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Welcome to Even Butterflies Think

Hey! Welcome to Even Butterflies Think.  I'm Jazz, an avid book reader and one of the lucky people in the world working in my ideal ca...

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Book Chick City Mystery & Suspense Reading Challenge 2011

When I began this blog in August I honestly thought I'd spend a lot more time on it.  I had just graduated and was seeking work placements; I imagined I would have quite a bit of time available. To my pleasant surprise, I have been a lot busier than expected, but the down-side has been not participating in blogging as much as I'd like. However, I have decided that 2011 will be different, and I am determined to dedicate far more time to blog activities. What better way to do that, than with a blogger's reading challenge? And what better challenge than Book Chick City's Mystery and Suspense Reading Challenge.

The challenge consists of reading at least 12 mystery and suspense novels during 2011. There is even a list of subgenres provided, too, making it easier to select suitable novels. Brilliant! I absolutely adore mystery and suspense novels, I love them, and I’d be quite ashamed if I did not manage to read at least twelve next year. I won’t make the mistake of thinking I’ve got this challenge sorted, but it is certainly nice that my first challenge is one that I really feel I| can achieve. I am totally in my element here.

It gets better though. The challenge is sponsored by Simon and Schuster, who I absolutely adore as a company, and who have incredible books, some of which they will be offering as prizes. Yippee! The first book on offer as a potential prize is The Survivor by Sean Slater, with ARCs up for grabs, and which I hear is pretty incredible! I guess I cannot hide that knowing that Simon and Schuster are backing this challenge and offering prizes certainly did not hurt my decision to take part.

So here I am, about to start my new blogging year with a new blogger’s challenge. I am absolutely looking forward to this, I’m sure it will be a lot of fun, and Book Chick City has an incredible blog with great followers, so it will be the perfect opportunity to connect with other bloggers.

Thank you Book Chick City and Simon and Schuster. Now, bring it on!!!

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Review: The Terror of Living By Urban Waite - Literary Thriller of 2011

My last review was about the first thriller I read before becoming an addict of the genre. The incredible novel I am about to present to you now is my most recent thriller read. Let us begin with a synopsis:

Hunt, an ex-convict, has spent the past twenty years on a small ranch with his wife, supplementing his income with the odd drug smuggling job.

Drake, a deputy sheriff, is newly married and has almost escaped the shadow of his father, who was also a sheriff - and no stranger to the drug trade himself...

Drake is on Hunt's trail when a big drug deal in the mountains goes awry and so begins a terrifying race against time. Although Hunt evades Drake's attempts at capture the traffickers soon unleash a merciless hired killer to reclaim what's theirs. As the chase closes in and loyalties are tested, Drake's quest for justice contends with a hitman's quest for blood, and Hunt must face a terrible choice...

The Terror of Living is Urban Waite’s debut novel, and judging by the standard of this novel, the first of many more brilliant novels to come. There is so much I like about this novel that it is difficult to know where to begin.

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Review: Day of Confession by Allan Folsom

"From the very first page, Day of Confession defies the reader to look away for a moment and resonates with the confidence and effortless expertise of an author who knows we will not" The Express

"Grippingly conceived and recounted" Sunday Time

The book I am about to review is very dear to my heart as is its author. I read it a good few years ago, so my memory of it is not perfect, but I am writing about it because both this book and its author are very important to me; they form my introduction to the conspiracy/crime thriller genre and I still believe that Allan Folsom is one of the best authors in this field. It pains me that he is not more widely known amongst my bookish buddies, and for this reason I write the following review. As always, I begin with a synopsis:

In Italy the Cardinal Vicar of Rome is assassinated during a celebration of the Pope’s birthday.
In Los Angeles Harry Addison, a highly successful entertainment lawyer, finds a desperate message on his telephone answering machine from his long-estranged brother, Daniel, a priest in the Vatican.

Hours later a tourist bus on which Father Daniel is travelling explodes on the road to Assisi.

Arriving in Italy to claim his brother’s body, Harry is abruptly plunged into a Kafka-esque nightmare of deception and terror. Learning that Daniel is the prime suspect  in the assassination of the Cardinal Vicar, he soon suspects that his brother may have survived the bus explosion and still be alive, but before he can confirm his suspicions he is himself framed for the murder of an Italian policeman.
On the run from the authorities and desperately searching for Father Daniel, Harry discovers someone else is looking for his brother as well – the infamous international terrorist and maniacal killer, Thomas Kind. Pursued and alone, Harry finds himself at the centre of a monstrous conspiracy spun from the very heart of the Vatican, where men of God are using the Devil’s hand to establish a new Holy Roman Empire...

