I’m addicted to free crime thrillers.

I got picky with my reading and decided to download another free crime fiction book onto my Kindle. IT FELT like the right thing to do. The problem with being a reader is that you’re always looking for the next thing to dig your teeth into. I struggle after reading one genre to skip to another. There’s something comforting about sticking your finger into another plum pie (so to speak.) That sounded rude. I’ll move on- THIS is the last free crime thriller I download*.

Violence in the Blood by Mark Newman

Blurb

Crime Lord Malkie Thompson’s spent 25 years killing, maiming and blackmailing his way to the top. He’s got everything he ever wanted, except his health. The knives are out. His rivals sense blood. Their time is now. But Thompson’s not going down without a fight.

Violence in the Blood documents Thompson’s rise to power from the backstreets of Glasgow to the industrial heartland of the Midlands.

Join the rampage as Malkie and his crew blaze a trail of mayhem and destruction north and south of the border.

My Review

Why did I download this? I like the idea of a tale about a criminal gang. Question is, did I enjoy it?

Yes, yes I did. Writing about criminal gangs can become bogged down. There are often a lot of things to fit and bob in. Detail is important to immerse the reader in the tale. This worked well. The pace is frantic and hectic. It moves with pace, and all the writing is spritely if stomach churning. The rival mobsters feel real and threatening. They are violent, use any method possible (baseball bat anyone?) and are brought vividly to life.

Malkie is told in brilliant technicolor. He’s a menace, a monster and a brilliant character creation. I felt both sorry for him at times and appalled. The ability of the author to play with the reader’s emotions despite the questionable behavior of the main character shows a lot of skill.

But, there are problems. The writing is very good at describing police procedures and the like and the torture scenes are very graphic. There’s a lot of blood, guts and gore. A lot of death too. But, because the book is so short, you don’t really care for the characters because we barely know them. Other than Malkie everyone is a whitewash of a character. A couple of minor details poke through but other than that, very little character distinction.

There are plots and subplots which I enjoyed but this book felt like a spoiler to the big event. This happens a lot with free books. They tend to have a killer starting read that gets the reader involved which then spans into a series of 15 books. This one just didn’t have quite enough to encourage me to continue with the series.

Final Thoughts

Gritty gang warfare is a great way to describe this book, but I wanted double the content. Probably double the gore too.

* For now.

Violence in the Blood by Mark Newman

Violence in the Blood by Mark Newman

 

 

 

In horrible news my old Kindle died. 

I went to charge it up and it took 6.5 hours to charge to 30%. Thinking it was being glitchy, I left it overnight. 12 hours later it was still at 30%. Ergh. Oddly, a twitter conversation later, I found out that the new(ish) Amazon Fire 7 inch was selling for £35. So I bought another, using vouchers from leaving my old job, and then managed to get freeeee Amazon Prime delivery. My new Kindle all in all cost me £5. Bang on. Plus it’s tangerine in colour. Gah it’s gorgeous. Is it worth investing in? Read on.

Specifications

Beautiful 7″ IPS display (171 ppi / 1024 x 600). Available in four colours.

Fast 1.3 GHz quad-core processor and rear- and front-facing cameras.

Amazon Underground: All-new, one-of-a-kind app store experience where thousands of apps, games, books etc. 

Up to 7 hours of reading, surfing the web on Wi-Fi, watching video and listening to music

Stay connected with fast web browsing, e-mail and calendar support

115 x 191 x 10.6 mm

313g

First Thoughts

I love how thick and chunky this Fire tablet feels. It has a weight, is sturdy and is covered in a textured (tangerine) plastic. Weighing 313g it feels weighty in my hand. Apparently it’s twice as durable as a Apple iPad Air 2. I believe that, but it is a lot, (lot) smaller in size.

Is it my eyes?

The 7in screen isn’t HD. The resolution is only 1024 x 600 pixels, so it can be a little blurry. But, the screen is pretty bright, and although the blacks are a little grey and it’s not as crisp as an Ipad it’s a 6th of the price. Plus for reading (which I’m mainly using it for) it’s brilliant.

