Captain Rum: A wonderous adventure by John Perrier

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Helllllo readers – today may be a first. But a good first I think. I’m reviewing two books from an author back to back which I normally try to avoid. However after read the first book from John Perrier I thought I needed to see if the other books I had been sent has the same straight-forward style or whether this had more of a writerly feel. After reading the second I couldn’t help myself but write up a review; ENJOY!

When an Oxford Professor stumbles upon an old naval Captain’s log, he unwittingly discovers what many scholars now agree is one of the greatest maritime adventures in history.
 
In 1821, Captain Fintan McAdam set sail from London, solo, in search of adventure. During his journey, he discovered incredible new worlds and interacted with their amazing inhabitants. They forced him to confront his enemies within, learning much about himself.
 
Captain Rum, as told in McAdam’s own words through his journal, is a tale of discovery, despair and delight. It will keep you enthralled through many a stormy night.
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As the blurb suggests the book follows the discovery of Captain McAdam’s journal that pens his sea adventures in the year of 1821. Leaving in search of both an adventure and to leave his life and miseries in London behind we see Captain Rum discover himself at sea – new places, terrrors, worries, natives, a few near misses with death, we see our protagonist begin to discover himself, sometimes positively and sometimes not so much. With Bubo the parrot beside him what could go wrong?
My review then – did I enjoy this? Yes I really did if I’m honest with you. The language style and the feel of the writing is very vivid and applicable to the time that the book is set. It flows wonderfully and really has a lot of character and depth. The writing is still in a diary style format meaning that it is still a little straight-forward in terms of the writing style but because of the characterisation it has a much more engaging feel – for me anyway. Here we see one of Captain Rum’s dreams.
The ocean was deep – deep and black – and was spitting white foam over the gunwales. The storm’s ferocity grew with every passing moment, and the wind tore at her sails until they were just flailing canvas rags. Just as it seemed she could take no more, two giant waves careened into either side of her. But instead of crushing her, the waves transformed into a pair of giant wings. The wings pulled themselves free of the sea and then flapped in steady beats, like that of a dragon. Slowly, my little sloop lifted herself above the waves and flew away to safety.
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Parts of the book are incredibly interesting and even though Captain Rum is pretty much our sole character the author manages to engage the reader and keep us reading through the tale. During the adventure Captain Rum ends up stranded on an island and needs to grow certain seeds and plants to help him get the boat fit for sailing. I thought this part of the book was exceptionally well written and it really made me feel as though all of this could be true. I could imagine the Captain carefully trying to grow the seedlings whilst trying to mantain his strength and his mentality – it really is an intriguing tale.
Captain Rum as a character is a bit of an odd one. I felt for him with the loss of Beth and the struggle with alcohol to mantain his sanity but then he has such a strong compass to succeed and discover and be one with the sea. He is honestly a fantastic character and one I did really enjoy reading about. Bubo is a lovely and quirky character and he is given such character that he really becomes a member of the story in his own right.
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Would I recommend this overall? Yes, yes, yes. If you like historical fiction and you like the idea of adventure this book is really brilliant. I guess the only complaint I could see is that the diary style does mean it reads very much as like a self-discovery tale but I thought it was well-written with a strong character and a darling idea. Really really brilliant.

PS: Don’t be naughty and skip the very beginning, the author has very cleverly put together a note about the writing of the book which is such a special touch.

Linnnnnks

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Campervan Kama Sutra by John Perrier

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Helllllllllo readers, hope you’re well on this Monday morning. I’ve picked something really fun and exciting to wake us up and get us a little happier when it feels gray and wintery. I really love it when an author says to me I’ve got all these books – take your pick and get back to me! It not only allows me to read lots of different books from the same author if I want to but I also get to pick the one that feels right for me – saying that I’m already reading the next one that John has sent me – so you’ll be seeing more soon – for now, Campervan Kama Sutra.

Campervan Kama Sutra
Outback Australia, with a camper trailer, three kids and a dog.*

This true story tells of one family’s hilarious journey through Australia’s rugged outback countryside.

