Sunday, 23 April 2017

Moby Dick by Herman Melville - Review

I'm writing my reviews for my buddy reads all completely out of order so this one is actually from this year and we finished it not very long ago (7th of April to be exact)! It was my turn to choose and I thought we hadn't done a long read in a while so why not get a "biggie" read now and so I chose Moby Dick by Herman Melville. It was not quite as long as I expected and I am eternally grateful that it wasn't. I did also get us The Turn Of The Screw to read in between as a break when we needed it (which I'll review soon) and it was a good job I did.

Moby Dick 

'Call me Ishmael.' 

So begins Herman Melville's masterpiece, one of the greatest works of imagination in literary history. As Ishmael is drawn into Captain Ahab's obsessive quest to slay the white whale Moby-Dick, he finds himself engaged in a metaphysical struggle between good and evil. More than just a novel of adventure, more than an paean to whaling lore and legend, Moby-Dick is a haunting social commentary, populated by some of the most enduring characters in literature; the crew of the Pequod, from stern, Quaker First Mate Starbuck, to the tattooed Polynesian harpooner Queequeg, are a vision of the world in microcosm, the pinnacle of Melville's lifelong meditation on America. Written with wonderfully redemptive humour, Moby-Dick is a profound, poetic inquiry into character, faith, and the nature of perception.

My Review

When I started Moby Dick, I was wondering why people said they struggled so much with it, I was really enjoying it and the pages were flying wrong was I! This book tricks you into thinking that it will be good. The first 100 pages are really good, Ishmael is witty and engaging and his relationship with Quequeg was wonderfully endearing.

There was a lot more religion than I expected, but it was of a time where religion was pretty much the most important thing around.Though it isn't always dealt with as reverently as you'd expect, Ishmael mentions orchard thieves which took me a minute to realise he meant Adam and Eve and then I full on laughed out loud.

From the minute Ishmael and Quequeg step on the Pequod the whole book starts going down hill. I was thoroughly looking forward to meeting the infamous Captain Ahab and I expected him to be such a badass...but no sadly I was wrong. He was basically non present for most of the journey and when he was present he was not a particularly strong or stand out character.

I wanted a fast paced revenge story of one man and a whale, but what I got was an encyclopedic look into whaling in the 19th century. Don't get me wrong, the details were fascinating, but if I'd wanted to learn that kind of information I wouldn't have  read a novel, I would have done some research. When the story was being told, the writing was wonderful, but I just didn't like the dry facts throughout.

The ending to me really disappointed too, it felt rushed and half a$$ed. I won't spoil it in case there are people who haven't read it who still want to. It wasn't spoiled for me so I won't spoil it for other people. I will say however is was very unsatisfying.

It was a hard slog but I'm glad we did it, it's another one off our wish lists.

I gave this book 2 stars.

About The Author 

Herman Melville was an American novelist, short story writer, essayist, and poet. His first two books gained much attention, though they were not bestsellers, and his popularity declined precipitously only a few years later. By the time of his death he had been almost completely forgotten, but his longest novel, Moby-Dick — largely considered a failure during his lifetime, and most responsible for Melville's fall from favour with the reading public — was rediscovered in the 20th century as one of the chief literary masterpieces of both American and world literature.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Game Point by Malcolm Hollingdrake - Blog Tour Review

Today I am really pleased to be a part of the blog tour for Game Point, by Malcolm Hollingdrake, the fourth book in the DCI Cyril Bennett series. 

Game Point

DCI Bennett faces the most harrowing case of his career. A psychopath, who escaped capture, is hell bent on revenge and executes a series of events that will not only impact on Bennett physically, but will have emotional and professional consequences.

A body is found with its fingers amputated, then an investigative journalist, embroiled in the pornography and drugs scene, is murdered.

Bennett’s team is faced with some baffling evidence. Hatpins and bicycle spokes become pivotal to the inquiry but the police struggle to connect the evidence.

It is only when a Detective Sergeant from the team is kidnapped that Bennett realises that he is the true target. 

Can Bennett solve the case before it’s too late? How many people will he lose in the process?

