Zi71bFS9nQHnivtvUJquhejTHIQ The Story Factory Reading Zone: November 2012

Friday, 30 November 2012

Ending National November

I hope you've enjoyed National November on 'The Story Factory Reading Zone'.
I'd love to hear what your favourite bits were.

Featured Authors
C.S. Lewis

Music Out of The Pages

Books Within Books

The English Accent

Book Reviews
The White Queen by Phillipa Gregory

Other Posts

Should I do it again next year, or do you have an idea for a different theme?

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Featured Author: C.S. Lewis

C.S. Lewis was born in Belfast, Ireland. Along with J.R.R. Tolkein, he was part of "The Inklings" Oxford Literary Group. He held academic positions at both Oxford and Cambridge Universities.

My reviews of his books:

The Horse and His Boy
The Last Battle
The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe
The Magician's Nephew
The Silver Chair

What's your favourite C.S. Lewis book?

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Repost: The White Queen by Phillipa Gregory (A Review)

1464. Cousin is at war with cousin, as the houses of York and Lancaster tear themselves apart....
And Elizabeth Woodville, a young Lacastrian widow, armed only with her beauty and her steely determination, seduces and marries the charismatic warrior king, Edward IV of York.
Crowned Queen of England, surrounded by conflict, betrayal and murder, Elizabeth rises to the demands of her position, fighting tanaciously for her family's survival. Most of all she must defend her two sons, who become the central figures in a mystery that has confounded historians for centuries: the missing Princes in the Tower.
Set amid the tumult and intrigue of the Wars of the Roses, this is the first of a stunning new series, in which internationally bestselling author Philippa Gregory brings this extraordinary drama to vivid life through the women- beginning with Elizabeth Woodville, the White Queen

My review:
It took me a little while to get into this book, but I'm glad I persisted. The character of Elizabeth was complex and interesting. I feel as if I really understand the intrigues and differences of the period now.

Action Reader's Action: Consider what's most valuable about your life and take steps to protect it

What's your favourite historical fiction?

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

The English accent

Beyond Parallel by Matthew Turner
"Bella," she said, holding  out her hand. "I like your accent, by the way. English, right/" she continued, embarassed by her lack of composure.
That's right, and you're American, but if you're from Canada, I apologize because I've got that wrong in the past."
Her anxieties began to ease as he looked at her. His blue eyes, along with his accent, provided enough reason to listen and forget about her morning so far. Memories of other English boys in her life bundled their way forward. The foreign exchange student she had kissed at sixteen, the barman in the student union offering no affection whatsoever, and the professor she decided was flirtatious, despite him calling her Emma on several ocassions. Each one took her back to fantasies of her youth, listening to The Smiths and imagining one day becoming a wife to a rock star who'd dedicate songs to her and whisk her around the globe.
"I'm a big fan of the accent. I'm sure you get it a lot, though. All my friends back home are obsessed," she said, hoping her small talk was improving.
"So you're obsessed are you?"
She realised it wasn't. "Well.. no.. obviously not-"
"I'm joking. I like your accent too..."

What's your favourite accent?

Monday, 26 November 2012

Christened With Crosses by Eduard Kochergin (A Review)

Christened with Crosses is the unforgettable story of a young boys dangerous, adventure-filled westbound journey along the railways of postwar Russia. Based on a true story of Kochergins amazing life, this book depicts the awakening of artistic talent under highly unusual Russian circumstances. It is the memoir of an old man who, as a boy, learnt to find his way between extortionate state control and marauding banditry, the two poles that characterize Russia to this day.

Orphaned when his parents are taken away as “enemies of the people”, young Stepanych finds himself a ward of the Soviet state. He is miraculously rescued from a government orphanage in Nazi-besieged Leningrad, only to be placed in another children
s institution in Siberiaa place of Dickensian attributes, where the leaders earn nicknames like Toad and Screwface, and where the young inmates are able to live their own lives only in secret, by night. Desperately longing for his native city and his Polish mother, Bronya, Stepanych flees the orphanage soon after the end of World War II.