Lag?

I’ve played numerous games on my new fire and I really love it. Although a little slow sometimes to load, all the games I’ve played, have been lag-free. SimCityBuilder (definitely worth a download) played seamlessly and Doodle Jump also. Switching between apps can be sluggish but not frustrating.

Battery lasts around 5 hours when just watching Video playback with maximum brightness. Obviously will last longer when dimmed. Charging takes a while but I just charge it overnight. (No biggie.)

Shall we go shopping?

Yes you only have access to the Amazon store but all main apps are available including video streaming services (I.e Netfix.) The camera is poor as like my old Kindle. Don’t bother downloading camera editing software use your phone instead. (I have an Iphone 5S and it is four times as good – maybe.)

Final Thoughts

Definitely worth buying. It’s not an incredible tablet and to be honest that’s not why I purchased it. The screen resolution isn’t incredibly high and moving between apps can be clunky but for reading it’s fantastic. Yes the battery isn’t crazy strong and yes it might be a little chunky (which I really like.) But I love this not only for the price but for  the colour. Oh my life – the tangerine colour is lit.

(+ it’s so good to photograph.)

 

Hello,

Apologies for the silence last Monday (and yesterday.) I tend to leave these posts to write on Sunday but I was typically tired. Typically I have a love/hate relationship with Sunday’s. I know my body needs to rest by Sunday but if I lie around all day I have a bit of an existential crisis about not doing enough. If I run around all day Monday feels almost impossible. 1st world problems. But, hello I’m back. Here’s what happened last week.

Sunday Spring Clean

I did a Spring Clean on Sunday. First, I gutted the kitchen and cleaned it top to bottom. I took out all the trash from the bookcase then minimalised the stuff in our ‘walk in wardrobe.’ It’s basically a small space where the roof dips. T took on the bathroom and the house feels, fabby. Both of us are messy by trait but it feels so much better when it’s clear. Next I want to do a little more research into minimalism. But, all good for now.

Logan

T and I went to see Logan. It was fantastic, beautiful, excellent. I can’t put into words how much it moved me. I have been a big watcher of the X-men/Wolverine films and this one, might have been my favourite. Perfection.

Batchwood and good friends

I also went to St Albans to visit three wonderful friends. We all met through University and have kept visits up over the years. We wanted to celebrate St Paddy’s and that we bloody well did. Drinks, dancing and 90’s music. Staying up till 4am the hangover was real but it felt amazing. Not the hangover ^ seeing those gals. #babes.

Time with T

I’m going to get a little soppy again which is silly.

T and I had a rough week. You know those weeks where you set each off every couple of hours. Sunday it felt like we got whatever was going on out of our system. We spend the day cleaning/tidying and cooking and then exploring Greenwich and Pokemon hunting. (YES I KNOW.) We came home, watched The Great British Painting Challenge and then went on a 9.30pm trip to Sainsbury’s to buy chocolate pudding and beer. T was dressed like a homeless person, I was dressed in leggings and a My Little Pony Jumper. We chased each other down the street, giggling, making stupid voices and just being us. Because being US is best. He is everything.

Instagram

I’ve lost 8 followers this week and I only have 300 so that’s great. I’m blaming the haggis image I posted. (Recipe to come soon.)

 

Hope you have a wonderful week

“A man once said. “A bad day in London is still better than a good day anywhere else.” I might have to agree. Since I moved to London, books that revolve around the city have been cropping up on my radar more. One I’ve been dipping in and out of, not ‘reading’ in giant hunks, but one I’ve enjoyed all the same. Walk the Lines by Mark Mason.

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Blurb

The only way to truly discover a city, they say, is on foot. Taking this to extremes, Mark Mason sets out to walk the entire length of the London Underground, passing every station on the way.

In a story packed with historical trivia, personal musings and eavesdropped conversations, Mark learns how to get the best gossip in the City. Where to find a pint at 7am, and why the Bank of England won’t let you join the M11 northbound at Junction 5. He has an East End cup of tea with the Krays’ official biographer, discovers what cabbies mean by ‘on the cotton’, and meets the Archers star who was the voice of ‘Mind the Gap’.

