Released: A King’s Riddle

I’m extremely proud to announce that The King’s Riddle, book 2 of The Land of Miu series, was officially released on 25 January 2012.

The book takes the reader back to Manu and is told from Siptah’s point of view, the princess’s guard-in-training. The young Miuans have gotten themselves into trouble (again) and need the two human girls to return to Miu and help them solve an ancient puzzle.

The book is available in paperback and various digital formats. And, until the end of February 2012, Goodreads members can elect to be in the running to win a free copy of the paperback. There are three copies to be won and this offer is available to anyone living in Australia, England, United States and Canada.

Why don’t you click on the “Enter to Win” button below … right now! 😀

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The King's Riddle by Karen Lee Field

The King’s Riddle

by Karen Lee Field

Giveaway ends February 29, 2012.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

eBook Review: Kid Combat – A Lost Secret

The Adventures of Kid Combat Volume One: A Secret Lost

The Adventures of Kid Combat Volume One: A Secret Lost by Christopher Helwink

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a book for middle graders, or as we say in Australia “primary schoolers”, which covers the ages of 9 to 12 year olds.

It’s a sort of cross between Get Smart or Inspector Gadget verses Superheros, although none of the characters have super strength or can fly. The reason I’ve made that connection is because the kids are a bit inventive and use different gadgets and they wear a uniform or costume when assuming their “other” identities.

This is another classic case of the cover stopping me in my tracks and yelling at me “read me”. So I did. The first two books in the series are available for free from the iTunes bookstore.

The story itself is about a group of intelligent kids who decide to stand up (secretly) against the tyrant of their town, Jones. The old man owns half the town and plans to own the other half too. He’s corrupt and the once lovely little town is changing … for the worst. Kid Combat (that’s the main character’s nickname) and his friends want to expose him and save the town from further evil and corruption.

I liked the fact that there was no foul language in the book as I believe that’s how it should be in books for younger readers. I liked the actual storyline and the characters – simple but adequate. However, there were several times when parts (either sentences or paragraphs) were repetitive, which was a bit annoying or distracting. And there were a few little inconsistencies or flaws, which I could see but a younger reader may accept without question. Overall, however, I feel the target audience (9 to 12 year olds) will enjoy the book as it will ignite their imaginations.

Paperbacks v Digital Books

There was a time in the not so distant past when I clearly remember believing paperbacks would always be my preferred reading source. I love books. I love reading. It’s the one thing I do constantly in my life and have done since I was a very young child. Books are important to me.

I love the feel of them. I love the smell of them. I love seeing them lined up in a book case, showing their vivid colours and inviting me to jump into their secret worlds. These things cannot be said about digital books.

I love walking into someone else’s home and viewing their books of choice scattered around the place. It hints at the type of person they are, the imagination they might have. It’s possible to spy reference books which tells you of that person’s interests too. And in moments of quiet, they allow you to point to a book and ask them about it … which may well lead to a very interesting conversation. Again, these things cannot be said about digital books.

I love walking into a book shop and browsing the shelves of unknown authors, never before seen covers. Picking them up and flipping them over to read the (hopefully) catchy blurb on the back. Will it intrigue me enough to want to read it? Or does it sound boring or too serious for me, which will make me put it back on the shelf? At the risk of repeating myself, this cannot be said about digital books.

Yet, with all this said and done, I can’t help but prefer to read books in digital format these days. In 2011 most of the books I read were digital. 2012 has only just started, but my reading list comprises of digital books only so far. I have a beautiful wooden bookcase in my bedroom, filled with wonderful books. I want to read them all. They deserve my time, but I feel pulled to my reading device.

It’s a small object really. Most people would lift an eye brow and scoff at reading on it. They mumble things like “small screen” and “eye strain” but I always assure them that the size of the screen is not noticed and I’ve never had eye strain whilst using it.

Perhaps it’s my personal circumstances that make reading this way more attractive. Our lounge room has no lighting except for a single lamp. Reading in the evening is difficult due to shadows across the pages. To avoid the shadow I must sit in an uncomfortable position. I’ve tried using a book lamp but it was more trouble than it was worth, to say the least. However, when I use my reading device I can sit anywhere I want, however I want because the backlight on the screen is just right (for me) for reading.

If I can’t sleep, I can sit in bed and read in comfort. If I want to sit in the garden, I can. I can read on the train, and can swap and change between books if I want to. I can take a selection of books with me on vacation or to work or to the hospital. There’s no weight, no storage problems. If there’s a power source, I can plug in and read. If not, the battery lasts for an entire week if all I’m doing is reading on the device.

