4 Books That Will Rock Your World in 2013


BooksBy Brian Steele@briancsteele

By coincidence (or not!) I stumbled into 4 books that rocked my world in 2012. I’m highly recommending them if you’re looking for game-changers in 2013.  Coincidentally (or not!) each of these books looks at the Kingdom of God from different perspectives, but all have the same focal point.

Perhaps you’re asking “What’s the big deal about this kingdom  stuff anyway?” If so, I want to congratulate you for asking what could easily be on the list of  “ALL TIME TOP 5 QUESTIONS TO ASK FOR YOUR LIFE”.

These books answer the question of why the Kingdom of God is highly relevant and practical for every facet of your life.  There isn’t a font big enough, a bold that is bold enough, italics curvey enough, or underline that is underliney enough to emphasize in writing how important God’s kingdom is for even the smallest details…

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Book reviews – Park Life

Adventures in reading, running and working from home

Katharine D’Souza – “Park Life”

(December 2012 – e-book version kindly sent to me by the author)

Quite a few of my friends have this book, and I’ve been pestering them to borrow it when they’ve finished. Doing so on my friend Ali’s blog gave rise to an email from the author offering me an e-book copy of the novel to read. How could I resist, when it’s a book set in the area of South Birmingham in which I’ve lived for seven years?

Set beautifully in Kings Heath, Moseley and Birmingham city centre, we’re in Mike Gayle, Claire Morrall or Christine Coleman territory here, with this fairly gentle story of ordinary people and their life events: events which could happen to anybody, but are well described in a warm narrative that draws you in and makes you want to read to the end.

We meet the accidental neighbours, Craig…

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What I’m Reading Now and Friday Links

Books Outside the Box


What books will you be cozying up with this weekend, or fashionably sprawling over like the gorgeous but a little ridiculous model above? I’m in the middle of The Light Between Oceans, thanks to my friend Mary. It’s a historical fiction set in 1920’s Australia on a teeny island between two oceans. Every time I open the book, I feel like I get an out-of-body reading experience because it transports me so.

Here’s a round-up of this week’s book links from around the web:

Gift Ideas for Bookworms. r-GIFTS-FOR-BOOKWORMS-large570

Funny comic.

What is reading

I love Ted Talks and this one from Susan Cain about the power of introverts is one of my new favorites. And I love how Geeky Book Snob made this connection between introverts and book readers: 10-reasons-introverts-and-books

How cool is this urban book shelf?


Happy Friday!

{all images linked to original sources}

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The Tainted Throne (Empire of the Moghul) – Alex Rutherford

Novel Heights

Title – The Tainted Throne (Empire of the Moghul)

Author – Alex Rutherford

Published – 2012

Genre –  Historical Fiction

This is the fourth book in a series about the Moghul Empire. The series began with the ruler Babur in 1494, and The Tainted Throne is set in 1606, so quite a bit has already happened. I do enjoy historical fiction but most of what I read is set in Ancient Rome, so this was a new period and setting to me. I have to confess that I was a little cautious, coming in at the fourth book in a series.

Initially the book centres around the current ruler Jahangir, Moghul Emperor and ruler of most of the Indian subcontinent. When the book opens he is about to go into battle against is eldest son, Khusrau, who is trying to take the throne for himself. The battle is bloody and when Khusrau is…

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gone-with-the-windGone with the Wind, is an epic romance novel written by Margaret Mitchell, who received the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for the book in 1937 and is set in Clayton County, Georgia, and Atlanta during the American Civil War (1861–1865) and the Reconstruction Era (1865–1877) that followed the war. The book is the source of the 1939 film of the same name which recieved its premiere at Loew’s Grand Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia, United States ON December 15th 1939. iT unfolds against the backdrop of rebellion wherein seven southern states, Georgia among them, have declared their secession from the United States (the “Union”) and formed the Confederate States of America (the “Confederacy”), after Abraham Lincoln was elected president. A dispute over states’ rights has arisen involving enslaved African people who were the source of manual labor on cotton plantations throughout the South. The story opens in April 1861 at the…

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My Five Favourite SF Novels (Guest Post)

If you ever consider collecting books just check how easy it can be at http://www.collecty.net

On Books and Writing

*This is a guest post by writer Colin F Barnes

Johann was kind enough to invite me to chat about what I enjoy in SF and what I consider to be stand out books. Well, in no specific order, here are five that really stand out for me.

