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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...

Saturday, 31 December 2011

100 Books In 2011 Reading Challenge - My Progress

Earlier in the year I joined Book Chick City's 100 Books in a Year 2011 Reading Challenge because I felt like I needed the motivation to get me reading and blogging a lot more. The challenge is an awesome one, and I admire any and everyone who is able to complete it, or even get close. However, for me, it did not go very well.

When I entered the challenge it was because I was determined to improve my blog, give it more attention, and despite being quite an ambitious challenge - it seemed like exactly what I needed to motivate myself. But I was wrong.

Challenges can be such good motivators and really help you along with your reading, but you have to choose the ones that are appropriate for you and that are truly helpful. My issue is not with reading, it is with blogging - put simply, I do not do as much on my blog as I would like, and I have an awful habit of finishing a book and starting another and then never getting around to writing the review for the previous, until I end up with 10 books read but no reviews. As I spend all day in front of a computer, mostly online, it means that in the evenings I prefer to kick back and read rather than blog. Getting the right balance is important this year. Also, while I can read fast if I need to, I do not necessarily read very fast when reading for pure pleasure. Therefore, challenging myself to read such a large number of books within the year was playing into my weaknesses rather than focusing on what I really wanted to do.

Review: Dr Yes by Colin Bateman

Dr. Yes
by ' Bateman
Published by Headline
ISBN 9780755378616 (Paperback)

Buy Dr. Yes from Headline
Buy Dr. Yes from Amazon
Buy Dr. Yes from The Book Depository

Visit Bateman's website
Follow Bateman on Twitter

Dr Yes is the first novel that I have read by Bateman, and I cannot believe that I had not read one of his novels before, because it is pure genius! Seriously, it is so good, so witty, and different to other crime fiction books I have read. Here is the blurb:

You don't say no to Dr. Yes, the charismatic plastic surgeon on the fast track to fame and fortune. But when the wife of obscure and paranoid crime writer Augustine Wogan disappears shortly after entering his exclusive clinic, the Small Bookseller with No Name is persuaded to investigate. As fatherhood approaches, our intrepid hero is interested only in a quick buck and the chance to exploit a neglected writer, but he soon finds himself up to his neck in murder, make-up and madness - and face to face with the most gruesome serial killer since the last one.

I could tell you what I love about this book in a single word: everything. However, that would make for a really dull and lazy review, so I will pick out a few elements that really stand out.

Friday, 30 December 2011

Review: Pariah by David Jackson

by David Jackson
Published by Macmillan, March 2011
ISBN 9780330530569

Buy Pariah from Pan Macmillan
Buy Pariah from The Book Depository
Buy Pariah from Amazon

Visit David Jackson's website
Follow David Jackson on Twitter

Pariah is the debut novel from David Jackson. It is written like a Hollywood movie whilst combining the overall feel and structure of hit US crime dramas like CSI, Criminal Minds or Law and Order. So, if you like a good action movie or crime drama, you'll want to give this book a try.

Here is the blurb:

It’s a bad enough day for NYPD detective Callum Doyle when his cop partner is murdered. It’s about to get a hell of a lot worse . . .

When the dead man’s replacement is also brutally killed, suspicion falls on Doyle himself. Then he receives an anonymous message. This is just the beginning, it says. Anyone he gets close to will die – and that includes Doyle’s own family. The only way to keep them alive is to stay away. For good.

Doyle is desperate to find out who is responsible, but when his every move puts others in danger he is forced to back off. With the investigation getting nowhere and his isolation deepening, Doyle has to ask himself an uncomfortable question: just how low is he prepared to sink in order to get his life back?

Review: Random by Craig Robertson

by Craig Roberston
Published by Simon and Schuster UK, February 2011
ISBN: 9781847398819

Generally speaking I do tend to avoid books written from the viewpoint of the criminal, especially when it relates to cold-blooded murder. This is because I generally have no real desire to put myself in the shoes of the murderer or sympathise with them. It is the kind of moral dilemma I aim to avoid.

