Wednesday, 25 September 2013

#bookreview: How the Rhino Got His Skin

How the Rhino Got His SkinHow the Rhino Got His Skin by Henry L. Herz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

How the Rhino Got his Skin is a retelling of Rudyard Kipling's short story of the same name.
Rewritten in simple, lyrical English, the book is filled with beautiful illustrations to entrance the young kids.
Included in the book is the original short story, which may help to transition young readers from picture books to non-illustrated stories.

View all my reviews

I first met Henry on twitter. He was promoting Nimpentoad, the first book he wrote with his sons Joshua and Harrison. I readily agreed to review the book - it proved to be a great read; creative, descriptive, enjoyable, fun, all whilst having good teaching points for readers. I think I enjoyed this the most as it was the most comprehensive of his books, aimed at 5- to10-year-olds.

The next book, Twignibble, was aimed at a slightly younger age, stated at between 5 - 8. It was simpler, but more poetic, and filled with more illustrations. It had a great environmental message and educational value for young kids about the environment, animals and the world at large. I read it during lunch break at work and showed it to a colleague of mine who has a young kid. She loved it, saying it's the sort of thing she wants to buy for her daughter. I liked it, but not as much as Nimpentoad. Maybe I'm a sucker for longer narratives, even when it's packaged as a kid's book (hey, I love illustrations too!).

This one, How the Rhino Got His Skin, I like, but I don't love it. It's great as a kid's book. It's funny and entertaining, and the illustrations are cute. But... It's a remake. Coming after two highly original books, this feels a little like a let down. Yes, it's aimed at even younger children (3 - 6 year olds) and it reads that way, but surely the Herz family could have come up with something original?

I don't know. We'll see where they go. I hope they come up with something more in the spirit of Nimpentoad again.

*fingers crossed*

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Hey, I posted on Medium!

Today I'm on medium talking about being a 29 year old virgin.

If you missed my first medium post on writing (which was posted here first), check it out here.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

#fireplace: don't despise the little things

I had a strange dream on Tuesday night.

I’m not sure what to make of it (at least what I remember of it), but the main takeaway that’s sticking in my brain right now are the words don’t despise the little things. It had some weird connection to Corinthians (in my dream at least) but I don’t remember what. Maybe I’ll have to go read Corinthians to find out. I don’t even know if it’s 1st or 2nd Corinthians. Google suggests “Start Small, End Big” - Zechariah 4:10 and 2 Corinthians 3: 4-6 as well as this - 1 Corinthians 1:27-29.

Actually 1 Cor 27-31 is really a good passage - 
For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of  the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God. But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and the righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, "Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord."
Don't despise the little things.
It's a two-pronged admonishment.

Don't despise the little ones, the ones you think are lesser than you, the ones who are not as articulate, the ones who struggle with their words, with their expressions, with their thoughts. Because I do. All the time. Because words are my playground and my battlefield. They are where I find comfort, and where I find fault. And sometimes the littlest of things - a wrong word, an awkward sentence, strange phrasing, grammatical errors - makes me discount the message because, well, you can't even say it right.
It's intellectual pride.
Which is funny, coming from one who often refuses to think, really, because it's too much effort.

Don't despise the little things, the things you've done, the things you've tried to do, the things you thought you failed at, the things that you thought no one saw or noticed. Because I do. All the time. And yet it's sometimes these little things that prove to you over and over again that this was what you were made for, this was what brought meaning to your life (oh, how you agonised!). And maybe, just maybe, one of these little things touched someone, impacted someone, and it wasn't a waste of time.
It's just that you didn't know it.

Sometimes I think that I'm too small.
But really, what I mean is that my pride is too big. It's getting in the way of the actual doing, because in doing, you might fail, and that might break you.

Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.
Because it's not by might nor by power, but by His Spirit that we accomplish anything worthwhile at all.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

#bookreview: Maybe I Will

Maybe I WillMaybe I Will by Laurie Gray
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Life couldn't be better for Sandy. Cassie and Troy are the best friends that one could ever hope for, and Sandy's parents are understanding and supportive. Nailing the role of Peter Pan at the school musical and the new iPhone makes life even better. And then tragedy strikes.

