Zi71bFS9nQHnivtvUJquhejTHIQ The Story Factory Reading Zone: March 2011

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

The Heavenly Man by Brother Yun- A (very short) Review

An amazing book full of stories which will both amaze anyone who reads them. I felt almost embarassed to call myself a Christian after reading this book, which really made me want to put more effort into following God.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Am I really decreasing my TBR pile enough?

OK, so I went out today on a walk with 8 bookcrossing books to wild release. I managed to get rid of them all, but I've come home with 5 more books. How did that happen? you may ask. Well, whilst wandering around the town where I parked the car I happened to pass a second-hand bookshop. And said bookshop had a 5 books for £2 offer outside. Enough said!

So, here's what I bought today:

Books for reading and then bookcrossing/ swapping / giveaways etc

Allotted Time by Robin Shelton
Robin Shelton was at a crisis point in his life- divorced, broke and suffering from depression- when he and his trusty mate Steve decided to take on a project, a chance to achieve something solid. They decided to rent an allotment.
Safari Adventure by William Price
The entire population of Tsavo, Africa's largest game reserve, is threatened by big-game poachers. Hal and Roger capture the poachers, using 'dope darts'- but find it more difficult to track down their leader, the mysterious Blackbeard
Alexander: Child of A Dream by Valerio Massimo Manfredi
Who could have been born to conquer the world other than a god? A boy, born to a great king- Philip of Macedon- and his sensuous queen, Olympias. Alexander became a young man of immense, unfathomable potential. Under the tutelage of the great Aristotle and with the friendship of Ptolemy and Hephaiston, he became the mightiest and most charismatic warrior, capable of subjugating the known world to his power

For BookCrossing wild releases

The Hodgeheg by Dick King-Smith
The story of Max, the hedgehog who becomes a hodgeheg , who becomes a hero! Max's family dreams of reaching the Park. But no one has ever found a safe way of crossing the very busy road. Can Max really solve the problem?
Mr Majeika by Humphrey Carpenter
This was St Marty's Primary School on a wet Monday morning. And magic carpets don't turn up in schools. Class Three knew that. But there was no denying it. A genuine magic carpet had just flown through the classroom window in front of their very eyes. And what's more, Class Three's new teacher was sitting on it!

Teaser Tuesday #10- The Heavenly Man

Hosted by Should Be Reading

The Heavenly Man by Brother Yun
The judge, court officials, and the guards were stupified. They stared at me for a few minutes in a gaze.

My latest book buy

Who Stole My Church by Gordon MacDonald
A storm hits a small New England town late one evening, but the pelting rain can't keep a small group of church members from gathering to discuss issues that lately have been brewing beneath the surface of their congregation. They could see their church was changing. The choir had been replaced by a flashy "praise band". The youth no longer dressed in their "Sunday best". The beautiful pipe organ sat unused. How will this group overcome a deepening rift in their fellowship and nourish the relationship between the young and old? Can their church survive or even thrive?
Who Stole My Church? is a fictional story that tells the all-too-real tale of many church communities today. In this book you can walk alongside an imaginary community, led by real-life pastor Gordon MacDonald and his wife, Gail, and discover how to meet the needs of all believers without abondoning the dreams and desires of any. 

Monday, 28 March 2011

It's Monday: What Are You Reading #8

Hosted by Book Journey

Finished last week
Sister of My Heart (click for review)
(Still trying to get up to a reading pace of at least 2 books a week, but I am halfway through both my current books so I may have sort of got there already)

This week
The Heavenly Man by Brother Yun (currently reading)
Star Trek Destiny Book 3: Lost Souls by David Mack (currently reading)
Voices by Ursula Le Guin (up next)

Meet Me On Monday #8

Hosted by Never Growing Old

1.  Crunchy or soft tacos?
Crunchy, although I have been known to fill them with tuna mayonnaise and then they tend to go soft.
2.  Do you scrapbook?

Nope, although I do a limited about of card making using various scrapbook pieces.

3.  Do you take any daily medications?

Not answering this one I'm afraid.

4.  What is your favorite sound?

What an interesting question. My immediate thought is about what instrument I like to hear- I guess for that its the sound of a french horn (melodic, sweet and yet with a strong tone). As far as noises are concerned (which seems to be more relevant to the question for me) that's a lot harder. Probably the sound of cicadas because it reminds me of relaxing evenings on holiday in the south of France.

5.  Where were you born?
I've always lived in England and was born here as well.

Sister of My Heart by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni- A Review

Apologies for the lateness of this review. Life was so busy at the end of last week that I didn't get round to reviewing this book which I finished on Wednesday. Hopefully you'll still enjoy my review despite this.

'Sister of My Heart' is a deeply emotional book whose characters and events truly touched me. I loved the interaction between the characters and the way their personalities affection events. There were some lovely surprises during the book as well, which really got to me. I rarely like romance stories, but the descriptions and the style of this book truly won me over. One of the best books I've read so far this year.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Sunday Story Starters- Star Trek: Destiny- Book 3, Lost Souls

I'm actually on one of those rare occasions where I'm reading more than one book at the same time, brought on by the fact that one of them is a rather large volume and not practical for transportation. Followers will already have heard about this one, but now I'd like to introduce you to a small part of my other current read. As usual, I'm going to quote the first sentence and then use it as a starter for a story (or maybe just the beginning of a story) of my own.