However, I am glad that I read Random by Craig Robertson. It was so well-written, so believable and ultimately, so tragic that I could not help but fall in love with it. And every so often forcing yourself to face your own sense of moral judgement is probably good for the soul.

Here is the synopsis:

Glasgow is being terrorised by a murderer the media have nicknamed ‘The Cutter’. But how do you catch a serial killer when even he doesn’t know who’s next?...

Telling the story in his own words, The Cutter reveals the method, and motives, that drive him to kill again and again, in an escalating spree that leaves DS Rachel Narey and her team mystified.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

An Awfully Big Blog Adventure Online Lit Fest Day 2

I hope you all read my post yesterday about An Awfully Big Blog Adventure's first ever Online Literary Festival, taking place this weekend. The first day, yesterday, was absolutely amazing. There were some really great blog posts, or 'events', run by the authors, including a look at the issue of author blogging, the addictive nature of writing, and how helpful it can be to be part of a writers group or society such as the 'other' SAS - the Scattered Authors Society. There were a whole host of competitions to win book for all ages (I entered quite a few!) and it wasn't all about reading either; some authors chose to make videos for us. Oh yes!

So, today is day 2 of this awesome festival. Unfortunately I won't be able to stay for the whole thing... but that is the other awesome aspect of this amazing online literary festival. All the posts are still be available to see after the event has ended (yes, that does include the competitions!). The vibe isn't quite the same as a new event every 30 minutes (I was exhausted yesterday, it was lovely to comment and live tweet, and even from home it had a real buzz about it), but it does mean that no one has to miss out. So, if you didn't 'attend' yesterday, you can still check back on all of yesterday's events.

So, here's to another fun day. Hats off to An Awfully Big Blog Adventure for this awesome festival. I'll be attending the evening events, so I hope to see you all there! Get the kids and the family ready for a 10:30 am start, a day of literary fun awaits!

Saturday, 9 July 2011

An Awfully Big Blog Adventure Hosts First Ever Online Lit Fest

It is an exciting weekend for children, parents, authors, bloggers and the publishing industry! That's because this weekend, the 9th and 10th July,  An Awfully Big Blog Adventure are hosting the first ever online literary festival.

To coincide with the blog's third birthday, they have created this incredible idea.  The online festival has been organised by a range of wonderful children's authors, and will be the first of its kind. Every half an hour will see a contribution from an author, and the line-up includes a range of subjects, from blogging, to tips on writing, and insights into some of the inspiration and origins for their own incredible work.

In addition, there are some awesome competitions, including book giveaways and, for you aspiring writers, the chance to win a critique!

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Review - Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson

Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson

I have been raving about this book for so long that it is long overdue for me to write this review. Sometimes you can just sense that you will like something or someone. That is what happened when I first encountered S. J. Watson on Twitter last year and heard about his debut novel. In what I can only call fate, our paths would continue to cross in various ways.  However, the most remarkable event of all would be when I finally got my hands on a gorgeous proof of his novel, Before I Go To Sleep; the book did not meet my expectations, it surpassed them by far. Here is a brief synopsis:

As the result of a tragic accident, Christine Lucas suffers a rare form of amnesia; not only has she lost all her memory, but she is unable to hold new memories for any longer than 24 hours. Every time Christine falls asleep at night, she forgets all over again. Her husband, Ben, is her only source of information, and it is through him that she discovers who she is and what has become of her life.

However, when a Dr Nash calls around and gives Christine a journal which she has apparently been keeping, Christine realises that there are things about her life that Ben has been hiding from her. But why? Is Ben sparing her, and himself, the pain of relating all the things she has lost, and forgotten, everyday of both their lives? Or is there something more sinister at hand?

