Tag Archives: book review

Defying Drakon by Carole Mortimer: review

Defying DrakonDefying Drakon by Carole Mortimer

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Drakon Lyonedes has it all: power, wealth, sex appeal…and any woman he wants! Until the beautiful Gemini Bartholomew steps into his life, that is…Confronting him over his plan to turn her family home into a hotel, Gemini intrigues Drakon. The problem? Long-term just isn’t in this infamously arrogant tycoon’s vocabulary—and Gemini is a virgin who surely wants more than one night of sizzling, scorching passion…?

She’s determined to defy him, but whose willpower will prove the strongest?

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Defying Drakon is published by Mills and Boon, so it’s no spoiler to reveal that boy gets girl! This is a slightly more realistic relationship plot than others I have read recently. For instance, Gemini, the heroine, has a shop and employs an assistant, so life went on there during the predictable “whisking away” of heroine by hero, the eponymous Drakon.

As usual, the whole book takes place in the space of 2 – 3 weeks: from complete strangers to soulmates in under 21 days! I think (it’s been quite some time since I read the book) they also got a marriage licence in record time. Marry in haste, repent at leisure springs to mind!

I bought Defying Drakon – only because I didn’t get round to cancelling my subscription in time to prevent shipment, as I had intended. I don’t recall any of the usual M&B printing glitches – no incorrect names anywhere!

I recommend Defying Drakon to all Mills and Boon lovers; it is a good example of the genre.

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View all my Goodreads reviews

I’m claiming this book as No. 57/150 in the Goodreads 2012 Reading Challenge.
[All links in right hand sidebar]

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Tuesday Totals (8) 2012: Week 33

Tuesday Totals – 13 to 19 August 2012

Here is my weekly round-up of my blog activities – accomplished and planned – that I use to try to keep myself on track, focused and with a sense of achievement! There are seven sections of activities; this post details their status for the weeks 13 to 19 August 2012.

Currently Reading

The books I’m reading as I post.

1. Cameron Nation by David Carraturo (AG)

This is going on the back burner for a few weeks; I have some other books that have run up the list.

2. Luke Wood presents More than a Million Words by Luke Wood and others (FR)

I think a few of these before bed will be a nice treat.  I try not to read too many in one go, so I can savour each piece.

3. The Consul at Sunset by Gerald Hanley

We’ve now met a different character – at odds with the Establishment types, but bound to play by the rules.

4. The River Witch by Kimberly Brock (NG)

Totally absorbing – I couldn’t believe I’d read nearly half of it in one sitting – over dinner!

Finished This week

1. Wolf Dawn by Susan Cartwright (AG)

The story is totally absorbing.  The writing style is a little ponderous, but the universe building is good.  I enjoyed the ethical dilemas that afflict the characters..

2. Timepiece by Myra McEntire (NG)

 I enjoyed this.  Although having read Book 1 in the series might have helped, it works as a standalone book.

Reviews in Manuscript

I like writing with a pen (or pencil) and paper. In addition, it is more convenient to write by hand, since in the time available, I don’t have access to a computer 🙂
Look out for these reviews coming soon:

1. Defying Drakon by Carole Mortimer
2. Hot Girl’s Friend by Lisa Scott
3. Scarlett’s by A. L. Collins
4. The Serpent Sea by Martha Wells
5. The Wedding Story by Dee Tenorio
6. Little Girls: A Novella by Elton Lord
7. Unforgettable Embrace by Joanne Clancy
8. Dead(ish) by Naomi Kramer
9. A Vampire’s Dominon by V. M. K. Fewings
10. Bone Machine by C. N. James
11. Columbus Avenue Boys by David Carraturo
12. Catestrophically Consequential by Stephen C. Bird
13. The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy
14. Darker by Degree by Keri Knutson & Susan Branham
15. Sanctuary by Glyn Smith-Wild
16. Seven into the Bleak by Matthew Iden
17. Redhead by Ian Cook
18. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
19. Wolf Dawn by Susan Cartwright

Reviews Posted

 The Assassin’s Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke

TBR Shortlist

I’ve had a rethink on choosing my next book.  I have been approved for quite a number of NetGalley (NG) book, so I’ve decided it’s time to boost some of these up the list and get posting reviews!  The other books from my list generally come under the headings of author gifts (AG), which usually get priority; First Reads (FR) wins; and authors’ time limited free offers (FO).  I sprinkle in some bought books and free ebooks too, as I fancy.