Death closes all: but something ere the end, some work of noble note, may yet be done, not unbecoming men that strove with gods. 
Saffron closed the book that lay infront of her, turned over and sunk her head into her pillow. Maybe, somehow, the words would become part of her as well. As she lay there it became hot and stuffy. She slowly raised her head to gaze out of the window at the green wash of the garden. In the stillness she heard the gentle buzzing of a bee and the inviting call of the birds. Wondering what bird it was, she wandered over to her bookcase and took down a volume which her uncle had given her many years before. Slowly turning the pages, her eyes took in the colours and shapes of the aviators held within. Her feet led her back to the window, the colourful pages still in her hands. Her eyes travelling back and forth between the pictures and the brightness of outside whilst a gentle breeze blew across her warm temples. Lost in the view, she forget why she had taken the book in the first place, why it was so important at that moment.

If you would like me to continue with this story please let me know. Thanks. 

Friday, 25 March 2011

Book Beginnings- 25th March 2011

Hosted by A Few More Pages

The Heavenly Man by Brother Yan
My name is Lui Zhenying. My Christian friends call me Brother Yun.

Book Blogger Hop #8

Book Blogger Hop

Hosted by Crazy for Books

"If you could physically put yourself into a book or series…which one would it be and why?" 

It would have to by Terry Pratchett's discworld series. I'd love to see magic in action, meet Rincewind, visit the Unseen University and travel to the edge of the world. I'm sure it would be an amazing experience!

The Friday 56 #5- The Heavenly Man

Hosted by Freda's Voice

The Heavenly Man by Brother Yun
Our soil was to rocky to accept the root of the gospel, but in time God accomplished his purposes and established his church.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Teaser Tuesday #9- Sister of My Heart

Hosted by Should Be Reading

Sister of My Heart by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Anju. I must get to Anju.

Top Ten Tuesday- Top Ten Bookish Pet Peeves

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

  1. Books that fall apart in my hands. I love second-hand books and sharing books with others, but its a real pain to have to juggle with a book I'm reading because it keeps falling into bits. I also become afraid to read it in the bath lest the page seperate and drop into the water below.
  2. Over-dramatic heroines. You know, the sort of ones that coldn't even tie their own shoelaces. The kind that aren't well-charaterised, but simply exist to be the romantic element of the story whom the hero can save or destroy without a by or leave.
  3. Preachy books. Ones that don't let you up your own mind, but instead have a strong moral that the author is determined to get across. 
  4. Being told that I have too many books. HOW CAN YOU HAVE TOO MANY BOOKS???????!!!!!
  5. People whom I give bookcrossing books to in person, explain the concept to, and yet they never journal anything!
  6. Movies that are not accurate to the books. Yes, I can understand slight changes for dramatic license, but missing whole parts of eve changing the plot completely!
  7. Books that are hard to read. I don't mean those written in complex language, I mean those that my eyes just cannot focus on. These can be on bad-quality paper or just too small writing. I want to read for a long time, I don't want to have to stop a book I'm enjoying just because my eyes got tired!
  8. Books that are virtually  fascimiles of an earlier published story, especially if they are not credited as an inspiration. Surely that's cheating?!
  9. Feeling pressured to read a book. Whilst I do join in with rings, rays and review copies I mainly read for my own pleasure. I don't want to feel that I have to read a certain book. Luckily, this rarely happens as I usually want to read what's comes through my letterbox.
  10. Having to do other things apart from reading, writing, blogging (and the occassional music activity).

Monday, 21 March 2011

My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell (A Review)

A charming book full of a youthful perspective on life and nature. It speaks of another time, when it was considerfed OK to go and collect live specimans to study and when children wandering the countriside alone was quite normal. The charactes were intersting, each member of the family standing out clearly as individuals. And the animals were original and often very funny. A lovely relaxing read.

This book is now winging its way with bookcrossing after I left it in a bird hide. Hopefully someone will find it and take it home to their nest. 

It's Monday: What Are You Reading #7

Hosted by Book Journey

Currently reading
Sister of My Heart by Chitra Banjaree Divakaruni

Last Read
My Family and Other Animals (review should be up in the next few minutes)

To read next
The Heavenly Man by Brother Yun
Brother Yun is one of China's house church leaders, a man who despite his relative youth has sufered prolonged torture and imprisonment for his faith. Instead of focusing on the many miracles or experiences of suffering, however, Yun prefers to emphasise the character and beauty of Jesus

Meet Me On Monday #7

Hosted by Never Growing Old

1.  What jewelry do you wear 24/7?

None, I'm not a big fan of jewellery. When I was younger I used to wear wristband for the charities I was supporting, but I stopped that a few years ago.

2.  Do you twirl your spaghetti or cut it?

Both. I twirl and then usually find it still has't fitted and end up cutting it as well.

3.  How many siblings do you have?


4.  Were you named after anyone?

Not that I know of.

