Top Ten Tuesday: Shelfish Goals for 2014….and a giveaway!


toptentuesdayAfternoon all! Today I am joining with the folk at the Broke and the Bookish and participating in their weekly meme Top Ten Tuesday.  This week we’re all discussing our top ten goals or resolutions for 2014.  Most of my bloggy goals this year focus on blatant self (shelf?) promotion, but you’ll probably pick that up fairly quickly as you read on. Let’s plunge right in shall we?

Goal 1: small fry

Complete (and harrass others to complete) the Small Fry Safari Kid Lit (and YA!) Readers Challenge!

So me and the other shelfies have banded together to host this cheap and cheerful readers challenge focused around books aimed at all types of Small Fry – from newbie newborns all the way up to almost adults.

You only have to read 8 books over the course of the year, BUT…the books have to fit into one of eight quirky categories.  Click on the button to find out more and sign up!


imageGoal 2:

Get more people involved in the Fiction in 50 monthly writing challenge!

Every month me and the shelfies host a fun writing challenge affectionately nicknamed Fi50.  All you have to do is create a piece of fiction based on the monthly prompt, in 50 words or less.  It’s a lot of fun and not as hard as you think.  So jump on board – click on the button for more info and the list of monthly prompts.  To read the latest batch of Fi50 masterpieces, go here.

I’m also looking for co-hosts for this challenge, so if you’re interested, drop me a comment!

Goal 3:

Complete other assorted challenges that I have (wisely or otherwise!) sigthe-mad-reviewer-reading-challenge-buttonned up for!

So I took a punt and signed up for the Mad Reviewer’s Read and Review Challenge just today.  I joined at Mad Reviewer level which means I have committed to read AND review 104 books this year. That’s 2 a week EVERY WEEK for the whole year.  Now that I’ve had a few hours to think about it, I honestly think I must have a kangaroo loose in the top paddock to have taken on such a task.  Luckily, I can revise downwards if necessary, all the way down to Sane Reviewer level – then I’ll only have to read and review 12 books in the year (phew! I’m already one twelfth of the way there!).  There’s also a giveaway associated with this challenge, so hop on over if you’re interested – click on the big button to be slingshotted off to your Mad destiny!

I also jumped on the Goodreads challenge for the first time this year….at 150 books.  Yep. Good luck with that Brucey.

Goal 4:

Do more giveaways!

I had so much fun being part of a giveaway blog hop for the first time at the end of 2013 that I thought I should spread the love of free stuff around a bit more this year (and snaffle some more followers at the same time).  So to kick off, here’s my Belated Blogoversary giveaway! It’s open internationally as long as the Book Depository (bless their little hearts) ship to your country for free.  I will be checking entries, so be honest.  Oh, and the prize will be one book of the winner’s choice to the value of $12 – that’s 12 AUSTRALIAN dollars by the way.

One winner will be chosen at random and will have 48 hours to respond to a congratulatory email before a redraw will occur.  The giveaway is in no way related to WordPress, Goodreads, The Book Depository, Rafflecopter, Facebook or any other individual or company that is not me.

click to enter button

a Rafflecopter giveaway

miss marple final casesGoal 5:

Mondays with Marple

Regular readers of this blog will know that I’m an Agatha Christie fan.  Weirdly though, I’ve only ever read one Miss Marple story.  So this year I’m going to rectify that by reading Marple books, and then posting about them. On a Monday. Hence Mondays with Marple.  Suggestions for which book to start with are most welcome.

Goal 6:

Read more Fairy Tale retellings

Up until very recently, I rejected fairytale retellings out of hand as something I was utterly uninterested in.  After two good experiences with them however, I have vowed to take on more.  Lucky for me, they’re at epidemic proportions at the moment.  Again, suggestions welcome.

Okay, six goals will do for now.  Oh no, wait…

Goal 7:

Avoid blog-related burnout

Until next time,


Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Favourite Character Names…


TTT3WTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme over at The Broke and The Bookish.  Today I have elected to participate and share my list of favourite character names from literature.  I have chosen these because they are (a) rhyming and therefore funny, (b) alliterative and therefore funny or (c) generally ridiculous and therefore funny. Unfortunately I only have five, because of short preparation time, but you can find some of my other favourites here. In no particular order, they are:

* Soren Lorenson *

(Lauren Child / Slightly Invisible (Charlie and Lola series))

slightly invisible

* Shaun the Faun *

( Jon Skovron / Man Made Boy)


* Slartibartfast *

(Douglas Adams / The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy)

hitchhikers guide

* Tim Somebody *

(Alexander McCall Smith / Corduroy Mansions)

corduroy mansions

* Horatio Hornblower *

(C. S. Forrester / Mr Midshipman Hornblower)


So who’s on your list?


