Book Review: Dream On by Terry Tyler

Title: Dream On Dream On cover

Author: Terry Tyler

AISN: B0094WNOF8

Published: September 1st 2012 by CraniumXpublishing

Genre: Fiction, Contemporary Drama, Rock Fiction

Pages: 218

Source: I downloaded my copy from Amazon during a free promotion

My Rating: 5/5 stars

Description:

Dave Bentley was born to be a rock star.

He’s a reincarnated Viking warrior, too…

When Dave forms his new band, Thor, there are plenty of sleepless nights for Janice, his on-off girlfriend and mother of his son. Not only must she deal with the thrills and spills of life as a hardworking single mum, but also the imminent return of singer-songwriter Ariel Swan, Dave’s one true love.

Poor Janice. Dave is still the love of her life.

Ariel Swan returns to small town life – and Dave’s heart.

She and her friend Melodie (whose ambition is to be “a celebrity”) enter a TV talent competition, so Dave and the rest of Thor decide to make the most of the opportunity for possible fame and fortune, too. This adventure brings about big changes in the lives of all of them – none of which Dave could have anticipated.

One member of Thor even ends up on The Jeremy Kyle Show..

My Thoughts:

Dream On is the third Terry Tyler book that I have read this year, so as you can probably guess, I am a huge fan of hers. I feel that Terry is extremely insightful into human nature and manages to encapsulate so many different characters perfectly while always maintaining her own distinct voice throughout her novels.

From Dave Bentley, the wannabe rock star, to his long-suffering on again off again girlfriend and mother of his child Janice, to Ariel Swan, the singer-songwriter who returns to their small hometown after failing to make it in London, to Shane Cowley, the guitarist who is mostly just interested in picking up birds, each of the characters seem just like people you probably already know. None of the characters in Dream On are perfect and sometimes that aren’t even very likable, but I definitely felt myself empathising with all of them at some point during the novel. Even if you aren’t too interested in the rock scene, you will still enjoy the down to earth and refreshingly honest relationships in Dream On.

I enjoyed Dream On so much that I have just added the sequel, Full Circle, to my reading list. I can’t wait to find out what happens next!

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Debating Communities and Social Networks Conference 2015

csnc15It’s been a busy weekend for me! I’ve been preparing my paper for the Debating Communities and Social Networks Conference 2015 and I was hoping that some of you lovely people would be able to head on over and have a look at one or two of our papers over the next few weeks.

The Debating Communities and Social Networks Conference 2015 is an online conference run by the students of NET 204 Internet Communities and Social Networks at Curtin University (That’s me!).

We have presented papers under the streams of:

-Communities and Web 2.0
Gaming and Online Communities
– Identity in Communities and Networks
Social networks
– Indigenous People, Virtual Communities and Online Social Networks

We invite all interested parties to discuss our papers which can be viewed online from today April 27th til May 17th.

You can also find us at Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn

I know that all of my fellow students have worked hard on their papers and we would really appreciate your feedback!

Are you a Book Snob?

Book_of_Snobs-Première_de_couvertureBeing a Scatterbooker, I’m definitely not a book snob in the slightest.  Sometimes I like to read ‘real’ books, sometimes I use a kindle, sometimes I’ll read a classic, sometimes I’ll read something ‘trashy.’ I don’t have any particular genre that I will only read at the exclusion of all others, but there are a few genres that I enjoy more than others. I also would never dare to criticise anybody for which books they choose to read or which format they read it in and why on earth would I even care?

I think the biggest problem with book snobs is that they seem to enjoy going out of their way to let other people know that their way is far superior and anybody who doesn’t do things the way that they think they should be done is wrong. Thackeray wrote a hilarious set of articles titled The Book of Snobs back 1848 which wittily describes all sorts of the different kinds of snobs that existed in the 1800’s so it seems that snobbery has been around for quite a while. And people have been quietly (or not so quietly) making fun of them for just as long! So I think it’s  time  for all of the book snobs (and the rest) to lighten up and not worry so much about what or how other people read.