Our intrepid adventurers work their way through numerous mishaps, including, but not limited to, an ill-advised river crossing, an inappropriately packed roof rack and some truly horrible singing.

During their journey they stumble across a motley assortment of characters such as a confused check-in clerk, a grey nomad with an eye for detail regarding torches, and several Crazy Germans.

While reading Campervan Kama Sutra, you’ll not only fall in love with Australia’s vast, ever-changing countryside, but you’ll also delight in the tragicomedy that arrives with unerring regularity. You’ll laugh until something hurts.

*P.S. There was no dog.

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As the blurb suggests the book follows John Perrier’s family on their trip around Australia – as with any family holiday and especially one that is as long distance as this, not everything quite goes to plan and we get to see a really in-depth and exciting look into a one-in-a-lifetime trip. We get to see tire failures on bumpy roads, a river crossing that nearly goes terribly terribly wrong. However in all of this we get to experience the ups and downs, the excitements and the worries of a family who travel the incredibly country that is Australia – in a camper trailer.

The writing is straight forward and almost diary style in format which did surprise me a little. Instead of being full of evocative descriptions it’s feels very non-fictionally documented. This at times makes it a little difficult to read in big chunks because there is so much information to just process and take in but in smaller bites I found myself really falling for the family and their little quirks. Writing in such a way does allow the reader a more honest portrayal. (I’ve a little bit of the text to show kind of what I mean.)

_Soul meets soul on lovers' lips._Prometheus Unboundby Percy Bysshe Shelley(1)

‘Amazingly quickly, suburban Perth gave way to West Australian countryside. Once out of the city we passed thick eucalypt forests, drove on meandering roads that coursed either up or around the hills, and frequently encountered charming little towns that dotted the highway. The land harboured many farms, and domestic animals such as cattle and sheep herded under roadside trees. It was ever-changing, with plenty to see along the way.

Put your hand up if you believed even a single word of the crap in the last paragraph. I’m not being unkind here, just truthful, when I say that virtually the entire West Australian coastline is flat and monotonous. It is a treeless scrub that stretches off seemingly infinitely in every direction. The road rarely turns, there are no hills, and the place names on the map more often represent road-house garages than towns. The earth is uniformly red ochre. There are seemingly no farms, and no farm animals. Just flat, endless scrub.’

If you’re wondering about the title which I certainly was it refers to the authors idea of writing a book entitled – Camper-van Kama Sutra II: 101 ways to have sex in a camper-van without the kids or neighbors knowing. The book does have a very quirky feel and the author manages to make you feel involved with the trip and feel like you’re really there – through Karijini National Park, or travelling along the Gibb River Road. I didn’t really get the Bryson feel if I’m totally honest – Bryson is really a romanticist and this feels less like that but that doesn’t mean I liked it less.

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Would I recommend? Yes actually. It’s a style of book I haven’t read for a little while now and getting to see the ins and the outs of the adventure was interesting and exciting. It may not be written with dazzling description but it’s written with guts and heart and I loved that.

Linnnnks

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101 things in 1001 days: Go to a music festival and visit Stonehenge

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I think I should start this post by pointing out that I am not the festival/outside camping/ being one with nature sort of person. I get cold easily, I have no balance (in muddy areas this has caused a number of soggy muddy bottoms) and I dislike all bugs. However one of my closest and longest friends the wonderful Leanne Carr asked me if I fancied a gander to Newquay to go to the Board Masters festival. A slightly bored Lizzy thought, hell, why not.

Two days later, a chipped windscreen, a confusion over tickets, a trip to Hertfordshire to pick up a new ticket (thanks parents) a near miss on the train down to Silverstone and a very tired Lizzy who had forgotten her toothbrush (darn) we made the six hour journey down to Cornwall. Leanne being an adult and a very organised person suggested we go to Stonehenge which has been on my list of things to do but due to my very lax knowledge of the geography of the United Kingdom had no idea where it was. However, we made a little detour and ended up at the very busy but utterly mesmerising Stonehenge.