Friday, 8 April 2011

The New Guardian Books Website Preview

On Tuesday 5th April I was delighted to be part of a small gathering at the Guardian offices in London, where we were shown a preview of the new Guardian Books website. I was not sure what to expect; having seen the brilliant work that was done on the Guardian Children’s Books pages, I knew I’d be impressed, but I was still very pleasantly surprised by what I saw.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

April is Translation Month - And There's A Giveaway

As promised, I have returned to the world of blogging and am determined to make this blog more interesting, updated and pampered. So, you can understand my excitement when, having just made that announcement, my attention was drawn to the Translation Month Event hosted on the Mostly Reading YA blog.

On this blog, the month of April has been dedicated to celebrating translated literature of all kinds, and Mostly Reading YA has invited all bloggers to take part. Not only are you welcome to guest review some books on the blog, but you can also enter the Translation Month Contest and Giveaway. As part of this contest bloggers are encouraged to read, review and post on their own blogs translated books they have read in March and April. For each review you do, you gain an entry to the contest. The more entries, the more chances of winning the giveaway!

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Getting Back on Track & Book Chick City 100 Books in 2011 Reading Challenge

OK, so things seemed to start off well this year with my blog. I finished up 2010 nicely and had a post ready the celebrate the New Year. Since, though, my reading has slipped. Granted, until a week ago I have been working full -time hours through placements and internships and have to fit in submissions, manuscripts and books I am working on to my reading schedule, but that is still no excuse. Worst of all, I have actually read a couple of really good books this year and just have not got around to writing my blog post.  I need to organise my life around blogging a lot more!

Monday, 14 February 2011

Five of my Favourite Love Poems

Few things express love more beautifully than poetry. For this reason I have dedicated this blog to a few of my favourite love poems. What I wouldn’t give to have a man compose something as beautiful as those below just for me: some things just cannot be bought. Enjoy!

My Love is Like to Ice

My Love is like to ice, and I to fire:
How comes it then that this her cold so great
Is not dissolved through my so hot desire,
But harder grows the more her I entreat?
Or how comes it that my exceeding heat
Is not allayed by her heart-frozen cold,
But that I burn much more in boiling sweat,
And feel my flames augmented manifold?
What more miraculous thing may be told,
That fire, which all things melts, should harden ice,
And ice, which is congealed with senseless cold,
Should kindle fire by wonderful device?
Such is the power of love in gentle mind,
That it can alter all the course of kind.
Edmund Spenser

Abner Stein Obituary by Andrew Franklin, MD Profile Books Ltd

Many of you will be aware of the sad passing of Abner Stein recently. Andrew Franklin, managing director and founder of Profile Books Ltd, wrote the following obituary for Mr Stein below. Originally published in The Bookseller, I have been graciously granted permission to post on my blog this celebration of Mr Stein's achievements and heartfelt dedication. Without further ado, I leave you with Mr Franklin's article:

Sunday, 13 February 2011

The Decision Book Challenge – Applying the Models Part 1: Buying Gifts

So impressed am I by the simplicity yet immense usefulness of the models in The Decision Book (click for review), that I have decided to launch on this blog The Decision Book Challenge. It is a challenge lasting one week, in which I aim to tackle daily at least one decision-making situation or problem that I come across by applying the relevant model from the book. I am quite excited about doing this, as there are quite a few things that I think I could improve and that I hope the book will help me to find more efficient ways of dealing with. At the end of each day I will post about the situation in question and the model I applied and evaluate how well it has worked, what the results of applying the model were, if any. By the end of the week I hope to be on the way to becoming a much better decision-maker, more in tune with my thoughts, myself, my work and others.

