Zi71bFS9nQHnivtvUJquhejTHIQ The Story Factory Reading Zone: February 2012

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey (A Review)

After ten long Turns, Lessa was ready to come out of hiding, to reclaim her birthright.... and to Impress the young dragon queen and become Weyrwoman of Benden.
Suddenly the deadly silver Threads once again threatened all Pern with destruction. But the mighty telepathic dragons that for centuries had defended Pern were now few in number, not nearly enough to protect the planet in its hour of greatest peril. Then Lessa hatched a daring and dangerous scheme to rally support from people who had long ago ceased to exist!

My review:
A real classic fantasy, set in a medieval-style world where dragons really do exist. I loved the characters and the complexity of their relationships with one another (and their dragons). It was also a very interesting society, feudal in many respects but somehow more than that. My only disappointment was that it ended on a cliff-hanger; just as well I've got the next instalment at hand to read as soon as possible.

I got this book as part of a bookcrossing spiral

Action Reader's Action: Sponsor and help look after an animal.

Discussion point: What sort of relationships do you have with your animals? Does it feel like they can talk to you?

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

WWW Wednesdays #11

Hosted by Should Be Reading

• What are you currently reading?

Ugly to Start With by John Michael Cummings
Jason Stevens is growing up in pictursque, historic Harpers Ferry, West Virginia in the 1970s. Back when the roads are smaller, the cars slower, the people more colorful, and Washington, D.C. is way across the mountains- a winding sixty-five miles away.....
....Ugly To Start With reveals the exuberant highs, bewildering midpoints, and painful lows of growing up, and affirms that adoescent dreams and desires are often fulfilled in surprising ways.
• What did you recently finish reading?

Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey (review coming soon)

After ten long Turns, Lessa was ready to come out of hiding, to reclaim her birthright.... and to Impress the young dragon queen and  become Weyrwoman of Benden.
 Suddenly the deadly silve Threads once again threatened all Pern with destruction. But the mighty telepathic dragons that for centuries had defended Pern were now few in number, not nearly enough to protect the planet in its hour of greatest peril. Then Lessa hatched a daring and dangerous scheme to rally support from people who had long ago ceased to exist!
• What do you think you’ll read next?
Dragonquest by Anne McCaffrey
Another Turn, and the deadly silver Threads began falling again. So the bold dragonriders took to the air once mor and their magnificent flying dragons swirled and swooped, belching flames that destroyed the shimmering strands before they reached the ground.....

Have you read any of these books? What did you think?


Monday, 20 February 2012

Winner of Strata by Terry Pratchett

Thankyou to all the people who entered (we had 317 entries in total!) and to those who helped promote the giveaway.

Now, its the time you've been waiting for. The time to find out who's the winner.

Drumroll please.

And the winner is.....

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Solange said:
I've not read it
Well, as good reason as ever for wanting to win a book IMO. Hope you'll enjoy reading it when it arrives. 

Congratulations. An e-mail has already been sent to you asking for your mailing address.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Saturday 9: I Second That Emotion

Hosted by Saturday 9

1. Do you every solicit advise on your love life?
Nope, I'm quite happy being single.

2. What was the last thing you argued with someone about? 
Almost certain that would have been some sort of argument with my parents- not sure what it was about though

3. Who do you hate right now? 

4. Who do you love right now? 
No-one in a romantic way. In a familiar way- my parents, auntie, grandma etc.

5. Where do you want to be in 6 years? 
Working with autistic young people/children for a living

6. What is your craziest vice?
Crazy? Mmmmm, that's a hard one! Probably blue cheese with christmas cake (although it only comes round once or twice a year)

7. How did you celebrate Valentines Day? 
I didn't, I thoroughly ignored it

8. What is your most unique or fondest memory of a special Valentine's Day? 
Not a special day for me I'm afraid 

9. Were you in the same location five years ago that you are today? Would you have expected to be? 
Yes, and no. I was expecting to have moved out of my parents' house, but with the financial crisis. *shrugs*
How would you answer these questions? Feel free to leave a link to your responses (or post them in the comments) and I'll try to check them out. 

Friday, 17 February 2012

TGIF at GReads #4: Blogger's Pride

Hosted by GReads!

Book Blogger Pride: What do you take pride in when it comes to blogging?