Tickets at £15.00 weren’t cheap but when we got to the stones we were both in utter awe. I, not knowing really anything about them, had imagined them about waist height. Much to Leanne’s amusement they are just a little bigger. We spent the next hour taking selfies with the stones, listening in on a tour guide’s spiel, and weaving in and out of the reconstructed houses of the prehistoric people who built the monument at the time. We learnt so much about the spiritual importance of the stones and came out a little enthralled.

Four hours later we drove into the sunny town of Newquay; taking our tent, bags and my haul of food down to the entrance we found out you had to take all of your alcohol down first time round. So back up to the car again, we checked in to have a mirror quickly taken off of us. Setting up the tent we went back to the car to pick up the roll-mats forgetting to pick up our confiscated mirror. Four trips down we cracked open the cider, with our friend Jenny who we met there, and made our way down to the arena to see Everything Everything and Faithless. I took this time to a little drunkenly eat a steaming hot tub of mac and cheese, which was everything.

We spent Saturday at the beach, legs out, arms out, sunning ourselves and eating ice-cream; clotted cream for le adults (ie Jenny and Leanne) and a mega chocolatey one for yours truly #noregrets. Back at the campsite we had a proper catch up after not seeing Jenny in over four years, and drank too much wine and & cider before stumbling down to the arena. Pushing our way into a mosh pit (well done ladies) we were bashed about a bit whilst rudimental lit up the stage. Incredible stage presence and so many of their hits played, bloody bang on.

The final day we were all feeling a little exhausted despite getting quite a bit of sleep. I decided to spray my hair pink managing to get most of my neck and pyjamas involved in the process. Deciding to go back to Newquay, once arriving to go to the aquarium we decided instead it was time to find one of Char Balds suggested pasties; pork and apple. We found one in a dinky little pasty shop and my god it was beautiful. Back at the tent we drank the rest of the cider (rip liver) ate both a bag of salted caramel popcorn and doritos. We managed to see both Clean Bandit and I wolfed down a burrito before we finally went to see Bastille. Foot tapping, lighters out and hands swaying it’s one of the best live vocal performances I have seen to date. Tired out and exhausted we went back to the tent, waved goodbye to Jenny and snuggled into our sleeping bags.

The last day of the trip was spent packing up the tent, (getting a pop up tent is brilliant for putting it up but getting it back down again is another story.) picking up all our rubbish and making the seven hour trip back to Silverstone for me to later get the train back to Stoke-on-Trent. Armed with energy drink and minstrels we were immediately in traffic. Taking the alternate route we ended up on a road only big enough for a single car. Tired and exhausted we were happy to finally speed along the motor way and make it back pretty much on time. The next couple of days were exhausting but back at home wrapped in a duvet after a long hot shower the festival was just, brilliant. Not only something I’ve wanted to do for a long time but sharing it with two wonderful people was just spot on. Festival = done.

 

Buried (Tom Thorne Novels) by Mark Billingham

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Hellllllllo readers, something really exciting for you today and something a little different. When I can’t find something to read I always find myself scouring the bookshelves of the parentals forgetting that my little sister (not so little now that she’s twenty – when did that happen!) has a number of exciting books for me to sneak. They are normally thriller/abduction/horror style books but her shelves are stacked (unlike mine) with books she honestly loves and so I know I’m almost always going to get something good; today surprised me so I’m going to see what she thought of said book; hope you enjoy.

A retired copper’s son is kidnapped. Many of the villains he put away had sworn revenge. So why does he fail to mention the one who is still the main suspect in a four-year-old murder?

Must admit at the start of this, that I’m coming into this series pretty late because this is the sixth book in the series but I often think with series books in a crime genre you should be able to throw yourself right in and to a point I could. Quite easily. The book follows the country music loving detective Tom Thorne who appears to be a little side-lined by his colleagues (I’m sure this relates to a book earlier in the series.) However he is moved back into the spotlight when he is chosen to investigate the kidnapping of a former Detective Chief Superintendent’s son Luke. The book continues as the police hunt down Luke and his kidnappers as the plot thickens with more deaths, a racial crime and a romantic love interest to boot.

