eBook Review: The Cat, the Mill and the Murder

The Cat, the Mill and the Murder (A Cats in Trouble Mystery, #5)The Cat, the Mill and the Murder by Leann Sweeney

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As is my way, I spotted this book in the local Salvo’s store. I don’t usually read cozy mysteries, but I liked the sound of this book so bought it. Besides, tastes change over the years and I recently find myself reading a number of books I never used to look at twice. Thing is, surprise, surprise, I’m enjoying them!

Blurb: When cat lover and quilter Jillian Hart volunteers to help a local animal shelter relocate a colony of feral cats living in an abandoned textile mill, she never expects to find a woman living there, too. Jeannie went missing from Mercy, South Carolina, a decade ago, after her own daughter’s disappearance.

Jeannie refuses to leave the mill or abandon Boots, her cat who died years ago. After all, she and Boots feel the need to protect the premises from “creepers” who come in the night. After Jeannie is hurt in an accident and is taken away, those who’ve come to town to help repurpose the mill uncover a terrible discovery… As the wheels start turning in Jillian’s mind, a mysterious new feline friend aids in her quest to unearth a long-kept and dark secret.

My Review: The Cat, The Mill and The Murder is a cosy mystery — a subgenre of crime fiction where sex and violence is downplayed and the crime is usually solved by a member of the public instead of police officers, detectives and the like.

What attracted me to this story is the ghost cat. I liked the sound of that and felt it would make for a different read (for me, at least). I enjoyed the interaction of the main character and the ghost cat. In fact, I enjoyed the main character’s interaction with all the other characters too. She seemed like a real, decent person; even with her quirks. Her obsession with her own cats was nice, they were her babies and I get the attachment there. I have a dog that I feel the same way about.

The plot was well crafted, in my opinion. I liked the way it came together in a natural way. All the players had good reasons for what they felt and what they did. The mystery was believable and the clues given out at just the right moments to keep the reader interested.

This is the first book I’ve read in the series, and the first book I’ve read by this author. I’d definitely read others.

Recommended.

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eBook Review: Gregory and the Grimbockle

MagykGregory and the Grimbockle by Melanie Schubert is a middle grade book. What am I doing reading middle grade books, you may ask. Well, I write for middle graders so I should read books for middle graders. It’s that simple. Plus, I enjoy them.

This book was offered for free through Bookbub, which is a place where they email you great deals each day. I’ve got some great books through them, so it’s worth an email per day. (No, this is not an affiliate link.)

It was a classic case of judging a book by its cover. I saw it, liked it, downloaded it. Yes, it was free, but I don’t download every free ebook offered to me. If it doesn’t appeal to me, I just keep going straight passed it. In this case, I downloaded it and a few days later when I finished the book I was reading at the time, I decided to read this one.

I am so glad I did. Because this book was excellent. I had no idea what to really expect. Or what it was about. The first chapter was well written and pulled me in. And then the grimbockle arrived and I was hooked.

It’s a story about how our lives intertwine with other people’s. And shows what we do in our life and the decisions we make can affect others. It was brilliantly put together and a fun lesson for middle graders to learn. However, I suspect they wouldn’t even know they were being taught something valuable. The characters are rounded and believable. The plot is plausible, as far as I’m concerned. The writing style was excellent. Truly, if you have a youngster in your life who loves to read, get this book for them. If you haven’t got a youngster around who’d enjoy it, get it for yourself.

Highly recommended.

Ebook Sale, only 2 days to go

Only two days remain to buy ebooks from my website or from Kayelle Press for $1.00 each. This offer WILL expire at midnight on 31 December 2014, Australian EST.

Head to either of the two websites, a larger selection is available from Kayelle Press, and grab some reading material (fantasy, science fiction and horror) right now before you miss out.

Don’t forget to tell your friends and family, especially those who received an ereader for Christmas.

eBook Review: White Fang

White FangWhite Fang by Jack London

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

I have fallen behind in writing reviews for the books I’ve finished and still have a couple to do from the end of last year. So far, this year I haven’t read anything for pleasure as I’m busy doing something else, but the break isn’t bad, it’s just irritating as I do love to read. I’m hoping to start reading again soon.

Anyway, White Fang is a classic and early in 2012 I decided that I must read or reread some classics. For every two modern books I read I’ve been reading one classic, and here’s what I thought of this one. I finished it on 17 December 2012.

Description:

He was three quarters wolf and all fury. Born in a cave, in famine, in the frozen arctic. Born in a world where the weak died without mercy, where only the swift, the strong, the cunning saw each dawn. It was White Fang’s world–until he and his mother were captured by the man-gods.

But men and their dogs taught White Fang to hate. He was beaten, abused, attacked. He was bought, sold, tortured, trained to kill in blood sports. Knowing no kindness, he became a mad, lethal, creature of pure rage.

Only one man saw White Fang’s intelligence and nobility. Only one had the courage to offer the killer a new life. But can a wolf understand the word “hope”? Can a creature of hatred understand the word “love”?

