Thursday, 28 August 2014

Peace by Jeff Nesbit

 



Good morning to all my Bookaholic friends. It's a dreich day here in Bonny Scotland. For all the non Scots speakers this means it is bucketing with rain. So perfect reading weather. Today I bring you an excellent Technothriller which I am sure you will enjoy.

I picked this book up as the price had been reduced in my local bookshop. If I had known how good it would be I would have picked it up at full price earlier. What a book. It is nail biting, on the edge of your seat stuff. Iran and North Korea have nuclear capabilities and are going to use it to obliterate Israel, and indeed half the world. However, before you think this is a book about war, it is so much more than that. This is a technothriller which demonstrates how technology can be used for both good and evil. It is also a book of characters, all of whom jump from the page. Good, or bad, they are perfectly drawn and are perfectly human.

This novel was written in 2011 but given the situation in the Middle East today, could almost be considered prophetic.

The one thing I will say about the book is that it does tend to jump between characters and situations in each chapter. This gave it a somewhat unsettling feel to start with. However, once you got used to this the storyline zipped along. All the, seemingly disparate, plots tied together beautifully at the end. There were a couple of characters I would have liked to have seen more of and have their story explained more fully. However, this is the first book in a series, so these may be picked up in later books. This is a Christian book but the Christian theme is very low key and does not detract from the main story. This is a book which would be enjoyed by anon regardless of their faith.

Overall an excellent book which I would highly recommend.

             

So there we have it for another day. If it's raining where you are make the most of it and grab a book to read. If the sun is splitting the rocks where you are go find a chair in the sun and grab a book to read. Whatever you are doing enjoy. See you next time.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Sycamore Row by John Grisham




Good morning Bookaholics, and what a lovely morning it is too. Well it is in Scotland anyway. Whatever the weather, I am sure you will enjoy today's book. What a book this is too.

It is some time since I have read a John Grisham, Mainly because I had pretty much read them all. When I fell across this one in the library I grabbed it and read it as soon as I got home. Now I started it on Saturday night and spent ally day Sunday reading it. I was actually planning on working on my website rather than reading, so that will show you how good this book is.

Jake Brigance is a lawyer who we met in one of Grisham's previous books. Brigance is white. He is asked by Seth Hubbard, who is also white, to deal with his final will. Seth has left all his money to his black housekeeper, and this is in historically racial Mississippi. As can be understood, the dead man's family are not happy about this and object. This leads to an outstanding legal thriller. The story line is superb and moves the book along a t cracking pace. The characters are so well drawn that they seem to leap of the page. Some of them are eccentric, and one of those whom I particularly liked was the judge. We need judges like this in real life. Lettie Lang, the housekeeper is also a great character who finds herself both bewildered and excited about what is happening to her.

This is no dry courtroom drama. There are twists and turns aplenty which keep you reading 'just one more chapter'. I may not have finished my website, but I have read a book which I can now highly recommend.



This is only £1.99 for the ebook at the moment. You can click on the above link and then click kindle which will take you to the correct page.

That is it for now Bookaholics. See you all back here soon for another great review. Grab this book. I am sure you will enjoy it. 

Friday, 22 August 2014

How Important is Routine to a Writer?


I've been reading a lot lately about the importance of routine for different writers. This got me thinking about my own routine. Do I actually have one? Would I be a more productive writer if I did have one? How easily am I swayed from my routine by other factors? All good questions which make me wonder.

In some ways I do have a routine. It tends to follow this pattern.

Early am - Deal with social media

am - write

Lunch - when hunger strikes

pm write and/or edit

evening - free time.

Now you will realise from this that I have no fixed set times for working. These timelines are fluid and flexible. This means that other factors can easily get in the way. So my plan is to write a more sensible timetable and stick to it. The idea is to see if I become a more productive writer and my output increases. 

The last question is, how easily am I swayed from what I am doing by external factors is the one which I found most illuminating. I am the first to admit I am a bit of a social media junkie and I can very easily be swayed from what I am doing by notifications from various social media sites. I have come to realise that this can take up a large proportion of my writing day. Although I say that this can build up my fan base and allow me to interact with others, it is still time taken away from my core job which is writing. I recently attended the Cromarty Crime Writing Festival. During this Ian Rankin spoke about his writing routine. He writes on a computer so old, it has no internet action. This is a deliberate ploy so that he is not distracted by going on to the internet every five minutes. Whilst I appreciate that this is a great solution, I cannot see it working for me. As you can see from the photo above, I write on an iMac and I am not entirely sure I want to disconnect if from the internet. I can, however, switch off notifications. This should stop me responding to every message which comes through. He also said part of his routine is eating snickers bars. if I took that tip on board I would be the size of a house. So maybe I will need to think of something else.