The eight year old boy secretly jumps on board the trains heading west, towards Leningrad. It is not only his desperate courage and his youthful agility that ensure his survival, it is also his artistic talent. With his agile fingers the boy is able to bend wire in the shape of profiles of Lenin and Stalin, as if in silhouette. He uses them to cheer up the invalid war veterans on the train stations returning from the front, who then give him a piece of bread, a bowl of soup and who, in a spirit of comradeship, warn him of the railway police and the secret service henchmen wanting to send the runaway back to the orphanage. Eduard spends more than six years on the run, experiencing close encounters with post-war Russia where life and fate have become synonyms.

*The book’s title Christened with Crosses comes from the old prison slang. The phrase used to be a password among convicts in the most famous Russian prisons otherwise known as ‘crosses’ were political detainees were sent to cells with hard core thieves.

Buy Christened With Crosses

My review:
This tale of Kochergin's life truly is amazing! Action-packed, it is full of tension and drama. The events are well-described, as are the places that the reader journeys through along with our narrator.
It is often hard to believe that this really happened to anyone! The world which we find ourselves emersed in is so different from that of the western world in which most of us live. Its hard to imagine living in such a situation.
Throughout the difficult times, this book tells of hope and determination. It has the potential to give hope to even the most lost, and is truly educational in its own right.
Those more familiar with dyspotian novels will be surprised how familiar this story seems, whilst readers of travel logs will be interested by the variety of places mentioned. Anyone who enjoys stories about individuals and human interactions will find much to fascinate. I truly recommend this book and hope any who try it will enjoy it as much as I have.

Buy Christened With Crosses

Action Reader's Action: Pray for political prisoners and their families throughout the world

What's the most dramatic journey you've ever made?


Thursday, 22 November 2012

Winner of Crashing Eden!

Check the rafflecopter form below to see if you're a winner!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


To those of you who haven't won this time, please keep reading for another giveaway coming soon! 

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Repost: The Small Woman by Alan Burgess (A Review)

Goodreads Summary:

The story of Gladys Aylward—small in stature, great in heart and courage.

My review:
An inspiring true story about a missionary who self-paid her way to China and lived there during the troubles of the 2nd World War and the Japenese invasion. I found Gladys' story absolutely amazing and a great testimony to her faith. This story contains suspense, drama, adventure and interesting cultural information. Definatly worth a read!

Action Readers' Action: Make a pledge to never say never today

What's the most extreme things you've (or someone you know has) done to help someone?

Do you have a favourite book by a British author? Why not tell us about it?!
And if you want like your review reposted here as part of 'National November' then simply say so in the comments (leaving a link to the review, of course). 

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Doctor Who Goes Literary for Xmas Special

Am I the only one that thinks the Xmas Special will be more than slightly Dickensian in tone?

Will you be watching the Xmas Special?

Monday, 19 November 2012

The Mind Man by PD Richmond (A Review)


Do your thoughts stay your thoughts or do they affect other people?

What if they do and what if those people end up dead?

Could your mind be used as a lethal weapon?

What if it can…?

Sergeant Teddy Farrell is a reluctant cop in the Sacramento Police Department. He mistakenly risks everything, including his long term marriage to his college sweetheart, to uncover a fiendish world of unprecedented greed and thwarted love. What he inadvertently discovers is a town full of secrets and an obsession with a fluffy rabbit.

A spine-tingling, emotional rollercoaster with a sumptuous dusting of romantic intrigue.