5.  Coke or Pepsi?
Neither. If I absolutely NEED something to keep me awake and its a hot day then I might have a diet coke, but I'm quite happy to have a diet pepsi instead if that's what's available.

Weekly Geeks

Found this meme today for the first time, and it looks just up my street- especially since this week's is about books.

Hosted by Weekly Geeks

Tell us ten things about you with regard to books and reading. Let your imagination run wild!
  1. I rarely read non-fiction, but when I do they're usually about Ancient History
  2. I can't resist offers of new (to me anyway) book- whether they be free or on special offer. As a result I now have almost 2 bookshelves and a stack of books that are about to fall over waiting to be read.
  3. My favourite book when I was young was 'The Magic Faraway Tree' by Enid Blyton.
  4. My favourite book-related activity is wild releasing books with bookcrossing. For those who don't know, this means leaving books around the place for others to find. The voyages of these books can then be tracked from the bookcrossing website.
  5. I enjoy making magnetic bookmarks on my computer and have sold them in the past to raise funds for my church's charities
  6. My favourite author is Jasper Fforde- I think his books are very funny. I also enjoy reading books by Ursula le Guinn and Christian Le Jacq.
  7. I shelve my 'to be read' books by the time period in which they are set.
  8. I plan to join in with my first 24-hour readathon very soon
  9. I can't read in the car- it makes me travel sick!
  10. When I go away on holiday about half my suitcase is usually taken up with books.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Sunday Story Starters- My Family and Other Animals

Welcome to the weekly post where I torture myself by trying to write with the only inspiration being the first line of my current read. If you haven't realised already, all my posts (including these story extracts) are written entirely without preparation or planning. So, here we go- I wonder what story I will surprise myself with this week?!

July had been blown out like a candle by a biting wind that ushered in a leaden August sky. It had taken with it the final leaves from the trees, flung around like confetti which slowly disintegrated into the solid earth. It was now that the sky began to fall, flakes of white dust settling on the hard ground until bare brown became the golden white of a coral beach.
That was the first winter that I remember, chilled and desolate amongst the months of warmth that had filled my life before that time. My sunflaked skin covered in sweltering wrappings, I trudged to and from school, never staying but turning around to be acompanied home once more. It would be several years until I could stay in the comfort of that place, and then it too would become as desolate and empty as the hours that had gone before.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Olive Farm giveaway- only 2 weeks left!

Just a quick reminder that there's only two weeks left in my Olive Farm giveaway. I found this book really relaxing and would love to give someone else this book of peaceful escape. Click here to find out how to enter.

Faithful Friends #3

Hosted by Should Be Reading

1) What kinds of Christian books do you like to read? Why?

Like my choice in non-Christian books, my choice of Christian books might appear quite random. I never pick up a Christian book because it is a certain type of book. I particularly like reading fiction. If I see a book of Christian fiction I almost always pick it up and read the back. If the plot sounds interesting and not too preachy then I'll generally buy it. A good plot to me is something that either relates to normal life or is meant to be a fantastically allegory. I don't tend to pick up romance novels, whether they be Christian or non-Christian. 
I seem to have answered the question what Christian books don't I like to read and why. But that's more the way that I think. I'm keen on reading all sorts of books in order to widen my view of Christianity, Jesus and God.

Friday, 18 March 2011

The Friday 56 #4- My Family and Other Animals

Hosted by Freda's Voice

My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell
"What he wants is a healthy, outdoor life; if he learnt to shoot and sail...." began Leslie. "Oh, stop talking like a bishop...... you'll be advocating cold baths next"

Follow Friday #2

Hosted by Parajunkee's View

I've finally worked out how to instal the button, so here we go again :)
Please do let me know if you visit by making a comment. And, if you find that you like my blog, please consider becoming a follower.

This week's question: How did you come up with your blog name?This blog was named after a story website that I run called 'The Story Factory'. From there it was a logical step to add 'reading zone', as in the place where I mainly talk about what I read rather than post what I write. 'The Story Factory' name came about because the original website is made up of several people who write and post stories and a lot of them were originally to order, like in a factory.

Book Blogger Hop #7

Book Blogger Hop     
 Hosted by Crazy for Books

"Do you read only one book at a time, or do you have several going at once?" 

I try to stick to one book at a time. The reason for this is because I like to really read myself into the world it is set in and I find this hard if I'm reading more than one. Ocassionally I make an exception to this rule- for instance if my main read is very large (so unsuitable for transporting around) or likely to give me nightmares (and therefore unsuitable as a bedtime read). I might also read more than one book if I'm doing a read-a-long, so that I can stay in the same chapter as other people.
So, in short, I usually read only one book at a time, but it is possible that I can have several going at once.

Why do charity shops have to have such cheap books?

It's creating a real danger that my TBR pile will collapse! Am I just being weak-minded or is this a real problem?!

