August 2020

Sit Crooked And Talk Straight

I've been hiding my reading for the past two(ish) months, haven't I? Not on purpose! HONEST! But am surprise no-one's called me out since I've come back from my blog break and with the past few weeks, I've said yes to quite a few blog tours and with me not wanting to overwhelm you with too many posts (I usually only like to have two/three posts a week. Max.), but I can not talk about it now, can I?

What have I been reading the past few months since I went on a reading break and a blogger break?

Ok, let me backtrack and start the story in the middle of June 2020. Yes, a whole two and a half month back. After reading and audiobooking a heck of a lot of books, I hit a wall. All the books I was picking up were two or three stars and were very "meh", I was loosing the energy to read/on verge of reading slump and blog at the same time. I just felt run down.

So, I did a mini, under the radar, taking a break from reading and blogging. Reading was ok as I reread a book I love (Sabriel by Garth Nix) and I found myself jumping straight back into audiobooking. Reading took a little while longer.

But blogging. Blogging has taken longer. And I think it's because I've lost my spark and my energy for it. Don't get me wrong, I like blogging and I like being involved in the bookish world in my small way. But there are days where I couldn't muster the energy to write a post as "What is the point?! No one reads my blog, I feel like I've outgrown the community because of The Weekly Drama and am putting so much time/effort/thought into these posts and yet, am getting so little back lately? What is the point?!"

Oh yes, the I Should Quit Book Blogging voice has come back again, making its yearly appearance. But this time, this time, I'm actually listening to it and thinking about my reasons. I think, also, I felt like I lost my voice. I lost my space. Am I a YA book blogger? Am I now adult? Crime? Fantasy? Who am I?

So, been thinking about who I am now as a book blogger?

And the answer is ... I don't know.

I still read, I still blog, so maybe what I should do is using the blog to figure it out. Which means, maybe, changing the way I use the blog. For example, should I write-up every book I read or should have write-up one or two fuller reviews on the Pewter Wolf and do short, snapper reviews on Goodreads and change/delete some of my social media platform and try new bookish social media (which is the idea I'm leaning towards at the moment)? Or, find a nice medium between the two?

Should I change what books/audiobooks I read? Am I still happy reading YA or should I change my focus to something a bit more grown-up? Should I take bigger risks, experiment a little more with genres I both love and don't read in often/at all? Or should I admit to myself that writing the Pewter Wolf isn't giving me the same joy it use to and, if I want to keep going, I need to admit this and adjust? Or is the just the fact that it's been such a hot summer that my brain can't cope?

I don't know. And I'm not sure if/when I will know. But I think I've lost my voice and my likes along the way, hence why I fear it might have gone stale and I've lost my spark, so I need to find them again. So, maybe the next few months, things will change on here. It's going to be a bit trial and error for the next few months till I find something I feel comfortable and proud of. So, forgive me in advance, but I'm going to try and figure it out and make Pewter Wolf more... me

Join me while I figure this out, won't you?

Friday, 21 August 2020

Dangerous Remedy Extract Time

BLOG TOUR ALERT! And we are going to French Revolution time in this whirlwind of a read. We have fighting, queer romance, diversity. Basically, everything I should be devouring as a reader!

For those not sure about this, Dangerous Remedy follow Camille, a revolutionary's daughter, leader of a band of outcasts. A runaway, a deserter, an aristocrat in hiding. They try and save lives of those who will meet the edge of the blade. But their latest rescue isn't what it seems to be. This girl is no aristocrat, but her dark and disturbing powers means both sides of the revolution - the Royalists and Revolutionaries - want her.

The question is: who or what is she?

I am thrilled to have an extract for you guys to wet your appetites! And it's a good'un! I promise! It's good!

Now, before I go any further, I want to quickly thank Jade at Head of Zeus for allowing me to tag along this tour, even though much cooler and more badass book bloggers are on the tour!

And before I hand you over to the extract, just a tiny heads-up (as always) that if the extract hooks you and you want more info on Dangerous Remedy, you can check out Head of Zeus or Book Depository! Or, you can say hi to Kat, you can visit her website at katalicedunn.com or give her tweet on Twitter at @KatAliceDunn!

Ok, all done? No more housekeeping? Alright, ONTO THE EXTRACT!

