Monthly Archives: April 2012

Song on Sunday – 4

A Song On Sunday is an original meme hosted by Emily at Confessions Of A Bookaholic. It’s simple to join in all you have to do is:

1. Pick a song that you loved this week
2. Match it with a book
3. Grab the button
4. Link back to Emily and leave a link so she can see your post

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So for my Song on Sunday I’ve chosen…

…Ed Sheeran, Drunk. Even though it’s not a particular favourite book of mine, the first time I heard this song I think I was in the middle of reading it and so many of the lyrics reminded me of Travis, the male lead. So for their self-destructive, argumentative relationship this reminds me of Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire.

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TGIF Look Back – 27th April

Welcome to TGIF Look Back it just takes a few minutes: to play along, just answer the following questions with some Friday feeling…do one or all, whatever you feel like because it’s Friday 🙂

FUNNY – What made you laugh this week?

READING – What were you reading this week?

INSPIRED – What inspired you this week? 

DONE – What were you mainly doing this week?

ANGEL – Who was your angel/star of the week?

YUCK – What made you go ‘ewwww’ this week?
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My TGIF Look Back…

FUNNY – This is such an old gag but the ‘funny airport announcements’ still make me giggle – If you’ve never come across this and are daft like me then you might enjoy this prank 🙂 CLICK HERE

READING – I read Shades of Grey by Michael Cargill this week – review posted on the blog yesterday – a really good read!

INSPIRED – I’m still trying to gear myself up for ‘proper’ writing, but have been very busy at work and on blog stuff that it has lapsed a little. Must try harder!

DOING – This week has mainly been work, work, work – but not of the literary variety, just the one that actually pays the bills. At least it’s interesting though.

ANGEL – My other half has been particularly lovely this week and played ‘Jamie Oliver’ in the kitchen several nights this week, so it meant I had real food when I made it home for dinner instead of just Frosties.

YUCK – Dogs that eat grass – if you’re a dog owner and have experienced the aftermath of your doggie acting like a cow then you know exactly what I was dealing with at 6.00am this morning. I was not impressed with the chocolate doggy!
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So…how’s your week been?  🙂

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Just Finished…Shades of Grey by Michael Cargill

I’ve not read a short story collection for a long while so, as it turns out Shades of Grey, was a perfect choice – because it is fantastic!

I read quite a lot and I have to say that it has been a long time since I found myself so ‘transported’ by a book – to the point that the descriptions and world built in the story feel so alive and real that I feel I could turn my head and actually see what the character is looking at – but that was a regular sensation when I was reading this.

So…what about the stories themselves?

Shades of Grey – Thrust into the tortured mind of an intelligence officer undergoing interrogation the story propels you through this flawed character’s disturbing life and memories in a interesting stream of consciousness style. I liked the erratic jumps through time, which felt right for the character and situation he’s in. The frequent f*%$ language also fitted with the situation. It’s a bit of a roller-coaster ride and reminded me a little of books I’ve read in this genre (Ian Flemming, Robert Ludlum). What is done particularly well is the dissection of the main character’s mind – it felt very realistic and vivid.

There and Back Again – Where Shades of Grey takes you deep inside someone’s mind, There and Back Again takes you into the world of war. Although you again get inside the minds of the main characters, for me it was the landscape and horrors of being a normal human being walking through a world torn apart by war that stood out. The difficulties of trying to get your mind to reconcile the brutality of what you see and do with your rational mind are nicely drawn out and explored in this short story.

Down the Rabbit Hole – I actually think this was my favourite of the three stories – there’s a slightly King-ish vibe to the story: the uneasiness of normal life being pushed slightly out of kilter – and I loved Tom! The depiction of a child’s acceptance of the unusual, the painful and interesting was perfectly delivered and I really wanted to step into this story – aside from the fact it creeped me out! – and put my arm around Tom to keep him safe.

My Overall Thoughts: The writing style is great – I liked the immediacy, the vivid reality created in the minds of the characters we meet in these short stories. Each is quite different in the content of the story and the perspective it’s written from, but at the same time there is a clear voice of the author.

One of the things Michael Cargill does very well is crawl into the ‘heads’ of the characters, places and objects he depicts: whether it’s the convoluted inner workings of a tortured, disturbed intelligence officer; the war-torn landscape of WWII France; or the playtime friend of a lonely little boy; his ability to bring the various aspects of a story to life was spot-on for me and I would heartily recommend this collection to people who like a rollicking good read – you’ll race through the stories and enjoy every minute.

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Shades of Grey – along with a whole host of other books – will be in the massive giveaway at Indie Author Month on Aside from Writing taking place in May – so make sure you enter to win!

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WWW Wednesday – 5

WWW Wednesdays is a weekly meme hosted over at Should Be Reading…it just takes a few minutes: to play along, just answer the following three questions…

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?
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What are you currently reading?

