My Favourite Five Fiction Books to Take Travelling

…whilst pushing your travel boundaries, push your literary ones too!

If you’ve ever been travelling you probably know that one way to survive long flights, bus trips or delays is to carry a good book.

These are just a few of my favourites, after all I love books and often read one a day if I’m on a beach day!

1. The Motorcycle Diaries – Che Guevara

One of my favourite books, short, easy to read and essential reading before any trip to South America or Cuba.

My Goodreads review

2. The Martian Chronicles – Ray Bradbury

 

This will make you question how you judge a people and a place, so whilst pushing your travel boundaries, push your literary ones too.

My Goodreads review
Continue reading “My Favourite Five Fiction Books to Take Travelling”

Book Review – Business for Authors: How to be an Author Entrepreneur, Joanna Penn

I knew I wanted a different career, I frequently said to myself ‘There must be more than this.’

Business for Authors: How to be an Author Entrepreneur, Joanna Penn

Book Review

Title: Business for Authors: How to be an Author Entrepreneur

Author: Joanna Penn

Copyright: Joanna Penn 2014

Ebook 

Audio Book 

Blurb Extract:

Everything you need to run your business as an author. This is not a book on creativity or the craft of writing. This is not a book for hobbyists. This is a book that will take your writing into the realm of actually paying the bills. You will learn how to go from being an author to running a business as an author…’

Subject:

I started out as an amateur blogger, just chatting online for fun whilst working full time. I was also studying for a degree in literature at the Open University. I knew I wanted a different career, I frequently said to myself ‘There must be more than this.

Continue reading “Book Review – Business for Authors: How to be an Author Entrepreneur, Joanna Penn”

Is An Audible Subscription Good Value? Can I Download The Best Audio Books?

They are also an excellent way of making the best audio books accessible to those who may find the written word difficult, for whatever reason.

Audible on an ipad with Beats headphonesIs An Audible Subscription Good Value? Can I Download The Best Audio Books?

Free Audiobook Download from Audible.co.uk

Summary

Product Name: Audible UK – an Amazon Company

What It Does:

An online supplier of audio books, currently offering in excess of 200K of the best audio books, ready for you to instantly download. You can listen via their Audible app on your mobile device or on your Kindle.

Price:

UK £7.99 per month subscription, or one off payments as you buy (Free one month trial is on offer, as at January 2017)

Pros:

Easy to use

High quality audio

Makes the best audio books accessible to your mobile device

Cons:

The Audible app is getting some poor reviews, hopefully this is a short term problem

If you don’t read very many books, you may not benefit from the subscription.

It isn’t your local library.

Summary:

If you have an Amazon account signing up is ridiculously easy. The book choice is vast, the best audio books with high quality audio, often by the author brings the stories alive. You can even listen to a free sample before deciding. Search easily filtered virtual bookshelves, sample and download your book choice in minutes. The whole process is smooth and customer focussed, recommended.

Buy Now

By using this link to source the product, I will receive a small commission from the supplier. This doesn’t affect the price you pay. It does help support my work and keep these reviews FREE to you, thank you.

————————————————

Product Name:

Audible – an Amazon Company

Free Audiobook Download from Audible.co.uk

What It Does:

An online supplier of audio books, currently offering in excess of 200K best audio books, ready for you to instantly download. You can listen via their Audible app on your mobile device or on your Kindle.

Audible is a part of Amazon if, like me, you steer away from the huge companies, be reassured on this occasion it’s a good thing. OK, so it isn’t your local library where you may be able to obtain free audio books. However Amazon has the buying power and the technology to do their job well. The choice of books you can download is vast, up to date and as far as the ones I’ve sampled so far, with excellent audio, often by the author themselves.

The Audible app is ideal for anyone who uses a smart phone or mobile device. Sadly at the time of writing the app had been through an update and is receiving poor reviews. Hopefully this will be fixed soon. Amazon want happy customers to return to them again and again.

If you don’t fancy the Audible app, you can use your Kindle / Android etc.