Tuesday, 18 August 2020

Boy Queen Takes It To The Runaway

Oh, come on! I might not be a RuPaul Drag Race viewer (don't give me that look!), but I couldn't resist using this gif to kickstart this post as, today, I am thrilled to be involved in the Boy Queen tour! 

Now, I read Boy Queen by George Lester earlier this year during lockdown and I had a blast reading it. It was fun, queer and everything I needed! (Link to the review is here, FYI!) So, once I had read this, I had to email the publisher to ask if there was going to be a blog tour or something to celebrate this book's release and if I could be involved in some way! 
Robin Cooper’s life is falling apart. While his friends are ready to go to uni, all he seems to be getting is rejection letters from most/all drama schools of the UK and Robin’s life seems to be spiralling. Unsure of himself and his talent, he and his best friends take him to a local gay bar on his birthday to cheer him up and, when there, they watch a local drag show. And Robin gets a strong reaction and he decides to, in the words of Mama RuPaul, Sashay away. 

But how can he get to grips with drag performing when he has a secret boyfriend who won’t acknowledge him in public, his mother can talk for England, his best friends are planning their futures and leaving him behind and the new boy at school is making Robin’s heart beat a little faster? 

Now, before I hand you over to George, I just want to say that if you want to check George out online, pop over to his youTube (youtube.com/TheGeorgeLester) or say hi to him on Twitter at @TheGeorgeLester. And if you want more info on Boy Queen, check out either PanMacmillan or Book Depository!


Friday, 14 August 2020

FOXES Blog Tour Alert!

BLOG TOUR TIME! (You're going to be see those three words a lot over the next few weeks. Sorry in advance!)

Anyway, I am thrilled to be one of today's stop in the F.O.X.E.S. tour (tour info above, in case you're curious)! But what, pray tell, is F.O.X.E.S? Well, this is the thirds instalment in the popular S.T.A.G.S series by M.A. Bennett and this series is getting darker and more twisted by the instalment.

Greer is trying to recover from her terrifying experience from the events of the STAGS play. Was she really put on trail by the sinister Dark Order of the Grand Stag? Or was it all her veractive imagination? The puzzling M imprint on her thumb - M for Murderder - isn't evidence either way...

But things are happening that Greer is more worried over. Ty is staying at Longcross Manor and Greer, New and Shafeen become increasingly worried for her safety. So when the three get a cryptic text from Ty, telling them to visit Cumberland Place, they decide against their better judgement to go. There, they meet the grieving parents of Henry de Warlencourt. Rollo is arrogant, entitled and not grieving whereas Caro, while charming, is clearly pushed to her limit by Henry's death, insisting that Henry isn't dead.

But that;'s not possible. Right? And what is Rollo plotting for his deadly Boxing Day Hunt? Is history going to repeat itself or is something more horrible on the cards?

I am thrilled that M.A. Bennett has found time to write a guest post for the tour, talking about keeping the tension up in thrillers (I love a good thriller book/TV show/movie and I've always wonder how they keep the tension up...)

Now, before I hand it over to MA, I want to thank her for writing this post (I know how busy you are!) & I want to thank Faye for asking if I wanted to be involved in the tour! Now, if after reading this post, you're curious over F.O.X.E.S or the series in general, you can pop over to Hot Key Books or Book Depository for more info. Or, you can say hi to MA on her Twitter (@MABennettAuthor) or on Instagram (@MABennettAuthor)


Thursday, 13 August 2020

Revisiting the Old Kingdom

During COVID-19 lockdown/self-isolation, I read and audiobook a lot! And, as you probably see from a month or so back, I hit a reading wall and was on verge of reading slump and blogging slump. So, I decided to reread Sabriel, the first book in the Old Kingdom series by Garth Nix. This is usually my Go-To book when I'm on the verge of or in a reading slump as I adore this book!

Plus, me rereading this series is a long time coming as, for the past 18 months, I have openly said that I would reread Lirael, the second book in the series. I've been wanting to reread this for such a long time as, while I adore Sabriel, Lirael has a soft spot in my heart as does Goldenhand (I will explain why a little further down).