1. A Scanner Darkly – Phillip K. Dick

A-Scanner-Darkly-1Where to start with this masterpiece? It’s a semi-autobiographical tale of drug culture in Orange Country. Written in 1977 it sets the story in the then future 1994. Bob Arctor, the protagonist is a drug enforcement officer working undercover, which means he has to partake in the drug called ‘Substance D.’ As the story goes on, Arctor’s reality shifts into two personalities and we see the culture of drug use from both sides of the argument. I won’t spoil the ending, but it’s in my mind one of the most poignant and perfect endings in any story, let alone…

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The Greatest Trilogies of All Time

If you ever consider collecting DVD just check how easy it can be at http://www.collecty.net

Pretentious Film Blogger


In honor of probably the most unnecessary trilogy ever attempted (The Hobbit Trilogy), I give you the list of the 5 best trilogies of all time. It’s not an easy task to put together three movies with a connected story and with a similar level of quality. Most trilogies have one or maybe two good entries but it is rare to find one that can continue to captivate an audience for three straight movies. Each trilogy has its lows and its highs but the five that I have come up with represent the best of their unique group. These trilogies not only kept audiences interested but where able to create a strong world and strong characters that were able to last for three straight films. So if you’re bored on a Saturday looking for something to do, I have 5 trilogies that are worth a midday movie marathon.

Honorable Mention:…

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The Jedi Master’s Quizbook by Rusty Miller (Ballantine 30697 – 1982)

If you ever consider collecting books just check how easy it can be at http://www.collecty.net

Vintage (and not so vintage) Paperbacks

425 cosmic questions & answers about Star Wars & The Empire Strikes Back

Test Yourself…
Test A Friend…
Test A Wookie…

Who was Red Six in the battle of the Death Star?
What was Threepio’s first job?
How many horns does a Tauntaun have?
Where did Luke and Han first meet?

Stumped already? These are only a sample of the easier questions. There are many more puzzlers inside to provide hours of enjoyment and entertainment for you and your friends.

Star Wars movie franchise tie-in. A paperback original first edition compiled by Rusty Miller (age 11). Cover by Ralph McQuarrie.

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What Steampunk Can and Should Be – A Review of The Dead Isle by Sam Starbuck

Occasionally Random Book Reviews


It’s been a good long while since I last read anything in the steampunk vein. This isn’t because I’ve tired of it – far from it, to be truthful, since I really enjoy the genre and would love nothing more than to keep reading as much of it as I can. But it’s been difficult finding steampunk that I really enjoy; my last steampunk read, The Map of Time by Felix J. Palma, turned out to be a disappointment, and has put me off the genre for a solid five months.

My primary problem is a certain lack of subtlety, and a lack of solid characterization and plot in favor of what some have termed “world-building.” The difficulty with steampunk is that it is, in my opinion, a fairly young genre, one that hasn’t properly established its own conventions and tropes. It’s still groping around in the dark in that…

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My mixed opinions about Huckleberry Finn, Robinson Crusoe, the Best American Essays, and Tender Is The Night

The War on Loneliness

huckfinnThe Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain – This book is kinda racist. And it’s not because of the N-word; it’s because of the horrible portrayal of Jim–an adult man who is depicted as a bumbling idiot who is deathly afraid of witches and ghosts. Especially in the first third of the book, I cringed during most of the sections with Jim. There’s an entire chapter just devoted to laughing about how silly it is that Jim believes a witch is haunting him. Honestly, I am kind of surprised that this book is taught in school. It’s clear that while Twain might have sympathy for Jim, he has no empathy for him. Whereas Huck has a very multi-faceted character, because of his upbringing, he’s unable to question the morality of slavery, but he still, out of some kind of base animal pity (a feeling he’s ashamed of!) agrees to…

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Jargon Busting Literature: Science Fiction

Barefoot Girl Writes

Pile of Books

Business and the internet aren’t the only areas that are rife with jargon. Literature is just as confusing, so here’s a guide to some of the stuff that baffles us, starting with a little Science Fiction.

