Zi71bFS9nQHnivtvUJquhejTHIQ The Story Factory Reading Zone: May 2012

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Googling the Book: Crusade

Welcome to my new feature, where I google words from the titles of my recent reads and see what images I come up with. Today's word is Crusade and it's taken from the title of 'Crusade of Tears' by C.D. Baker:

Council of Clerment

Peter the Hermit

Fourth Crusade

Eighth Crusade


What images are related to your recent read?

 Please note that I have made ever effort to select non-copyrighted pictures from my search results. If you feel any of these pictures are used in error, please let me know and I will remove them.  

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Secret reading

When I was young I remember hiding under my covers (just once in a while), torch in hand, finishing off that book that just couldn't be left alone. It wasn't that my parents didn't like me reading, they just rather I went to bed when I was supposed to.

I often wonder whether any kids still do this nowadays. Or is it more likely that secret reading will be secret from their peers because its considered 'uncool'? Are there some young people out there who don't admit to their parents that they read because that would made them feel too "daggy". Are these even words that they would understand, or relate to anymore?

Why is reading not always appreciated by young people anyway? For me it was almost like a way of exploring new worlds from the comfort of my own bedroom. But I guess that there are so many more visual ways of doing that now, through the internet or computer games as well as movies, that some might consider books redundant in that department.

And then there's the 'problem' that reading is so pushed at primary school. Of course it's great to make sure everyone can read (and write), but if you're always reading boring reading scheme books then you're not going to understand the attraction of reading. Of course, many schools also balance this with exciting story-time books, and encouraging reading at home with parents/carers. But, if the focus is simply on vocabularly and phonics, then this can easily be lost (especially if reading at home is neglected as well).

Then children get to secondary school and books can easily become work. In English books are constantly analysed and a poor reader could easily spend all their time just looking at material set in class. A good reader is often envied by their peers and considered a swat. Under these conditions, how many people would want to admit that they love reading?

I know that not all schools are like those I've mentioned (there are lots of great reading-friendly ones), and not all young people hate or hide their reading, but sadly the picture I've created seems to be the case for far too many. I guess my question is what, if anything, has changed and why?

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett (A Review)

It seemed an easy job.... After all, how difficult could it be to make sure a servant girl doesn't marry a prince? But for witches Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg and Magrat Garlick, travelling to the distant city of Genua, things are never that simple... Servant girls have to marry rhe orince. That's what life is all about. You can't fight a Happy Ending. At least- up to now....

My review:
I just love fairytale retellings, humorous versions, and all things related to them. But this one is different to all that I've read before. Think 'Once Upon A Time', set it on a flat (disc-shaped) world, add several witches, throw in a fairy god-mother (or two), and then stir it all together and you're still not really close to this comedic tale. Not the best Pratchett ever, but still a good one. The only down-side is that to get the full effect you really should read the other books with Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg and Magrat Garlick first. 

Action Reader's Action: Help someone create their own happy ending, or console someone who hasn't quite made it.

Which is your favourite Discworld witch?

What's your favourite fairy-tale remix?

First Paragraph, First Chapter: Intellivore

Hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea

Star Trek The Next Generation: Intellivore by Diane Duane
Jean-Luc Picard was out riding. The horse was not his usual mont, but a big bay gelding named Rollo, a soft-mouthed, even-tempered creature. For this ride, the horse would have to be.

Teaser Tuesays: Intellivore

Hosted by Should Be Reading

Star Trek The Next Generation: Intellivore by Diane Duane
"Any jouney is god, Captain," said the Lalairu, genuinely smiling now. "Whether it goes well or il depends on the company"

Monday, 28 May 2012

Monday Musings 28/05/12

Hosted by Should Be Reading

This week’s musing asks…
If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop and look it up right away?
I don't think I've ever done this. I figure that if I can't understand the meaning of the word from context then either its not that important, or the book's not very well-written.

The overflowing TBR pile

Recently I wrote a post entitled 'The Neverending TBR pile'. Unfortunatly, since then, my TBR pile has grown even bigger (thanks to a fete I went to on Saturday). The result is that now my TBR pile has finally completly filled my shelves and is starting to flow over onto the floor.

This made me wonder what other people do when they no longer have room for all the books they have waiting to be read. I know I should probably just cull them, but I really want to read them (or at least did when I got them). I've spent good money on (most) of these books. And some of them have come from others who would really like me to read them. You see, I think I just have too many reasons to not do a cull.

