Beach Reads Giveaway Hop!

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Beach-Reads

Even though it’s winter where I am, you could easily be forgiven for thinking that its summer and for that reason alone I have joined in with the Beach Reads Giveaway Hop hosted by StuckinBooks and running from June 3rd to 15th.

Since the theme of the hop is beach reads, relaxing reads, reads to take on holiday….

I am offering one winner their choice of title from the Choose Your Own Adventure series available from the Book Depository!

Here’s the deal:  One winner will get to choose a book they would like from this list of available Choose Your Own Adventure books at the Book Depository.  The giveaway is open internationally, provided the Book Depository ships to your country for free.  Other Ts & Cs are in the Rafflecopter.

To enter, click the Rafflecopter link below:

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don’t forget to check out the other participating blogs here:

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Good luck!

Choose Your Own Misery: Now Here’s A Christmas Book Everyone Can Enjoy!

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choose-your-own-misery

If you are already sick of hearing how many shopping days are left before Christmas (and Halloween hasn’t even arrived yet!), then today’s book is going to be right up your alley.  Many readers, of a certain age, loved the Choose Your Own Adventure series as children and some have tried to recreate the experience in a format for grown-ups, but until now I don’t think the power of negativity has ever been harnessed to allow the fraternity of pessimists and misery guts to choose their own path through a story.  Thanks to Mike Macdonald and Jilly Gagnon however, this is now a happy, unhappy possibility with the Choose You Own Misery series.  We received Choose Your Own Misery: The Holidays from the publisher via Netgalley and here’s the blurb from Goodreads:

From “The Onion” alum writers Mike MacDonald and Jilly Gagnon comes a hilarious choose-your-own-path story to ruin your holiday spirit.

This is the year you re going to do it: you re going to avoid Christmas completely!

…or you were, until your island getaway got washed out by a hurricane. Now you have to choose: should you spend the holiday with your shrewish sister and her Europhile husband, or endure your new girlfriend s family for a week? Help chop down a tree even though it might throw out your back, or endure the icy judgment of a woman who thinks only children and pussies help bake cookies? Jet off to the glamorous slums of Kingston, Jamaica, or accept the offer of a ride from a man who never stops smiling…and is probably going to turn you into a skin suit?

From the writers who brought you the hilarious parody “Choose Your Own Misery: The Office” comes a second helping of misery with a festive twist. Christmas is full of fun surprises for kids, but for adults, it s just an endless series of aggressive crowds, overwhelming credit card debt, and pretending to like the people you re forced to spend it with.

Once you unwrap all the holiday misery hiding in these pages, the blackness of your heart will rival any lump of coal.”

I wouldn’t class myself as a particular Christmas grump, but I had a lot of fun with this book nonetheless.  The kindle edition allows you to click on a page option at the end of each section to choose the next step on your path to misery: shall I accept a lift from a sweaty, suspicious stranger or hire a car at inflated holiday prices?  Should I tell my girlfriend’s family about the unfortunate accident that I caused or allow them to keep thinking of me as a paragon of virtue?  There are so many options to choose that I was able to replay the book a number of times without crossing any paths I had already selected.

The book is written from a male character’s point of view, so I don’t know whether female readers will feel like this is a problem, but right from the off I was able to relate to the frustration and bewilderment of the protagonist as he (I) was forced to make unlikely choices as a series of absurd obstacles appeared in the road of his (my) planned escape from Christmas jollity.

If you’re looking for a Kris Kringle present for a subversive friend, or just want to while away the time on a long and boring train commute, this book would be a great choice.

Until next time,

Bruce

Choose Your Own Adventure for Big Kids: Superpowered (Click Your Poison #3)…

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Hold your horses! Stop the press! Today I’ve got an early Christmas present for anyone who wants to feel like they did way back when, as they flicked through a Choose Your Own Adventure tale. But today’s book is designed specifically for adult readers.  Intrigued? Come on, of course you are!  I was lucky enough to snag a copy of today’s tome through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program and I am glad I did, because I haven’t had such a fun experience with an ebook for a long time as I had with Superpowered by James Schannep, the third offering in the Click Your Poison series.

Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:

You know the superhero fantasy. What would life be like if you had superhuman abilities? But really, given the choice, would you save the world or conquer it? In SUPERPOWERED, the choice is yours.

After a bizarre experiment leaves you with one of three superpowers (play the book multiple times to explore all three!), you must ally with or confront the other two test subjects while the fate of Mercury City–nay, the world!–hangs in the balance.

Live your own interactive comic book adventure and Get SUPERPOWERED!

