Friday, 19 January 2018

Book Review - Hogfather

My first read of 2018 (I read The Uncommon Reader and Cardcaptor Sakura just before Christmas but was on blog break so here they are now)! Though, I did start this on Christmas Eve, I finished it last week so am classing it as a 2018 read!

And I got this for Secret Santa via Shannon Bookworm's blog. My Secret Santa was Virginie at Chouett, who got Hogfather, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (a book I keep wanting to read and I buy/get given but am always too intimadated to read so never have. THIS YEAR, DEAR READER, THAT WILL CHANGE!) and The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin (a book I only found out late last year after it was announced to be a TV show for TNT and am super excited to read. This feels like a Februray/March read and I am trying to figure out how can get Virginie to buddy-read this with me... I sense I am going to adore this strange little book...). So, Virginie, thank you. As soon as I saw I had Hogfather, I knew I was going to read this over Christmas - even though it screwed up my Christmas reading plans...!

It's a silent night, Hogswatch night. Too quiet... The Hogfather is gone. He's not coming down the chimney, delivering presents to children. No, instead Death is coming down the chimney, wearing a fake beard, having a pillow stuffed up his borrow red outfit and saying HO HO HO in his monotone way. On Discworld, superstition makes things work, and when this is undermined, there are Consequences. But where does Death's adopted granddaughter, governess Susan, fit into all of this? And if she can't fix it, the sun won't rise...

You better watch out and you better not cry...

I have been wanting to read Hogfather for years. Ever since I was a teenager and saw the cover of Death wearing a Father Christmas outfit! But I have always been intimidated by Discworld and Terry Pratchett and it has been only in the past few years (I only read Mort and Reaper Man back in 2015 and I have dipped in and out of Terry's other writings over past few years when I feel brave). Now, at the time of reading them, I was very mixed on my feelings on Mort but I loved Reaper Man. So, where does Hogfather fit?

Right in the middle, though leaning more towards Reaper Man than Mort. I had such a wonderful, fun time with Hogfather. I didn't truly love it, but it was fun - and my reading this year is focused on fun. There were several moments I actually snorted out loud, scaring my cat (the first time this happened, it caught me so off guard I had to explain my howl of laughter to my partner "The Grim Reaper owns cats!") and I liked the ideas behind this - why do we believe in fairy tales when we are children? Why do we believe in monsters under the beds and bogey men and tooth fairies?

Plus, Death is an awesome character. In all three Discworld books I have read (all within the "Death Series"), he has always come out as my favourite character. Though I loved Susan and her no nonsense attitude. I know her teenage self is one of the lead characters in another Discworld novel, Soul Music, which I might read when I have got my TBR under control.

I do have issues with this book. Pacing at the start is my biggest problem, but this is a me thing more than anything else. It was a bit slow, but that's because it was setting everything up. Once it was set up, the book moved! But I can't figure out if it was slow because it was slow or because I had such expectations over this book (again, wanting to read this since I was a teenager!) that the start didn't live up to the bar I had in my head (hence why I have held off read Angie Thomas's The Hate U Give and Philip Pullman's La Belle Sauvage).

But, I enjoyed myself reading Hogfather. So much so that I have two more Discworld novels on my TBR that I hope to read sometime this year - The Wee Free Men (that I discovered I had on my kindle for over a year without me knowing about!) and Witches Aboard (which I bought with a ton of other adult fantasy books the Friday before New Year's Eve) - so buckle up, everyone. You might be seeing more Discworld on my blog/social media outlets this year...

Thursday, 18 January 2018

#WalkerYA Bloggers Event

Or, as it's subtitle, Chicken Kiev or (my fave at the time of writing this) "WOLF!!!"

Tuesday night, I attended a blogger event for Walker Books and hear some upcoming YA titles that will be publish sometime this year. I wasn't 100% sure I could come to this due to my recent job change but I figured out very quickly that I could go so HOORAY!!!

Anyway, after getting to London a little earlier to snoop round Tottenham Court Road (mainly Foyles [I bought a book, EVEN THOUGH I AM ON A BOOK BUYING BAN! And for those of you wondering, Eragon by Christopher Paolini - not a grown-up fantasy that my recently book buying has taken me but I'll take it] and drool over some West End shows I would love to watch or rewatch - Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Aladdin, The Mousetrap, Wicked - it's probably a good thing am going to see Hamilton in the coming few months), I made my way to a pub in near Farringdon for wine, books and a good ol' catch-up with bloggers and vloggers. I have been very out of the loop.

And my sense of direction kinda failed me a little. I got to Euston/King's Cross and thought "I'll walk there. It won't take that long..." OH, PAST ANDREW, YOU ARE STUPID. Walking and you are not friends...