One night at Cassie's house, Sandy is sexually abused by Cassie's boyfriend, Aaron. In a matter of seconds, Sandy is traumatised and life takes a downward spiral. Sandy turns to drinking, and steals to support the habit. Depression and anger become close friends as Sandy starts to isolate from both Cassie, who believes Aaron's story, and Troy, who is anguished at having to choose between them.

There are relatively few books that make me cry, and this is one of them. It's very easy to identify with Sandy's thoughts and feelings, even if you've never been in the same situation. Gray's storytelling makes everything so vivid and so real that you are able to step into Sandy's situation and identify with him/her.

It's not clear if Sandy is a guy or a girl. In certain passages, I'd imagine Sandy, in all her enthusiasm and excitement, as a girl. In others, Sandy's actions lead me to believe he's a guy. This was done intentionally by Laurie Gray, and it's quite effective in her purpose - to emphasise the fact that sexual abuse happens to everyone, whether male or female.

View all my reviews


About the Book - About the Author - Prizes!!!

Welcome to Novel Publicity's latest publishing house blog tour. Join us as two new titles from Luminis Books--we're calling them the Luminis Duo--tour the blogosphere in a way that just can't be ignored. And, hey, we've got prizes!

  About the book: It's not about sex. It's about how one secret act of violence changes everything--how best friends can desert you when you need them most, how nobody understands. It's about the drinking and stealing and lying and wondering who you can trust. It's about parents and teachers, police officers and counselors--all the people who are supposed to help you, but who may not even believe you. It's about how suddenly all of your hopes and dreams can vanish, and you can find yourself all alone, with nothing and no one. Your only choice is to end it all or to start over... and all you can think is Maybe I Will. Author Laurie Gray presents a compelling picture of the realities of sexual assault in Maybe I Will, drawing on her years of experience as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, dealing with crimes against children. The twist in the story is that we never know for sure if the victim is a boy or a girl, and we realize that it doesn't matter, because it's not about sex. Pick up your copy of this Young Adult (with mature themes) through Amazon US, Amazon UK, or Barnes & Noble.


  About the author: Laurie Gray has worked as a high school teacher, a deputy prosecuting attorney, and the founder of Socratic Parenting LLC (www.SocraticParenting.com). In addition to writing, speaking and consulting, Laurie currently works as a bilingual child forensic interviewer at her local Child Advocacy Center and as an adjunct professor of criminal sciences at Indiana Tech. She has served on the faculty of the National Symposium for Child Abuse in Huntsville, Alabama, annually since 2009. Her debut novel Summer Sanctuary (Luminis Books/2010) received a Moon Beam Gold Medal for excellence in young adult fiction and was named a 2011 Indiana Best Book Finalist. Her third young adult novel Just Myrto (Luminis Books/2014) will carry readers back to ancient Greece to meet Socrates, Laurie’s favorite teacher of all times. Connect with Laurie on her website, Facebook, or GoodReads.

  About the prizes: Who doesn't love prizes? You could win either of two $25 Amazon gift cards, an autographed copy of Maybe I Will by Laurie Gray Aloha, Mozart by Waimea Williams, or an autographed copy of its tour mate, Aloha, Mozart by Waimea Williams. Here's what you need to do...
  1. Enter the Rafflecopter contest
  2. Leave a comment on my blog.
That's it! One random commenter during this tour will win a $25 gift card. Visit more blogs for more chances to win--the full list of participating bloggers can be found here. The other $25 gift card and the 3 autographed books will be given out via Rafflecopter. You can find the contest entry form linked below or on the official Luminis Duo tour page via Novel Publicity. Good luck!

  Luminis Books was launched in January, 2010 by husband and wife team Tracy Richardson and Chris Katsaropoulos with a mission to publish thoughtprovoking literary fiction for children and adults. We publish what we love: Meaningful Books That Entertain. Our award-winning books engage and inform readers and explore a wide range of topics from love and relationships, teen sexual assault and homelessness to string theory, consciousness, and the Universal Energy Field. Luminis Books is a proudly independent publisher located in Carmel, IN. Learn more at www.luminisbooks.com.  

Learn more about Maybe I Will's tour mate HERE.

