An Fi50 Reminder…and My Oddest Review Yet!

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Here’s a reminder for all you connoisseurs of micro-flash fiction – Fiction in 50 is kicking off for this month on Monday.  The prompt for April is…

the trouble with Fi50 button

You fill in the blank!

For more information on the challenge, just click the big button at the start of this post.  If you want to play along, just compose a piece of fiction or poetry in fewer than 51 words and link to your effort in the comments of my Fi50 post on Monday.  New players are always welcome!

Now onto…

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And my oddest review yet!

If you aren’t aware of the Oddity Odyssey Reading Challenge for 2015, it basically entails choosing a level that suits your time commitments and reading books across a number of odd categories.  The real crux of the challenge is to get participants reading books that are odd FOR THEM.  For more information, just click on the big fancy button.

I’m doing quite well in my challenge so far, having read seven of my Audaciously Odd goal of 16 or more books for the year.  Today’s book certainly qualifies in the category of books with an odd subject matter but I won’t be adding it to my total just yet because…..I haven’t actually finished it.

Yes, you read that correctly.   I am going to attempt to review a book that I haven’t finished reading. Hold onto your hats.

The book is Mindtouch by M. C. A. Hogarth, the first book in the Dreamhealers Duology and I received a copy from the publisher via Netgalley.  It was pitched as a “light, fluffy, asexual sci fi romance”.  A LIGHT, FLUFFY, ASEXUAL, SCI-FI ROMANCE! Honestly, how could I not take up that offer?!  And I have decided to review it now because it is very, very, very long and I’m enjoying it.  Therefore, I don’t want to quash my enjoyment of the novel by rushing through it to fit a review date.  So odd all round, really.  Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:

Seersana University is worlds-renowned for its xenopsychology program, producing the Alliance’s finest therapists, psychiatric nurses and alien researchers. When Jahir, one of the rare and reclusive Eldritch espers, arrives on campus, he’s unprepared for the challenges of a vast and multicultural society… but fortunately, second-year student Vasiht’h is willing to take him under his wing. Will the two win past their troubles and doubts and see the potential for a once-in-a-lifetime partnership?  

mindtouch

Now isn’t that cover just delightful? The promise of a light, fluffy, asexual romance between a skunky-centaur thing and a super-tall, mood-leeching empath.  Brilliant.  This is full-on sci-fi with an original, complex world, so I won’t go into too much detail, except to say that Jahir (the tall one) and Vasiht’h (the four-legged one) end up as room mates at an intergalactic medical school for intergalactic psychiatrists.  The two lads form a friendship as Jahir comes to terms with living on a thriving university campus while being a reclusive introvert with the ability to read people’s moods if they get too close; and Vasiht’h tries to figure out where he wants to go in life and what career he should pursue against the high expectations of his large family.  In the meantime, the two friends become the staunch allies of a group of young children confined to the nearby hospital with serious illnesses.

I have been reading (off and on) since the beginning of February and I’m still only 31% of the way through.  At this rate, I won’t be finished til the end of the year, and that’s if I really put a singular focus on this book to the exclusion of my other reviews! But I am really enjoying this book. It has a gentle pace and a focus on exploring the characters.  It has a complex world with a multitude of species (both organic and genetically engineered) and a plethora of social rules to engage with.  Then there’s the philosophical discussions between the two main characters and the possibilities that these give rise to.

Essentially, I think this is a deeply thought-out piece of work and I don’t want to ruin what has been so far a satisfying and unusual reading experience by putting pressure on myself to finish it within a certain timeframe.  If you are looking for something totally different in the sci-fi sphere – something that is character-driven and concept-focused – then I encourage you to give Mindtouch a try.

Until next time,

Bruce

Utopirama: Dogtology – Live. Bark. Believe.

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Welcome to Utopirama, the feature in which we present to you books that are guaranteed to uplift the weary of spirit and buff the corns of the emotionally downtrodden.  Today’s tome undertakes to prove once and for all the philosophical debate relating to whether humans’ appreciation of dog-kind has in fact attained religious status.  In Dogtology: Live. Bark. Believe, author and dog-lover J. Lazarus argues that it certainly has.

dogtology

Quick Overview:

Humanity’s love of canines is both universal and ancient.  In recent decades, at least in more affluent nations, the exaltation of our doggy friends seems to have reached a fever pitch.  Attentive owners purchase all manner of accoutrements for their pampered pooches, behaving in many cases as if their dogs were more important than their human relations.  Lazarus uses this tome to define and explain Dogtology: a religious belief system that retains at its core an unwavering belief in the goodness, connection and solace provided by Dog. After all, there could be good reason why dog spelled backwards is “god”.

