Thursday, 24 July 2014

The Last Mile by Mike Clarke

This was the first free eBook I'd downloaded and it was an eye opener into the stages eBooks need to go through before they're absolutely ready for publication.

Todd and Buzz are old friends and life has taken them their separate ways. They each come to a crossroads in their careers and need a change of pace, so they hook up and ride Route 66 again because they have unfinished business.

I liked the concept of the story and the first half of the book was excellent. It has potential! I think the author should take another look at the second half and give it a thoroughly good edit. There were times I got lost with the plot and it felt rushed.

If anything, reading this book made me take a long, hard look at my first published effort and I could see where I need to make improvements to my own work before putting it "out there" for people to enjoy. As a reader, I was disappointed that the story wasn't polished.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

The Road Home by Rose Tremain

Last December, a woman came into the Post Office and handed me this book to read, or to pass on to somebody else. It was for World Book Night 2013.

Seven months later and I've now read it after being informed it had an unexpected ending, which naturally whet my appetite.

What I love about this book is it reminded me how to tell a story and how to build a story using little succinct bits of research to add credibility to the plot and believability to the characters.

Lev is a lost, lonely soul on his way from Eastern Europe to Britain looking for work. It's the story of many people that come into the Post Office to send moneygrams to their families back home. I often think about the backstories of these people. I wonder why they're here and who their family is. Has it been easy for them to make a life and living in our country? Do they miss their home? Do they have crazy friends like Lev has Rudi?

This is a "real" story and what I mean by that is, there are no happy endings, no easy solutions, no nicely rounding it all off. On the flip side, there are no dramatic, crazy, unbelievable parts either. It's REAL storytelling taking us on a soul searching mission with Lev.  

Friday, 4 July 2014

Laugh Lines by Ben Bova

I am just about keeping up with my Goodreads challenge of reading and reviewing one book per month in 2014... six down and six to go...

I haven't read science fiction for many, many years, but this collection of stories was recommended to me because it was written in the 80s and predicted 3D televisions and eBooks.

And now, here we are!

The Starcrossed (3D TVs) and Cyberbooks (eBooks) sandwiches six shorter, futuristic stories which are equally amusing. These stories give great twists on things like the moon landing, the way the media reports the news, the mafia and underworld, and the fall of a former US President, all written with a sardonic and humourous touch.

What I liked the most is the way Ben Bova takes the various characters - people he's come across in real life - and enhances either their positives or negatives, traits, flaws, characteristics.. with a futuristic edge so I was picturing them, not only as people, but as alien or robotic beings too.

Reading Cyberbooks was particularly poignant given what's been happening to the Publishing Industry over the last few years. The tale of woe, the uproar and the almighty shock to the system was spot on - for a prediction!

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Kicking off WordUp Wednesdays

The game is to take a word, describe that word and then find out its true definition to see if your feelings change towards it. We used to play this in our English Lit. classes - getting to know and love the English language.

On first sight, crepuscular is an ugly word, very different to what I'm used to and sounds medical and scientific. It has multiple syllables, doesn't flow off the tongue and trips itself up as I say it.

Definition: At the time of twilight

I would like this word to enchant me now that I know its meaning, but it still sounds far too similar to muscular.