Side-tracked, but once I got there (after getting a Pret Hot Chocolate), caught up with the lovely bloggers, vloggers and peeps at Walker (who are beyond wonderful. I love our little community and how positive and hopeful we try to be with this passion of ours) (plus, It's been a while since I've been to a last blogger event as Dani from Dani Reviews Things wondered when we met last. We think it was around 2 years ago [real life sucks at times] and met some new bloggers and vloggers (one came up to me - Amy from YA Under My Skin - and said "Due to you and my passion/hyperness with Laura and Michelle when we did a panel at YALC in 2015, I started my own blog" - which is a lovely but surreal. Plus, I discovered new bloggers that I've started following but didn't realise I was chatting to them till a few minutes into the conversation [Olivia from That Fiction Life is a good example. How did I didn't go "OH MY GOD, IT'S YOU!" to her face is anyone's guess!)

But you don't want me to talk about us book bloggers and vloggers chatting about books and the looks of shame I got when I said I STILL haven't read Patrick Ness's Chaos Walking trilogy or The Hate U Give (one of these I said to an EDITOR OF WALKER without realising it - but Chaos Walking has a huge following and am scared of reading it, only to not like it! I DON'T WANT TO BE THAT GUY!), you want to know the titles they mentioned. Well, I'm going to mention a few as these caught my attention and made me go "OOOH!"

The first title is How To Hang A Witch by Adriana Mathew. Ok, this doesn't grab me in the way I hoped, but I think you guys might like this. Having a feel of Lauren Kate's Fallen series (no idea why), this book follows Sam who moves from New York to Salem with her stepmother after her dad is hospitalised. But her homecoming is far from warm. Sam is related to Cotton Mather, one of the men responsible for the Salem Witch Hunts and some teens in her new school won't let her forget it. As their bullying tactics being to unnerve her and begin to parallel the witch hunts, Sam finds herself in a weird love triangle, between the boy next door and the angry ghost who haunts her bedroom. And now, with a centuries old curse now being rekindled, Sam find herself at its centre. History is going to repeat itself if she doesn't try and stop it...

Scythe by Neal Shusterman has been doing the rounds on US Booktube and, I don't know much about it, but I love the cover. So, when Walker announced that they going to publish the first book next month and the sequel in August, I was excited. Plus, the idea behind it is good. Dark, but good! Imagine a world where disease, crime, homelessness has been cured, the only way to die is to be "gleamed" (randomly killed) by a Scythe, a professional grim reaper if you will. Citra and Rowan don't want to be scythes - which makes them perfect to be apprentices and learn the fine art. But the Scythedom is corrupt and with only one of them going to become Scythe Apprentice, Citra and Rowan discover that whoever becomes the apprentice must gleam the runner up...

Earlier on, I admitted that I still haven't read Chaos Walking trilogy. Hopefully, this might changed as Walker is going to rejacket the series to co-inside with its ten year anniversary and the movie being filmed (starring Tom Holland and Dairy Ridley). We will have a black cover and sprayed edges. I hope that I will try and attempt to read this trilogy later this year/next year. I feel ready! Plus, with Release coming out in paperback this year and with his newest, And the Ocean Was Our Sky, rumoured to come out later this year, you are going to be busy if a Patrick Ness fan!

This is a little clean-teen for me but Flying Tips for Flightless Birds by Kelly McCaughrain does yummy and I will pop this on here and I sense I will need something light compared to my heavier reads. Debut set in Northern Ireland, we follow twins Finch and Birdy who are stars of the flying trapeze at their parents's circus. But when Birdy is hurt, Finch teams up with new kid, Hector Hazzard, to save he circus. But along the way, they have to high wire friendship, homophobic bullying at school, finding themselves and falling in love for the first time... all under the big top.

I still haven't read The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. I'VE PYSHED MYSELF OUT OVER IT! I mean, I have been so excited for this book for so long but since I have the advance reader copy, I've been terrified to read it in case it doesn't live up to my unnaturally high expectation. But I know I will read it in the coming months as Angie's second novel, On the Come Up is coming out in June. Set in Garden Heights, we follow an aspiring teen rapper who goes viral online. Record labels want to sign her up, but people are also ready to abuse her success to get what their want. What happens when you get everything you thought you always wanted?

And now, the big mama! The reason for the blogger event - White Rabbit Red Wolf by Tom Pollock. Now, I was planning to go into this book knowing nothing, but a few elements of this story was revealed and I still want to read it. Maybe more. It's a thriller - with maths. STAY WITH ME HERE! Peter is a math prodigy and suffers from crippling panic attacks. But when his mother gets stabbed at an award ceremony and his sister disappears, Peter finds himself being dragged into the world of espionage where state and family secret emerge and blur...