I wouldn't say its exactly taking pride, but I love looking at my bloggers stats to see how many people have been reading my blog. I also like looking at my new Alexa toolbar and seeing that my ratings are on the rise. I guess this makes me feel valued by other bloggers/blog readers. I also hope that it means I'm giving others pleasure and that people are interested in what I'm writing. 
I do take pride in the range of countries that my readers come from. Its really interesting to pop into my stats and find another new country appearing. Ontop of this, I love the fact that the number of UK readers I'm getting seems to be increasing. One of the aims of my blog is to help independent authors, and most of the books I've been getting are from the US so it feels good to know that I could be helping them break into new territory. 

What do you take pride in?


BBRAW 2012: Improvement Abound

Hosted by Miss Remmers' Review

Take this opportunity to survey your readers; maybe you haven't done this in years or perhaps ever. Find out what it is about your blog that your faithful readers love, what they wish you wouldn't do (constructive criticism is never a bad thing), what keeps readers coming back for more, what posts they'd love for you to do more of (vlogs etc). The possibilities are endless!

Recently I've been considering different ways of letting people follow me, as well as how I can reply to comments left.

I've set up a presence on facebook, as well as joining networkedblogs and linkyfollowers. I've also tried to make ways to follow a bit more obvious. So my question to you is, how easy do you find it to follow me? Is there anything else I can do to make it easier.

As regards replying to comments- I'd love to reciprocate all the visits that get made, and reply to all your comments straight away. But, unfortunatly, I just don't have the time what with life, reading, posting and other commitments. So I'm trying something new, replying to comments in one giant post near the end of every month. At that point I also check out any blog links I've been given and follow them if they look interesting. In addition, I choose one blog to follow for each meme with a linky that I make a post for. I'd like to know if you feel that I am replying to your comments, whether or not you'd noticed my monthly post and, if not, any suggestions of what I can do about it given my lack of time. 

Since I've only just posted a google doc for interview questions, I'm going to ask for replies in the comments this time. I promise to take them onboard, consider them and act on them where possible.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

BBRAW 2012: Inspire Me!

Hosted by Miss Remmers' Review

Today I have two spectacular choices for you! You could do a reader interview with a reader of your choice OR (if you're not the interview type) you could highlight a blog that you enjoy reading. What is it about this blog that you enjoy, what is it about the reviews, the blogger, the style, the look, etc? If you don't feel comfortable highlighting one blog, be general in regards to a few blogs you enjoy and what you enjoy about them.

I'd love to do a reader interview but, typical me, I didn't look at the schedule ahead of time and therefore don't have one ready. So, instead I'm going to ask you, my readers, to fill in a questionnaire/interview and then I'll post the responses over the next week or so as they come in. I think this will be a great way to get to know you better. And, as an added bonus, I'll throw in a surprise book (that I've read) for one random respondant.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Walking Ulysses

Thankyou to Stephanie at So Many Books for introducing me to this fantastic digiital walk through the Dublin of Ulysses. I've never really suummoned up the courage to try Ulysses, but this looks like it could be a great introduction. It really appeals to me as someone interested in history as well.

Check it out and see what you think.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

BBRAW 2012: A Memorable Moment

Hosted by Miss Remmers' Reviews

Today commemorate a specific reader or moment in your blogging career that has made a significant difference in your IRL or blogging life. It might be that first comment you ever received, the first follower, the first interaction with a reader of your blog on Twitter, the first time an author commented on a review, etc.

For me it has to be the moment I felt I finally had some sort of online relationship with an author. Heidi , author and fellow blogger, sent me a copy of her book Ambasadora for review. After I posted it she linked up to it and commented on my own blog. I series of e-mails followed, accumulating in an interview and thankyou for giving away a copy of her book. I really felt that my blogging activities were being valued and that I was truly helping out a talented new author.

The result? I was even more keen to accept independent authors for review, do giveaways and try my best to interact with other bloggers. Plus, it gave me a great confidence boost. So, thanks Heidi!

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett (A Review)

This is where the dragons went. They lie... not dead, not asleep, but.... dormant. And although the space they occupy isn't like normal space. nevertheless they are packed in tightly. They could put you in mind of a can of sardines, if you thought sardines were huge and scaly. And presumably, somewhere, there's a key....

