The Leibster Award – ReadandRated

Liebster AwardHow lovely to have been tagged in the Liebster Award by Whimsical Words of Whit!

I believe it to be a way getting to know other book review bloggers and helping to get to know each other better and build a stronger community, never a bad thing so here are my answers to the questions drafted by whimsical Whitney:

1. If you could be any character in a novel, regardless of gender, who would it be and why?

I can’t think of an answer for this. I’m struggling to pin down a character, sorry.

2. Which character would you want to be your mentor? Why’d you choose them?

Probably Gary Goodhew’s grandmother from the Cambridge Blue series – because I’d love someone like her in my life.

3. What book do you always find yourself going back to?

I don’t like to re-read books, unless I can count children’s books, if so, I rather enjoyed a book called Magoosey!

4. If you became an author, what genre would you write?

Murder murder murder all day long. Although with a black humour undercurrent I suspect.

5. You’re in a ‘Hunger Games’ situation, but you get to have two other teammates. Who are they, and why are they valuable in this situation? (Please don’t think I’m encouraging the slaughter of innocents.)

Edward from Twilight as he could (be all dreamy and lovely) whisk me away from the path of danger. And Jack Reacher although not the Tom Cruise version, it would have to be the Jack Reacher who is described in the books!

6. What is your dream occupation? (Yes, being a wizard does count.)

Being an eccentric author who runs a cattery/rescue centre.

7. What is one food or beverage that you could never give up?

Water I guess… Although I am partial to proper coffee and prosecco.

8. If you could alter one book’s ending, which one would it be and why?

One Day by David Nicholls – I literally threw it across the room and was angry and felt cheated after reading it!

9. What is something you’ve always wanted to do?

See question 6!

10. Which movie adaptation of a novel is your favourite?

I don’t know, sorry! I’m hoping that WOOL by Hugh Howey will be brilliant, I quite enjoyed Gone Girl, Titanic made me cry, the Harry Potter films were mostly good although the books were better. I’ve never watched the Twilight movies as I fear they cannot capture the magic of the books. (Twilight style books are SO not my usual genre!)

11. Lastly, who is your fictional soulmate?

Hmmm so many to chose from but I’m going to go with DC Simon Waterhouse.

 

The rules are, answer my 11 questions at your own discretion, link back to me, nominate (or try to nominate) 11 other blogs, and provide them with your own 11 questions. Feel free to post your answers to my Facebook page too.

I couldn’t find 11 people to tag, but I’ve chosen to pass this on to:

@gilbster1000

@Da_Book_Queen

My questions are:

1. How long have you been blogging?

2. What inspired you to start?

3. Where do you dream that your blog will one day lead you?

4. Which fictional character do you wish you could be friends with?

5. If you could change the ending to a book, which one would it be and what changes would you make?

6. Is there a book that you wish you could read forever?

7. What was your favourite book as a child?

8. Do you think reading fiction influences your every day life – how you behave and interact with others?

9. Where is your favourite place to read?

10. If you had a friend who says they don’t enjoy reading, which book would you recommend to them knowing that it would ignite the flame?

11. What question do you wish I’d asked you and why?

Have fun! x

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The Truth Will Out Goes Audio – #WIN a signed version

Audio BookI am very excited to be able to share with you the chance to #WIN a signed version of an audio book by Jane Isaac! Please see below for details of the competition, written by Jane herself.

‘First, I’d like to thank readandrated.com for taking part in this giveaway.

The audio version of my second book, The Truth Will Out, was released on 17th March 2015. The unabridged box set contains eight CDs spanning almost nine hours and is read by Cathy Sabberton, whose bio claims numerous theatre and TV credits including Emmerdale and Cold Feet.

This is my first audio version and I wasn’t really sure what to expect when I placed it in the machine and pressed play. Initially it did feel rather strange to hear my own words read aloud. But Cathy’s beautifully engaging reading voice quickly allayed any nerves. Very soon I became lost in the story and it felt like I was listening to a play, or ‘Book at Bedtime’ on Radio 4. I’m truly delighted with the results.