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

#bookreview: Shade's Children by Garth Nix

Shade's ChildrenShade's Children by Garth Nix
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Evil Overlords have taken over the world and no one is allowed to live above the age of fourteen. All fourteen year-olds celebrate their Sad Day and are taken off to the Meat Factory. Anyone who tries to escape is hunted down by mutant creatures - Ferrets by night and Myrmidons by day.

Shade is the only adult left on earth - and he himself isn't fully human. His goal is to protect the children and to find away to destroy the Overlords. Aiding him are Ella, Drum, Ninde and Gold-Eye, four teenagers with Change Talents that have given them the ability to continuously evade the Overlords and their creatures.

I picked up Shade's Children because I was very impressed with Nix's The Old Kingdom series. However, this one just wasn't as tantalising. I don't know if it's because of the setting - this is much more science fiction/dystopian whilst Abhorsen is more into old-school magic, bust since all these fall squarely into my normally reading genres, I don't see why it should be an issue for me.

Was it the writing style? Shade's Children wasn't as emotional for me as compared to Abhorsen or the other two books in the series. Or maybe I've been reading too many books standing up for an "issue" that the lack of an identifiable cause made it seem flatter than it would have been previously.

Shade's Children wasn't boring. I kind of liked it. It just wasn't stellar.

View all my reviews

Friday, 13 September 2013

#review: Short + Sweet #Theatre Penang 2013

I'd wanted to write this the night before, right after watching the show, but I was tired, and then I was lazy. So anyway, there's still one more run Saturday night (not sure if they have a matinee? There might be) so I figured I might as well just do the review now, in case there's anyone who's still figuring out whether or not to catch the final show.

Okay. So mini introduction - short and sweet theatre is a showcase of 10-minute plays. Plays will be judged for a variety of things (doesn't make a difference unless you are a participant or a judge), as well as the Audience Choice Awards (okay, this one involves you, the audience. You get to vote for your favourite).

As a mini rundown goes, I think this year's offerings were slightly better than last year's. Most of the plays were local - only two from KL - as compared to last year, whereby some plays were recycled from previous fests.

Thoughts about the plays 

The show started off with Arrangement, which kind of bombed for me because it didn't quite make sense. A wife comes home from a trip to find her husband masturbating (?) goes into a spiel about being perfectly fine and understanding if he needs to have another woman (went on too long about this, in CIRCLES) and then discovers that after two months of marriage, he is still a virgin. Er. Unless I understood the whole thing wrong. (Sorry if this is a spoiler, but if you understand it any better, please do let me know). *scratch head*
It would have been much better if 1) the extreme vulgarity was dropped (the actors didn't seem comfortable with it anyway) as the subject matter was shocking enough at any rate 2) the acting was much more flamboyant (and the English better/more fluent), thereby carrying off the pseudo-American patter it was written in.

This was followed by Noticed, which was a sweet little piece about teenagers and self-image, and how things are supposed to change in college, but doesn't really, not unless you do something about it yourself. On one hand, you have a teen (sorry, I forgot her name) who, tired of being the wallflower, is on an extreme diet (i.e. I AM NOT EATING). Her friend, the popular one, is worried about her. I loved the argument about why, if losing weight and gaining popularity was supposed to make you happy, you don't actually seem happy? As much as I liked this piece (and it was quite well written by my friend Jackie) there wasn't anything spectacularly new or exceptional about this.

I didn't really follow Hope and hopeless as it was in Mandarin, but you know what, it was BRILLIANT. Sounds strange, right? But that shows you what good acting really is - it draws you in, entrances you, makes you laugh and react - even if it's mainly to the body language and about 10% (err, or less) of what they said. It had something to do with heaven and hell...

Good girls turned semi-serious, talking about abusive husbands and arranged marriages, whilst "..." was a classic lost in translation/miscommunication story between a frantic husband (I think he was supposed to be Indian, but the actor was Chinese) and his visiting Japanese mother-in-law though it was a rather Malaysian interpretation of what a Japanese old woman would be, which I think made her look like a rather frazzled, befuddled aunty lost in her own world, rather than one who had communication problems. (Okay, that sentence was way too long).

The sixth play was Shooting Star, where Rachel recalls why wishing on shooting stars makes her feel sad and why she will never wish on one again. I really liked the actors on this one. They had this nice shy/awkward vibe going on (you know, he likes her, she's oblivious, he doesn't know how to tell her, she's talking about another guy) that makes me go awww.

