Deja Vu Blogfest: A Second Bite at the Apple!

16

image

 

So I stumbled across this ripper idea for a blog hop: the Déjà Vu Blogfest! The idea is to repost a post from earlier in the year, to both take the heat off creating original content at this busy time of year and to give an overlooked post or old favourite a second airing.  The hosts of the Deja Vu Blogfest are DL Hammons and Nicole Zoltack – three cheers for a great pre-holiday blog party!  At the end of this post you can find the linky with all the other participants – it’s a great opportunity to hop around and find some new bloggers to connect with.

So I have chosen a Fiction in 50 that I particularly enjoyed writing.  In fact, it was a close call between this one and my entry for the February 2014 challenge, Love in the Time of Palindromes.  The Fi50 I have chosen however is one in which I was heartily pleased with my wordplay.  Without further ado, I give you my contribution for the January 2014 Fiction in 50 challenge, on the prompt “The Best of Intentions”.

I feel like I’ve outdone myself this month, and I hope you agree.  This is certainly my favourite piece so far!  Although, admittedly, it is 51 words long and therefore fails the challenge, but I could not decide on another word to cull. Editing suggestions are most welcome.  I have titled this piece….

Bob’s Big Break

“What’s your best price Bob?” asks St. Peter.

”We’ll replace this path with patented Good Intentions Pavers, plus eternity-length warranty on cracking and fading, for $9 million per square metre!”

“How much?”

“Okay, $8m. Mate’s rates.”

 “Go to Hell!” sputters Peter.

Bob considers. It’s the break he’s been looking for.

So there you have it.  Join in with your links here:

The linky will remain open for a whole month, so you’ve got plenty of time to play along (and cull that 51st word).  New players welcome! Old players in disguise welcome!

For anyone who happens to be interested in the Fiction in 50 monthly challenge, simply click on the attractive button below!

image

Now hop along and meet some other posts that are getting a second chance to shine!

Powered by Linky Tools

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

Until next time,

Bruce

2014: A Bookish Year in Review…

8

So last year around this time I jumped in on a fun, bookish survey from Pop Culture Nerd – you can check that out here if you like – and this year I’ve decided to do my own bookish review of the year that has (almost) been!  Basically, I’ve come up with some sentences and I aim to finish them with the titles of books that I have read this year.  I can’t guarantee that I won’t cheat though and use some titles from last year. Or titles on my TBR pile.  I may even include more than one title per sentence.  Hold onto your false teeth, thrillseekers, here we go!

So far, I would describe this year as being: [a] Blur

I’m tipping that the next big thing in Reality TV shows will be: Extreme Dentistry

I could have cried when: The Mirror Crack’d from Side to Side

blur  extreme dentistry  mirror cover

I would love to have some respite from: Baby Penguins Everywhere!

The most unexpected thing that happened this year involved: 100 Hungry Monkeys

My non-bookish friends would say I: [have a] SuperEgo

baby penguins everywhere 100 Monkeys superego

My motto for the remainder of 2014 is going to be: Never Underestimate a Hermit Crab

The thing I am most looking forward to is: [an] 8-Bit Christmas

One of my favourite dreams features: Duck, Death and the Tulip

never underestimate a hermit crab  8 bit christmas duck death and the tulip

If you looked under my couch you would see: [a] Slimy Underbelly

If I could no longer keep blogging, I would probably pursue a career in: The Indifference League

Something most people don’t know about me is: I Need a New Butt

 

slimy underbelly  the indifference league  i need a new butt

I’ve linked the Goodreads info to each of the pictures if you have suddenly developed an interest in any of these handy titles.  Feel free to jump aboard with your own Bookish Survey – I’d love to hear what other people’s literary year has been like!

Until next time,

Bruce

 

twitter button Follow on Bloglovin Bruce Gargoyle's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf)

//

Fiction in 50 August Challenge: The Last Place You Look…

0

image

Welcome to the August edition of Fiction in 50, where challengers brave and true undertake an epic quest to create a piece of fiction in fifty words or less, based on a monthly prompt.  New players are always welcome and if you’d like to know more, simply click on the image at the top of the post.

This month’s prompt is…

last place you look

If you want to join in, simply add your contribution to the linky below or leave a link to your post in the comments.  The linky will remain open for a month, so there’s plenty of time to join in.

