Showing posts with label reading. Show all posts
Showing posts with label reading. Show all posts

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…?

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…

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!!!) 

Friday, 19 June 2020

Self-Isolation Read - Arctic Heat

  • Title And Author: Arctic Heat by Annabeth Albert
  • Publisher: Carina Press
  • Physical, eBook or Audiobook: eBook
  • Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Gifted by publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review/reaction
  • Length: 368 Pages
  • Buy From: Book Depository - Audible UK

ARGH! My NetGalley TBR has gotten SUPER out of hand! At the time of writing this, it’s over 100 and I know that a handful of them might not be my reading tastes now as they were requested several years back and if you have been on this reading/blogging journey with me the past few years, you would have seen my tastes change and me reading a few more genres more than others now compared to when I started. 

But I do have a set spot for romance of late. Sometimes, when the world becomes dark, you need a little sweetness, and romance seems to be my go to the past few weeks since lockdown/self-isolation. Plus, the past few weeks, I have felt on the verge of a reading slump so I hoped that this would save me up to a point. A gay romance set in the snowy mountains of Alaska? What more could I ask for?

Owen Han has a new leash of life. Surviving cancer and going through his bucket list, volunteering alongside park rangers and fulfilling his childhood dreams of snowy winters and rustic life. Shy ranger Quill doesn’t want to deal with newbie volunteers. And flirty Owen looks like he wouldn’t survive a week, let alone the winter. But as the two spend time together, their work relationship turns romantic, but can their relationship survive the harsh winter?

Wednesday, 10 June 2020

Self-Isolation Read - Meet Cute Club

  • Title And Author: Meet Cute Club by Jack Harbon
  • Publisher: Self-Published
  • Physical, eBook or Audiobook: eBook
  • Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Gifted
  • Length: 186 Pages
  • Buy From: Amazon.co.uk [Non-Affiliate]

I was very lucky to have been gifted some books and ebooks from Amazon Wishlist thread on Twitter due to COVID-19 self-isolation and days feeling very low about this world situation back in March/April (though the situation now… like I said a while back, can we cancel 2020?). And I decided that I would like to read some over the summer. So, after reading The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes and feeling very meh about it and the world/weather at the moment, I felt I needed something light and fluffy before I go onto my next real read of the first book in the Lockwood and Co series by Jonathan Stroud. So, the ebook gifted by Faye from A Daydreamer’s Thoughts called to me and so, I started Meet Cute Club

Jordan Collins doesn’t need a man. Why would he? He’s happy reading the next release of his favourite romance novelist and his romance book club. But members are slowly leaving and so, when a new employee from his local bookshop, Rex, wants to join, Jordan can’t exactly say no. Even though the first and only time they met, Rex made fun of his “grandma” reads and Rex got under Jordan’s skin in a way no one has before. 

As the two begin to team up and save the Meet Cute Club, both Jordan and Rex realise that they judged each other wrong - What’s the saying? Never judge a book by its cover? - and the two fall for each other. But they both know real life isn’t a romantic novel and not everyone will get a happy ever after. So, will they?

Thursday, 4 June 2020

Self-Isolation Read - The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

  • Title And Author: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins
  • Publisher: Scholastic
  • Physical, eBook or Audiobook: Physical
  • Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Bought
  • Length: 528 Pages
  • Buy From: Book Depository - Foyles - Waterstones - Audible

Ok, let's address the elephant in the room. The world at the moment is awful. There's no other word for it. It's awful. And I thought long and hard over whether to continue posting on the Pewter Wolf or not over the next few weeks. I decided, in the end, that I am going to continue posting for a little while (I am going to take a small break later in the moment due to work and my mental health), but I wanted to say that this blog is my safe space and I want to keep it being a safe place for you, dear reader. I will one or two things the next few weeks and you will notice a shift on what I read and how I educate and entertain myself. But please bear with me. I will try and be/do better.

So... the long awaited prequel to The Hunger Games trilogy! And it’s a chunky beast. And it had a bit of a journey to its worldwide release - we were told it was a prequel, following an eighteen President Snow becoming a mentor for the 10th Hunger Games and happening in the middle of the COVID-19 and other things (can we just cancel 2020?) - but we’re here now. And this book is getting some very mixed reactions. 

So, what is mine? 

Now, before we go further, the book. On the morning of the Reaping for the tenth Hunger Games, young Coriolanus Snow is preparing for his one shot of fame and glory as a new mentor of this Hunger Games. The name and respect for the Snow has fallen on hard times and he thinks this will save himself and his family. 