Maybe I could find somewhere new to stack them. Maybe I could clear some non-fiction shelves and add fiction there. Maybe I could sneak some onto my parents shelves. Dare I start a few spirals on bookcrossing and hope I get them back in decent condition.

Anyone got any ideas?

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Your Fate in Fiction: Monsters

Hosted by My Shelf Confessions

When faced with the choice of either an immediate death or to continue living as something that, in your eyes, is a monster… what do you think you would do?

If we're talking about zombies, vampires, etc. then I think I'd rather die. I just can't face the idea of doing horrible things like drinking blood or killing other people.

How about you?

When Children's Books Aren't Just For Children

Do you remember all the fuss when Harry Potter came out and adults began to read it? There were rumours of people hiding the cover behind jackets of other books. This led to two sorts of covers: one for children and one for adults.

This week I picked up several Terry Pratchett books from the children's section of a charity shop. They had the children's cover, but there are adult versions as well (the same but with different covers). It made me wonder whether these would be on different shelves, i.e. the adult ones.

It seems to me that its becoming more acceptable for adults to read books marketed to young adults. On a recent trip to a major bookretailer I spotted versions of the same book in both the YA and adult sections of the store. Across the blogosphere there are more and more over 18s willing to review YA, and the age-range is sometimes much less specific that it was when I first heard of the term.

So, my question to you is, what is your view of YA/children's fiction? Are you ashamed to read it, or is it just another sort of book to read? What about revisiting books from your youth?

Friday, 25 May 2012

Happy Towel Day

From Wikipedia:
Towel Day is celebrated every 25 May as a tribute by fans of the late author Douglas Adams. On this day, fans carry a towel with them to demonstrate their love for the books and the author, as referred to in Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. The commemoration was first held in 2001, two weeks after Adams' death on 11 May 2001.

I'm not really a big enough fan to carry a towel round with me all day, but I would like to commemorate this day by reposting my reviw of 'The Restaurant at the End of The Universe':

I think I preferred this story to the original Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy tale. It was imaginative and hilarous- I particularly enjoyed the various uses of a towel. The characters were interesting, I especially liked Marvin. Although I found the writing a bit simple at times, it was a good light read. Its important to read the first book before, as the two follow on and you might not understand the ending otherwise.

This is why a towel is so important (from 'A Hitchiker's Guide to The Galaxy):
A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value. You can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapours; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a miniraft down the slow heavy River Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (such a mind-bogglingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can't see it, it can't see you); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.
More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag (strag: non-hitch hiker) discovers that a hitch hiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, face flannel, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet weather gear, space suit etc., etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitch hiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitch hiker might accidentally have "lost". What the strag will think is that any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is, is clearly a man to be reckoned with.
Hence a phrase that has passed into hitchhiking slang, as in "Hey, you sass that hoopy Ford Prefect? There's a frood who really knows where his towel is." (Sass: know, be aware of, meet, have sex with; hoopy: really together guy; frood: really amazingly together guy.)

How important is your towel to you?

Thursday, 24 May 2012

The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents by Terry Pratchett (A Review)

Goodreads Summary:
With the debut of his first young-adult novel, science fiction writer Terry Pratchett invites readers ages 12 and up to visit Discworld -- an imaginary land well known to Pratchett's adult following. At the heart of this tale is a slightly twisted take on the old Pied Piper theme, a talking, thinking cat named Maurice, and a supporting cast of equally talented rats who bear such comical names as Big Savings, Nourishing, and Dangerous Beans.

Take a fairy-tale and place it in a real(ish) world and you get this wondeful, yet simple, tale from author Terry Pratchett. Elements familiar for all different reasons are mixed together to create this pleasurable masterpiece. Good for adults, but even better for young adults, this is a super addition to the Discworld series. It is also great as a standalone book.

Action Reader's Action: Write a list of the 10 things that motivate you most in your life. Now make a list of what you want to motivate you the most. Compare and consider them. How can you make them the same?

If you've read the book, which is your favourite rat and why?

What do you think your rat name would be?  

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

The Neverending TBR Pile

What someone gives me a book my first thought is always: great something new to read! Then my second thought is: what, something else to read!

You see my problem is that my TBR pile now has more that 100 books on it. I am slowly decreasing the number, but the ultimate word in that sentence is slowly. And yet, who can resist a different story, an author new to them, a reading adventure wrapped up between sheets of paper? Not me, that's for sure!