Science Fiction is a genre of books and films that is hugely popular. However, as you might expect from a genre that revolves around the fantastical, it has been the basis for a lot of newly joined terms that baffle and confuse. So, here is a jargon busting guide to some of the most popular Science Fiction keywords that leave a lot of us scratching our heads.

AI – Meaning Artificial Intelligence, AI usually refers to a computer or robot that has similar intelligence to a human, in the sense that it can work independently. This doesn’t necessarily mean that it will act…

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Release Day for “Dying to Remember”


The wonderful author, Trish Marie Dawson, asked if I would like to participate in the blog tour for her brand new release, Dying to Remember, book 2 in The Station Series. All of you may remember I recommended the first book, Dying to Forget a little while ago and so I readily accepted since I was very eager for the release of this book as well.

Well, the day is finally here! Now I’ve already finished reading it, and I must say that the book is an awesome continuation to the story and if you’ve read the first book I don’t see how you could be disappointed. So here’s a bit more about the book and then y’all can go purchase your own copy too 😀

Dying to Remember

Book Description

The next installment in The Station series by Amazon Bestselling Author, Trish Marie Dawson, takes readers on another lively journey through the after-life adventures…

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Top Ten Tuesday: Dec 11

If you ever consider collecting books just check how easy it can be at http://www.collecty.net

Coffee Bean Bookshelf

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Welcome to Top Ten Tuesday, a fun weekly meme created by the folks over at The Broke and the Bookish. Every week they have a different theme for bloggers to post their top tens about, and this week’s theme is…

Top Ten Favorite New-To-Me Authors I Read In 2012

This one was tough – I read so many new and wonderful authors in 2012 (along with several old favorites). I had to go back and look at their ratings and see how many of their other books made it to my TBR before compiling this list, lol! So, here they are, and in no particular order:

  1. Colleen Hoover
    » I received Slammed as a galley for review, and fell in love with the characters and the writing. I’ve got Point of Retreat already waiting to be read, I’m anxious for Hopeless (her new stand-alone novel), and her 3rd book in…

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Our Top Book Series: Bondage, Vampires and Wizards Make The List

If you ever consider collecting books just check how easy it can be at http://www.collecty.net

The Peacock Press

By Tiffany Lorincz, Class of 2013 and Wendy Varela, Class of 2014 — 


1) Fifty Shades of Grey-An erotic novel called “Fifty Shades of Grey” by E. L. James became one of the biggest trilogy followings this year. The other two books in the trilogy are “Fifty Shades Darker” and “Fifty Shades Freed”. The “Fifty Shades of Grey” series has sold more than 60 million copies worldwide. The series is about a college graduate named Anastasia Steele, and a wealthy business man named Christian Grey who start a steamy sexual relationship. Throughout this trilogy the deep and passionate bond between Anastasia and Christian is made very clear by the sexual content  in the books. Earlier in 2012 it was announced that there was interest in making the series into a film with talk of Ryan Gosling playing Christian Grey. Although, this book series got many mixed reviews I have…

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Ubik – Phillip K. Dick (1969)

Mount Helicon Revue

My hair is so dry, so unmanageable. What’s a girl to do? Simply rub in creamy Ubik hair conditioner. In just five days you’ll discover new body in your hair, new glossiness. And Ubik hairspray used as directed is absolutely safe.

Phillip K. Dick’s strange, dreamlike vision of an alternate future was my first spelunk into science fiction in a very long time. And what a spelunk it was. Diving right in, my first feelings were simply those of curiosity, and that singular excitement of beginning a new book, of exploring virgin territory. When I came to, several hours later, I found myself halfway through a novel of paranoia, fear, and conspiracy, involved in weird visions of a future not totally devoid of a sense of humour (particularly funny was the casts’ wardrobe. Read the book and you’ll see what I mean.)

Dick explores the line between life and death…

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