Review:

I first read this book when I was a young teenager. I remember crying then. I didn’t cry this time round but the actions in this book did strike a chord with me. I really do detest cruelty to animals; the cruelty in this book is paramount.

White Fang is a product of his past. He has been taught to hate. He has been taught to survive at any measure. He is vicious. He is a killer! Yet he’s these things because he has to be. His other choice is to be the weak link and die.

It’s a powerful story. Well told. No holding back; aimed straight for the jugular. The biggest lesson learned by reading White Fang is that you can beat an animal (and I believe this relates to people too) into doing what you want but loving them produces a much better (long-lasting) result. A beaten animal will do as you want, but will rip your throat out if given the opportunity. A loved animal will be faithful, loyal and forever.

There’s little more to be said about this book except that it’s worth reading. I highly recommend it.

eBook Review: d.evolution

d.evolutiond.evolution by Lee Carlon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

d.evolution is about one of our possible futures. Jason Smith is a co-founder of New World Technology and he finds himself in a confusing situation where he can make a difference. The thing is, will the difference be for the good of man kind, the advancement of technology or personal gain?

I wasn’t sure if I was going to enjoy this book when I first started reading it. But I was quickly pulled in by the characters and plot.

The biggest plus for this story is that it is quite thought provoking. The author has taken ‘what if’ to another level that begs to ask the questions: What would you do?

And: Who has the right to decide?

I found myself pondering the answers to these questions long after the story had ended, and believe me, that is a good thing!

d.evolution is a well written post-apocalyptic story and anyone who enjoys science fiction will enjoy this book.

Paperbacks v Digital Books

There was a time in the not so distant past when I clearly remember believing paperbacks would always be my preferred reading source. I love books. I love reading. It’s the one thing I do constantly in my life and have done since I was a very young child. Books are important to me.

I love the feel of them. I love the smell of them. I love seeing them lined up in a book case, showing their vivid colours and inviting me to jump into their secret worlds. These things cannot be said about digital books.

I love walking into someone else’s home and viewing their books of choice scattered around the place. It hints at the type of person they are, the imagination they might have. It’s possible to spy reference books which tells you of that person’s interests too. And in moments of quiet, they allow you to point to a book and ask them about it … which may well lead to a very interesting conversation. Again, these things cannot be said about digital books.

I love walking into a book shop and browsing the shelves of unknown authors, never before seen covers. Picking them up and flipping them over to read the (hopefully) catchy blurb on the back. Will it intrigue me enough to want to read it? Or does it sound boring or too serious for me, which will make me put it back on the shelf? At the risk of repeating myself, this cannot be said about digital books.

Yet, with all this said and done, I can’t help but prefer to read books in digital format these days. In 2011 most of the books I read were digital. 2012 has only just started, but my reading list comprises of digital books only so far. I have a beautiful wooden bookcase in my bedroom, filled with wonderful books. I want to read them all. They deserve my time, but I feel pulled to my reading device.

It’s a small object really. Most people would lift an eye brow and scoff at reading on it. They mumble things like “small screen” and “eye strain” but I always assure them that the size of the screen is not noticed and I’ve never had eye strain whilst using it.

Perhaps it’s my personal circumstances that make reading this way more attractive. Our lounge room has no lighting except for a single lamp. Reading in the evening is difficult due to shadows across the pages. To avoid the shadow I must sit in an uncomfortable position. I’ve tried using a book lamp but it was more trouble than it was worth, to say the least. However, when I use my reading device I can sit anywhere I want, however I want because the backlight on the screen is just right (for me) for reading.

If I can’t sleep, I can sit in bed and read in comfort. If I want to sit in the garden, I can. I can read on the train, and can swap and change between books if I want to. I can take a selection of books with me on vacation or to work or to the hospital. There’s no weight, no storage problems. If there’s a power source, I can plug in and read. If not, the battery lasts for an entire week if all I’m doing is reading on the device.

I have purchased ebooks from online bookshops, but there is no personality and no feeling of belonging. Shopping in the virtual world is not as good as shopping in the physical world. I still want to browse books, pick them up and flick through the pages, read the blurb and make a decision. But I think when the decision is made I’d like to be able to go up to the counter and say I want the digital version.

Bookshops need to get with the times, and I believe this is starting to happen, but it’s not something I’ve seen for myself. Bookshops draw booklovers to them, so why not entice the booklover to walk out of the shop with a book in hand (be that paperback or digital). Instead of denying the existence of an ever changing world, merge with it and grow.

People will continue to buy printed books, but more and more people are swapping to digital reading. Once, I would have vocalised loudly about the need for paperbacks, but now I find myself vocalising more loudly about reading itself, not the format it’s done in.

eBook Review: Fright Files – The Broken Thing

The Broken Thing (Fright Files: Beware the Author, #1)The Broken Thing by Peter Swift

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The cover attracted me to this book. The minute I saw it I paused and thought, “Now, that looks interesting.” It promised weird things with its vivid colours and wacky looking character.