My immediate reading list is:

1. For That Day by Low Kay Hwa (AG)
3. One Moment by Kristina McBride (NG)
4. Monkey with a Pin by Pete Comley (FO)
5. Hound Dog Blues by Virginia Brown (NG)
6. The Top Ten Leadership Commandments by Hans Finzel (NG)
8. Rise by Yosef Gotlieb (NG)

Blog updates completed

1. Tuesday Totals – I’m on Number 8
2. Bookish Funny Friday – 15th posted
3. Waiting on Wednesday – 2nd posted
4. Released Next Month – 2nd posted

Blog Updates Planned

1. Review Policy – mostly written, partly typed
2. Reviews: My thoughts and philosophy – written, partly typed
3. Tuesday Totals – explanation page to be written, a logo would be nice, but not sure what (and how)
4. Rose’s Ramblings – explanation page to be written, logo to be created; two posts written, need to be typed (was Monthly Musings, but I decided that keeping it random was better!)
5. Blog Improvements – section needed with to do list
6. Visitor Counters – need to add them!

I’m gradually making progress with blog updates and reviews.  I’m hoping to join Bloggiesta this year and get some of my updates done then. Having this list to come back to is useful as it keeps me on track and stops me heading off in random directions! 🙂
What do you have planned for your blog?  How do you decide which book to read next???

The Assassin’s Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke: review

The Assassin's Curse (The Assassin's Curse, #1)The Assassin’s Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ananna of the Tanarau abandons ship when her parents try to marry her off to an allying pirate clan: she wants to captain her own boat, not serve as second-in-command to her handsome yet clueless fiance. But her escape has dire consequences when she learns the scorned clan has sent an assassin after her.

And when the assassin, Naji, finally catches up with her, things get even worse. Ananna inadvertently triggers a nasty curse — with a life-altering result. Now Ananna and Naji are forced to become uneasy allies as they work together to break the curse and return their lives back to normal. Or at least as normal as the lives of a pirate and an assassin can be.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

How good is The Assassin’s Curse? It’s so good I read it in a day!

The Assassin’s Curse is an otherworld fantasy story that can hold its own with the best of the genre. The Assassin’s Curse has about it the feel of Robin Hobb – although this instalment is shorter than one of a Robin Hobb trilogy, however, I suspect that there will be four or five books in this series (if you read The Assassin’s Curse, let me know if you agree!). Since I really want to know what happens next and how Ananna and Naji deal with the challenges they’ve been given, I shall be keeping a watch on Strange Chemistry’s blog for the next in series, although since The Assassin’s Curse isn’t released until October 2012, I suspect I will have a bit of a wait!

The story begins with our heroine running away from her betrothing ceremony – and I can’t say I blame her. Thus begin her adventures and her meeting with the eponymous assassin. One of the things that I particularly liked was that  it has a strong female lead. It’s funny how fantasy books much more often have strong, independent female leads than a number of other genres. Perhaps that’s why I’ve read fantasy (and Sci-Fi) books since I was a girl. One of my favourite authors was Andre Norton; Ms Clarke is most definitely in Ms Norton’s league.

The adventures the pair of unwilling co-travellers share follow logically from one to another, although there were a few points when I felt there was a tad too much running around without purpose and without Ananna and Naji growing further. I think there may have been some over-exuberant editing or revising around the storm sequence, since the plot progression got a little mushy around there. For me, a veteran of many sail-era naval novels, the lack of detail in, and slightly inaccurate, telling of the actions on board ship (I am being intentionally vague to avoid giving any of the story away) was a minor irritation – a very minor one. I would have liked more details about the Isles of the Sky – my mental pictures there was rather sketchy.

The telling of the developing relationship between Ananna and Naji is mostly well done – and I enjoyed that it is not too much of a formulaic romance. All of the characters are well drawn and believable. I hope we meet the wizard again – he is a character with much potential.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Assassin’s Curse and found the standard of world building by Ms Clarke to be well executed. I would have liked a little more detail on the various peoples and their cultures & religions to be worked into the tale. Had the book been somewhat longer, this and the other additions I have mentioned could have been included. The key to adding these details is to do it as part of the story and not for the author to tell the reader directly. I suspect that the publishers, Strange Chemistry, have a standrd format in which they publish and that the books they publish are edited to this format. I hope that as time goes by, they are able to offer a range of book formats (i.e. lengths).

I really liked the cover…the script’s font and the skyline are reminiscent of ancient Arabia and get the reader in the right frame of mind for the world they are about to visit.

I think this is a debut novel for Cassandra Rose Clarke and I have great hopes for her future books.

I thank Strange Chemistry for my opportunity to read The Assassin’s Curse, as a NetGalley ARC for kindle. I also thank them for introducing me to a new (to me) author. Details of the release dates for The Assassin’s Curse can be found in my WOW post.

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View all my Goodreads reviews

I’m claiming this book as No. 121/150 in the Goodreads 2012 Reading Challenge; and No. 6 in the First in Series Reading challenge..
[All links in right hand sidebar]

I particularly liked was that

Tuesday Totals (7) 2012: Week 32

Tuesday Totals – 06 to 12 August 2012

Here is my weekly round-up of my blog activities – accomplished and planned – that I use to try to keep myself on track, focused and with a sense of achievement! There are seven sections of activities; this post details their status for the weeks 06 to 12 August 2012.

