So where's the snow?

Muddling through in Austria; God, life and a small black dog

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Book reviews and an offer

1st May and first trip up into the mountains, Weisspriarch

One of my ideas on the other blog  is to offer to do book reviews for books people send me – eBooks I should think mostly.  Then I will review it here, add the review  to any Amazon site, such as and .com and so maybe increase sales.

In the same breath, I want to offer to do critiques of anyone’s book, if they want an in-depth analysis. I’ve a first class honours in English and am an author (!!!!!!), have experience with analysing texts – my brother being the last victim but I’ve done others.  I wouldn’t be offering to get anything published as an agent I’m too far from the UK and US to be effective, but maybe could help people on their way.   I would need at least two chapters and a short synopsis to begin with. Again any such book would then get a review on the Amazons if already self published.  For this, I would have to make a fee but we could negotiate.

Any takers???????

PS forgot to say, contact me through comments!

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The Island of Ted by Jason Cunningham

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How could I resist a book with such a title considering my Robinson Crusoe complex!!!!!!    A new twist on the old tale.  This guy decides to buy his own island and live there on his own a; because he can afford it  b; because every attempt he makes at altruism in his life ends as failure.  He has a highly stressed job in the film industry and a penchant for falling for the wrong woman.

There’s no shipwreck here, in fact Ted has it all stitched up, glorious isolation but with satellite channels and food arriving every couple of weeks. You can read him slowly unwinding until Friday turns up, this time a small boy.  Ted is livid and this time chases him away!

Cliche, cliche, no man is an island and Ted finds he’s sharing the island with some refugees.  There are some lovely times when he is tricked by Friday into saying something dumb to the only attractive (to Ted) woman on the island.  Ted’s past history means you know he’ll fall for her.  Nuff said.

The middle of the book changes narrative position which actually really works and through it you can now see other people’s perspectives which you can’t in the first person.  Through this the narrator so clearly shows  Ted’s self-pitying perspective, he hasnt really got himself sorted at all and he runs back home to the USA.

The last part shifts back to Ted and I didn’t see the twist coming when he decides to  return to the Island when tinsel town finally loses it’s grip on him, and quite funny too. The end is as anyone would wish, reconciliation and growth, a Godly tale of the healing power of love.  Now I wonder where there’s a cheap island going?

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Charlotte Figg Takes over Paradise by Joyce Magnin

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This book was a real pleasure for me and also quite a culture shock.  I know that I don’t go for thrillers and who dunnits and like my books at a reasonable pace, but not predictable.  I caught this while it was on free and thought I really ought to read some mainstream American Christian Fiction as I seem to spend so much time on at present.

At first reading I thought oh no, not another dead person as Charlotte Figg’s husband croaks in the first few pages.  On impulse she buys a trailer or what we Brits would call a mobile home, which turns out to be a wreck.  In her new life she meets some incredible people, a tattooed lady, a midget and a guy with one arm.  Now I know  from popular culture than Trailer park people are looked down upon, but are these guys representative?  Certainly there are plenty of ignorant red-necked husbands about, but there mix is really amusing, but fortunately doesn’t detract from the story.

However, what I liked about this book was its unapologetic Christianity.  It’s in the culture if the characters and the book part of life, and not overstated, though one character can always be relied upon to be praying. Its how life should be, not part of culture like here in Lungau where its more tradition than meaning, or England where every Christian is fair game. 

The tale has great drama, sadness and humour and I loved it.  Within its gentle frame it deals with real issues and real people. Should I also admit in the past I’ve read the Miss Read stories from England and this is a cultural contrast that  I loved? I certainly couldn’t see any of the Vicars or characters in  her books being so upfront about their belief.

Most of all though, what made it for me was Lucky, he rescues people, knows just whats going on in people’s head, and almost speaks – yes of course, he’s the dog!

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Coffee, Tea, The Gypsy and Me by Caroline James

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It was actually the title that caught me eye, as it sounded a bit different to the run of the mill and on a quick read thought the link to the horse fair would make it interesting.  I’m going to have to try so hard not to spoil it, but it was an un- putable downer for me and I loved it.

Set in the 1980s, the setting was so accurately described in that I could see the outfits that Jo was wearing and could see how the politics of the time had their effect on the narrative.  The year of this book I was busy having my daughter so this made the book a bit special too! My only reservation was that when she buys Kirkton house, we don’t hear much of the renovations, and that makes it seem to easy – maybe I watch Gand designs too much, but old buildings always have unexpected problems.  Jo’s set downs of her errant husband are so funny he’s well and truly stitched up himself by the end.  There are horses which of course is a bonus for me and the description of the trotting race reminded my of the time we saw Farnham -by pass being closed by a rolling road of cars as a pair raced down it on a Sunday morning. The only thing that didn’t work for me was John, he had so little depth and I couldn’t really see why Jo fell for him!

Caroline’s depictions of life in a busy hotel, a small village, the gypsy world, made this book different for me.  It’s almost as if she has post written, the pre heroine of so many heroines in romances today!


Tom, book reviews, new blog

All the pictures of  books on my blogs can now be clicked on to make a direct link to  to see more and even buy! Hint, hint, hint.  How come I had so many downloads and no ones written a review -is it that bad???????

Many people seem to enjoy my  book reviews as seen by the traffic it brings to the blog, but WordPress won’t let me cash in by adding advertising on this beyond creating direct links to the book on the blog page. So I created another blog, just to do the reviews – which for a while will be repeating the most succesful of the WordPress ones. Do have a look!

Having started this, I find the blogger and Google have blocked any form of advertising on the site apart from through their own Adsense scheme, so my being an Amazon affiliate and to make a little money seems to have foundered!  I can see their point, but now I’ll have to see how the second blog takes off, it may just be a waste of time unless I do their advertising.  Having spent a week of frustration not even being able to get the book links to work, it seems it wasn’t such a good idea!!!

Well, its in God‘s hand, I give it a month or six weeks and see how it goes!

Of course if loads of people bought Tom……………

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Kissing Adrien by Siri L. Mitchell

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I like to find books that are nicely romantic, but each time a little different or quirky.  I immediately liked the Paris location and the brother/sister relationship between Adrien and Claire which changes and grows.   I did find the beginning a bit slow because I was impatient to find out about the flat, and for me there was a bit too much information about Paris, which some of you will just love.

Then there was a church scene which I thought a bit wooden, but it grew on me.  Adrien and Claire have some really good conversations on God and life as he tries to show her there is another side to her world. 

I read one review which disliked Adrien’s God talks, because he said that being a Christian enabled him to be more himself than he ever had.  The reviewer said this is unbiblical as our goal is to be more like Jesus.  Technically agree, he is our goal.  But define Jesus – he went to parties, got angry, frustrated, travelled a lot (Yes I know I’m being shallow).  But knowing the truth of Jesus, truly sets you free.  From the bondage of the world, the oppression of sin, you have the gifts of the spirit, such as peace and joy, and so we are free to become the people he created us to be, free from any damage or oppression.  If we set about trying to be Jesus, we will fail because we are human, and while our spirit is newly created, we are still stuck in this body and with our soul full of worldly thinking, we can try to be like Jesus, but its only when we go to be with him that perfection comes.  Oooh, I feel better for that!!!!!!

There  was also a bit about how you present yourself and enjoy your life and it was as if she was speaking to me – such a grumpy frump, and I felt taken to task. Claire has a similar lack of self-awareness, that I’m becoming  too, so I really warmed to her.  I’ll read this book again and look for more of Siri’s works.