Zi71bFS9nQHnivtvUJquhejTHIQ The Story Factory Reading Zone: June 2011

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Can you help make Summer Special?!

I'm hoping to run a series of posts on things to do this summer. But, in order to make this a success I need your help? I want to know if you have any activities, places you enjoy, or things that you do in the summer months. I would especially like to know about your favourite summer reads and where you like to read in sunny weather. Maybe you go to the beach, or sit by the side of a swimming pool. Maybe your kids are at home and like to read with you. Whatever it is, I'd love to hear from you.

500 comments giveaway winner!

Congratulations to Lisa Almeda Sumner who wrote:
Everyone seems keen on Wild Swans- I'll have to research that one. My favourite book last week was Anne Patchett's State of War, which I loved.
You have been e-mailed and I'll be sending out your prize as soon as I receive your address.

On a similar note, there have (unfortunatly) been no entries for my 5000th visitor giveaway.
Do look out for more giveaways in the future!

Theme Thursday- July 4th

Hosted by Reading Between Pages

Wild Swans by Jung Chang
The Cultural Revolution was trumpeted as having brought education to the peasants through 'evening classes'. One day my production team announced it was starting evening classes and asked Nana and me to be the teachers. I was delighted. However, as soon as the first 'class' began, I realised that this was no education.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Stream of Suggestions: Arabian Nights

So far I have followed the stream through:
To Say Nothing of a Dog
Three Men in A Boat
Plain Tales from the HillsArabian Nights

There were no books mentioned in the main text of Arabian Nights, but there were some mentioned in the information about Sir Richard Burton. There were as follows:
The Kama Sutra
The Perfumed Garden
I can't see myself reading The Kama Sutra, so I'm going to see if I can get hold of a copy of The Perfumed Garden, so that I can carry on following the stream at least one more step.

Arabian Nights (A Review)

It was really interesting to see how these original stories varied from the versions that are told in pantomimes and cartoons today- particularly in the cases of Ali Baba and Aladdin. I loved the way short tales were hung together by layers, each flowing into another and connected by the narrator. My only disappointment was the ending, which I felt could have been more rounded off.

Monday, 20 June 2011

5000 visitor's giveaway

Wow, that was quick!
5000 people have visited this blog and to celebrate I'd like to announce yet another giveaway.

This giveaway is opened to anyone with a UK address.
The winner will receive a copy of Terry Pratchett's 'Jingo'

To enter simply fill in the form below.
The winner will be notified by e-mail after the giveawa closes in a week's time.

It's Monday: What Are You Reading #17

Hosted by Book Journey

It's been another slow week of reading. For some reason I only seem to be getting through 2 books a week recently, instead of my usual 4. On the plus side, I'm wizzing through my current book, so I'm hoping to be onto the delayed books soon.
As usual, click on the links to get access to my reviews- and don't forget to vote for one of the books you want me to read next week!

Read last week
Empire: Wounds of Honour by Anthony Riches

Currently reading
The Arabian Nights (chosen by reader's vote)

To read this week
Wild Swans by Jung Chang (chossen by reader's vote)
Safely Home by Randy Alcorn (apologies for those whoo have been waiting for me to get to this one)
Jabez by Thom Lemmon
Tomorrow When the War Began by John Marsden (bookcrossing ray)

To read next week
I have a few rays waiting to be reads, of which I hope to get to one or two.  In addition, I'll be reading a book voted for by my blog readers. Do help me decide which book to read by voting from the main page. Thanks in advance.

500 comments giveaway- running until Friday
5000 viewer's giveaway- launching as soon as I reach that target
The usual reviews as I finish each book.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Empire: Wounds of Honour by Anthony Riches (A Review)

When it takes me a long time to read a book it either means that the book is fantastic and I'm re-reading passages because I'm so intrigued or interested, or that I'm finding the book hard-going or boring. Unfortunatly this one was the latter.
Not that it didn't have its plus points. I skimmed through the battle scenes, which were graphic and often engrossing. The main character was intriguing and the relationships between characters were complex and interesting.
The problem was that it just wasn't really my cup-of-tea. Whilst I was looking for an accurate historical novel with a human story to tell, the focus of this book was on the battle scenes. These were sometimes rather too graphic for my taste. There was also swearing which I felt was unnecessary in places. I won't be bothering with the sequel.

