Bloggers Books: Chaya Ubhayakar

I am very pleased to announce that Chaya has had her first book published. It is a nicely-illustrated book for chidren, ‘Different and Similar’.

This story is about the friendship between Missy, a Golden Retriever, and Billu, a cat, and their love for Jai, a ten-year-old boy.

Children will discover how Missy and Billu show love and kindness to each other by respecting their differences and appreciating their similarities.

Illustrated by Andrea Benko, the book explores how in a world where everyone is unique, similarities can always be found.
This is a tale of Jai and his dog Missy welcoming a new friend, Billu the cat. Follow how Missy and Billu discover the differences and similarities between each other.

Here is an Amazon link where you can find out more, and buy a very reasonably priced Kindle copy.

This is a link to Chaya’s blog, where you can read more about her and her work.

Blogger’s Books: Lorraine Lewis

I am very pleased to let you know that the lovely Lorraine Lewis from has had five of her poems published in a new anthology that is available to buy now.

An anthology of faery places. Focused on the winter court and the darker fae.

With Stories By

David Powell

Ruan Bradford Wright

Victor Nandi

Serena Mossgraves

Keely Messino

Sean Padraic McCarthy

Raz T. Slasher

Russell Addams

With Poetry By

Beulah Vega

Patricia Harris

Lorraine Lewis

Ruan Bradford Wright

And Art By

Allene Nichols

Vonnie Winslow Crist

Patricia Harris

Here is what Lorraine has to say about it on her blog.

‘I am delighted to announce that today INTO THE GLEN published by Fae Corps Publishing Inc. is being released.

I am also absolutely delighted to announce that five of my poems are in the book’.

Available on Amazon U.K. here:

You can purchase it here:

If short stories and poetry are of interest to you, please follow the links to find out more, and show Lorraine some community support.

Blogger’s Books: Jim Webster

Jim’s tales of Port Naain and the poet Tallis Steelyard are always a delight. He also includes so many memorable characters and their escapades, that it is very easy to become invested in them. His latest book features the delightful Maljie. At only 81 pages it is a short and easy read, costing just 99p in the Kindle version.

It is available from Amazon of course, where you can find more of his books to delight you.

If you would like to see more about any of the Port Naain adventures, here is a link to Jim’s blog.

The Books of my Blogging Friends

I am always happy to buy most books published by my friends in this blogging community.

I never ask for free copies, but sometimes take them when available.
Mostly, I buy them. That way, I can review them as a ‘Verified Purchase’.

That’s a small price to pay (usually) to promote anyone I respect as a writer, and consider to be a friend.

But I thought I would add a note, for your information.

Just lately, I have purchased or pre-ordered quite a few of your books, albeit on Kindle editions only.
It is going to take some time to get to them all, in between the books I have bought that are not by bloggers.
I only read in bed at night, so how much I get through depends on how tired I am, and how early I go to sleep.

So just to let you know, in case you wonder why I haven’t reviewed them yet.

A Pretty Amazing Book Deal

I was lying in bed last night, scrolling through some Amazon recommendations.

I found this.

That’s not a typo. ALL of Charles Dickens’ novels for £0.75 p.
That is 86 cents in Euros.
And 96 cents, US.

All of his novels, downloaded in under a minute.
Wonderful classic British literature, and timeless too.

I remember when my grandmother bought all of Dickens’ collected works in leather-bound hardback volumes.
She paid for that collection for years, one book at a time.

I accept that a Kindle edition is far from glamorous.
But at 75 p, it is an absolute bargain, better than any other I have ever seen.

Obviously, I bought it!

Books, and Amazon

Regular readers will have noticed that I am reviewing a lot more books lately.
Since buying a Kindle Fire tablet for myself last Christmas, I have got back into reading.

As well as reviewing most books that I buy outside of blogging, I have also reviewed those of some fellow bloggers.
At the end of the review, I always add a buying link.
And that is usually an Amazon link, as they are the only suppliers of Kindle versions, which are generally the cheapest option.

But in case anyone was wondering…

*I am not affiliated to Amazon in any way, and receive no commission from any books bought via those links.

*I have paid for every book I have ever reviewed, even turning down the offer of free copies from blogging friends.

*I rarely pay more than £1.99 for a book, usually just 99 p.

*I still buy some paperback and hardback books second-hand, mostly through Amazon Marketplace sellers.

*I wouldn’t like any of you to think that I use those book reviews as a source of income, however small that would be.

*They are all 100% genuine reviews, so you can rest assured that I meant what I said, even if I gave a book the equivalent of five stars.

I just wanted everyone to know. 🙂

Thinking Aloud On a Sunday

Books, and reading.

As I have started to read again, after a long break, and because I was reading a book in bed before I went to sleep last night, it is understandable that I woke up today thinking about that subject.

I am not getting on that well with electronic reading. On the plus side, it is great to be able to read an ‘illuminated page’, with no need for additional lighting. And I can store a lot of books on something the size of an A4 sheet of paper. The downside for me is that the page-turning feature can be over-sensitive, frequently flipping back to previously read pages without warning. It also freezes up more that I am happy with, leaving me having to restart, to return to the last page I was reading.

So many of you report no issues with this, I am beginning to wonder if I have a faulty Kindle Fire. But it may also have something to do with me, and my unfamiliarity with using Tablets.

When it comes to the books, I have now read five of them in one month. Considering I only finished one book during the whole of the previous year, then that is progress indeed, and definitely a result of having the new way of reading, as well as not having to further clutter diminishing space with large paperbacks or hardback copies. I have enjoyed the books written by other bloggers, and have been pleasantly surprised by the high quality, readability, and refreshing subjects and themes.

