Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish in June 2010. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!  http://www.brokeandbookish.com/   

This week we have Ten Best Books You've Read so far in 2017. Yes I can manage this one. Narrowing it down to ten is going to be impossible!!!

1) George RR Martin-A Game of Thrones
We delve into the Starks v the Lannisters and how it turned bloody, Jon Snow arriving at the Wall to discover what it is really like, Ned trying to investigate Jon Arryn's murder and discovering the secret that will be fatal to his family. Great detail with switching POVs.

2) George RR Martin-A Clash of Kings 
This book looks at those vying for the Iron Throne with Stannis taking on Renly and Joffrey, Arya being captured, Tyrion's battle plans to save King's Landing, Theon's betrayal and the Battle of the Blackwater. Wonderful detail on all the fighting.

3) Glynn James/Michael Stephen Fuchs-Exodus (Arisen #5) 
Quite possibly THE greatest zombie book EVER! I love this whole action packed zombiefest series but this book has the amazing battle of men v zombies in the Battle of the JFK. I wanted to give this book ten stars! If you love zombies you must try this series!

4) Kevin Hearne-Hexed (Iron Druid #2)
I love this mythology steeped urban fantasy. There are fighting witches, religious fanatics with psycho beards, inappropriate vampire, long suffering werewolf, Indian goddess/demon, Celtic goddesses and Oberon decides to become a hippy. Funny, crazy, best of the series.

5) Rachel Caine-Lord of Misrule (Morganville Vampires #5) 
I've enjoyed this series but this is my favourite so far. Claire and her friends join forces with the town vampires to take on a new vampire who wants to take over Morganville. This was high octane and I liked enemies becoming allies.

6) Nicholas Sansbury Smith-ExtinctionEdge (Extinction Horizon #2)
This is also one of my favourite series and I gave them all five stars. I liked this one though as it stepped up the madness and we see the zombie like people beginning to mutate into scary creatures. Tons of exciting action. Love it!

7) Hunter Shea-Swamp Monster Massacre
A group of tourists on a swamp tour survive the crash but have killed a young skunk ape. The Sasquatch family are very angry and start to chase the humans through the deadly swamp, determined to kill them all. Good gory fun!

8) Jack Kilborn-Trapped 
Two social workers take their charges on a camping trip to an island that used to be a civil war prison. Now it has a population of hungry cannibals, a mad doctor who experiments on humans and his horrific creations! Fast paced gory torturefest!

9) Sonya Bateman-Wrong Side of Hell 
Gideon rescues a werewolf and discovers that he is half Fey, can force the dead to speak to him truthfully and is wanted by a psycho cult that tortures supernaturals. This was a funny, action packed UF with a great mix of characters including a bogeyman.

10) Joe Pike-Project Fear
A look behind the scenes of the warring 'No' campaign during the 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum. This is the kind of political book I enjoy with the chaos, the backstabbing and the bitching as things fall apart! 

Book Review: The Dead Girls Dance by Rachel Caine (Morganville Vampires #2)

Good news, girls: your dates are here!

Claire Danvers has had her share of challenges - like being a genius in a school that favours beauty over brains, dealing with the homicidal girls in her dorm and, above all, finding out that her college town is overrun with blood-sucking fiends. On the plus side, so far Claire and her friends have managed to survive getting on the wrong side of some Morganville VIPs . . . Vampire Important Persons. But their temporary peace is in danger of collapsing, thanks to the arrival of her new boyfriend's scary father and his vampire-fighting supporters.

Bad news, girls: they're dead.

My Review: 
*this review contains spoiler about the end of book one*

Shane, Eve and Claire are in shock at what Frank has done to Michael and they are held captive by Frank's men. It becomes clear that Shane came back to town on his dad's orders to spy out which vampires to target as they both wanted revenge for the vampires allegedly killing Shane's mother for remembering everything after they fled Morganville in the wake of his sister's death. The house will not let Michael die and he is able to phone the police to a break-in at the house, causing the men to flee. Now Shane has to consider where his loyalties lie.