This tale really hooked me with its talk of dragons and other dimensions. It read partly like a classic fairytale and partly like a comedy. Captain Vimes and the Watch were particularly entertaining, as were Carrot's attempts to understand human nature. I think I'd consider this one of the best Discworld novels that I've re-read so far. It will appeal to all who are observers of the world we live in. 

This book was bought by me for my own personal collection

Action Reader's Action: Play your own part in changing the society you live in by writing to your local MP, or other government leader

Discussion point: What do you think makes a good leader?

The bit for Discworld fans: Who is your favourite member of The Watch and why?


Monday, 13 February 2012

War horse by Michael Morpurgo (A Review)

A powerful story of the truest friendships in the worst of wars from the award-winning former Children's Laureate Michael Morpurgo

This is very much a children's/YA book. I found the writing symplistic at times, the way the horse narrated very human-like. However, the plot well and truly made up for this. It was emotional, heartfelt and truly educational. Overall, a very good book for older children and an OK book for adults.
I bought this book myself

Action Reader's Action: Find out more about the role of animals in wars.

Discussion point: What are your feelings about reading children's/YA literature? 

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Pyramids by Terry Pratchett (A Review)

Being trained by the Assassin's Guild in Ankh-Morpork did not fit Teppic for the task assigned to him by fate. He inherited the throne of the desert kingdom of Djelibeybi rather earlier than expected (his father wasn't too happy about it either), but that was only the beginning of his problems

My review:
Quirky and bizzare (even slightly more so than the usual Pratchett fare), this story will be of interest to both fantasy fans and those who are curious about ancient religions. It had a rather weak start, in my opinion, but by half way through the book I was hooked. Whilst it is easily possible to see what influenced the plot, the way these elements were brought together is truly amazing and often unexpected. Not the best Discworld novel, but still brilliant!
This book is part of my permenant collection and was purchased by myself.

Action Reader's Action: Find out more about a religion or belief that is unfamiliar to you.

Discussion point: Do you believe in God(s)? If so, are they always kind?
Extra question for discworld fans: What is your favourite discworld culture and why?

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Teaser Tuesday #20 Guards! Guards!

Hosted by Should Be Reading

Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett
Now that their eyes were used to the darkness they could see an indistinct red glow ahead of them. It turned out to be a wall, cooling rapidly. 

Monday, 6 February 2012

Wicked Winter Readathon Update #3 (Final update)

So, it's all over (far too quickly I might add). But, I still haven't updated you on my final day, so here you are:

Sunday 5th February 2012
A busy day, so only 1hr 30mins reading and I'm still on the same book. But I did have a great time reading this one and taking a break out from some of everyday life to do this readathon. Bring on the next one!

Total reading time: 7hr 30mins
Total number of books finished: 2

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Wicked Winter Readathon@ Tease at Random Challenge

Hosted by Project To Be Read:
"For this challenge I would like you to tease me at random from your current read. All you need to do is to divide your book roughly into thirds and then randomly select two sentences from each third (so six in total) and put them together to give a good tease."

Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett
He remembered Wonse as a skinny little kid, always tagging along behind in hand-me-down pants with the kind of odd skipping run he'd invented to keep up with the bigger boys, and forever coming up with fresh ideas to stop them idly ganging up on him, which was the usual recreation if nothing more interesting presented itself. It was superb training for the rigours of adulthood, and Wonse became good at it. A small and extremly frightened golden dragon was clamped firmly under one arm. His other hand held it by the tail. Sparkly stuff. The councillors were not in a poisition to pay much attention to this, however, because of what was hanging above their heads.

Wicked Winter Readathon Update #2

Saturday 4th February
I can't believe it- another 3 hours reading and another book finished! So, that's 6 hours and two books finished in total now! I've not taken part in any more challenges because I've been trying not to let my computer distract me, so its' been off a lot of the time.

Today (Sunday) I have quite a lot to do, so I'm not sure how much of 'Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett I'll get read. Good luck to all who are still reading :)

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Wicked Winter Readathon Update #1

Friday 3rd February 2012
It didn't feel like I read much yesterday, so I was very surprised when I added all the little bits I did up to 3 hours. I would probably have done even more had I note gone out to a literary quiz in the evening (great fun by the way). I finished my first book of the readathon, 'Pyramids by Terry Pratchett' (review to follow later) and am now reading 'WarHorse by Michael Morpurgo' (hopefully prior to going to see the film). I also entered one challenge. 

How is your reading going?