But when he is told he will mentor the female tribute from District 12, he feels humiliated and starts trying to figure out his next move. For someone desperate to survive, how far will he follow the rules for?

Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Self-Isolation Blog Tour - Fair Warning

SURPRISE BLOG TOUR REVIEW ALERT! I bet you weren’t expecting this, were you? Well, it’s always nice to keep you guys on your toes! So, before you send off your DNA off to that DNA ancestry site, sit down, have a cuppa and read my review of my first Michael Connelly, Fair Warning!
  • Title And Author: Fair Warning by Michael Connelly
  • Publisher: Orion
  • Physical, eBook or Audiobook: Audiobook
  • Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Gifted by publisher in exchange for an honest review/reaction
  • Length: 416 Pages or 10 Hours 14 Minutes
  • Buy From: Book Depository - Foyles - Waterstones - Audible

So, my first Connelly! When I was asked if I wanted to review this, I jumped at it, only reading the first few lines at the press release. Then self-isolation happened and that affected how I audiobooked this so, heads-up that this review might be a tad more clinical than it would have been if life was “normal” and was listening to this a few months ago and a few months into the future. So, this is my first Michael Connelly so forgive me if I make a mistake or question something that is explain in previous novels. 

Anyway, with all that out of the way, let’s get to it! 

Veteran journalist Jack McEvoy is used to tracking down killers - he’s done that with The Poet and The Scarecrow. But he thought that when he started working at non-profit consumer journalism website, Fair Warning, those days were behind him. But when the Police come to his home and question him about a one-night stand he had over a year ago, he’s confused. Till it’s revealed that the woman is now dead, and she believed she was being cyber-stalked and the Police, having little to no evidence, think Jack is a possible suspect. 

Horrified, Jack begins to investigate, against the warning of the Police and his own editor. But when he stumbles on the fact that this death isn’t the other death with the same method of killing. And all the killings have another thing in common - they all send their DNA off to the same cheap DNA testing site. Is there a serial killer out there, using the same DNA profiling to select their victims? Is it the same person who, on the Dark Web, calls themselves the Shrike?

Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Self-Isolation Read - Nailed

  • Title And Author: Nailed by K.M. Neuhold
  • Publisher: Self Published [?]
  • Physical, eBook or Audiobook: eBook
  • Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Bought
  • Length: 337 Pages
  • Buy From: Book Depository

It’s rare that I read the same author back-to-back. Very rare. And within the same series. Even rarer. So, me buying and instantly read Nailed, the second book in the Four Bears Construction series, after having a blast reading the first book, Caulky, seemed to make perfect sense! 

Stone doesn’t understand why his neighbours hates him so much. He seems to have hated Stone almost as soon as they met, and there seems to be no reason for it. Well, if Dare thinks Stone is the neighbour from hell, Stone is going to be: mowing his lawn at dawn at the weekend, leaving his rubbish bins in front of Dare’s driveway, renting out a petting zoo without checking… 

But when it’s revealed why is a simple minunderstanding, the anger between these two men have for each other turns into an angry, yet hot make-out section. So, where does that leave them now?

Thursday, 21 May 2020

Self-Isolation Reading - Caulky

  • Title And Author: Caulky by K.M. Neuhold
  • Publisher: Self-Published (?)
  • Physical, eBook or Audiobook: eBook
  • Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Bought
  • Length: 316 Pages
  • Buy From: Book Depository - Audible

I have no idea how this book got on my radar. I generally don’t know. I think I was research another book and I stumbled on Caulky that way or if someone mentioned this on Goodreads and I preordered it on a whim. I can’t remember, but I might have started self-isolating by then and, as you have seen, I have gone hard on the romance side of my TBR. 

The first book in a gay romance series, Ren is going through a nasty break-up. With another relationship down the drain, Ren decides to give up hope of ever finding the One and decides to try hook-ups with random guys every now and then while living a solitary life. In a bar, Ren picks up a handsome stranger, thinking he’ll never see him again. Shame that Cole is an owner of the construction company and the constructor who’s redoing Ren’s bathroom… 

And, to make things more You’ve Got Mail, both guys have faceless profiles on a gay dating app and they chat to each other, becoming friends with snarky comments. 