Claire and Eve are well aware that their fragile protected status from Amelie is under threat if Frank harms any vampires so it is a shock when Brandon is found dead with Shane at the scene of the crime. He is sentenced to be killed by fire unless his friends can prove that he is innocent. Claire will do anything to get Shane released by her attempts to investigate are going to be hampered by Monica's determination to make her suffer for just existing. However Frank is also not prepared to sit back and let his son be killed without taking a prisoner of his own, and his choice just ramps up the tension in the town to a whole new level.

With Michael being such a big player, and being a ghost not a vampire, I was expecting that he was not really dead. It was still a relief to see he was ok as I love the group dynamic between the four of them. Michael is frustrated that he cannot help with anything as Oliver has left him unable to leave the house, and he is desperate enough to ask Amelie if she will turn him fully vampire. This is a huge risk for his friendship with Shane and his relationship with Eve but a big plus for character development. Shane of course, is a complete dumbass to be doing his father's dirty jobs when the guy treats him so badly. Shane is desperate enough for his father's approval to make seriously dangerous choices and now he might burn for it. I understand his desire for vengeance, of course I do but calling Frank for help was a very bad idea for Claire, Eve and Michael's safety.

Claire is persuaded by Eve to go with her to the frat party and while Eve is looking for Sam, Claire chats to the frat boy that invited her to the event. She soon discoveres that she is way to trusting of people as vshe ends up drugged and almost gang raped. It doesn't help that Frank's group decide to attack the party to kill vampires but with everyone dressed up, mistakes are being made and kids start to die. Oh Claire, I could see this coming a mile away! In this town she is learning to be wary of the vampires but seems to believe that all humans are safe which isn't true. I hope the spiked drink storyline here is a warning to the YA readers about how easy it can happen to you.

It was a massive shock to me to see the lurking bad guy from Glass Houses suddenly be murdered in this book. I was expecting him to be a major player in this series. I liked being surprised though, as it means the author is doing a good job in storytelling and twists. Michael's dilemma, Shane's stupidity, Claire being naive and Eve going take charge allows a lot of character development. I like that the teenagers are complicated and brave when they need to be, instead of whiny childish idiots like you see in other YA books. I liked the whole prisoner exchange story which had the book motoring along at speed to the plot climax, and allowed us to see the cops on the side of the good guys for once in this town.

An excellent sequel.

Read April 2017.
4 stars. 

Monday, 26 June 2017

Happy Birthday Harry Potter!

Today it is TWENTY YEARS since Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was published and it was actually a book that changed my life. Yeah I know that sounds gushy and over dramatic Drama Queeny but it is actually true.

I loved books as a child. Every summer and weekend I'd be in the library all day and then out playing with my friends, acting out all the cool ideas that I thought of based on the book adventures I'd had. Life was never dull and books were my friend. As I went into secondary school the endless homework left little time to read for fun and the books I had to read for school were the 'classics' like To Kill A Mockingbird, Animal Farm, Pygmalion, Sons and Lovers (*gag*), Death of a Salesman, Catcher in the Rye...I just didn't enjoy them as they did nothing to fire my imagination in the way Enid Blyton and other authors had. Reading was a bit of a chore. Reading became infrequent and then college began. Spare time was spent eating out or in the student union bar and only my Stephen King and Richard Laymon compulsion had me reading anything at that point. Slowly the thirst for reading stirred a bit but it was snuffed out like a candle when I got my first job. I had no time or energy to read and I was stressed all the time. Several jobs followed and my health was declining a bit. Reading was no longer on my agenda.

