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My Journey in Writing

My name is Lynne Stringer and I love writing! Of course, that’s not all I love. I also love reading books, especially ones that take me out of the every day and into a new world. It doesn’t have to be a completely imaginary world, either. Anything with fascinating characters and interesting storylines will do. My first young adult novel, The Heir, was accepted for publication by Wombat Books and released on 1 June 2013. It is the first book in the Verindon trilogy. It’s so exciting to have a real copy of my book in my hands.

The Rosie Effect: A Novel - Graeme Simsion

At first this book had me worried. There were problems presented that seemed insurmountable, and although I expected the usual disasters caused by Don's unique responses to social situations, the magnitude of one of them in particular, was a bit overwhelming. Also the tension rose and rose and rose in relation to the most crucial problem Don and Rosie faced but the resolution was slipped in in such a way it would have been easy to miss. Fortunately, the lead-up to the resolution was a good one and made it believable.
I was quite a bit more emotional in my response to this one than to the first. While hardly as socially inept as Don, we do have some similarities, and watching him struggle through the problems presented in The Rosie Effect was heartbreaking. I also appreciated, as I had in the first, the fact that Graeme Simsion can, through his skillful writing, demonstrate just how much Don cares about others even though he finds it difficult to relate to them on any emotional level. Well written and enjoyable.

The Rosie Project - Graeme Simsion

When I began it, I wasn't sure if I was going to like this book or not, as the narration was heavy with lots of 'telling'. However, I quickly realised that that was an appropriate style for a character who is most likely Asperger's or leaning towards autism, with his heavy emphasis on routine, structure and over-analysis of everything, and his fear of emotional situations and inability to behave in a socially acceptable way. Don Tillman, the protagonist, quickly became sympathetic and his journey though the novel was endearing and at times extremely moving. A very enjoyable story.

As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride - Joe Layden, Cary Elwes, Rob Reiner

A fantastic, easy read that's a must for any fan of The Princess Bride. I loved Cary Elwes' anecdotes from behind the scenes and his sneak peeks at everyone involved in making the movie, which sounded like a blast. A wonderful reflection on one of my favourite movies.

Above & Below: A 25th Anniversary Beauty and the Beast Companion - Edward Gross

I found this book a mixed bag. The book's formatting gives me the impression it's self-published. There are quite a few errors and some pages with monstrously long paragraphs. However, the information in its pages was still well worth the read. Given that I haven't watched an episode of Beauty and the Beast for many years, it was quite a shock to realise that George RR Martin wrote a number of the episodes! Given how violent some of his were, perhaps it's not all that surprising.
It was a nice reflection on a show that could have been so much more if the network had believed that true love was all that was necessary to sell a show.

Tanza - Amanda Greenslade

Tanza is the second novel in the Astor Chronicles and I enjoyed it as much as the first. At times it was a little heavy on the detail, which I don't really like, but it was still entertaining to see what happened next in Talon's journey. I liked the new characters, although missed some of the old, who weren't in it as much. But all in all, it was a good sequel.

Back to Resolution - Rose Dee

I really enjoyed Back to Resolution. I think one of the main things that pleased me about it was that it didn't feature stereotypical squeaky clean Christians. No, its two main characters were very human people who had lives prior to becoming Christians and struggled to 'walk the walk' all the time. It was far more realistic than the ones we often see in many American Christian novels. I also loved the Northern Queensland setting. It makes me want to go on holidays. An entertaining read.

Activate - Adele Jones

It took me a little while to get into Activate, perhaps because what has always intrigued me most about it is the scientific element of Blaine's condition and the story veered away from that for the first little while. It was certainly a thrilling ride, with a few twists along the way. I especially loved the things we got to experience from Blaine's point of view in various stages of his journey (I won't say too much in case I spoil it). And it was moving to experience the despair that you would expect from a person who is struggling with a condition like that. Well worth the read.

Replicate - Adele Jones
  As is usual with the second act in a three act play, Replicate closes with quite a few loose ends. I think this journey was probably the most emotion from Blaine's point of view, as he goes through so much in addition to the problems associated with his condition. There is a new bad guy to hate and someone reappears in Blaine's life who creates a lot of trouble for him and plenty of conflict. I felt so badly for him with all he had to endure throughout this book. It's great that the sequel is finally available. :-)


Heart of the Mountain: A short novella (Under the Mountain Book 1) - Jeanette O'Hagan

It was a pleasure to read a novella that is so well written. While the plot didn't tread any new ground as far as the storyline went, the journey was still enjoyable and the characters interesting and engaging. It proceeded steadily towards a good, if a little brief, resolution that left me wanting more. An entertaining read.