Two more books today:
  • The Unlocking by Adrian Plass (subtitled 'God's escape plan for frightened people)
  • Q&A by Vikas Swarup
Eighteen-year-old Ram Mohammad Thomas is in prison after answering twelve questions correctly on a TV quiz show to win one billion rupees. The producers have arrested him, convinced that he has cheated hi way to victory. Twelve extraordinary events in street-kid Ram's life- how he was found in a dustbin by a priest; came to have three names; fooled a professional hitman; even fell in love- give him the crucial answers. In his warm-hearted tale lies all the comedy, tragedy, joy and pathos of modern India.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Third Sentence Thursday #6- My Family and Other Animals

Third Sentence Thursday

Hosted by Sniffly Kitty's Mostly Books

My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell
Along the Bournemouth sea-front the beach-huts turned blank wooden faces towards a greeny-grey, froth-chained sea that leapt eagerly at the cement bulwark of the shore.
What's a 'blank wooden face'? I've sure its supposed to mean the face of a shape (as in 3D shapes/geometry), but I can't help but think of it as if its a person. Poor person, made out of wood and drenched in the tides. And what a storm it is as well, keen to destroy cement!

Theme Thursday- Crockery/Utensils

Hosted by Reading between pages

This week's theme: crockery/utensils

 My family and other animals by Gerald Durrell
 The plates of food, piled like volcanoes, steaming gently; the early fruit in a polished pile in the central dish.... Mother, ladling out the food.....

Latest book buys

OK, I've been spending again- but I just can't resist when books are concerned!
I was going to pop into my local library today and get some cheap (or possibly even borrow for free), but I forgot they were closed for refurbishment, and ended up buying some only slightly reduced ones from the supermarket instead.

Here's what I got over the last few weeks:
  • My Old Man and the Sea by David Hays and Daniel Hays (bought for 50p via. my brass band's booksale)
Some fathers and sons go fishing together. Some play baseball. David and Daniel Hays decided to sail a tiny boat 17,000 miles to the bottom of the world and back. This is their story.
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (this was on my wishlist and I've read a lot about it, so just had to get it)
Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. Born a poor, black tobacco farmer, her cancer cells- taken without her knowledge- became a multimillion-dollar industry and one of the most important toold in medicine. Yet Henrietta's family did not learn of her 'immortality' until more than twenty years after he death, with devastating consequences.....
  •  Adrian Mole The Prostrate Years by Sue Townsend (it was about time I tried Adrian Mole again)
Adrian mole is thirty-nine and a quarter. He lives in a semi-detached converted pigsty with his wife Daisy and their daughter. His parents George and Pauline life in the adjoining pigsty. But all is not well.

The Wizard of Oz by L.Frank Baum- A Review (and comparison with the film of the same name)

To be honest, I was a little disappointed with this book. Whilst it was really interesting to experience the differences between the film and the original story, I don't think it would have entertained me in its own right. Both the writing and the plot seemed simplistic. Dorothy came across rather niave and very young in her ways. Overall it basically formed itself as a simply fairytale. Having said that, I did feel that the climax of the film with the wizard was much better explained in the book than in the film, as were characters of those whom Dorothy meets on the whole.

As I've said there were many differences which really stuck me between the book and the film. For those who are interested I've decided to list 10 of the most striking ones (in my opinion) below.
Warning: spoliers ahead
  1. The red ruby slippers of the film turn out to have been silver originally. I guess the film company decided it needed something more striking for the screen.
  2. Dorothy meets both good witches during the book. The first one she meets is not Glenda, but an old lady described as similar looking to the munchkins. I really preferred this because it seems to have more of a moral to it- I guess they couldn't have a good witch in the movies who looked more like the bad ones from fairytales.
  3. The green fields end before they meet the tin man in the book- he is found in the middle of the forest rather than on the edges as in the film.
  4. We learn quite a lot extra about the background of the tin man in the book- this also explains why he wants a heart
  5. The woods only really start becoming scary after we meet the lion- and then he's just as afraid (or maybe more so) than the others
  6. We are shown clearly how the tin man already has a heart, the scarecrow a brain and the lion courage throughout the book.
  7. The witch has to try a whole series of tricks to get Dorothy in the book.
  8. The Wizard of Oz appears in several disguises in the book, rather than the one in the film.
  9. Dorothy actually controls the flying monkeys in the book
  10. The comrades go on one adventure more in the book than in the film- their adventure to find Glenda, during which they meet many people and creatures not featured in the film.
Have you seen the film and/or read the book? What did you think? If you've seen/read both which did you prefer? Have you come across other versions which were told differently?

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Interworld by Neil Gaiman and Michael Reaves- A Review

This book really intrigued me because of its focus on parallel worlds, something which has interested me for a long time. Unfortunately, this weren't explained enough for my own liking. There were major differences between some of the worlds featured, but they didn't always seem logical. I found myself hoping throughout the first half of the book that the story would become more gripping. There were times throughout the second-half when the story gained interest and I began to really enjoy it. I particularly liked the character of Joey and the way he related to those from other dimensions, as well as the explanations of travel through dimensions. However, this interest was not consistant enough for me.
This may be a good story for children, but I'm afraid that- as an adult- there wasn't enough consistant depth to interest me.

Teaser Tuesday #8

Hosted by Should Be Reading

The Wizard of Oz by L.Frank Baum
At that moment Dorothy saw lying on the table the silver shoes that had belonged to the Witch of the East. 'I wonder if they will fit me,' she said to Toto.