So, the past few months, I finally sucked it up and reread the whole series. Expect, I've not reread them. I have audiobooked them, and while I've only ever audiobook Sabriel, so this is a new experience for me, and yet, not quite at the time same.

So, what do I class this? A Reread Post (aka re3 post) or a new post? A mix of both? An experience post?

Not sure where to start, so let's talk about rereading these books and me falling back in love with this world.

I suppose I should explain what the series is about, though that is a little of a hard one to explain. The Old Kingdom series is a high fantasy series which, primary, is set in the Old Kingdom, a kingdom where magic exist (well, two types. Charter Magic and Free Magic) and the Dead can walk, pulled back into Life by nercomancers or Free Magic adapts. Only the Abhorsen can lay the Dead to rest and force them into the cold river of Death and, hopefully, through the Nine Gates.

I suppose I should, also, explain reading order and history as, even as a fan, this is a weird one. Sabriel is the first, published in the UK in 2002 but published in Nix's homeland of Australia in 1995. This was, originally, a standalone so you can easily read this and you would be perfectly fine. Lirael and Abhorsen was published in 2003 and 2004. Set around 20 years after the events of Sabriel, this is one story told over two books, so you have to read this duology together. Clariel is a tricky one - almost the black sheep of the family - as it's a prequel, set around 300 years before the events of Sabriel and things happen in there that have an effect on the series. And Goldenhand takes place six months after the events of Abhorsen.

Which leads to reading order. There are, to my knowledge, three ways you can read this series, if you wish. You can read it in publication order (Sabriel, Lirael, Abhorsen, Clariel and Goldenhand with the two novellas, Nicholas Sayre and the Creature in the Case and To Hold A Bridge before Goldenhand - yes, there are short stories set in this world, but not gonna touch on them in this post!), you can read in timeline order (Clariel, Sabriel, Lirael, Abhorsen and Goldenhand) or you do publication order but flip Clariel and Goldenhand about so the order would be Sabriel, Lirael, Abhorsen, Goldenhand then Clariel.

I know, that last order sounds weird, but it does work and make sense. Because Clariel is a prequel and hints at one or two things to come, you can either read it before or after Goldenhand. You can read it before and go "Oh, that's what happened" or you can read it after and go "Oh, that's what happened!"

But, in either way, I do say read Sabriel first as it sets up the world and magic system and Lirael and Abhorsen is one story told over two books and, if possible, read Clariel and Goldehand as close together if possible, though this isn't essential.

So, my reread and thoughts. Well, to no one's surprise, Sabriel and Lirael are wonderful books. I will happily push these two onto people. They are wonderful and am shocked that it's taken me so long to reread these. The same goes Wirth Abhorsen, though I don't have as much affection to it compared to Sabriel or Lirael. I feared at one point that this would be four stars, but Garth pulls it back right at the end!

Clariel and Goldenhand are odd balls. I've not read these as much compared to the others (only once or twice) and I have read affection for these. I read Goldenhand while in New York City on holiday with my partner who proposed on that trip, hence my soft spot. And with Clariel, I've been waiting for this book for such a long time and, while not my fave in the series, I do keep thinking about the main character, Clariel, quite often as she is quite a complex character.

But this reread was different. And I have two reasons for this. The first is I was audiobooking this time round and, because of that, I had three different narrators. Tim Curry, Graeme Malcolm and Heather Wilds. Now, I have listened to the audiobook of Sabriel many years ago so I have heard Tim Curry reading and I adore his voice. It just fits (plus, how he does Mogget is wonderful) so, I knew I would love his reading of Lirael and Abhorsen. And I did. Hugely.

But, as we all know, he suffered a stroke several years ago, meaning he was unable to continue acting and reading the series. Hence, Graeme and Heather stepping in to read Clariel and Goldenhand. And this is a bit jarring when you are doing one audiobook after another. I am going to be honest here, I see why Graeme was chosen to do Clariel, but I never warmed to his voice. The same goes, up to a point, with Heather. I see why she was chosen and I did like her reading, but some of the choices she made with character's voices were puzzling.

Plus, I did audiobook Goldenhand at the worst possible time in my life (I will explain in further but not now. At the time of writing, it'a too soon and too raw).