Distance - Nene Davies

Although it took me a while to get into this book, I found the pace picked up about quarter of the way through, providing an enjoyable story. Ms Davies is a good storyteller and it was interesting to read about her character, Isobel, and her quest to emigrate to Australia with her family from cold, soggy Wales. Their journey was an entertaining one, and definitely had its ups and downs.

Mark of the Leopard - Kathy Stewart

Mark of the Leopard kept my attention and interest, so it didn't take me too long to get through it. Some of it, though, was not easy to read, particularly the parts that detailed the lot of those who were in slavery. There was also a reasonable amount of death and violence, particularly towards women, although none of it was too graphic. Most was only alluded to. There were numerous characters who I found difficult to like. Fortunately, they were all characters I wasn't supposed to like. Because of the nature of the world and the eyes we saw it through, the story was often bleak. However, I found the resolution satisfying. 

Talon (The Astor Chronicles Book 1) - Amanda Greenslade

Talon is an in-depth fantasy set in a land where numerous different people groups exist side by side, sometimes peacefully, sometimes not. Chief amongst these groups are the Jarians, who along with some of their close neighbours, follow a religion that is under threat from the demonic power of the Zeikas, a race that is trying to take over this world.
The story follows the adventures of Talon, who is a Jarian and has recently found a Rada-kin (that is, an animal with whom he can have a sentient friendship and whose thoughts he can read). She is an icetiger named Rekala. This development means Talon has become a Rada, and he quickly also become an Anzaii, which gives him additional powers and responsibilities, including becoming the ambassador of the Jarian people. Teaming up with Sarlice, the ambassador from Lyth, and her firetiger Rada-kin, they journey to Telby to try and get the king's help in their fight with the Zeikas.
Talon is a book with lots of detail and world-building. If you like that sort of thing, I recommend it. However, if you prefer your stories to move at a rapid pace, this might not be the book for you. It does keep moving, though. Sometimes I found it difficult to follow, especially when Talon is communicating with his kin in his head, which means he can also communicate with a lot of other people and animals. This could easily be confusing for some, and has the potential to be a difficulty in future novels, as Talon's ability looks likely to increase. However, to Amanda Greenslade's credit, I managed to keep up with it, so hopefully she will be skilled enough to make it work in the future.
So if you like your books with loads of world-building and intricate, and at times, conflicting relationships between races, you'll probably really enjoy this one!

The Naked Room - Diana Hockley

This is the first book I've read all year that I've enjoyed reading. It's not my usual genre - I'm not normally one for crime/thrillers - but there's no doubt it was an enjoyable, well-paced read that kept drawing me back to its pages. A couple of the relationship scenes were a little more explicit than I like, as were some terrifying moments in the life of the protagonist, Ally, whose ultimate fate I was desperate to discover.
Ms Hockley includes points of view from a number of prominent characters, writing them in first person and designating a full chapter (usually) to the character, who is identified on the opening page of each chapter. I've seen this done before and usually it fails abysmally. However, in this case, I felt it worked. It certainly didn't detract from my interest in the story.
I might not be the best person to recommend a crime/thriller, but if you like that kind of book, give it a try.

A More Christlike God: A More Beautiful Gospel - Bradley Jersak

I really wanted to like this book. I was interested to hear his arguments, hoping they would be sound doctrine presented convincingly, leading me to a greater understanding of the compassionate nature of Father God, as represented in Jesus Christ.
Unfortunately, Bradley Jersak's style of writing isn't either clear or concise. I think some of his arguments made sense, but it was honestly difficult to decipher, so hidden were they amongst pointless detail and dull repetition. Sometimes he seemed to think if he just repeated his interpretation over and a over again, he would convince us of it. Sometimes there was evidence, but it was buried under so much gumpf I'd usually forgotten the point he was making any time I came back to this book after a break, and there were many breaks. I had to continually drag myself back to it, as I was determined to finish it because, as I said, I wanted his arguments to be convincing. And I think they probably are, but I don't think this book is the one that's going to convince me of it.

Integrate - Adele  Jones

Fantastic and different novel about a young man who has received radical new therapy to help him overcome a debilitating disease. However, he's then told his treatment is unauthorised and has a fight on his hands just to stay alive. While some of the plot elements went the usual way of such stories, it was still written in such an engaging manner this was a minor concern for me. The protagonist was intriguing and realistically drawn. Definitely a story worth reading.

Ellenvale Gold (Jacksons Creek #1) - Amanda Deed

I enjoy a good historical romance and this is definitely one of them. I like the fact that I've found some authors who do Australian historical romance. It makes a change from the American ones that are usually all I can find. While this one didn't tread any unfamiliar ground as far as the genre went, it was well done and enjoyable, with characters I cared about. Recommended.