Tuesday 30 October 2018

Are you anywhere near the Anderson Public Library? Read my High School Bullying Story, Stingers, Free!

Continuing my series on libraries, and my books in them, I discovered yet another library where you can read at least one.

If you're anywhere near Anderson, Indiana, and have a library card, did you know that you can read my High School bullying story, Stingers, absolutely free?

Click the screenshot below to see the book in the library.

In case you didn't know, here's the description for the book:

Thirteen-year-old James Clarke is always being picked on in school. He hates sports, and he particularly hates Stingers, a schoolyard game in which children throw tennis balls at each other. The other kids always seem to throw the ball harder, when it's at him. His physical education teacher, Mr Evans, has no sympathy for the boy, believing he just needs to toughen up a bit.
When James returns home from school after a rough game of Stingers, his mother is mortified when she sees the bruises on his arm and chest. She phones the school to try and put a stop to the cruel bullying of her son.

Tuesday 23 October 2018

My Books Were Featured in my Library

I've been talking a lot lately about libraries, and I've been really excited over the past few weeks, as I've started seeing more and more of them in the Gauteng Libary's Catalogue.

Last week, though, was another first. I was browsing the library's homepage in Libby, looking for something to read. And as I was scrolling through the featured categories, look what I saw....

Yip. Both A Petition to Magic and Tales From Virdura, right there, staring me in the face, prominently featured on the homepage in the "Fast Fantasy Fables" section.

And that's not all. Scrolling further, I see Sliced and Diced, a horror anthology by a very good friend of mine here in South Africa, Joan De La Haye.

I'm so happy for her! She's on the same screen as Stephen King. :-)

I really think libraries are so often overlooked these days as sources of books to read. There really is no excuse for someone to say they can't afford books, or to pirate books because they can't afford to pay for them.

Do you read library books?

Sunday 21 October 2018

The Night Eternal by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan (Book Review)

This was an incredible end to The Strain trilogy!

Two years after the apocalypse, the world is a bleak place indeed. Pretty much the only form of human resistance consists of our intrepid band of Eph, Nora, Fet, and Gus, whose progress we've been following since book one. Humans are farmed in camps for blood, or forced to do menial labour in exchange for food stamps. A dystopian world if I've ever seen one.

The writing is tight and on-point, the world is described in vivid detail, and the ending... oh, the ending. I just wish I could tell you more without spoiling it.

We also learn a lot more about the origins of The Ancients and The Master, and we find out what happens when a pregnant human gets infected with vampirism.

I wish I could write a more useful, balanced review. A good review is supposed to contain a bit of what the reviewer didn't like, or maybe point out something that people might not like about the book. But try as I might, wrack my brain as much as I can, I can't think of anything. If you're into horror, dystopia, or vampires, you need to read this series.

My Rating: 5 / 5 stars!

About the Book

The night belongs to them, and it will be a night eternal... After the blasts, it was all over. Nuclear Winter has settled upon the earth. Except for one hour of sunlight a day, the whole world is plunged into darkness. It is a near-perfect environment for vampires. They have won. It is their time. Almost every single man, woman and child has been enslaved in vast camps across the globe. Like animals, they are farmed, harvested for the sick pleasure of the Master Race. Almost, but not all. Somewhere out there, hiding for their lives, is a desperate network of free humans, continuing the seemingly hopeless resistance. Everyday people, with no other options - among them Dr Ephraim Goodweather, his son Zack, the veteran exterminator Vassily, and former gangbanger Gus. To be free, they need a miracle, they need divine intervention. But Salvation can be a twisted game - one in which they may be played like pawns in a battle of Good and Evil. And at what cost...?

Click here to find out where you can get your hands on a copy.

Tuesday 16 October 2018

When Last Did You Play Dungeons and Dragons?

When last did you play Dungeons and Dragons?

We played on Saturday, and for me, it was easily the first time in ten years (longer as a player; I've been Dungeon Master in almost every game we played).

It was so much fun! In our party, we had a Dragonborn Paladin, a Tiefling Sorcerer, a High Elf Rogue, a Human Wizard  (Yours Truly), a Wood Elf Ranger, and a Gnome Cleric.

Yip, that's a lot of players. In fact, I was afraid it would be too many players, but to our Dungeon Master's credit (a young lady who works with me, Yvonne Delport), it wasn't, and the game went really smoothly.

In our first session, we rescued a young girl who got lost in an imp-infested forest of perpetual fog. After that, it was off to a big city a day's travel away, to convince Lucifer, a fire-elemental owner of a brothel, to part with his magic sword. Hilarity ensued.

We're going to be playing once a month, which is all the time we can commit to in our busy lives. I can't wait for the next session.

If you've never done table-top roleplaying before, I highly recommend you give it a go. It's fantastic for your creativity, and the friends you make will last a lifetime.