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

Top Ten Tuesday: Speculative Sequels…



A fine afternoon to you all – as you can probably guess from the title of this post, it’s time for one of my random occasional jaunts into meme territory, namely the ever-popular Top Ten Tuesday hosted by the Broke and The Bookish! This week’s topic is…..


While most of these books are for the very young (or young at heart), I believe that they could all have done with a nicely marketed follow-up title.  I have given my suggestions (and in some cases, possible synopsises synopsi plot descriptions), but please feel free to add your own if any better ideas spring to mind.

oh the places youll go1. Oh, The Places You’ll Go! by Dr Seuss

This seems to be a perennial favourite on my TTT lists…I would like to see a sequel to this one that honours the parents and caregivers who read this one over and over to their offspring, titled….

Oh, the Places I’LL Go Once You Kids Have Moved Out

mrs queen 2

2. Mrs Queen Takes the Train by William Kuhn

This was a great little read, but I would like to see a sequel that is in keeping with the aftermath of most of my journeys on public transport, titled….

Mrs Queen Takes Two Aspirin and Has A Good Lie Down

guernsey3. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary-Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

This one, despite being a firm favourite of mine, is unlikely ever to get a sequel given that the author has since passed on, but I would like to see something to bring the story into the new millenium, titled….

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society’s Organic Vegan Cookbook (for iPad)

goodnightmrtom4. Goodnight Mr Tom by Michelle Magorian

A childhood favourite that I discovered (and loved!) as a grown-up.  Once again, in deference to the experience of parents everywhere, I would love to see a range of increasingly short and frustrating sequels to this one titled….

Mr Tom, Can You Read Me A Story?

Mr Tom, Can I Have A Glass of Water?

Mr Tom, I Need to Go to the Toilet…

and finishing up with Mr Tom Needs A Good Stiff Drink


curious incident5. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

A bestseller if ever there was one, and I would love to see intrepid Christopher Boone turn his detective wiles to a sequel for the feline fanciers amongst us, titled….

The Puzzling Occurence of Cat Sick in My Slipper


6. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

I would love to see this classic of silliness and punnery followed up by something a bit more sensible and dour, titled….

The Ph-inancially Viable Tollbooth:  A No-Nonsense Guide to Beating Rising Travel Costs

wherethewildthingsare7. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

Once again, I’d love to see this children’s classic tackle some of the problems that more modern children (and their imaginary friends) may be facing, in a sequel titled….

Where the Wild Things Were: Children’s Excessive Screen Time and the Demise of the Mythical Creature

harold and the purple crayon

8. Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson

The oft-told tale of the small child and his creative spirit….I would be hoping for a sequel in a sort of “Where is he now?” type of vein, titled…

Harold and the Neutral Paintbrush.…being a memoir of a young graffiti offender’s participation in community beautification programs


9.  Where is the Green Sheep? by Mem Fox and Judy Horacek

For this fun and frolicky tale, I’d love to see the sequel that charts the farmer’s instant emotional reaction on discovering that s/he is missing a sheep, titled….

Who Left the Bloody Gate Open?

and finally,

neverending story10. The Neverending Story by Michael Ende

I don’t have a suggested title for this one, but if it doesn’t have a sequel it’s just a case of false advertising really.

So that’s my two bob’s worth – feel free to chime in with your own suggested titles – I’d love to hear from you!

Oh look, here’s a large enticing button…

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Until next time, my friends!


Top Ten Tuesday: Books that Feature Travel



Today I’m indulging in one of my rare forays into communal blog posting, by participating in The Broke and the Bookish’s very popular (and discussion-inducing) TTT feature.  This week’s topic is…


I’ve divided my picks into categories for ease of perusal…


possum magicThe quintessential travel guide to Australia for foodies and animal lovers alike!

are we there yet

Another award winning Australian picture book – this one features a family’s journey around the continent, with fantastic illustrations and great bite-size information about well-known (and not so well known!) Australian landmarks.

oh the places youll go

With brains in your head and feet in your shoes, you can steer yourself any direction you choose! Just watch your step so you don’t end up in a slump.


magician's nephew

Ah, the first (and my favourite) instalment in the Chronicles of Narnia, this tome has travel by magic ring, out-of-control-hansom-cab and flying horse…what more could one ask for?


I came upon this book unexpectedly in the time before blogging and it has now become one of my absolute favourite books in the Narnian theme – that is, travel to another world through some sort of household orifice…in this case through the attic of a terraced house.  I’m not a die-hard fan of Garry Kilworth by any means, but this is a deeply engaging read that is perfect for independent readers in the pre-teen/early teen age bracket.


Another unexpected favourite of mine – this one springs the travel theme on the reader about two thirds through the book.  I won’t say where or how the travel occurs because it was a great surprise to me when I first read it…but it’s unexpected, to say the least.  Incidentally the book deals with a teenage girl’s time in a psychiatric facility dealing with her suspected involvement in the disappearance of a classmate. Oh, and she’s also a sinaesthete.