I am also good at being distracted by friends and family who want me to go and do things. I am both an adventurous, and social person, so I usually respond by saying Yes. Maybe I should do slightly less of this, but in all honesty, often it can be put down to research. I may be out but I am always thinking about things which could go in a book.

I have discovered I am a person who likes a clean and tidy desk in order to write. This is illustrated of the picture of my writing desk above. I have a very large office, but one part of it is a utility room. Given I live in Scotland there is a lot of inclement weather which means my washing is hanging up in  my office, drying. Thinking about this, it really irritates me and puts me off my stride. In future I am going to hang the washing up elsewhere. One less distraction and more time for writing.

So I am off to put what I have discovered in to practice. For all my reader friends I hope you have found this glimpse into a writer's life interesting. To all my writer friends I will leave you with two questions. What distracts you? Do you have a writing routine, and if so what is it? Please share in the comments below and help other writers, myself included. 

Bye for now Bookaholics. See you all back here soon. 

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

The Bad Christian's Manifesto by Dave Tomlinson


Today's book is a completely different type of Christian book. 

Dave Tomlinson is a Church of England Vicar who opens the church doors to all those whom society may reject. The tagline says reinventing God and this is what and this is what Dave Tomlinson does, both in the pages of this book and in real life. Not a total reinvention per se, but reinventing the way we look at God.

It is obvious that Dave is a deep thinker and has a love for God's people that shines of the pages of this book. Some of the things he says in the book resonate with me and I am sure will resonate with many other readers. This is not an easy read in that it makes you think about the prejudices that you may hold. Many of these are deep seated and come from the view of the Church in which you grew up. Dave challenges us to let go of these prejudices and to enter into dialogue with the people of God. He asks us to get to know people better and to demonstrate God's love and compassion to them.

Do I believe that this book is necessary for the times in which we live. Yes.
Do I agree with every single word which is written. No. However, this is true of many other books Christian, or non Christian, which I read.
Do I think Christian's should read this book. A categorical Yes, with no qualifications.

I would recommend this book to all Christians. In today's society we all need to think about how we react to, and treat, people. It ill help you to think about the way you are demonstrating the love of God in the world today. 

Please note that the book is not available for purchase until 11 09 14. Following the link you will be able to preorder the book.

  

To my US readers I apologise there is no link. You can find the book by searching on Amazon US. 

That's it for another day on Bookaholic. See you all again soon with another great review. Until then grab yourself a new book and keep reading.

I was given a copy of this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review. I was not, at any time, asked to provide a positive review. The review is based on my reading of and enjoyment of the book. 




Friday, 15 August 2014

Button Books by Joyce Mitchell



I continue the surprise in my eclectic reading collection today by bringing you three adorable little children's books. Yes, I know that's unusual but these books deserve to be reviewed. This Bookaholic is never surprised to shy away from something different. 



Button.

It says in the book blurb that Button the dog is adorable and he is. In fact the's the cutest dog ever. In this book we are introduced to Button and his owner, Buffy. The simple words will be easy for pre school children under 5. It will help the older children to learn to read. In this book Button is learning some simple tasks, like counting to three and going up and down stairs, amongst others. This will help children to learn and reinforce what they are learning in real life.

The supporting illustrations are superb and really bring Button and Buffy to life. A great little book which would be enjoyed by both boys and girls of pre school age.



Button Goes to Hollywood

In this book Button wins a competition and goes to Hollywood. The book mainly describes his trip so this book is useful for discussing different modes of transport. As he does the trip on his own Buffy, does not feature heavily in this book. I really enjoyed the book and it would be great for pre-school children. The one thing I will say, is that the concept of Hollywood may be a little too difficult to grasp for British children under 5. However, the concepts in the book still translate well having travelled across the atalantic. A great addition to the Button Books.




Button Goes to the Doctor

In this book in the series button has to go to the Doctor. Trying to keep him calm, Buffy suggests that he take his favourite bag of red buttons. It is raining, which should resonate with UK readers. On the way they see birds in the park and talk about what they can see. Button is examined and given a clean bill of health and a button shaped biscuit. He also learns to talk in human language. This is a lovely little book and children under five are sure to love both the book and Button the dog.