Friday, 17 June 2011

500 comments giveaway!

Thankyou to all those who have left comments since this blog started- thanks to you all this blog has now reached the milestone of 500 comments!

To celebrate the ocassion I'd like to give away a surprise pack to anyone who makes a valid comment on a post during the next week. To enter simply make sure that I'm able to contact you- by leaving either your blog or e-mail address in your comment, or by making sure that your e-mail address is in your google profile. I consider a valid post to be anything commenting on my post (as opposed to just saying that you'd like to enter the competition).

If you have any questions simply post them here (and you'll automatically get entry as well).

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Theme Thursday- Shapes

Hosted by Reading Between the Pages

Empire: Wounds of Honour by Anthony Riches
' Defensive circles! Form defensive circles!....'

Monday, 13 June 2011

It's Monday: What Are You Reading #16

Hosted by Book Journey

Last week's reading rate was a little poor, hoping I won't be too busy to read this next week.

Read last week
The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams

Currently Reading
Empire: Wounds of Honour by Anthony Riches (chosen by reader's vote)

To read this week
Arabian Nights (chosen by reader's vote)
Safely Home by Randy Alcorn (still haven't got to this one unfortunatly)
Jabez by Thom Lemmons (borrowed from a local church library)Tomorrow, When The War Began by John Marsden (Bookcrossing ring)

Please do consider helping me decide what to read next week by voting in my readers' poll (on the main page)

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Blogger Confidential: Rating Systems

Emily's Reading Room asked:
Do you use a star rating system? What do you think the pros and cons are to using some sort of rating system to write reviews?

My response:

I don't use a rating system on The Story Factory Reading Zone because of my experiences trying to use them to rate concerts that I had been to. Basically, what happened it that instance was that I rated my first concert 10/10 and then I ran out of ratings for those that were even better. I do use the ratings system over at goodreads, however I think it is very subjective depending on what mood I'm in.
My reviews on this site state how I feel about the book and why. Since whether books are good or not is pretty subjective, I feel that this makes it easier for readers to decide whether they would like the book or not.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Book Beginnings- 10th June 2011

Empire: Wounds of Honour by Anthony Riches
 November, AD 181 A brisk autumnal breeze stirred the leaves lining the forest floor, the sharp gust lifting a handful of  discarded foliage intoa brief dancing spiral before leaving it to flutter its way back to the ground.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Theme Thursday- Numbers

Hosted by Reading Between Pages

Empire: Wounds of Honour by Anthony Riches
Four men stood, two slinging bows across their backs and drawing swords, two carrying spears ready to throw.

The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams (A Review)

Goodreads Summary:
Facing annihilation at the hands of the warlike Vogons is a curious time to have a craving for tea. It could only happen to the cosmically displaced Arthur Dent and his curious comrades in arms as they hurtle across space powered by pure improbabilityband desperately in search of a place to eat.
Among Arthur's motley shipmates are Ford Prefect, a longtime friend and expert contributor to the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy; Zaphod Beeblebrox, the three-armed, two-headed ex-president of the galaxy; Tricia McMillan, a fellow Earth refugee who's gone native (her name is Trillian now); and Marvin, the moody android who suffers nothing and no one very gladly. Their destination? The ultimate hot spot for an evening of apocalyptic entertainment and fine dining, where the food (literally) speaks for itself.
Will they make it? The answer: hard to say. But bear in mind that the Hitchhiker's Guide deleted the term "Future Perfect" from its pages, since it was discovered not to be!
"What's such fun is how amusing the galaxy looks through Adams' sardonically silly eyes."

 My review:
I think I preferred this story to the original Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy tale. It was imaginative and hilarous- I particularly enjoyed the various uses of a towel. The characters were interesting, I especially liked Marvin. Although I found the writing a bit simple at times, it was a good light read. Its important to read the first book before, as the two follow on and you might not understand the ending otherwise.

Action Readers' Action: Consider those who don't have homes. Help them through donating objects, money or time.

