Zi71bFS9nQHnivtvUJquhejTHIQ The Story Factory Reading Zone: April 2010

Monday, 26 April 2010

Wild Release #37

Going Places 3, a geography text book. I released thsi along a route taken by many school pupils in the hope that one of them will find it and decide its useful.

I Capture the Castle (a review)

I just love books written from the character's POV, and this is a particular good example IMO. Through the three sections (or books) we see Cassandra growing from a child to a woman and all the emotions that go with that experience. Playing alongside that is a tale of two worlds colliding, romance and motivation. You really feel as if you are entering the mind of the character. Very enjoyable.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Star Warped (a review)

A very funny (and sometimes adult) take on the Star Wars Trilogy combined with all sorts of other science fiction and comedy references. Light-hearted, it made a change from my usual reading and was easy to read at the same time as another book.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Bought 2 books

Ok, so I went to Tesco's to get some printer cartridges and a few pieces of stationary, and came back with 2 new books as well. The fact it that I just can't resist their prices when it comes to books, often around half the published price. Anyway, one of them was on my wishlist at BookCrossing so at least I've actually bought one I'd planned to get and not just two random ones.

For anyone who's interested, I've bought 'Empire: Wounds of Honour' by Anthony Riches and 'The Rapture' by Liz Jensen. Managed to resist buying the new Philip Pullman book, although I'm bound to buy it the first time I see a paperback version.

The Empire: Wounds of Freedom
Was inspired to buy this by finding I had no Roman historical novels to read during the relevant GoodReads Historical BookClub theme.
Marcus Valerius Aquila has scarcely landed in Britannia when he has to run for his life- condemned to dishonourable death by power-crazed Emperor Commodus. Desperate, the Praetorian Guard officer agrees to take a new name, serve in an obscure regiment on Hadrian's Wall and lie low until he can hope for justice.
Then a rebel army sweeps down from the wastes North of the Wall, and Marcus has to prove he's hard enough to lead a century in the front line of a brutal war with a merciless enemy.

The Rapture
A review of this book came up on my Google Reader choices and it sounded interesting so I put it on my BookCrossing wishlist. When I saw it at Tesco's I just couldn't resist!
In a merciless summer of biblical heat and destructive winds, Gabrielle Fox's main concern is to rebuild her career as a psychologist after a shattering car accident. But when she is assigned Bethany Krall- violent, delusional and insistant that she can foresee natural disasters- she begins to fear she has made a terrible mistake. When catastrophes begin to occur on the very dates Bethany predicted, the apocalyptic puzzle intensifies and the stakes multiply.
A haunting story of human passion and burning faith, The Rapture, is an electrifying pyschological thriller that explores the dark extremes of mankind's self-destruction in the world on the brink.

Wild release #36 and catch #14

Finding didn't enjoy the book, but (on the plus side) they certainly got the concept of BookCrossing. They've joined the site, so hopefully we will see more releases from them in the future.

Anyway, the book released and (so quickly caught) was Morpheus Factor. Click here for the entries

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Day of Honor Omnibus (A Review)

 6 stories exploring the idea of honour in various Star Trek cultures. I loved the way adventures from the different series (DS9, Voyager, TNG and original) were linked by an overriding theme. My favourite stories were 'Her Klingon Soul' and 'Honor Bound' because they dealt with internal struggles within people of 2 cultures (Klingon and human). All of the book was well-written and it was easy to imagine the characters from the TV series. The addition of pictures for the final story was nice.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Bought 3 books for 60p

Garage sales really can be a great place to get bargain books. I headed off to one this morning and, as well as a tapestry to sew, got myself 3 books for only 20p each.