A month before I had to sign off sick from my job, one of the girls asked if I'd read Harry Potter. I wrinkled my nose and said 'those kids books? Eh, no!' She said they were funny and full of action with great characters and that they were for adults too. I wasn't convinced! I mean WHY would I want to read about kids at a wizard school??? I ended up off sick and every day just felt like a miserable struggle with depression and my dad said I should try to occupy my mind with a bit of reading. I used to be in online book clubs and I thought I'd join again...those joining offers were usually pretty good. I saw that one of the books offered was a box set of the first four Harry Potter books for three or four pounds and I thought 'why not'. The day the books arrived, I started the Philosopher's Stone. I was giggling about Uncle Vernon and the letters and owls...by the end of the week I'd demolished all four!

It wasn't just the characters that drew me in though I loved the humour of Fred and George, the malice of Malfoy, and saw myself in Hermione! (I'm not as clever though but I was a swot!) It was that rich world-building...the shops of Diagon Alley, Harry's back story, a new sport to enjoy, the magical creatures, the classes and spells...it was mind-blowing. I'd have went mad for Harry as a kid and it was the same as an adult. I just wanted to have gone to Hogwarts and all those amazing classes! Wouldn't you rather do charms than maths??? I always figured I'd be sorted into Hufflepuff as I did work hard at school. I was totally swept up in the adventures. I had a very short time to wait for book five (three months) and it was hell waiting for the last two but boy did they deliver! I was a FAN!

That series delivered so much on so many levels that I don't think I'll ever see something that good again that both children and adults can go mad for. You should have seen the way I grabbed The Cursed Child when it came out! (and I loved it too!) But the legacy of Harry Potter for me isn't just great books. It awoke the reading giant who was slumbering within my body. I wanted to read more about werewolves and put it into a search engine and found Goodreads articles about Kelley Armstrong and Patricia Briggs. Then I looked up vampires on the site as I'd loved Buffy and The Lost Boys and I saw Jeaniene Frost and Charlaine Harris. Now I was seeing the term 'urban fantasy' and it launched me into amazing book adventures! Then came zombies, demons, and all kinds of creatures. I've never looked back.

Thank you so much JK Rowling for those amazing books and for bringing me back to reading when it was sort of lost to me. By discovering urban fantasy, I then crashed into dystopia and my beloved apocalypse and prepper fiction. I've found so many amazing books since then and I am so much happier for it. Without getting back to reading the depression could have crippled me, and reading is how I manage it. That's why Harry Potter changed my life.

Still, I'd like some books on James and Sirius at school, the rise of Voldemort and the first war though...pretty please...???!!! Coz that would be, y'know, wizard!!!


Book Review: Glass Houses by Rachel Caine (Morganville Vampires #1)

College freshman Claire Danvers has had enough of her nightmarish dorm situation. When Claire heads off-campus, the imposing old house where she finds a room may not be much better. Her new roommates don't show many signs of life, but they'll have Claire's back when the town's deepest secrets come crawling out, hungry for fresh blood. Will she be able to face the town's terror or will she drown like everyone else?

My Review:
Claire makes the mistake of getting on the wrong side of superbitch Monica and her friends but even she doesn't expect to be almost killed by them. Desperate, she applies to live off campus in the Glass House, owned by Michael and lodging his friends Eve and Shane. Now she learns the truth about Morganville, run by vampires and those who serve them and once you enter town you cannot leave. If you are not protected by a vampire, their personal property, you are on the dinner menu as the sun goes down. Claire is going to discover that Monica is the least of her problems...

I love this series! It was that beautiful shiny cover that caught my attention first, followed by hey, VAMPIRES! I was curious about life in a vampire town and I just had to buy it. For someone like me who doesn't read much YA, this was a bit of a treat. I binge read the first six books in April and I'm back reading them so it seemed like a good idea to start posting the reviews.

Firstly the characters are great. Claire is a smart fifteen year old who wanted to go to a better place but her parents thought the best colleges were too big and scary for her, unaware that this Texas college has actual teeth and is more deadly than they know. Now Claire is stuck in a town where the Queen Bitch wants her dead and the vampires lurk in the dark. Her new allies are aspiring musician Michael, who turns into a ghost every morning and never seems to leave the house, Eve the Goth who works at Oliver's coffee shop which is neutral ground in Morganville for vampires and humans, and playboy Shane. The relative peace in the Glass House has been shattered by Claire's arrival as trouble seems to be following her.