So here’s my effort. This one was inspired by Hades Speaks! which I reviewed last week, dealing with Ancient Greek death mythology.

I call it:

Paying the Ferryman

“Coin?”

Frowning, I considered.  Immediately before my coronary I’d been rehearsing for Panto, perfecting my stride using that old trick.

Ah.

Unclenching, I rummaged in my trousers for the desired token; offered it up.

His expression: unveiled disgust and…was that…awe?

“Let’s pretend that never happened.  Trip’s on me.”

Over to you, jotters and scribes!  Don’t forget to share the challenge with anyone you think might be interested.  I’ve also taken to using the hashtag #Fi50 and sharing your entries on twitter.  Feel free to do the same!

Our prompt for September is…

a worthy adversary button

Until next time,

Bruce

twitter button Follow on Bloglovin Bruce Gargoyle's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf)

//

Fashions off the Shelf: A Collection Inspired by Picture Books…

14

Morning all! I’m taking a break from reviewing today to bring you a little treat I’ve been thinking about ever since I was inspired by a post over at Book Riot about Literary Inspired Fashion Collections that Should Exist.  Besides raising a few hearty chuckles, it got me cogitating over other picture books that might lend themselves to making an unforgettable fashion statement and finally, I am ready to present to you my Spring collection of KidLit-Inspired Fashion!

The model for the clothing today is Grishnakh, a goblinish little fellow that I found lurking in the mini-fleshling’s toybox and was only too happy to lend his memorable countenance to our cause.  Enjoy!

Inspired by The Lonely Beast series, and just in time for a Southern Hemisphere winter:

image

Inspired by the classic Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, here’s something for the lady who wants to stand out at that fancy cocktail soiree:

image

For the bride who wants to appear a little enigmatic on her big day, we have a dress inspired by the short but memorable Duck!Rabbit!:

image

Inspired by Harold and the Purple Crayon, for the well dressed gentleman who also likes to show off his playful side:

image

And finally, inspired by The Watermelon Seed, we have something for the beach bunny in all of us:

image

So there you have it.  Do tell us what you think of our attempts to break into the fashion industry.  And any feedback on Grishnakh’s performance would also be welcome – he’s thinking of giving up on the toy gig and trying to find work as a specialty model.  I suggested he might try auditioning for the “Before” shots in anti-wrinkle cream advertisements, but other suggestions (or offers of work) will be happily received.

Until next time,

Bruce

twitter button Follow on Bloglovin Bruce Gargoyle's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf)

//

Attention Teachers/Parents/Librarians/Bookish Folk! Want to Win a Virtual Author Visit? Well, Have Stanley and Katrina got News for You!

2

You may remember that a while back I reviewed a little epistolatory tome by super pet authors Stanley and Katrina – The Perpetual Papers of the Pack of Pets! Well, those super pets are at it again, offering YOU and YOUR GROUP the chance to win a virtual author visit! Read on for details of how to enter….

Dear Teachers/Parents/Librarians/Principals/Superintendents/PTA Representives and Others: 

Stanley & Katrina’s paws are dancing because they are offering their Virtual Author Visit Package Giveaway for the second year in a row, as a part of the paw-some Children’s Book Week Kid Lit Giveaway Hop.

One winner will receive a 20 minute virtual author visit from Neighbour Girl (of Stanley and Katrina) for the group of their choice AND a Kindle copy of The Perpetual Papers of the Pack of Pets for each member of the group!

All of the details are below. Scroll down to view the Rafflecopter entry form or click here to enter now, and then take a look at the Kid Lit Giveaway Hop hosted by Mother Daughter Book Reviews & Youth Literature Reviews for many more children’s book giveaways going on this week. 

 

Thank you..

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this post and visiting, today.

Prize: One winner will receive a 20 minute virtual author visit with Neighbor Girl (of Stanley&Katrina) via Skype or Google+ Hangouts for the group of their choice (classroom, family, homeschool group, etc.) AND a Kindle copy of The Perpetual Papers of the Pack of Pets for every member of the group.* If the winner is located within the US, they will also receive one print and signed copy of The Perpetual Papers of the Pack of Pets

*Group size is a max of 30 individuals for this prize. 
Contest Ends: May 18, 11:59 pm 2014, EST 
Open: Internationally, please note that Neighbor Girl only speaks English. 
How to Enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. 
Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or Pinterest. This giveaway is sponsored by Stanley & Katrina and is hosted and managed by Cool Mom/Christine. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send an email to StanleyandKatrina(at)gmail(dot)com. 