Publication Date: March 2012

My review:
A very interest concept with some intriguing characters. The first half of the book set the scene for a dramatic second half, culminating in a sudden cliff-hanger.
I really wanted to like this book. I loved the idea of all the could be possible if someone could use their mind as a weapon. There were a plethora of characters that shouted out to be understood. And yet, somehow, it took me half of the book to really begin enjoying it.
I think there were a few of problems from my point of view. Firstly, there were too many characters in places. I was sometimes hard to remember who they were when their names were mentioned again. Secondly, the point of view jumped between them (even in the same scene) making it ocassionally hard to know what each character was actually aware of. And, thirdly, there were quite a few seemingly incidental remarks or happenings that actually seemed to be quite crucial later on. I think a re-read might help with this last point.
Having said that, the last part of the book was pretty gripping in places. As the tension built it became easier to engage with the characters and events took on new meanings. It was also quite interesting to guess where the action would take place next (this really is an international book!).
This book has the potential for a really great story, but it has yet to fully reach that potential in my opinion. Good for those with a great imagination and memory for detail. An OK read overall.

Action Reader's Action: Consider how your opinions affect those around you. Make a conscious effort to be more positive.

Have you ever felt controlled by others, or society in general?

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Books Within Books: Alice in Wonderland

Room by Emma Donoghue

"O Mouse," I say in a whisper so he won't be scared. That's how to talk to a mouse, it's in Alice, only she talks about her cat Dinah by mistake and the mouse gets nervous and swims away. I out my hands praying now, "O Mouse, come on back, please, please, please..."

What's your favourite part of Alice?

Friday, 16 November 2012

What Britain means to me

I was born in England and have lived in England for all of my life. Having lived up North for part of that time, I've visited the south of Scotland (up to Edinburgh) and felt at home there as well. Other parts of Britain I know less well.

The Queen
I think The Queen is a great part of British identity as far as the outside world is concerned. Until about a year ago I just saw her as sort of there, getting on with things. But since the Jubilee she seems to have become more important in the British pysche. People now seem to have an opinion on the Queen (and monrachy in general) that they didn't have before. And whilst not everyone may agree on singing of the National Anthem (etc.) most people agree that she does a good job overall.

Yes, it really does rain in Britain. And, yes, most people moan about it. Luckily, we do have nice days as well. And, recently, we seem to have periods long enough to complain that its too hot at times. Bt, whatever the weather actually does, I'm one of those who will always think (deep down) that there's less rain elsewhere than Britain.

Everything seems to come from London, whether we like it or not. I'm much more for local decision making, but I see London as a great place to visit. Even when it was a 5 hour journey, I still made a point of visiting London now and again. I love the parks, the theatre, and the hustle and bustle. Its a great place to get away from everything (although I guess not really for the people who work/live there).

The British seem to have a great thing about manners and others not having them. Don't get me wrong, I've been abroad and seen some lovely manners, its just that it doesn't seem to be as big a deal in general. The British are great about making it an issue- its really important if you have them or not. Those that have them are generally very proud about it and want everyone else to have them as well. Those who don't have them often like to state that they're just speaking their mind and being honest. And, just to prove we have a thing about them. I'm making it part of this post as well.

Great film making
I just love the films that are coming out of Britain (or inspired by Britain, or involve British participation). Just look at the James Bond franchise, or Harry Potter. Then there's the Aaardman Animations (Wallace & Gromit etc), and recently The Hobbit has been turned into a film as well. It think British film making is under-rated as a rule and its easy to forget all the classics that influenced worldwide cinema.

OK. I'm going to mention London again. But this is where some of the great theatre of the world comes from. The West End is an important part of Britain in my opinion. What is exported from there influences what the world defines as British. Andrew Lloyd Webber's productions are prime examples of great British exports that have made an enormous difference to musical theatre. Theatre coming into the West End from Broadway has also changed British attitudes and culture over the decades.

We are lucky to have some great countryside in Britain. Just step out of most towns and its on your doorstep. National Parks, green hills, mountains, lakes, rivers- you name it and Britain will have it. And we're lucky to have enough space for most people to have gardens where wildlife loves to move in. In my garden there are so many birds. And one of my relatives even has foxes that visit her regularly. Countryside is great to relax, go for walks, and read in.