And Tom Pollock was at the event. You might know him because of his Skyscaper Throne trilogy, but this is his first YA book. He chatted about what made him want to write this (the three stool legs for this book were "Spy novel inspired/fear/maths". He also read a tiny snippet from the start of White Rabbit Red Wolf (which was both funny, gripping and also a little heartbreaking). And some of us drooled over his arms (don't just us!). I mean, HAVE YOU SEEN THEM?!

A post shared by Tom Pollock (@thjpollock) on

Am saying nothing. Also, it didn't help that while I was doing some tweeting, Tom was talking about mental health (he is an ambassador for TalkLife) and he yelled "WOLF!", making me jump out of skin, think there was a wolf in the bar and then wonder if this was a gay term I wasn't aware of (You have bear, otter, daddy, DILF... maybe wolf was a new one. Or what Tom was calling his arms. Ok, will stop that now...) 

After all the book were talked about, there was more chatting, more wine and food. Which was good as book bloggers/vloggers are a hungry lot. And once all that was done. I had the joy of trying to get home before midnight... 

Anyway, I did get home (only to have my cat be super hyper and find my foot was a great toy for his very sharp claws! Hence why I have plastics on my right foot) and I want to thank everyone who was at the event. It was a wonderfully fun evening and I can't wait to sink my teeth into these stories and to see you all soon!!!

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

The Last Mrs Parrish - Q&A Time!

I am thrilled to welcome Liv Constantine onto the Pewter Wolf today!

Liv Constantine is actually two sisters, Lynne and Valerie Constantine, who wrote The Last Mrs Parrish via Skype, FaceTime and emails as they live three states away from each other in the United States.

Now, I won't go too much in depth into what The Last Mrs Parrish is about (I have questions linked to that further down), but when I got an email from Felicity at HarperCollins to ask if I wanted to do a tiny Q&A, I jumped at the chance! I was intrigued on how these sisters write this story living so far away from each other.

Now, before I hand it over to part me and both Lynne and Valerie, I want to thank them both for answering my questions and Felicity at HarperCollins for asking me if I wanted to be involved in one form or another.

OH! If you want more info on Liv Constantine, check out their website at or follow them at @LivConstantine2. Now, over to the questions!!!

Monday, 15 January 2018

Library Book Review - The Uncommon Reader

This is actually a reread (or a #re3, if you want what I call). I read this years ago when this first came out and I enjoyed it back then. So, when I started thinking about rereading (you can blame Radio 2 who has a thingy of "Alan Bennett" on the Steve Wright show in the afternoons - my old job had Radio 2 on ALL THE TIME!!!), it made me think of this and I went "Ok, maybe I should reread this." So, I requested this from my library and here we are!

When the corgis take the Queen to a travelling library that was just outside the kitchens of Buckingham Palace, she feels guilt and takes a book out. The book she picks wasn't to her liking, but she feels guilty and takes out another. This book is a huge success and it turns the Queen into a reader. Soon, the Queen is reading more and more and people around her become concerned about her...

This is, very much, a novella for readers. It's a gentle read which is very much an ode to books and libraries. There's not much I can say about this, but it is a gentle read which I hugely enjoyed.

There were one or two things that made me go "Huh" over but, as I read her over a month go (before Christmas Eve, FYI), I can't remember what they were.

But this is a gentle ode to readers and libraries. Not sure if I would read other Alan Bennett's as I heard that his humour is a little more in your face and I prefer this subtle humour.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Library Book Review - Cardcaptor Sakura: Volume 1

Come on. Admit it You didn't think I was going to make this my first review of 2018, did you? Well, SURPRISE! I did warn you that this year, I was planning on reading more fun, and seeing as I have wanted to read the manga version of Cardcaptors for a while (I used to watch this years ago when it was on CITV - anyone watch it? If I can find a start of the first episode in English dub, I will pop it at the bottom of the post!), when I saw it on the Essex Libraries website and I could request it, I went for it (as well as requesting a few other books - this might be a dangerous thing for me to do! BE AWARE, LIBRARY!). 

And it came quicker than I expected so I read it just before Christmas. 

In this first volume of the series, we follow fourteen year old (though Wiki said she's ten so maybe I am misremembered) Sakura who accidentally release the Glow Cards, magical cards created by magician Clow Reed. After the guardian of the cards, Cerberus (or Kero) chooses her to reclaim the cards, each card has its own abilities. 

In this volume, Sakura captures Jump, Fly, Water and Illustration and already captured Windy and Wood (we have a few flashback moments to explain this). 