So for the positives; the book is a well written in terms of the jargon police language and the main character (I’m sure over the previous five books) has been developed into a really strong character profile. I thought it really helped the plot feel grounded and was an interesting persona to read about. Additionally  the supporting main characters to a point were well written although at times under-developed and they helped to weave the two stories and add a feel to the novel. I thought the writing of the racially motivated murder was intriguing and helped to add a sub-plot. There are a number of red-herrings weaved into both the plots and I thought the use of the Former Detective helped to add some suspense. Throughout I knew there wasn’t something quite right and I thought the sense of unease was handled well.

For me though this book really struggled; it has a really slow pace and being such a hefty number of pages I felt bogged down and need something to really excite me, but it just doesn’t deliver. Many of the secondary characters are under-developed or seem to play very little part and I think in terms of the writing a good two-hundred of so pages could have been wiped and instead the other content should have been whipped into shape.

Additionally, and oddly, the title doesn’t match the book inside. T asked me why it was called Buried and I could only come up with a very tenuous link. The author however, appears to acknowledge this with one of the chapters starting with a line such as ‘It was like being buried.’ Nope – that is not enough to link the book to the blurb. Additionally I thought that the links between the first and second plot was so tenuously linked it was a struggle to see why Billingham has done it at all.

*SPOILER*

I needed to put this in because I wanted to rage about this to you. Towards the end the police find out who the killer is, they then discuss him without directly mentioning him for a good chapter or two and then when the name was revealed I had no idea who it was. Mainly because he had been spoken to once in the first couple of chapters. No, No, that is NOT okay! Gah *rages.* Additionally, there are so many last names that I had trouble defining who was who and who was female and not; crime novels are so bad for this but here it was overwhelmingly so. I thought the ending was messy too, I’m still not sure how it all connects. Finally, and this is a big one, I didn’t like any of the characters that much so when it all came to a resolution I kind of thought – right that’s over. That’s not the feeling I want to feel so I was quite disappointed.

Overall I was really upset about this and I’m annoyed. For something so long in length I wanted something really powerful  and to not get that after 350+ pages I feel cheated. Add to this that to have under-developed characters in something so long is unbelievable. I didn’t enjoy this and I’m not sure you will too.

(PS: Spoke to Char and she struggled with book too and has since suggested others *yay* #holla)

Linnnnnnks

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Water Minute Mysteries 1-10 by P. Aaron Mitchell

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Hellllllo readers, it’s October where is the year going? It feels like only yesterday I turned 22 and yet, it’s been a month or so. This author sent me a lovely email that said he knew I was a big fan of Sherlock Holmes books, and that if I liked them I should read this. That is definitely a way to get my attention and after reading I thought wow, there is definitely an inkling there.

Short stories of enigma with The Professor, who provides all the clues for you to figure out each story’s one and only explanation. Solve them yourself, or read the solutions.

That’s a very succinct blurb there and it’s very easy way to show you the writing style of said author. The books are very short tales where the narrator (The Professor) tells the story of an event or a story and gives us a number of secret clues woven into the tale. After we finish the story there is a solution, or an explanation of what’s just happened and it’s all wrapped up rather neatly at the end. Some of the stories understandably include deaths but others are more subtle relating to family traumas, objects and the like.

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So what did I think? Well I’m pleased report I liked them a darn lot. Told in a simple style that suits the mysteries each is written with a real understanding of how to confuse the reader. Although the stories are short they are told with lots of little inner workings that you can assume is going to add up to the solution but I was hopeless at getting to the bottom of many of them. The pace is written well, they bump along a little slowly but often then are set in one of two scenes rather than a long drawn out but that works because they are short tales. I was surprised how much the author managed to pack into the stories and found it really nice that they were so detailed.