Currently Reading

The books I’m reading as I post.

1. Cameron Nation by David Carraturo (AG)

This is going on the back burner for a few weeks; I have some other books that have run up the list.

2. Luke Wood presents More than a Million Words by Luke Wood and others (FR)

I think a few of these before bed will be a nice treat.  I try not to read too many in one go, so I can savour each piece.

3. Wolf Dawn by Susan Cartwright (AG)

The story is totally absorbing – I had to stop right in the middle of a very exciting bit to go to work this morning. The writing style is a little ponderous, but the universe buildong is good.

4. The Consul at Sunset by Gerald Hanley

I know this is a product of its time, and looking back to see how far we’ve come is a useful exercise, but the attitude to women and “foreigners” is shocking!

Finished This week

1. Desperate Housedogs / Get Fluffy by Abbey Sparkle (NG)

I have read Desperate Housedogs before (it’s one of my early reviews) however, when I received it in a two volume NetGalley ARC with its sequel Get Fluffy, I thought I’d do a quick reread. Enjoying the second time through!!

2. Poltergeeks by Simon Cummings (NG)

I I really enjoyed this

3. The Assassin’s Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke (NG)

Amazing, brilliant book.

Reviews in Manuscript

I like writing with a pen (or pencil) and paper. In addition, it is more convenient to write by hand, since in the time available, I don’t have access to a computer 🙂
Look out for these reviews coming soon:

1. Defying Drakon by Carole Mortimer
2. Hot Girl’s Friend by Lisa Scott
3. The First Rule of Ten by Gay Hendricks & Tinker Lindsey (40% typed)
4. Scarlett’s by A. L. Collins
5. The Serpent Sea by Martha Wells
6. The Wedding Story by Dee Tenorio
7. Little Girls: A Novella by Elton Lord
8. Unforgettable Embrace by Joanne Clancy
9. Dead(ish) by Naomi Kramer
10. A Vampire’s Dominon by V. M. K. Fewings
11. Bone Machine by C. N. James
12. Columbus Avenue Boys by David Carraturo
13. Catestrophically Consequential by Stephen C. Bird
14. The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy
15. Darker by Degree by Keri Knutson & Susan Branham
16. Sanctuary by Glyn Smith-Wild
17. Seven into the Bleak by Matthew Iden
18. Redhead by Ian Cook
19. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
20. The Assassin’s Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke

Reviews Posted

 Poltergeeks by Simon Cummings

TBR Shortlist

I’ve had a rethink on choosing my next book.  I have been approved for quite a number of NetGalley (NG) book, so I’ve decided it’s time to boost some of these up the list and get posting reviews!  The other books from my list generally come under the headings of author gifts (AG), which usually get priority; First Reads (FR) wins; and authors’ time limited free offers (FO).  I sprinkle in some bought books and free ebooks too, as I fancy.

My immediate reading list is:

1. Timepiece by Myra McEntire (NG)
2. For That Day by Low Kay Hwa (AG)
3. One Moment by Kristina McBride (NG)
4. Monkey with a Pin by Pete Comley (FO)
5. Hound Dog Blues by Virginia Brown (NG)
6. The River Witch by Kimberly Brock (NG)
7. The Top Ten Leadership Commandments by Hans Finzel (NG)
8. Rise by Yosef Gotlieb (NG)

Blog updates completed

1. Tuesday Totals – I’m on Number 7
2. Bookish Funny Friday – 14th posted
3. Waiting on Wednesday – 1st posted
4. Released Next Month – 1st posted

Blog Updates Planned

1. Review Policy – mostly written, partly typed
2. Reviews: My thoughts and philosophy – written, partly typed
3. Tuesday Totals – explanation page to be written, a logo would be nice, but not sure what (and how)
4. Rose’s Ramblings – explanation page to be written, logo to be created; two posts written, need to be typed (was Monthly Musings, but I decided that keeping it random was better!)
5. Blog Improvements – section needed with to do list
6. Visitor Counters – need to add them!

I’m gradually making progress with blog updates and reviews.  I’m hoping to join Bloggiesta this year and get some of my updates done then. Having this list to come back to is useful as it keeps me on track and stops me heading off in random directions! 🙂
What do you have planned for your blog?  How do you decide which book to read next???

Poltergeeks by Sean Cummings: review

PoltergeeksPoltergeeks by Sean Cummings

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

15-year-old Julie Richardson is about to learn that being the daughter of a witch isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. When she and her best friend, Marcus, witness an elderly lady jettisoned out the front door of her home, it’s pretty obvious to Julie there’s a supernatural connection.