Okay, so 'No' in spite of itself was a brilliantly written piece. Do you realise how many nuances there can be just for that one word - "no"? Okay, so slightly same premise with the love triangle thing, but I like the way it played out. Touched a bit on suicide. Also, actor (from last year's S+S) did much better this round - maybe he suited this character better, or maybe he improved a lot.

Grave affairs was another serious piece - also bringing up the issue of abusive husbands (why are all the serious pieces about abusive husbands?) and male chauvinistic thinking. I preferred this one though, because it was serious and intended to be serious. Good girls had that psychotic/hysteria vibe to it which tends to take away from the issue. In Grave affairs, the widow stands up and gives an eulogy about why she won't be grieving for her husband's death. Her son's attempts to shut her up gives even more gravity to the issue.

Who is the killer? was another Mandarin piece, so it lost me a little. It was something about H1N1, some other pandemic (also spread by mosquitoes, I think and has R?N? or maybe N?R? code, I forget) and Char Koay Teow and I think the case was about who killed more? Or who killed someone? Er. Of course you had to have the Chinese Judge. Oh, and iPad photos. A little more slapstick humour to this one.

The last play of all, homo | phobia, was the shocker of the evening. I mean, I don't even know how to start talking about this one. Okay, I had a sneaky suspicion it was going to go the way it was going, but I didn't quite expect them to end that way. (Haha! No spoilers until after the final show!) It was, of course, about the gays and homophobia. Gay guy (shown obviously by his erm. tight, colourful shirt and short shorts and GLITTERY EYELASHES OH MY GOODNESS THE GLITTERY EYELASHES*) comes to borrow notes from a classmate. Classmate acts decidedly uncomfortable around him and gets accused of being homophobic.

* First thought - that's more trans/drag queen than gay. Second thought - do gay guys wear glittery eyelashes? Third thought - are transsexuals gay? Fourth thought - who cares, let's just take this at face value

Other random thoughts
1. Okay, so why is it that the two plays about abuse was written by Malays (Haris Hazizan and Fa Abdul)? Is this a common problem in Malay households? Or is it a bigger/weightier problem/issue for them? Good Girls was a definitely Malay setting, though Grave Affairs was rather confused - the son was wearing a cross, there was an obvious "Christian wake" kind of setting with eulogy time, but the widow later smears red paint on her forehead which is a Hindu practice? (Intentional, I'm thinking - kind of I'm not just renouncing you as my husband, I'm renouncing your religion too!)

2. Is Maxime Rhapsody the poet guy from last year's lit fest?

3. LANGUAGE! It makes such a big difference - not the language itself, but how well you speak it, or how comfortable you are speaking it. It really affects your acting. I don't doubt that the two actors in Arrangement were okay with speaking English, but you could tell it wasn't fluent, maybe not quite their first language. And I think that was the deciding factor in what broke the play (for me at least) - there was no impact to what they were saying at all. This was all the more evident because right after that, Noticed, was played by two girls (one Caucasian, one maybe mixed? - or at least from an international school) who were decidedly fluent and it made everything they did and said feel more natural. Of course, as I said about Hope and Hopeless, and which also applies to Who is the Killer?, even though I didn't understand the actual dialogue, it still captured my attention because it felt real.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

#bookreview: Render by Stephanie Fleshman (@stephaniecfl)




RenderRender by Stephanie Fleshman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

That I read this book in (almost) one sitting says much about it. I'd picked up Render as part of the Novel Publicity book tour with the idea that "if I have the time, I'll do the review, if not I'll just read it later." But one long afternoon waiting for my passport to be done, I loaded it onto my iPad and was pretty much enthralled for the rest of the day.

Koldan Holdt's world is turned upside down when his grandfather dies unexpectedly. Armed with only some maps, a leatherback journal and the last travel bookings his grandfather made for him and his brother Lukas, Koldan, Lukas and Koldan's girlfriend, Raya, try to discover the secret that Dr Daniel Holdt had wanted to reveal to the boys before his death. Their journey takes them across the world to Australia, and on to an uncharted island where unexpected people and unwelcome news await them.