Types of Book Snobs:

The ‘I never read e-books’ book snob: This kind of book snob thinks that the Internet is the devil and e-books are out to destroy the publishing industry and all books along with it. It’s strange how often this opinion gets voiced via the  evil Internet, usually with an iPhone. In reality, the Internet is a tool for communication, although definitely the best one invented so far. The publishing world has survived many technological changes and books will always continue to be made. If you prefer to read real books, that’s great, I quite like them too, but I’m not out to destroy the publishing world by reading e-books sometimes too.

The ‘I only read literary fiction/classics’ book snob: Fantastic! I read literary fiction/classics as well sometimes. I also really enjoy discovering new and self published authors whose books may become classics in 50 years or so. I do wonder why you need somebody else to tell you that a book is good, why not make your own decisions about what you do or do not like?

The ‘I only read a specific genre absolutely nothing else’ book snob: This seems strange to a Scatterbooker like me, but ok then. Don’t these people get bored of reading the same genre all the time though?

The ‘Twilight/50 Shades of Grey/Harry Potter ect are awful and I will go out of my way to read them just so I can tell everyone how bad they are’ book snob: If you are book snob why would you even read a book that you have already decided is awful? I’ve even seen reviewers live tweet their adverse reactions to books like this. For the record, I quite liked Twilight, love Harry Potter but I just couldn’t get into 50 Shades at all. It doesn’t really bother me that it’s successful. I just stopped reading once I realised it wasn’t my cup of tea and I don’t feel a need to go and tell people off if they say they enjoyed it.

The ‘the book is always better than the movie’ book snob: I tend to agree with this most of the time, and I do much prefer to read the book before I see the movie, but there are exceptions. The Princess Bride is one that stands out for me. I’m not sure if I’ve even read that book and I don’t really want to because the movie was amazing! I also started watching Game of Thrones and then tried to read the books but I just couldn’t get into them, so I’ll stick with the series for now and perhaps give the books another try in a few years when it isn’t so fresh in my mind.

The ‘I keep my books in pristine condition and will cut you if I lend you a book and you return it dog eared or with food crumbs’ book snob: These kind of book snobs obviously have control issues. I can imagine them sitting up super straight and taking forever to turn the page because they are worried about creasing it ever so slightly. And definitely no food while reading which kind of takes half the fun of reading away I think. I’m just happy to have my books returned to me, never mind if there are a few creases or crumbs here and there. I like my books to look like they’ve been enjoyed, I think it adds to their character.

The ‘at least they’re reading something I guess’ book snob: This kind of book snob is my very least favourite. It’s so condescending and implies that anybody who doesn’t read fiction is dumb which is extremely untrue and the worst form of snobbery there is. My partner, for example, never reads fiction but he is far from stupid. He’s an IT geek and most of his friends and work colleagues would agree that he is the smartest person they know by far. He just has a highly technical mind, so doesn’t get into reading for fun.

What kinds of book snobs have you come across? Or are you a book snob yourself?

Book Review: Daughter by Jane Shemilt

Title: Daughter  daughter

Author: Jane Shemilt

ISBN: 9781405916516

Published: Published August 28th 2014 by Penguin

Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Thriller

Pages: 392

Source: I received my copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating: 3/5 stars

Description:

Jenny is a successful family doctor, the mother of three great teenagers, married to a celebrated neurosurgeon.

But when her youngest child, fifteen-year-old Naomi, doesn’t come home after her school play, Jenny’s seemingly ideal life begins to crumble. The authorities launch a nationwide search with no success. Naomi has vanished, and her family is broken.

As the months pass, the worst-case scenarios—kidnapping, murder—seem less plausible. The trail has gone cold. Yet for a desperate Jenny, the search has barely begun. More than a year after her daughter’s disappearance, she’s still digging for answers—and what she finds disturbs her. Everyone she’s trusted, everyone she thought she knew, has been keeping secrets, especially Naomi. Piecing together the traces her daughter left behind, Jenny discovers a very different Naomi from the girl she thought she’d raised.