Saturday, 25 December 2010

Inheritance by Tara Palmer-Tomkinson

Glamorous lives, family ties and wicked lies...

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first saw Inheritance by Tara Palmer-Tomkinson. I am not much into celebrities and far too often find that their book sales have very little to do with content. I was lucky enough to read the press release and blurb and became curious to know more. After reading the Prologue I knew I’d read it all, and glad that I had not chosen to judge this book by its cover. Here is the blurb for you:

Notorious party-loving ‘It Girl’ Lyric Charlton has it all – the lineage, the looks and the lifestyle. A moneyed upbringing at the heart of one of the upper class’s most well-connected families, a finishing school education and an address book bursting with the world’s most powerful and high-profile people has crowned her the glamorous poster girl for the aristocratic glitterati.
But when her doomed relationship with suave boy-about-town Ralph Conway means she takes the good times too far, she is packed off to rehab by her worried parents, and the public shame and private humiliation that follow means Lyric’s only option seems to be to retreat into sober obscurity.
But what no one can predict is the dramatic chain of events her exile sets in motion. For Lyric’s treatment is the start of much more than a life as an ex-addict. It’s the catalyst that exposes a complex web of deceit and betrayal – and leads Lyric on an increasingly dangerous quest to find the final missing piece of the jigsaw of her life…

Monday, 20 December 2010

Review: Scarlett Dedd by Cathy Brett

Scarlett Dedd
By Cathy Brett

Headline Publishers

  • ISBN: 9780755347872
  • Publication date: 02 September 2010

Scarlett Dedd is one of the first books that I have read in my rediscovery of YA literature, and it was certainly a treat. It is a funny, intelligent, teenage story that is well written, well presented and has an authentic teenage voice in the person of Scarlett.

I have written a little synopsis for you:

 Scarlett is your typical teenager in so many ways, yet she is also quite different, unique. Like any typical teenager she is unhappy with her family life, though she is sure she has more reasons to be than most, not least due to her surname which has been cause of much ridicule for all her life. You see, Scarlett is a Dedd, and if the name wasn’t doomed enough, that also meant frightfully pale skin that never tanned, lifeless hair and gloomy eyes. That, along with the family’s poverty, which meant second hand clothes and a horrid diet, was enough to test the patience of any teenage girl.

So when Scarlett finds out that she has to go on a seven day school-trip to Northern France as part of her History classes she decides to draw the line and take matters into her own hands. One way or another, she was getting out of her trip. However, Scarlett’s super-plan goes mortifyingly wrong, not just for her, but for her family too, and soon she discovers a whole new meaning to being part of the Dedd family.

As if being a teenager was not hard enough, Scarlett has to learn a whole new existence, and in the process learns the true meaning and value of family and friendship.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Review: A Bear Called Euston By Keillor Robertson

I am not quite sure how to go about reviewing this book, because it is either totally awful or absolutely brilliant... I certainly lean towards the absolutely brilliant side. It has been a while since a book made me laugh out loud in public. I mean at home is one thing, but on a packed bus of nervy, irritated people dying to get home, well that is another story altogether. But that is what happened as I read A Bear Called Euston. Let’s begin with a synopsis:

Once upon a time there were two bears. One was polite, cuddly and cute. The other one hated his guts...If you were to come across a small, cute, defenseless, cuddly little bear at a railway station who was both courteous and utterly endearing...it wouldn't be this one. This bear was foul-mouthed, obnoxious, violent and utterly filthy not only in terms of his personal hygiene but also in every thought and most of his deeds. That didn't bother the Wood family. They adopted him and took him home with them. They may have had their own reasons for doing so, but the little bear certainly had other plans. When he first arrived from darkest Colombia, the little bear didn't know anyone in London. That was all soon to change.

Mr Wood looked like a very respectable man...Sometimes looks can be deceiving. Euston looked like a foul, disgusting, vicious, scheming little piece of crap. Sometimes looks can be spot on. Settling in to a very comfortable lifestyle with the Woods, Euston causes no end of chaos for the family, and when he finds that his most hated rival, his sworn enemy, his closest relative is living just round the corner, Euston begins plotting a despicable campaign that will satisfy his lust for revenge.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Book Machine Meet-Up

As a relative newbie to the world of publishing, there is nothing that I desire more than to meet up with other publishing types. Until now I have managed to ‘connect’ with a good number of publishing people through social network sites, and as a result of my work experience, but nothing compares to meeting people face-to-face in a relaxed environment where you can be yourself, no expectations. So, considering that formal networking isn’t quite appropriate for me at these early stages of my career (what would I have to talk about, the importance of work experience?), the Book Machine Meet Up was the perfect choice.