Choosing what to read next & sorting systems

I've come across a whole range of ways to decide what to read next during my time talking about books on the internet. Some people haveso many review books that they just read what they have to, others like to read books in themes or challenges, yet others ask their readers or friends to choose for them.

My initial style of reading was to just read what took my fancy. This was fine when I didn't do much reading, as there was always a book that really interested me on my shelves. But then, as I started to buy and receive more books, I realised that I had some were simply sitting on my shelves stagnating for months or even years. What to do?

I started to place my books in the order they arrived. This would guarantee none of them sat there too long, I thought. Soon a had a 'snake' (as one goodreader said) of book running along my cupboard space and then poured out onto the floor. Now I had a problem, the snake had curled itself up to several books deep. Every time I bought a new book it was like exploring a cave that could collapse at end minute to put it at the end of the rows. Plus, there were books arriving for rings and rays, that needed to be sent onto readers and couldn't just be put at the back of so many books. To make life more dificult I would sometimes come across books that I just wasn't in the right mood to read at that time and so thesewould end up at the back again and the began to stagnate once again.

So, I decided to start reading in themes. The first theme would be 'rings and rays', then I'd make several others themes. This started off well- China, difficult families, science fiction etc- but then some of them didn't seem to fit any of my chosen themes. I ended up taking quite a lot of  my valuable reading time resorting my TBR books. And I began to feel like I ought to read all of a theme before moving onto the next one, particularly harrowing for those such as the abuse situations section. Then I redecorated my study and the sections got all muddled up anyway.

Living with my books in boxes for a while gave my plenty of time to think about my reading (and sorting systems). It was important that I read rings, rays and review books first. I also didn't want to take too long over reading books people had given to me. And I also wanted some flexibility in my reading so that it wouldn't, God forbid, become boring.

So, what system have I finally come up with?
I now read my rings, rays and review books first in the order they come. The TBR books on my shelves are sorted by the time period in which the are set. This allows me to read them in some sort of order and yet I can skip any books (or periods) that I don't particularly want to read at that time. It also means that I'm not reading the same style of book all the time. Next to my shelves as a stack of books tha don't fit on my shelves. These are moved across as a space becomes free on the shelves. That leaves only one problem- new books get put on the top of the pile and therefore still added to the shelves before the older ones. Oh well, you can't win them all!

So, I'm interested, how do you sort your books? How do you decide what to read next? And can anyone solve my shelving dilemma (bearing in mind that I have no space for more shelves)?

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Sunday Story Starters- Interworld

Today's 'Sunday Story Starter' comes from Interworld by Neil Gaiman and Michael Reeves. As usual, I will use the first line as inspiration for my own improvised story (or beginning extract of a story at least). Please do let me know what you think, especially if you would like me to expand / finish the story.

Once I got lost in my own house. Now I know that doesn't sound easy, after all everyone knows their own house back to front- don't they?! But then my house wasn't a normal house, it was a magical one. Try to navigate a house that turns itself upside down every five minutes, where the corridors bend and twist at random. where up becomes down without warning. In such a house you might think it was a miracle I only ever got lost once. But then, when you've spent your whole life somewhere you get used to its quirks, you adjust for its peculiarities. In fact, more than that, they become normal to you. The little creek that mystifies strangers becomes a kind of signal, the leaking tap a sign and a slight tiggling when you touch something metal belies a change.
The day began like any normal day. I got up, opened my wardrobe door and searched for my clothes. I found my sister's clothes instead- nothing unusual there (this often happened). I reached into the wardrobe, parting the clothes, until I could see her room beyond and then pulled at the doorway until the world seemed to spin and my own clothes appeared. After pulling on my school uniform, I opened the door and stopped to assess the arrangement on my home on this fine morning. The stairs had decides to arrange themselves in an upward manner so I jumped over the balcony, using my finely trained muscles to make a secure landing.
"Good morning" greeted Mum, serving scrambled egg from a big basin under her arm, "did you sleep well?"
"OK" I replied, already scoffing  down what was infront of me.
Dad arrived through a doorway tthat had suddenly appeared in the floor. He kissed Mum goodbye, picked up his briefcase and left, Mum trailing after him trying to offer some toast and a mug of coffee.
My parents did their best to make this house seem the same as any other. The only problem was that it wasn't (and we all knew it). No matter how things appeared on the surface it was hard to pretend otherwise when things kept disappearing. (At that moment the table changed colour as if to illustrate what I was thinking).
"Don't forget your lunch" Mum warned me, taking off her pinny and putting on her shoes as she said so. "And don't be late" she continued, kissing me goodbye. I hardly had time to take in what she had said before she left through the ceiling.
I gobbled down the last of my toast and took my packed lunch out of the fridge. Swigging down a can of cola, I headed for the door through which Mum had just left. To my surprise I found myself upstairs once again. There was no sign of Mum.
"Oh well" I thought, "the house must have reconfigured whilst I was distracted, I'll just head back down again". I jumped off the balcony, but this time I landed admist dust ontop of a pool table. I looked around- I was in the basement! Climbing off the pool table, I headed up the stairs to where the kitchen should be. But when I arrived I was surrounded by boxes and cobwebs. A squeeking noise was coming from the corner. I made my way cautiously accross, wary that things were even stranger than normal. And then a scrapping noise started up, small and sudden and something darted towards me. I jumped back and fell flat on my bottom. I felt my face become warm, as I realised it had just been a mouse.
Picking myself up once again, I looked around and tried to get my bearings. I seemed that I had arrived in the attic. I'd never been here before, in fact Dad had given me the impression that there wasn't ever a way up here. Well, somehow I'd found one. Now I just hoped I could get out to tell him.