In terms of the writing style it isn’t my cup of tea but here it worked. It was short, sharp and to the point and it helped to make the stories more like riddles. Long flowing descriptions of the surroundings and the characters involved wouldn’t have worked here and the tighter writing style is definitely brilliant here. Despite this over the ten stories we do get an inkling of the personality of the Professor. A little more suave than our Holmes and with a small adoration for young women he is a bit of a sweetheart. He has a charming side, and he comes over a lot more friendly I think although we only get glimpses of him as a character. He has a sense of humour although a little mocking but he comes across as a kind-hearted fellow.

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My only wobble was that many of the solutions require knowledge relating to guns, car and aeroplanes. Although this is necessary to create the mysteries some of the stories although made sense didn’t give me that mystery satisfaction when the ending was revealed. Sherlock although does know knowledge of said things tends to rely on human nature, blemishes on the characters and physical attributes so I could solve them a lot easier. But, I liked the difference and I was really impressed at the level of detail shown by the author. Some of the stories are a little difficult to believe but they are really good to read and think about whether something so shocking could have happened.The only thing I really didn’t like was the cover and it was such a shame because the book was so lovely to read.

Overall a really quick read although it may take you a little while to get to the bottom of the stories. The writing style although not normally my idea of reading fun worked well here and helped to make the stories really memorable. I think a few more that were based more on domestic clues would have helped readers to guess the stories but maybe it’s me and my terrible general knowledge. A great deal of fun and mystery that I really want to read more of.

Linnnnks

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Gerald’s Party by Robert Coover

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Hellllo readers, another day another review; today’s book is a really interesting novel that I picked up when at my local library. Libraries are brilliant for us who hoard books (book bloggers I’m looking at you.) Quite often I read books and although I enjoy them, I’m not truly happy with them and I don’t feel the need to necessarily keep the books. The memories of reading the novel are enough and this was one of those books. I can’t decide whether I *liked* this book yet, but it was certainly an experience as such. My review of Gerald’s Party by Robert Coover

Robert Coover’s wicked and surreally comic novel takes place at a chilling, ribald, and absolutely fascinating party. Amid the drunken guests, a woman turns up murdered on the living room floor. Around the corpse, one of several the evening produces, Gerald’s party goes on — a chatter of voices, names, faces, overheard gags, rounds of storytelling, and a mounting curve of desire. What Coover has in store for his guests (besides an evening gone mad) is part murder mystery, part British parlor drama, and part sly and dazzling meditation on time, theater, and love.

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Gah I think I might have gone classic crazy; I’ve gone from detesting them to utterly adoring them in a matter of months. Little Women, and Ulysses are both on the cards although we’ll have to see how they go. In terms of today’s book the narrative follows the almost hallucinogenic nightmare of confusion and turmoil of the rather simply named Gerald’s Party. The book follows the absurd affair as we follow Gerald and his unnamed wife as they entertain dozens of different character. There’s Vic, Dickie, Kitty, Iris, Lloyd, Patrick, Allison and her husbands and numerous others but you would need a checklist to keep an eye on all of them.

Additionally as the blurb suggests there is the body, curled up on the floor amongst the partiers that belongs to the actress named Ros. With a gushing hole in the centre of her chest the mayhem is stirred and her jealous husband Rodger gets a little frantic. With the Police called; (Fred and Bob) and their homicide detective (Nigel Pardew) a rather odd character who immediately demands the watches of all those that have entered (later deducing that the murder happened half an hour before they arrived.) It sounds pretty normal but the writing style is anything but. Dialogues over-lap, characters movements do too. We’re in the garden, bare feet against the grass, then suddenly in the kitchen seeing Gerald’s wife cooking more and more food for the stacked table, then with his son Mark and his mother and law. It all overlaps haphazardly and confusingly. Characters melt into one.

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The thing is that ‘Gerald’s Party,’ is noticeably about time, quite obviously shown in the removal of the watches. The party seems to stretch for hours whilst the guests waver in and out of drunkenness. They’re also piles of sexual activity. Each of the couples appears to have at least one other sexual partner at said party and at one point we see Gerald wiping the bottom of a woman who has to put it nicely ‘lost control of her bounds.’ The sexual energy during this is scene is both baffling and amusing. It is riotous read that ploughs through taking the reader whether they want to or not.