My Thoughts:

Jenny Malcolm thinks she has the perfect life until the day that her beloved fifteen year old daughter, Naomi, goes missing. Jenny has the perfect career as a GP, a perfect neurologist husband and three perfect children and prides herself on managing it all without any dramas. Then one evening Naomi heads off to perform in her school play, never to return again. During the course of the year long investigation to find Naomi, Jenny’s entire perfect life begins to unravel before her very eyes and she discovers that she doesn’t know any of her family members quite as well as she thought she did.

While I thought Jane Shemilt’s writing was superb, particularly for a debut author, I found Daughter to be a little bit slow in parts for my liking. It went between the time when Naomi went missing and 12 months after and I found the chapters set 12 months after were perhaps a little bit drawn out. I would have enjoyed hearing from some of the other character’s point of view as well, I think it would have added to the story to hear from them.

I thought Jenny was a difficult character to sympathise with, despite the fact that she went through such an awful time. She seemed so disinterested in her children and husband throughout the entire novel, almost as though she just wanted them to be the perfect accessories for her perfect life. I’m not saying that women can’t have great careers as well as children or that teenagers should have absolutely no secrets from their parents, but you do need to make the most of the time that you do get to spend with them and perhaps answer your children’s phone calls occasionally.

The twists and turns of Daughter definitely kept me guessing. Everybody in the Malcolm family had their own secrets which were gradually revealed throughout the course of the novel. I’m not too sure how I feel about the ending, but I certainly didn’t see it coming.

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My Reading List

Hello my lovely Scatterbookers. You may have noticed that I have been very quiet lately and I’m  sorry that I haven’t had much time to spend with you all. It’s one of my favourite things! Unfortunately I’ve been going through a bit of a bumpy patch. Uni has been kicking my butt, I’ve been house hunting (no luck there yet!) and life has just been a bit crazy in general. So apologies for being missing in action for a while but I’m working on getting back on track with my blogging as of right now by sharing some books that have recently made their way onto my reading list. I am working on sorting out my out of control inbox too, so I will be getting back to everybody I owe an email to ASAP!

I have recently discovered UK author, Terry Tyler, so have decided to read some of her earlier novels since I enjoyed reading both Kings and Queens and Last Child so much. I suppose you could say that I’m having a bit of a Terry Tylerthon! It’s a bit like binging on a good TV show, once I find one that I really like I can’t rest until I’ve seen/read them all.

Round and Round by Terry Tyler    round and round

Description:

Terry Tyler’s ninth published work is a 36,000 word novella, i.e. between a third and half as long as a full length novel.

Four Valentine cards – from four different men!

Sophie Heron’s fortieth birthday is looming, and she is fed up with her job, her relationship, her whole life – not to mention her boyfriend’s new ‘hobby’, in which she definitely doesn’t want to get involved…

Back in 1998 she had the choice of four men, and now she can’t help wondering how her life might have turned out if she’d chosen differently.

The person to whom Sophie had always been closest was her beloved Auntie Flick, her second mother, friend and advisor. Before her death in 2001, Flick said, “when I’m up there having a cuppa with St Peter, I’ll have a word with him about making me your guardian angel, shall I?”

As Sophie’s fortieth birthday draws near, she visits her aunt’s special place: a tree by a river, hidden from the world. Here she calls on Auntie Flick to show her the way forward – and help her look back into the past so she can see what might have been…

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Nine Lives by Terry Tyler nine lives

Description:

“NINE LIVES” is a collection of nine short stories, all of which are contemporary drama in the vein of Terry Tyler’s well-loved novels. The first chapter of her latest one, What It Takes, is to be found at the end.

“I was pleased these were up to her usual standard of entertainment” “A great introduction to Terry’s writing” – A Woman’s Wisdom book blog.

The stories:

“Angel” ~ The perfect wife of the perfect husband is tempted by the fruit of another.

“Shut Up And Dance” ~ Paul says he will love Laura whatever size she is. But will he?

“Mia” ~ The threat of ‘the other woman’…

“Kiss Your Past Goodbye” ~ Zoe finds out what happened to her first love, who broke her heart.

“We All Fall Down” ~ Two old friends meet for a drink – just a swift one, of course!