To celebrate its release, I’d like to give away one signed version. Entry into the prize draw is simple: just email me your details via the contact page on www.janeisaac.co.uk. The closing date for entries is 24.4.15 and the winning entry will be picked out at random and announced on my blog on 27.4.15.’

Author Pic Jane IsaacJane Isaac is a crime fiction author of An Unfamiliar Murder and The Truth Will Out. She lives with her husband, daughter and dog, Bollo, in rural Northamptonshire, UK. Jane’s latest title, Before It’s Too Late, will be released on 1.6.15.

SpaceBunker KickStarter Project

spacebunker logoDear readers,

This post isn’t a book review, instead it is a brief mention of a new KickStarter project that I hope you will take a look at and may even consider a small investment. Did you know you can back a project from as little as £1?

Please take a look and consider being a part of the future of an aspiring astronautical engineer. Your £1 pledge could be the start of something big.

Thank you x

Warren Adler’s Response

I wrote a post responding to an article by Warren Adler in the Huffington Post, imagine my surprise when an email pops into my inbox from Mr Adler himself replying to my response!

I’ve checked with him and he was more than happy for me to share the email with you so, without further ado, here it is:

Thank you for your most thoughtful comments. Actually I agree with you completely. Your “disagreements” seem to buttress my own arguments and, in my mind, do not qualify as disagreements at all. The overriding issue here is “discoverability.” You kindly mention a number of authors that you admire. How did you discover them? What was their path up the ladder to your blog? Now think of the many, many authors of perhaps equal talent and performance that you have not discovered. How do they get your attention? In a vast sea of more and more published books what must their authors do to get your attention? Indeed, how many books must you read to discover authorial talent? How many will you miss? How many will you reject from the ever mounting book count? How much of your time will you devote to find the pearls in the vast and growing seabed of literary oysters. The more books that are published, now made easier by the new technologies, the harder it will be to discover the truly talented. My comments on “diminishment” is, I agree, a subjective take on what I believe is happening because of the march of technology. Your opinion on this point is as valid as mine. Actually I am going to read your blog with special interest and start reading the books you recommend. Believe it or not, you are exactly on my wavelength.

Best,
Warren Adler

The Fate of the Novelist: A Positivity Check – in response to Warren Adler

I’ve read and re-read Warren Adler’s article in The Huffington Post and now I feel moved to respond.

Mr Adler has clearly enjoyed great wealth, accolades, applause and pleasure from his career as a talented and distinguished writer and I find it puzzling that he would choose to offer a post of such negativity about his craft.

I love books. I love holding them, reading them, talking about them, sharing them, urging other people to read them and I love the images, emotions and feelings that they stir up.

Without authors, none of these things would exist.

Without readers, none of these things would exist.

I agree with several things that Mr Adler says:

1. ‘The print industry is dying out and that regrettably books stores could ultimately follow suit’ – In my own town, book giant Waterstones has been priced out of the high street! Personally I hope that books stores will find a way to stay, that they’ll find a new way to attract customers and bring books to the masses. Book signings, book launches, even just simply browsing a row of jacket covers – could that be lost forever? I hope not. I have dreams of books shops that offer more of a reading experience, that have writing areas, review corners and of course freshly ground coffee and large sinky sofas.

2. ‘Advances are drying up’ – I don’t have first hand knowledge of this but I believe it to be true, it would make sense that with a market continually flooded with new authors the advances can only become smaller. The amazing, coveted, successes of the likes of JK Rowling are few and far between. However isn’t that the case for a lot of industries these days? Back in the days of the classics there were far fewer penman vying for space and far fewer opportunities, it goes without saying that the more competition then the less money there will be, on average, per head. A few outstanding individuals will always command more and so they should. It may be harder to earn your living solely from being a novelist but ultimately that could sort the wheat from the chaff on it’s own, leaving only the most resolute writers in the game. I’d much rather read a book written by someone who loves to write irrespective of payment, than I would a book written by someone who churns out 5 books a year with their eye purely on their pay packet.

3. ‘There is no end to people who want to write novels’ – I completely agree with this too, but I think it’s a wonderful thing not a negative.

