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photo 2017-11-10 16:01

My new book is live! It's a satire about concentration camps for fat people and bureaucracy gone mad. (Don't worry, it's a love story.)

 

You can find it on Amazon and other bookstores now!

 

If you're interested in hearing me read from it, here I am reading the first and fourth chapters now.

 

I did chapter two here.

Source: markarayner.com/the-fatness
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review 2017-11-06 14:02
Review: Defending Rebecca by A. K Bruinn
Defending Rebecca: a novella - A. K. Bruinn,M. John Harrison

Self-published (6th March 2017)

 

Source: Author

 

ISBN: 978-1520774275

 

Synopsis:

This is the true story (with a little fiction thrown in) of how hiring a Finnish au pair as part of a reality show wreaked havovc on Emma's quiet family life in Vancouver. All she wanted was a little help with her kids...

 

Review:

The idea behind Defending Rebecca caught my attention as I love stories with some truth behind them, and the idea of an au pair and a film crew had endless possibilities for disaster! I really like Emma. She came across as such a warm and generous person. She seemed to have a genuine reason for wanting to take part in the programme in the first place, to have an au pair to help her with the children. She seemed to really want to like Rebecca too. She seemed to be pushed and pulled this way and that by all the people in her life and I felt a bit sorry for her.

Rebecca is an odd character. I really couldn't work her out, which I secretly like.

The children are brilliant characters, especially Ryland.

I like the way the story flows and the character interaction is great. It feels natural and the amount of observation is fantastic. This novella is funny in places, and at the end of the story I was left wanting to read more.

 

 

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review 2017-11-04 21:56
Book Review of Ahoy, Mummy Mia! (Ahoy, Mischaps!) (Volume 3) by Miss Mae
Ahoy, Mummy Mia! (Ahoy, Mischaps!) (Volume 3) - Miss Mae,Miss Mae

The Mischaps ride again! Actually, they sail again. Into a dimension far, far, far away where you can’t find it. Why can’t you find it? Because the dimension is lost. Yes, the Mischaps sail into The Land of Lost Directions. But guess what they find there? A prophecy! Yes, a prophecy about them! What does the prophecy say? What does it mean? Can the Mischaps discover the secret of fulfilling the prophecy…and destroy its evil, dangerous, stinking curse?

 

Review 5*

 

This is the third book in the Ahoy, Mischaps! series. I absolutely loved it!

 

I usually do character breakdowns in my reviews, but I have a little trouble doing this for the main character, who narrates this story in the style of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, as she actually doesn't have a name and is only known as The Narrator. However, we join Sir O Yuri Wiseguy-eh and well known Pukelitzer prize winning journalist, I.B. Nosy on another zany adventure, this time in the Land of Lost Directions.

 

This story has a fantastical plot, which kept me hooked from beginning to end. There are several references and play on words that would go over a child's head, but adults would pick them up with ease. The Mischaps gang find themselves lost in the Land of Lost Directions, where a greedy and ambitious cat called Mia has placed a curse on Gum Drop chocolate, turning it into mud. Or has she? In order to break the curse, the Mischaps have to fulfil a prophecy. Let the adventure begin!

 

This is a story full of adventure that is so nonsensical and humourous, I found myself highly entertained.
There are some old faces from previous books that appear in this tale. There's Moose, the chocolate loving plantation worker; Heathcliff, a possum who happens to be a fantastic detective (a secret is revealed about this character in this tale); Speck and Spang, two eagle-eyed vultures, and Spit, a small purple snake with the largest set of eyelashes known to adorn a snake. The reader is also introduced to some brand new characters, ranging from a crocodile called A. Buncha Crock to a swamp rat called Louie, who wants to be a pirate, and a chef called Chef Mac A. Roni. We also get to meet a Mummy named Ralph, and Dr. Ag. O. Nee and his Igor assistant Mandibles tumble into the adventure too.

 

I found myself turning the pages in an effort to find out what happens in every chapter, which is introduced by the narrator and is told in such a witty and engaging way that I found myself smiling even through the dangerous parts. I could picture the scenes in my mind's eye with ease. I didn't see the scenes as live action but as an animation though. I think this would make a fantastic children's animated movie, along with the other two books. I reached the end of the book with a bittersweet feeling; I didn't want it to end. However, I think there's another adventure on the way as the story ends in such a way that, although not a cliffhanger, it infers that it will continue. I can't wait!

 

I am not sure what age range this book is aimed at, but I sat with a smile on my face for most of the story. This story, however, would be ideal for children to listen to at bedtime.

 

Miss Mae has written a wonderfully imaginative story that will enchant adults and children alike. I love her writing style, which is fast paced enough to keep even the most fidgety youngster enthralled, and the flow was wonderful. I am a huge fan of Miss Mae and I will be keeping an eye out for more of her books in the future.

 

I highly recommend this book to children aged 5 upwards and to adults looking for a quick, light read. - Lynn Worton

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review 2017-10-21 18:31
Artemis
Artemis - Andy Weir

[I received a copy of this book through NetGalley.]

I loved “The Martian”, so of course I was bound to request this one. To be fair, I didn’t enjoy it as much, but it was still a good, fun read in several ways.

I found the characters in general likeable enough, in definite ‘shades of grey. The ‘heroes’ of this story are seldom all white, and go about their business with good intentions and shady ways. The businessman who moved to the moon to help his ailing daughter, but is a crook on the side. The economist who almost single-handedly set a whole country as the only entry point to the Moon, and won’t shy away from closing eyes on criminal deals as long as they help keeping Artemis afloat. The city’s policeman (Artemis has something like 2,000 inhabitants, minus the tourists, so Rudy does the job) who’s keeping order by breaking a few arms at times if he deems it’ll be a better punishment than prison. And, of course, Jazz Bashara herself, porter by day, smuggler by night, of sorts, running her little operation with no one the wiser.