Over the course of several hundred miles, Mark contemplates London’s contradictions as well as its charms. He gains insights into our fascination with maps and sees how walking changes our view of the world. Above all, in this love letter to a complicated friend, he celebrates the sights, sounds and soul of the greatest city on earth.

My review

As the blurb suggests the book follows Mason who has lived in around London and like many Londoner’s (I assume) has become interested in the ever changing map of the Underground. Wandering around where he lives, he travels up a side-street he hasn’t before and realizes if he continues he’ll create a triangle back to his house – a realization he hasn’t made before. He decides to walk the entirety of each length of the line in a type of homage to the city. Line by line he beings to walk these tube lines and tells us a lot about the city I bloody adore.

I just want to put in a little aside here. Mason only walks 11 of the London Underground Lines refusing to walk the Overground Line and the DLR. (I find this a little unfair – definitely still part of London.) Mason wanders the line giving snippets of local history  that might one day help on a pub quiz. He is a really entertaining narrator (especially in the beginning of the book) and I found myself desperate to undertake the walks myself especially the Circle Line Pub Crawl.

I haven’t finished this book and it’s why I’m also yet to finish a Bill Bryson book. The beginning of the book is really interesting. It’s new ground, it’s a non-fiction book written in a fiction style. As you can imagine we do end up walking through endless housing estates. As the lines cross we do get quite a bit of repetition.

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The first couple of stations take up a couple of chapters. But as we go further stations take up a quarter of this. I think a big selling point to this (unless on the DLR) is you get to pick out your station. Many don’t get the coverage unless they’re big names (ie Wimbledon or Morden.) The pub crawl is fun but it does feel as though Mason realized that he needed to make it fun. Following this certain walks are done at night (which does stop the author seeing the highlights.)

I think a main problem is that it doesn’t really reference people. It mainly references buildings and so it lacks a little passion.

So, what did I think. I really enjoyed dipping in and out of this book. Read one tube line, put the book down for a bit, read another tube line. It’s not a book I think I could physically read in one go because it’s too heavy. It’s a perfect gift for a new Londoner or a walker who might be tempted to walk the 11 lines. For me a great dip in and out but not quite there.

Amazon Goodreads Twitter 

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Looks a little different doesn’t it – I have an update post coming on updating my little book blog and it’s not PERFECT yet but I’m getting there. It’s a Saturday and I’m currently cosy in bed. I was supposed to go the gym but I didn’t quite make it. Instead I’m (eventually) going to get up and make my way to eat pancakes and explore the Tate Modern, but for now here’s an author interview, because I’m that nice.

Author Interview

If you were to describe your book in three sentences what would you say? (They can be long sentences!)

In three sentences: A woman who made sacrifices for her family, refuses to believe that she’ll ever be the recipient of the love she has seen her friends experience. Her childhood crush has to fight through her disbelief to convince her that the life she always wanted is possible.

A Picture Perfect Romance (Ashbrook, Montana Book 5) by [Maywether, Merri]What was the most important thing you learnt during writing this book? How did you feel when the book was completed?

When the book was finished this book I was sad. I fell in love with this group of characters. I learned through Genevieve how to recognize the various ways people help me with the day to day struggles we have in life.

Is there anything in the book you wish you had changed now that it’s out there in the world – (I love this question!)

I wish I brought Aunt Tee from the first and third books into the story. She is the voice of wisdom for the family. But then again that may have shortened the story .

Could you give us an insight into your writing process?

When I write a book I usually dream the beginning and the end. I write an outline for the middle, but the characters always have different ideas–which makes the writing fun.

Who’s your favourite character and why?

My favorite character in this book is Genevieve. I admire her strength and what she is willing to do for her family.

Is there a message in your novel that you wanted your readers to grasp?

The message I want my readers to remember is there is more to love encompasses all the virtues.

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Readers can find me at www.merrimaywether.com