Friday, 20 July 2018

Chuckles Weekend Roundup

Welcome to my 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! I won't comment on any blog that makes me sign in using another account. 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 has been quite a manic week in my personal Book Cave! Enjoying the cooler temperatures and rain has allowed me to plan the next stage of getting my room sorted out! A new bookcase was bought yesterday which I'm clearing space for and the rest of my room looks like the apocalypse has already hit! I'm in my comfy new computer chair too which is great. I've been doing a bit of work each day on my Goodreads shelves to get them fixed and I think I'm about two thirds done now which is great! Need to get a pandemic shelf sorted and add more to my YA shelf but most of the big jobs are thankfully done. When I'm sure the heatwave is over, we are swapping two bookcases over so the big one id downstairs and the smaller goes into my dad's room. It'll maximise space. And my new bookcase going into my room means nights of work ahead to sort out the books and dvds!
It has been an exciting week for book purchases and book grabbing! If you saw my Chuckles Chuntering post you'll have read that my neighbour's friend was doing a book clearout and I picked up a pile of horror, SF, fantasy and historical books for my collection. That was exciting and there could be more to come! I'm not repeating them all here or my post would be ultra long today! I also got a few for myself and the rest of last week's downloads to share! Reading has been slow as my tv digibox is on it's last legs and I'm trying to get everything off it onto disk before it breaks down!



Chuckles Blogging World
 Busy week as usual trying to keep up with things and remembering to go to Twitter, which I think I forgot yesterday. I hope to find more time to look for blogs about horror and apocalypse books and get more ideas for book grabbing!

Book Reviews
SM Wilson-The Extinction Trials
Carolyn McCray-Neo Jurassic
Regular Posts 
I did my usual Around The Blogs With Chuckles this week but no samples post as I was too busy. Cover Love was Brandt Legg, Top Ten Tuesday looked at short stories, Can't Wait Wednesday was Breakdown and Books From The Backlog was about Falling Sky.
Chuckles Cover Love
Around The Blogs With Chuckles
Top Ten Tuesday
Can't Wait Wednesday

Books From The Backlog

Discussion Posts
Chuckles Chat looked at Scenarios We Love And Hate in Creature Feature and Chuckles Chuntering talked about stuff that needs to be done and an unexpected windfall of free books!
Chuckles Chat
Chuckles Chuntering

Film Reviews
none this week
Special Posts 
July Reading Update
Book Tags/Blog Awards
 none this week

Currently Reading/Up Next
Not a great reading week. I did finish Matthew Reilly's Contest which was really good but never got to anything else. This week might not be any better for reading but these are the next three on my list anyway.

Thursday, 19 July 2018

Books From The Backlog-Falling Sky

Books from the Backlog is a fun way to feature some of those neglected books sitting on your bookshelf.  You might be surprised by some of the unread books hiding in your stacks. Go to Carole's blog and add your blog post link in to join in the fun! Hosted by Carole at

This seems like a fun feature and I have been planning to take part since Carole launched this so at last, here we go! I have a TON of unread books to choose from in various genres and I'm looking forward to sharing some of them with everybody. 

Ben Gold lives in dangerous times. Two generations ago, a virulent disease turned the population of most of North America into little more than beasts called Ferals. Some of those who survived took to the air, scratching out a living on airships and dirigibles soaring over the dangerous ground. 

Ben, a lone wolf, has reluctantly agreed to use his skills and his airship to help an idealist scientist, Miranda, on her search for a cure. Protecting her from Ferals is dangerous enough but when power-mad raiders run rampant, Ben finds himself in the most dangerous place of all—the ground.  

Ben’s journey leads him to Gastown, a city in the air recently conquered by belligerent and expansionist pirates. Old friends and new enemies are drawn into a struggle that quickly becomes a fight for the fate of the world. Ben must decide to focus on his own survival or risk it all on a desperate chance for a better future.

I'm not a steampunk fan but this has airships and zombie like things which is hard to resist! I added it to my shelves in August 2017. 

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Chuckles Chuntering

That penguin resembles me this week-waddling about with a stiff back until I get my new computer chair during the week. It looks really comfy and I can't wait to get it. I also resemble the penguin because he is obviously buying lots of books from Amazon. Downloads! Hardback book! Books in series I'm following! Books for my Top Ten Tuesday lists under construction! Monsters! Yes I'm grabbing it all this week! 