That’s right. We have a weird little love triangle with two people, but who don’t realise that they are the same person…

Monday, 18 May 2020

Self-Isolation Audiobook - The Green Mill Murder

  • Title And Author: The Green Mill Murder by Kerry Greenwood
  • Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press/Constable or C&R Crime
  • Physical, eBook or Audiobook: Audiobook
  • Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Borrowed from local library via BorrowBox
  • Length: 224 Pages or 6 Hours 19 Minutes
  • Buy From: Book Depository - Foyles - Waterstones - Audible

My self-isolation reading has pinball all over the place the past few weeks. But the audiobooks I’ve requested from my library has been very hit and miss. I would request an audiobook WEEKS ago/before self-isolation, excited to audiobook it, only for it to come available to me now during these crazy times and my brain going “Nope!” over it. 

But my brain allowed me to listen and enjoy The Green Mill Murder, the fifth book in the Phryne Fisher series and my third outing (after Murder on the Ballarat Train and Flying Too High). 

Phryne Fisher is dancing to jazz at the Green Mill in 1920s Melbourne, when a man collapses to the floor, stabbed in the chest. But no one was near the man so how was he stabbed? 

When the Police arrive at the Green Mill, Phryne’s dance partner goes to bathroom to be ill, and vanishes without a trace… 

Soon, Phryne is investigating the case of the dead man and her dance partner’s disappearance and the trouble he left in his wake…

Thursday, 14 May 2020

Self-Isolation Read - Tough Guy

  • Title And Author: Tough Guy by Rachel Reid
  • Publisher: Carina Press
  • Physical, eBook or Audiobook: eBook
  • Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Gifted by publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review/reaction
  • Length: 262 Pages
  • Buy From: Audible (eBook available on Amazon)

I was meant to be reading Agatha Christie’s Death on the Nile. That was the plan. But after reading 20-odd%, my brain wasn’t in the right head space while self-isolating. So, I needed something light and easy. Something that didn’t involve much brain-power, and then I remembered I requested this adult gay romance a while back from the publisher and went “I’ve read a bit of romance the past few weeks, let’s try you out!”

Ice hockey player Ryan Price has recently moved to Toronto Guardians to play their enforcer, but he struggles with self-esteem issues and anxiety. But he’s determined to make a fresh start in the city’s LGBTQ Village. The last thing he expected was to bump into Fabian Salah, a blast from the past who has sworn never to date an ice hockey player. They shouldn’t have a strong attraction, but it’s there… But can these two, who seem completely incompatible, make it work?

Tuesday, 12 May 2020

Self-Isolation #re3 - Twilight

  • Title And Author: Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
  • Publisher: Atom
  • Physical, eBook or Audiobook: Audiobook
  • Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Bought
  • Length: 513 Pages or 12 Hours 51 Minutes
  • Buy From: Book Depository - Foyles - Waterstones - Audible

Well, this is a turn-up for the books. I decided to reread Twilight. Now, I hold this series quite close to my heart (not Harry Potter close, but I do have affection for this series) and in times of darkness, such as self-isolation/furlodged due to COVID-19, sometimes rereading a book you love or rewatching that TV show, film or playing that video game is needed. 

So, not sure why I went to Twilight and not my normal go-on of Harry Potter or Sabriel, but Twilight I did. 

Now, this isn’t a review. There is no point me doing a review for this book as we all agree that, yes, this is a fun, beach read and a perfect read for something to sweep you along and you happily go along with it. HOWEVER, this book is very problematic. 

The book is very much split into two parts. The first half focuses on the romance, the falling in love for the first time. It’s Bella moving to Forks and falling into lust then love with Edward over a period of several weeks/months. I keep forgetting that the first chunk of the book takes place over a long period of time. That’s because Bella rarely mentions time pasting. 

And yes, people have said Bella is very blank-state Mary-Sue character as you insert yourself into her character (had to rewrite that line as “insert yourself into her” sounds increasely filthy!), and because she’s falling in love for the first time, we too are inserting our first time as well. Plus, as we all know, when you are at the beginning of a relationship, we all are wearing rose-tinted glasses and inserting the qualities we most admire onto the other person and not seeing their flaws, hence why Bella sees Edward’s behaviour as romantic and not as toxic masculainy (though why no one else in the book sees it is anyone’s guess).

Then we have the thriller second-half. I’m not against this - I read/audiobook most of this section in one or two days, but I sense that there were some aspects that were a little too easy. A little too convenient. But I read this section at speed and most readers forget this latter part as, when we think about Twilight and the Saga as a whole, we remember the romance. 