This modern fantasy tale sucked me back into reading many years ago after a reasonable period in which I had neither the energy nor the inclination to pick up a book.  Also the start of a great trilogy, it features cross country ski travel, enchanted paper plane travel, long-time-in-a-leaky-boat travel, wading-into-Death travel and the added accompaniment of quick-let’s-get-out-of-here, running-away-from-shuffling-hordes travel.


mrs queen

Imagine if you will, the Queen (yes, old ER herself!), wrapping up in a hoodie and taking off on the train.  Delightful, charming and oh-so-British.

call of the weird

I love Louis. And this book sees him travelling all around the US in search of those who practice…alternative lifestyles…of one sort or another.


Ten people travel to an inaccessible island at the behest of a mysterious stranger. Nope, nothing could possibly go wrong.

Feel free to let me know what you think – and what I’ve missed!

Until next time,


Top Ten Tuesday: Bruce Jumps on the Bandwagon…



Hello again my lovelies….today, in a spirit of social interaction, I have decided to participate in The Broke and the Bookish’s Top Ten Tuesday.  In case you haven’t heard of it, this is a weekly linky list based around a book-related top-ten list.  I won’t be participating every week, just when the topic takes my fancy.  This week’s topic is……(drumroll)…..

Top Ten New-to-Me Authors That I Read in 2012!

In no particular order…

Mark and Rowan Somerset

…are a pair from New Zealand (otherwise known as Hobbit-land), who have penned a fantastically funny and subversive pair of picture books: Baa Baa Smart Sheep and I Love Lemonade, which feature a turkey being outwitted, to his great detriment, by a sheep…..Can I interest you in some smart tablets anyone? No? What about a cookie?

Kirsty McKay…

…won me over with her feisty, feverish festival of fetid zombieflesh, Undead.  It’s pretty typical group-of-teens-running-away-from-mysterious-plague-that’s-turning-everyone-into-undead-monsters fare, but has some lovely comic moments to balance out the mandatory gory violence.  I’m looking forward to the sequel, Unfed.

Ben Aaronovitch…
…is the author of my latest “series to watch”, beginning with Rivers of London (Midnight Riot is the US title), the first of Constable Peter Grant’s magical policing adventures.  I have just loved all three of the books in this series so far (with a fourth coming next year…pre-ordering….NOW!).   Of course, since Mr Aaronovitch also writes for Doctor Who (the television show, not the Timelord), there was no question of me loving his work.

smart sheepundeadrivers of london

 Edward Gorey…

yes, I knowIt is tantamount to criminal that I have not discovered this genius of quirk and oddness earlier.

William Kuhn…

…author of Mrs Queen Takes the Train (and visitor to this very blog, no less!) has become a firm favourite due to his lovely, British, gently comic writing style.  And of course, he’s utterly polite.

AJ Jacobs…

…I have to thank The Librarian Who Doesn’t Say Shhhhhh for putting me on to Mr Jacobs. In undertaking a number of personal experiments, including, but not limited to, following the Bible literally for an entire year and trying to finish reading the encyclopedia, he has endeared himself to the denizens of the shelf.  He also pens some extremely amusing anecdotes.

tiniesmrs queen  living biblically

 Leslie Patricelli…

…subject of one of Mad Martha’s Odes to an Author; her baby character is too cheeky for words. So I won’t go on about him.  Suffice to say, her work is well worth a look, particularly for those with mini-fleshlings in their dwelling.

Mike Shevdon…

…is another writer of a fantastic urban fantasy series: The Courts of the Feyre.  I stumbled across his work in a general browsing session and took a punt.  I’m happy to say the punt passed safely through the goal posts and I am now the proud guardian of all three books in the trilogy.  They sit neatly on my shelf…although the publishers changed the cover art between the second and third tomes, and admittedly, this makes the whole set look a little silly. Sigh.

Lee Battersby…

…along with the aforementioned Mr Shevdon, is one of Angry Robot’s stable of authors (stable? Is that the right term? Probably not. A bit too horsey really) and creator of The Corpse Rat King.  Isn’t that a cracking title? Doesn’t it make you wonder what on earth the book’s about? Well it did for me….and now I’ve pre-ordered its sequel, The Marching Dead. Only 105 days to go!

Michael Boccacino…

…yes, he of the cheese-like surname! I encountered his quite delightful, fantastical and scare-laden effort, Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling earlier this year and couldn’t put it down.  Well, I could, but I didn’t want to.  I am definitely going to keep at least one eyeball out for any further efforts from this author.

no no yes yes    sixty one nails   corpse rat   charlottemarkham

Looking over this list, it appears I developed a penchant for creepiness, oddballity and general mayhem and subversion this year.  Will the trend continue into 2013? I will no doubt keep you posted!

Until next time,