I first got to know about the Book Machine through Twitter. Laura Austin, one of the organisers, was very welcoming, encouraging me to come along. Luckily, at this most recent meeting on Thursday evening (2nd December) I was only two minutes away from our meeting point at the Hachette building, so despite having another arrangement, I was able to attend for a while and got there nice and early.  Bit by bit more people began to join us, and before long there was a nice group of publishing peeps just socialising, chatting and having a laugh. I got talking to a few people; there were many people from Hachette there, some I’d met, many I hadn’t, and also some people that I had seen before and/ or knew through Twitter, but had not connected them as one and the same person until that evening! Despite not staying  the whole evening I enjoyed myself; there was a nice, relaxed, friendly  vibe that removed the anxiety one can feel when you are still working your way up and have yet to land your first permanent role. The relaxed feel of the evening also meant that I spoke to people I had met before, only in a lot more detail, and I discovered that one of the girls from the Hachette office is actually my neighbour (not next door, but near enough), imagine that!

Saturday, 16 October 2010

GIVEAWAY!! Win tickets to Recital and Signing at The Poetry Cafe

On Wednesday 20th October Dutch novelist, columnist and poet Arnold Jansen op de Haar will make his first official appearance in the UK at The Poetry Cafe, in London. On this very special occasion the author of King of Tuzla will be reading from his anthology Yugoslav Requiem, a beautifully constructed dedication to the Bosnian Conflict.

Arnold was born in The Netherlands, in 1962.  He served as a Captain in the Dutch army, and was commanding officer of the unit that secured Tuzla Airbase in Bosnia for incoming UN aid in 1994, one year before the overthrow of the enclave Srebrenica in the former Yugoslavia.

After surviving this war he began writing full time and in 1999 his debut novel De koning van Tuzla was published by De Arbeiderspers. He followed this in 2002 with his poetry collection Soldatenlaarzen published by JM Meulenhoff. Arnold has published other works in Dutch and has been a successful columnist for many years. He is now turning his attention toward the English market, working with Holland Park Press and the acclaimed translator Paul Vincent. His anthology Soldatenlaarzen, now renamed Joegoslavisch requiem, was translated into English with the title Yugoslav Requiem, and his debut novel De koning van Tuzla is also available in English as King of Tuzla. The sequel to King of Tuzla, Angel, is soon to be published.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Review – The Sage and the Scarecrow by Daniel Clausen

The Sage and the Scarecrow It’s the early hours of the morning, around 3 a.m., and here I am all emotional writing a review of the novel that I just completed because the ending was just so incredible and it just rounded up the whole journey that the book had taken me on in a way I wasn’t expecting, so that I hadn’t noticed the journey until I reached my destination. The novel? The Sage and the Scarecrow by Daniel Clausen, an independent and highly talented author from Florida. Here is the synopsis of the book:

Six months after his father has died from cancer, Pierce Williams find himself in a deep state of ennui. The book follows the main character through a journey from his college, where everything seems dismal and empty, to a small town on the east coast of Florida to find his best friend, Jennifer, and the only person he thinks can “cure” him. Touching on themes such as the existential pain of thinking too much, love, and the politics of everyday life, Pierce’s journey takes him through the struggle and boredom of college life as he attempts to discover his place in the world, climaxing with an ending as uniquely original and unexpected as the story itself.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Wisher and the Runaway Piglet by Georgie Adams

Wisher and the Runaway Piglet: No. 1 - Railway Rabbits

Wisher and the Runaway Piglet is the first book in The Railway Rabbits series written by Georgie Adams and published by Orion Children's BooksIt is a lovely tale and great for children and after reading it I would very much like to read the rest of the series. It will be released on 21st October 2010.
The series the tale of the Longears family, a family of Rabbits living near a Railway station in The River Ripple Valley. In this first book in the series we meet Barley Longears, his wife Mellow Longears and their new family of bucks and does, Bramble, Bracken, Berry, Fern and Wisher, who will become the main protagonist in the adventures that occur in this book. We also meet their neighbours, including Blinker Badger, Sylvia Squirrel, Parsley the Mole, Burdock the Buzzard and the dreaded Red Dragon!
The language is well-developed, colourful and descriptive and, accompanied with a few well-placed illustrations, makes the story very easy to visualise. The chapters are kept short, very much in the style of short stories, which means the plot moves along quickly, keeping the reader interested, which is of course especially important for children. It is an easy book to read from start to finish, and then want to read all over again, but the short chapters also mean that a parent using this as a bed-time story can easily find places to break off.