“Bright Light Fright” ~ A tale of vengeance, a burglary, and a nasty shock.

“Mama Kin” ~ Emma and Melanie have very different approaches to childcare – oh dear!

“Don’t Get Mad – Get Even” ~ Kevin and Marcus have been best friends, yet rivals, since schooldays; who will come out on top?

“Happy Birthday” ~ A forty year old woman looks back over her life.

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Sing a Mournful Melody by Julie D Revezzo sing a mournful melody

Description:

At the turn of the 20th century, tragedy has left Maribelle grief-stricken. After her beloved husband is murdered, his body disappears from his crypt. Worse, ghostly voices call from the widow’s Graphophone. Is she losing her mind, or does something wicked this way come?

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Concealment by Rose Edmunds concealment

Description:

Amy is at the top of her game as a finance professional despite a traumatic childhood. But the higher she climbs, the greater her fear of falling.
Her new boss Ed sniffs out insecurity like a shark smelling blood. He’s trashed dozens of careers on a whim and has Amy lined up as his next victim.
When a young colleague is murdered, Amy’s fragile equilibrium is shattered. A client’s fraud may be linked to the killing, but no one seems to care.
Caught in a tangle of business and personal connections, and fighting for her sanity, can Amy find the moral courage to uncover the truth?

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Daughter by Jane Schemilt daughter

Description:

Jenny is a successful family doctor, the mother of three great teenagers, married to a celebrated neurosurgeon.

But when her youngest child, fifteen-year-old Naomi, doesn’t come home after her school play, Jenny’s seemingly ideal life begins to crumble. The authorities launch a nationwide search with no success. Naomi has vanished, and her family is broken.

As the months pass, the worst-case scenarios—kidnapping, murder—seem less plausible. The trail has gone cold. Yet for a desperate Jenny, the search has barely begun. More than a year after her daughter’s disappearance, she’s still digging for answers—and what she finds disturbs her. Everyone she’s trusted, everyone she thought she knew, has been keeping secrets, especially Naomi. Piecing together the traces her daughter left behind, Jenny discovers a very different Naomi from the girl she thought she’d raised.

Amazon

Goodreads

The Lady of the Castle by Iny Lorentz the lady of the castle

I thoroughly enjoyed the first novel of this series, The Wandering Harlot, so I’m looking forward to finding out what happens next!

Description:

Marie lives happily in Sobernburg Castle with her beloved husband, Michel Adler, a tremendous achievement for a woman who was once the “Wandering Harlot.” The couple longs for a family, but when Michel is called to battle against the rebellious Hussites, they have to put those dreams on hold until—if they’re lucky—Michel returns home.

Soon after his departure, Marie is thrilled to find she is already with child, but this bright news is quickly tarnished by anxiety for her husband’s return. News of him trickles in: first that he’s been knighted for his exemplary courage in battle…and then that he disappeared without a trace during a grisly massacre and is presumed dead. Pregnant and alone, Marie’s place in the world is once again precarious. Unwilling to abandon the hope that her husband has somehow survived, Marie escapes from the castle and takes to the road once more to find Michel and save her family.

In this sequel to The Wandering Harlot, bestselling author Iny Lorentz transports readers to a richly rendered fifteenth-century Germany, where courage and true love conquer all.

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The Girl in the Photograph by Kate Riordan the girl in the photograph

Description:

The Girl in the Photograph is a haunting and atmospheric novel that tells the tales of women in two different eras – the 1890’s and 1930’s – and how their lives seem to be entwined by fate. Kate Riordan’s novel is a beautifully dark and beguiling tale which will sweep you away. It will appeal to fans of Kate Morton and Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca.

In the summer of 1933, Alice Eveleigh has arrived at Fiercombe Manor in disgrace. The beautiful house becomes her sanctuary, a place to hide her shame from society in the care of the housekeeper, Mrs Jelphs. But the manor also becomes a place of suspicion, one of secrecy.

Something isn’t right.

Someone is watching.