I have finally decided that I need to buy another 3 shelf bookshelf, and my dad wants a cd cabinet with a door on it. Where we are going to put these are anyone's guess! I have books lying on the floor that are going to get damaged if I don't find somewhere to put them.It looks like I might need to move the drawers with my clothes out of my room if I want another bookcase in there. Not sure how that is going to work but the books ARE more important! I think I might have worked something out and my dad is going to buy the chair and bookshelf for me hopefully today.

And just to add to the fun, a neighbour's friend was having a book clearout of stuff he's finished with or never got round to reading. He reads SF, horror, and fantasy and his wife reads historical. He kindly gave me a list of what they had so I could pick out what I wanted FREE! Of course it would be rude not to pick some wouldn't it! My weekend roundup would be too big if I added this lot onto it so here is what I got!

AWESOME!!! He says he might have another few boxes but hasn't dug them out yet so there could be more to come! I didn't take his early Stephen King, Richard Laymon, George RR Martin, Dean Koontz, Philippa Gregory, LOTR etc as I either have them or have read them already. That cheers me up as I've been a bit fed up this week!

Can't Wait Wednesday-Breakdown

Can't Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted at to spotlight and discuss books we're excited about but haven't read, which may not even be released yet. 

NB: 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 them to follow new people, update my profile or post tweets 'on my behalf'. I won't comment on any blog that makes me sign in using another account. 

Ben Davis was prepared for disaster. He just didn’t know it would come so soon.

He and his teenage son, Joel, are miles deep in the backcountry of the San Juan Mountains when high-altitude nuclear electromagnetic detonations light up the pre-dawn sky. Ben, Joel, and their dog, Gunner, must make their way home – or to whatever’s left of it – on foot.

Without the ability to communicate with his ex-wife in Maryland, Ben has no idea if Joel’s brother and sister are okay. The two decide they have no options but to head East. Before their journey begins, they venture into town to check Ben’s outdoor store for supplies and discover one of Joel’s classmates, Allie, alone and in desperate need of help.

When Ben realizes Allie’s flight attendant mother is most likely dead and her father lives in Pittsburgh, he knows he has to take her with them. Ben must use the skills he learned as an Army Ranger many years ago to survive the post-apocalyptic world they now live in.

Can he keep himself and two teenagers safe as they navigate the dark and dangerous road ahead?

This is exactly the kind of apocalypse story that I love! It was published in May and I've just grabbed it for my collection!

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Book Review: Neo Jurassic by Carolyn McCray

Five hundred years after we hit that not-so-mythical Tipping Point, the world plunged into a nuclear winter that counterbalanced global warming. A perfect climate for dinosaurs. However T. Rexs aren't the only threat. Syns (synthetic humans/robots) are still bent on destroying mankind and the occasional freak tornado are a constant threat for our heroes who are trying to find New Avalon.

My Review: 
Being a fan of sharks and dinosaurs, two series by this author were recommended to me and I decided to go with the dinosurs first. I was intrigued by the mix of dinosaurs and Syns trying to kill the remaining humans but I wasn't really sure what to expect from it.

Appie is the 16 year old clan leader, a title she inherited when her parents were killed, and with advice and guidance from wise man Mattu, she looks after her people. She is assisted by a metal lion-Lev, metal ostrich-Ruby, and a metal elephant-Tonka. After a successful T Rex hunt for meat, Appie is ready to move her people on a trek to their winter grounds where they hope to be safe from all their enemies. However an attack by the Syns changes their plans and Mattu wants to lead a side expedition to a cryo-bunker that is rumoured to be full of supplies that could be vital to the clan survival. With Syns in pursuit of the main group, Appie and Mattu lead their raiding party on a dangerous mission through hostile dinosaur territory.

This is a dystopian setting but it sort of felt more like those prehistoric dinosaur films with the tribal and wise man elements. Mattu is older and wiser but is happy to let Appie lead. He reminds me of a medicine man and I liked his character. Appie had leadership thrust upon her when her parents were killed but is older than her years and successfully looking after her clan. She knows there is safety in numbers but is not ready to endanger her people by linking up with other clans because of a trust issue. I liked her though I did feel that she needed to assert her authority more when Chimmus was acting up. I also liked Lavla, who is anxious about getting to the winter grounds before she has her baby.

