Monday, January 26, 2015

Not feeling it - South of Darkness by John Marsden #amreading #MondayBlogs

In May of 2011, long before I was writing book reviews, I discovered John Marsden. He is the award winning and brilliant Australian author of The Tomorrow Series and The Ellie Chronicles. The Tomorrow Series starts with Tomorrow, When the War Began, which was made into a movie a few years ago.

This series is set in modern day and revolves around six teenagers who are camping in the bush when Australia is attacked and overrun by an unidentified enemy. The teenagers return to town to find all of their families and everyone they know has been rounded up in a concentration camp. They must not only survive on their own, but they also do their best to fight the enemy as best they can.

It is a fantastic Young Adult series and I can't say enough great things about it.

South of Darkness is Marsden's first foray into writing a book for adults, or so I've read. It is the historical story of young Barnaby Fletch, an orphan growing up on the mean streets of London in the late 1700s, and later transported to Australia as a convict.

The story is told from a first person perspective. With Barnaby as the narrator we only read his name a handfull of times throughout the book. It was very easy to forget it.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

A whirl and a twirl #spindling

Finished single ply yarn
Most of you know that in addition to writing, and reading, I like to do a little crafting from time to time.

I know I've been working on it for a long time because I first showed it to you in December in my I Haven't Forgotten You post, however, I am pleased to report that I just finished spinning my fourth top on my drop spindle.

Unlike the previous attempts I showed you in that earlier post, this is the first one I've managed to spin that is on the thin side, like normal yarn. The thicker yarns are considered to be art yarns. I am very pleased with how this has turned out.

I haven't plied it yet - still trying to decide whether I want to ply it on itself, or with something else. I think I'd like to ply it with something that is close to the bluish color in it - but you have to look close to see it - and maybe something shiny.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Flash Fiction: Mother Serpent by A.B. Shepherd #MondayBlogs #FlashFiction

This story was inspired by my friend Brian Long. I don't think it is quite what you were hoping for, but thank you Brian. 

The Land is my mother, my mother is the land...Aboriginal Proverb

She goes by many names and by no name at all. Each tribe call her something different, but in every tribal language the word translates to Mother. She is very old. No one can remember a time when she wasn't old. She is honored for her wisdom, yet no one is aware of just who she really is.

From time to time she travels. She wanders from tribe to tribe and speaks to each in their own language. Each tribe believes she is theirs. Their own tribal elder. The oldest member of their tribe. They have no doubt. And each tribe is correct.

For she is that and more. She is Mother and she is Rainbow Serpent. She has taken human form to enable her to live amongst her own chosen people.

She created the land, the water, the mountains, the plants and animals. She is the architect of all and older than time itself.

Mother has been seen the signs for years now. The signs that the time has come again.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Great YA sci-fi! Whispers in Autumn by Trisha Leigh @trishaleighkc #amreading

Okay, yes. This is another one I picked up when trolling for dystopian books with aliens. Turns out it is also YA. Don't hate on me for that, k? I can't help it that no one seems to be writing books for adults with this criteria. At least not ones without zombies.

Whispers in Autumn is the first book in a four part series. When Althea (our heroine) finds out she is Dissident my first thought was, of course, Divergent by Veronica Roth where Tris is also not like the people of her town. But this book is not a new take on Divergent. Other than hiding the fact that she's Dissident from everyone, Althea and Tris don't have much in common.

Althea is not a Dauntless hidden in Abnegation clothing. She's a scared teenager who has trouble controlling her emotions, and no clue why she jumps to different seasons, and different families, in the blink of an eye. All she knows is she's not like everyone else and she has no idea why. It leaves her isolated and lonely. Then she meets Lucas and he's not like everyone else either.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Teen sci-fi romance - Starstruck by Brenda Hiatt #amreading #bookreview

This is another one that I picked up while trolling Amazon for alien fiction. It is not dystopian, but it is also a YA (Young Adult) novel. Some of you might find it strange that as a 53 year old I still enjoy YA books. I just do. I'm not sure why.

But while that is true this one is even more YA than the book in my previous review. At least I think it is a bit less suited for an adult audience.

There was a lot to really enjoy in this book that was suited for an adult and teen audience, like the science-fiction parts, the political parts. But it was heavy on the teen romance aspect, and it was fairly predictable.

It's really a Princess Diaries meets Romeo and Juliet (but not nearly so much feuding and tragedy) kind of book with Martians thrown into the mix.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

A fun ride! Planet Z by Kristen Middleton @kmiddle08 #amreading #YAscifi

I was cruising Amazon the other day, searching for a dystopian novel with aliens in it to read. This is one that popped up in my search. I don't usually take advantage of Amazon's "sample" feature when I go to buy books there - and really I should. It would weed out some that are not quite what I'm looking for. This time I actually did read the sample and it quickly hooked me.

It's a Young Adult book, suitable for children over the age of 11. I wasn't specifically looking for a Young Adult book, but hey if it intrigues me I'll read YA everytime.

It was only just released on New Year's Eve 2014 and it's a short book at only 228 pages. I read it in a single sitting and I honestly never wanted to put it down.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Flash Fiction: Balancing Act by A.B. Shepherd #flashfiction #amwriting

Choose wisely. The fate of the world is in your hands.