Tea (or coffee?)
The British are well known for their love of tea (I'm one of them). When I go to Europe on holiday its rare that I can get quite the same sort of tea as back at home. But recently coffee seems to have been taking over the high-street. And I love that as well! I think now of Britain as a country of home tea-lovers and coffee takeaways. I guess there's room for both really.

So, that's what makes up Britain for me.
What does Britain mean to you?


Thursday, 15 November 2012

London journalism

The Mind Man by PD Richmond
The paper was established back in the mid-nineties by a South African entrepreneur, who formed a syndicate to fund the venture. This new conservative compact daily was a response to the growing multiculturalism in Britain, and to cash in on the burgeoning online market. Its market share had grown strongly since its launch and it now enjoyed a daily circulation of amonst a million readers. But it was the potential for travel that interested Laura and she was thrilled when the paper hired her after she left the London School of Journalism. She had big dreams and she knew the international exposure through the online version of the paper would one day pave the way into a foreign correspondant career in television. 

How well does this fit your idea of a British newspaper set-up?

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Re-post: The Little Book of Mornington Crescent by Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graeme Garden, Barry Cryer and Humphrey Lyttelton (A Review)

The blurb

Edited by I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue regulars and Mornington Crescent enthusiasts Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graeme Garden and Barry Cryer with contributions from Grand Master Humphrey Lyttelton. The new and revised history and rules of the Gentleman's game of Morningto Crescent. Not since N.F. Stovold's celebrated book Mornington Crescent: The Rules and Origins has there been a publication that brings professionals,amateurs, devotees and newcomers up to date.

My review:
 Humourous and witty, a great book for both those who listen to 'I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue' and thoe that don't. It often makes little sense, but that's the great fun of it. A super light read, perfect for a change from more serious stuff.

Action Readers' Action: Next time you're in London, note the stations that you pass on the underground. Be more aware of your surroundings and you may yet become a champion of mornington crescent

Have you ever invented a board game? Tell us about its rules 

Have you read a book with a very 'British' subject. If so, why not feature your review here with a link to your blog? Simply leave a comment below, linking to your review and saying that you'd like it reposted for 'National November'. I look forward to hearing from you.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

My life outside of Reading

I thought it was maybe time I told you a little more about my life outside of reading. Sure, you may have picked up a few scraps along the way if you've been reading my blog for a while. But others of you may be wondering what else I do in my spare time.

Well, here's a little bit about me. If you want to know anything more then just ask in the comments and I'll answer (within reason).

If you scroll down my sidebars you'll notice that this is not my only blog! Soon after I started this one I decided that I didn't want to muddy my reviews and bookish stuff with too much of my other hobbies. Each of my blogs is dedicated to my main hobbies, and so going through them is a great way to tell you a little more about what its like to be me.


Apart from writing my favourite thing is music. I play with one of the local brass bands on the tenor horn. I absolutely love meeting up with my friends every week and making music together. We have a great tenor horn team now who have lots of fun whilst playing. I also help out in our training band, where I'm learning to conduct at the moment. Band takes up a lot of my waking hours, what with small group practise and music theory ontop of what I've already mentioned (plus practise, which I sometimes manage to actually do). But I don't mind because its what I enjoy.

If I had some more time then I might actually manage to do some more singing as well. I've been popping off on Jo Sercombe courses now and again to mainly have a bit of fun. Usually I stick to ocassionally leading the congregation at church and singing with our music group a couple of times a year though. Having said that, I've just auditioned for our town passion play, so next year I may do just a bit more.


OK, so this one doesn't happen much nowadays but I sometimes wish it did. At the moment I'm envying all those doing NaNo, but I just didn't have time this year. Maybe next year, if I can get my blogging a bit more organised first. In the meantime, I've booked myself on a 3-day course next year in the hope that it might urge me back into putting pen to paper.


Something for those cold winter evenings mostly. I always have a half-cross-stitch tapestry sitting in my living room so that I can start again whenever I feel like it. I usually sew infront of the TV, hence having something with the pattern already marked on it.