Eve and Shane are unprotected, not belonging to any vampire but Brandon, the one who wanted Eve so badly has now become fixated on Claire. To protect her, Shane enters into a blood donor deal with Brandon which the girls are unhappy about. They hear that the vampires are searching for a book and that is one thing that Claire knows about. If they can find it or fake it, perhaps they can talk to someone in authority to release Shane from the contract before Brandon drinks him dry. And if they can find the book, there is the danger that the vampires will find out and take it from them...

The vampires in the book are certainly evil. Brandon is a creepy paedophile type vampire who targets the young. He was once obsessed with Eve who refused to sign a protection order with him when she turned eighteen like the rest of her family and was disowned by them. Brandon is pure evil and regards all humans as fair game regardless of the rules, and is also Monica's protector. Even on neutral ground, Brandon has to be stopped from harming Claire by Oliver. The vampires are permitted to feed on the unprotected on the streets at night so Eve's car becomes vital to the safety of the gang.

There are also the human monsters like Monica. I don't greatly like the cliche bully stories in YA but this was different. Monica is just as evil as the vampires and she is more than happy to kill Claire for making her look silly in front of a guy. She previously set fire to Shane's House, killing his younger sister and destroying his family. Her sidekick Gina is just as evil although Jennifer seems to have a little bit of a conscience when it comes to attempted murder. The police work for the vampires and are no friends to those in the Glass House, as events go on to show...

There is also plenty going on in terms of action. The constant attacks on Claire by Monica's friends, the vampires lurking in the dark, the dramatic search for the book and the siege of the Glass House. There is a good mix of action, humour and tension in the book along with a bit of light romance which never overpowers the plot. In some ways, it is well enough written to enhance the story. The character development is good as is the storytelling and you really can imagine what it is like to live in this creepy little town!

Excellent start to a series.

Read April 2017 
5 stars.

Around The Blogs With Chuckles

We all enjoy snooping and lurking on other people's blogs right? Why not share those entertaining things you found with other readers and bloggers too! Welcome to Around the Blogs with Chuckles, where I take time out to show you some of my favourite blog posts from the previous seven days and link you up so you can check them out.

This Week! 

1) Game of Thrones: Jon Snow (spoilers) 
Greg at Book Haven takes a look at Jon Snow from A Song of Ice and Fire book perspective and his relationship with Noye and Stannis. I always love a GoT post me!


2) Book Review: The Strange Case of The Alchemist's Daughter by Theodora Goss 
Mogsy at BiblioSanctum shares her thoughts on this fantasy mashup with horror characters. I added this one as I think a few of you guys will want to read this one.


3) Dealing With Samples 
Sarah at Dragons & Zombies talks about making use of the free samples when deciding whether or not to buy a book. Something Chuckles really needs to do! 


4) Book Review: The Evaporation of Sofi Snow by Mary Weber 
Lillian at Mom With A Reading Problem looks at this sci-fi gamer dystopian book.


5) Latest Game of Thrones trailer released!
It does what is says on the tin. Oh this season looks so awesome!!!


6) Book Review: Now I Rise by Kiersten White
Lada Dracul is back and being reviewed by Lynn at Lynn's Film and Book Review. This review contains spoilers for book one, And I Darken


7) Disorganised Blogger's Guide to Book Conferences
Nicole at Feed Your Fiction Addiction looks at how not to do a book convention


Sunday, 25 June 2017

Chuckles Cover Love #31

If there is one thing that makes a great book even better, it is when it has a cover that we love! The cover design is what catches the eye as we browse through a bookstore shelf or check out the Amazon or Goodreads recommendations. The right cover makes me look closer at a book, to read the blurb and maybe make a purchase. A poor cover might mean I never look at the blurb at all.