Friday, 17 September 2010

The Kid

On Wednesday 15th September 2010 I was lucky enough to attend the premiere of The Kid, directed by Nick Moran, at the Odeon Cinemas in Leicester Square, thanks to a wonderful gesture by Penguin Books. "The Kid", which is being released in the cinemas today, is the screen adaptation of the bestselling books by Kevin Lewis, The Kid, and The Kid Moves On, which describe his life. Kevin Lewis's tale is a simultaneously sad and inspirational one. Growing up on a poor London estate he was subjected to severe abuse by his parents, in particular his mother, and then passed from foster home to foster home. His moments of relief and joy were constantly followed by more moments of pain and sadness and, above all, violence, until eventually he was able to find a way out.

The cast includes Rupert Friend, who takes the lead role as Kevin Lewis in his adult years, whilst Augustus Prew and William Fin Miller play him as a teen and a child respectively. Natascha McElhone plays Kevin's mother Gloria and Con O'Neill his father Dennis and Jodie Whittaker his wife Jackie. Then there are a whole host of other excellent actors, including Ioan Gruffudd, Bernard Hill and David O’Hara. The performances are generally convincing, and whilst there are many scenes of abuse and violence, yet I feel Nick Moran does well to present this effectively without going to extremes.

I wish I could say more about the movie, but I do not wish to give the plot away. Suffice to say that this movie, and the books that inspired them, deal with very serious issues, not for the faint of heart. Yet, what is much more important is the message of hope that this story gives to young people who may be suffering similar issues, and thus it is no surprise that the NSPCC has teamed up with the producers on this project to promote awareness of child abuse but also to promote this message of hope.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

International Literacy Day – a time to be grateful & reflect

Today, 8th September, is International Literacy Day, a celebration of literacy but also a reminder of the problem of illiteracy that still exists for billions of people around the world. According to UNESCO, one in five adults is illiterate, approximately two-thirds of which are women. Also, 67.4 million children around the world are not receiving formal education.
The importance of literacy for the entire human nation cannot be stressed enough. Unfortunately, I cannot help but feel that for many people, especially young people and those blessed enough to live in ‘first world’ countries, there is not enough appreciation of the immense importance that literacy has for the world community. UNESCO sums up beautifully the importance of literacy for all:
Literacy is a human right, a tool of personal empowerment and a means for social and human development. Educational opportunities depend on literacy.
Literacy is at the heart of basic education for all, and essential for eradicating poverty, reducing child mortality, curbing population growth, achieving gender equality and ensuring sustainable development, peace and democracy. There are good reasons why literacy is at the core of Education for All (EFA).
A good quality basic education equips pupils with literacy skills for life and further learning; literate parents are more likely to send their children to school; literate people are better able to access continuing educational opportunities; and literate societies are better geared to meet pressing development.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Man Booker Prize Shortlist Announced

Here we are fellow book-lovers, The Man Booker Prize Shortlist has just been announced. Those chosen are:

• Parrot and Olivier in America by Peter Carey
• Room by Emma Donoghue
• The Betrayal by Helen Dunmore
• In a Strange Room by Dalmon Galgut
• The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson
• The Long Song by Andrea Levy
• C by Tom McCarthy

Congratulations to all these authors for making the list. What a wonderful selection. So, were your predictions right? What do you think about the selection? Anyone not on the list you were expecting? Would love to hear your views.

The Man Booker Prize

Like me, I expect that many of you have been following this year’s Man Booker Prize Award. So, you must also all be very excited to know that today the Shortlist is due to be announced. In fact, Man Booker on Twitter has just tweeted that the shortlist will be announced in less than an hour. While I wait, I will give a brief overview of the Man Booker Prize on the highly unlikely off-chance that some of you do not know what the Man Booker Prize is.

The Man Booker Prize is an award designed to promote the best literary fiction. The award is given to the best novel of the year written by a citizen of the Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland. The winner of this prestigious award receives £50,000 as well as incredible amount of publicity for his or her novel.

Even if you are not, somehow, familiar with the prize, no doubt you will have heard of some of the past prize winners, such as Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel (2009), The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga (2008) or The Gathering by Anne Enright (2007). This long-standing award (it is 42 years old) has helped to make the careers of a number of well-known, quality authors.

Monday, 6 September 2010

The Broke & The Bookish blog & giveaway

It would probably be the understatement of the year to say that my blog here is coming along very slowly. I know I need to procrastinate and criticise less, and actually start posting more. Looking at other blogs has given me inspiration, but nothing has made me want to pull my act together more than what I have just found.