The Syns interested me. A human-machine hybrid, their sole obsession is to finish what the war started and destroy all human life. Appie is their main target and they are following her people, waiting for the chance to get Appie and Mattu. With Appie splitting the group, the Syns are watching and waiting for the group to unite so they can all be destroyed. The two main Syns we encounter are Durnag, the leader and a new Syn to the group Robertum. It was interesting to see what they were thinking and understand what drove them to want to kill a few survivors from the war so badly. I also LOVED the metallic animals who protect Appie's group as they all have great personalities, especially Ruby. I want one! It was nice to see something a bit different like this and it was a good addition to the plot.

And of course, we cannot forget the dinosaurs! There is a good mix of dinosaurs in the book-T Rex, Spinosaurus, a pack of pretty scary troodons, flying vampire bat things...the dinosaur attacks were exciting and all you would expect in this kind of book. I liked the way the people had to be aware of both enemies at all times. It's a very dangerous world and not one that you would really want to live in. I don't want to go into what happens at the bunker as it would ruin too much of the story for you but there are a few twists as we go along. 

Now this is my issue with the book. I enjoyed the story and wanted to see what happened next but none of the other books are available individually. The idea was that you bought the whole ebook box set and received the first one, then as the others became available, they would each be sent to your Kindle. Amazon buyers didn't like paying in advance for books not out yet. One complained that they never received all the books, that the second one was missing from the updates. Now this was a few years ago so it may be that if I was to buy the box set now, I WOULD get all the books delivered at the same time but I'm not really prepared to take that risk in case I end up with something missing from it. I'm disappointed in how botched this operation seemed to be and why the author wouldn't make them all available individually. 

At the moment, unless it is proven that I would receive all the books, it doesn't look like I can continue with the series, which is a shame.

Read May 2018.
3.5 stars. 

Top Ten Tuesday-Short Stories

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

NB: 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 them to follow new people, update my profile or post tweets 'on my behalf'. I won't comment on any blog that makes me sign in using another account. 

The topic is about favourite novellas and short stories. My choices are prequels to series and stand alone titles.

1) Kelley Armstrong-Framed (WOTO #7.1)
Nick is framed and blackmailed over a dead body in his bed and decides to deal with the world's worst blackmailer himself. Funny and entertaining. If you love the werewolf Pack and Nick, you'll love this!

2) Hunter Shea-Just Add Water (Mail Order Massacres #1)
Two boys buy a grow your own sea serpents kit but are disappointed with the results and dump it in the sewers. Then they really start to grow and the town is under threat...great horror story from a favourite author.

3) RJ Spears-Forget The Alamo (Forget The Zombies #1)
A group of people find themselves trapped inside the Alamo, surrounded by a zombie horde, and time is running out for a way to escape before the military destroy the area. I enjoyed the way this was written. 

4) James R Tuck-That Thing At The Zoo (Deacon Chalk #0.5)
Prequel to the excellent Deacon Chalk UF series, and Deacon helps a zoo whose animals are under threat from a deadly form of vampire. Perfect introduction to the characters and highly recommended! 

5) Sarah Dalton-My Daylight Monsters (Mary Hades #0.5)
Mary is put into a psychiatric unit with troubled teens but she uses her talents to discover something evil killing people in the next ward. I liked Mary and her abilities, and enjoyed her interaction with the other teens as she tries to stop the killer. 

6) Quent Cordair-Sheltered
An obsessed prepper is stuck alone in his nuclear shelter after an explosion. With his supplies dwindling and curiousity growing, after a year it is time to come out, but what will he find? This was entertaining and I loved the ending! 

7) Jude Michael Connors-What Waits Through The Trapdoor
Tom is a church monster hunter and investigates the missing children in the area. Are they runaways or is there something evil lurking in the basement of a corner store...I liked this and I keep meaning to see if there are more in the series. 

8) Keith C Blackmore-The Hospital (Mountain Man #0.5)
It is the zombie apocalypse and Gus decides that he has to raid the hospital for supplies. Once inside the dark building, he starts to hear strange noises and makes the mistake of investigating. This was a good introduction to the series.

9) Richard Schiver-Enter Night
Six friends seek refuge from bloodthirsty beasts in the forest by taking refuge in a deserted farmhouse-but what is inside may be much worse. I enjoyed this short horror tale. 

10) Leonard Little-The Turning Of The Spit
Wade awakes from a hangover and heads for the slaughterhouse for his shift, unaware that demon pigs with AK 47s are taking over the place. Short, funny and entertaining!

Monday, 16 July 2018

Book Review: The Extinction Trials by SM Wilson

Betrayal. Sacrifice. Survival.
Welcome to the Extinction Trials.