I recently signed up for the free trial at Audible UK. I’d been asked by Audible to review the process

(For transparency this post does include Affiliate links, but I am not being paid to write this post)

So how did the sign up go? Easy!

  • I signed in as suggested using my Amazon ID. It auto-populated a payment option for the potential subscription cost to be paid on my chosen card. It had brought this information through from my Amazon account. Don’t worry you have an option to use a different payment method.
  • The sign up process immediately accepted me. I was auto-redirected to the ‘shopping’ page, my account already given ‘1 Credit.’ You get a credit a month, which you can spend as you choose.
  • The best value is box sets or anything over the cost of your subscription, but I guess you will work that out all on your own. My free trial has resulted in me being the proud owner of a £23 Stephen King audio book, so no complaints there.
  • The prices are shown in cash money prices or credit prices, so it’s easy to see what you can afford.
  • As with Amazon the search is quick and easy, filters apply for best sellers, genres, authors etc.
  • If you are community minded you can join up and follow other readers, see what they are reading etc.
  • If not, just click and buy, then sit with a brew and listen to your book. Job done.
  • My wi-fi is quite quick anyway so my new 10 hour listening book downloaded within moments. I’d recommend doing it on wi-fi when possible, if you are on a limited data package, just in case.
  • From start to finish it took me less than five minutes. If you don’t have an Amazon account allow a bit longer to add all your payment and account information.

Price:

Current UK price £7.99 a month, starting with a free month’s trial. Drop it in your calendar so you don’t pay after the first month, if you want to avoid payments going out after the free trial.

Pros:

If you haven’t discovered audio books yet, try it or maybe give a gift of a subscription to someone. They are also an excellent way of making the best audio books accessible to those who may find the written word difficult, for whatever reason.

The audio format is ideal when out on a walk or on the treadmill. I’d be reluctant to recommend listening in a car or whilst driving as I think it can be distracting, but maybe it depends what book you are ‘reading.’ I’ve recently got into baking again and use that time to listen to both podcasts and audio books.

How about downloading a children’s book and listening with your kids? There are free books on there too, ideal for bedtime.

Cons:

It’s not your local library and it’s not paper books. But get over it. It makes books accessible, you can read many more books and currently it really is great value. You can still snuggle up with a paperback when the mood takes you.

The subscription could become onerous if you don’t read enough, so don’t allow it to be like your gym membership, paid out but ignored, OK? In fact, listen to the books at the gym you’re already paying for but not using, exercising brain and body all at once. Result!

It’s part of a big machine, Amazon so I encourage you to drop in to your local charity or book shop and buy the odd paperback.

Summary:

The audio book will not be going away any time soon, it won’t replace a paper book, just yet anyway, but it can help you to ‘read’ many more books.

It’s quick and easy to sign up, the best audio books are immediately available and the ‘credit’ each month, if you subscribe, can be a real bargain.

I’d recommend listening to the free sample, you may be listening to that voice for a LONG time, so make sure it doesn’t grate on your nerves.

Buy Now:

Want to know more?

By using this link to source the product, I will receive a small commission from the supplier. This doesn’t affect the price you pay. It does help support my work and keep these reviews FREE to you, thank you.

Book Review of Non-Fiction / Autobiographical Book – On Writing, A Memoir of The Craft, Stephen King

We may not all end up with a back list as long as your arm, but if you want to write it’s a great place to get advice from someone who knows. He truly does have the t-shirt.

Book Review of Non-Fiction / Autobiographical Book – On Writing, A Memoir of The Craft, Stephen King

Stephen King On Writing Book Cover

Book Review

Title: On Writing, A Memoir of The Craft

Author: Stephen King

Copyright: 2000 Stephen King

Ebook 

Blurb:

On Writing – Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authors of all time, this superb volume is a revealing and practical view of the writer’s craft, comprising the basic tools of the trade every writer must have. King’s advice is grounded in the vivid memories from childhood through his emergence as a writer, from his struggling early career to his widely reported, near-fatal accident in 1999 – and how the inextricable link between writing and living spurred his recovery.