I've also made cards and soaps in the past. But now I have a bit of an overstock so I'm working through what I have before making any more.

There are craft kits in my bedroom as well. The latest one is a paper-making kit. No doubt this will come out if I'm bored at Christmas. What I'll make with the paper (presuming it turns out alright) I'm not so sure.

But my favourite craft activity is making magnetic bookmarks. This was an idea that came about when I had to do a fundraising event at church. And, since then, its been really popular so I've keep making them and using them myself as well. 


If you've been reading this in order then you'll already see that I've hinted that I'm a church-goer. This year, thanks to a new reading challenge, I've been making a bit attempt to read my bible every day (and its, mostly, lastest).

At church I have many roles. I'm a church steward. I play in the music group (tenor horn and singing). I run a bookcrossing shelf at Messy Church. And I'm also on the creche rota.

But I guess the most important thing is really what I believe. Going to church and doing loads of stuff is OK, but its not really being a Christian. Being a Christian means using what God and Jesus have told us (through the bible and prayer) in our everyday lives. Anyway, I won't go on about this here. Just check out my faith blog if you want to know more (or you can ask in the comments, I suppose).


At university I studied Ancient History & Archaeology, so it was only natural that I'd want to talk about history now and again. I enjoy visiting historical places, especially those little hidden gems that you sometimes find on country walks. I also enjoy (at least some of the) TV programmes about history.

My home town has a very rich history and its great to share that with others now and again. I think its so important for people to know about what came before them and that history can teach us an awful lot.

So, that's the gist of what my life outside reading is like.

Do you want to know anything else?

Monday, 12 November 2012

Music Out of The Pages: National Stereotypes

Soul Music by Terry Pratchett
'Ah, you're from Llamedos, right?' said the fat guard. 'I can tell by your accent. Very musical people, the Llamedese.'
'Souns like garglin' to me,' said the one identified as Nobby. 'You got a license, mate?'

Have you ever been accused of being something you're not?

Sunday, 11 November 2012

World Book Night 2013

Received an e-mail telling me about World Book Night 2013 last Friday.
10 minutes later I've sent in my application and am raring to go once more.

You know me, any opportunity to give away free books!
It all started for me with bookcrossing. Bookcrossing allowed me to spread my love of reading with others. Wild releasing also made it an adventure, as I never knew who would pick up my book and enjoy it next.

So, in 2011, when I heard that bookcrossing was linking up with World Book Night I just had to be involved! The first book I gave away was Cloud Atlas. I spread the copies I was given around my town, wild releasing them in bags on benches, ontop of pedestrian crossing buttons, and hanging from fences. It was lovely to see that (very soon) most of the books were gone and people were starting to discuss where they had come from.

Last year there were fewer books given out per person so my method didn't work quite as well. But I knew that those who received the books would still enjoy them and that it would attract the attention of many who might not read otherwise.

In 2011 I had left a few books in one of my local tea rooms. In 2012 I returned and left some again. The owner was really excited that she could have the opportunity to be part of the process and her customers were intrigued by the fact that there was a free book on every table. The owner even said that she wanted to join in with World Book Night the following year (so I'm hoping she's gone through with it and applied as well).

Next year I want to give out The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde. I think it's a perfect book for World Book Night as its great fun for new readers. Its hilarious, plus it introduces characters from literary works at the same time. What a fantastic choice! Looking back at my initial review I don't seem to have felt quite the same way the first time I looked at this book. Hopefully its just that I preferred other Jasper Fforde books. Its funny how the memory can play tricks though!

Fingers crossed I'll get to be a giver yet again.
In the meantime, why don't you apply?

P.S. And if you're in the US you don't need to be left out! Starting last year there's an Americal version as well!

Are you taking part? If so, which book have you chosen?