But I am, overall, really glad I revisited the Old Kingdom. And with the sixth book in the series coming out the end of next year (it will either be called Terciel and Elinor or Terciel [not sure as getting conflicting info on that front), I can;'t wait to come back into this world. Or maybe reread a book or two before diving straight back!

Friday, 7 August 2020

The Crow Rider Has Eyes

BLOG TOUR TIME! And I am thrilled to be part of the The Crow Rider tour!

Crow Rider is the conclusion to the Storm Crow duology, so I don't really want to say too much in fear of spoilers so let's try and keep this as vague as possible, shall we?

Thia, her allies and her crow, Res, are planning a rebellion to overthrow Queen Razel and save Illucia once and for all. But it might not be as easy as Thia needs to convince neighbouring kingdoms to come to her aid, Res's magic is being to become unstable and Thia is being pursuded by heir to the Illucian throne, Prince Ericen, the one person Thia shouldn't trust and yet, she can't seem to stay away from him...

I hope that wasn't too spoilery, but I am thrilled that the author, Kalyn Josephson, has written this small guest post for my spot on the tour!

Now, before I hand it over to Kalyn, I just want to thank her for writing this post and to Faye for asking if I want to be involved in the tour! And if you want to say hi to Kalyn, check out her website or visit her on Twitter (@KalynJosephson). Also, if you want more info about this duology, check out Sourcebooks and Book Depository!


Monday, 3 August 2020

Podcasts I've Listened To During COVID-19 Lockdown

As you guys knows, I love a good podcast! And with me listening to a heck more podcasts and audiobooks the past few months (one of the only few pros of lockdown and self-isolation), I thought I would talk about a few podcasts I relistened to as well as new podcasts I discovered and became obsessed with!

One podcast I kept relistening to (or a handful of episodes that made me chuckle dirtily in one room while my Other Half is in the other room, trying to work from home) is My Dad Wrote a Porno. If you're not sure on this popular, basically the host discovered his dad wrote an erotic novel and, horrified, told two of his friends and they decide to podcast their reactions to each chapter. The episodes I seem to listen to contains the lines "She likes her women like she likes her wine: ice cold", "Belinda gave into nature, not once but twice before the inevitable blue ejaculation cut across her dreams" and " [Spoiler Removed] And I am the Special One"! 

Ok, so I relistened to a ton of podcasts, but tlet's chat about one or two podcasts I discovered and loved!

The first new podcast I only just discovered a week or so ago and, over a space of one weekend, I binged the entire first season and the first few episodes of season 2 that have been released. Arden (click here to go to their website) is a comedy murder mystery drama (they describe themselves as Serial or My Favourite Murder meets 80s TV show, Moonlighting) where Bea, a journalist, and Brenda, a former cop, join (reluct) forces to attempt to solve the 10 year old mystery of disappearance of Hollywood starlet, Julie Capsom. She vanished in the middle of nowhere and her car has a torso in the boot. Is this the torso of her former boyfriend and possible stalker, Ralph Montgomery?

In the second season, the pair go to Montana to investigate a possible murder of a rancher, only to find themselves getting a little too close to the case and the rancher's daughter, Dana Hamill, who can't help but think her uncle is involved... (I emailed the podcast for a possible guest post and, while they declined, they let me listened to the first 6 episodes of season 2 and guys! I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENED IN THE SECOND HALF OF THE SEASON! Hopefully, it won't be a long wait before the cast and crew can, safely, record the resolution).

The second is a crime literary podcast, Shedunnit. This podcast with short episode looks into the genre of crime and the authors who wrote them. I discovered this by fluke after trying to learn more info on Agatha Christie and Josehine Fey (I still need to read Daughter of Time, that everyone says is great if you are a fan of the Golden Age of Crime). So, a non-fiction podcast that is doing awful things to my TBR and credit card (thanks for that, Caroline!)

One more podcast? Ok, where do I go? OH! Let's do F***bois of Literature (here's the twitter)! Basically, the host and a guest read a novel or series and chat about whether or not the character in question is a f***boi. I came in quite late to this podcast, around the time the show talked about Lord Asriel from His Dark Materials, Ron Weasley from the Harry Potter series, Edmund from Narnia and, my fave at the moment, BATMAN!