I’m surprised at some of the writing. In some places, it’s fairly solid and others, not so much. As someone who has read most of Stephenie’s novel (barring the Eclipse novel, The Second Short Life of Bree Tanner), I can see that she’s grown as a storyteller and go better with her plotting. Her adult novels, The Host and The Chemist are far better and much stronger (though, out of the two, I would say The Host is far superior. Though I do think The Chemist has its moments and would work much better as a TV show, similar vine to Killing Eve, The Blacklist or Blindspot). 

It was nice going down nostalgia reading lane, and seeing as I want to do a lot more rereads as part of my “Ten Years Book Blogging”, it was nice to reread this and make plans to reread a few other titles… gonna keep these under my hat, for now, though keep eyes peeled on my #re3 page as they might offer you clues…

Thursday, 7 May 2020

Self-Isolation Read - One By One


Another self-isolation read and I got my dates muddled. After reading Boy Queen by George Lester and audio booking The Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly Lives In Your Home, I craved a murder mystery. I wasn’t sure if I wanted anything heavy, but I was leaning towards Agatha Christie, only to remember I was approved to read this via NetGalley and with some people saying this has strong And Then There Were None vibes, I jumped at it. 

It was when I was a good chunk into the story did I check release date and release that the book was going to be released in November of this year, so, I can release review now and be SUPER EARLY or hold off and hope my opinions on this book stay the same. I’m going to risk being early and, by the time this comes out, I will be more well-read in Ruth Ware’s novels so I can give a more honest and truthful reply/reaction. 

Snow is falling in the exclusive French ski resort of Saint Antoine and the shareholders and directors of the hottest music app, Snoop, hope that, but the end of the corporate retreat, they will have decided their company’s future: a billion pound dot com by out or the not sell. But with a near split on what to do, a decision must be made. 

But when one board member vanishes moments before an avalanche cuts the chalet, its guest and the two staff, off from help, business tensions turn to a desperate urge to survive. But something doesn’t feel right about the disappearance… it’s as if this was a murder. But was it murder, an accident or are they safe somewhere else? Because, if it was murder, that means the murderer is with them…

Wednesday, 6 May 2020

Self-Isolation Audiobook - The Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly Lives In Your Home

  • Title And Author: The Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly Lives In Your Home by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor
  • Publisher: Orbit
  • Physical, eBook or Audiobook: Audiobook
  • Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Bought
  • Length: 384 Pages or 9 Hours 13 Minutes
  • Buy From: Book Depository - Foyles - Waterstones - Audible

It’s been a while since I listened to the podcast, Welcome to Night Vale. But I always say it’s one of my fave podcasts as it has that level of creep, unnerve and yet a big hearted and very diverse! One of the fans’s favourite character is The Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly Lives In Your Home. She tried (and failed) to become the town’s Mayor and little is known about her barring her living in your home, in every home. Though, in an episode The April Monologues, she says “I haven’t begged since I was a child aboard that wicked ship. Those men didn’t listen either … which is the reason I lived at the bottom of the ocean for so many years before this place, this desert, this town, this apartment…” 

So, who is/was she? How did she come to Night Vale? This book gives the answers as this book goes back in 19th century Europe and slowly pieces her past together with the present as she guides, haunts and sabotages a young man called Craig…

Tuesday, 5 May 2020

Self-Isolation Read - Boy Queen

  • Title And Author: Boy Queen by George Lester
  • Publisher: Macmillan
  • Physical, eBook or Audiobook: Physical and eBook
  • Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Both gifted by publisher in exchange for an honest review/reaction
  • Length: 400 Pages
  • Buy From: Book Depository - Foyles - Waterstones

I’ve followed George’s video on writing, book reviews and other stuff for quite a while. Hell, I’ve met him once and twice through book blogging events and he is lovely and fun to chat with. So, when it was announced that he had signed a publishing deal and his first book was coming out this summer, I knew I had to get my hands on it. 

So, was thrilled when I managed to get my hands on a physical copy and, because I need to learn to STAY AWAY FROM NETGALLEY (!), an eBook ARC. And, even though I have nearly 300 other books to read (review, bought, gifted, etc), I pushed everything aside and devoured this (self-isolation. What else am I going to do but read all the books that siren call my heart?) 

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 should, in the words of RuPaul, Sashay away. 

But how can he get to grips with drag performing when he has a secret boyfriend who won’t acknowledge in public, his mother can talk for England, his best friends are planning their futures without him and the new boy at school is making Robin’s heart beat a little faster?