4. ‘There is still great personal satisfaction in self-publishing’ – absolutely, go for it! I recently did a book review of Sealed With A Kiss by Rachel Lucas who had astonishing success after self-publishing.

I disagree with several things he says too:

1. ‘The quality of content is diminishing’ – I don’t agree with this. Mr Adler speaks of drifting back to the classics in search of ‘a really great book’; now this is of course an excellent way to find a wonderful read but there are some amazing authors alive and well today penning their words for our very enjoyment. As with everything in life it is simply a case of find the ones that resonate with you.

2. ‘There are simply too many books being published’ – I don’t agree with this. More books equals more choice, equals more creativity and more inspiration; how can that be a bad thing?

3. ‘While books are being digitally published like popcorn, I do not believe that readers are keeping apace. Brevity and speed seem to be the order of the day for our young readers, who will sustain the publishing future’ – massively disagree with this one, the world changes and adapts and who are we to judge the medium and methods of enjoyment for new readers?

It was the following point that has played in my head since reading his article and the one that has prompted this post in response from me:

“There are simply too many books being published, especially in fiction. Among them are probably some really wonderful ones, but they are hard to find. The filters have become clogged. Book bloggers try their best to become taste filters. Some succeed in attracting a following, but one wonders if they affect sales.”

As a relatively new book blogger I felt the need to justify my existence in cyberspace and my place within the publishing world.

I am lucky as I can say that I know I have affected sales for some authors, maybe only a few sales but I know that I have written reviews or tweeted comments about books that have directly resulted in other people buying or downloading those books.

Among others, I know that other people have bought, read and commented upon: Whisky From Small Glasses, The Judas Scar, Cambridge Blue and Never Saw It Coming – directly as a result of my reviews. I think that’s amazing. I like to think of it as my way of thanking the authors for their hard work and efforts, for creating the book in the first place for me to read.

Generally speaking I don’t get these books for free, I do sometimes, but more often than not the books that I review are books that I’ve chosen and paid for. The only free one mentioned above was The Judas Scar and that was as a result of me loving the author’s first book and chatting to her about it on twitter. It being free doesn’t change the fact it was a brilliant book and I recommended it whole heartedly for that reason. Who doesn’t like free stuff? Exactly, but I often prefer to review books I’ve paid for so that I don’t have any feeling of ‘owing’ the author a good review. I like to give my honest opinion, good or bad.

I also know that as a direct result of recommendations from other people, I have gone out and bought books and discovered new authors and new characters who I have then gone on to follow and enjoy – and tell other people about – encouraging them to buy too. Recently I have bought Sealed With A Kiss, WOOL and The Shock Of The Fall based upon recommendations from other people.

I think that’s kinda cool.

Personally, I hope that the current negativity around the publishing world doesn’t put off the next generation of writers and novelists. I hope they continue to have the passion and drive needed to create new stories, worlds and characters for us to enjoy. Whether they self publish, find an agent, write a blog or come up with a completely new way for us to read and fall in love with their books is irrelevant; without those words on a page (in whatever format) we won’t discover the next JK Rowling, the next Simon Kernick or indeed the next Charlotte Brontë.

 

 

TOM CRUISE IS NOT JACK REACHER!

Like almost everyone on the planet, I was shocked to hear that Tom Cruise had been cast to play Jack Reacher in the film adaptation of Lee Child’s novels.

A few pertinent details (with stats taken from Lee Child’s official site) in case you are unaware of Jack Reacher:

Name: Jack Reacher (no middle name)
Born: October 29th
Measurements: 6’5″, 220-250 lbs., 50″ chest
Hair: Dirty-blond
Eyes: Ice blue
Clothing: 3XLT coat, 95 cm. pants’ inseam

Reacher left home at 18, graduated from West Point. Performed 13 years of Army service, demoted from Major to Captain in 1990, mustered out with the rank of Major in 1997.

Tagline: Women Want Him, Men Want To Be Him

So that’s 6 foot 5 inches then….rugged, manly, dirty blond, 50″ chest….. And the first person who comes to mind is Tom Cruise?

A few better suggestions, in my humble opinion:

And, as so rightly suggested by @Newmanfilms

Any more suggestions?