In fact, there’s a whisper of menace behind increasing levels of poltergeist activity all over town. After a large-scale paranormal assault on Julie’s high school, her mother falls victim to the spell Endless Night. Now it’s a race against time to find out who is responsible or Julie won’t just lose her mother’s soul, she’ll lose her mother’s life.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Poltergeeks is a YA witch-themed fantasy novel that will appeal to fantasy fans of all ages. It is a fast-paced and absorbing. book I really didn’t want to put Poltergeeks down, but I had to do that in order to sleep.

Sean Cummings spins a fabulous yarn, with vivid descriptions of the phenomena and battles. The various relationships are described in realistic terms; I felt that all of them rang true and were consistent throughout the book. I’m very impressed at how well this middle-aged Blackburn Rovers fan got inside a 15-year-old girl’s head. Or should I be worried…LOL…seriously, whilst reading Poltergeeks I imagined a female author, the “voice” was that good.

There are a few really clichéd phrases uttered by the characters, along with some pretty cringeworthy phrases, but somehow they fit. Marcus is a stereotypical geek, and is bullied by a stereotypical jock, but I found I was able to ignore those formulaic bits. The witchy parts of the book are well worked out, and consistent. The story itself is internally consistent: it is set in the Calgary of the here and now – how wonderful to have a book set outside the US! There’s nothing wrong with the US, it’s just nice to be treated to a different locale – and takes the view that magic is all around us but most people don’t notice it. Witches are charged with keeping the rest of humanity safe from the “bad guys”. These two aspects – normal everyday and magical – are expertly woven together. Since Julie, our heroine, has been kept in the dark about many magical society details for most of her life, we learn about the rich details of the society with her. This kept the book interesting; I wanted to know more, I made guesses based on the clues received so far and was not bored when we got to the explanations because they happened as part of the story, either as direct speech or as part of the action rather than large passages of exposition directly from the author to the reader.

Poltergeeks absolutely races along, sometimes leaving the reader almost out of breath; there are few points where the reader thinks “Ah! I can put the book down knowing all are safe for a bit”. I admit that partway through, I worked out who – but I didn’t see the why. This looping interweaving sleight-of-hand part of the book was wonderfully woven.

In addition to discovering a new (to me) author, I’ve also discovered a new imprint: Strange Chemistry, who have some fantastic books coming out over the next six months – keep your eyes open for them: check out my WoW posts for details. Details of the release dates of Poltergeeks are also given on the website.

Thank you Sean for an excellent read. Thank you Strange Chemistry for approving me to receive a NetGalley ARC of Poltergeeks. I thoroughly enjoyed it and look forward to subsequent books.

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View all my Goodreads reviews

I’m claiming this book as No. 120/150 in the Goodreads 2012 Reading Challenge; and No. 5 in the First in Series Reading challenge..
[All links in right hand sidebar]

The First Rule of Ten by Gay Hendricks & Tinker Lindsay: review

The First Rule of Ten: A Tenzing Norbu Mystery The First Rule of Ten: A Tenzing Norbu Mystery by Gay Hendricks

Tenzing Norbu (“Ten” for short)–ex-monk and soon-to-be ex-cop–is a protagonist unique to our times. In “The First Rule of Ten,” the first installment in a three-book detective series, readers meet this spiritual warrior who is singularly equipped, if not occasionally ill-equipped, as he takes on his first case as a private investigator in Los Angeles.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

I sent out a request to the Universe that I might be allow to win this book – and it was with much gratitude that I received this book as a First Reads prize.

I really wanted to read The First Rule of Ten when it arrived but practised a little delayed gratification as I completed some overdue reviews and read some author-gifted books I had agreed to review. Then finally, I could wait no longer. Once I started the book, I found it difficult to put down and after a couple of restrained sessions, I polished off the majority of the book in four hours one Saturday morning.

The First Rule of Ten is superbly written, peopled with detailed, well-drawn characters and has a multi-layered ‘who is the puppeteer pulling the strings?’ plot that moves along at a clip but without leaving the reader behind.

The whole concept of a Buddhist ex-monk (the term ex-Buddhist monk didn’t ring true to me, since Ten is clearly still a Buddhist at heart) who becomes an LAPD cop was so intriguing – and the explanation of his journey from one to another is gradually uncovered and expanded throughout the book. It is a delightful and realistic reveal that would happen if you actually met Ten. He is a warm and compassionate human being, who although flawed (aren’t we all?!) is aware, thanks to his monk’s training, of how these flaws are made manifest., He therefore works to guard against many of them, whilst accepting and acknowledging others, such as his love of his car.

The reader is able to learn from Ten, but the lessons are those of observation and never stray into that annoying realm where authors, via their characters, preaches at the reader. Instead, here the lessons are laid out in front of us and, like those presented by life, it is for us to choose to learn from them. It is well, in this situation, to remember, as we learn from the book, the First Rule of Ten: Don’t ignore the tickle …

This is an excellent book on all front and I am grateful to have read it. I thank the authors for making the book available through First Reads and the universe/random winner generator for picking me!