National Libraries Day

Today is 'National Libraries Day'!

Why not watch this YouTube video....

..... before going out and supporting your own local library!

Friday, 3 February 2012

Wicked Winter Readathon: Fight for Survival Challenge

 Hosted by Kindle Fever

“A second Ice Age is coming on quickly! What do you do in order to prepare and how do you end up surviving it?”

I'd cryogenically freeze myself and set a timer to wake myself up in a million years or so. I'd also do the same for a whole lot of plant species, so that I'd be able to replant them when I woke up (maybe saving their DNA info as well just to make sure).

Wicked Winter Readathon Starting Post

Over the next three days I will be participating in the 'Wicked Winter Readathon'. As usual this means, for me, reducing the amount of TV watching, Reader reading and game playing that I do; and increasing the amount of reading. I'll be reading as many books as I can from my TBR pile and participating in challenges that interest me. Hopefully, it'll be just as great as the last 'Respite Readathon' that I recently undertook and enjoyed immensely.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Just: Imagine (The Social Justice Agenda) by Danielle Strickland & Campbell Roberts (A Review)

Just Imagine is a call to action. The authors, both Christians and active proponents of social justice, remind us og the world-changers who shaped our Christian heritage and equipped us with the tools we need to follow in their footsteps. Just Imagine is a thorough exploration of the biblical and Christian foundations of social justice, and a practical guide to applying them in our own lives, in our local and ultimately in our global communities. Filled with inspiring examples, stimulating advice and helpful resources, Just Imagine encourages us to live out the dream of God's just world in our waking lives, and help it to become a reality.

This truly is an inspiring book. The examples have been carefully chosen and explained in a way which can be related to and which does not seem impossible to come close to emulating with God's help. The book includes clear step-to-step plans for ways to reflection on issues and construct strategies to help others. These are applied to specific issues but, with a little imagination, could be developed to include a much wider range of needs. Throughout my reading I was drawn to exploring issues, groups and strategies in more depth- often finding myself reading next to an open internet screen so as to have more information at my fingertips. Now that I have finished, I'm keen to look at the list of organisation and website links in the back of the book. I've also become more interested than ever in praying to find out what God wants me to do.
I received this book at the Christian Resources Exhibition. All opinions are my own.

Action Reader's Action: Consider what cause you believe is the most important. This could be done through prayer and/or looking at what's been most important to you in the past. Write an Action Plan to help you think about how you can make a difference.

Discussion point: Tell us about a cause close to your heart. Why should we get involved / care about it?

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Terry Pratchett Reading Challenge: January Check-in

I am so glad that I decided to join in with this challenge. In order to get as many books read as possible, I've decided to make every 2nd book in my immediate TBR pile a Prachett. This, combined with a Discworld Readathon as part of the Bout of Books Readathon, means that I've read quite alot for the challenge this month.

These are the Terry Pratchett books I have managed to read in January (links are to my reviews):
The Colour of Magic
The Light Fantastic
Equal Rites
Wyrd Sisters
If you're also interested in Terry Pratchett please do consider entering my giveaway to win a copy of Strata. I'd also love to get up some discussion and, with this is mind, have popped a question for fans at the end of each of my reviews- just click on one of the above titles, scroll down to the bottom the post, and then put your reply in the comments.

Operation Deepen Faith: January Check-in

You can read more about my resolutions for 'Operation Deepen Faith' here. 

Going Deep
I've almost finished reading the NIV translation of Romans (only 1 chapter away). I've set myself the challenge of reading a chapter a day and, most days, I'm managing that.

I've been finding this bit a little bit harder. I've chosen to pick a verse each week and put a post about it on my faith blog, 'Blog for the Thought'. I've only actually managed to do it once this past month though.
Here is the link to my post for those that are interested:
Reflection on Romans 8:14

Christian Non-Fiction
I've decided to make every 4th book in my small TBR pile a christian book. Some of these are christian fiction and others are non-fiction. What actually surprised me was how many christian non-fiction books I had on my TBR shelves already. I'm certain that I will make my aim of reading 3 books, as I've already read one this month. I haven't had a chance to post the review yet, but the title is 'Just:Imagine The Social Justice Agenda' by Danielle Strickland and Campbell Roberts.

Are you doing this or a similar challenge? How are you doing?

Patrick Patterson and the World of Others Giveaway Winner

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