These thoughts echoed through her head constantly. How could so much responsibility fall to one so young? She was only ten years old, but wise beyond her years. Even so, the consequences of making the wrong choice were too dire to comtemplate.

Choose one brother over the other. She loved them both. Had always loved them both. They shared her blood.  But they were powerful. Their battle for dominance grew stronger with each passing day.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

A cautionary tale? Rubberman's Cage by Joseph Picard #amreading #dystopian

There are many ways I find out about new books. Sometimes I just troll Amazon. Often I ask friends for recommendations. I read newsletters. And then sometimes, as in this case, I just see discussions and decide to check out the book in question.

With Rubberman's Cage, one of my friends was organizing a book tour for this author and novel. I could have been a part of the tour but chose not to because I really didn't want to have to deal with time constraints and whether or not I felt like finishing the book, but the book looked interesting and wasn't too costly (my frugality wasn't offended, haha) so I picked it up to read at my leisure. It just happens to be the last book I read in 2014, finishing it up on New Year's Eve.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Ding dong the year is dead! My top 5 books of 2014. #amreading #top5books

So 2014 is dead and gone and it's a brand new year. I always like to do a wrap up of my favorite books from the previous year and share them with all of you. There were many books that I rated four stars, but surprisingly only five full length books that I gave a full five stars.

If you click on the title links you can find my review of each book as it was written right after I'd read them. I find it a bit interesting that the majority of these are Young Adult (YA) books. Huh.

What were your favorite books of 2014? Please tell me in the comments.

In no particular order my top five favorite books I read in 2014 are:

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Monster on the prowl! The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd #bookreview #horror

I was shopping for some craft books when I came across this one which was on special. It intrigued me so I picked it up in spite of the fact that horror is not typically my preferred genre. It has been one of the print books on my to-read list for quite some time.

I have to admit that I've been reading this one for about a month off and on. I've finally finished it. The author says this book was inspired by H. G. Wells's classic novel The Island of Dr. Moreau. I readily admit I've never read that one. 

The science in this book is not accurate, but is probably similar to that from Wells's novel. If you ignore that and move on to the story itselt, it is interesting. A mad scientist playing God, horrific creatures, an unknown monster on the prowl, and a love triangle/quadrangle.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Author Interview and Excerpt! The Soul Thief by Mjanka Verstraete #interview #excerpt

9781620155585_frontThe Soul Thief (The Angel of Death Series #1)

by Majanka Verstraete

Publisher: Booktrope

Published: November 11, 2014

Genre: YA, Paranormal

Book blurb:

When sixteen-year-old Riley is injured in a car crash and sees a girl stealing a boy’s soul, she’s convinced she’s hallucinating. But when she sees the same girl at the hospital later, she knows she wasn’t dreaming. That’s when Riley learns her secret heritage and who she really is: a halfling Angel of Death.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Too techy for me - The Martian by Andy Weir #bookreview #themartian

This book came highly recommended by a friend, and although I readily admit to being...shall we say, frugal?...since the recommendation was from such a trusted source I let the moths out of my wallet and paid the full Amazon asking price for this book on Kindle, even though I generally won't spend over $6 for an ebook. This one cost me $8.39 (AUD).

Now this could be the time for me to start a tangent about the cost of ebooks, especially by traditional publishers when all you get is basically a file. Yes, a lot of hard work goes into writing and publishing a book and costs should be recouped and profits made, but...As an Indie Author myself I know exactly how much it costs to produce an ebook, and I must say traditional publishers tend to overprice their ebooks, but enough about that. This is a review not a tangent.

So back to The Martian.

Friday, December 19, 2014

My Realization - Kindle vs. Print Books #kindle #printbooks

I have over 50 unread print books laying around my house, as well as a fair number of print books that I have already read at least once. Well okay. Not exactly laying, but stacked neatly on bookshelves. But that is beside the point. I generally read on my Kindle and when my husband asks about all the print books, especially as I obtain more, I tell him I'm saving them for the zombie apocalypse when we no longer have electricity. 

Sounds like a plan, right? Of course that means I will have to read in daylight or by candlelight, or even by torch until the batteries run out, but whatever.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Dream Travelling! Awoken by Sarah Noffke #bookreview #dreamtravelling

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

So my last review was the first book in a series and I complained, again, about being dropped in mid-air. 

Well this book is also the first book in a series, but here's the difference. This author did it right!

She did leave some unresolved things that I want answers to, but there was a resolved plot line in this book! It makes such a difference when authors leave you satisfied, yet still wanting more and Sarah Noffke did just that with Awoken.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Dropped in Mid Air! True Calling by Siobhan Davis #bookreview #series

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I'd been in a reading slump for awhile, and when Netgalley offered me this book I thought it sounded pretty good. I'd been looking for a great post-apocalyptic sci-fi read. At the time I hadn't realized that it was the first book in a series, rather than a stand alone. You all know how I feel about series - I love them if done right. This one was pretty good right up until the end, where the author cut it off at what I felt was a crucial point leaving me screaming in frustration, as happens so often with series anymore. Yes, I know you want us to get the second book, but for crying out loud don't drop us in mid-air!