So, how do you deal with those mounting books?

Well, I've ending up prioritising:
  1. Read those books that have to be read for reviews, or bookcrossing rings
  2. Schedule those books that are part of reading challenges 
  3. Make sure those books given to me by bookcrossers aren't too far down the pile
  4. Put everything else in the order I receive/buy it and read as fast as I can.
Yes, that's it really! My solution is to read as fast as I can!

I've tried not bringing in new books but, for me, that's almost like not getting food into the house and living off tins only. It's especially tempting when they're free (as they are with bookcrossing) or very cheap (in other words when I get them in charity shops).

I guess that's why I try to do so many readathons, in the hope that it'll make me read faster. It might not always work (when life gets in the way), but it certainly tends to reducing my TV viewing.

So my question to you is, how to you try to reduce that neverending TBR pile and, more importantly, is it working?

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Charity Shops / Stalls- Treasure Troves or Garbage Dumps?

Last Saturday I visited a local Christian Aid stall. There were loads of lovely plants, well presented and at decent prices. There were second-hand tools, old but still useful. There were delicious cakes selling like, well, hot-cakes. And there were mountains of books.

Ahhh, the books. Well, lets just say that some people seemed to have taken advantage of the 20p price-tag to off-load their old junk. I felt so sorry for the volunteers, having to root-out mouldy tombs from amongst the many super and well-loved donations.

Why do some people seem to think its alright to offload books that smell, have missing pages, or (worse still) have turned green to charities? Yes, of course there are still uses for may of these books (such as paper-mache items, scrap-booking etc), but selling them to other people is not one of them.

I'm definatly against pulping usable books. I hate when I know sellable books are being scraped. I love collecting slightly tatty books and giving them some love. But, face it, there can be a time when books can no longer serve a good purpose as reading matter.

A charity shop or stall is not a garbage dump! Volunteers have better things to do that sift through your ghastly remains! If you'd find it digusting to pick it up then ditch it. Otherwise you're wasting the time of other people or, worse still, devaluing the worth of the stock for a charity you wanted to support. Please think people!

If you're still with me then thankyou for reading my rant. And feel free to share your own in the comments.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Musing Mondays: May 21st

Hosted by Should Be Reading

This week’s musing asks…
What do you do with the book before you start reading it?

I usually take a look at the blurb to remind myself what the book's about. Then, if it has an interesting cover, I take some time to look at that. Finally, I put my sticky tabs in the back of the book in case I need to mark anything.

#boutofbooks Wrap-up Post

I've really enjoyed doing 'Bout of Books' over the last week. I've found it useful to work out more times in my day where I have an opportunity to read. And its meant that I've read quite a bit more than usual. I've also joined in with most of the challenges and those (along with your comments) have inspired many posts that I'll be posting in the future.

Total number of hours read: 12hr 30mins
Total number of pages read: 661 pages

How much have you read this week?

Sunday, 20 May 2012

#boutofbooks Day Seven

I'm really pleased with how much reading I've managed to do over the last 24 hours. I've finally finished 'Crusade of Tears' and am now almost half way through 'Witches Abroad' by Terry Pratchett as well.

Progress report:
+ 4hr30
+ 302 pages

I'll add all my hours and pages up for the final report. In the meantime, I hope you're enjoying your reading too!

Crusade of Tears by C.D. Baker (A Review)

It's the Year 1212- Jerusalem is occupied by Islam. Thousands of Christian Knights in armor have failed to liberate the Holy City. Who else will the Church send to fight for the Faith? More Knights? Peasant Labourers? Or...... their children?

My review:
Despite being the first in a series, this book works really well as a stand-alone adventure. Sometimes sad and heartbreaking, this historical tale (loosely based on scarce historical sources) speaks of what true faith is all about. A Christian reading this book will find themselves reconsidering the basis of their faith, with questions at the end of the book further aiding this process. But this is not just a story for those who consider themselves Christians, it is a tale for all and could easily find its place on a mainstream chain's bookshelf as easily as in a faith bookshop. The characters are complex and real, and their journey is one of growing up as well as distance. A great tale for all who aren't afraid of their adventure straying from the path of fantasy.

Action Reader's Action: Give some money, or advice, to someone going on a gap-year abroad.

Have you ever been on a journey that didn't turn out exactly as you expected? 
Feel free to post (or link to) your memories in the comments. 