My Review

First of all can I give some love to this absolutely stunning cover! It's eye-catching and having read the book completely spot on. 

Game Point is extremely fast paced and filled with twists that DCI Cyril Bennett has to navigate. A lot of the darker side of life is covered in this book and is dealt with incredibly well. Do be prepared though for some more gruesome aspects as the bodies pile up. The story is very well told and the writing is excellent. All of these points add up to making Game Point a book you can easily read in one sitting! 

I think the strongest thing that comes across in this book is just how good a person Cyril is both personally and in the work place, he's just trying his best to do the best he can. Also just how much people can achieve when they work together. The crimes committed and the kidnapping of a team mate could have been make or break for the team and yet they all came together and worked hard. You can feel the emotion from them all and the anger, fear and determination they all have to solve the case as soon as they can. I felt myself holding my breath at points waiting to see what happened. 

Though Game Point is book 4 in a series, it can be read as a stand alone like I have. The character development and story are strong enough to completely capture you. There are references to previous cases though, so beware if you plan on reading the rest of the series (like I'm now going to), then do that first, then come straight back and read this. 

Overall an excellent book and another author I will be adding to my must read list! 

I gave this book 4 stars

About The Author

You could say that the writing was clearly written on the wall for anyone born in a library that they might aspire to be an author but to get to that point Malcolm Hollingdrake has travelled a circuitous route.

Malcolm worked in education for many years, even teaching for a period in Cairo before he started writing, a challenge he had longed to tackle for more years than he cares to remember. 

Malcolm has written a number of successful short stories and has four books now available. Presently he is concentrating on a series of crime novels set in Harrogate, North Yorkshire. 

Born in Bradford and spending three years in Ripon, Malcolm has never lost his love for his home county, a passion that is reflected in the settings for all three novels.

Malcolm has enjoyed many hobbies including collecting works by Northern artists; the art auctions offer a degree of excitement when both buying and certainly when selling. It’s a hobby he has bestowed on DCI Cyril Bennett, the main character in his latest novel.

To Connect With Malcolm Hollingdrake

Twitter - @MHollingdrake
Publisher - Bloodhound Books

Don't Forget To Check Out The Rest Of The Tour

Friday, 7 April 2017

Getting To Know... John Lov - Ascendia

Today is the day! I am so happy to kick off a new part of my Getting To Know... feature with John Lov of the absolutely freaking amazing band Ascendia! 

So to get us started off, could you introduce yourself and tell me what your part in the band is?

My name is John and I am the lead guitar player and one of the song writers for the band Ascendia

Your sound is very distinctive (and awesome), have you always known how you wanted to sound or has it come about more organically?

We appreciate the compliment! I think life as a musician starts by absorbing all the musical influences you possibly can and learning as much as you can. The music we write is the product of 3 guys with unique musical influences and experiences combining them in the most cohesive way possible. I think through this process we have managed to develop our own unique sound that we are very proud of!

Growing up who were your favourite bands or musicians?

I started off listening to classic rock/metal which includes bands like Black Sabbath, Rainbow, Scorpions, Whitesnake, Rush, Boston and Europe. After years of listening to these bands I got introduced to a band called Nightwish and everything changed! Once I got a taste for new modern metal there was no looking back.

When you're all not performing, recording, writing etc, what would we find you doing?

We all are either working or in school! I work for a finance company, Nick is an electrician and Billy is studying finance at York University.

What would be your absolute dream stage to perform on be?

I think we would all love to be able to play the stage at Wacken festival in Germany. It is an epic festival with some epic bands!

Other than the obvious, singing and playing instruments, do you have any other hidden talents?

I like to take naps. I’m pretty good at that!

Your music videos are extremely well polished and make an impact, do you have a lot of say in the concept and what you'd like the finished video to look like?

The first thing we do is break down the lyrics and the meaning of the song. At this point we start brainstorming ideas and ways to convey the message and overall vibe of the song. We then present these ideas to the music video director and discuss how these ideas will look on camera. He then gets his input and we create a plan of execution.

If you could be any superhero, who would you be and why?

I would probably pick Batman just to ride that crazy motorcycle he has haha!