One Lovely Blog Award

I have been nominated for the 'One Lovely Blog Award' by Scathing Weekly. Thankyou for the nomination.

I will not be fulfilling all the conditions however because I don't agree with the idea of 'chain awards'. I think that awards should be given by individual bloggers with no conditions when they feel like it, not because they feel that they have to. So if you ever get an award from me you can be certain that I really felt you deserved it!

Having said that, thanks again to 'Scathing Weekly'- it was nice to be thought of. 

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Shanghai Girls by Lisa See- A Review

I just loved the way this book transported me into the worlds of both China and Chinese people in America during the middle of the C20th. The images were vivid and the characters were interesting. I learnt an awful lot from reading this book, including several new Chinese words and concepts. My only fault about this book is how suddenly it ended- I wanted to know more!

Friday, 11 March 2011

Book Beginnings- 11th March 2011

Hosted by A Few More Pages

Shanghai Girls by Lisa See
"Our daughter looks like a South China peasant with those red cheeks", my father complains, pointedly ignoring the soup before him. "Can't you do something about them?"

Book Blogger Hop #6

Hosted by Crazy for Books

 "If I gave you £50 (or $80) and sent you into a bookshop right now, what would be in your basket when you finally staggered to the till?"

This is a very hard one for me to answer as I'm quite an impulsive buyer when it comes to books. I tend to pop around the store looking for offers (2 for 1s, 3 for 2s, 20% off etc) and then checking whether any of the books on the stands would interest me. Of course I'm  always on the loo out for titles that are both reduced and on my wishlist, but other than that I never really know what I'll come out with.
I always hope to find books to complete my couple of permenant collections by Christian Jacq, Terry Pratchett and Ursula Le Guin. I'm currently up to date on Terry Pratchett, but I know I'm still missing a few books by the other two so I guess there'd probably be some of their books in there. 

The Friday 56 #3- Shanghai Girls

 Hosted by Freda's Voice

Shanghai Girls by Lisa See
But once we arrive, he acts as if nothing had happened.

50th follower giveaway- The Olive Farm

The Story Factory Reading Zone has its 50th follower!!!!!!!!

I'm celebrating by having my first ever giveaway!

I will be giving away my (bookcrossing registered) copy of 'The Olive Farm' by Carol Drinkwater.


My Review
I'm not entirely sure why it took me a week longer than usual to finish this book. It was not a hard book to read, the words flowed smoothly from the pages into my brain and it was easy to follow. It was not boring, the descriptions were clear and the emotions well written. Maybe it was the fact that I took time to imagine the surroundings that increased the time. Or maybe it was the peacefullness that I felt by being transported into a more relaxed way of life. This book is a perfect wallow for holiday reading.

For more information about this book please check out one (or all) of the following posts:

To enter please make a comment. Please make sure that this includes some way to contact you (i.e. an e-mail address). 

Open to UK residents only (sorry, can't afford the postage elsewhere)
Closing date: 2nd April 2011

Please check out my givaway policy before entering


Thursday, 10 March 2011

Third Sentence Thursday #5- Shaghai Girls

Hosted by Sniffly Kitty's Mostly Books

Shanghai Girls by Lisa See
Mama stares at Baba, but what can she say?

Theme Thursday- Vehicle

Hosted by Reading Between thhe Pages

This week's theme is vehicle

Shanghai Girls by Lisa See
As he talks, I think about all the rickshaws I've ridden in and how I never really thought about the men who pulled them.

RABCK brings animals and arabian nights

I'm getting used to new books arriving every other day in the post now, but it was wonderful to have not one but two arrive yesterday. And not ones that I have to rush to read to pass onto someone else, but ones that I can take as much time as I need over.

The books that arrived yesterday were:
  • The Arabian Nights (Burton)
  • My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell
Thanks to the bookcrossers who sent these to me (kingfan30 and Duskdreamer)

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

WoW Weekly 100 words #4

Shanghai Girls by Lisa See
...... puts on a dress with a pattern of white plum blossoms against a robin's egg blue background. I wear loose white linen trousers and a navy blue short-sleeved top. T hen we pass the morning looking through what's left in our closet. It's in May's nature to spend hours at her toilette, choosing the right scarf to tie around her throat or purse to match her shoes, so she tells me what we should look out for and I write it down.
It's late afternoon when we pin on hats and pick up our parasols to protect us from the....