If you only had time to grab one thing from your home what would you take with you?

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Teaser Tuesday #13- The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams
In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move. 

Monday, 6 June 2011

It's Monday: What Are You Reading #15

Hosted by Book Journey

Read last week (click on the titles to see my reviews)
One of Our Thursdays is Missing by Jasper Fforde
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (chosen by readers poll on this blog)

Currently reading
The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams

Planing to read this week

Empire: Wounds of Honour by Anthony Riches (chosen by readers poll on this blog)
Marcus Valerius Aquila has scarcely landed in Britainnia when he has to run for his life- condemned to dishonourable death by power-crazed Emperor Commodus. Desperate, the Praetorian Guard oficer agrees to take a new name, serve in an obscure regiment on Hadrian's Wall and lie low until he can hope for justice.
Jabez by Thom Lemmons
A simple prayer. A complex man. And a life-changing encounter with God.
Safely Home by Randy Alcorn (didn't manage to read it last week)

Inside Prince Caspian by Devin Brown
If you found Narnia through the Wardrobe, you may think you know all there is to know about this mythical land. But you've only just began the journey.

Don't forget!
You can help me choose what I read next week using my readers' poll, located on the main page of this blog! 

Discovering Bookbarn

The big news for this week is that I've discovered Bookbar. Situated in the Bristol countriside, I'd heard that this was a great place to get bargain books. Having never managed to find the time to visit, Iwas delighted to find myself being driven right past it on Saturday morning. The result? 16 more books to add to my collection (at only £1 each)! Here's a rundown of what I bought:

For bookcrossing (all book that I really loved and want to share my love of with others)
The Stone of Light: Paneb the Ardent by Christian Jacq
Ramses: Under the Western Acacia by Christian Jacq
Secrets of the Desert by Christian Jacq
Ramses: The Lady of Abu Simbel by Christian Jacq
The Queen and I by Sue Townsend
Ramses: The Temple of a Million Years by Christian Jacq

Star Trek The Next Generation: Here There Be Dragons by John Peel
Star Trek The Next Generation: Intellivore by Diane Duane
Starman by Alan Dean Foster
One Hundred andd One Ways by Maka Yoshikawa
The Darwin Awards by Wendy Northcutt
Quantum Leap: The Wall by Ashley McConnell
The Day Job by Terry Wogan
Around the World in 80 days by Michael Palin

Have you been to the bookbarn? What did you think?

Results of this week's reading vote!

Thankyou to my one voter who chose Empire for me to read this week. After the great success I had with last week's readers' choice, I'm really looking forward to trying this one out!
I will be putting a new poll up later today- it would be great if you would use it to help me decide what to read next week. I just love having the surprise of not knowing one of my books until the last minute!

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (A Review)

Before I start this review I'd like to send a big thankyou to all those who voted on my blog for me to read this book, the person who recommended the book to me (I can't honestly remember who it was) and the bookcrosser who rabcked me a copy (you know who you are).

Words can hardly express howmuch I enjoyed this book! From the very beginning I was caught up with the emotions that filled the principle character. I was gripped by the suspense, keen to know what would happen next. I felt that I really understood the people who featured in the book, as if I was a part of their world- I worried about them, felt for them and wanted to help them regain their lives. In fact, it was extremly hard to put this book down. I definatly recommend this book to anyone who feels they might be even remotely interested by its subject matter.

One of Our Thursdays is Missing by Jasper Fforde (A Review)

Another humourous journey through BookWorld, now remodelled more after our own than in the previous books. It was a slow start, but by the middle of the book it had fallen in love with this new land. I think that you have to read the previous books in this series to truly appreciated the references in this tale, but its well-worth the wait to read this book. I look forward eagerly to the nex installment.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Theme Thursday- Colours

Taken from One of Our Thursdays is Missing by Jasper Fforde
And I was bluffing; we don't have a Blue Fairy. But we have the next best thing: Gren Fairy.

Third Sentence Thursday #10- One of Our Thursdays is Missing

One of Our Thursdays is Missing by Jasper Fforde
The old system was swept  away, and everything was changed forever. 
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