Friday, 9 November 2012

Tour Stop: Infraction by Annie Oldham (Review & Guest Post)

YA Dystopian
Title: Infraction (Sequel to The Burn)
Author: Annie Oldham
Date Published: 11/1/12

Violent nomads. The coming winter. Jack's unspoken feelings. Leaving the relative peace of the settlement is more difficult than Terra ever imagined. But what she should fear most is the government that professes to protect its citizens. Imprisoned in a labor camp, Terra learns just how much the corrupt regime wants absolute control. Never has she felt more powerless to act. But there's always the call of the ocean, and her captors just might underestimate how powerful that call can be.

My review:
Despite being billed as a sequel this book sits very well as a standalone story.
It grabbed me right from the beginning, throwing me into the action. As it progressed I found my heart pounding and was unable to stop reading. I read this book in 3 sittings and, if I hadn't had prior commitments, I could have quite easily read it in one.
The characters were well-thought out and had real depth. I loved the way that we didn't know everything about them from the start (although maybe this wouldn't have been the case had I already read 'The Burn') and learnt more about their past as the story went on. This mirrored very well the way that they learnt about each other.
The world in which the story was set was complex and intriguing. Every character seemed to have a different experience of this very 3D place. As each setting was described it was easy to pick up the tension in the air and to imagine the drama that must have got before.
I really loved 'Infraction' and am now looking forward to going back and reading 'The Burn'. I just hope that it can live up to its sequel.
 I reviewed this book as part of RABT Tours. I agreed to provide an honest review in exchange for a copy of this book. 

Action Reader's Action:  
Spend some time thinking about your perfect world. How can you make the real world more like it? Don't just think- act!

What's more important to you: freedom or safety?

And now I'd like to welcome Annie Oldham to 'The Story Factory Reading Zone'.  Annie Oldham adores writing and reading YA novels. She grew up in a house full of books and developed an insatiable desire to read, which led to the insatiable desire to write. Away from her writing, she's the mother of the three most adorable girls in the world, has the best husband in the world, and lives in the hottest place in the world (not really, but Phoenix sure feels like it). She loves to cook, sing, and play the piano. She is the author of Infraction, The Burn, Bound, and Dragon Sister.

Twitter: @annie_oldham


When I first started writing, I was under some crazy presumption that writing should be a natural extension of reading (which I loved to do). Then I actually got to the end of my first manuscript and came to a shocking conclusion: writing is hard work and it isn't glamorous. Here are five things you should know if you're just starting out:

Write. I know, you're saying, “Duh.” But guess what? The hardest part of writing is actually making yourself do it. So many people tell me, “I've always wanted to write a book...” You'll never be a writer if you don't write. Don't worry about beauty and perfection. Just get the words out.

Being a writer is hard work. It can be aggravating, painful, and isolating. One of the biggest hurdles is commitment. I know writers who have a daily word quota. That doesn't work for me. Some days the words flow; other days, the words are slower than tar. So I have a daily time quota If you're working full-time, have a family, etc., that could be as small as ten minutes or a half hour. As long as you write and do it consistently.

Have your dreams, but remember reality. I'm an indie author, and I love the path I've chosen. Do I dream about being a NYT Bestseller? Sure, but do I need that to feel fulfilled as a writer? Nope, not at all. Just remember that no matter if you're an indie author or traditionally published, being a best seller is a rarity compared to the thousands upon thousands of books published every year. Have your dreams—we all need them—but remember that your life won't end if you don't sell x number of books or make x number of dollars. Your life won't end if you don't contract with a big six publishing house. There are so many options for publishing these days. Just find the one that works for you.

Read. Read. Read. It helps you stay in touch with your chosen genre. It also helps you discover what works and what doesn't. Now that I'm four published books into my writing career, it's amazing how I read not only for enjoyment, but with an editor's eye of what I really like in a book and what drives me up the wall. You can't write in a vacuum, and reading helps improve your own work.