WWW Wednesdays #4

Hosted by Should Be Reading

What are you currently reading?Shanghai Girls by Lisa See

What did you recently finish reading?
Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde. Please do check out my review

What do you think you'll read next?
Interworld by Neil Gaman and Michael Reaves
Joey Harker isn't a hero. In fact, he's the kind of guy who gets lost in his own house. But one day, Joey gets really lost. He walks straight out of his world and into another dimension. Joey's walk between world makes him prey to armies of magic and science, both determined to harness Joey's power to travel between the dimensions. The only thing standing in their way is Joey- or, more precisely, an army of Joeys, all from different dimensions and all determined to save their worlds. Now Joey must make a choice: return to the life he knows or join the battle to the end.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Teaser Tuesday #7

Hosted by Should Be Reading

Shanghai Girls by Lisa See
We're doing something else. Shanghai is the centre of beauty and modernity.

Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde- A Review

Full of Jasper Fforde's usual wit and cynacism, Shades of Grey tackles a new genre for the author. Set in the future, Shades of Grey looks at what would happen if class were based on what colours you could see. This provides wonderful opportunities to take the reader in a new direction and to help them see the world in a totally new way. There were moments when I thought I knew what was going to happen next, but then the unexpected arrived instead, and yet it still seemed to make sense in this new world! Jasper Fforde does this marvellously and, as someone very much into the science fiction / fantasy genre, I do believe that this series may become my most favourite book series ever. I can't wait to read the next one!

Monday, 7 March 2011

It's Monday: What Are You Reading #6

Hosted by Book Journey

During the past week I have read:The Olive Farm by Carol Drinkwater (click title for review)

I am currently reading (and about to finish):
Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde

Next up is:
Shanghai Girls by Lisa See
In 1937 Shanghai- the Paris of Asia- twenty-one-year-old Pearl Chin and her younger sister, May, are having the time of their lives. Both are beautiful, modern, and carefree- until the day their father tells them that he has gambled away all their wealth and that to repay his debts, he must sell the girls as wives to suitors who have arrived from Los Angeles to find Chinese brides. As Japenese bombs fall on their beloved city, Pearl and May set out on the journey of a lifetime, from the Chinese countriside to the shores of America. Though inseperable best friends, the sisters also harbour petty jealousies and rivalries. Along the way they make terrible sacrifices, face impossible choices, and confront a devestating, life-changing secret, but through it all the two heroines of this astounding new novel hold fast to who they are- Shanghai girls.

Meet Me On Monday #6

Hosted by Never Growing Old

1.  What is your favorite way to eat potatoes?

As Baked or Jacket Potatoes. I love the fact that it lets me eat one of my favourite foods in a healthy way, is filling enough to be a meal in itself, is easy to make and can have various toppings added to it. My favourite topping is tuna (ethical caught of course) and cheese.

2.  What was the last package that was delivered to your house?

Some stuff for my Grandma.

3.  What is your favorite scent that you love to smell?

Lavender, so relaxing!

4.  Do you smoke?


5.  Are your parents married or divorced?

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Sunday Confessions

Hosted by To Read or Not to Read

What do you do when you're not reading?
I enjoy watching a whole range of TV programmes. My favourites on at the moment are 'Outcasts' and 'Wild At Heart'. I spend time on my Wii Fit and like to sew tapestries. I also play in a brass band and enjoy singing.

Sunday Story Starters- Shades of Grey

This is the (roughly) weekly post where I share with you a story written by myself and inspired by the first sentence of my current read. This week's story starter comes from 'Shades of Grey' by Jasper Fforde. As usual, I've typed it straight from my head onto this blog post with no editing.

Males are to wear dress-code #6 during inter-collective travel. These were the first words Ki heard as he entered the subway. He looked down at his outfit- blue jeans and sneakers with a coca-cola t-shirt. Phew, he has chosen the right outfit at last. Ki gazed around the crowded carriage where similarly dressed people stood, gripping the rails tightly above their heads. All wearing blue jeans, sneakers, a coca-cola t-shirt and wristbands proclaiming 'Promoting individuality through conformity'. Kia looked up at his empty wrist. His face grew white and he found it increasingly hard to hold onto his bar. He focused on shallowing his breathing, concentrating on every movement of his chest. 'No-one noticed the last 3 times' he told himself, 'just get to the port and then you can buy another one'.
It was only then that he spotted a male seated on the right handside of the cubicle. Like the others he wore blue jeans, sneakers and a coca-cola t-shirt. Unlike the others his wristband proclaimed 'conformity through individuality'. It was a subtle difference but one which, combined with his seated posture, spoke volumes.
Kia edged towards the door, ready to leap at the next opportunity. He pressed the button down and held it, watching the seated passenger out of the corner of his eye. And then, as the carriage turned a corner, he released his hold. Tumbling forwards, he watched as his ride disappeared into the dust. He got up and shook the dust from his t-shirt. He gazed around and began to prepare his speech for the port authorities. He was going to be late yet again.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Faithful Friends #2

Hosted by Should Be Reading

What do you think it’d take to make Christianity compelling — even irresistable — again?
This may be contraversial, but my immediate thought was- is Christianity supposed to be irresistable (or even compelling)? Surely the point is that we have a choice whether to be a Christian or not. If it was irresistable then we wouldn't ever really have to make that choice. Something that's irresistable tends to be easy to take, with no disadvantages. Jesus' life certainly wasn't like this and neither was that of the early disciples! God's love is unconditional and may seem irresistable to those already committed to him, but having a relationship with him is never the easy choice!