I must admit I think I will one day when older I will maybe try this novel again. The effect of the writing for me becomes a little too excessive. The repetition at the beginning is exciting and intriguing but it quickly wears off. The startling acts of the characters becomes too over the top and audacious. For me it is a very evocative and fascinating book that was a bit to jolty to really carry it off and although the idea of time being non-existent at the start was exciting two hundred of so pages in I was starting to lose my stamina. I found that the book felt like a jigsaw puzzle I had to put back together again but had no chance of doing so.

Overall I will probably look at this review in a few years and feel silly but right now this book was really difficult for me to read. I found it really interesting to read and I would definitely recommend but it is honestly nothing like I have ever read before.

Linkkkkks

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books That Would Be On Your Syllabus If You Taught life 101

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*Sighs* this might be my favourite Top Ten Tuesday post so far. The actually topic is Ten books that would be on your syllabus X 101. Examples include YA, fantasy, classic literature, feminist literature, you get the idea. I’ve picked ‘life 101’ and I mean it, not in a literal way, but more of the way in which books teach you something. These books include teaching you how to pick yourself up, get over heart-break, family strains. These are the books that have given me something back.

1)       The Last Lecture by Randy Pauch

This book, honest to the word, has helped in ways that I could have never expected it to. It talks of life in such an honest, wonderfully light and subtle way, but it talks of death, love and family too. The fact that author is dying as we read along makes it feel all the more destructive but it has a calming presence. It talks of never wasting time, living every day the way we want to and to take control. I haven’t really looked back since finishing this book.

2)       Skin by Adrienne Maria Vrettos

I’ve never reviewed this book for mylittlebookblog, but I think I might soon. The book follows the main character as he comes to terms with his sister’s death from anorexia. It highlights the struggle of family life, the tough decisions we have to make, and the loss of people close to us. It’s a tale that I always dip into now and again and it’s written in a wonderfully lyrical style. My and sister and I rarely got on a couple of years back but now we’re a solid pair of besties. She’s one in a million.

3)       ‘Giovanni’s Lover by James Baldwin

When I first started this book I didn’t think I would finish it let alone make its way onto this list, but this book taught me that there are some things, we cannot take back. I went through a lot of time not caring how I made other people feel because I barely cared about myself, at all. This book taught me that our decisions, our words, our actions towards others can be detrimental to people that we love. I know it seems trivial but I needed this to speak to me and tell me I needed to stop being an ass.

4)       Eat, pray, love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Maybe a controversial choice, but this book helped to change the perception that I needed to plan out, almost exactly, how my life was going to pan out. I panicked about too many different elements in my life; relationships, career, where I was going to live etc. The mother bought this and told me to read it, get some perspective and calm the hell down. This was the starting blocks to letting go a little more and trusting me more.

5)       Remember to breathe by Simon Pont

I have written about this book many, many a time but reading this really helped to break through my wailing and make me think that the collapse of my relationship was merely a blip in the road. I’ve met someone who is miles better for me, and just gets me and this book helped to smooth over all the feelings that were raging at the time.

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6)       Factotum by Charles Bukowski

Another maybe, odd choice? I’ve always worried a lot about where I’m going to be, in terms of career and this book made me think. I know that what I’m doing right isn’t right for me, it’s not challenging me but the main character in this book is all over the place. He’s changing jobs every second, turning up late, drunk, forgetting things falling asleep. Although quite obviously isn’t the way to do it, the way that you can change your life and do something else, even something polar opposite,  made me positive that I’m never stuck. I can always go a different way.

7)       The Fault in our stars by John Green

This also wasn’t going to make the list but I thought, fuck it. It’s a book about adoration, love, belief and pain. But it’s a tale that teaches us that pain and hurt exist, but to live in the present, in the moment you might say if you’re feeling all gushy. This book is worth a bloody read.