Little Zombie 🙂

I’ve just started Zed by Stephen Herfst – really good so far…I’m a sucker for zombie films/shows, but this is the first time I’ve read a zombie book. I’m also still plodding along with The Passage by Justin Cronin – but it’s been relegated to my ‘lunchtime’ read and I don’t often get a ‘proper’ lunch so I think it will be a slow burn.
What did you recently finish reading?
I’ve just finished Shade of Grey a series of short stories by Michael Cargill. Although the stories aren’t specifically linked they have a particular flair and style that is recognisable in each. Overall, I loved the set and will definitely be reading more by this author – he draws such fantastic and beliveably real characters that I frequently found myself lost in the worlds he created. There is something particularly immediate about the way he writes and I love the realistic flaws and personality traits each of his characters exhibit – he does a good job of crawling around inside people’s heads.
What do you think you’ll read next?
Next up in my tbr pile is Last Stop This Town by David Steinburg and Fall for You by Cecilia Gray – both are YA books and the authors are featuring in the Indie Author Month in May on my other blog http://asidefromwriting.wordpress.com Take a look at the site and see who’s featuring as there are a whole range of different YA authors covering romance to horror and dystopian to vampires – there are daily freebies and competitions, as well as the chance to meet new authors and books in time for summer!
🙂

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Song on Sunday – 3

A Song On Sunday is an original meme hosted by Emily at Confessions Of A Bookaholic. It’s simple to join in all you have to do is:

1. Pick a song that you loved this week
2. Match it with a book
3. Grab the button
4. Link back to Emily and leave a link so she can see your post

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So for my Song on Sunday this week I’ve chosen…

Titanium by David Guetta, featuring Sia. It’s been around for a while, but I’ve not got bored of hearing it yet: it feels a little like a power-ballad but is also pretty mellow with the female vocals. I really like this as a song for Katniss from The Hunger Games. I have to admit that after loving the books when I read them earlier this year and seeing the film recently, Katniss remains one of my favourite strong female leads – if there’s such a thing as the female bromance then I definitely get that with both Katniss and Jennifer Lawrence! In the books even when she makes a decision I don’t want her to – like on the railway tracks – I still respect what she chooses, because she does what feels right to her. (And there’s not too much self-centred navel-gazing for a heroine – there are plenty out there who could learn from Katnip!)

What about the song? A woman singing about being titanium, bullet proof – can’t shoot me down – I’m on fire…Come on! You know Katniss, this is absolutely an anthemn for her 🙂

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TGIF Look Back – 20th April

Welcome to TGIF Look Back it just takes a few minutes: to play along, just answer the following questions with some Friday feeling…do one or all, whatever you feel like because it’s Friday 🙂

FUNNY – What made you laugh this week?

READING – What were you reading this week?

INSPIRED – What inspired you this week? 

DONE – What were you mainly doing this week?

ANGEL – Who was your angel/star of the week?

YUCK – What made you go ‘ewwww’ this week?
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My TGIF Look Back…

FUNNY – Saw some good, random book parodies this week from songs to posters and films – there are plenty around for the biggest bestsellers – take a look at the Goodreads thread that gave me plenty to giggle at this week 🙂

READING – Kindle died at the weekend and so while I waited for the lovely people at Amazon to send me a replacement I’ve been reading ‘real’ books – restarted The Passage by Justin Cronin this week. I WILL finish it this time!

INSPIRED – Finalising the big blog event for next month at Aside from Writing – phew! nearly done. Writing wise it’s been mainly blog posts and promo stuff, not work on the books.

DOING – Looking forward to a relaxing weekend! Very busy week at work and so looking forward to stepping away from the computer and doing something else.

ANGEL – The nice guy at Amazon who sent me a new Kindle when the screen broke on mine!

YUCK – Simon Cowell’s unauthorised biography confessions – not that I care, but I’d rather not be bombarded with it on breakfast radio as I eat my banana! I don’t want to know about his hankering after Cheryl Cole or anyone else for that matter. However, the picture of him with his eighties mullet hair was pretty good, when I saw the same story in the Metro.

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Book Trailer Thursday – 1

The Book Trailer Thursday meme is hosted each week by http://zoweesbookshelf.blogspot.co.uk/

Check out her lovely blog if you’d like to join in :)

I usually take part in this meme from Aside from Writing blog, but we’ve got an interview feature up there today and really this trailer is one that I really like the sound of, so I thought I’d post here. I’m definitely getting the feeling that I’m going into a ‘vampire’ phase at the moment: True Blood Season 3 has been on the DVD player and I’ve got Season 4 on pre-order; my kindle has received a number of new books recently, many of which feature vamps and now, I see a trailer like this and think – “I want to read the book and see the film!”

The idea behind this is genius – I love it when people play around with the mythologies surrounding real people and so Abraham Lincoln as a vampire hunter? Of course – I’ll buy that 🙂

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