3 Unique Storylines. Over 50 Possible Endings. Just one question… Will YOU Be a Hero or a Villain?

 

superpowered

This was a light, fun read that immediately had me thinking out my old-school strategies for how I would approach the story.  I initially took the path of least resistance, which resulted in a quickly ended storyline, and then I backed up and got my head in the game.  There are three superpowers you can choose from once the story gets going and I took my time deliberating – you don’t want to end up choosing a sucky one and having to start all over again, after all. Or maybe you do, if that’s the way you want to play it!

Once it becomes apparent that you are no longer an ordinary human, paths unfold that allow you to choose whether you will be a bleeding heart hero with designs on making the world a super place, or a black hearted villain with no regard for the common people.  The thing that impressed me the most about this book was the smooth and responsive “click your choice” format in the Kindle edition that allows the reader to click on the chosen option to be taken straight to the corresponding page.  I admit, I did wonder how the author was going to get past all the flicking forward and back of the traditional print CYACs in the electronic format, but it worked like a dream and kept me focused on the story.

I did find it was tricky to go back once you’d made a selection – I learned to take note of the prior location in case I muffed it up – but that was a minor drawback to something that really delivers an enjoyable, nostalgic experience in a modern, adult-friendly format.

There are two other adventures in the Click Your Poison series – one a murder mystery and the other an apocalyptic plague zombie survival adventure – and I would be interested in checking them out.  I reckon that this series is perfect for those who enjoyed the CYAC format as a youngster and are looking for a fun, interactive reading experience to brighten up their daily commute, boring appointment waiting time or other tedium from which there is no physical escape.

I’m submitting this one into my Oddity Odyssey Reading Challenge under the category of Odd Language Element due to the interactive format.  For more information about the challenge and to join in, click here.

Progress Toward Oddity Odyssey Reading Challenge Goal: 11/16

Until next time,

Bruce

 

Retro Reading: Choosing one’s own adventure…

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  “BEWARE and WARNING!

This book is different from other books. 

You and YOU ALONE are in charge of what happens in this story…”

I must admit, when I saw the book pictured here land on my shelf I emitted a gasp suffused with nostalgia and excitement and more than a little trepidation.  It was as if I had dropped back through time (appropriately enough, given the title) to the days when I graced the shelf of a much younger fleshling.

Ah, the phenomenon that was Choose Your Own Adventure!  Designed as an interactive reading experience, some forty titles made their way out into the homes and hearts of young readers, to engage and frustrate and challenge.  Each book contained multpile endings to the story which could be accessed after the reader had made a choice about the direction of the plot.

Surely I am not alone in remembering the feelings of anticipation and angst that accompanied every choice; the complicated internal dialogue that reflected the fraught-ness of each decision…should I stay and search the cave (turning to page 56) or go back and find my dog first (turning to page 89)?   Should loyalty to one’s canine outweigh the potential for discovery? Which action would serve me better in saving myself from future peril? And could I sneakily leave my finger to mark the page in case I made the wrong choice?

How well I recall the feeling of righteous indignation that welled up when, having made a well-considered and strategic decision, I was met with those awful words, written in bold capitals after half a page or less of text – THE END. How could my plucky gamble have backfired so poorly? And what measure of ethics surrounded this “ending” of my adventure? Was it morally the correct thing to begin the story again from the beginning, or would the god of the reading universe overlook, say, a change of heart that involved simply turning back a few pages and choosing the initially discarded option?  After all, a gargoyle is entitled to change his (or her) mind.  It could simply have been that in the time between making the choice, and turning the pages (with possibly a glimpse at those terrible, story-ending words as the pages turned) that a gargoyle reconsidered the criteria on which to base the most prudent choice.  Yes, obvioulsy I meant to choose the other option.  Any fool could see that.  I just…misread…which page I was supposed to turn to.

Surely this collection of books is ready for a second coming.  After all, younglings of this generation are breast-fed on interactive everything – Ipods, smartphones, Wii thingies….why not books?  The series has even been extended in recent years to include beginning readers, with new titles published that cater specifically to children in pre-school and prep.  Imagine, if you will: new parents, who grew up on the heady anticipation of being master (or mistress) of their own story domain, guiding their younglings in the best strategies to avoid disaster….it could be a brave new world of reading pleasure.

Admittedly, re-engaging with this particular Choose Your Own Adventure title as an older gargoyle lacked somewhat in the area of disbelief suspension, but nonetheless, the trip down memory lane it provided was worth the extra effort it took to really imagine one’s self into the story.  But never fear! This is one gargoyle who believes firmly in re-gifting, and will no doubt wrap this one up and pass it on to gargoyles of a more recent vintage to discover…for the first time.

And if the nostalgia bug has burrowed it’s way into your neurotransmitters while reading this post, you may find some relief here: http://www.cyoa.com/

Until next time,

Bruce