Are any of you gamers, whether it be console, pc, table top or heck even mobile phone? If you are, what's your favourite game?

Billy Lov is into gaming quite a bit! He’s got PS4 and I catch him playing Call of Duty all the time.

As well as loving music, I am a huge reader. Do you get any time in your busy schedules to read and can you give me any book recommendations?

Being a past business student I would recommend the “Big Short.” It is a really interesting book that explores the 2008 US mortgage housing crisis. Yea, I’m boring.

I know the new album is in the works which is incredibly exciting for fans, can you tell me anything about it and what we can look forward to from Ascendia in the future?

The new album has been taking a while, but for a very good reason. A lot of things have changed in our musical interests and tastes and we needed time to be able to put these ideas together in a cohesive manner. You will get everything you love about Ascendia in there. What I can tell you is that it is going to be a very lean, polished, melodic, emotional and heavy album.  We are working hard on the recipe and we think all our fans will be happy

THANK YOU so much to John Lov for taking the time to answer my questions, especially with how busy he is with the new album and up coming tour!

To connect with Ascendia

Facebook - Ascendia
Twitter - @Ascendiamusic
Instagram - ascendiamusic
Snapchat - ascendiamusic
Youtube - Ascendia

To purchase a copy of The Lion And The Jester 


Monday, 3 April 2017

Getting To Know... Me - Nerdish Mum!! (And A Cheeky Announcement)

As I've had a couple of weeks break from Getting To Know... to catch up on reviews and other things (see my announcement at the end), I thought it would be fun to do a Getting To Know... with me! So instead of writing my own questions I asked in Book Connectors (an awesome book group on FB and Twitter full of authors and book bloggers) for questions that I could answer and I got some absolutely great ones! This is a bit nerve racking now being in the hot seat but here goes!

What is the inspiration behind your blog name, Life Of A Nerdish Mum - Mairead of Swirl and Thread

When I first set up my blog, the idea was to blog about all the nerdish things that I get up to, to share my experiences and meet other people who like the same things as I do. So Life Of A Nerdish Mum just made sense as I was already Nerdish Mum on twitter. This included reviewing books and comics etc and the book review side of things has just bloomed so much it's the majority of what I post now, but I still do blog about other things too and there is more on it's way (sneaky hint about my announcement below).

What made you decide to be a blogger, how long have you been doing it and how long do you spend each week doing it? - Marie Campbell author of Baby

After having my little guy, Mini Nerdling, in 2013 I ended up with quite bad post natal depression (which goes well with my normal anxiety and depression *sarcasm*) and I needed something that was just about me so I set up my Twitter account and dived into the nerdy/geeky community. I discovered an amazing group called IGGPPC (International Geek Girl Pen Pal Club) and they have loads of groups that are just so friendly. I obviously was drawn to the book group (Iggleworms) and everyone was talking about what book challenges they were going to be doing for 2015 and how they were going to keep track of them. I made the decision to start up a blog that would be a place to review each of the books that I read for my chosen challenges as well as a place to share my experiences of cons and other such things that I went to. So on the 1st of January 2015 my first blog post went up and I've been blogging ever since. For the first year I only really published my posts and never shared them or promoted them in any way until probably about a year into it when I became more and more involved in the book blogging community. As to how much time I spend each week, it varies but I can tell you it's a full time job! I am a stay at home mum during the day, I work six evenings a week and until recently I volunteered one morning a week helping children aged 2-5 with speech delays. Every bit of my spare time (hahahahaha) is spent either reading or blogging. When I'm prepping for my Getting To Know... feature as well, it takes even more time as I like to personalise my questions as much as possible so I research each participant so I can ask the most interesting questions I can manage,

What else do you write aside from blogging and what inspires you to write these things? - Chantelle Atkins author of The Mess Of Me

I used to write articles for Teddy Bear Times as before I had my little guy I made collectors style teddy bears and I somehow ended up working for one of the most well known teddy bear magazines. I also write letters which I absolutely love doing when I have the time as I have met some absolutely wonderful people through being a pen pal and I keep a couple of journals, one book and one bullet, These really help keep me organised, focused and motivated which is really important to me.