I have purchased ebooks from online bookshops, but there is no personality and no feeling of belonging. Shopping in the virtual world is not as good as shopping in the physical world. I still want to browse books, pick them up and flick through the pages, read the blurb and make a decision. But I think when the decision is made I’d like to be able to go up to the counter and say I want the digital version.

Bookshops need to get with the times, and I believe this is starting to happen, but it’s not something I’ve seen for myself. Bookshops draw booklovers to them, so why not entice the booklover to walk out of the shop with a book in hand (be that paperback or digital). Instead of denying the existence of an ever changing world, merge with it and grow.

People will continue to buy printed books, but more and more people are swapping to digital reading. Once, I would have vocalised loudly about the need for paperbacks, but now I find myself vocalising more loudly about reading itself, not the format it’s done in.

eBook Review: The Librarian (Book 1: Little Boy Lost)

The Librarian (Book One: Little Boy Lost)

The Librarian by Eric Hobbs

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

The story is about two friends who go on a class excursion to an old library. The library has been put on the demolition list and is due to be bulldozed to make room for a shopping centre. Whilst at the library strange things start to happen, which include characters from Peter Pan and the Wizard of Oz.

The book is for younger readers, but there is some swearing and minor violence in it.

I enjoyed the story, it was interesting. The main characters were likable. The young protagonist was a pain, but I felt sorry for him in some ways too. I liked the concept of the library and what happened within its walls. And I enjoyed the way the author put today’s kids into classic stories. I would have loved something like that to happen to me when I was a kid so I believe (for that reason) this will entice younger readers to the series.

I had two problems with the book: 1) I didn’t ‘feel’ the excitement the kids should have felt when they found themselves in Oz and that made the place feel unreal and wrong, and 2) I hate cliff hangers!

Having said that, I would read book 2 to find out what happens next.

Are you having thoughts of suicide?

Recently, I attended a seminar through my work place. I work for a Government organisation and they are always wanting us to ‘brush up’ on one procedure or another so imagine my shock when I discovered the seminar was about suicide awareness.

It is a shock to be sitting with a couple of dozen other people, several who you know well, and are confronted with a subject that is close to your heart. As soon as I realised what would be discussed, I welled up. The presenter, used to watching people’s actions and looking for ‘signs’, did not miss my instant reaction to her words. We were presented with video recreations of potential warnings … and all of them slapped me across the face and made my heart pound quicker. I watched as the mother on-screen missed her son’s call for help. Just like I did in real life. Is it any wonder I couldn’t speak, could hardly hold the tears back, was unable to stop the trembling?

The presenter announced a break and everyone left the room, except me. I was not able to speak aloud, so I whispered the fact that I had lost a son to suicide. Of course, she had already guessed that by my reaction. She thanked me for letting her know and told me I was free to leave the seminar, if I wanted to. I didn’t need to think about it.

I wanted to stay!

But I needed her to know why I would not be able to participate in active feedback within the seminar. She understood that I was struggling and asking me to speak would be my undoing. So, the seminar continued and I sat frozen faced and trembling in the middle of lots of people, but I felt as if I were struggling through a major upset … totally alone.

By the time the seminar was finished I was considered to be a qualified Care Assistant for the workplace. In truth, I spent most of the time focused inwards dealing with my own demons. Yes, I would be able to recognise (now) if someone was suicidal. And, yes, I would be able to ask the all important question, “Are you having thoughts of suicide?”. And, yes, I would be able to look after that person until help was at hand. I never needed the seminar for any of that. I’ve spent over five years learning the facts about suicide myself. But now I have a certificate to confirm it.

The reason I’m writing this post is because I thought I was doing OK. I thought I had moved passed the tears, but those few hours proved I am not doing as great as I thought and have not moved on from losing my son. I guess there will always be moments in my life that will bring the past slamming back into full focus. I suppose I’m better equipped for those moments now but it doesn’t mean they will be any easier to deal with.

Game Review: Uncharted 3

I’ve played the Playstation since they were first invented. I currently own PS1 and about 100 games, PS2 and about 200 games and PS3 and about 30 games (and counting). A couple of decades ago, we owned a Nintendo as well.

Most people give me a strange look when I say I play PS3 (or whatever console I might be using at the time). Few of them say it, but most of them think to themselves “she’s too old”. Well, I’m not too old and I never will be. I love playing games. Especially gory, blood-thirsty ones such as Resident Evil (Resident Evil 2 and 3 for PS1 are still my favourites). Yet I’ll also play war games, kids games, puzzle games, shooter games, whatever I can get my hands on except sports (hate them with a passion).

Every now and again I’ll write a review for the latest game I’ve completed. Today, I want to write about Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception.

I received this game for Christmas and was excited as I own and have completed the first two games. And thoroughly enjoyed them both I might add.

