New book to review – “Meeting Boudicca” by C. A. Powell

Now that I’ve received the review copy from the author, I can talk about another book to add to my review list from Book Tasters. I’m taking a little bit of a step away from cybercrime and cybersecurity and throwing myself into historical fiction (which I love!) The book is by author C. A. Powell. It’s called “Meeting Boudicca” about a fictional meeting between two British queens during the Roman invasion of Britain.

Here’s the animated cover I just made for it:

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Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

Queen Boudicca is defeated. Her Iceni and other British allies are dead or fleeing from the vengeance of unmerciful Rome. The British rebellion is over. The beaten Iceni Warrior queen has gone into hiding and awaits her poison elixir which will aid her departure from life while the waiting druids wish to bury her in a secret place.
However, before Boudicca can complete her final and drastic act; a messenger arrives with news of a potential alliance. The Brigantes Queen Cartimandua may be able to offer a new pact against Rome. This is confusing because Cartimandua is loyal to Rome and has betrayed other Britons who fought Rome in the past.

Cartimandua is equally perplexed. She has no desire to aid Boudicca and fears the Iceni queen. Could both sovereigns be pawns in another participants’ ploy? To find the culprits of the conspiracy, Cartimandua chooses to indulge the inappropriate consultation of two very different British queens.

I have to say that I’ve been fairly blessed with really good books to review lately and I’m so looking forward to reading them and sharing them all over social media😁 (and here, of course!)

Animated Cover – Second Sister

I make a lot of animated images – and I figured, why not try this with book covers that I like? So today, I decided I would do this for my Instagram account which I just recently started – I’ll be adding it to my blog very soon.

In the meantime, here is the edited and animated book cover for the book I am currently reviewing – and I can tell you it’s fantastic! I can’t wait to write my review

Let me know what you think:

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Book Review Update – December 2019

Hi everyone. Here’s another quick update just to keep any of my followers who care about books and writing in the know. I have added a few books to my “reviewing” list – the first is this book which I am now currently reading:

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GOSSIP, RUMOUR, REVENGE…

Second Sister by author Chan Ho-Kei. I am quite excited to read this because this book deals with a few topics I am very passionate about and interested in – cyberbullying and cybersecurity. The story begins with a young woman named Nga-Yee who has her world turned upside down with the sudden and very unexpected suicide of her younger sister, Siu-Man. Nga-Yee is adamant that her sister would never commit suicide and begins her own investigation into the events that led up to her sister’s untimely death. What she discovers leads her to a hacker she knows only by his first initial, N. And you’ll just have to either read the book yourself or wait for my review for the rest!

I also discovered that this book has another title and different cover art as well. This version of the book is called “In the Net”with a pretty blue and white cover:

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The second book on my review list is “Lurking – How a Person Became a User”by author Joanne McNeil. Here is part of the synopsis from Goodreads:

In Lurking, Joanne McNeil digs deep and identifies the primary (if sometimes contradictory) concerns of people online: searching, safety, privacy, identity, community, anonymity, and visibility. She charts what it is that brought people online and what keeps us here even as the social equations of digital life—what we’re made to trade, knowingly or otherwise, for the benefits of the internet—have shifted radically beneath us. It is a story we are accustomed to hearing as tales of entrepreneurs and visionaries and dynamic and powerful corporations, but there is a more profound, intimate story that hasn’t yet been told.

Doesn’t that sound amazingly interesting? I can’t wait to review/read it and share it here with you all.

Book Review – Under Lying by Janelle Harris

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This book can be found here on Goodreads and here on Amazon

This book covers the following topics and/or genres – Fiction / Thriller / Suspense

Under Lying is a suspense-thriller that focuses on the sudden disappearance of a couple’s little girl. Susan and Paul’s daughter Amelia goes missing during a house-warming party. After Amelia’s disappearance, the relationship between Susan and her husband slowly begins to disintegrate. Paul appears as if he is pointing the finger of blame at Susan and others. There are a lot of moving “parts” at this point in the book, a lot of characters and actions to consider with nothing looking too obvious. Other minor characters are introduced during the party such as Helen, a neighbour that seems friendly and supportive of Susan during the ordeal.

The book is split into two timelines, the past and the present. I wasn’t too keen on the flicking back and forth between the two. I would have preferred that the author didn’t separate the timelines and rather integrated the past into the present without having to define it in separate chapters. I think this segregates the flow of the story way too much and is almost distracting.