Christianity will be compelling to those who understand that the advantages of a relationship with Gods outweigh the disadvantages. So I guess the only way to make Christianity compelling is to be open about how good our relationship with Gods is. We musn't be afraid to speak about our faith and answer the doubts that others have where possible. This is easier said that done, but it may be the only way to make Christianity come anywhere near compelling to an unbeliever.

On My Wishlist #5

Hosted by Book Chick City

Singing the Dogstar Blues by Alison Goodman
Joss is a sassy heroine with an absent mother, a mystery surrounding paternity and an attitude. But Joss is living in the future, and her best friend is an alien called Mavkel. As a pair they study time travel at the University of Australia, but there are a number of unexpected complications.

The Dreams of Perpetual Motion by Dexter Palmer
Imprisoned for life aboard a zeppelin that floats high above a fantastic metropolis, the greeting-card writer Harold Winslow pens his memoirs. His only companions are the disembodied voice of Miranda Taligent, the only woman he has ever loved, and the cryogenically frozen body of her father Prospero, the genius and industrial magnate who drove her insane.
The tale of Harold’s life is also one of an alternate reality, a lucid waking dream in which the well-heeled have mechanical men for servants, where the realms of fairy tales can be built from scratch, where replicas of deserted islands exist within skyscrapers.. As Harold’s childhood infatuation with Miranda changes over twenty years to love and then to obsession, the visionary inventions of her father also change Harold’s entire world, transforming it from a place of music and miracles to one of machines and noise. And as Harold heads toward a last desperate confrontation with Prospero to save Miranda’s life, he finds himself an unwitting participant in the creation of the greatest invention of them all: the perpetual motion machine.

Wildthorn by Jane Eagland
They strip her naked, of everything—undo her whalebone corset, hook by hook. Locked away in Wildthorn Hall—a madhouse—they take her identity. She is now called Lucy Childs. She has no one; she has nothing. But, she is still seventeen—still Louisa Cosgrove, isn't she? Who has done this unthinkable deed? Louisa must free herself, in more ways than one, and muster up the courage to be her true self, all the while solving her own twisted mystery and falling into an unconventional love . . .

World Book Night- Cloud Atlas invides Abingdon

Take a walk around Abingdon (Oxfordshire, UK) today and you might just find a copy or two of 'Cloud Atlas' by David Mitchell. No, they are not multiplying alone- they are on a journey sponsored by World Book Night.

I was lucky enough to be one of the people chosen to give away 48 copies of Cloud Atlas as part of World Book Night. The aim- to encourage more reading. In order to reach the largest number of non-readers possible I decided to wild release most of my books. This meant  packaging them in bags, adding post-it-notes on the front cover proclaiming messages such as 'I'm Free', 'I'm A Travelling Book' and 'Please Take Me Home', and then leaving them scattered around my local town for people to find.

In Abingdon today? Why not have a little search, you never know what you may find! (And for those from further away, check out bookcrossing.com to find out if there are any wild books lurking near you).

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Third Sentence Thursday #4

Hosted by Sniffly Kitty's Mostly Books

Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde
It began with my father not wanting to see the Last Rabbit, and ended up with me being eaten by a carnivorous plant.
I love the way this book starts at the end of the story. This sentence really grabs your attention- who is talking? what is the last rabbit? why did the father not want to see it? how did he end up being eaten by a carnivorous plant? what sort of strange world is this anyway?

Theme Thursdays #2

Hosted by Reading Between Pages

This weeks theme is Furniture

Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde
Each had a bed, a bureau, a chair, a trouser-press and a writing table with notepaper inscribed EAST CARMINE- GATEWAY TO THE REDSTONES. There  were also a couple of brass anglepose reflectors to beam light where required.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

WoW Weekly 100 words #3

Hosted by Ruthi Reads

Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde
we'd never see the Badly Drawn Map, Oz Memorial, Colour Garden and rabbit before our train departed, and pointed out that not only did Vermillion's museum have the best collection of Vimto bottles anywhere in the Colective, but on Mondays and Thursdays they demonstrated a gramophone.
"A fourteen-second clip of "Something Got Me Started", he said, as if something vaguely red-related would swing it.
But I wasn't ready to conceede my choice.
"The rabbit's getting pretty old", I persisted, having read  the safety briefing in the How Best to Enjoy your Rabbit Experience leaflet, "and petting is no longer mandatory"

The Olive Farm by Carol Drinkwater (A Review)

I'm not entirely sure why it took me a week longer than usual to finish this book. It was not a hard book to read, the words flowed smoothly from the pages into my brain and it was easy to follow. It was not boring, the descriptions were clear and the emotions well written. Maybe it was the fact that I took time to imagine the surroundings that increased the time. Or maybe it was the peacefullness that I felt by being transported into a more relaxed way of life. This book is a perfect wallow for holiday reading.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Teaser Tuesday #6

The Olive Farm by Carol Drinkwater
This is M. Di Luzio. The fellow emerges from behind the steering wheel in filthy blue overalls, covered from head to toe in soot.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...