I am also in the process of writing my own novel, it's all laid out I just need to finish writing it. Other than it being fantasy I won't give anything else away ;)

I wondered how you deal with books that you start with a view to reviewing, but find you really don't like, do you always finish them? Do you always write a review? - Peta Rainford, author of Isabella, Rotten Speller

I am very lucky in the fact the the books I have received for review have all been good (so far anyway) as I try to only accept ones that I think that I will enjoy. I have a real problem with not being able to put a book down though even if I am hating it, I came very close last year to putting my first ever DNF (on a book I chose myself from the library), but I felt so much readers guilt that I finished the whole darn thing!! I will always leave a review though good or bad for a few reasons; firstly that it'd look weird if I liked every single book that I ever read, I don't think anyone has got that lucky. Next, good or bad, a review on a book is good for the author as it gets their book more audience and I try to be as constructive as possible and a lot of the time I explain that the reason I don't like something is that it's just not for me rather than it being bad. The only thing I would do differently if my review was "negative" is that I wouldn't tag the author or publisher on social media and I probably wouldn't promote my blog post like I do when it's positive review.

What do you find most fascinating about your feature Getting To Know... and is there something that you've learnt that you can use in your own reading? - Susan of The Booktrail

I find each and every person I interview fascinating. I love finding out about people and each person is so different from the last and the next. There was something I did learn which I think is invaluable to both readers and writers from Anna Osborne, author of Walking Wounded, (Anna's Getting To Know... is here) who is also a chiropractor, make sure you stand up and pace around every 20 minutes so that you don't damage your back.

What world from a story you've read is the one that you'd least like to live in; and conversely, the one that you'd most like to inhabit? - Karl Drinkwater author of They Move Below

There's quite a few that I'd hate to live in like Panem, The Phase, The Glade and other such places, though thinking about it they are all post apocalyptic/dystopian so I'm pretty sure I shouldn't want to live in them haha! Also anywhere like Gotham City, Star City or Central City, I couldn't cope with the constant threat of one bad guy or another.

The one I'd most like to live in is actually really hard, I think it'd have to be Discworld! Terry Pratchett just created an amazing world full of both good and bad.

What's the best and worse thing about blogging? - Lorraine of The Book Review Cafe

The best thing is the people! The bloggers and authors and publishers that I've got to know have all been so wonderful and welcoming. I am extremely awkward when communicating so I don't always comment or interact too much, but no one minds and I'm always made to feel so at home with everyone. I finally met my buddy reader a few weeks ago which was so nice after knowing her for over two years and I'm hoping to meet more people in the future.

The worst thing I think is the guilt - you feel guilty for saying no, you feel guilty for taking too long to read a book, you feel guilty for not sharing other peoples blogs as much as you'd like, you feel guilty for spending so much time blogging, you feel guilty that your review is too long/short....the list of guilt is endless. But it's all worth it!

I'd like to know what made you decide to review books in the first place and how you find the books? - Harriet Springbett author of Tree Magic

I've enjoyed reviewing books since I was little. My local library when I was in primary school had a kind of book club in which you could progress through the ranks by reading books and writing reviews for the librarian to read. My primary school was also very into books and having us write reviews so I had a solid foundation in writing reviews when I'd finished a book. I did fall out of it for a while until I discovered Goodreads and the online book community. As to where I get books, 95% or more of my books are books that I buy myself or get from the library, it's only been in the past year that I have started receiving books from authors and publishers, but even then if it is a book I adore, I go out and buy my own copy to make sure I'm supporting the author.

Which book that you've read do you really wish you'd written? - Linda of Linda's Book Bag

Oooooh there's a few for this one (I'm allowed more than one right?) - The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S Lewis, The Talisman by Stephen King and Peter Straub and The Fever Series by Karen Marie Moning. In fact I could go on and on!