And I enjoyed this. This was a fun, whizz of a read and I enjoyed this hugely. It was very PG friendly (this did have an age rating on the back of the book saying "For All Ages") and I feel that this is safe for younger readers. Plus, it has magical elements that work nicely. Plus, the art work is lovely. It felt very nostalgia.  

The huge problem with this is that, in my library book had three pages missing. THREE PAGES WERE RIPPED OUT! It's hugely annoying and it kinda annoys with the flow of the story, but not so much as I have seen the manga so I connected the dots up to a point. But it meant going to my library and explaining that the book was ripped out and I didn't do it (so please don't charge me!)

But what really surprised me is how, while it was hugely similar to the anime, there were huge difference. How Sakura caught the Fly Card in the manga is hugely different to how she caught it in the anime (unless I am misremembering). 

But this made me smile and I am hugely, HUGELY, tempted to request the second volume of Cardcaptor Sakura... We shall see how I feel in the near future...  

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

New Year's Book Tag

Just before Christmas, I was tagged by Emily from alwaysopinionatedgirl to take part in the Winter Tag. However, I kinda forgot to do it (I hope to attack it in the next few weeks, if not... oops!) but I saw this and went, "Till I have a moment to do SavidgeReads's Page 112 Tag (so next month or so as I really want to do this!), this would be fun to do!" So, blame Bookables with this tag, but let's go!

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

HAPPY 2018!


So, we made it. We survived 2017! So, what's the plan for this blog this year? What is my blogging New Year resolutions? I must have loads, I hear you cry! I mean, I write one of these EVERY YEAR, outlining my plans and ideas and going "I'm going to do THIS! And THIS! And maybe even THIS!"

Well, I do. I have ideas of what I want to blog to do and went I want it to go in resolutions. I made a list and everything. But something made me go "Actually, I want to do all the things I want to do - use the library, read more diversity, take risks, reread more, use my kindle more, do more culls on my TBR. Yes, I want to do all them, but what I really want to do is one key thing."

So, that's what I'm going to do. This year, my main aim for my reading is fun. Reading for fun. Bring the fun back.

Sounds simple, doesn't it? It's not.

I enjoy reading, don't get me wrong. And I enjoy blogging, again don't get me wrong. But I want to inject the fun back. I want to read books that make me smile, laugh, gasp, scream in anger but go "I enjoyed myself with this. It's not perfect, but it was fun and I had a whale of a time!"

Now you see why the whale gif was put at the very start of this post...

Because, that's what's reading about. Having a whale of a time. Yes, I want books to challenge how I see the world or do reading challenges that make me go "Why did I think this was a good idea again? (yes, I might still do the Read All Dan Brown Novels This Year... maybe... I'm still in 2 minds about that) but I want to read fun!

So, that's what I am planning to do. Read more fun. This will mean that I might not read the latest "OMG!" read, or will post as often as I like (some of the books I have my eye on reading are over 500 pages long - ARGH!!!), but I am going to read some books that, I hope, are going to make me smile!

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

End of Year Time!

This time next week, we will be celebrating Christmas! So, this will be my last post for this year! Like Neighbours, Home and Away, and our fave US dramas, am going on my Christmas break. And I don't think I will be coming back till the 8th January! Maybe even later - it really depends on real life matters, but am working towards the 8th January 2018 (wow, that was weird to write!)

So, I hear you ask, why am I writing this post. To show you guys some of my fave reads of this year? Maybe... Or maybe I should show you some covers of books that I had fun reading. As, like am always saying on the blog (and maybe I should say more often), reading should be a pleasure and should be fun! So, let's do that! Here are some books I had fun reading!

I sense some of you are going to backtrack and go "You didn't give these 5 stars" for these. Yes, I know, but like I said, I want to go "Ta-dah" over books I had fun reading.

But this post is just a short "Thank you" post. Thank you to all the authors, publishers, PR comapnies/people and book bloggers/vloggers/podcasters for helping me this year with being involved with wonderful and exciting books and for pointing me in the right directions over books that you guys went "You need this on your radar!"

To my family and friends, thank you for dealing with me this year as I have been all over the place with blog and in real life. I know I am not the easiest person in the world - am a bit of a nervy person so... yeah. Thank you for being there. I love you all.

To my Other Half. I love you.

And now, to you, dear reader, I thank you for reading my blog/Twitter/Instagram/Pinterest/etc and for chatting/interacting with me about books, cats and goodness knows what else. I hope I will still be able to keep writing this blog and keep the fun at it throughout next year! Fingers cross that 2018 is going to be a good year - I mean, it can't be worse that 2017 when you look at the news, right?

So, to you all, I want to wish you a very Merry Christmas or whichever religious holiday you are celebrating over the next few weeks and I will see you in the New Year! SEE YOU IN 2018, YOU LOVELY LOT!!!