I do have some honourable mentions of some old faves and new shows: My Favourite Murder, Spirits, You're Dead To Me, Wheels on Fire: An Absolutely Fabulous Podcast, The Villain Was Right, The Archers (oh yes, am back on that. WHO HAVE I BECOME?!). 

And as you know, I love discovering new podcasts so, here I am, begging you to tell me what podcasts I must put on my radar and listen to ASAP! I would love to hear them!!! 

Wednesday, 29 July 2020

The Island Cover Reveal & Extract

I HAVE A COVER REVEAL FOR YOU GUYS!!! (No, I'm not back from my mini blog break or, RSM as we call it!). And the main reason I decided to do this is because the blurb for this sounds SO GOOD!!!

It's CL Taylor's newest YA novel, The Island, which was sold to me as Lost meets The Hunger Games. How intriguing, no? Now, before I show you the cover, let me show you the blurb for it, the one that sold me in going "Ok, I want to be involved in this!"

Lost meets The Hunger Games in the thrilling new young adult novel from C.L. Taylor, the Sunday Times and million-copy bestselling author.

It was supposed to be the perfect holiday: a week-long trip for six teenage friends on a remote tropical island. But when their guide dies of a stroke leaving them stranded, the trip of a lifetime turns into a nightmare.

Because someone on the island knows each of the group’s worst fears. And one by one, they’re becoming a reality. 

Seven days in paradise. A deadly secret. 

Who will make it off the island alive?

You see? As soon as I read this, I went "YES!". Ok, ready for the cover? Ready?

Wednesday, 8 July 2020

Surprise Blog Break Alert

Well... this is unexpected. Not just to you, dear reader, but to me also.

Ok, let me start from the beginning and we can go from there.

Usually, I try and have two blog breaks a year. The first is usually round Easter so March/April and the second in October. I do try and take a few weeks off at the end of the year to celebrate Christmas and New Year.

But this year has been different. With COVID-19 and lockdown, I have been reading then blogging a lot more so I just went through my first usual blog break without much through. The plan, I decide, was when I was allowed to go back to work, I would take a few weeks off and try and get back into the rhymes of life again.

But, a few weeks ago, I found myself on the edge of a reading slump. After reading multiply stories that were always 2 or 3 stars, my brain was rebelling against the idea of reading. I was relistening to some old podcasts and my brain wasn't fully ready to read (though it did allow me to audiobook one of my favourite reads, Sabriel by Garth Nix). For the past few weeks, I have been binging the books from the  Old Kingdom (I should be finished with Goldenhand by the end of the month, fingers crossed!).

So, I have, slowly, walked away from my reading slump verge. But, at the same time this was happening, things were happening on Book Twitter (for a good few weeks, there was always something - and with good reason), which made me question my blogging or if I was still a member of book blogging, especially the YA book blogging community.

If you've followed the Pewter Wolf for a while, you know that I have been struggling on how long I should keep blogging for the past few years on and off, and with this and everything that has been happening, the idea of writing blog posts for the past few weeks makes me feel tired. I feel tired of the blog and every time I wanted to type a post, I just couldn't muster the energy to do it. Why should I when it felt like I was doing it for no reason?

Though, writing this has been quite helpful as now I'm giving myself the permission to take a blog break, I feel like now I could write posts. But I'm going to take time out and now worry about writing posts of books I read this month. Unless a book catches my eye and I need to talk to you guys badly about it.

So, yes, I am taking a small blog break and I'm not really going to write up my reviews/write-up of the stories I read/listen to this month and save them for next month like I normally do. I'm just going to titles that catch my eye and, when I come back at the end of the month/August/whenever, I can start afresh and anything that I do read this month, I will do a small write-up on my Goodreads or Twitter (so, yeah, now is the time to meet my social media and I am looking into joining other bookish social media such as BookSloth. Maybe... am still thinking this over... ) and I'm not going to pressure self to read x amount of books/audiobooks within a stupid timeframe like I normally do.

Maybe this is a time-out the Pewter Wolf and myself need. So, blog break time! I will be reading and I will be plotting...

So, till I return, stay safe, stay kind and stay fighting.

Wednesday, 1 July 2020

Queen of Coin and Whispers Extract Alert!