This is what I bought (summaries from the back of the books):

Shadowlands by Leonore Fleischer
Jack (C.S.) Lewis, author of the much-loved Narnia stories, is professor of English Literature at Oxford. Into his masculine, academic world walks Joy Gresham, a brash, fast-talking American poet who storms the shadowlands of Jack's heart.
Clear to everyone, except Jack, is that they are falling in love. They must marry secretly, only to discover that Joy is terminally ill. Jack, a deeply religious man, is forced to ask: what are God's intentions? Why does He make us suffer? How can we afford to love?
The story of this true and unusual romance, its setting, and the courage and commitment of the lovers, sent theatre audiences out weeping into the night: the pain then, Joy says of her impending death, is part of the happiness now.
The Evening Standard called the play "unbearably moving". The themes of Shadowlands- love, loss and the wonder of life- transform the lives of the people in it and reach out to touch us all

Tell it To The Skies by Erica James
Suddenly in the middle of a crowded Venice street, Lydia glimpses a face that takes her back to England, back to her childhood and to a dreadful secret that she believed she had banished to the past....
As children, Lydia and her sister were sent to live with grandparents they'd never even met. It was a cruel and loveless new world for them, and it forced Lydia to grow up fast. She learned to keep secrets and to trust sparingly, and through it all she was shadowed by guilt and grief.
Then, as an adult, the beautiful city of Venice gave Lydia peace, fulfilment and even love. But in a single moment, a stranger's face forces her to revisit the past she has been hiding for the last twenty-eight years...

Plain Tales From The Hills by Rudyard Kipling
In this collection of short stories Kipling succeeds in shattering such misapprehensions about life in India during the British Raj. Drawing on her own experiences as a cub reporter, he is able to interpret the ways and beliefs as well as the work and pleasures of the Imperial administrators and the races they governed that were half a world away from his original Victorian readers.
Viceroys and beggars, soldiers and their officers, civil servants and children- and some very clever women- all play their parts in the history of a sub-continent. And although everywhere there are barrier between the races, the classes and the sexes, the inevitable misunderstandings between them as often end in comedy as in tragedy.

Look out in this blog for reviews of these books and information on their possible BookCrossing destinations

Friday, 16 April 2010

Controlled Releases #8 and #9- Plus intro to the new Science Fiction and Fantasy Library

A new BookCrossing Library has been set up to concentrate on Science Fiction and Fantasy books. For those who don't know, the idea of a BookCrossing Library is to allow people 'take out' a certain sub-set of books over the internet. These are then made available to other users when they are finished with.

The Sci-Fi & Fantasy Library (sf-f-library) aims to collect and make available hard to find, large collections or out of print sci-fi and fantasy series beginning with some personal favourites -such as Terry Pratchett's Discworld series, Piers Anthony's Xanth series and Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar series- and later expand our collection with other popular fantasy titles such as Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time or any other fantasy collections suggested by you. Eventually we hope to branch out into Sci-Fi too but we want to take baby steps first. This way others can also satisfy their curiosity about rarer titles and we can introduce our favourite authors to others, increasing their audience and who knows maybe even the number of fans egging them on to churn out another title in that wonderful series. Ideally we would run a spiral for each series separately but with the number of books in Pier's Anthony's Xanth series being 34 and still writing it would take years to get a sensible spiral going and so this is not really an option.
From the SF-F Library page on BookCrossing

I was lucky enough to have 2 Terry Pratchett books ready and awaiting a good home. I have sent them to one of the librarians to keep safe until they are needed.

The books are:
                        The Truth (Sci-fi challenge)
                        Thud (BCID challenge and Sci-fi challenge)

Do contact the SF-F Library if you're interested in borrow a copy of either of these books. And don't forget to check out their shelf for other available books!

Book-themed irony

True BookCrossing

A book not registered with BookCrossing, but very much in the spirit of a themed wild release and with dramatic results.

Their 20-something daughter died a couple years ago, and mom was lost in her grief. About a year after, the couple decided to go for a picnic drive, taking a lunch and camera, and planning to try and take a break from the deep sense of loss that seemed to be tearing them slowly apart. They drove into the country looking for a campground or park that had picnic tables, but couldn’t find one. About to give up they spotted something that might work, what looked like a table near a small outbuilding?

They pulled over, and walked with their lunch over to what turned out to be three or four concrete steps going nowhere, just sitting in the middle of this clearing. She glances over at the little building and sees that there is a plaque on the door. It simply says, “The Shack.”

Together they eat their lunch sitting on the steps going nowhere. She feels drawn to this small building and decides to go and look in it. Her husband refuses. “What if someone is living in there?” She opens the door anyway.