In the past timeline, Susan is a student with a twin brother, also a student. Susan’s brother, Adam, goes out to get champagne for their 21st party, and a terrible accident kills him. Susan goes through the various phases of grief, even attending a bereavement group at her old primary school to try and cope with the loss. This is where we meet Jenny, also coping with loss in her life and the two become friends.

I found it hard to feel sympathy for Susan. Early on in the book, I felt nothing but an annoyance for her. I understand this character has endured a lot, but for some reason, she reads like she is just overly-needy and I find that aspect of her difficult to like. Losing a child is a severe topic to tackle, and I commend the writer for choosing this as a foundation for the book. It’s abundantly clear early on in the current timeline that Susan is either very good at acting like she’s grieving for her daughter or entirely truthful about it. I think this aspect of Susan’s personality is both the best and the worst part about her. I also would have thought that after losing a brother as a teenager and a twin at that, Susan would be slightly more experienced in dealing with this level of grief.

Turning to the husband, Paul, he isn’t as engaging as Susan, but there is an air of “what the hell is going on” with him throughout the first half of the book that keeps you wondering about his motivation. Lots of questions arise, which is mirrored in the actions of the detectives assigned to solve the case.

The first major twist in the story comes about half-way through the book, and it’s not very subtle either. I did feel that there was a bit of a “jump” in the plot development, almost like the author was trying to rush through the rest of the story to get to the end. That said, this particular plot twist does what it was intended to do, which is to catch you completely off-guard. It seemed a little “out of nowhere”, but I think the author fully intended for this to happen and for the most part, it works well.

There are several twists throughout this book, but I didn’t feel the others were as impactful as the first. Susan doesn’t escape my original thoughts about her which makes it a lot easier to get behind the person she became as the plot progresses. By the end of the book, I expected to feel a little more relieved than I did, relieved that the story was over and that I didn’t have to continue reading about a character I didn’t enjoy.

I was a tad disappointed at the end as the book had so much promise, which kind of dwindled right after the first twist is revealed. I found myself more invested in the main character than the character deserved. And the ending felt like something was missing or unfinished – perhaps unfinished business or justice unserved.

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Book Review – F*ck No by Sarah Knight

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This book can be found here on Goodreads and here on Amazon

This e-book was provided for review via Netgalley for an honest review

This book covers the following topics – Non-Fiction / Self-Help

Publisher’s release date: 31 Dec 2019

How does someone get better at saying “No?” Why would you want to be better at saying no? According to Sarah Knight and her successful series of books that tackle everything from not giving a f*ck to putting oneself first, there is a myriad of tricks and practices everyone who has problems with saying no can learn out of the safety of their lounge.

How is this book written for the audience?

Sarah Knight has made a successful career out of helping people face their fears and shortcomings, and she continues this stride with her latest book, F*ck No!: How to Stop Saying Yes When You Can’t, You Shouldn’t, or You Just Don’t Want To. Sarah is a TED speaker and a New York Times bestselling author. So what makes it so easy for some of us to say no, and why is it so hard for others? Sarah speaks from personal experience as a full-time corporate book editor who got tired of giving authors lousy news daily. Ask yourself if you have ever been the person that always has to please everyone? Or the push-over that always caves when they should stand their ground? Or even the overachiever that takes on way too much work for minimal reward or none at all? If you can relate to any of these scenarios, you will benefit greatly from reading this book.

Some of the highlights of this book included the following advice that Sarah offers unapologetically to the reader:

– Building real, applicable boundaries for yourself and those people in your life you find it hard to say no to. These people can be family members, friends, bosses or colleagues. It doesn’t matter because Sarah’s advice can be moulded around to fit with any relationship that you have.
– Having personal policies that help you to apply the boundaries you’ve created to real-world situations.
– Dealing with those people that won’t take “no” for an answer and how to continue being in control when you don’t feel in control
– Dealing with the guilt of saying “no” in a responsible way that can come in many shapes and forms
– Approaching the “fall out” or consequences of saying “no” and working to move beyond these limitations

The language used – is it simple enough to understand for the everyday reader?

One of the essential concepts in Sarah’s book is that not all situations and examples will be something you can relate to. This book is structured in such a way that you can skip and re-read sections that are relevant to you and your life. After all, this book is all about improving yourself, and only you know where that improvement needs to be applied.

As an example, I’ll use my own experience here – I don’t have a single problem with telling telemarketers “no” or telling door-to-door sellers “no, but thank you!” But some people might. Sarah has thought about her material extensively, and I do mean that this book is extremely comprehensive and covers just about every situation you could imagine and then some. So again, you can pick up this book and apply what you’ve learned to Sarah’s material – look at the chapters you want to look at and ignore the rest. Or, if you’re a completionist (like I tend to be), read the entire book and apply only what you know to be relevant when required. It is that simple.