So without further delay, and to kick-start the process in a fun way, I will begin with the very first situation: purchasing gifts, how much shall I spend? With Valentine’s Day upon us, I reckon this model could be pretty useful for some of you, those who have yet to buy gifts and event those who have already bought (you still have time for last minute changes, it is Valentine’s Day right up until midnight tomorrow!) I think buying Valentine’s Day gifts is a really tricky one: you don’t want to come across desperate; you don’t want to come across cheap or disinterested; you don’t want to act like you’re showing off; and of course, the worst of all, you don’t want to splash out and find out that the other person didn’t realise you were buying each other Valentine’s Day gifts already! Well fear not, this handy little model compares the time that you have known the proposed recipient of the gift with the amount you should spend on the gift, giving you a good starting point to narrow down your gift options. It suggests a few key people in your life to give you an idea. Take a look below:

This diagram is actually quite useful and makes a lot of sense.  I personally want to buy a gift for someone I admire (not a Valentine’s gift though, honest) but I was not sure how to judge how much I ought to spend or if I ought to buy anything at all. For me, I have found that I haven’t known the person nearly long enough to buy anything particularly expensive, and in fact he amount I should spend is pretty low. Maybe there is no need to buy anything at all; perhaps I ought to find other ways of saying thank you.

What about those who will buy/ or have bought Valentine’s Day gifts. Have you spent too much? More importantly, have you spent too little? How would this model have helped you? I would be really interested to see if those who have yet to buy their gifts would try this guide and let me know how it helps.

Well that was a first simple example. More from me and my Decision Book Challenge during the week. Here’s to becoming better decision-makers!

Review: The Decision Book by Mikael Krogerus and Roman Tschäppeler

The Decision Book

Fifty Models for Strategic Thinking

ISBN 1846683955
ISBN 13 9781846683954
Profile Books Ltd January 2011
Price £9.99
Hardback, 176 pp.

When I first got a copy of The Decision Book on Friday afternoon, I had intended to read just a few specific sections. I had no real intention of doing a full review and no obligation to do so. So I absolutely surprised myself when I realised I would be able to read the entire book cover to cover in a single sitting! This is not really the type of book that you are supposed to read through, it is more designed to be used and applied when needed, carrying out exercises and activities, but I found the models and theories in it so interesting that I just could not resist. So, on account of it surprising me in this way, I thought it only right that I do review it.

The Decision Book is a mini-workbook containing approximately fifty decision-making models that we can apply to our everyday lives to help guide our thought processes and actions. It looks at both classic and modern theories and strategies taken from some of the world’s greatest theorists, leaders, businessmen, organisations and free-thinkers. What is better though, is that these incredible theories and ideas are explained in concise form, most not more than a page long, meaning that you get all this incredible knowledge in less than 200 pages. And as if that was not good enough, each model is nicely presented in a diagram, one that you can copy and use yourself, applying these decision-making models to your own situations. It is so simple and yet so beneficial.

Classic Songs On Love and Romance

Inspired by the season of love and romance, I have decided to share with you what I consider to be some of the most romantic, beautiful, artistic songs on love and romance. Some you will know, some you may not, some you'll adore and some you'll hate. I'm very interested to hear your opinions, so please feel free to coment. And so in no particular order here are my ten favourite love songs:

Unchained Melody - Righteous Brothers
Love songs don't get much better than this; it never fails to put tingles down my spine. What a voice, what lyrics, so sad, so sweet. The song was originally produced in 1955 for as the theme for a movie called 'Unchained' about a man condemned to prison, calling for his loved one. There have been many versions since that time, it is one of the most covered songs, but this 1965 version by the Righteous Brothers is a clear cut above the rest. 

I'm Kissing You  - Des'ree
From the I saw the movie Romeo and Juliet with Leonardo di 'Caprio I have been unable to get this song out of my head. Des'ree has incredible vocals in this song. It is simultaneously one of the most tragic and beautiful songs I have heard.

All The Man That I Need - Whitney Houston
She may have gone through troublesome times, but Whitney Houston is still a legend. There are so many of her songs I could choose but this one is beautiful, a booster for the men in our lives. And the voice, let's face it, there aren't many really talented vocalists these days, let alone anyone who measures up to this.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Belated Burns’ Night Dedication

I am a day late, but I could not let this time pass without marking it somehow. As many, if not all, of us know, last night, January 25th, was Burns’ Night. A special night that marks the anniversary of one of the most poetically romantic and lyrically gifted poets I have ever read, and one of my first favourites. He is also Scotland’s national poet, famous for Auld Lang Syne which is traditionally sung in the UK by many to mark the New Year.