The Broke and the Bookish is a blog run by college aged young men and women with a love for reading. The blog is very cool, I must admit, with a good variety of regular contributors. And get this, in just two months the blog has gained OVER 200 FOLLOWERS! I was so put to shame. I started my blog a month ago now and I am nowhere near achieving this number. So I have made this post to congratulate The Broke and the Bookish on this wonderful achievement, and to support a wonderful fellow book blog (not that they need my support, really. Totally the other way around).

The good news doesn't stop there, however. To celebrate their wonderful achievement the Broke and Bookish bloggers are holding a 200 FOLLOWER GIVEAWAY! You only have until 7TH SEPTEMBER to enter so pay attention:

There are FIVE PRIZES to be won. Each prize consists of a set of books, and you may enter for more than one prize, but only once per prize. AND the contest is INTERNATIONAL. Great isn't it? So what are you still doing here then? get over to their site, congratulate them on their followers and enter now for your chance to win!


Sunday, 29 August 2010

What happened to good old pen and paper?

WARNING: This may come over as a bit of a rant, and is probably not that well written. Maybe I am just weird and possibly the only person who even thinks the topic is worth writing about, so be forewarned.

I sit here this morning recovering from a splitting headache. I spent the whole of yesterday evening suffering because of the throbbing, stiffening pain behind my eyes. It would appear that I have to get another screen filter because all this computer usage is really destroying my eyes. And as I suffered yesterday, I asked myself, what happened to the good old days of pen and paper??

Increasingly we are giving our lives over to screens. It almost seems normal now to type everything as opposed to write it, but that is not where it stops. As a result of us having transferred all our writing, and everything else in our lives, to the screens, we now even prefer our literature on a screen, as eBooks and eReaders like Kindle and the iPad take over the reading experience, sales soaring. One may think it strange that someone of my age would not be strongly behind all these technological advances; well in fact I am. I can't deny that an eReader would have been much more pleasant than the burden of 2 bags full of books and notepads that I lugged around daily to college and then to university; yes, technology has its place and its uses. What worries me is my younger cousin and his generation with terrible handwriting and atrocious spelling who don't seem to care much because they do everything by computer anyway.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Review - King of Tuzla by Arnold Jansen op de Haar

King of Tuzla, by Arnold Jansen op de Haar, is the tale of Tijmen Klein Gildekamp, a soldier with the UN sent on an aide mission to Bosnia. It describes Tijmen’s physical and psychological journey through the former Yugoslavia, as well as showing snippets of the lives of others who Tijmen and his comrades pass along the way. It is told with the silent, humble authority of an author who has firsthand knowledge and experience of the scenes he has chosen to describe.

The novel is divided into five sections. The first three sections have Tijmen as an active soldier, awaiting and then partaking in his duties. The final two serve as a reflection of his final months in Bosnia after his return to his homeland in the Netherlands.

In the first section Tijmen is with a reconnaissance team in Bosnia awaiting a definitive mission, and we are intriduced to the sitation on Bosnia. Not only are the feelings of frustration and concern of the soldiers displayed, but also we are given glimpses of the civilians of both sides of the conflicts, of how their lives have changed, in the first of what I have coined the digressions. In various points throughout the novel the author jumps from the main characters, Tijmen and the soldiers, to other characters, to the inhabitants affected by the war. Starting with Galib Prolaz the Yugoslav, throughout the novel we briefly glimpse the lives of Lucia, Jasmina, Vlado Duric, Lazar Zekic, Ejup Delalic, and Hadija Ibrahimovic, real people on both sides of the conflict; real experiences that are not sensationalised nor glorified. We are allowed a glimpse into how it felt to be a soldier and a civilian in that war.

Saturday, 14 August 2010

What Makes a Good Writer/Blogger/Reviewer?

I love to write. I wish I could make that sound more exciting, but that is the plain and simple truth: I like writing. Reading and writing have been my true loves since forever; I cannot get enough of it. However, I have come to realise that loving something doesn’t necessarily mean you will be any good at it, even if you have been doing it your whole life.

So here is my dilemma, anything academic is a walk in the park for me. With my essays, research projects all that stuff, through school, college and university, I have had no problem making a decent impression on my readers. I know how to put something down on paper elegantly, how to make it have the desired effect, and this has led me into proofreading work also. All is fine and well until it comes to my own non-academic, creative writing and then it all just falls apart. I have so many really great ideas that have such potential, but when I am at the stage where it just needs a tweak to be perfect I draw a blank and I am not able to make that poem or story jump from pretty good with potential to really great. Perhaps I need the stress of a deadline, or the restrictions of a word limit to bring out the best in me.