I’m claiming this book as No. 84/150 in the Goodreads 2012 Reading Challenge;  and No.4 in the First in Series Reading challenge..
[Links in right hand sidebar]

Tuesday Totals (6) 2012: Week 31

Tuesday Totals – 30 July to 05 August 2012

Here is my weekly round-up of my blog activities – accomplished and planned – that I use to try to keep myself on track, focused and with a sense of achievement! There are seven sections of activities; this post details their status for the weeks 30 July to 05 August 2012.
This post is rather long because, as I explained in the last TT, real life rather got the better of me for a bit and I’m playing catch-up!

Currently Reading

The books I’m reading as I post.

1. Cameron Nation by David Carraturo (AG)

This is going on the back burner for a few weeks; I have some other books that have run up the list.

2. Luke Wood presents More than a Million Words by Luke Wood and others (FR)

I think a few of these before bed will be a nice treat.  I try not to read too many in one go, so I can savour each piece.

3. Desperate Housedogs / Get Fluffy by Abbey Sparkle (NG)

I have read Desperate Housedogs before (it’s one of my early reviews) however, when I received it in a two volume NetGalley ARC with its sequel Get Fluffy, I thought I’d do a quick reread. Enjoying the second time through!!

Finished This week

1. The Great Firewall by Michael C. Boxall (AG)

The book started and ended strongly, but I felt it was a little repetative in the middle.

2. Confusous Cat Says by P. R. Mason

I enjoyed this homage to great quotes!

3. Short Fuses by Stephen Leather

I’ve read one of Mr Leather’s other short Stories about Inspector Zhang, so was pleased to find one here too. All four stories are well crafted. There are lots of “first two” chapters for his novels. I read a few – they look good – but got fed up reading so many starts.

3. White Cougar Christmas by Elixa Gayle

Not particularly impressed. There wasn’t enough world building and I’m not inspired to read the novels in the series from which this short story comes.

Reviews in Manuscript

I like writing with a pen (or pencil) and paper. In addition, it is more convenient to write by hand, since in the time available, I don’t have access to a computer 🙂
Look out for these reviews coming soon:

1. Defying Drakon by Carole Mortimer
2. Hot Girl’s Friend by Lisa Scott
3. The First Rule of Ten by Gay Hendricks & Tinker Lindsey (40% typed)
4. Scarlett’s by A. L. Collins
5. The Serpent Sea by Martha Wells
6. The Wedding Story by Dee Tenorio
7. Little Girls: A Novella by Elton Lord
8. Unforgettable Embrace by Joanne Clancy
9. Dead(ish) by Naomi Kramer
10. A Vampire’s Dominon by V. M. K. Fewings
11. Bone Machine by C. N. James
12. Columbus Avenue Boys by David Carraturo
13. Catestrophically Consequential by Stephen C. Bird
14. The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy
15. Darker by Degree by Keri Knutson & Susan Branham
16. Sanctuary by Glyn Smith-Wild
17. Seven into the Bleak by Matthew Iden
18. Redhead by Ian Cook
18. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Reviews Posted

1. Salsa Invertebraxa by Mozchops

TBR Shortlist

I’ve had a rethink on choosing my next book.  I have been approved for quite a number of NetGalley (NG) book, so I’ve decided it’s time to boost some of these up the list and get posting reviews!  The other books from my list generally come under the headings of author gifts (AG), which usually get priority; First Reads (FR) wins; and authors’ time limited free offers (FO).  I sprinkle in some bought books and free ebooks too, as I fancy.

My immediate reading list is:

1. Poltergeeks by Sean cummings (NG)
2. The Assassin’s Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke (NG)
3. Timepiece by Myra McEntire (NG)
4. Wolf Dawn by Susan Cartwright (AG)
5. For That Day by Low Kay Hwa (AG)
6. One Moment by Kristina McBride (NG)
7. Monkey with a Pin by Pete Comley (FO)
8. Hound Dog Blues by Virginia Brown (NG)
9. The River Witch by Kimberly Brock (NG)
10. The Top Ten Leadership Commandments by Hans Finzel (NG)
11. Rise by Yosef Gotlieb (NG)

Blog updates completed

1. Tuesday Totals – I’m on Number 6!
2. Bookish Funny Friday – 13th posted, 14th scheduled

Blog Updates Planned

1. Review Policy – mostly written, partly typed
2. Reviews: My thoughts and philosophy – written, partly typed
3. Tuesday Totals – explanation page to be written, a logo would be nice, but not sure what (and how)
4. Rose’s Ramblings – explanation page to be written, logo to be created; two posts written, need to be typed (was Monthly Musings, but I decided that keeping it random was better!)
5. Blog Improvements – section needed with to do list
6. Visitor Counters – need to add them!