Also posted on Blog for the Thought

Saturday, 19 May 2012

#boutofbooks: Day Six

Not much chance to read this morning, catching up on future posts for the last hour or so. Down to reading after this post, still hoping to finish 'Crusade of Tears' by the end of the readathon.

In the last 24 hours:
30mins reading
32 pages read

How is everyone else doing?

Friday, 18 May 2012

#boutofbooks Challenge: Books & Shoes

Hosted by The Reading Housewives of Indiana

Here are the shoes that would match this book (I think both the cover and the characters of the crusaders):

#boutofbooks Day Five

Sorry I didn't manage to update yesterday- far too busy a daytime and then ended up just totally collapsing in the evening.

Still, I did manage to get quite a bit of reading done.

Since the last post (c.48 hours):
3hrs 30mins reading
231 pages of 'Crusade of Tears by C.D. Baker read

I'm now aiming to try and finish this book before the readathon ends. (Wish me luck, there's still 155 pages to go!).

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Reluctant Readers

Those who signed up to be a World Book Night giver this year were asked how they intended to share their books with those who don't normally read. This is something that, at first, can seem easy but, with more thought, becomes harder and harder.

I dropped my books off around my local town for others to randomly find. Others gave books to strangers outside fish and chip shops, donated them to local libraries or schools, or shared them with people on local transport. Great ways of getting them into the hands of those who don't usually read, but will it really help them to enjoy the pleasures of reading?

This certainly seemed to be the idea behind World Book Night's vision. And for some it seems to have worked. On the lead-up to the event World Book Night gave out some examples on twitter. The one that sticks in my mind most was a prisoner who received a book as part of their reading group programme. It helped him to remember that he'd loved reading as a kid, and that there was some pleasure in life besides drugs or a life of crime.

However, I've heard many more stories of books sat on shelves whilst their recipients decide whether to read them or not, or just forget about them all-together. And so, my question is how can we encourage these reluctant readers to read their books?

I guess the first question is: what scares them about reading in the first place?

I suspect that, for many, its some bad experience whilst they were at school. It might be that they were dyslexic and it wasn't picked up / dealt with properly. It could be that they were bullied because they liked reading. Or maybe they just got so fed up with analysing texts and reading what they weren't interested in for studies that reading now feels like a chore.
For many of these people the key is to find a book they love. Maybe a reader friend telling nagging them enough would do it. Or seeing a movie they loved and then being given a copy of the book. Its important, of course, that the book is at their own level. Engaging, yet not overwhelming. A 'quick read' from the library could do the trick for some. And being part of a group that accepts its OK to read will help as well.

Others know that they love reading but just don't feel that they have the time any more. These aren't so much reluctant readers, as hidden readers. If there's someone in your household like this then my top tip is to leave books you think they might like it the places where it could be possible to have a moment to read: ontop of the TV, by their bed, in the bathroom. Make them light reads, relaxing reads, funny reads. Maybe even some books from their childhood to remind them of what they're missing. And make sure they can be read in short sections for easy digestability. If its possible take them on holiday once in a while to somewhere quiet away from the kids and/or work. And then pack them plenty of engaging, you don't want to put down books that they'll enjoy. And then, if kids are the problem, then help them be the solution. Lend (or give) them books that they'll love bit can be shared with the kids as well.

The finally category I'm going to write about are the distracted readers. These are the people that have never tried reading because they're too busy watching movies or playing computer games. They're mostly younger people, although there are always some of the older variety lurking out there as well.
The key with this sort, I think, is to latch onto their interest. If they like video games, start with comics about their favourite characters. If its movies they love, then try 'quick reads' or children's books about their favourite films. Don't force children to read them, but make them clearly available (you might even want to put them somewhere they can read them secretly if they generally consider what you suggest uncool). And, if they might do what you do, then don't forget to read your own books infront of them- if they always see you infront of the TV but never with a story then what example are you giving them?

This isn't an exhaustive list of why people might be reluctant readers (and I don't think it ever could be). It's just my observations from my everyday life.

Now, why not tell me about yours?!

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

#boutofbooks Challenge: Re-title it

Hosted by Books Devoured

I'd retitle this 'Ghost of a Child With The Longing Eyes'

And here's the 'fake' synopsis for it:
Deep within a woods lies the village that time forgot. Inhabited by the ghosts of the past, none may ever leave, though many might try. And none arrive- until one day future and past collide with unforseen circumstances.