That said, however, the language used in this book may be a little “blunt” for some readers. Not all readers will appreciate the way Sarah uses certain words (mostly slang and swear words) in her writing. So this book won’t appeal to everyone. But I enjoyed the stripped-down nature of the book, and its rawness made it easier for me to feel comfortable reading about difficult situations. I prefer the no-nonsense approach.

What can be gained from the book – does it educate the reader?

I didn’t choose to review this book because of any particular need that I had other than I wanted to read it because I thought the subject matter would be interesting. And I also appreciate the way that Sarah approaches her material. But the further into this book I progressed the more I began to realise that this book is addressing experiences I have had. I remember feeling like I couldn’t breathe or like I was choking because of the pressure other people in my life were putting onto me. I remember the horrible feeling that crept over me whenever I said “yes” to a person I didn’t like. I remember how annoyed and disgusted with myself I felt because I had given into the guilt, yet again. I am one of the people that Sarah has spent a considerable chunk of her career trying to reach out to. Perhaps something subconsciously was telling me I needed to read this book. Maybe the experience can be the same for you too. This book could be a revelation or could provide clarity into your shortcomings or even deeper than that.

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Movies in Theatres – A Discussion about Ready or Not

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Ready or Not (2019)

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Stars:

Samara Weaving, Adam Brody, Mark O’Brien | See full cast & crew

Ready or Not had a great trailer. The trailer did a reasonably sound job of confirming that the sub-genre where horror is mixed in with the protagonist playing some sort of sick game (kind of like Saw but this time it’s an actual game) is alive and well. There are plenty of movies based on this plot, and some of them are not even in the horror genre (The Hunger Games) even though horrible things can or will happen. So where does that leave Ready Or Not? Somewhere near the bottom half seems about right.

The biggest win in this film for me is the lead actress and protagonist in this twisted little tale, Samara Weaving, who plays the bride-to-be, Grace. Grace meets Alex and falls in love. Alex just happens to be part of the Domas Gaming family heirdom that makes him a very nice catch indeed. The couple finally gets to the big day where their lovely vows are exchanged, but most of this is just a facade. Unbeknownst to Grace, the Domas family have a very dark and ugly secret, and she’s about to find out just what that secret is by, you guessed it, playing a game!

Samara Weaving is fantastic as Grace. Weaving seems to be going from strength to strength in her films of late. That said, it would be a fair comment to also suggest that there might be a little bit of pigeon-holing going on in terms of the genre and roles she has been cast in. Nevertheless, she pulls it off with finesse, kicking and screaming all the way. She’s very believable, and that’s important because sometimes, you just need to see someone screaming from the sheer terror of their experience. Even in a horror-comedy.

The pacing of the film is a little odd. While the beginning starts off relatively slow, the pace seems to jump from 2 to 15 without much in-between and then maintains this pace until it’s very close to the end. There’s nothing wrong with a fast-paced horror movie as long as it’s all going to come full circle. Eventually, it does, but it was all just a little too predictable for me, and that was a tad disappointing.

One thing that I did think was a little funnier than it was probably intended to be is the situation that ensues with the Domas family waitresses and a butler that almost stole the show entirely. It’s so hard to find good help these days.

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Writing Update – November 2019

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

If you’re not actually visiting my website, then you won’t see my “Currently Reviewing” Widget so I thought it would be a good idea to blog regular updates about what I’m reviewing and writing for the month. I anticipate that I may have a lot more to review and write about as the months progress because I am already reading and reviewing two books this week, which is this title courtesy of Net Galley:

 

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I actually really enjoyed reviewing Cybersecurity is Everybody’s Business in the non-fiction genre, so I’m gonna ride the non-fiction wave a tad longer with F*ck No! By Sarah Knight. It’s technically a self-help book, but I was intrigued enough by the title to read the blurb, and I was kinda sold.

 

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I started reading Under Lying by Janelle Harris purely out of the blue one day when I was looking on Amazon and I’ve just kept going from there so that’s book number two for this week.

And lastly, I wanted to revisit The King in a second viewing and finally write a review. So that’s a lot to do.

I’m also still writing my short story that I can’t talk about but it’s slowly coming along. I’ve written around eight chapters so far. I gave up on flash fiction because I really didn’t feel and you know what they say about not feeling something … don’t do it 😀

And lastly, I am looking at other blogging platforms to spread my writing around and I found Bloglovin which I actually liked so I’ll be reposting my work there.