In a corner of the one room is a tree stump that has been cut to function as a chair. Another corner has a shelf with a pile of slate, like stairs…going nowhere. Then there is the desk; complete with chair, a pad of paper, pens and two copies of a book that neither of them had ever heard of, The Shack. A typed note lay on the table. It simply read, “Please take whatever you want.” They took one of the books.

With her husband standing quietly just behind, while she talks she is laying down one photograph after another in front of me. The steps, the little building, the sign on the door, the inside room, the tree stump chair, the shelf, and the table with everything she had described including two copies of the book sitting on the right side.

Tears in her eyes, she hands me a worn book and says, “This is the copy I took. This is the book that saved us!”

Taken from WindRumors, The Official Site of W.M. Paul Young

Comic for those who've read The Aeneid

Get Fuzzy
Get Fuzzy
Get Fuzzy
Get Fuzzy

Monday, 12 April 2010

Sunday, 11 April 2010

The Morpheus Factory (a short review)

An inventive and interesting story, however it lost something in the telling. The characters didn't always speak in the way I expected them to. I think it would have been a lot more effective as a TV episode since so many different perspectives were involved at times.

Wild Release #35

The Root Children
A charming children's book, written as a rhyme. I hope its found by someone who will appreciate it.

Friday, 9 April 2010

The First Amendment (a review)

This is the first Stargate book I've read but, liking the Stargate series, I thought I'd give it a go. I was really impressed with the writing style. Sometimes science fiction / TV series books are written in a rather stilted manner, but this one wasn't. The characters acted in a way which fitted their TV personas and the adventure was different to many Stargate episodes. Having said that, the planet seemed far too much like something out of a 1960s science fiction movie. There were plot reasons for this, but I think it could have been done more effectively. Suitable for Stargate lovers and novices, thanks to the brief but thorough explanations of characters and events.

Controlled release #7, wild release #35

Sent 'The City of Dreaming Books' on its way to the next bookring participant and entered it into the science fiction and fantasy challenge.
I do love doing these bookring and bookrays. At the moment I've been lucky enough to not get too many arrivals at the same time, although I'm finding it hard to read these quickly, the bookclub books in the right month and books for challenges before the challange ends. Bought a magnetic bookmark with 'So many books, so little time' written on it, as it really ecapsulates my current reading situation.

Also wild released 'Ghost of A Chance' and entered it into the BCID and science fiction challenges. Left it in the local job-centre as I released that there was not much to look at whilst waiting for an appointment. Was pleased to see someone reading about BookCrossing as I went out. Hopefully they'll either take and register the book or take the concept with them.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

RABCK Received (plus some stickers)

Received 'We Need To Talk About Kevin' through the post this morning. And, in a seperate, package some bookcrossing stickers. Look out for my wild releases to find out what the stickers looked like. Will review the book here when I've finished it.

The Most Beautiful Bookstore in the World

The Most Beautiful Bookstore in the World

Click on the above link to see what must be one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world. Located in a Dominican Church, The Boekhandel Selexyz Dominicanen in Maastricht combines wonderful architecture with what appears to be hundreds (if not thousands) of literacy pieces.

Monday, 5 April 2010

Ghost of A Chance (A Review)

Another adventure of the Starship Voyager, exploring both their adventures and the early crew relationships. I enjoyed this book and found the actions of the crew consistant with the TV series. However, there were still a couple of questions left unexplained at the end if the book. For this reason I only rated the book with a 7.

Catches #9 and #10 (also wild release #34)

Both new members, and have registered with BookCrossing!

At My Mothers' Knee.... and Other Low Joints

Watermelon- caught before I could do a release entry

The City of Dreaming Books (A Review)

Really gets to the heart of the joy (and obsession) of reading. Also felt some ressonance with my current writing situation. I found myself getting more and more into the book as it progressed until very near the end. However the pictures sometimes got in the way of this process, especially when they didn't seem quite as scary as what I already had in my head.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Watermelon (A Review)

Chick lit told from the point of view of Claire Webster, who has just had her first child. Feelings are well developed and sometimes complex, but many characters are not fleshed out. The whole book has the feeling of reading someone's diary.
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