I’m gradually making progress with blog updates and reviews.  I’m hoping to join Bloggiesta this year and get some of my updates done then. Having this list to come back to is useful as it keeps me on track and stops me heading off in random directions! 🙂
What do you have planned for your blog?  How do you decide which book to read next???

Tuesday Totals (5) 2012: Week 30

Tuesday Totals – 23  to 29 July 2012

Here is my weekly round-up of my blog activities – accomplished and planned – that I use to try to keep myself on track, focused and with a sense of achievement! There are seven sections of activities; this post details their status for the weeks 23 to 29 July 2012.
This post is rather long because, as I explained in the last TT, real life rather got the better of me for a bit and I’m playing catch-up!

Currently Reading

The books I’m reading as I post.

1. Cameron Nation by David Carraturo

I haven’t opened this in the last week.  I’m going to have to make myself finish it.

2. Luke Wood presents More than a Million Words by Luke Wood and others

I’ve nearly finished this one.  I try not to read too many in one go, so I can savour each piece.

3. The Great Firewall by Michael C. Boxall

Michael contacted me to offer me a kindle copy to read and review.  The opening is very dramatic and I’m just getting to the more human part.  Good so far!

Finished This week

1. Growing Up Wired by David Wallace Fleming

This didn’t turn out to be the book I thought it would. I can’t say I enjoyed the frat boy antics and I felt the question posed wasn’t answered.

2. Coffee at Little Angels by Nadine Rose Larter

Nadine gave this book away over a weekend in honour of her 30 birthday.  I’m so glad I spotted the offer – this is a lovely book.  There’s no drama, a very low key mystery and lots of relationship stuff between the group of friends.

3. Darker by Degree by Keri Knutson & Susan Branham

This was a reread…I needed to write the review for this book and whilst reminding myself of the plot and characters, I found myself hooked.  It was just as enjoyable the second time around!

4. Some Like it Rough by Various

A Kindle freebie – the first three stories were well written.  The author of the fourth needs a lesson in English grammar…the tenses skipped about so much, often back and forth in one sentence, that it became very difficult to follow the story.

5. Freaks by Tess Gerritsen

This is book 8.5 in a series and is a short.  It actually read as an excerpt and finished in a rather rushed and unsatisfactory manner.  A Kindle freebie.

Reviews in Manuscript

I like writing with a pen (or pencil) and paper. In addition, it is more convenient to write by hand, since in the time available, I don’t have access to a computer 🙂
Look out for these reviews coming soon:

1. Defying Drakon by Carole Mortimer
2. Hot Girl’s Friend by Lisa Scott
3. The First Rule of Ten by Gay Hendricks & Tinker Lindsey (10% typed)
4. Scarlett’s by A. L. Collins
5. The Serpent Sea by Martha Wells
6. The Wedding Story by Dee Tenorio
7. Little Girls: A Novella by Elton Lord
8. Unforgettable Embrace by Joanne Clancy
9. Dead(ish) by Naomi Kramer
10. A Vampire’s Dominon by V. M. K. Fewings
11. Bone Machine by C. N. James
12. Columbus Avenue Boys by David Carraturo
13. Catestrophically Consequential by Stephen C. Bird
14. The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy
15. Darker by Degree by Keri Knutson & Susan Branham
16. Sanctuary by Glyn Smith-Wild
17. Seven into the Bleak by Matthew Iden

Reviews Posted

1. Salsa Invertebraxa by Mozchops (scheduled)

TBR Shortlist

I’ve been using a very rough priority scheme to choose my next book to read: author gifts (AG) get priority, followed by First Reads (FR) wins and then anything else I fancy! I thought it might be a good idea if I gave this a little more thought and also worked in some of the NetGalley (NG) books for which I’ve been approved.  I have also received books as part of authors’ time limited free offers (FO).

My immediate reading list is:

1. Timepiece by Myra McEntire (NG)
2. Wolf Dawn by Susan Cartwright (AG)
3. For That Day by Low Kay Hwa (AG)
4. One Moment by Kristina McBride (NG)
5. Get Fluffy /  by Sparkle Abbey (NG)
6. Monkey with a Pin by Pete Comley (FO)
7. Hound Dog Blues by Virginia Brown (NG)
8. The River Witch by Kimberly Brock (NG)
9. The Top Ten Leadership Commandments by Hans Finzel (NG)
10. Rise by Yosef Gotlieb (NG)

Blog updates completed

1. Tuesday Totals – four posts
2. Bookish Funny Friday – 12th posted, 13th scheduled

Blog Updates Planned

1. Review Policy – mostly written, partly typed
2. Reviews: My thoughts and philosophy – written, partly typed
3. Tuesday Totals – explanation page to be written, a logo would be nice, but not sure what (and how)
4. Rose’s Ramblings – explanation page to be written, logo to be created; two posts written, need to be typed (was Monthly Musings, but I decided that keeping it random was better!)
5. Blog Improvements – section needed with to do list
6. Visitor Counters – need to add them!