This book series is fabulous. It will help children of under 5 learn many different concepts. Button the Dog is delightful and children are sure to love him. The illustrations are superb and really bring the books and the characters to life. Joyce Mitchell is a highly talented children's author and I am looking forward to seeing more books in the series.

As an added bonus the books are free at the moment so well worth downloading. The links are below for UK and US

Button UK
Button US

Button goes to Hollywood UK
Button Goes to Hollywood US

Button goes to the Doctor UK
Button goes to the Doctor US


There we are for another week. For all those who read to children it is well worth grabbing these books now. See you all again soon for another review. Till then keep reading, and get those children reading. Bye.





Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Book Review: Rowan's Rule by Rupert Shott




I know it is not often I bring you a biography on Bookaholic but today I am reviewing a cracker. This is one of the most interesting books I have read in a long time. The Biography of Rowan William's, the former Archbishop of Canterbury.

I believed Rowan Williams to be a very complex man and was interested to read this book. However, I did think it had the potential to be a somewhat difficult read. I was very pleasantly surprised to find out that this was not the case. The writing style is clear but the book is still an in depth look at the life of the former Archbishop of Canterbury. It draws a portrait of a man who was intensely spiritual from an early age. Academically bright, he shone in the world of academia, and yet remained humble. The book shows that there was so much more to Rowan Williams over and above what was portrayed in the media and his public life. During his time as Archbishop of Canterbury he wrestled with many issues which still plague the Church of England today. He had to make difficult decisions which affected him deeply, many of which went against his own personal feelings. Yet he put the church and it's best interests ahead of his own interests. He was also deeply evangelical, and ecumenical, and worked tirelessly with churches of other denominations. He was respected by all those leaders with whom he came into contact.

This is a fascinating portrayal of a man whose life was given over to serving the God whom he loved. However, it is so much more than that. It is also a social exploration of the the Church of England and the way in which it has developed over several decades. I would highly recommend this book. It is not in any way stuffy and in fact is an enjoyable read which is full of interest. This version has been updated and contains new material.

I was given a copy of this book from the publisher in return for an honest review. This review is based on my reading of, and enjoyment of, the book. I was never at any time asked to provide a positive review.





The link above is to buy from the UK site. Apologies to my readers in US but there is no link for the US book. You will be able to do a search and find it easily.
 

So there we have it for another day. What will I pull out of the bookcase for my next offering. Join me back here soon to find out. Until then keep reading.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

R.T. Kendall: In Pursuit of His Wisdom


Good afternoon Bookaholics. I trust you have all had a relaxing weekend and have been able to read some great books. Over the last couple of days I have been reading a superb book by  R.T. Kendall. He is a great theologian and a man of wisdom, and was the minister of Westminster Chapel in London for 25 years. 

In this book he sets out how we receive wisdom from God. The book is clearly set out and easy to read. Each chapter takes a different approach to looking at wisdom as found throughout the bible. The first area that he covers is that wisdom comes from fear of the Lord. This is our starting place for getting wisdom which is God based. This is a recurring theme throughout the book. He outlines many men, and women, of God who have demonstrated great wisdom, many of whom are from the Bible. The surprising part is that he also shows areas in their lives where wisdom was lacking. This usually happened after they turned from God. One chapter is given over to people in this world who have demonstrated great wisdom but were not Christians. Kendall believes that God has given them wisdom for a specific reason, even if they themselves are not aware of this.

I particularly liked the chapter where he looks at the wisdom of Jesus. He raises some excellent ways in which we would be best served to follow Jesus in the area of wisdom. He also brings out some somewhat surprising facts. I wont say too much here as it is worth reading the book and hearing what Kendall has to say. 

This is an in depth book which covers wisdom in all its facets. However, it is easy to read, and the principles within its pages, easy to apply. I am glad that I have read the book and I would certainly highly recommend it to all Christians.

I was given a copy of this book for review purposes. I was not at any time asked to provide a positive review. My review is based on my reading, and enjoyment, of the book. 


Although this is the UK link, the book is also available in Kindle in the US. However, Amazon US would not allow me to get the link. If you do a search you will be able to get it from Amazon. It will apse be available in Paperback in most major bookstores and all Christian bookstores. 

So we come to the end of another Bookaholic post. I am off to read Rowan's Rule, the biography of the previous Archbishop of Canterbury. I am really looking forward to this and to telling you all about it soon. Take car my Bookaholic friends, grab a book and keep reading.