There are secrets that the manor house seems determined to keep. Tragedy haunts the empty rooms and foreboding hangs heavy in the stifling heat. Traces of the previous occupant, Elizabeth Stanton, are everywhere and soon Alice discovers Elizabeth’s life eerily mirrors the path she herself is on.

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In Ark: A Promise of Survival (Mya and Ark) (Volume 1) by Lisa Devaney in ark

Description:

In the year 2044, Mya Brand lives in New York City and pursues her passion—trying to digitally save the life story of every human on the planet before climate change makes Earth un-liveable. Recovering from a failed marriage, she stays laser-focused on her mission. With support from her actress best friend and bartender buddy, she is rebuilding her life and trying to heal her hard shell.

Fraught with daily hardships of survival in the face of climate change, she struggles to obtain food, maintain resources and protect her delicate skin from the harmful rays of the sun. With little funding for her digital archiving project, she struggles to keep her dreams going, but wonders how much more she could accomplish if she had more resources.

Then, one day she is abducted by an eco-survivalist community— Ark— that promises to make her dreams come true.

Finally able to focus on her mission, she begins to thrive in her new, sheltered, life. Gone are the hardships she faced from the outside world and climate change. Gone are her money struggles.

But Ark proves not to be the utopia she expects.

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The Water Travelers: Heir of the Unknown by Daniel Waltz the water travelers

Description:

The people of Upitar have the ability to go back forth between their world and Earth, through water. Aaron Archien is the heir to the throne of Upitar, and before his father feels he is ready to become king, he is given one last task: go to Earth, find the daughter of Michael Harper, bring her to Upitar, and kill her. The girl, Madalyne Harper, was prophesied about long ago to destroy the waterways, thus ending the world of Upitar. Although against the idea of taking an innocent life, Aaron agrees to do it for the sake of his people. But, upon going to Earth, he unknowingly meets Madalyne and they fall in love before their fates become known.

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Candyfloss Guitar by Stephen Marriot candyfloss guitar

Description:

Diego is coasting. He has been content with living his life in a sun scorched pueblo that lies on the route of the pilgrim path: The Way of Saint James. But one stormy night, change is forced upon him when his father, Eduardo, the local candyfloss man, unexpectedly catches him entertaining a captivated crowd with flamenco guitar rhythms. At that moment, Eduardo relinquishes the hold from the ghosts of his past and realises it’s time for Diego to confront his fate. Eduardo arranges for Diego to live and work on a farm and sends him on his way with the gift of his old Spanish guitar.

Candyfloss Guitar is a story about taking the first steps on a journey towards shrouded dreams and searching for meaning.

Stephen Marriott, the soulful travel novelist, brings a subtle tenderness to this traveller’s tale that traverses the spiritual and physical worlds.

“A Gabriel Garcia Marquez-style tale of self-discovery kissed by the supernatural. Short, lovely and satisfying.” – Acclaimed spiritual fantasy author Laura K. Cowan, author of Music of Sacred Lakes & Thin Places: Supernatural Tales of the Unseen

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Book Review: Artificial Culture: Identity, Technology, and Bodies by Tama Leaver

Title:  Artificial Culture:  Identity, Technology, and Bodies                      artificial culture

Author: Tama Leaver

ISBN: 1283458829

Published: Published May 10th 2014 by Routledge (first published January 1st 2011)

Genre: Non-Fiction, Academic

Pages: 221

Source: I received a paperback copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating: 5/5 stars

Description:

Artificial Culture is an examination of the articulation, construction, and representation of the artificial in contemporary popular cultural texts, especially science fiction films and novels. The book argues that today we live in an artificial culture due to the deep and inextricable relationship between people, our bodies, and technology at large. While the artificial is often imagined as outside of the natural order and thus also beyond the realm of humanity, paradoxically, artificial concepts are simultaneously produced and constructed by human ideas and labor. The artificial can thus act as a boundary point against which we as a culture can measure what it means to be human. Science fiction feature films and novels, and other related media, frequently and provocatively deploy ideas of the artificial in ways which the lines between people, our bodies, spaces and culture more broadly blur and, at times, dissolve. Building on the rich foundational work on the figures of the cyborg and posthuman, this book situates the artificial in similar terms, but from a nevertheless distinctly different viewpoint. After examining ideas of the artificial as deployed in film, novels and other digital contexts, this study concludes that we are now part of an artificial culture entailing a matrix which, rather than separating minds and bodies, or humanity and the digital, reinforces the symbiotic connection between identities, bodies, and technologies.