This week I'm featuring a new Indie apocalypse series that I bought last week. I liked the sound of the books and loved the covers! I just HAD to get all of them!




Book Review: Hellbent by Cherie Priest (Cheshire Red Reports #2)

Vampire thief Raylene Pendle doesn’t need more complications in her life. Her Seattle home is already overrun by a band of misfits, including Ian Stott, a blind vampire, and Adrian deJesus, an ex-Navy SEAL/drag queen. But Raylene still can’t resist an old pal’s request: seek out and steal a bizarre set of artifacts. Also on the hunt is a brilliant but certifiably crazy sorceress determined to stomp anyone who gets in her way. But Raylene’s biggest problem is that the death of Ian’s vaunted patriarch appears to have made him the next target of some blood-sucking sociopaths.  

Now Raylene must snatch up the potent relics, solve a murder, and keep Ian safe—all while fending off a psychotic sorceress. But at least she won’t be alone. A girl could do a lot worse for a partner than an ass-kicking drag queen—right?

My Review: 
Having loved book one I was so much looking forward to reading, what is at the moment, the final book in the series but I was very disappointed with it on all levels.

Horace wants to hire Raylene to steal some items that he stumbled upon and doesn't want to pay the seller for. Supernatural penis bones. Yes the bones from unmentionable parts of things like werewolves which can be used for spellcasting. The rest of the discussion between the two results in continued cringeworthy penis jokes every few lines and this got old really fast. I was not greatly amused by the constant 'funny' quips about dick sticks and other ridiculous combinations. I felt as if the characters had been turned into giggling ten year old boys thinking up new dirty words. The whole thing was childish and not entertaining.

So Raylene goes to find the stupid things but is beaten to it by the mentally deranged Elizabeth who attempts to use lightning to kill Raylene as she escapes the building. Cue more phone exchanges with Horace about the penis bones before Raylene and Adrian take a road trip to find Elizabeth. She was fired for lying about her mental health and is now out to kill her ex-boss with a tornado while he is inside a building with hundreds of other people. Raylene decides to steal the bones, let Elizabeth kill everyone and then helps her to escape. Seriously Raylene? You think it's ok for her to kill lots of people because he has a grudge against the guy who fired her? I wasn't very impressed with that at all. And we never do find out if the boss dies in the disaster!

Meanwhile Ian's brother Max is trying to track him down to kill him because Max wants to control the Vampire House and Ian is the current heir to it. On the road trip they visit Max to make a deal. She'll get Ian to phone his brother, she'll represent Max in an investigation at another Vampire House where their father was murdered as a visitor and Adrian gets to poke around that House where his sister used to live. The visit to the House is weird, and the deranged vampire family are like the undead Brady Bunch on drugs. The whole scenario was very confused and I felt as if the author wasn't exactly sure where she wanted to take this after Raylene got there.

Those two plots were the whole story of the book and it was just really dull. The second plot for me was just there to resolve the issue of Adrian's missing sister but it was clumsy and not greatly interesting. Ian is reduced to the role of babysitter to the street kids who is not permitted to get involved in anything. He's blind, not incapable! Elizabeth is not a great character yet suddenly she is added to the household despite having tried to kill Raylene twice. Adrian is reduced to nothing more than assistant pretending to be a ghoul and for Raylene to fight with. He is often dispatched to explore or hang out with ghouls while Raylene does the investigating which is a waste of his talents.

Everything that made the first book great was lacking here. The group dynamic of them all working together is gone with Ian missing from most of it, stuck at home as babysitter and teacher. His relationship with Raylene has gone from interesting to awkward and unconvincing. The street kids play with the new cat and mouth off but contribute little else. The humour goes from snarky to juvenile with the endless penis jokes that grated on my last nerve. And the fast paced action is reduced to a limp road trip that does little to excite or interest.