An opportunity for lovers of free things and kickstarter campaigns: The Ghost Heart Kickstarter is Here!

0

Good morning to you, lovely creatures! Allow me to point out how open to new opportunities you look today.  Your eyebrows are looking particularly ravishing too, I might add!  Well, you’re welcome. I pride myself on noticing the minor details.

Now that the pleasantries are out of the way, let’s get to the good (better!) stuff.  Later this month, on May 30th to be exact, I will be pointing a blinding spotlight of revelation in the general direction of Ripley Patton, author of the PSS Chronicles.  After reading the first book in the series, Ghost Hand, I was enamoured.  Ripley has moved on with the series (I’m a bit behind the times!) and is now working on book three – and she needs YOUR help! Read on to find out all about it (and what exciting free offer you might be able to redeem) – remember, ask not what your authors can do for you, but what you can do for your authors….

The PSS Chronicles is the acclaimed young adult paranormal thriller series written and self-published by award-winning author Ripley Patton.

If you’re already familiar with the series, you know how great these books are. They are true paranormal thrillers and almost impossible to put down.

Ghost Hold quotes

Book One, GHOST HAND, was a semi-finalist for the 2013 Kindle Book Review Best Indie Book Awards and it was a 2013 Cybil Award Nominee. It has over 200 reviews on Amazon with a 4.4 overall rating.

ghost hand

GHOST HOLD has been just as well received with over 40 reviews, only one under 3-stars. Readers often comment that is is even more compelling than the first book.

ghost hold

And NOW, Ripley Patton is gearing up for the release of the third book in this series, GHOST HEART, by running a Kickstrater Project HERE.

All Ripley’s books have been funded successfully through Kickstarter, which allows readers to pre-order the books in e-book and paperback format, in addition to ensuring she can publish them to the highest quality. Plus, its just fun to be a part of the amazing process of making a book a reality.

This time around, Ripley has something special going on. Backers of the project will actually be helping unveil the GHOST HEART cover, one piece at a time, as the funds for the book are raised.

The rest is up to you and all the backers of the GHOST HEART KICKSTARTER PROJECT. But I really hope it doesn’t take too long because I’m dying to see that cover.

NEW TO THE SERIES?

If you’re new to The PSS Chronicles, never fear. The GHOST HEART Kickstarter Project has reward options to purchase all the books, both in e-book and signed paperback format for some amazing prices.

Not only that, but if you want to test drive the series before committing, Ripley is currently offering the first book of the series, GHOST HAND, FREE on Amazon and Kobo, and for only 99 cents on B&N.

SO, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?

Run over to Ripley’s Project now and back GHOST HEART. Tell your friends and family and fellow booklovers. Share the project on social media and help Ripley unveil that cover and blow this Kickstarter Project up.

And to find out even more about Ripley, you can check her out on her WEBSITE, on FACEBOOK, on TWITTER, on GOODREADS, and on GOOGLE +.  She’d love to connect with you and talk about books, writing, movies, or whatever strikes your fancy.

 

Did you hear that folks? Ghost Hand is FREE, FREEEEEEEE! Go and get it now. Then come back on May 30th and tell me what you think of it.  I promise I will do likewise.

Until next time,

Bruce

 

 

 

 

Ghoulies and Deserts and Smiles, Oh My!: A Trio of YA Indie Titles for your TBR pile…

1

Attention YA fans and fiends, strap on your hipster reading monocles, fire up your fancy e-reading devices and carefully pour your beverage of choice because today I have a collection of wonderful indie YA titles from emerging authors to which your attention needs to be drawn.  And for lovers of variety, I have a dystopian, a coming-of-age/first romance and a creepy paranormal fantasy, so hopefully there’s something here for even the fussiest of YA readers.

I received all these titles from the respective talented authors in return for review, so thanks ladies!

First up, we have the coming-of-age story – Edna in the Desert by Maddy Lederman.