Thursday, 30 April 2020

Self-Isolation #re3 - Tales of Beedle The Bard


REREAD TIME! Ok, not reread or #re3 (as I call them on the Pewter Wolf) as this is the audiobook version, which was only released a few weeks ago. But, this is a reread as I have read and reread this how often. I mean, it’s Harry Potter related, OF COURSE I have read this goodness knows how many times! 

And while I was in two minds over whether to write this or not (for several days, I did say I wouldn’t as WHAT COULD I ADD?!), Am surprised that I haven’t written this up on the Pewter Wolf before. So, while in self-isolation and trying to avoid my eProofs TBR as if it was the [retracted badly-timed joke here], I thought I would listen to this and write a quick thingamabob here. 

So, history to Beedle. Ok, most Harry Potter fans know this but Beedle was reference in the last Harry Potter, Deathly Hallows. And in it, it’s a collection of wizard fairy tales, very similar to Brothers Grimms’s. After finishing Deathly Hallows, JK Rowling decided to hand-write Beedle to people as a way of thank you. One went to her first UK editor (who, I believe, auctioned off his copy a few years ago with most proceeds going to charity), and a second going to her American editor. Another copy was auctioned and the proceeds went to charity and, less than a year later, the collection was published to general public. The sale of this collection went towards charity and continues to do so. 

So, Tales of Beedle the Bard is a collection of five wizard fairy tales: The Wizard and the Hopping Pot, Fountain of Fair Fortune, Warlock’s Hairy Heart, Babbitty Rabbitty and Her Cackling Stump and The Tale of the Three Brothers. Also, as this is seen as a Hogwarts Textbook (much like Fantastic Beasts and Quidditch Through the Ages), this has a little extra with footnotes written by Albus Dumbledore.

Tuesday, 28 April 2020

Self-Isolation Read - Nightshade

  • Title And Author: Nightshade by Anthony Horowitz
  • Publisher: Walker Books
  • Physical, eBook or Audiobook: Physical
  • Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Bought
  • Length: 448 Pages
  • Buy From: Book Depository - Foyles - Waterstones

One of the the weird things about self-isolation over the Easter Weekend (yes, I know this is going to go live on the Pewter Wolf a few weeks after I read it and write up this review) is that the amount of free time I have to read. Am trying to keep a daily routine but, with a normal working-day, I can only grab snatches of reading here and there but I rely on audiobooks and podcasts the most. But what I mean is that reading a book of this size would normally take me several weeks and yet, the past few weeks, I have been reading books of this size at a pace and I’m not sure how my reading is going to cope when I go back to work…

But we’re not here to talk about work, we are here to talk about Nightshade, the twelfth Alex Rider novel. I have read Alex on and off since my college days (starting with Eagle Strike) and, earlier this year, I audiobooked/reread Ark Angel, a bit of a “jump the shark” in the series and, after that, I went “I’m going to read Nightshade. I mean, what is the mysterious Nightshade that was referenced at the end of Never Say Die?”. So, I preordered it and, unlike the other preorders I made while in self-isolation which I start then DNF/put on hold, I powered through this at quick a speed. 

After the events of Never Say Die, the criminal organisation Scorpia is truly dead and all 15 year old Alex Rider wants to do is go back to school, study for his GCSEs and not be a spy anymore for MI6. But MI6 have other ideas. According to intel they have recently discovered, a new and far more dangerous criminal organisation has come on their radar: Nightshade. 

And they seem to be using children. MI6 want Alex to go to a high security prison in Gibraltar to befriend a boy who, without hesitation, killed an MI6 agent, several policemen and will happily kill without question. As Alex tries to get involved with this boy’s involvement with Nightshade, he finds out an attack will hit London and must, somehow, stop it. But this time, he’s on his own…

Wednesday, 22 April 2020

Self-Isolation Read - Fall Out

  • Title And Author: Fall Out by C.G. Moore
  • Publisher: UClan Publishing
  • Physical, eBook or Audiobook: Physical
  • Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Gifted by the author in exchange for an honest review/reaction
  • Length: 322 Pages
  • Buy From: Book Depository - Foyles - Waterstones

Not sure how this book got on my radar, truth be told. But I follow the author on Twitter for AGES as, before he turned author, CG Moore was person behind @YAFictionados and the hashtag #YATakeover on Twitter. So when he asked if anyone fancied reading and reviewing his debut, I jumped at it.