I just feel deflated. I wanted to love this but finishing it was starting to feel more like a chore and the author and characters are much better than the final product delivered here. It leaves me wondering whether I would risk reading on if a third novel was self published. Not sure. 
Read March 2017.
2.5 stars

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Chuckles Weekend Roundup

Welcome to my new feature Chuckles Weekend Roundup where I will be looking at what books I've received, anything interesting I've done or bought or watched and other random stuff. I'll be taking a look back at what happened in my blogging world too, sort of like The Sunday Post that some of you do! 

Please note that I'll be visiting your STS/SP as normal, but I don't follow or leave comments on blogs run by Google Plus or DISQUS as I refuse to join something just to leave comments, and I won't allow DISQUS to follow new people, update my profile or post tweets 'on my behalf'. I am the only one who does that on my social media! Sometimes, I have problems leaving messages on blogs hosted by Wordpress-they try to block me because I deleted my account with them but I will persevere as it only happens the odd time!
 It's been a good reading week. I got a few read off my June list and went back to the Morganville Vampires series. These books are actually pretty quick to read and I'm getting through one per day which is great for both tbr and series catchup! Can't complain about that then. I'm hoping to get this series finished this month which would be great or the start of next. It would be a big win for my series catch up! I'm a full week ahead in my blogging so I hope to keep that going as it gives some leeway if things get busy. We'll see how long it lasts anyway. 

Of course I showed no restraint on the book buying side of things (shock!!!) and grabbed some shiny new books in the horror, apocalypse and urban fantasy genres. I read and enjoyed the first book in Sonya Bateman's Deathspeaker series. I had books 2 and 3 so I just had to buy the rest (4-6). I also grabbed a new Darrell Maloney (book 10), a new Grace Hamilton book (book 3) and a new Franklin Horton book (book 5), a new apocalypse series I want to try by William H Weber, a new Sonya Bateman UF book and a totally new-to-me author Orlando A Sanchez. I'm literally waiting for the Amazon packages to arrive! Ooh wait, one has arrived and need the other! Hurry up!!! *fidgets*


Decided to treat my dad to The Great Wall which he watched and LOVED, plus I just had to get the last Resident Evil film for both of us and a sci-fi film I loved many years ago when I first saw it. Finally got a copy from Poland with English audio!

Chuckles Blogging World:
  It was a pretty good blogging week overall. I managed to visit some new blogs and follow a few new ones too! *waves* to Darlene, Eve, Lillian, Kati...Hope to be lurking round more new blogs soon! I've joined a new meme to hopefully connect with more people, and today I'll catch up with a couple of days of comments after I post this. I'm ahead of schedule with most of my blog posts for next week done. Things are going nicely! As always, click on the links for any post you might have missed last week and say hi! All comments will be answered.

Book Reviews:
Why am I so SLOW at writing book reviews? I'm hopeless! The good news is that I think I have finally finished writing my reviews from March. I know I keep saying that and finding more but I am confident that I can move on to uploading reviews for what I read in April which includes The Morganville Vampires and Bigfoot War! 

JG Faherty-Cemetery Club

Rick Chesler-Hotel Megalodon

Brennan Beard-Devil Of The Forest

Jonah Buck-Carrion Safari

Dane Hatchell-The Lost World of Patagonia

Regular Features: 
  This week my Top Ten Tuesday was about series I need to start, I started my first Can't Wait Wednesday, went around the blogs to spy on all of you again, did my Cover Love featuring JA Cipriano, continue my new one called Feed My TBR where I post a topic and we all recommend any books we know to each other. Nice! This week is the Loch Ness Monster so check it out for book ideas!

Top Ten Tuesday-Series I need to start

Can't Wait Wednesday-Wendigo 

Chuckles Cover Love-JA Cipriano

Around The Blogs With Chuckles

Feed My TBR!-The Loch Ness Monster

Discussion Posts: 
Chuckles Chat this week was about Scheduled Posts and my Game of Thrones gossip looked at Theon Greyjoy in the first two seasons.