This book introduces us to thirteen-year-old Edna as she is being forcibly removed by her parents to the aforementioned desert, to live with her grandparents for the summer.  This exile follows a spate of less-than-becoming behaviour from young Edna, and when she discovers her parents dastardly plot (as they drive away in a cloud of dust!), Edna believes that life as she knows it may just be over.  During a brief and eventful attempt to wander off into the desert to die, Edna is rescued by local good guy Johnny, sparking a crush that has Edna waiting by the gate, so to speak, for Johnny to turn up with the groceries one day each week.  But how is a girl supposed to get a boy to notice her when she’s stuck in the desert with a surly grandma and a zoned out, war veteran grandpa who does nothing but sit on the porch all day staring into the distance?  Is Edna, the queen of the sassy comeback, up to the challenge?

edna in the desertYou know how sometimes you read a blurb or someone tells you something about a book and you think you know exactly how the plot is going to unfold and what the tone of the book will be? Well, I was utterly, utterly wrong in the case of Edna.  After reading the book I am still surprised by how much I enjoyed it and how the characters have left an impact on me.  I actually got so caught up in it that I finished it in one sitting.

I initially thought that the book was going to be focused mostly on the whole “technology-reliant city slicker young person is forced to spend time without modern conveniences and in the process learns important life lessons and connects with their grandparents’ generation” sort of plotline.  While that does factor into the story in significant ways, this book was so much more than a predictable tale of growing up and noticing the world around you.

Edna in the Desert is a relationship-driven narrative and the strength of the story (and I think the reason it stuck with me after reading) is that the characters are completely authentic and believable.  Lederman has perfectly captured the genuine fears and hopes of a young girl who finds herself outside her comfort zone, but determined to become the person that those close to her believe she can be.  Johnny is also a well-rounded character, with an obvious system of values, which is a nice change from more two-dimensional portrayals of the hot guy who rescues the girl and sweeps her off her feet.  Edna and Johnny’s friendship follows a natural progression with all the false starts and challenges that any new relationship may encounter.  The relationship between Edna and her grandparents also emerges organically throughout the story, and the reader is treated to Edna’s experience of gradually coming to understand how the decline of her grandparents’ relationship due to illness has irrevocably changed who her grandmother is.  Grief, loss and growth are key themes of this novel and it was a wonderful surprise that I enjoyed it so much.  I would definitely recommend it to those who enjoy the coming-of-age genre with a little bit of romance thrown in.

We recommend Edna in the Desert for:

* YA readers at the lower end of the age bracket looking for a gentle introduction to the romance genre

* veteran readers of YA contemporary who don’t mind a youngish protagonist

* readers who like a funny, gentle coming-of-age tale of any description

Now for the dystopian utopia…Among the Joyful by Erin Eastham.

In Among the Joyful, we are introduced to Alaire, a happy, successful high school senior who is a productive, joy-sharing bringer of happiness in the Golden State – a country that has outlawed the appearance of negative emotions in its citizens.  In Alaire’s town, everyone must have a smile on their face at all times when out in public, lest their sad/angry/otherwise-unjoyful facial expression contaminate others and spread sadness/anger/unjoyfulness throughout the population.  Up until very recently, Alaire hasn’t found maintaining a perpetual smile to be an onerous task, as the joy within her matched the joy projected through her expression.  When Alaire has a short conversation with an Inder – a sufferer of Interpersonal Negativity Disorder and social outcast – during Service Day however, her effortless smile begins to slip.  And when, soon after, she finds and reads a forbidden book in her aunt’s house, Alaire begins to experience an inner turmoil that she has never known.  Brought before the Council, placed on probation, and facing possible classification as an Inder, Alaire must make absolutely certain her smile is fixed, even when no one is looking.  But with new emotions emerging from her forbidden reading, new knowledge about life outside the Golden State, and a mysterious new man posing as an Inder asking Alaire to make a decision that might place the Golden State in jeopardy, is there any way that Alaire can put on a happy face?

Before we go any further, let me say that if you’re looking for a dystopian but you’ve had your fillamong the joyful of young people used in perverse murder tournaments, then this is the book for you!  Among the Joyful is what I’m going to call a psychological dystopian, because while the city is imposing certain behaviours on its citizens, the story really focuses around Alaire and her discovery that not everybody in the Golden State actually feels the joy that they show outwardly in public.  I’ve mentioned in other reviews that books with long monologuing, or a prolonged focus on one character’s actions, generally poke my “tedium” button and are swiftly abandoned, but while Alaire carries the story for probably 80% of the narration, I didn’t find it irritating or that Eastham was forcing the story forward.