I am going to make this post a short one, only to write here what is my all-time favourite poem/ song from Robert Burns, one of his better known, and one that touches me every time I hear it or read it. It is also one of the first poems I ever learnt by memory and sums up what Robert Burns means to me, what his name evokes; I think it is gorgeous.

I leave you with My Love is Like A Red, Red Rose

My love is like a red, red rose
that's newly sprung in June.
My love is like the melody,
that's sweetly play'd in tune.

As fair thou art, my bonnie lass,
so deep in love am I:
And I will love thee still, my dear,
till a' the seas gang dry.

Till a' the seas gang dry, my dear,
and the rocks melt wi' the sun!
And I will love thee still, my dear,
while the sands o’ life shall run.

And fare the weel, my only love,
and fare the weel a while!
And I will come again, my love,
tho’ it were ten thousand mile

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Reflecting on the Old Year & Welcoming the New Year

It is 2011 and if you are like me, you've been in a pensive mood, thinking on how to make this year better and more successful than the one we have just left behind. Personally, I want this year to be a far more spiritual, tranquil and focussed year, purged of all lingering negativity and redundancy. This has meant having a close look at relationships with others and with my environment over the last few weeks, and doing my best to put things in order. I think one of the best ways to prepare for a better year is to reflect in detail on the previous year, as I have been doing.

2010 has been a year of important changes for me, graduating and then starting the journey towards my career.  I have been so blessed the last few months, having met incredible people through social networking, events, and work experience,  people who have all, in their own way, contributed to me achieving my goals. To everyone on Twitter and Facebook, and to those who follow my blog, that includes you, too, as well as my Goodreads, BookRabbit and BookArmy buddies. Also, to all those from whom I won my first ARCs, thank you to opening my eyes about just how much fun my love of reading could provide me; starting this blog has been one of the highlights of my year. I had a brilliant, eye-openng time with Holland Park Press and I am, of course,  greatly indebted to the publishing teams at Transworld, Pan Macmillan, Headline, Hodder and Stoughton, and Simon and Schuster UK for having faith in me and giving me an opportunity to learn more about the industry. I have met wonderful, like-minded people who have really helped focus my search and pushed me forward. Of all the people I have met, I have to give special mention to Suzanne Collier of BookCareers.com, who gave me my very first work experience opportunity with regards to publishing, and who really gave me the encouragement and guidance I needed.

So, what have I learnt from all this? Well, most importantly it has made me determined to surround myself with positive, like-minded people and stay away from anyone or anything that would divert me from my goals. These last months have been intense and have thrown me right into the heart of the world I wish to inhabit, and as a result I am really moving forward and overcoming obstacles, learning, growing and enjoying myself. I have also learnt the importance of being true to oneself; when I was younger my reading obsession didn’t exactly make me popular. I carried on regardless because I was that addicted, and because my Mum made reading so incredible, but I wish I had known then just how amazing things would all turn out to be the year that I graduated. When you love something you just have to be true to it and, whilst it is always compulsory to assess your own aspirations and actions, and wise to consider the advice of others, at the same time we cannot allow other people’s doubts and negativity or random opinions cause us to doubt ourselves.

I have also come to realise these last few weeks that this blog is important to me in so many ways, not just for the books I get to review. It is my voice to the world, and that is something I cherish and adore about it. I have been able to discuss such important issues with this blog as well as learning so much through the blogs of others.

I suppose what I have learnt overall is that there is too much good in this world for us to allow ourselves to be swallowed up by the negativity. We are so much more and so much better than that, and if you know what you want and you believe that you can achieve it, and you are willing to do what it takes, then anything is possible. The world can always be positive; if you don’t get exactly what you want, then there is an alternative out there for you, something better, so many opportunities to discover.

Make 2011 a year of positivity, be happy, be patient, believe.