Fleshman writes quite believable characters, and I enjoyed the banter between the brothers. Admittedly they did use some really big words, but then again they're supposed to be geniuses, so it made some sense. The part that didn't quite make sense was when Raya started throwing some of those words around, because she wasn't supposed to be a genius as well, but I suppose maybe the boys rubbed off on her.

View all my reviews

Render Tour BadgeAs part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, Render, the debut YA Paranormal novel by Stephanie Fleshman, is on sale for just 99 cents! What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes. The prizes include a Kindle Fire, $550 in Amazon gift cards, and 5 autographed copies of the book. All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment--easy to enter; easy to win! To win the prizes:
  1. Get Render at its discounted price of 99 cents
  2. Enter the Rafflecopter contest below
  3. Visit the featured social media events
  4. Leave a comment on my blog for a chance at a $100 prize.

About Render: 
A betrayal born of blood. A curse for a gift. A love worth saving... Seventeen-year-old Raya Whitney thought she knew Koldan--until a sudden turn of events threatens both their lives. Get it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or iTunes.

Stephanie Fleshman graduated with a degree in psychology and has family throughout the United States as well as in Thessaloniki and Athens, Greece. Visit Stephanie on her website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, 9 September 2013

#guestpost by @stephaniecfl: The 5 guys you'll meet in YA fiction

Please enjoy this guest post by Stephanie Fleshman, author of the enticing Paranormal YA, Render. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including a Kindle Fire, $550 in Amazon gift cards, and 5 autographed copies of the book.  

The 5 Guys You'll Meet in YA Fiction:

A Guest Post by Stephanie Fleshman

  According to GalleyCat, YA eBook revenues increased 120.9% last year. The great news is whatever YA male character types keep you reading, it's unlikely you'll run out of books anytime soon. After a while contemplating my favorite YA reads, I noticed a pattern when it came to the male heroes in these stories. Without further ado, here's a run-down of the 5 guys you're likely to meet when reading a Young Adult novel...

Guy #1: The Broken and Vulnerable
When I think of broken, I think of Josh from Barry Lyga’s Boy Toy. The sad thing about Josh is that he knows he’s broken but blames himself instead of the person at fault. When I think of vulnerable, two characters come to mind: Sam from Maggie Stiefvater’s Wolves of Mercy Falls series and Cabel from Lisa McMann’s Wake series. Cabel is doused with gasoline, then set on fire by his alcoholic father. He wants to be loved, yet is scared. What makes him strong in a not-in-your-face kind of way is that he wants to love. His lack of resentment and hate is what makes him attractive.

Guy #2: The Abusive
In Jennifer Brown’s Bitter End, Cole is the product of “like father, like son.” In Swati Avasthi’s YA novel Split, however, Jace is the product of being victimized by his own abuser. Unlike Cole, Jace is capable of remorse and guilt. He not only owns up to his actions, but he wants to pay for them. By comparison, Jace makes Cole look like a sociopath.  

Guy #3: The Obsessive
It’s no secret that Edward from Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight Saga is borderline stalker when it comes to Bella. She is his world entirely. In his mind, though, he is only being protective. So, is Edward protective, overprotective, or obsessive? You decide:
  • Protective: Capable of or intended to protect someone or something.
  • Overprotective: Having a tendency to protect someone, esp. a child, excessively.
  • Obsessive: Of, relating to, characteristic of, or causing an obsession; Excessive in degree or nature.
 
Guy #4: The Dominant
A good example of this type of YA male lead character is Patch from Becca Fitzpatrick’s Hush, Hush series. Patch is 100% boy. He’s self-confident, strong, and stands his ground against Nora. Though he is dominating, I don’t believe it’s in a harmful or abusive manner. In the second book, you get to see more into his heart as he begins to really care for Nora’s well-being. By the third book, he’s thinking of Nora’s safety and how he can stay with her. He sacrifices what he wants in order to protect her and their relationship, which seems non-existent to Nora by this stage. Not everything is what it seems, though. Other good examples are Alex from Simone Elkeles’s Perfect Chemistry and Avi from the same author's How to Ruin series.  