I’m gradually making progress with blog updates and reviews.  I’m hoping to join Bloggiesta this year and get some of my updates done then. Having this list to come back to is useful as it keeps me on track and stops me heading off in random directions! 🙂
What do you have planned for your blog?  How do you decide which book to read next???

Salsa Invertebraxa by Mozchops: review

Salsa InvertebraxaSalsa Invertebraxa by Mozchops

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Shortlisted for Best Graphic Novel 2012 by the Aurealis Awards, Salsa Invertebraxa is a storybook unlike any other, an Alice in Wonderland for insects, set in an imaginary world as two tiny companions set out on an odyssey of discovery. With one antenna listening out for vast armies competing for dominance on the forest floor, the two friends encounter strange new species of insect among surreal gardens of terrestrial delights. At nightfall, their mischief takes on a mysterious and foreboding turn as they attempt to steal eggs from monstrous super-predators, disturbing the fragile tranquillity of this bizarre Eden. (Images from the book at http://www.behance.net/gallery/Salsa-Invertebraxa-(A-Graphic-Novel)/2349816).

After an incubation of 15 years, Mozchops has exquisitely crafted over 200 paintings to tell this story of a beautiful and dangerous world..

Salsa Invertebraxa is currently only available from the publisher’s website. Go to http://www.pecksniffpress.com/ordering.html for details.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I am not a big fan of graphic novels. I wasn’t a big comic reader as a child. I feel I need to make these confessions up-front in this review.

Thus it was when I realised that I had won Salsa Invertabraxa in the Goodreads First Reads competition, I wasn’t particularly excited, rather a little curious and a tad guilty that I might not properly appreciate it.

When the book arrived, all the way from Hong Kong, expertly packaged in a box rather than an envelope, I sneaked a quick peak before I got home. The cover artwork only hints at the treasures within.

I read the whole book after dinner that night: twice. Salsa Invertabraxa is a fantastic object: a work of art; a primer in ecological systems; a treatise on the cycle of life; and the story of a pair of friends with the outlook on life of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. I have nothing but admiration for Mozchops. This is patently the result of a labour of love.

Each page is 290 mm by 240 mm in size and every square millimetre is superbly illustrated. There are various frames and insets used throughout the book to bring different parts of the forest into sharper focus or juxtaposition with the main scene. I found the repeated motif of the ants and other forest floor dwellers quite apposite and somewhat disturbing. The detail in the drawings is astonishing – the amount of thought that has gone into the planning and preparation and the technical skill of execution blend perfectly. The artwork really is amazing; beautifully detailed and excellently imagined and executed.

The images are close enough to real life to be recognisable, yet different enough to be magical. The story is simple in outline, but amazingly detailed and complex in execution – just like life.

I found that I treated the book with a reverence, not wanting to crease the pages or get smudgy fingerprints across the pictures. It is a thing of beauty and wonder, all the more so to me for my lack of expectations. I am truly delighted to have received this gift.

There are few words in Salsa Invertabraxa – haven’t counted them, but I would not be surprised to find I have written more in this review. Those that do appear, serve to guide the reader’s thoughts and perceptions gently towards the tale in each picture. What I particularly liked was that Mozchops did not confine the words to a particular place on the page, nor within boundaries or bubbles. The size, font and colour of the words changed to suit the scene, as did the position; the positioning helped determine how much of the scene I looked at before reading the words.

Salsa Invertabraxa is not an action story, rather it is the story of life writ drawn large. It is a work to be savoured, upon which to reflect and to which to return.

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes to think. I feel that its pages could be used, mandala-like, to lead one into meditation. The illustrations contain beauty, symmetry and colour; speak of life and death, of nature red in tooth and claw, of the exuberance of youth, and the daring of friends working together.

I am so pleased that I won Salsa Invertabraxa and I thank Mozchops (and the Goodreads pixies) for the chance to enjoy his work. It has a treasured place in my collection and I shall read it again, soon.

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I’m claiming this book as No. 55/150 in the Goodreads 2012 Reading Challenge.
[See the link in right hand sidebar]

Tuesday Totals (4) 2012: Weeks 26 – 29

Tuesday Totals – 25 June to 22 July 2012

Here is my weekly (well that’s the aim) round-up of my blog activities – accomplished and planned – that I use to try to keep myself on track, focused and with a sense of achievement! There are seven sections of activities; this post details their status for the weeks 25 June to 22 July 2012.
This post is rather long because, as I explained in the last TT, real life rather got the better of me for a bit and I’m playing catch-up!

Currently Reading

Actually these are what I’m currently reading at the date of the post.

1. Cameron Nation by David Carraturo

Still only moving on slowly with this one…I really don’t want to pick it back up!