Don't beat yourself up. Writers (myself included) are dripping with self-doubt. I never talked to a writer that had enough confidence to say, “Yup, that book I just wrote? Every single person who reads it is going to be in awe.” It doesn't happen. There will always be someone (and most likely lots of someones) who doesn't like your work. That's okay. You've got to have a thick skin to be a writer. Take criticism where it's given and always try to improve your craft. Your best novel should always be ahead of you.

Purchase Links 

Thankyou Annie.
Now, a question for you guys out there:

Writers, what would your top 5 tips be?

Readers, what do you think is most important to make a good book?

British books within international stories

Crashing Eden by Michael Sussman
"I'm concerned that you're still hearing that sound," he said. "And now you're apparently talking to animals."
"Call me Dr. Doolittle," I said.
Ben's face remained grim.

 What was the last British book you read about?

Thursday, 8 November 2012

British Authors: Douglas Adams

Douglas Adams was born in Cambridge, England. When he was growing up he also lived in East London and Brentwood. He went to Cambridge University. He lived in London for most of his life.

Douglas Adams is most famous for writing the Hitchikers Guide To The Galaxy (see my review of The Restaurant At The End of the Universe). This work (and the man himself) are remembered through events such as 'Towel Day', when fans carry around a towel like the books' heroes.

Douglas Adams also wrote the Dirk Gently series, which I very much enjoyed when I was younger. I have a few of these waiting to be read, so you may see reviews at some point.

Possibly lesser known is the fact that he penned three serials for the British institution of Doctor Who whilst Tom Baker was playing the title role.

Unfortunatly Douglas Adams died in 2001. He will long be remembered though through his work.

What are you memories of Douglas Adams and/or his work?

If you know of (or are) a British author that you would like featured in National November please leave a comment and I'll get back to you asap. 

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Repost: 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?

This book is set (partially) in Britain.
For more book places check out my 'Reading Around the World' map

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Terry Pratchett Challenge Update

In January I signed up for the Terry Pratchett Challange. The idea was to read as many Pratchett books as possible throughout the year. To do this I set myself the goal of making every 2nd book I read one elligible for the challenge.

Overall I've done quite well. I'm over half way through my complete Discworld collection and have read a few other books as well. Recently though I've found myself slowed down by having to read review books and bookcrossing rays, meaning that I'm no longer reading a Pratchett for every other book.

Anyway, in order to see how much I've read so far, I decided to write a list of the Pratchett books I've read so far this year. There are links to reviews here (or on goodreads when not year posted) where possible.

The Colour of Magic
The Light Fantastic
Equal Rites
Wyrd Sisters
Guards! Guards!
Moving Pictures
Reaper Man
The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents
Witches Abroad
Small Gods
Lords and Ladies
The Long Earth (with Stephen Baxter)
Men At Arms
Feet of Clay
Interesting Times

I'm hoping to review the last two soon and make time to read several more books before the end of the year.

My question to you is: Should I carry on the Terry Pratchett challenge next year or should I pick a new author to feature?

Monday, 5 November 2012

It's Monday: What Are You Reading?

Currently reading: Room by Emma Donoghue

Last read: Infraction by Annie Oldham

Next read: The Mind Man by P.D. Richmond

Music Out of the Pages: More Musical Arguments

Soul Music by Terry Pratchett
His father had said it was rubbish, that the future was written in stones, not notes. That had only been the start of the row.
And then he;d said things, and he'd said things, and suddenly the world was a new and unpleasant place, because things can't be unsaid.
He'd said, 'You don't know anything! You're just a stupid old man! But I'm giving my life to music! One day soon everyone will say I was the greatest musician in the world!'
Stupid words. As if any bard cared for any opinions except those of other bards, who'd spent a lifetime learning how to listen to music. 

What sort of music would you describe as rubbish?

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Tour Stop: 6 Seconds of Life by Tonya Fitzharris (Interview & A Review)

I'd like to welcome Tonya Fitzharris to 'The Story Factory Reading Zone'.
 Tonya has been kind enough to answer some of my questions about herself and her book, '6 Seconds of Life'.
You can also scroll down for my review of her book. 