8)       The Chocolate Run by Dorothy Koomson

I know this appears in all my lists but I couldn’t help myself once again. As I’ve come to terms with my anxiety many things I thought were ‘control-freak,’ tendencies were in fact my anxiety. I’ve struggled with losing friends in the past, holding on despite deceit, awkward silences and their brush-off manner. This book taught me it is okay to lose people, not because you want to but because it’s better, often for both of you.

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9) Pearshaped by Stella Newman 

Another tale about relationships but taken from the other side this book looks at the problems of unhealthy, manipulating and downright awful relationships. We are allowed to say when something is not up and stand up for ourselves. This books says that, loud and clear.

10)       Finally, Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carrol

I picked this because, some of the quotes features are so profound and special. I often like to ask people if they would like to be friends with Alice or be Alice, because her sudden change in perception is mind-blowingly beautiful. There are so many twisted bits of knowledge woven in and we see Alice grow as a person. It’s a classic book that means a lot to me and many readers and I’m glad it’s made the list.

I wrote a lot more here than I thought I would surprisingly but I thought this was a list where you really needed to explain why they made the list. This isn’t an extensive list (obviously) and when I read Wild, which I will do, I might have to include that as a bonus book because I think it might just change my outlook on everything but we’ll see. Another day another book.

I do love it when people comment and ask me and the choices, the reasons, and just hearing what you would add so if you have anything pop in down in the comments below. Lots of love and hugs, lizzy. X

A Short Story Collection by A J Spedding

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Helllllllo readers; another day another review and all that. Recently the blog has been feeling really just great. I think us bloggers all go through stages of love/hate with said blog but right now it feels comfortable. I’m also toying with a new feature called the eight minute review. I think it would interesting to see what I could get down, and what would the first important bits to write about. It’s just a thought because my reviews tend to drag on a little and I do read shorter ones that put the review over a lot more succinctly. Today’s review will take a little longer than eight minutes but that is definitely not a bad thing.

My life story… where’s the interest in that, I thought, until I started to put pen to paper… then I realised just how much I had done in my what seemed to be short time in this world. At 93 years of age and finally retired, some would say my life has been interesting, some would say erratic, some would say fulfilling, some would say hectic… I would say immense fun!

I pick up my life story not from the day my dear mother brought me into this world, but from my late teenage years and joining the army; a fortuitous path I took as the army instilled in me a sense of duty, a sense of honour, a sense of purpose that I continued to strive for following demob.

From there I had a few jobs; selling the Encyclopaedia Britannica, later the Junior Britannica, which then led to my own business… selling double glazing! Yes, yes, I hear all the moans and groans now, but in those days it was new… and it was a hard slog!

From my adventures in Zagreb and World War II in Germany and Singapore, doomed flying lessons and scam investments, meeting my beautiful wife and my son’s obsession with wanting a real pony, my wife’s hens, mother-in-law and a gas explosion, to clubbing a chief inspector over the head and transporting him by wheelbarrow to a neighbour’s garden, a silver teapot, a faith healer and Shep…

Yes, it may have been hectic and erratic, it may have worried those around me, but I would definitely say interesting and immense fun!

This review is going to be one of two sides I think; as the blurb suggests it documents the life of our author in little snippets and tales. We see stories before, during and after the war, quirky tales about married life and job interviews and the like. Each is told with camaraderie and wit, written well with little description but told to you as though you are listened to the story as your tucking into your second Yorkshire pudding on a balmy Sunday lunch time. They have a warm tone told with vigour and energy. In terms of length there is a lot variation; the first is a good couple of pages long but as I continued through they seemed to get shorter and shorter, some barely a paragraph in length at times. This makes it the perfect book to dip in and out of without needing to flip back and read a previous telling. Saying this I thought some of the stories could have been a little longer just to flesh them out a bit. A few longer tales would have helped the reader to empathise or understand the writer easier.

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My other two wobbles were I thought the book lacked a system or so. The stories appear to be interwoven so at the beginning I wasn’t sure if it was the same author throughout. Although I understand why it’s been done like this as it doesn’t follow a chronological order I felt it needed something to string the story as a whole together. The second thing, which is a personal thing, was that I didn’t like that so many of the stories seemed to finish with an exclamation mark. It feels a bit juvenile but I am the same, I love a good one when it fits but it felt like it was overdone.