2. Luke Wood presents More than a Million Words by Luke Wood and others

I’ve nearly finished this one.  I try not to read too many in one go, so I can savour each piece.

3. Growing Up Wired by David Wallace Fleming

An author Kindle book gift.  It’s been on my TBR list for a while and I’ve finally got to it.  A little strange, but the question it poses is important in our electronic world.

Finished This month

1. The Protectors (A Thriller) by James Piper

I enjoyed this book. Quite a few twists and turns and the reveal at the end was skillfully done.

2. Doll Parts by Wayne Simmons (FR)

A excellent zombie story, without any of the clichés found in other zombie books.  The characters were each unique, rather than stereotypical.

3. Jewels by Lakisha Spletzer

An interesting YA SciFi novel, first in a series.

4. Seven into the Bleak by Matthew Iden (AG)

The third of Matthew’s Amazon giveaways.  I liked this one best of all – in the fullness of time, it will have two reviews, one spoiler-free and one spoiler-full where I discuss what the story meant to me, in the way I did with my Snakes reviews.

5. Sanctuary by Glyn Smith-Wild (FR)

A romance with a difference: There was nothing formulaic about this book…and I’m looking forward to the next one!

6. Catastrophically Consequential by Stephen C. Bird (FR)

A strange collection of loosely linked bizarre tales, that nontheless shed light on life as we know it…

7. The Haunted Grove and other Stories by Tim Jeffreys (FR)

I wasn’t all that keen on the book based on the blurb, but the stories are so much better than the expectation it engenders.  I really enjoyed this selection and am really glad I won it.

8. The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy (FR)

Fantastic!  From the moment I opened the parcel, I loved this book.  The writing did not disappoint.

9. Alaskan Hearts by Teri Wilson (FR)

This is a Harlequin book – but with a difference.  Yes: boy gets girl, but more subtly and realistically than in most Harlequin books.

10. Alice Parker’s Metamorphosis by Nicola Palmer (FR)

I loved this book and want to read the rest of the series.  I’m considering giving the book to my neice…if I can part with it!

11. Dangerous Waters by Anne Allen (AG)

A mystery romance set on Guernsey.  I enjoyed the plot twists.

12. Redhead by Ian Cook (FR)

Great book!

13 Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (NG)

Buy tissues.  Read this. Give thanks.  Superbly written.

Reviews in Manuscript

I like writing with a pen (or pencil) and paper. In addition, it is more convenient to write by hand, since in the time available, I don’t have access to a computer 🙂
Look out for these reviews coming soon:

1. Defying Drakon by Carole Mortimer
2. Hot Girl’s Friend by Lisa Scott
3. Salsa Invertebraxa by Mozchops (90% typed!)
4. The First Rule of Ten by Gay Hendricks & Tinker Lindsey
5. Scarlett’s by A. L. Collins
6. The Serpent Sea by Martha Wells
7. The Wedding Story by Dee Tenorio
8. Little Girls: A Novella by Elton Lord
9. Unforgettable Embrace by Joanne Clancy
10. Dead(ish) by Naomi Kramer
11. A Vampire’s Dominon by V. M. K. Fewings
12. Bone Machine by C. N. James
13. Columbus Avenue Boys by David Carraturo
14. Catestrophically Consequential by Stephen C. Bird
15. The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy
16. Darker by Degree by Keri Knutson & Susan Branham
17. Sanctuary by Glyn Smith-Wild

Reviews Posted

None – shocking performance!!

TBR Shortlist

I’ve been using a very rough priority scheme to choose my next book to read: author gifts (AG) get priority, followed by First Reads (FR) wins and then anything else I fancy! I thought it might be a good idea if I gave this a little more thought and also worked in some of the NetGalley (NG) books for which I’ve been approved.

My immediate reading list is:

1. Timepiece by Myra McEntire
2. Wolf Dawn by Susan Cartwright (AG)
3. For That Day by Low Kay Hwa (AG)
4. The Great Firewall by Michael C. Boxall (AG)
5. Coffee at Little Angels by Nadine Rose Larter (AG)
6. Monkey with a Pin by Pete Comley (AG)

Blog updates completed

1. Tuesday Totals – three posts
2. Bookish Funny Friday – 11th posted, 12th scheduled

Blog Updates Planned

1. Review Policy – mostly written, partly typed
2. Reviews: My thoughts and philosophy – written, partly typed
3. Tuesday Totals – explanation page to be written, a logo would be nice, but not sure what (and how)
4. Monthly Musings – explanation page to be written, logo to be created; two posts written, need to be typed
5. Blog Improvements – section needed with to do list

Not much progress made on my blog in the last few weeks; it’s been a busy one in real life. Having this list to come back to is useful as it keeps me on track and stops me heading off in random directions! 🙂
What do you have planned for your blog?  How do you decide which book to read next???