#boutofbooks Day 3 Update

A bit slower during the last 24 hours, but I still expect to have read a little more than usual by the end of the day.

30minutes and 27 pages read since the last update!

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

#boutofbooks Book Confession Challenge

Hosted by Nyx Book Reviews

Physical book or eBook?
 Physical book
Paperback or Hardcover?
Reality or Make-believe?
Adult or Young-Adult?
Dog ears or Bookmarks?
Bookmarks (or little sticky-tabs)
Breaking the spine or Barely open the book? 
Breaking the spine [hides]
Tea or Coffee?
Reading in bed or On the couch?
On the couch
 Series or Standalone?
Original or TV Adaptation?
 Defy motion sickness or Audiobooks?
Author crushes or Who-was-that-guy-again?
Interview or Guest post?

#boutofbooks Day 2

I'm still reading 'Crusade of Tears' by C.D. Baker, but I'm quite pleased with my progress.

I've spent 3 hours reading in the last 24 of so, and read 156 pages.

Monday, 14 May 2012

#boutofbooks Mini-Challenge One: A Bookish Question

This challenge was set by Sarah Says Read

“What do you like best about readathons? Do you have any readathon traditions or rituals? If this is your first readathon, what do you like so far? Discuss away!”

This one is easy- reading! What else could be better about a readathon?

I don't really have any readathon traditions or rituals, other than trying to replace TV and checking google reader with actually reading. This isn't my first readathon, but I really like Bout of Books because its a whole week long and includes the weekend.

How about you?- pop a link to your answers in the comments and I'll drop by and take a look.

#boutofbooks Day One

I'm so excited that Bout of Books has started!

I made sure I read during both my break 15mins and lunch 30mins, with the exception of a few interruptions. The result is that (at 4.30pm GMT) I've now read 23 pages of 'Crusade of Tears' by C.D. Baker in half an hour.

Will be sacrificing my exercises and TV tonight in favour of getting more reading done.

Will try to update again tomorrow,

How is your reading going?

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Bout of Books Goal Post

Tomorrow is the begging of the Bout of Books Readathon. I've got a busy week ahead, but I'm going to forgo as much TV as possible and, hopefully, get some extra reading done during my work breaks. So my goal, basically, is to get more reading done as usual (i.e. more than 30 minutes each day).

What are your reading goals?
Feel free to post them, or link up to them, in the comments

Friday, 11 May 2012

New Amazon links

I've always said that I wouldn't make money out of my blog. Then I found out that my Brass Band has signed up to Amazon Associates and that the code can be used on any site. The result? You'll now see ocassional Amazon links dotted around the site. At the moment they point to the main page, but I soon hope to start doing links to specific books as well.

Why should you click on them? I hear you ask.

Well, put basically, you'll be supporting a good cause. Abbey Brass is a charity that teaches children and adults how to play instruments and become part of a team at minimal cost. They also provide instruments at no additional cost. The band are particularly keen on getting families involved, providing enjoyable and fulfilling family time and strengthening ties through learning together.
Lessons start off in small groups, all led by long-standing players. After a while players progress into the training band and, eventually, have the opportunity of playing in the main band. Both the training and main bands provide performance opportunities for players, and (as well as being booked privately) ocassionally play at charity events for no extra cost. There are also socials at which players of all ages, as well as their families and friends are welcome- these are great bonding opportunities between groups and provide the chance for more established members to listen to the learning groups playing.

I really love Abbey Brass and I hope that, after checking out our website, you will too. If you make a purchase after clicking on an Amazon link then Abbey Brass will get a little money at no cost to you. Please do consider it where you see the logo.


Thursday, 10 May 2012

The Time Traveller's Wife (movie review)

IMDB Synopsis
A romantic drama about a Chicago librarian with a gene that causes him to involuntarily time travel, and the complications it creates for his marriage.

Stars: Eric Bana, Rachel MacAdams, Ron Livingston

My review:
I just love the premise of this book/film- such a creative idea! I felt very attached to the relationships as they played out on the screen infront of me. Having said that, I spent a lot of the time I was watching looking out for the parts of the book that I remembered (especially as it got nearer the end). A good film, but I'm not sure if all the jumping around could have been confusing had I not already read the book.
OK if you liked the book and yet can take it as a seperate identity.