There is a reason why Stephen King is one of the bestselling writers in the world, ever. Described in the Guardian as ‘the most remarkable storyteller in modern American literature’, Stephen King writes books that draw you in and are impossible to put down.

Subject:

This book was high on my list of recommended books as a resource. I’d been told it’s essential reading to anyone who writes, or wants to. I wish to improve, hone my skill, I’m committed to ongoing learning. As I queued up to buy it at least half a dozen other writers encouraged my purchase with promises that I’d chosen well.

As the blurb states, it is a book on how to write told through the experiences of Mr King. It isn’t just for his fans, he does explain how he came up with numerous ideas so it will appeal to them.

I’m always amazed how many so called ‘expert’ writers criticise popular writer’s for their lack of style or excellence. Whilst I admittedly have veered away from best sellers in the past, how can anyone doubt the skill of someone who has such a wide variety of successful books out there.

This book is a great read, that’s all I want from a book. It teaches in a positive way, without criticism of others. Mr K even adds a generous reading list at the end of books he liked. Good lad!

Continue reading “Book Review of Non-Fiction / Autobiographical Book – On Writing, A Memoir of The Craft, Stephen King”

My Tiny Scottish City Break – it’s not just whisky and midges

The colours and light change and drift from bright jewels of purple to stormy greys and back again. Your camera will not do it justice.

My Tiny Scottish City Break - it's not just whisky and midgesMy Tiny Scottish City Break – it’s not just whisky and midges

OK, so I confess, I don’t like weddings and I don’t like rooms full of people I don’t know. So at the weekend where did I decide to spend a weekend, yes a wedding. A wedding where I wouldn’t know anyone. No one, except my other half.

To add to the overall joy of anticipation I also came down with really bad cold. I now had not only a sore throat, peeling snotty nose and no tastebuds, but would be exposing all the guests I met to my germs. Oh dear.

I put all the guilt of that on hold and went anyway. The guilt of missing out on the wedding, letting people down and wasting what was relatively the small fortune it costs to travel and stay in the UK being my main motivations. As any of you know who follow my blog, I’m currently earning about $1 per month from Amazon Affiliates so small fortune it is! 

Did I mention that the car broke down the day before too, so last minute train tickets had to be bought – ouch! Pricey!

Edinburgh

Edinburgh Castle at sunsetBack to the wedding. It was to be held on the Saturday so it would be foolish to miss out on a chance to spend time in one of my favourite cities in the WORLD, so Friday became travel day.

Continue reading “My Tiny Scottish City Break – it’s not just whisky and midges”

Book Review – The Narrows, Michael Connelly

The stereotypical FBI agent was ineffective and egotistical which is disappointing but I guess usual for this type of novel.

The Narrows - Michael ConnellyBook Review – The Narrows, Michael Connelly

Title: The Narrows

Author: Michael Connelly

Copyright: Hieronymous Inc 2004

Ebook

Blurb: Former FBI agent Rachel Walling has received the call she’s been dreading for four years…

Harry Bosch is adjusting to life in Las Vegas as a PI and a new father. He gets a call…

Plot: This book, as stated on the cover, is a sequel. I haven’t read the first book. This is another holiday book I picked up on the way around the Greek Islands.

Reasons for picking it up? I was back packing and it’s a paperback, it’s in English and I’d watched “Bosch” on TV and liked it.

Continue reading “Book Review – The Narrows, Michael Connelly”

Book Review – Wikileaks – Inside Julian Assange’s War On Secrecy, David Leigh and Luke Harding

The authors were ‘at the centre of a unique publishing drama that involved the release of some 250 000 secret diplomatic cables and classified files from the Afghan and Iraq wars’

Wikileaks Book Cover

Book Review – Wikileaks – Inside Julian Assange’s War On Secrecy, David Leigh and Luke Harding

Title: Wikileaks – Inside Julian Assange’s War On Secrecy

Author: David Leigh and Luke Harding (with Ed Pilkington, Robert Booth and Charles Arthur)

Copyright: The Guardian

Ebook

Blurb Extract: It was the biggest leak in history. Wikileaks infuriated the world’s greatest superpower, embarrassed the British royal family and helped cause a revolution in Africa. The man behind it was Julian Assange…Leigh & Harding reveal the startling inside story of the man and the leak.