Guy #5: The Lovable
I’m going to start with Koldan from my own YA novel, Render. Koldan is firm but not so dominating that he feels the need to control. He’s confident and strong, but recognizes his weaknesses. He’s romantic in the sense that he will do whatever it takes to keep Raya safe, even if it means risking his own life. And he’s not afraid to show his feelings for Raya. Now, I cannot move forward without mentioning Holder from Hopeless by Colleen Hoover. Thirteen years! Thirteen!!! That’s all I’m going to say. Those of you who have read Hopeless know exactly what I’m talking about. For those of you who haven’t, there’s nothing about this guy not to love.  

Now I've got a question for you: What's your favorite YA male character type?

Render Tour Badge    As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, Render, the debut YA Paranormal novel by Stephanie Fleshman, is on sale for just 99 cents! What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes. The prizes include a Kindle Fire, $550 in Amazon gift cards, and 5 autographed copies of the book.
 All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment--easy to enter; easy to win!



  To win the prizes:
  1. Get Render at its discounted price of 99 cents
  2. Enter the Rafflecopter contest below
  3. Visit the featured social media events
  4. Leave a comment on my blog for a chance at a $100 prize.

About Render: 
A betrayal born of blood. A curse for a gift. A love worth saving... Seventeen-year-old Raya Whitney thought she knew Koldan--until a sudden turn of events threatens both their lives. Get it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or iTunes.

Stephanie Fleshman graduated with a degree in psychology and has family throughout the United States as well as in Thessaloniki and Athens, Greece. Visit Stephanie on her website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, 8 September 2013

#fireplace: Is your laziness stronger than your passion?

2 Thessalonians 3:6-15
It's funny, how after finally having time to myself after eight months, I immediately turn into a huge lump of lard that just wants to laze in bed and read books. (Fact: I've read 10 books since leaving KPMG on 22 August. That's ten books in two weeks.) What happened to all the grandiose plans of *ahem* helping the worship team, starting a creative arts team, editing that book, writing and blogging consistently?

It's coming. I promise. I just need this to run its course.

The problem, of course, with the fallacy of "running its course" is that the course never ends. The current of laziness and apathy and just plain sloth merely prolongs itself into infinity, because, you know, procrastination.

http://adventuresinmonaland.com/2012/01/23/%E3%83%84motivation-in-monaland-%E3%83%84-what-are-you-waiting-for/

And the problem (since I seem to like defining problems) is that we (you; I) think that time is our own. That what I do or do not do has no bearing on anything or anyone but myself - but that is inherently untrue. The time I spent being a total complete utter bum yesterday could have been spent in building up the saints in church. It could have been spent drafting (or rather, redrafting) the mission and purpose of building a creative arts team in church. It could have been spent editing that manuscript. It could have been spent writing the book reviews I signed up for. But no - it was spent reading a book that didn't need to be read (on any urgent basis), and surfing facebook and the internet. (Though maybe there is one good outcome: this post. Er, well, I hope it's good.)

Is your laziness stronger than your passion?

Mine seems to be that way right now. The effort it takes for me to get "bum in chair, fingers on keyboard" seems like wrestling with a hungry man-eating lion. It's like climbing Mount Everest; no actually, it's like me trying to hike up Penang Hill. Penang Hill is at least somewhat possible no matter how improbable - Mount Everest will never happen. It's easier to continue reading another book because "writers need to read too" but when you're consuming at the rate I have been, it's quickly becoming a gorge fest, with no end in sight.

Sometimes I give the excuse that I don't do what I think I should be doing because I don't know what to do. The truth is, I don't know what to do because I'm too lazy to think it through, too lazy to work it through, too lazy to pray it through. I have vague ideas that I think I should do, but really, I'd rather be reading the next book on my never ending to-be-read list. I'd rather just be talking about it, because, you know, talking is easier than doing.

I long for brilliance, but all I have is mediocrity.

Just for the sheer reason that I have not set aside the time. 10,000 hours to become an expert in your field, isn't that what they say? There is time needed for reflection, for thinking, for work, for discipline. It's not discipline for discipline's sake, but discipline for the sake of the Body of Christ, for the sake of the saints, for the sake of your salvation - not that you are saved by what you do, but that by what you choose to do (or not to do) you work out your salvation in faith and works, purifying yourself in the fire of His truth, by the Word that does not return void. And if you, by your inaction, stop the work of Christ in and through your life, you become a blockage in the artery that seeks to send forth the Word.