Queen of Coin and Whispers is a debut from Helen Corcoran and I'm very excited to share this extract from you as this book screams everything that I want to read this year. It's fantasy and queer and it sounds perfect!

When idealistic Lia inherits her corrupt uncle's throne and his bankrupt kingdom, she brings in a new spymaster, Xania, who only took the job to avenge her father's murder. But as the two spend more time together, the more they fall for each other, which could ruin everything for both of them.

Am keeping this quite vague as I want you to read the extract!

So, before I hand you over to the extract, I just want to say thanks to Triona at O'Brien Press for asking if I wanted to be involved in this tour!

Now, if you want to say hi to Helen, pop over to her website at helencorcoran.com or go to Twitter and say hi to her at @hcor. And, after reading the extract below you crave more info, you can go to either obrien.ie or Book Depository!


Thursday, 25 June 2020

Self-Isolations Mini-Reads - A Taste of Honey & HeartStopper

Oh, the joy of thinking you are on a verge of a reading slump: you are never sure on how you feel about the book and if you should do a small write-up about the stories you have read. I’m probably going against my better judgement and I am going to do a two mini-reviews in one post. Which isn’t going to be a difficult thing to write as one ebook I read, I had a blast with and the other… not so much. 

Might as well get them out of the way now! 

  • Title And Author: A Taste of Honey by Kai Ashante Wilson
  • Publisher: Tor
  • Physical, eBook or Audiobook: eBook
  • Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Bought
  • Length: 162 Pages
  • Buy From: Book Depository - Foyles - Waterstones

I had such high hopes for this. Such high hopes. I mean, LOOK AT THAT COVER! Yes, I did buy this because of the cover. Plus, part of the book’s blurb catch my eye and I went “YES!”. Aqib, fourth-cousin to the royal family and son of the Master of the Hunt, finds himself falling for a handsome Daluçan soldier named Lucrio. As the two start a star-crossed whirlwind of a romance, the two don’t know if their love cam survive all the hardships the world has planned to throw at them… 

Like I said earlier, I had such high hopes. An adult fantasy novella with a black queer romance at its heart? SIGN ME UP! And yet… and, sadly, yet, this didn’t work for me. There’s nothing wrong with this - the writing and world building were on point, though a tad confusing at times if you’re not on the ball. Plus, maybe it’s because I am on the verge of reading slump that I felt that this was a tad dense for my brain. But the main reason I went into this novella - the black queer romance - while there, often felt overshadowed by the writing and the world-building. 

Ok, so I had a tiny misfire as I judged a book by its cover (DON’T!), but I thought I would try something with kissing. So, when I saw an eBook version of Heartstopper: Volume 1 on my kindle for 99p, I “ooh”ed and “ahh”ed over it. I have read the webcomic for a few years now, but kept putting off buying the first volume. Not sure why, but I did. So, I got Volume One now (AT LAST!) and, oh, hang, I need to do the links/essential info! 

  • Title And Author: Heartstopper: Volume One by Alice Oseman
  • Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
  • Physical, eBook or Audiobook: eBook
  • Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Bought
  • Length: 288 Pages
  • Buy From: Book Depository - Foyles - Waterstones

Ok, with that out of the way, let’s chat graphic novel/webcomic! Charlie and Nick go to the same school, but have never met. Until they made to sit next to each other in class. The two become friends, and soon Charlie finds himself falling hard for Nick, though he’s sure he has got a chance with Nick. But Nick might be more interested in Charlie than either of them realise. 

This is wonderful, feel-good graphic novel. The art might not be as polished as other graphic novels, but this has a lot of heart and does wonders for representation within the LGBTQ+ community. Plus, if you follow the web-series, this series does tackle some issues with sensitivity and care, but this is very much setting up Nick and Charlie’s friendship and slowly growing romantic relationship and it’s wonderful! 

I had to jump onto the web-series once I had read the volume to double-check what happened next as it ends on a bit of a cliffhanger. But this was exactly what I needed after reading A Taste of Honey

Speaking of this, this might be my last bookish-review/write-up for a while as life is slowly trying to return to normal plus reading slump so going to give myself a few weeks off blogging my reading and my thoughts (though not for long. I just need to find my feet again and then, can hit the ground running again. And oooh, I have titles I want to read that I can’t wait to sink my teeth into!!!)