Friday, July 31, 2015

Review: Hunting Shadows by Charles Todd

      "Hunting Shadows," is the 14th in the series of Ian Rutledge belonging to the 'Mystery' genre. The title and cover are very appropriate for the story. It is set against rural and isolated villages in England, where gossip is the main source of news. There are good references to the local areas, and the description of the characters are well developed. All the characters are strong, with loneliness a common thread among them.
      The story is well plotted and well written. With the war never far from his mind, a voice from the past like a shadow, he must solve a crime by a sniper using a WW1 weapon. The story holds on to the end, but the end doesn't seem like a big surprise - more like something expected.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Completing A Book is Like Having a Baby

Completing a book, it’s a little like having a baby. There’s a feeling of relief and satisfaction when you get to the end. A feeling that you have brought your family, your characters, home. Then a sort of post-natal depression and then, very quickly, the horizon of a new book. The consolation that next time I will do it better.


My Reviews.

      I seem always to have a different hobby. Maybe I can't call it a hobby, more like an interest for a period. A couple of years ago, my interest was to learn how to repair a lawnmower. Not that I planned on going into the repair business - it was because of my neighbor. At the time, I was using an electric mower, and he kept giving me a hard time. He said that he couldn't stand to see my feet getting tied up in the cord. So I picked up some mowers from people and learned how to fix them.
      This summer my interest is learning to do book reviews. Normally, I just gave them stars. Now, I write reviews and put them on Goodreads, Amazon, and my blog. I guess I use something like a template. I've written down all the things I want to cover and them put the book through it. I notice the reviews are getting longer.
      I used to belong to this book club, not Wattpad, where everyone wrote stories, and anyone could comment. It was ok, I got some useful hints. I read this story one time and gave it four stars. Well, it was a woman author and she was livid. How dare I give her only four when it should have been a five. Afterwards, I quit that group. If that were now, I would change the four to a three.
      On Goodreads, they have these threads where people offer reviews for reviews. I thought about that for myself but changed my mind as I read on. This one guy wrote that if you gave him a review he would do one right away without reading the book. Now, the reviews I read, I take with a grain of salt. So I thought that this might not work out too well for me because I would read the book and give it an honest review.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Review: WW 2 Women by Cyrus J. Zachary

"WW 2 Women" is a historical read about women spies from that war. It is a very short read. It is possible that the title on Goodreads is longer than the book. The cover seems to have no bearing on the characters in the book. I have a free copy, and that is what it is worth for information readily accessible on the net. Regularly priced at $4.99. Really!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Review: The Lost Codex by Alan Jacobson.

"The Lost Codex," is an action adventure novel by Alan Jacobson. It is a book I won on Goodreads. It seems aimed at male and female readers. There is some violence, but not an overabundance. It tries to mime "Sigma Force," but falls short. The title "Lost Codex," could refer to its location in he book. Mentioned in the Prologue, it then disappears for the next 30% of the book.
During this 30% hiatus, there was a long winded explanation of the motives and workings of a suicide bomber given to heads of Homeland, CIA, NSA, and FBI. I'm sure these gentlemen have sufficient knowledge of suicide bombers. It seems unnecessary, making the book long.
Being used to my Kindle, I found the printing small. The book has short chapters making it easy to stop reading. I thought the book had too many characters, the Arab names confusing.
After 40%, the story seemed to get back on track and live up more to its hype. From then on, it was continual action.
 I found the ending nothing to get excited about - the author looking for a way to finish it of.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Some Books Refuse to be Written

There are some books that refuse to be written. They stand their ground year after year and will not be persuaded. It isn't because the book is not there and worth being written—it is only because the right form of the story does not present itself. There is only one right form for a story and if you fail to find that form the story will not tell itself.


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Bank Experience

      My wife and I went to the bank yesterday. I had to get money for the plumber. He finished all the work, and that's good. My wife, on the other hand, had to verify that she was still alive. She gets a German pension, so every year they send her a letter to check if she is still with us. Heaven forbid that I would just keep the money.
She just has to go to a teller, gets a couple of papers signed, and they send it away. How difficult that depends on the teller. Yesterday was fairly easy. There was one occasion when she was sent to a notary. I got my money faster than she got her signature.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

You Have To Write

The secret to being a writer is that you have to write. It's not enough to think about writing or to study literature or plan a future life as an author. You really have to lock yourself away, alone, and get to work.


Review: Deadlock (Tweed & Co. #5) by Colin Forbes

      'Deadlock,' is #5 in the series 'Tweed & Co.' by Colin Forbes. It belongs to the Genre of action/adventure. The title is appropriate for the story, but I find the cover a bit bland. The book is aimed at a male audience.
      Having lived for a time in that part of Europe, I recognize a lot of the locations and can verify that they are well researched. There is a lot of accidental dropping of names to move the story along.
It is a fast-paced thriller and a long read, but every page is worth it. All the characters are well developed and so well described you would probably recognize them if you saw them walking down the street.
      From very early in the story, there was a continual reference to scuba divers, but no one seemed to pay any attention to them until the end. The story depended a lot on two new characters. One had a minor role in an earlier book and the other someone new. I would expect to see them in future stories. The book had an ending I did not expect.
      A drawback to this book of good versus evil is that it is similar to all the other books in the series. There were some editing mistakes that seemed to increase towards the end of the book.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Close the Door

Close the door. Write with no one looking over your shoulder. Don't try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It's the one and only thing you have to offer.


Saturday, July 18, 2015

An incredibly pretty bookshelf, bookmark and reading lamp all in one.

Few things are more fraught for a nighttime book reader than the half-awake search for a bookmark, or the onerous reach to a bedside lamp before finally drifting off into a content, well-read sleep.
OK, we might be exaggerating, but our haphazard nightstand pile of books with crumpled receipts as markers is astoundingly less cool than the LiliLite. An all-in-one bookmark, bookshelf and reading lamp, the device sits at that rare intersection of being functional and really nice-looking.

The shelf, made of steam-pressed plywood and bent in a way that accommodates both your to-be-read pile and your current pre-sleep pick, includes a light that turns on automatically once a book is lifted from the shelf. When finished, one simply replaces the book to turn off the light.
The shelf/light, now in its last few days of a successful Kickstarter campaign, comes from designer Thijs Smeets and his girlfriend, Liedewij. "We were looking for a product that could solve all the issues we encountered with reading in bed," Smeets told The Huffington Post in an email. "As a dyslexic product designer, I'm not much of a reader myself. I think in images instead of words ... Liedewij however is an absolute bookworm."
The resulting product seems to be a perfect coupling: an ideal accessory for the avid reader and pleasing enough to have a place in a designer's bedroom, too. It clears some bedroom clutter, keeps books an arm's length away, and adds light right where it's needed.
And what do Smeets and Liedewij prefer to keep on their own invention? "My LiliLite carries Le Petit Sauvage (in Dutch) by Alexandre Jardin, a sketchbook and a marker," Smeets said. "Liedewij is currently reading All Joy and No Fun by Jennifer Senior, Old School by Tobias Wolff and Gut by Giulia Enders."

Jillian Capewell