Have you read the book/ seen the movie? What do you think?


Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Pottermore is driving me potters!

I'm struggling to understand what all the hype is about. I'll admit that I've never really got into the books but, having enjoyed the movies (a lot) I was looking forward to being persuaded to enjoying the writing as well. I signed up and began exploring the first book. To be honest, I found it a little boring. I wanted to explore, but all I seemed to have was the ability to zoom in and out. I wanted something interactive, but it seemed to just give me disjointed bits of story.
Am I missing something? Help!

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

The Help (A Movie Review)

The Help

Website Synopsis
The #1 New York Times best seller by Kathryn Stockett comes to vivid life through the powerful performances of a phenomenal ensemble cast. Led by Emma Stone, Academy Award®-nominated Viola Davis (Best Supporting Actress, Doubt, 2008), Octavia Spencer and Bryce Dallas Howard, The Help is an inspirational, courageous and empowering story about very different, extraordinary women in the 1960s South who build an unlikely friendship around a secret writing project — one that breaks society’s rules and puts them all at risk. Filled with poignancy, humor and hope — and complete with compelling, never-before-seen bonus features — The Help is a timeless, universal and triumphant story about the ability to create change.

Starring (in alphabetical order):
Jessica Chastain, Viola Davis, Bryce Dallas Howard, Allison Janney, Sissy Spacek, Octavia Spencer, Emma Stone, Cicely Tyson, Mary Steenburgh

My review
A thought-provoking, serious, and yet sometimes hilarious, film about segregated 1960s society. The film still maintained the ability to shock that the book had, making me realise even more the true extent of differences between 'black and white living' in parts of America and that time. Emma Stone was fantastic as Skeeter, realy showing how difficult it could be to be sympathetic to equality in such a world. My only criticism is that you knew what she was going to do right from the beginning, and (to some extent) who else was going to be involved- it rather ruined some of the suspense.
Definatly worth watching, especially if you enjoyed the book.

What do you think?

Monday, 7 May 2012

What are they Reading? The Amazing Maurice and his educated rodents

Hosted by Rose City Reader

The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents by Terry Pratchett
At the beginning of each chapter of this book we are treated to an extract from 'Mr Bunnsy Has An Adventure'. Being a Terry Pratchett novel this book, of course, is also purely a work of fiction. But a couple of things about the book can be worked out from the quotes provided:
  1. It is a work of fiction for young children
  2. It is a cross-between Rupert Bear and Beatrix Potter's works 
Interestingly enough, 'The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents' is mentioned in another Terry Pratchett book. Does anyone know which one it is?

Random Reads (1)

Hosted by I'm Loving Books

When I saw this meme, I just had to join in. I'm loving my new approach of reading books in the order they've been on my bookshelves, but ocassionally I just want to mix things up a bit. That's where this meme comes in.

I'm going to be picking my books by choosing using random.org to pick from numbered shelves and then books on that shelf.

Here we go:
Shelf number 12
Book number 4

That means that this month's random read is:
Star Trek The Next Generation: Intellivore by Diane Duane

The Great Rift lies between the Sagittarius and Orion arms of the galaxy. Stars are scarce there, beyond the authority of the Federation, and legends abound of lost civilizations and of ancient monsters that prey upon those who dare to venture into the vast darkness between the stars. When several ships and colonies mysteriously disappear into the Rift, the U.S.S. Enterprise leads and expedition to investigate various disturbing reports. Accompanied by two other Federation starships, Picard and his fellow captains discover a bizarre menace of unimaginable power. And the only way to trap this destructive entity is to use the Enterprise as bait.

What will you be reading this month?


A-Z Reflections Post

It seems ages now since I did my last A-Z post (in reality its about 2 weeks ago when I scheduled it). It was a great practise for me in learning to schedule posts, and being more creative with what I write about.

Some letters were harder than others (what reading themed headings could I make for X or Z?), but I did it in the end. I started off with a list of titles I was going to use and, as the month progressed, they gradually changed and my thoughts became more concrete.

Every time a new person visited a little smile would spread across my face. I hope that some of those people are still here, enjoying this post. If so, thankyou for sticking with me. If you're new, what took you so long?

Here's to more creative posts in the future. To posting most days (thanks to scheduling). And to new friends. Thanks A-Z for a great time!

Reading Around the World

Have you discovered my 'Reading Around the World' page yet?

