Monday, 19 April 2021

#musicmonday: Nothing Without You | Will Reagan, United Pursuit


When I am tired and weak
Lord, will you carry me?
And when I'm feeling low
Hold me close
When I am tired and weak
Lord, will you carry me?
When I am broken in two
Pull me through

Saturday, 17 April 2021

#Flights2021 live tweet notes embed [closed 19/4]

Doing a mix of taking notes and tweeting, so am going to embed the start of my live tweets so I can find them again myself. 

It should be noted that these are my interpretations of what has been said (as processed and condensed at time of tweeting) & not verbatim notes. Hopefully, I do not misrepresent what any of them said! 

The Ingredients of a Breakthrough Short Story:

Publishing outside the US

Beyond the Western Lens

Short Stories are Not Baby Novels

Sensitivity Reading as Developmental Editing

How to Give and Receive Critiques Like the Best

Wednesday, 14 April 2021

#bookreview: Of Kindness and Kilowatts | Susan Kaye Quinn

Of Kindness and KilowattsOf Kindness and Kilowatts by Susan Kaye Quinn
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Ok, first up, I feel kind of mean that this is only a 3 star? But it is what it is. [It's a very personal-reason rating though, as in I liked it but not SUPER liked it mainly cos there was too much physics in it haha]

We're moving up the ladder in this series, where the problem of shady bosses in When You Had Power and nasty power outages in You Knew the Price have escalated to reach Southern California's Public Utilities Commissioner, Akemi Sato. Is this threat real? Or is the Regional Director going off the rails? In a pandemic? (Well, a new virus outbreak anyway.)

I feel like Of Kindness and Kilowatts suffers from "second book syndrome" (even though it's the third), where the strong buildup from the first two books have reached a bit of a plateau. There's a lot of physics in this one (which went a little over my head) and they make some cool (and disturbing) discoveries, but the tension isn't as high as the previous one, and it feels more plotty (idk if this is a word, but it now is). But you gotta get through this one to get to the final book, Yet You Cry When It Hurts!

Relationship wise, this one focuses on Akemi and his relationship with his estranged father, Dai - which again was personally not as relatable for me as the themes of found family and community were in the first two books.

Plus points: it has tea! <3

Note: I received a digital ARC of this book from the author. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, 24 March 2021

#bookreview: Slow Brewing Tea | Randy Loubier

Slow Brewing TeaSlow Brewing Tea by Randy Loubier
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

80% of why I picked this up was the title; the other 20% was because well, it did sound intriguing.
To be honest, when I started reading, I wavered between "I hope he does it well" and "how terrible can this get?"

Loubier does quite well in the beginning. Itsuki's teachings start off mysterious and enticing, wrapped in Japanese sayings and Taoist words (I don't know how accurate this is) - though if you've been a long time Christian, it's obvious that it has a Christian source, no matter what other trappings are added to it. There's a tension in Isaiah's search for God - his reactions and anger come from a place of truth. I'm sure many who have been hurt by the church can relate.

As you proceed through the story, however, and Itsuki's teaching gets clearer and more explicit, the narrative itself starts to get just a little too preachy - especially during, you know, the expected conversion scene. (Is this a spoiler? It can't be a spoiler - it's key to every Christian fiction.) I suppose, as a pastor, Loubier didn't quite manage to stop from sermonising just a little. It IS, however, a story about coming to faith - so it's not anything unexpected or anything that might blindside you.

I suppose if you like a little dose of apologetics with your fiction, this is the sort of thing that you'll like. I think it will appeal more to those who are already Christians or people who are struggling with faith & the church. It was just a tad to slow (lol) and on-the-nose for me to truly enjoy it.

Note: I received a digital ARC of this book via NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, 17 March 2021

#bookreview: Future Perfect | Felicia Yap

Future PerfectFuture Perfect by Felicia Yap
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

On 8 June 2030, iPredict informs Police Commissioner Christian Verger that he has a 99.74% chance of dying tomorrow. A model was blown up at Alexander King's fashion show in New York City yesterday, the same show that's going to be at Old Billingsgate tonight - and he has to find the killer in time to make sure it doesn't happen again. Of course, this just has to happen on the day his fiancee leaves him.

Yap keeps you guessing with each new revelation that comes to light. Three different people tell three different stories of the same event. Viola's program, CriminalX, is spitting out results that don't make sense. Everyone has secrets to hide - but are they secrets worth killing for? Will Christian be able to pull the answers - and himself- together in time to prevent another death from happening? Is he even looking in the right place? Is this a helpful clue? Or is this another misdirection?

Future Perfect is not just a crime thriller, though. Yap explores the impact of technology on our lives, taking trends in tech and pushing it forward ten years to a plausible future. Alexa not only manages the household, it also directs Christian's & Viola's lives even when they don't want it to. Predictions of the future become self-fulfilling when the tech themselves make it happen because it was predicted. Only people who have something to hide use cash. And maybe, just maybe, software can be programmed to be creative enough to create art, denying the need for humanity's creative eye and spark.

With a deft hand, Yap brings you through a harrowing day as told from four main perspectives: Verger, his fiancee Viola, the designer Alexander King, and an unnamed person from the past whose story may be the key to unravelling this dense web of lies. And haunting them all is the spectre of another dead model, the same one Xander is dedicating his show to.

Future Perfect is just... perfect.

Note: I received a digital ARC of this book via NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

View all my reviews

Monday, 15 March 2021

#musicmonday: So Afraid | Bebo Norman

That's not what you said
It's all in my head
And I throw my anger at you instead
So don't give up on me
I want to believe
That you'll never leave me

But I am so afraid
That I'll find myself alone
Looking for a saviour, looking for a home
I am so afraid
That I'll find myself alone
Deep into the ages, deep into the foam
I am so afraid
That I'll find myself alone
Looking for a saviour, looking for a home

So don't leave me here alone
Don't leave me here alone

Sunday, 14 March 2021

On Publishing: How do you do it?

I met up with a secondary school classmate last Sunday for high tea. Meeting up was great, the high tea was so-so (real British high tea has spoilt me, sigh). 

We talked about various things, but one of the things that came up, as it tends to do nowadays, was the question "how do you do it?" in relation to the confidence of getting your work out there, and self-publishing - or at least that's how I've been thinking about it this past week. 

And the answer is... 

I don't. 

I don't have confidence.

I just do it because I am tired of waiting, and tired of begging, and dammit it's time, and THIS THING IS GOING OUT SCREAMING AND YELLING. 

And then I hide in my room because I'm 100% sure that everyone will hate it, but it's out there, and it's DONE. And I just want it done

Is it the best reason to self-publish?

Probably not. 

But this thing is as ready as it will ever be. 

Absolution series banner
Click image for more info! 

Oh God, grant me the confidence of the mediocre white man.