Tree in the Park

tree

Totem Pole

I saw this tree in the park and thought it looked really interesting.

It would make a really good totem pole I thought!

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Review: The Hystery App

The Hystery App by V.T. Davy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

‘That’s not female liberation; we’re not really doing as we please but as the CEOs and marketing men of mega-corporations please; women are being boxed into yet another stereotype that pleases or teases men in exchange for our advancement. It’s prostitution on a global scale. It is as if the feminism that you and I know never happened.’ 

When the biophysicist Dr Brogan Miller and her partner, the women’s historian Dr Honor Smith, stumble upon a cosmic phenomenon that enables them to film the everyday lives of women from the past, they believe it will bring about a revolution in the way that women’s history is taught and studied. 

On the release of the Hystery app, their initial euphoria is not dampened as astonishing uploads from all over the world pour in showing women from all centuries at home, at work and at play. But, as the uploads take a more sinister turn, they realise that, in their excitement, they overlooked society’s appetite for new technology that bends each innovation to satisfy its basest cravings. It is only when tragedy strikes the couple and the extraordinary Erin James enters Brogan’s life that she finds the courage to put right what she has let loose on the world. 

In the second of V T Davy’s ‘state of the lesbian nation’ novels, he blends science fiction, lesbian romance and women’s history to ask whether the rights that women espouse today are those that were fought for by the pioneers of feminism or whether they have become distorted beyond recognition.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

I really enjoyed this book and would rate it as 4.5 stars. It was great to have a story with lesbian characters that wasn’t just a romance. There was romance but it was secondary to the science fiction and feminism issues.

The book is set in contemporary England where Dr Brogan Miller’s private satellite is orbiting a cosmic string which has allowed it to transmit images from the past to connected webcams and mobile phones. Obviously all science fiction requires some suspension of disbelief and I was able to do that quite happily but if I thought too hard about it the viewing of history, and especially the fact that only deceased women could be seen, was rather spurious really. However, it made for an interesting premise in which to explore the way women are treated in our patriarchal society.

I liked all of the characters, although some of Brogan’s behaviour annoyed me. Erin, in particular, was great. A strong woman shaped by her tragic past. How she used the app was incredibly brave. I’m not sure I could have done it, had I been in her shoes.

A couple of negative factors: firstly, the tragedy that strikes was dealt with rather abruptly I though. Secondly, the sex scenes had a bit too much ‘she did this and she did that’. Hard to avoid with two women, I know, but a bit more use of their names would have helped.

Although the book explores complex issues and raises interesting questions, it is no dry, academic treatise. It is an exciting tale that I found hard to put down. Society’s reactions to the app seemed realistic and I was glad Honor and Brogan made the decisions they did.

I would definitely read more of Davy’s books.

LGBT2015_mini_zpse734642bBritish book challenge

Review: It’s Not My Favorite

It’s Not My Favorite by Rue
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It's Not My FavoriteThe Hutchinson sisters grew up under the piercing, pious stare of a preacher’s wife. Plagued by her ever-disappointed refrain, “Well, it’s not my favorite.” Their search to find their own way in the world has not been a screaming success.
Gwenn is a good girl, a responsible girl…a miserable girl. Her steady diet of vivid fantasies is the only part of her life she enjoys. She daydreams of new parents, a more exciting job and an actual love life. She struggles to run a business as The Organizer, while she stacks relationship carcasses in the closet of her own completely unorganized life. Her only real friend is her younger sister, Rachel.
Rachel is outgoing, risqué and happily gay. The only people who don’t know this little secret are her judgmental parents, Pastor Ed and Shirley. Rachel struggles mightily to dodge her mother’s constant attempts to set her up with “nice Christian boys”; while holding down a job at the bakery and keeping up with her rock-star girlfriend!

I would like to thank the author, Rue for giving me a feee copy in exchange for an honest review.

I liked the book overall and found it funny although some of the humour was a bit over the top for my reserved, English taste. I would probably rate it as 3.5 stars but not quite 4.

The place descriptions with added image links were a nice touch, although it was a shame Gwen didn’t explore new Zealand a bit more.

Most of the characters were likeable but my absolute favourite was Todd. I really, really want him as my assistant!

Review: Loving the Heartland – Lesbian Cowgirl Contemporary Romance Novel

Lesbian Romance: Loving the Heartland – Lesbian Cowgirl Contemporary Romance Novel by Marjorie Jones
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Lesbian Romance: Loving the Heartland - Lesbian Cowgirl Contemporary Romance Novel

Cattle rustling. Guns. Murder.

Kendra Williams has been the sole caretaker of her four younger siblings since their parents were killed in an alcohol-related airplane crash when she was only twenty years old. She has worked her entire adult life, sacrificing her dreams and her chance at love, to keep her family together and to keep their family cattle ranch safe for future generations.

Michelle Loving has made a successful career out of telling the American public what to think and what they should care about. She is hired to create an image of historical significance for the century-old cattle ranch,but finds herself in over her head. Not only is someone gunning for the ranch, but when it comes to loving the rustic, controlling, beautiful woman in charge of the Heartland, Michelle is shooting in the dark.

I enjoyed the book but not quite as much as I thought I would.

The plot was a little far-fetched, I thought. I found it difficult to believe that the government would award the licence for the land to the man who made the accusations of impropriety without at least allowing the current holders to answer the ‘charges’. But then I don’t know a great deal about it so maybe they are that corrupt, and I do the author a disservice.

The refusal of the two women to admit they loved each other also became annoying but in general I enjoyed the characters.

It was also somewhat darker than I thought with the bodies piling up, but the views of ranch life were good.

LGBT2015_mini_zpse734642b

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Exploding iPhone

iphoneMy son was given an old, reconditioned iPhone by a relative which had a new battery in it.

After a couple of charges the screen started lifting so we put it to one side while deciding whether it was worth fixing.

The screen lifted some more and we decided to take it apart as son wanted to see what was inside.

As we were prying the back off, it got dropped and we heard a loud pop and the battery doubled in size exploding outwards. I imagine we were lucky it had no charge in it and did not start a fire!

Shaun the Sheep Movie

Three generations of the family went to see Shaun the Sheep today. We all loved it. All the great characters from the TV series plus some new ones.

The animation is fabulous, the humour appeals to all ages and there’s even a bit of sadness before the requisite happy ending. How they manage it with no words spoken is amazing.

English vs American Book Covers

I have been adding some of my books to GoodReads and I have become very aware of a phenomenon that I had vaguely noticed before: books often have very different covers on either side of the Atlantic. Personally I prefer the English covers so I guess that proves the publishers know their audience.

Magician's Guild UK Cover

UK Edition

Magician's Guild US cover

US Edition

UK Edition 1998

US Edition 1998

UK Edition

US Edition

It seems to be less common with newer books, however. This is presumably due to publishers only producing one version to cut costs.

Review: Mountain Rescue: The Ascent

Mountain Rescue: The Ascent
Mountain Rescue: The Ascent by Sky Croft

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I wanted to give this book 3.5 stars really.
I really liked the scenes in the mountains and the characters were interesting but I found Saber’s coming out and leaving home rather unbelievable, especially the neighbour’s actions and then her selling her car. It’s hard to say more without spoilers.
I enjoyed it overall but I’m not sure if I will bother with the sequel.

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