Using humour and a light touch Lazarus spells out the ways in which human behaviour towards dogs has, over hundreds of years, developed to mirror the ritualistic practices associated with other world religions.  In clearly delineated chapters, the over-the-top actions of enamoured dog owners is flipped on its head and closely compared to other spiritual belief systems in an attempt to show how humanity has elevated humanity’s humble, shoe-chewing, face-slobbering, bum-sniffing companion to the status of a deity.  Non-believers be warned – the time of the Dogtologist is already upon us.

Utopian Themes:

Human’s best friend

“Normal” is relative

Sniffing out a connection

Spiritual philosophy for the layperson

Protective Bubble-o-meter:

protective bubbleprotective bubbleprotective bubble

Three bubbles for the comforting odour of a couch upholstered in dog hair

I am also submitting this one towards my Non-Fiction Reading Challenge hosted by The Introverted Reader.

Nonfiction 2015

Until next time,

Bruce

 

Bruce’s Reading Round-Up: Graphic Novel Edition…

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Welcome to my first reading round-up of the week! On Friday we’ll be lassooing some of the odder titles roaming the literary plains, but today we’ll be focusing on a herd of bright, flashy graphic novels.  Hi Ho Readers, Away!

Henni (Miss Lasko-Gross)

HenniTwo Sentence Synopsis:

Henni lives in a society ruled by religious zealots.  Her father taught her to question, and when her natural curiosity threatens to undermine her safety, Henni sets off to find answers to her big questions.

Muster up the motivation because:

Apart from the striking black and white artwork and humanimal characters, there’s plenty of depth to be uncovered in Henni’s wanderings.  There are lots of social issues touched upon here and the reader can ponder upon them as deeply as they please, or just enjoy Henni’s coming-of-age story in a strange, original context.  There’s even a dissenter that Henni comes across, performing his own, scultpural version of yarn-bombing who I particularly identified with.

Brand it with:

Spiritual philosophising, curious cat-people, coming-of-age, flight from death

Read my Goodreads review here!

* I received a copy of this title from the publisher via Netgalley*

 Soppy: A Love Story (Philippa Rice)
soppy

Two Sentence Synopsis:

This is a cute collection of cartoons featuring the author and her partner.  Perfect for a blue day pick-me-up, this title will best appeal to those who don’t have hearts made of stoney stone.

Muster up the motivation because:

The black, white and red colour scheme, coupled with the cutesy illustrations make this tome very easy on the eye.  There’s not a lot of text here either, so readers are not in any danger of having to think too hard.  I suspect that most fleshlings who have ever been in any kind of commited relationship will get a chuckle out of recognising themselves in Rice’s story.

Brand it with:

Heartwarming humour, whimsical to a fault, coupled sleeping positions of the Northern Hemisphere.

Read my Goodreads review here!

* I received a copy of this title from the publisher via Netgalley *

Bad Machinery (#3): The Case of the Simple Soul (John Allison)

bad machineryTwo Sentence Synopsis:

A group of six friends have to find something to do during their summer holiday break after solving most of the mysteries in their village.  Luckily there’s been a spate of barn fires recently, and two of the friends stumble upon a troll-creature living under a bridge.

Muster up the motivation because:

Everyone needs a pleasant diversion from the cares and woes of modern life and why not spend that diversion with a group of six, slightly strange British teens?  There’s a lot of sarky, dry humour here if that sort of thing pleases you and the story doesn’t require too much of the reader.  But if the prospect of a hairy troll-man living under a bridge with a pet fox doesn’t convince you, you’re probably reading the wrong blog.

Brand it with:

Understated teen drama, haters-gonna-hate (fire), unusual couplings

Read my Goodreads review here!

* I received a copy of this title from the publisher via Netgalley *

Stay tuned for the odd round up on Friday pardners!

Until next time,

Bruce