In Stormchaser and Lincoln's ruined world, the only way to survive is to risk everything. To face a contest more dangerous than anyone can imagine. And they will do anything to win.

But in a land full of monsters - human and reptilian - they can't afford to trust anyone. Perhaps not even each other...

My Review: 
On the cover of the book it says The Hunger Games meets Jurassic Park and I'm always wary of that kind of marketing but in the case of this book, by the time I got to the end of it, I thought that was pretty accurate. Now that makes a change! The idea of elements of two books I really enjoyed being added to an expedition where people will die had me interested from when I first saw it, along with that gorgeous cover. What you can't see about it in a photo is that it has this reptile snakeskin look to it which I like. I was concerned that it wouldn't live up to my expectations but thankfully it did.

Stormchaser is an orphan who lives in a cramped building, deliberatly failing tests at school, which is compulsory one day a week, so she can keep the manual labour job that she prefers to working in labs or other buildings. She has two friends-Dell, who tries to look out for her, and a plesiosaur called Milo who once saved her life. Swimming with Milo is the one good thing in her life. Lincoln has a sister who is sick with a plague that the government don't care to cure, seeing it as an answer to the over-population issue of Earthasia. Resources and space are dwindling and his family have been moved into the caves where she will deteriorate and die, unless he can get her medical help that they are not entitled to.

The government of Earthasia have turned their attention to making Piloria their home. It is a continent that is lush, green and full of resources and would be the answer to Earthasia's problems. The only problem is that it is populated by dinosaurs and previous expeditions have killed most of the people on them, giving them a limited map to work with. Now a new expedition is planned, to steal the dinosaur eggs and allow Earthasia scientists to use the DNA for a bioweapon to kill the dinosaurs. As before, each district runs a series of trials to find the people best suited to the task ahead and 100 will be chosen for the trip. Anyone who manages to bring back an egg of the predator species wins more food, a house of their own and more medical supplies. 

Storm and Dell enter the trials to get a few days of extra food rations, but Storm realises that she is quite good at the trials and wonders what Piloria would be like. However, she is not comfortable with wiping out the dinosaurs with a weapon as she knows that some, like Milo are harmless. If chosen, can she really go through with the mission? Could she steal the eggs and hand them over to Reban Don to annihilate a whole species? Lincoln has his sister's life at stake and he will do anything to get on the Piloria expedition so he can win the medical help for her, and a better life for his mother. What is he prepared to do to win? The first part of the book is focused on the trials and selection for the expedition, and this was entertaining to read about as I like that kind of thing in a book. The second part is the journey to Piloria which is far from straightforward. The third is the actual expedition  and then there is the events after returning to Earthasia which have a nice couple of twists!

I really liked the characters in the book. I can understand Lincoln's motivations and the reasons that he wants to find allies, knowing that a team have a better chance against dinosaurs than just an individual. He looks to Storm first, having seen her swim in the water with Milo,  but is unsure about trusting Dell. He then looks to Rune, Kronar and Leif, who are from a different district and all look capable. I liked these guys from the start. Storm does not get off to a good start with Lincoln when he accidently injures her in a trial, and even though he helps her, she is rude and dismissive to him. It did annoy me but thankfully that passes quickly by the time the trials end. 

Then there are the bad guys. Reban Don is in charge of Storm's district and is the face of the local administration, the man who makes announcements and decisions. He is unpleasant and feared, and seems to have a real dislike of Storm who had only met him once before the trials. Galen is also a very dangerous individual who wants to win at any cost even if it means murdering his competition and he takes an instant dislike to Lincoln. These are the characters that you sort of love to hate through the book and it was a good contrast to the those that I liked on the expedition.

I'm not going to talk about anything else that happens in the book as that would spoil things for anyone planning to read it. All I can say is that the action on Piloria with the dinosaurs is great, with lots of tense scenes and action. My favourite dinosaurs all feature-megalodon, T Rex, raptors and pterosaurs. The action involving each is exciting and there are other dinosaurs I was not as familiar with who I wouldn't want to meet. I liked the whole trip to Piloria and the surprises that come from it, which adds another layer to the plot that is explored firther in the second book, which I've already read. I enjoyed the trials themselves and I found the whole plot after the expedition unexpected and quite exciting. It leaves things nicely set up for the second book and leaves it in a very interesting place. 