It's where I put all places from the books I read onto a map. I've just added the places mention in 'One Day' by David Nicholls.

My aim? To have as many books as possible on the map. Then it'll be easy, in the future, to feature a certain country or continent, or even bookcross books in relevant places. Got details of any books to add? Do let me know in the comments.

What do you think? Is this useful to you?

Saturday, 5 May 2012

One Day by David Nicholls (A Review)

You can live your whole life not reaising that what you're looking for is right in front of you. 15th July 1988. Emma and Dexter meet on the night of their gradualtion. Tomorrow they must go their seperate ways. So where will they be on this one day next year? And the year after that? And every year that follows?

My review:
Its easy to become connected with Emma and Dexter, to want to know what will happen to them, and to be caught up by the changes in their lives. Each year brings new experiences and a snapshot into some ordinary and yet captivating lives. By the end both characters it seems like both characters have become your friends, and you want to be able to reach out and comfort them during the lows of their existance, as well as celebrating the highs with them. Fantastic book, perfect for those for whom action isn't everything.

Action Readers' Action: Start a diary of your own

What were you doing one year ago? What do you expect to be doing in a years time?

Click here to buy this book 
(Abbey Brass receives a small amount from every transation through this link)

Friday, 4 May 2012

Persuade me why I should join Pinterest

As you may have noticed, I don't have many pictures on my blog. Unfortunatly I just don't have the talent to take my own photos or the time to search the internet for copyright free ones.

When I first heard about pinterest I must admit that I thought it could be a great way of advertising my blog. The only problem? No pictures to import! And this seemed to be the only useful tool.

Now, I don't want to be accussed of jumping on the bandwagon but I've heard so much about pinterest that I thought I'd give any of you who are fans a chance to persuade me.

So, should I join pinterest? What do you think?

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Looking to Connect with UK Bloggers and Self-Published/Indie Authors

When I started this blog, one of my aims was to help promote more well-written self-published/indie books to UK readers. I'd noticed that self-published books often have a bad press and whilst in some cases this may be deserved, there are many good books hidding amonst the bad ones. Its these that I wanted to share with others.

I'd aimed particularly to get out to UK readers, because that just happens to be where I live. Sure, I'd love to know that people around the world are reading my blog, but I always like to collect with those whom I have some chance of actually meeting one day. 

And so, this brings me to my request. I'd like to hear from you if you're a UK blogger or a self-published/indie author looking for reviews. Are there any UK-based blogs you'd recommend I'd follow? Also, does anyone have any tips for getting more UK based readers? All advice appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

Related posts:
Publicising independent and new authors
Musing Mondays #12

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

The Story Factory Reading Zone Reviews

Inspired by The Story Siren's recent post on how to get your book reviewed on her site, I thought I'd let you know my top 5 tips for getting your book reviewed on The Story Factory Reading Zone.

But first, why should you be interested in having me review your book?
  1. My reviews are short and snappy. This allows me to get straight to the core of the story as I see it. Amd it means that more people are likely to read all of what I've written.
  2. I stress the importance of the writing, not the cover. I mention when I really like the cover, but I try noot to judge a book by its cover. This means that unfinished ARCs and those who ended up self-publishing cheaply are not disadvantaged by a basic cover.
  3. I really want to promote books (and authors) that I've enjoyed. I'm always happy to have gues posts, interviews and giveaways from authors for whom I've given positive reviews.
  4. My reviews are honest. I do not guarantee a positive review, but I explain my opinion and try to see what others might enjoy in a book. 
  5. If you're book is Christian fiction then I'll also post my review on my faith blog- Blog for The Thought
  6. I put my review requests before all my other reading. I try to be clear about how long it will take me to read a book and post reviews immediately (I will also post at a set time if requested to do so).

If this sounds good to you, you probably now want to know what would make me want to review your book?
  1. Please read my review policy carefully. For instance, I've had several requests to review e-books even though it states that I won't. If you think I should make a exception for your book then please state why (and don't just say because you thiink I'd enjoy the book- why would I enjoy it?)
  2. Provide a synopsis of your book. Then I can easily tell if it's something I'd like to read. And it really helps save time for me if you include it in your e-mail, rather than providing a link to your website
  3. Tell me a little bit about yourself. If you've written books before then list them. If you've already got reviews of your books elsewhere provide a link to one of them. All this helps to give me a picture of what your book will be like and make the right decision about whether I'm going to enjoy it or not.
  4. I'm particularly interested in self-published/indie authors, UK authors and people who write Christian fiction. If your book fits any of these criteria then mention it could just persaude me to review a book I'm undecided upon.
  5. Mention any interviews, giveaways or guestposts you might be willing to do in your initial request. Also the format of the book and if you would like me to post my review at a specific time. 