What was the first book you remember from your childhood? - Jane Cable, author of The Cheesemaker's House

I still own a lot of my childhood books so that'd be cheating to just look at them, but the first book I really remember reading myself and it really sticking with me was The Sixth Seal by Mary Wesley. I had read things like the Chronicles of Narnia, The Famous Five, The Secret Seven, The Hobbit etc before it, but this one really stood out to me. I had borrowed it from the library and I wrote a book review for school about it (I think I was in year 5) and I even decorated the edges of my review with pictures I'd drawn from things that happen in the book. I always remembered this book and so as an adult, early twenties, I decided I needed a copy of it and I went out and bought it. I've read The Sixth Seal again about two or three times since then and I still absolutely love it.

What is your favourite genre to review? - Alison of Ali's Romance, Thriller and Christian Fiction Book Reviews

I always say that fantasy is my favourite genre, which is the truth. However, I don't like to read just one genre of book, I love classics, non fiction, YA, middle grade, horror, crime, children's etc etc. I could never set myself just one to read as I'd always feel like I was missing out. Since book blogging I have also read books in genres that I never thought I would read and have thoroughly enjoyed reading them so it's always good to keep an open mind.

And that's it! Phew that was pretty intense, but I hope you all enjoyed that as much as I did! Thank you so much to all the authors and bloggers that gave me questions, it is greatly appreciated and I hope I did justice in my answers!

Now onto my announcement! As well as reading, my other number one love is music! I have always been a HUGE music fan and have been to countless gigs over the years. From pop to classics to heavy metal, I love it all (though I am a full on rock chick when it comes down to it). So to include this part of me in my blog, I will now have a monthly feature where I interview bands. I cannot explain how much this excites me and I am really looking forward to my first one going live this Friday the 7th of April. I really hope that this is exciting for you all too and that you'll come join me on Friday when I interview John Lov, the guitarist of Ascendia. (Check out one of their music videos here)

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Meet The Imaginative Joe Dreamer by Karlene Stewart - Review

Today on Life On A Nerdish Mum I am reviewing a children's book, Meet The Imaginative Joe Dreamer written by Karlene Stewart and illustrated by Telmo Sampaio. 

Meet The Imaginative Joe Dreamer

Meet the Imaginative Joe Dreamer is the first edition in a series of children's picture books, introducing a young boy who channels his frustrations into his creative passions - drawing and his imagination. In this first edition Joe faces the challenge of going to the beach on a rainy day. 

The book is set in the beautiful Cayman Islands, where Joe resides with his parents. Joe's parents are entertained by his creativity and sense of humour. Similarly, the book serves to encourage young children to be creative and imaginative. Older children may read alone or younger children may have their parents read to them. This cosy picture book is a great addition for any family as it brings together exciting ingredients of the Caribbean, imagination and viewing problem solving through a young child's eyes,

My Review

Meet The Imaginative Joe Dreamer is a wonderfully bright and enjoyable read for both child and adult. This is important with children's books as you are bound to be reading it numerous times. 

I enjoyed the family dynamic displayed in Joe Dreamer with the parents spending time with their child and encouraging his loves and imagination. They obviously love each other and that is really nice to see. 

The fact that the book celebrates a child's imagination and encourages it is really important to me as I feel imagination is being lost by some children in this current time. As an adult it's also a nice reminder that we can use our imagination too, I know I still use mine on occasion. Also the use of simple crayons and paper can be so meaningful to a child and is a brilliant and age appropriate way to help with a child's development, 

The story itself is fun and easy to read and both my 3 and 8 year old nerdlings enjoyed me reading it to them, My 8 year old found it easy to read herself and she asked questions about the Cayman Islands as she had never heard of them which led to learning more about them, where they are in the world and that yes it does really rain in paradise. 

Overall a great read for both me and the children and one that will be read again. 

I gave this book 4 stars.

About The Author

Karlene Stewart is the author of several books and ebooks; You Can Rise Up, Journey of Miracles, Meet the Imaginative Joe Dreamer and What If…All You Can Imagine. Karlene holds a Master of Arts Degree in Communication for Social and Behavior Change from the University of the West Indies. Karlene began her published writing in her teenage years as a Youth Writer with Jamaica’s national newspaper The Gleaner. Today, she focuses mostly on writing blogs, ebooks and short stories. Her favourite authors are Joel Osteen and Dr. Seuss.