(Granted, not everyone is a complete a-hole here, Jazz’s father for instance is a law-abiding citizen who doesn’t want anything to do with his daughter’s shady side; on the other hand, Jazz clearly has him to thank for her own ethical side, the one that makes her never renege on a deal, and puts her in the (trustworthy criminal’ category, so to speak.)

The story itself starts in a fairly typical way for heist stories: Jazz needs money, her criminal activities aren’t bringing in as much as she needs, nor quickly enough, so when a dangerous but particularly juicy deal comes her way, she shoves her qualms in her pocket and accepts it. Only it turns out she’s bitten more than she could chew, and finds herself embroiled in an almost conspiracy, forcing her to gather all her wits, resources and allies in order to find a way out. All in all, the kind of story I like to read: maybe not the most original, but with high potential for action, fun, quirky characters, and, well, capers.

There isn’t as much technical detailing in this novel as there was in “The Martian”, so it’s definitely not hard to follow. The whole caper(s) resting on scientific knowledge and using the moon’s gravity and peculiar sides to work within the plan, that was really interesting for me. Maybe the welding-related descriptions were a little too long at times, though; at least, I didn’t care as much about those as I did about other scientific explanations.

I liked the overall diversity in Artemis. This small city has, from A to Z, a multicultural side that I think worked well, and didn’t rest on the usual ‘Western world colonises space’ (Kenya and its space company holds the entry door to the moon, Artemis’s administrator is a Kenyan woman, the policeman is Canadian, Jazz and her father are from Saudi Arabia, many of Jazz’s contacts are Vietnamese or Slavic, etc.).

I wasn’t totally on board with the way Jazz told the story, though. The wit didn’t work as well here as it did in “The Martian”, mostly, I’d say, because there’s too much of a dichotomy between Jazz’s ‘voice’ and her age: sometime in the middle of the story, we learn she’s 26, but from her tone, attitude, expressions and way of being, I would’ve thought her late teens/20, and not older. There -is- an immature side to her character, so in itself it’s not like her voice doesn’t fit at all, yet it didn’t feel ‘right’ either.

Conclusion: 3.5 stars. Disregard the author’s previous best-seller, take this story as it comes, and enjoy the heist parts, the assembling of Jazz’s motley crew, the description of Artemis, and the outings on the Moon in an EVA suit that can spring a leak just any time due to the characters attempting bold moves and daring rescues.

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review 2017-10-14 23:48
Book Review of Ros by Dee DeTarsio
Ros - Dee DeTarsio

 

An out-of-this-world love story . . .

 

Ros is a supernatural encounter with a female from our cosmos: E.T. meets Starman. With the clock ticking, Micki tries to save Ros, who only has a few days left to find her way back home. The bonds of this most unlikely friendship are tested on the run, as they realize that love truly does transcend time and space.

 

Review 3*

 

This book has been sitting on my Kindle for quite a while. I bought it when I first bought my Kindle way back in 2012 and it was on free promotion at the time. I was originally intrigued with the blurb because I love a good space romance. Unfortunately, due to my long reading list, it has taken me longer than I anticipated to get to read it.

 

Micki Cramer is a character I must admit I didn't connect with at first. I initially found her rather annoying. However, as the story progressed I came to like her a little more. She is a divorced mother of two who unexpectedly has a close encounter of the third kind when an alien spaceship crashes close to her house. As she tries to help the alien, Ros, get back home, she finds herself running from the US Navy and facing a dangerous cult who will stop at nothing to capture the stranded alien. Will she succeed in helping her new friend?

 

The blurb is slightly misleading. I thought I would be reading a space romance. However, the story is more about friendship than romantic love. Having said that, I really enjoyed watching the sisromance (can't call it bromance) grow between the two main characters. Ros's character comes across a little one dimensional in my opinion. I think this is because the author may have struggled to imagine what an alien is like, while trying not to make her too human. There is an ET type feel to the story, with action and adventure thrown in along with some quirky characters. I actually loved Micki's ex mother-in-law, Rhoda. She's an eccentric character with the beginnings of Alzheimer's, but she's as sharp as a tack when she wants to be. There are also a few other interesting characters, like Captain James Kerk of the U.S. Navy, and Stanley Brower, Micki's neighbour.

 

I must admit that although the story was interesting, I found it easy to put it down and read something else and then come back to it. I'm not sure if this was down to the author's writing style or if it was my mood at the time of reading. There are some scenes that had me laughing, but I think the author was trying too hard to use wit and it fell flat at times, especially where there was a need to ratchet up the feeling of suspense for some of them instead. Having said that, I especially loved the scene where they steal Stanley's RV and find him in it. Then there's the one... Nope, you may just have to read it to find out more. I did find myself becoming rather emotional near the end and even shed a tear or two. The ending was slightly unexpected, but it left me feeling satisfied.

 

Dee DeTarsio has written an intriguing story. Her writing style is not particularly fast paced, but it kept me turning the pages. The flow of the story was pretty good, but some scenes could have been shortened for more impact. Would I read more of her books in the future? Perhaps. I am not ruling it out completely. I need to reduce my reading list first.

 

Due to some profane language, I do not recommend this book to younger readers. However, I recommend this book if you love chick-lit or science fiction genres. - Lynn Worton

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