My Thoughts:

Although Artificial Culture:Identity, Technology, and Bodies explores some rather heavy and complex concepts but it was written very well and raised some really interesting concepts so it didn’t feel like I was reading a dry old textbook at all. Tama Leaver examined several popular science fiction texts such as Avatar, 2001:A Space Odyssey, Terminator, Neuromancer, Marvel’s Spiderman and The Matrix to illustrate the ways in which science fiction popular culture frequently and provocatively deploys ideas of the artificial in ways which the lines between people, our bodies, spaces and culture more broadly blur and, at times, dissolve.

The author argues that technology has become so entrenched in our everyday lives that today we live in an artificial culture due to the deep and inextricable relationship between people, our bodies, and technology at large. It’s an interesting idea to ponder and something I’d like to hear your thoughts on.

I highly recommend Artificial Culture:Identity, Technology, and Bodies to anybody who is interested in digital and contemporary culture. Tama Leaver is a senior lecturer in the department of Internet Studies at Curtin University in Perth, Western Australia. He researches digital identity, social media, and the changing landscapes of media distribution. You can check out Tama’s recent work on his blog at http://www.tamaleaver.net/

Amazon Link

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Book Review: Last Child by Terry Tyler

Title: Last Child                                aa-last-child

Author: Terry Tyler

ASIN: B00TV1YBSQ

Published: Published February 20th 2015

Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Romance, Drama

Pages: 363

Source: I received a review copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating: 5/5 stars

Description:

LAST CHILD is the sequel to Kings and Queens, Terry Tyler’s modern take on the story of Henry VIII and his six wives.

Harry Lanchester is gone, his legacy passed on to his children:

Thirteen year old JASPER, who views the directors of Lanchester Estates as Harry Potter characters, and finds out that teenage love affairs are no fairytale.

ISABELLA, the eldest daughter; lonely and looking for love, she returns from a holiday in Spain with more than just a suntan.

Impulsive, independent ERIN, the girl of Transport manager Rob Dudley’s dreams, whose priority is not a husband and family, but the continuation of her father’s work.

You will also meet the ambitious Jim Dudley, ex-nanny Hannah Cleveley, Rob’s long suffering wife Amy, and Raine Grey, whose nine days as PR manager for Lanchester Estates have a devastating effect on her life.

LAST CHILD takes the drama, passion and intrigue of Kings and Queens into the present day, with echoes from the past ~ and a glimpse or two into the future…

My Thoughts:

I have been hanging out to read Last Child for what feels like forever and I definitely wasn’t disappointed! Last Child is the sequel to Terry Tyler’s modern twist on Henry VIII, Kings and Queens, which I also loved when I reviewed it earlier this year. Last Child takes up where Kings and Queens ended with the death of Tyler’s modern day Henry, Harry Lanchester and tells the stories of his children, Isabella (Mary,) Erin (Elizabeth) and Jasper (Edward.) Any Tudor buffs will know that the lives of Henry VIII’s children were very complicated but the author has put together a helpful brief history of the time period which really helps to put the characters from the novel straight with their historical counterparts.

Last Child is written in similar manner to Kings and Queens with sections written by the main characters and several chapters written from Hannah Cleveley’s perspective to pull it all together. I really enjoy this style of writing, but what I particularly love about Terry Tyler’s writing is her ability to give each character their own unique voice and personality. I thought she did a particularly brilliant job at writing in the voice of a believable teenage boy!

I was really drawn in by the plot of Last Child. I loved the romance, drama, humour, characters, plot and brilliant writing and found myself wishing for more at the end. It could easily be read as a stand alone novel but I think it is best suited to be read after Kings and Queens. Thank you Terry for such an enjoyable read!

Amazon Link

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