In the parable of the two brothers (Matthew 21:28-32), you have the brother who says no initially, but then does it anyway, and you have the other brother who says sure, I'll do it but never gets round to it. And that's the thing isn't it? We refuse to commit so that we can be justified in our laziness, saying "we did not promise," and we quote the verse saying "let your yes be yes and your no be no" (Matt 5:37) glibly.

But we did. We promised. Not explicitly, no. But we promised. We promised to follow the Lord in His leading. We promised to follow the Church and leading of the pastors, and unless you have a revelation from God, duly considered, that this is not where you personally should go, you void that implicit promise through your inaction.

http://www.livin3.com/blogs/positive-life-blog/7626373-april-2013-inspirational-poster-quotes

Does that sound harsh? Maybe it is. Maybe I'm overreacting over two weeks of feeling lazy and anti-social. Maybe I'm just needing to be alone to recharge. And yet maybe it's true.

Maybe this apathy, this sloth, this inaction is what's holding you, and the church, back from being the spotless bride that God wants you to be.

I know it's holding me back.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

#bookreview: Gardens of Ampheia by Joshua Silverman

Gardens of Ampheia (Legends of Amun Ra)Gardens of Ampheia by Joshua Silverman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm rating Gardens of Ampheia with 3.5 stars because I liked it a lot more than The Emerald Tablet. It read much better, both pacing- and writing-wise.

The Gardens of Ampheia is a companion novella to the Legends of Amun Ra series, which begins with The Emerald Tablet. Set about 7,000 years before events in The Emerald Tablet, Gardens tells the story of Thea, the daughter of a farmer, whose life is forever changed when a terrible accident happens. Having promised to lie about it (never a smart thing to do!) Thea is then coerced into testifying against an Egyptian thief, thereby setting into motion events that would impact all of Messenia.

I was quite absorbed into the whole story and did not expect the novella to be so short (duh!) so I was quite surprised when it ended, especially since it was a bit of a cliff-hanger, and right after an interesting revelation of Thea's origins!

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a review.

View all my reviews

P/S: Apparently free copies are up for grabs here.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

PSA: Free review copies and over $750 in prizes. Sign-up to host the Render blog tour!

Hey, blogger friends, listen up! I've got a chance for you to receive a free eBook and to compete for over $750 in prizes, and it's so easy to participate. Read on for more...

Novel Publicity is currently recruiting for one of our gigantic whirlwind tours. YAY! Each whirlwind tour boasts hundreds of dollars in cash prizes and autographed books, sometimes even Kindle Fires. NP also provide eBook copies for all reviewers. This time, they're touring the debut YA novel by Stephanie Fleshman, Render.

Choose to be one of the first to read this awesome new book, or, instead, host an excerpt, interview, or guest post. That’s right, you don’t even have to read the books to participate–although that's definitely an option. Novel Publicity will provide your choice of a pre-formatted excerpt, interview, or guest post to make participation easy.


Render A Recompense 600x800
Tour Dates: September 9 to 13, 2013
Genre: Paranormal YA
Page Count: 399
The Prizes:

* $100 Best/ most creative entry
* $100 Random commenter prize
* $50 Rafflecopter (2 prizes)
* $50 Random blogger award
* $50 GoodReads party prize
* $50 Facebook sharing contest
* $100 in the special author contest
* Kindle Fire in the special author contest

About Render

A betrayal born of blood
A curse for a gift
A love worth saving

Koldan Holdt knows what he wants. The problem is his future was decided the day he was born—a future void of everything he has ever known.
Days before summer vacation, Koldan’s grandfather suddenly dies, leaving the consequences that have followed him since he fled his country to fall to Koldan. As Koldan learns about his new fate, he must accept the terms to which he is bound and live without the one person he wants, or remain true to who he is and risk both their lives repeating the choices his grandfather made.
Seventeen-year-old Raya Whitney thought she knew Koldan…until a sudden turn of events threatens both their lives. While she is not willing to give up without a fight, she knows it is a deadly game to stay together.
Okay, so this is so obviously an advertisement post.
You're not wrong there.
But who doesn't want to try to win stuff?
Anyway, I've signed up for the tour.
And hopefully I'll be able to review the book during the tour (otherwise it will just be posted later on).
Why don't you give it a go too? :)