Briefly, the plot follows Drake and Sully (and a few friends) as they travel the world trying to solve a puzzle concerning a lost ancient city and the treasures they believe they will find there. Of course, the baddies in the story also know of this lost city and want something other than the treasures for themselves, but it takes Drake and Sully a long time to work this out and death and unnecessary risks are not out of the question when you want something bad enough.

This is an adventure story which kept my attention and had me coming back for more. I highly recommend it.

The storyline for this game is superb. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that it felt like an interactive movie … with me controlling events, to a certain degree. The graphics are amazing. The game itself is addictive. There are four levels of play – super easy, easy, normal and hard. There are puzzles that were easy to solve and some that I found impossible to solve, however the game seems to know you’re having problems and will offer hints after a certain amount of time or after several failed attempts. I was thankful for that at times and ignored the hint prompt if I didn’t want help.

Image Source: Wikipedia

A General Reading for 2012

Owly ImagesRecently, a friend did a reading for herself and posted the result on Twitter, which included a link to an image. Of course, being noisy I followed the link and found three cards that were visibly pleasing. Without hesitation, I asked if it were possible for her to do a reading for me and she was happy to oblige.

Janette from Sweet Relief Coaching did a general reading for 2012 for me.

Here is the result:

Isis – past life or childhood fears and limiting beliefs. Time to move forward, you are strong. You can ask Isis for support.

Hathor – release guilt about receiving. Ask and allow for help or gifts. Full cycle requires giving AND RECEIVING. Honour it!

Isolt – your heart is healing swiftly. Be patient and get into nature. All your loving relationships are eternal & undying.

Be sure to click on the image to view the beautiful cards that were used for the reading. They are simply divine!

Janette did the reading late on New Year’s Eve, so I’ve had almost two days to think about what the cards might be telling me. My interpretation might be totally wrong as I do not know the cards well and I have done no research to find out more about them. But I have had some experience with other cards in the past and I believe if a message is delivered and the person it is delivered to ‘hears’ and/or ‘feels’ something at that time then it’s a good idea to listen.

My immediate response, the first time I read the meanings of the three cards, was an acknowledgement that I must let go of the things from my past that are holding me back – the hurts, the grief, the uncertainty. These things are limiting my enjoyment of life and may well stop me from grasping possibilities now and in the future. Letting go doesn’t mean I’m denying or forgetting my past, it means I’m cherishing the good things and accepting the bad. It means I’m moving forward with an open heart.

Asking for help is something that I’m learning to do, without feeling as guilty. My past feelings of unworthiness have always made me feel that no one will want to know my problems, let alone help me through them. As a result, I have become a bit of a hermit. But those feelings I grasped hold of are not true! After my son passed away, people stepped forward willingly. I found it difficult to open the door and let them in but it gets easier with time. If people don’t know you need help then how can they offer help?

Also acknowledged is the fact that my relationships are strong and ever lasting. And that, without going into more details, is comforting and something I needed to hear. Deep in my heart I know this to be true, but it’s something I needed to face ‘out loud’ (if that makes sense). I know that’s a bit cryptic, but some things you cannot write about publicly.

Finally, the reading reiterates something that I have been trying to achieve in my life over recent months. My thoughts have been somewhat tangled, but I have been thinking in terms of reaching out more and living life better. Isis, Hathor and Isolt have come together at the right time and may well give me the final push I need.

2012 can be a good year. Yes, bad things will happen. They always do. But good things happen too. It’s time to look forward, and look at the positive things (accepting the bad), and feel energised and whole.

National Year of Reading Special Offer

Happy New Year! I hope all your dreams come true in the next twelve months. More importantly, I hope you are happy, healthy and stay safe.

2012 is the National Year of Reading. It’s a year to encourage people to read more or simply to learn to read better.

With this in mind, I am offering ebooks for download at the grand price of nothing! That’s right, they are free for the taking, but you must use the coupon codes listed below at the check out. And you must do this before 31 January 2012, as that’s when the offer expires.

First up, is the Speculative Realms anthology:

Promotional price: Absolutely Free!
Coupon Code: YR74C
Expires: January 31, 2012

Secondly, is the Hope anthology:

Promotional price: Again, Absolutely Free!
Coupon Code: HJ58A
Expires: January 31, 2012

All you have to do is follow the link to the respective pages at Smashwords, click on “Add to Cart”, type in the coupon code above and download the version that suits you best. Then, add the file to your ereader and start reading.

And finaly, there is The Land of Miu, which is always free but I felt compelled to ensure you knew that. For this ebook there is no coupon code, just go to “The Land of Miu” Smashword’s page and download the version you want.

Happy reading and Happy New Year!