Chuckles Chat-Scheduled Posts

Game of Thrones Gossip-Theon Greyjoy

Special Features: 

none this week

Book Tags:

Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag

Book Challenge Updates:

  My Goodreads Challenge total currently stands at 129/250. This was a much more productive week for getting books read.

TBR total of books I own but haven't read yet stands at 820.*sigh* My utter loss of control on Amazon really didn't help matters! On the bright side, shiny new books!

Currently Reading: 
Today I'm reading a short story and then book 10, both of The Morganville Vampires. I can get through roughly one of these novels a day and I'm hoping to finish the series by the end of the month which would be great!

Next Reads? 
Morganville Vampires books 11-15

That's all for this week! Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to visit my blog and leave comments. You guys are great! 


Friday, 23 June 2017

Book Review: Lost World of Patagonia by Dane Hatchell

An earthquake opens a path to a land hidden for millions of years. Under the guise of finding cryptid animals, Ace Corporation sends Alex Klasse, a Cryptozoologist and university professor, his associates, and a band of mercenaries to explore the Lost World of Patagonia. The crew boards a nuclear powered All-Terrain Tracked Carrier and takes a harrowing ride into the unknown.

The expedition soon discovers prehistoric creatures still exist. But the dangers won't prevent a sub-team from leaving the group in search of rare jewels. Tensions run high as personalities clash, and man proves to be just as deadly as the dinosaurs that roam the countryside.

Lost World of Patagonia is a prehistoric thriller filled with murder, mayhem, and savage dinosaur action.

My Review: 
Gerald and Will are part of a team digging for red diamonds in an isolated valley, for multi millionaire Henry Lear. Their progress comes to an abrupt end when the men are attacked by a pterodactyl. A team member gives the shocking footage to a magazine which raises interest in the area and a joint mission is organised between Lear's people and a cryptoid expedition. Some are searching for diamonds, others for dinosaurs but all are going to be on the menu.

The dinosaurs have been trapped in their own lost world deep in Patagonia, fenced in by geography but an earthquake allowed Lear's team to get into the valley to survey for anything useful. They found red diamonds and a lot of vicious predators. Lear is determined to get the diamonds and decides to send another more prepared mercenary team but hopes of keeping things quiet are ruined by the man who releases the footage and attracts the attention of the whole scientific community including cryptozoologist Alex. He is unsure if it is a hoax but he is determined to take his best students on the trip to find out.

The inter relationships between the team feature heavily in this book. Alex is having an affair with his student Natasha who is also going on the trip, but their cosy plans are ruined when his wife Susan decides to come along in case they find something. Logan is gay and interested in Matt who wants Natasha who wants to take Alex from Susan, who will report Alex for unethical behaviour in his past if they get divorced, so everybody is unhappy. These relationships dictate some of the action in the book as each person decides the best way to further their own interests. Coop is leading Lear's team and they are to protect the scientists before taking a secret side mission to get the diamonds.

It is a bit like Jurassic Park in the beginning as the team start to see the dinosaurs and marvel at what they are seeing, while Coop plans the best time to take his team to find the diamonds. Coop was actually my favourite character. He was the capable leader of the group who doesn't fit the steriotype of the asshole merc, instead being a nice guy who happens to do the dirty work for his boss. When a sudden and unexpected death occurs in the group, the scientists are ready to turn on each other over what they think happened and this makes for interesting choices as the book progresses. It is here that the real dinosaur action starts. There are some good dinosaur scenes in the latter part of the book.

This was a decent read overall but I feel the first two thirds of the book were a bit too heavy on the relationships between the characters which did slow it down a bit. It did still keep me interested enough to want to see what happened though and the last third of the book did not disappoint as the dinosaurs decide it is time to feed on the annoying humans. There are a few little twists that make it really interesting too. There is a follow up book which sounds a bit out there but I already have it and will probably read it as there are dinosaurs again. 
Read March 2017.
3 stars.