Have you got any funny roleplaying anecdotes to share? Let me know in the comments. Let's all have a laugh.

Tuesday 9 October 2018

Sinful Cinderella by Anita Valle (Book Review)

I'm not much of a YA fan, but I spied this book in one of my daily newsletters (I can't remember which one), and the description intrigued me. I added it to my to-read, then, seeing that it was available on Overdrive, recommended it to my local e-library.

And then promptly forgot about it. Until, that is, my library e-mailed me to tell me they'd purchased a copy.

It was awesome. Really, a completely different take on our hapless stepsister. The beginning of the book was absolutely identifiable as Cinderalla, but towards the end, it takes a different turn. A darker turn? Certainly. A more believable turn? Debatable.

The chapters are also deliciously short, each one able to be read in five minutes or less. And I do so love short chapters.

I came into it knowing that it was a novella, and sometimes, shorter works are best, so that wasn't a problem for me. The thing was, I kind of got the impression, based on the title, that this book was erotica. If that's what you're looking for, be warned: it's not.

Thankfully, it wasn't what *I* was looking for. I mean, I don't mind erotica, and I would've read this book even if it were, but it's actually refreshing that there is no bad language, and only mild violence and sexual references.

If you enjoy fairy tale re-tellings, this one's more familiar than most, but also offers a really satisfying twist.

My Review: 4 / 5 Stars

About the Book

I'm not who they think I am. A docile girl who meekly obeys her stepmother and stepsisters. Some kind of sick angel who cheerfully bears their mistreatment. That's what I WANT them to think. Because then they won't suspect what I'm really up to.

The ball, the prince - it's all part of my plan to come out on top. Stepmother and her demented daughters will pay for every floor I have scoured, every sneer I have borne. They don't know about the white magic, how I use it to enhance myself. They can't see that my heart is black as midnight, rotten as a poisoned apple.

They're about to find out.

Click here to find out where you can pick up a copy.

Did You Miss My October Periscope Session

My second Periscope session, where I spoke about my month in books, happened last Friday. I was a little less nervous than last month, but it was still quite hair-raising.

Still, I think it went a little better. This month, I held my phone in my hand instead of propping it up on my desk, so it was easier to read the names of people who popped in. And one person did pop in, although they never said anything.

I'm getting better at this; maybe by November, I'll be a pro!

Click the image below to visit my profile, and watch the session. And don't forget to follow me, so you get notified of my next session.

Sunday 7 October 2018

The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson (Book Review)

This is a difficult book to digest. Like any good book, it really makes you think. What defines mental illness, and all the different kinds?

Sure, as the title suggests, this book focuses mostly on Psychopathy, but in so doing, it touches on things like schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and a range of others. Through a loosely related collection of anecdotes, the author explores these mental disorders and more, along with the evolution of The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). He doesn't really present you with any conclusions of his own, although it's fairly clear that he thinks that, while mental illness, and psychopathy, in particular, IS a thing, over-diagnosis and labelling is a big problem. For example, did you know that there's a huge group of people out there who believe that childhood bipolar disorder simply does not exist, and that it's impossible for anyone under the age of 18 to develop it?

The anecdotes are entertaining, and often freaky, but most importantly, they provide much food for thought. If you or anyone you know has ever been diagnosed with a mental illness, or you suspect you might have one yourself, you should read this book.

My Review: 4 / 5 Stars

This is a story about madness. It all starts when journalist Jon Ronson is contacted by a leading neurologist. She and several colleagues have recently received a cryptically puzzling book in the mail, and Jon is challenged to solve the mystery behind it. As he searches for the answer, Jon soon finds himself, unexpectedly, on an utterly compelling and often unbelievable adventure into the world of madness. Jon meets a Broadmoor inmate who swears he faked a mental disorder to get a lighter sentence but is now stuck there, with nobody believing he's sane. He meets some of the people who catalogue mental illness, and those who vehemently oppose them. He meets the influential psychologist who developed the industry standard Psychopath Test and who is convinced that many important CEOs and politicians are in fact psychopaths. Jon learns from him how to ferret out these high-flying psychopaths and, armed with his new psychopath-spotting abilities, heads into the corridors of power . . . Combining Jon's trademark humour, charm and investigative incision, The Psychopath Test is a deeply honest book unearthing dangerous truths and asking serious questions about how we define normality in a world where we are increasingly judged by our maddest edges.

Click here to find out where you can get your hands on a copy.

Monday 1 October 2018

My Next Periscope is due this Friday

In case you missed it, I do a live Periscope session on the first Friday of every month, and this Friday will be my second one ever:

I spoke about my last session here. It was a harrowing experience, but quite a bit of fun. I had one participant, but you have to start somewhere. Maybe there'll be more on Friday.

Won't you consider joining me? Click the logo above to visit my profile.