That has not been the case with the mainstream books though. Despite great reviews, and large sales on Amazon and elsewhere, I was disappointed to find that familiar ‘formula’ writing very much in evidence. Characters conceived so that they can be featured in sequels, or living in stylised, unrealistic situations that are hard to identify with. Many years ago, I regularly read at least one book a week. I used to follow authors, including Dean Koontz, Stephen King, and some more serious writers. When they had a new book out, I would buy it immediately, believing I would be sure to like it.

But then they started to feel ‘familiar’. The names were changed, but the plots similar. Things happened in those books as I had come to expect them to, and I became convinced that we were all reading much the same story, with just the locations and characters altered slightly. That was one of the main reasons I stopped reading novels, and switched to non-fiction instead. After almost twenty years, I have returned to fiction, in the hope that things had changed. In many respects they have, but in some cases, I can see it is just the same old story. Literally.

So I am not sure about reading again. I feel a little cheated by some writers, but refreshed and inspired by others. Maybe that has always been the case? Not sure.

I am still thinking about it.

A Present To Myself

Sometimes, the best presents are things you buy for yourself. You don’t have to wrap them, or wait until the 25th to open them. After resisting Tablet ownership for some years now, I saw that there was a cheap offer on the Amazon Fire Tablet, with a 10.1 inch screen. As I already have a PC, a laptop, and a smartphone, I obviously didn’t need to have it. But who only buys things they actually need anymore? Not me, obviously.

But wait. I do actually need it, as I want to be able to read my Kindle books. All those lovely books written by fellow bloggers that I bought for 99p, and have stored in my Kindle library. I could read them on the PC. I tried that, and it wasn’t a comfortable experience. I also tried reading them on my smartphone, but that was too small. The laptop is unwieldy, especially for reading in bed, so I was able to justify the moderate expense of this Amazon-dedicated tablet. Especially as it is far cheaper than the actual Kindle Paperwhite book reader I was originally browsing for, and has more features.

It was delivered today, in the box shown above. Like most things these days, it had no instruction book, just a charger unit and the Tablet. So I charged it up and switched it on. After connecting to the home wi-fi, it immediately knew it was me. I am still enough of a technophobe to find that very spooky. Seconds later, it had downloaded all my music and Kindle books, and was fast making suggestions about more things Amazon thought I should buy, or apps I should download. It also delighted in telling me that I now had ‘Alexa’, and I could ask the robot anything I wanted. Maybe not, so I chose not to activate that weird voice, thank you.

After some frustrations with getting out of screens, and going back to home screens, I was using it reasonably well. It’s like a huge mobile phone really, and nothing at all like my trusty PC.

Of course, it is far from perfect. But what is? The cameras, front and back, are dull and grainy. But I don’t care, as I have lots of digital cameras, so didn’t intend to use this device to take photos. The search engine is Bing, by default. But that doesn’t bother me either, as I can search a lot faster using my PC, with a keyboard. Leave it alone for a while, and adverts pop up, mostly for pay-to-play games. But that didn’t worry me, as to buy the Tablet without those adverts is much more expensive. And I can just swipe them away. Eventually.

Screen resolution is average, at best. Compared to my wife’s Samsung Galaxy Tab, or an Apple i-pad, it looks gloomy. But that is of no consequence, as the Samsung costs three times as much, and the Apple even more than that. For two-thirds of the price of a Kindle e-book reader, I reckon it’s a bargain.

Let’s just hope it carries on working.

Books: Making a comeback

I watched a very interesting feature on the BBC yesterday. It seems that ‘real’ books are making a comeback. I couldn’t be more pleased to hear it. Although I have a few electronic downloads, I still have many real books, including quite a lot that wait to be read.

Nothing equals the feel of pages, the enjoyment of the weight and gravitas of a volume, and the wonderful cover art. The details about the author, often accompanied with a photograph, the publishing date, and other small details, including the ISBN number. Magical stuff indeed.

Waterstones is the largest independent bookseller remaining in the UK today. Not so long ago, they faced bankruptcy, and closure of branches. Their corporate image and identical store layout had left the public bored, and tired of the same old thing. Luckily, they grasped the mettle, and reinvented the whole idea of chain bookshops. They allowed managers to feature local authors, and to stock books that were both relevant and popular in the various regions. They installed comfy chairs for reading, and gave the bookshop customer the experience they had been looking for.

As a result, sales are up by more than 3%. That doesn’t sound like much, but it is the difference between failure, and profit. They have put in great displays, featured authors, held book-signings, and promoted special offers. Finally, we have an alternative to Amazon; and although it is slightly more costly, the buyers are flocking in their droves to experience browsing through actual books, and enjoying the weight and feel of paper, at long last.

Nothing really replaces a book. The cover, the smell of the paper, the physical presence signifying that you have an object of importance in your hand. That is something priceless. You can pass it on to a lover, a friend, a relative, a colleague. You can pack it in your luggage to enjoy on holiday, or prop it on your bedside table for reading late at night. No matter how many Kindle apps you have, or how convenient it is to hold a smartphone or tablet, nothing will ever replicate the feeling of physically turning those pages.

Books have been a huge part of my life. I never really relaxed with an electronic book. I tended to worry about battery life, extraneous light, and whether or not a title was available. If bookshops are enjoying a new lease of life, nobody could be happier that me. What great news, for a change.