I don't read much YA these days due to the dreadful tropes espexcially love triangles and instaluv. Thankfully there is none of that in this book. There is a connection between Storm and Lincoln but it is not really explored in the book, leaving the expedition as the main focus. That is the kind of YA I like. I'm certainly glad that I picked this series up and I'm already looking forward to seeing what happens in the third book as I have no idea what direction the plot is headed. There is plenty action mixed in with good character development and I liked the changing POV between Lincolm and Storm, as it lets us get right into their heads and see the dilemma that each have over the mission. 

If you like dinosaurs and action based YA like The Hunger Games and The Testing, hopefully you will like this.

Read May 2018.
4 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) Diversity 
Nikki shares her thoughts. 

2) Book Review-Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik 
Mogsy goes fantasy fairytale retelling. 

3) Book Review-Somebody's Daughter by David Bell
Katherine delves into some mystery. 

4) 3 Medicinal Plants you can grow indoors
No garden, no problem! 

5) Book Review-Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh
Elle does a bit of venting... 

Sunday, 15 July 2018

Chuckles Chat #73 Scenarios We Love And Hate in Creature Feature

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! 

NB: 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 them to follow new people, update my profile or post tweets 'on my behalf'. I won't comment on any blog that makes me sign in using another account.   

Over the coming weeks I'm looking at our book buying life. By this what I mean is, what are the scenarios in a book blurb that make us really want to pick up that book and start reading? What do we love about the genre and what puts us off?

This week I'm looking at Creature Feature. Generally this would mean scary monsters but for those of you not into that, for this discussion it can mean any animal you like reading about. 

I totally love horror. I'm addicted to it! Nothing excites me more than getting a new horror book in my paws to get stuck in to! In the last few years I was delighted to find a whole new range of authors who love to write fast paced, high body count monster books. On my shelves I have snakes, spiders, sharks, dinosaurs, a variety of sea monsters, biological experimental animals, bugs, urban legend monsters, Sasquatches, pretty much most monsters you can imagine! I love the expedition to exotic places, the trek into jungles to look for something, the monster island, the escaped mutant animal on the rampage, something lurking beneath the waves waiting to kill swimmers, the monsters in the woods and swamps, caves and caverns with a monster waiting, people trapped somewhere with something trying to eat them...yes I do very much enjoy that kind of book!

When it comes to a good apocalypse or prepper book, I really enjoy it when the people have a faithful dog to share the disaster with-on the condition that the dog does not die or get tortured. I just cannot read animal cruelty and death in my books! Having a lovely beagle, greyhound, german shepherd, spaniel, collie etc is something that I like to see in the genre. I like it if the dog is more than just in the background and plays a bigger part in the story. These books are usually quite obvious as a lot of the time the dogs feature on the cover and the blurb. I do admit that I often care more what happens to the furry friend than the humans!

Are there Creature Feature books that I don't like? No, not really. I'll read about any kind of beast or monster as long as it sounds good. I do have a liking for sharks and dinosaurs in particular but I like most things. I do have issues with bad humans going to islands to kill or kidnap monkeys though-I have issues watching all these remakes of King Kong. Just leave the monkey alone!!! He was very happy until you came to his home and harrassed him! The monkey cruelty also puts me off the newer Planet of the Apes films. I am a total arachnophobe but I still love to read about scary mutant spiders for some reason and it doesn't bother me at all. The only issue I have with these books is that they insist on putting a ton of spiders on the covers and I just can't deal with that. I really want to buy The Hatching but I will not be able to touch those spider filled covers as it just freaks me out!  

I tend to avoid a creature feature if it sounds too much like relationship angst as this really spoiled Steve Alten's Meg for me. I was so sick of hearing what his wife was plotting to do to discredit him that I nearly DNFed the book. I've avoided a few that sound similar. I struggled with Sharkwater Beach for the same reason. I'm not a fan of sex in these books either as I'm more interested in the monster than any of that getting in the way. Fury of the Orcas went down the line of the MCs obsessed with it when they should've been doing their job and saving human lives and the orcas. I don't like it when I hate the characters or if it is slow getting to the main action. I don't generally read historical creature features set in WWII or deep in the past as I prefer a modern setting.

What kind of scary or mutated creatures do you like to read about? Which creatures freak you out too much to read about? Do monsters on covers sometimes put you off reading a book? Do you worry more about the pets than the humans?

Chuckles Cover Love #83 Brandt Legg

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.

NB: 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 them to follow new people, update my profile or post tweets 'on my behalf'. I won't comment on any blog that makes me sign in using another account.   

This Week! 

Basic design but very vivid colour use.