This could be because the world building here was extremely solid.  The implications of living in the Golden State are drip-fed to the reader throughout the story, both from the plot and in quotes from certain pieces of Golden State literature at the beginning of each chapter.  This was a very neat way to get some extra detail into the world-building that otherwise would have to have been accomplished through explanations that would have stalled the action.

What I appreciated most about this book was the fact that the premise was original.  Eastham has done a great job of taking a simple idea – “what if people weren’t allowed to frown or cry in public?” – and has executed it well.  The book is also the first in a series, but again, the author has done a great job of keeping the focus on Alaire as she discovers that her world is not what she thought it was, so it feels very much like a standalone.  The other plotline about life outside the Golden State, and how Alaire might have a role in improving it, is revealed at the end of the book and opens up the possibilites for new directions in the plot for the next book.

Oh and there’s also a bit of romance and some interesting appearances from current and past popular novels that pepper the storyline, just FYI.

We recommend Among the Joyful for:

* those with a love of dystopia, but a hankering for a new take on the genre

* those who, like me, are sick of dystopia because of plotlines that have been done to death

* readers who prefer a book focusing on inner turmoil rather than external action

And finally, the creepy paranormal fantasy…Moonless by Crystal Collier.

In Moonless we encounter Alexia, a young woman with…how shall we put this…an unfortunate face.  After being dragged along to a gathering at a neighbour’s estate, Alexia has a vision of the host, dead from an obviously violent altercation.  Later in the evening, Alexia comes across a ghostly-yet-real girl hidden away in a bolt-hole and is led to the entrance hall of the estate, whereupon she discovers that her vision has become reality and a beautiful blue-eyed man is standing over the corpse of her host.  On returning home, Alexia is amazed to discover that she has suddenly become beautiful, but confused by the fact that no one wants to mention her bizarre change in appearance.  On visiting her aunt, Alexia has another vision that ends up coming true and she is certain that the blue-eyed man has something to do with her newfound ability to predict violent death, as well as her sudden beauty.  Things are changing in Alexia’s world and she knows that soon she must make a decision about whether she will accept these changes, and whether she’s prepared for who she might become.

moonlessMoonless is a strange blend of historical fiction, paranormal romance and horror that will certainly appeal to readers of any of those genres.  Collier has adopted a writing style that is a tad affected, but suits the historical setting and adds to the atmosphere of dread-induced mystery that follows Alexia around for the first third of the book.  In fact, the story is heavy with mystery right from the beginning as the reader and Alexia try to work out what is going on with Alexia’s strange visions, and most obviously, her transformation from ugly duckling to beautiful swan that seemingly goes un-commented upon by anyone in her circle of acquaintance.  These mysteries are slowly revealed though, in a piecemeal fashion that is designed to keep readers turning the pages.

There’s a mysterious, tall, dark and handsome love interest here that will catch the eye of lovers of paranormal romance and this blue-eyed phantom takes up a lot of Alexia’s mental energy as she wonders, fantasises and wonders some more about who he is and how he is involved in the sudden changes that are taking place around her.  On the horror side of things, there are some very frightening wraith like creatures that chase Alexia down, there’s the creepy-as-all-get-out Bellezza (the aforementioned ghostly-but-real girl)and a nice bit of capture-and-torture to round things out.

Admittedly, I don’t read a lot of paranormal romance, because it’s really not my thing, and there is a strong vein of it in Moonless.  That being said, I think fans of paranormal romance will Lap. This. Up.  It has everything a reader of this genre could want and then some, and the pervading twin atmospheres of spine-tingliness and allure will keep people engaged until the end of Alexia’s…transforming…adventures.

We recommend Moonless for:

* fans of paranormal romance who don’t mind a bit of …unpleasantness…in the courting process

* readers who enjoy a historical setting in their fiction

* readers who like a plot to unfold slowly, with the intrigue drawn out

 

So there you are.  Let it never be said that I don’t offer you variety.  And reviewing these three titles has really opened my eyes to the value of giving authors using Indie publishers or smaller publishing houses a go.  There’s a wealth of talent out there for those who are prepared to look (or in my case, those who are prepared to glance at emails offering review copies) and you never know, you might just find your new favourite author tucked away behind the bestsellers shelf, just waiting for your appreciative murmers and word-of-mouth/social media recommendations.

Until next time then,

Bruce

Follow on Bloglovin

my read shelf:
Bruce Gargoyle's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf)

//