Subject: The authors were ‘at the centre of a unique publishing drama that involved the release of some 250 000 secret diplomatic cables and classified files from the Afghan and Iraq wars

I had more than one reason to pick up this book. I believe in free speech, I am a conspiracy theorist and I don’t believe what I’m told by ‘government TV’ and I own a computer so need to understand cyber security.

The authors are very honest, they are after all journalists who know their subject. This book doesn’t portray Assange as anything other than the odd ball enigma he is. He is a geek, highly intelligent and more than slightly paranoid, justifiably I’d say.

It’s a book full of facts, as a writer I’m very impressed with the research carried out during the whole Wikileaks saga. How they have extracted the right amount of information to include in this book. I felt informed, educated and curious to learn more. At the back of the book, there are numerous papers from the ‘leak’ itself. I glanced through them to be honest but will go back to re-read this book. I’m getting familiar now with the Panama papers too.

Characters: Assange, the journalist, lawyers and various others who were required to keep the secrets secret and the man in one piece.

Assange does not seem like a very nice bloke. In fact he comes across quite the opposite but he is brave in his way and deserves credit for that. He had a very odd upbringing and a psychologist reading this work would no doubt identify some personalty traits as a result. He is also someone who you may want to kick in the n*ts as a misogynist. I think the sexual offences he’s accused or are, as far as I am aware, still up for question.

I was impressed that Assange had 28 character + passwords. If we should take security advice from anyone it’s him. I guess in years to come he’ll not be wanted by the CIA, he’ll be employed by them. It could be a fiction story, I’m sure the movies will make their move once the court cases are all out of the way.

Conclusion:  The leak came out in 2010, the book in 2011. The media recently (Aug 2016) advised us that Chelsea (previously Bradley) Manning faces prosecution for a failed suicide attempt. It is a crime apparently. The punishment for this ‘crime’ could be solitary confinement for life. Once you’ve read this you may wonder, as I do, why ‘they’ say we encourage whistle blowers. I firmly support secrets for good reason but those brave enough to speak out about injustice, for the greater good, whether you agree with their actions or timing surely shouldn’t face a harsher sentence than those they expose. She was a military worker with an undoubted mental instability, shouldn’t she be supported as such.

Recommended: Definitely on the ‘must read’ section of my book recommendations. Anyone who has even a slight interest in world powers, politics, social commentary or just owns a computer should enjoy this. The saga continues today, and no doubt will for a while yet.

You may also like:

https://www.christieadamswriter.com/book-review-the-audacity-of-hope-barack-obama/

Panama Papers TED talk

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5 Easy Ways to Improve Your Creative Writing

“There is no such thing as a new idea. It is impossible. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope. We give them a turn and they make new and curious combinations. We keep on turning and making new combinations indefinitely; but they are the same old pieces of colored glass that have been in use through all the ages” Mark Twain

5 Easy Ways to Improve Your Creative Writing

I am writing two novels alongside each other. Depending on my mood I can jump from a post apocalyptic world into one with a serial killer! I know, dark eh, I blame CSI and Terminator. I watched them way too much in my formative years.

In my first book, my plot is tight, my characters feel alive, to me at least. So now I’m knuckling down to the editing. I have recognised some silly mistakes I need to remove from my writing. They are easy mistakes anyone can make, so maybe you’ll need to think about them and do the same with your work. Start getting familiar with your delete key, your characters will thank you or at least your publisher will, here are my

5 Easy Ways to Improve Your Creative Writing…

Continue reading “5 Easy Ways to Improve Your Creative Writing”

Book Review: No Time For Goodbye, Linwood Barclay

Very cleverly written, is she going mad or is someone trying to make it seem she is losing her grip? If so, who?