When Cal comes out to his family, he doesn’t expect it to be so explosive. He doesn’t expect his mum to be rushed to hospital or his dad to attack him in the hospital. But the fall out is nothing from the spiral his life takes when it comes to his friends, family and his bullies at school. 

But when events in Cal’s life pushes him to his limit, can he rely on his love ones to help me avoid a meltdown or has he cut himself too far for them to save him?

Tuesday, 21 April 2020

Self-Isolation Audiobook - The Vile Village

  • Title And Author: The Vile Village by Lemony Snicket
  • Publisher: Egmont
  • Physical, eBook or Audiobook: Audiobook
  • Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Borrowed from local library via BorrowBox
  • Length: 272 Pages or 4 Hours 17 Minutes
  • Buy From: Book Depository - Foyles - Waterstones - Audible

Back into 2016, I made a plan to try and read the entire A Series of Unfortunate Events series. I reread the first few and started reading the books I hadn’t. I got up to book six - The Ersatz Elevator - and then, I stopped. I did like the book and I did have plans to continue but I didn’t. I think it’s mainly because the plot kept repeating itself and I was getting sick of the “Baudelaire go to new guardian, Count Olaf comes along to do dastardly thing to get hands on Bauldelaire fortune, no grown-ups believe Baudelaire, Bauldelaire unmask Olaf and, due to this, Bauldelaires must go to new guardians”. Rinse, wash, repeat. 

And that kinda happens here, though I read an hour or so into this that this, according to most fans, is classed as the “Plot Twist Book”, so I should have kept going, right? 

After the events of The Ersatz Elevator, the Bauldelaires are back in Mr Poe’s office, awaiting news of the next new guardian that will look after the three of them and, at the same time, keep them safe from Count Olaf, the man who is desperate to get his hands on the Bauldelaires and their fortune. But Mr Poe tells them that a new scheme is put in place and an entire village will look after the three. After it, “It takes a village to raise a child”. And the village that is going to look after them is VFD, the same initials as something their kidnap friends tried to warn them about in the last book. But is the town of VFD the same VFD? And how long are the children safe before Count Olaf returns in one of his awful disguises…?

I’m going to admit this right off the bat, I haven’t see the Netflix show (hence why I wanted to read this series back in 2016), and I’ve always consider this a solid series. That doesn’t change here - as a child, I would have hoovered these books up as these tick all my reading boxes. It’s dark, it’s a little absurd but it’s got an element of mystery to it. Perfect for younger me. But as an adult, I’m find it just ok. I’m getting a little tired of the “Rinse, Wash, Repeat” story that is happening, but with the final chapter throwing it out of the window as now, the Bauldelaires are on their own and it seems that, because of this, the children are now going to be more proactive in figuring out what VFD means. 

I don’t really have much more to say about. I’m intrigued to see what happens in next few books, but I’m not sure if this will live up to my expectations. But, like I said, I think a preteen me would have devoured this series, but thirty-something me is wanting something more… 

Friday, 17 April 2020

Self-Isolation Audiobook - Naked In Death

  • Title And Author: Naked In Death by J.D. Robb
  • Publisher: Piatkus
  • Physical, eBook or Audiobook: eBook & Audiobook
  • Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: eProof Gifted by publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review and Audiobook borrowed from Scribd
  • Length: 401 Pages or 10 Hours 17 Minutes
  • Buy From: Book Depository - Foyles - Waterstones - Audible

Ok, I am going to admit it. I’ve been aware of this series for a little while now, but never really acted on whether I should read it or not because it’s a long running series. And I mean, Long! It recently released the 50 (!) instalment - Golden In Death - and has no plans on stopping. The 51st - Shadows In Death - will be published this coming September. Plus, there are novellas within this series as well so VERY OVERWHELMING. 

But been intrigued to try this so when I saw it was available for review to celebrate Golden In Death’s release on NetGalley, I snapped up a copy and, due to self-isolation, manage to grab my hands on an audiobook edition and listen to it while playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons (why do I get the feeling you’re judging me right now?)

It’s 2058 New York and the world has changed. Technology, the law, crimes. But for Detective Eve Dallas, she knows that murder is still murder. 

When a professional sex worker (and granddaughter to Conservative Congressman) is violently murdered, Eve is put on the case as this could be the start of a serial killer. As more sex workers get murdered, her bosses and people in power want a result. Fast. Shame that the lead suspect in Eve’s investigation is one of the most wealthiest and influential men on the planet - Roarke - and that they both seem to have growing attraction to each other…