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!

Ok, George, TAKE IT TO THE RUNWAY!

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)

Now, ONTO THE TENSION!!!

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!

Now, ONTO KALYN!!!

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!!!