If that sounds great then e-mail me at neeuqfonafamai(at)googlemail(dot)com with your review request. I'd love to hear from you!

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

First Chapter, First Paragraph: One Day

Hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea

One Day by David Nicholls
'I suppose the important thing is to make some sort of difference', she said. 'You know, actually change something.'

Teaser Tuesday- One Day

Hosted by Should Be Reading

One Day by David Nicholls
There was a kind of vanity and self-regard in that working-class-hero act that sent him crazy. Why is she still harping about how she went to a comp, never went abroad on holiday, has never eaten an oyster?

Interview with Ray Ellis

Today I am please to welcome Ray Ellis to my blog. According to his blog, Ray Ellis is twenty-two year veteran of law enforcement and an ordained minister. NHI is his first published book. Ray says that, as an author, he attempts to relate the common man's struggle to live in a gritty world and remain clean.

N.H.I.: No Human's Involved is a murder/mystery book, also known as urban fiction. N.H.I. is a story of a police detective, Nate Richards, who is in the middle of a gang killing investigation and in the midst of it, his love interest has gone missing.  Nate struggles with his faith and trust in God to get him through one of the hardest cases he's been through and how he's going to find the woman he loves.  It's a fast-paced novel with lots of insight on what happens in police investigations and one cop who has to choose to put his trust in his own abilities or trusting God to guide him.

Click here for my review of N.H.I. (No Humans Involved)

The Interview

1. What made you decide to become a writer?
I was driven to write by the compulsion to workout the question of what it means to be great. I had always dreamed of writing, but it wasn't until wrestling with that question and trying understand what creates that drive in a person that I wrote my first novel, Cave of the Kracken, which is a scif-fi adventure. Kracken will be released this summer with my new publisher.
2. Who has influenced you the most in your writing?

It was my 12th grade English teacher that sparked the love of story in me. As she read Shakespeare's Macbeth, I  simply feel in love with the power of words.
3. How did you come up with the title for N.H.I?

It kind of birthed itself. I was thinking over some of the things that separate us as cops, culturally speaking, from the rest of society and the way we hold ourseleves apart led me naturally to the idea N.H.I.: Nu Humans Involved.
4. Can you explain what 'No Humans Involved' actually means

As a rookie police officer, I came across many industry specific terms, one of which was the phrase NHI. It means No humans Involved and represents a way of identifying a certain person or group of people that are less than desirable. Its a way of saying that "you are person of low social value."
5. Tell us a little about some of the issues tackled in NHI.

The main issue dealt with is the question of how we judge evil in ourselves and in others. The story takes the reader along with Nate Richards, as he explores his own faith and how he deals with the problem of sin.
6. What do you see as the biggest problem in society today?

Simply put, the refusal of men to accept the lordship of Jesus Christ. All other ills are derived from this.
7. How did you come up with the name 'Abyss' for the 'Street Gang'?
I chose the name Abyss because I wanted to draw in the feeling of an emptiness that still sounded of power. Even the gang-warlord as powerful as he was, was still empty.
8. If you could meet one of your characters in real life, who would it be and why?
It would be Reverend Richards because he is the ideal father. Funny, sympathetic but wise. HE knows the Lord and knows how to reveal the Father's presence in everyday life.
9. If Nate wasn't a detective, what job do you think he would have?
Wow! That's a much more difficult question than it might appear because Nate was made to do police work. But if I had to stretch, I would say it would be a teacher.
10. What are your 3 top tips for achieving a work-faith balance?

The key is not to try and add God to what you are doing. You have to have God up front, first and foremost. Secondly, you have to make sure you are doing, for work, what it is God has called you to do; and lastly, rest. Make sure to take advantage of the Sabbath's rule. Rest and refresh yourself in the presence of the Lord.
11. What is your favorite bible translation, and why?

You might find this strange, but I love the KJV. I like it because its old and gives a feeling of reverence and its poetic and lyrical in its presentation.
12. Please describe your next book, D.R.T., in 3 words. 

"How we are."

Also posted on 'Blog for The Thought'

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