No_Time_For_Goodbye

Book Review: No Time For Goodbye, Linwood Barclay

Title: No Time For Goodbye

Author: Linwood Barclay

Copyright C Linwood Barclay 2007

Ebook

Audio Download

Blurb extract: …Why had her family disappeared? Twenty Five years later the mystery is no nearer to being solved…

Plot (fiction book):  

This story twists and turns, it’s an excellent page turner. At some points this book reminded me of the Hitchcock movie, Gaslight, a great film by the way. The questions about sanity, insanity and what they are, perception and reality. Very cleverly written, is she going mad or is someone trying to make it seem she is losing her grip? If so, who?

What happened? Is her memory reliable? This book takes the reader on a journey at just the right pace for the genre.

Characters: The main character is surprising sane at start of novel, a little unbelievably so to be honest. She should have more angst of teenage arguments, the guilt of a survivor, but is OK with it, at first.

If you accept that she must have had an amazing therapist, despite the trauma of her youth. Living with the nightmare scenario of not being able to make up with her family etc. then you’ll dive straight into a great story. 

She is what most people would call happy, but…and there’s the story.

As many teenagers do, she dated a ‘bad boy’ who makes an appearance later in the book. This character was a clever addition, I won’t give you details as I’d like you to read this book with all its surprises along the way.

Conclusion:  There’s a slightly predictable twist that I had worked out about half way through, but still a great holiday book.

In My Book Recommendations?: It’s a well thought out story, with a couple of unusual, if predictable, twists so yes I’d suggest reading it. It isn’t the best, but it’s worth the few hours it will take you to read it. The pace of the story will carry you through. I do like a book where you want to always read ‘just one more chapter’ and this is it.

You may also like:

https://www.christieadamswriter.com/book-review-midnight-sun-jo-nesbo-translation-neil-smith/

Five Rules for Writing a Thriller

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Book Review – The Son, Jo Nesbo

I read this in just over a day, it really grabs you and over you through the plot. I guess I’d describe it as ‘Gritty Scandinavian’.

The_Son_Jo_Nesbo_book_coverBook Review

Title: The Son

Author: Jo Nesbo

Translation: Charlotte Barslund 

Copyright: Jo Nesbo 2014 (for other copyrights see book)

Ebook

Blurb: extract: Sonny’s on the run…He’s been lied to his whole life…Sonny wants revenge…whatever the cost

Plot: I read this in just over a day, it really grabs you and over you through the plot. I guess I’d describe it as ‘Gritty Scandinavian’. The film is no doubt on the way. Nesbo draws his characters with a bit too much stereotyping, baddy’s are big lads with tattoos and guns.

I love a conspiracy theory, and this has one, although it’s a bit predictable in places. Other parts of the book left me a bit confused. It just left me with a feeling that he maybe should have read it again and edited it down one more time to remove any confusion. 

Characters: An odd character or two seems to have little purpose other than to add emphasis to personality of main character. It left me with a feeling I’d missed something, I didn’t know them well enough, was I supposed to? Maybe if he had taken out some of the surplus characters it would have been a tighter more concise story. I don’t know if he’s written it yet but I can see a sequel for at least one of the characters, maybe that’s why they are included with future plans in mind.

Conclusion: I’ve always been a bit cynical about this author as he appeared shortly after the Stieg Larsson genius. Also I tend to avoid the best seller lists. I’m not as drawn in to Nesbo’s work. It is a quick fairly predictable read, predictability is not always a bad thing, we buy and read what we know will please us.

Recommended: A couple of really obvious scenes you can see coming from the start, but still on my book recommendations list. It’s the ideal great book to read in between some heavier classics, as a beach read for me so did the job.

You may also like:

Jo Nesbo – Midnight Sun

Another of my book reviews…

Jo Nesbo’s profile

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