Author Bio
Tonya Fitzharris is a writer, reader, blogger, mediocre cook, photographer, runner, Florida native, and cat lover. She used to be a Middle School English Teacher, but now she's trying out the whole novel writing thing. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and her Belgian cat named Waffles.

TWITTER @tonyafitzharris


The Interview

  • Describe yourself in 5 words
  •         Shy, Contemplative, Loved, Adventurous, Nervous
  • Tell us why we should read '6 Seconds of Life'
  •         I think that it's a story that anyone can identify with, no matter what your age or situation. For someone who has suffered through depression in the past or may be in the midst of it right now, I hope it can give them solace in discovering that they are not alone. For those who may know someone with depression (or maybe you've never met one), I hope that it can help build a bridge of understanding and compassion for those who struggle.
  • What points of your life do you think you'd remember if you only had 6 seconds?
  •          The night my husband (then just a guy I was seeing) asked me to be his boyfriend while we both extremely feverish and delirious with the flu (I gave it   to him, and he still stuck around), When my husband whispered "you look beautiful" on our wedding day, the last day of my very first year as a teacher when my students surprised me with a cake and a wonderful card that they all signed...I'm hoping that there will be many more moments that will become important to me over the next few years.
  • Are you a story planner, or a wing-it-as-you-go writer?
  •        I'm a little of both. I sit down and write a very clear outline before I go, but I often find myself changing some of it as I go along. But as far as being a complete pants-er, I can't. I need to have some sort of idea about where I'm going and whether or not my story is working.
  • Where do you do your writing?
  •        Usually at my desk or on my couch. I've tried to do things like go out to a coffee shop or other public area, but I just get way too distracted. I have a really bad problem with a wandering mind, so when I need to get serious, I stay home.
  • Which authors or books have inspired you?
  •        Laurie Halse Anderson and her book "Speak" made me fall in love with YA literature all over again as an adult. "Thirteen Reasons Why" by Jay Asher helped show me that suicide was a very real subject that should and could be addressed tastefully with a teen audience. Finally, "Easy" by Tammara Webber showed me that New Adult can indeed succeed and became my beacon for what I would like my own successful career to look like.

  • If someone was coming to stay with you, what would you show them in your local area?
  •        I actually JUST moved to my new town a few days ago, so I have nothing! (It's Metuchen, NJ for anyone who knows anything about it! I'm taking suggestions!) But I do know that it is only half an hour from New York, so I plan to take full advantage of that and recommend it to anyone who happens to stop by!

    About the Book
    Young Adult / New Adult
    Title: 6 Seconds of Life
    Author: Tonya Fitzharris
    Date Published: 1st September 2012

    Maura has just jumped.
    Now she has precisely six seconds until she hits the water below her—just six more seconds until she is finally freed from her mundane and aimless existence.  Freed of all of the regrets and disappointments that have haunted her throughout her nineteen years.
    She just needs to be free.
    But as she falls, the most pivotal points of her life start to replay like a movie in her head: her family falling apart, her first love, her first heartbreak, her first true friends, and her first betrayal.  As she remembers these moments that brought her to this point, will she feel a sense of peace?  Or will her death be her greatest regret?

    Purchase Links 

    My review

    A basic premise, writing about in a truly emotionally fashion. The more I read, the more I felt as if I was gaining a sneak-peak into the real (and unfortunate) life of a teenager in turmoil. Starting in the midst of the action, flashbacks explain how Maura came to this tragic point. 

    The characters were believable and, at times, I almost felt as if I was reading a memoir rather than a work of fiction. The tale is no doubt one which is very real for many, and a story which we can often forget.

    A good read for anyone who likes their fiction to be hard-hitting.

    I reviewed this book as part of RABT Tours. I agreed to provide an honest review in exchange for a copy of this book. 

    Action Reader's Action: Think (or write) about some of the most important events of your life. 

    What points of your life do you think you'd remember if you only had 6 seconds? 

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