Chuckles Chat #22 Scheduled Posts

Welcome to Chuckles Chat where great blogging minds unite to discuss the topics of the day mainly in the book and blogging world. I'll be sharing my thoughts on a topic and then inviting you all to share your thoughts. It's ok to disagree but PLEASE be respectful of each other's views! All of the comments on my blog are moderated and offensive posts ie racist, bigoted will not be published! 

Today I'm looking at scheduled posts and blogging in advance.

You know how it is when life gets busy and you are frantic because you haven't posted anything for two whole days and you just KNOW that all your blog followers are tutting about your utter lazyness and ready to desert you in droves like rats on a sinking ship for other shiny productive blogs instead as your precious blog starts to slide into blogger oblivion and you will be forever jeered online as a failure...

OK maybe not quite so dramatic but there are times when blogging gets on top of you because of illness, accident, family stuff, work issues and general slothery, and you do worry that you aren't able to post anything until you sort things out. It can get a bit stressful sometimes can't it and hey, we'd all love a blog break but we can't seem to find the TIME to do it...It feels like we don't have time to do anything on the blog yet we can't find the time to stay away from the blog either, y'know?

This is where scheduled posts and blogging ahead can be such a relief. If you have extra posts to dip into, you can post something on a day that is busier than you expected that you created a few days ago or longer. Having that safety net so to speak, can be really useful if an unexpected busy day hits you and you still want to post something. If you are ahead by a good number of posts, as soon as you start to feel ill, you can schedule the things to cover a few days, letting you crawl back into bed to have some duvet time to sleep and read and recharge your batteries a bit. And the great thing is, even technophobes like me can use scheduled posts without making a royal arse of things! 

Of course with such a great thing comes The Problem. In order to be ahead on your blog posts like that, you somehow have to find the time to write all the darn things and store them on blogger or wherever, ready for use. The disorganised blogger like myself can barely find time to write todays posts never mind get a whole weeks worth ready to go in advance! It's true, finding the time to get ahead can be a bit of a problem and it does require a bit of hard work but if you can do it, it is pretty satisfying and you can reap the rewards later. For example, two weeks ago I put a lot of extra computer time in and got five days worth of blog posts ready for the week ahead. It allowed me to take a few days off to read and relax, with two posts a day covered until I was ready to go back online and I so much enjoyed that stress free reading time! Of course the down side to it was that when I came back online I was five days behind on my blog comment replies and blog visits! Haven't worked out a solution for that!

So how DO you get ahead??? I can only speak for myself of course but the weekends are a quiet time for me so I use Friday and Saturday to start getting my regular posts done for the week ahead which for me starts each Sunday. I have a quick browse to decide which author will feature on my Cover Love posts and it's a very quick one to put together so I do that first. It is usually posted on a Sunday so within ten minutes I've got half of Sunday ready. I know what I want my discussion post and Game of Thrones posts to be about and I can usually get each one done in half an hour or less. So I immediately have one post for three days of the week covered, which is a great boost! Then I tackle Top Ten Tuesday which can take several hours to do depending on the topic. When it is done I have a post for Sunday to Wednesday covered and I look at completing book tag or special posts, before getting on to tackle book reviews. By the time I do that, I have most of next week covered. My Around The Blogs post is posted each Monday but as soon as I do it I start a new one for the following week, adding each new post link as I see it each day.

How do you STAY ahead though??? Having got ahead for that one week, I'm determined to stay ahead this time so today, Friday 16th, I've posted my last post from those I did last week and I'm working on posts for the week ahead so this will be my second organised week in a row! My advice is if you have a quiet day or your other half is reading or binge watching something you don't like, use the time to try and get some posts done. Every time you have a spare computer hour try and get a review or something done. Having that leeway does make blogging less stressful if you can do it. After all, blogging is meant to be fun and being ahead can make it feel less of a chore!

Do you blog ahead? Do you schedule posts?