Fright Files is a series for younger readers. As I write for younger readers and actually enjoy reading books for this age group, I thought I’d give the book a go. And why not, it’s free!

Stevie and Angie are best friends. She’s fearless and looks for adventure and he goes along for the ride, even when his better judgement tells him not too. That’s not to say he doesn’t like the thrill of excitement … he just isn’t so thrilled about the twisted creature that come with it.

The book started out well but hit a bit of a slump where I found myself wondering when the action was going to start. However, don’t give up on it as it quickly picks up again and then it’s full steam ahead. Actually, from that point on it’s full of action, fear and creepy scenes that will have you looking over your shoulder and into the darkened corners of the room.

I’d recommend the book to the young and the young at heart. I believe the second book in the series is due out next week.

Free eBooks for Summer/Winter

Cat's Eyes speculative-realms-coverI’ve heard that some people only read in the summer and others love to read in front of a warm fire during winter, so it seemed appropriate for me to add my ebooks to the Smashwords July Summer/Winter Sale July 1-31 because as Smashwords have so rightly acknowledged, “It’s summer in the Northern Hemiphere, and winter for our friends in the Southern Hemisphere.”

And if people really love to read then why not give the ebooks away for free!

So that is what I’ve done. You can get a copy of Cat’s Eyes and/or Speculative Realms: Where there’s a will, there’s a way right now for free. But this deal is only valid until 31 July 2011.

Click on the book covers above to be taken to the ebook of your choice. Or, grab a copy of them both. Membership to the Smashwords website is free, so it will cost you exactly nothing but a few minutes of your time.

If you enjoy the ebooks, please take a moment or two to write a quick review. It would be much appreciated.

And while you’re there, don’t forget to see what other free ebooks you can find.

eBook Review: Write the Fight Right

Write The Fight RightWrite The Fight Right by Alan Baxter

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There’s a lot to be said about the common writing tip, ‘write what you know’, and Write the Fight Right by Alan Baxter is testament to that. Alan is a writer, but his passion for the martial arts truly comes through in this book. His knowledge and understanding on the subject makes this book a resource I’m grateful to have purchased.

All writers have to face a confrontation at some time, or their characters do at least. I find it one of the hardest things to write, so when I found out about this ebook I was quick to get a copy because I need all the help I can get. Also, in a fight or flight situation, I’m the ‘flight’ type of person. I’ve never been in a punch up of any kind…except with my younger brother when we were kids, but that doesn’t really count as those ‘confrontations’ were never serious. I’ve never had any self-defence classes either, so I have no experience to draw from. If faced with a precarious situation my first option would be to flee, if that wasn’t possible I’d probably die of fright.

Write the Fight Right is written in a way that kept me enthralled. Honestly, the words flow so nicely and I was pleased to see little examples which reinforced what the author was trying to get across. He touches on things that a novice to fighting wouldn’t even consider when writing a fight scene. And most importantly, he brings the fight alive on the page and made me believe I could do the same!

If you are a writer, then I highly recommend this book. It’s a resource you cannot be without, especially writers who are not fighters.

Digital Rights Contracts

Personally, this is something I haven’t had to think about as I have not sold digital rights to a publisher. However, Michael A Stackpole has something to say about it in his post 9 Must-have Clauses for Digital Rights Contracts and I found his comments interesting.

It wasn’t too long ago that publishers didn’t have to worry about anything other than printing rights. From what I’ve heard, very little royalty was given to the author. I remember one author saying, this was about 10 years ago, she received less than $1 for every book sold. At the time I was shocked by this news as plainly the amount of work that goes into a manuscript was surely worth more than that. Yet thinking about it now, I can see that she didn’t write for the money, she wrote to be read.

Anyway, ebooks made an appearance and it would seem that publishers still didn’t bother with digital rights because who’s going to buy them anyway? This left an opening for the authors to step in and take control of their own ebook sales. I have no idea if this opportunity was grabbed by authors or not but they would have been crazy not to.

Now publishers are realising their mistake and have started to include digital rights in the contracts. Why? Because it’s more money for them. And the author will continue to get some meagre royalty for all their hard work. However, that’s beside the point. My problem with this is that the ebooks will be sold for the same price as the paperback, or perhaps slightly less.

To me this is outrageous. I feel strongly about this. Ebooks should be at least half the price of the printed version. For heavens sake, there’s no paper, no ink, no postage, no storage. And don’t give me all that rubbish about the amount of work that goes into setting up an ebook. That’s crap. There’s no more work setting up an ebook than there is a paper version. I know. I’ve done both.

Sorry, I’m going off on a tangent. I believe ebooks in the hands of traditional publishers is a bad thing. Yes, sell publishing rights, but all authors should hold on to their own digital rights and, for a change, start making some decent money from the sales of their work.