Saying this the book is overall a tongue in cheek sweet number of tales that will honestly make you crack a smile or two. They have a lovely wholesome feeling and are written with lively and telling titles. Overall a book that didn’t make me think too hard but definitely made me smile.

The Love & Hate Tag

The Love-Hate Tag

Helllllo readers, I’ve been tagged in lots of new blogging awards recently which as always is bloody lovely. I feel like I’ve written a lot of bookish things recently and less ‘lizzy-bits,’ so thought I would take the chance to write out the love & hate tag before I forget. The idea is that you write ten things you love and ten things you hate and then you tag someone else to write theirs down and so on and so on. Simples.

Love:

  1. Reading: Might as well get this one of the waaaaay. I’m an obsessive reader to the point where it’s starting to terrify me. I’m not sure I can balance my life with how much reading I wish I could get done but, imma trying.
  1. Margaritas: Gah my cocktail of choice (or just anything with tequila.)
  1. Blueberry Yoghurt: This is a recent thing but I used to abhor blueberries, horrible little things. But trying blueberry yoghurt in the past month or so I have been an addict. Not sorry.

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  1. Early morning cuddles: If me and the boyf are staying the night with each other, we’ll set the alarm half an hour early so we can have a morning big/little spoon snuggles because we’re gross and we know it.
  1. Walking: I’ve always preferred walking but getting up in the morning is sometimes a little difficult, but recently I found out I could walk to work and save myself £60 or so pounds a month (BONUSSS.) Now I seem to walk everywhere, to the station, to friends, into town. It helps my anxiety too because public transport is killer.
  1. BURRITOS: That is all

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  1. Peppermint tea with nettles and camomile: This stuff is just, beautiful.
  1. Cinema dates with all the gang: Anything with my motely group of friends. Spoons dates, cinema trips, days in the sunshine in the park, traveling to unplanned parts of the world; all good.
  1. Weekends with my parents: I never realised how close my family are but we are a close-knit gang. I love spending the weekend helping Mumma B with the chores, popping out for lunch bits, going for a walk around Stowe. Imma home bird and I do not give a monkeys.

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  1. Driving: Although I still can’t drive I really love driving around and trying not to cause chaos on the roads. It was a little nerve wracking to start but I cannot wait to get my own little car and be whizzing around all over the place.

Hate:

  1. People that are always late: Get a watch? I mean we all check our phones enough we should know that if you say seven, twenty past isn’t going to cut it.
  1. Blackberry soothers: The smell of these things makes me choke; gross.

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  1. Jellllllllllllllllllllly: (or Jello) I think jelly is horrible, the taste and the texture of the stuff is just blergh.
  1. My inability to remember to add reviews to Amazon/Goodreads/My own review list: The organisation of my day-to-day life is pretty on pointe but this I always seem to forget and then have to add tens of them on in one go. Sorrrrry
  1. Emails that don’t answer questions: Is it me or if you email someone a number of questions no matter how carefully bullet pointed they answer the first one, maybe the second if you’re lucky but not all. What is that?

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  1. Snakes: These, terrify me. My desk-neighbour at work is always trying to trick me into looking at pictures of them on his computer. Dude, no.
  1. Going to the dentist: Years of having to go to have my braces tightened has made this an utterly terrifying experience for me, not that it wasn’t already.
  1. Not travelling: I have the travelling bug so much right now and I have no-one to go with *wails*

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  1. Constantly being covered in bruises: Doesn’t matter what I’m doing/wearing/drinking I end up with random uncomfortable bruises and they are so unattractive when they’re on your wrists/elbow/feet. How does that even happen?
  1. Running out of liquid eyeliner: That stuff is ma jam.

Ten things I love, ten things I hate, I now tag Stefani at ‘Caught Read Handed’ to complete said taggg. Enjoy!