H is for – #AtoZChallenge

hoard

[hawrd, hohrd]
noun

1.

a supply or accumulation that is hidden or carefully guarded for preservation, future use, etc.:

a vast hoard of silver.
verb (used with object)

2.

to accumulate for preservation, future use, etc., in a hidden or carefully guarded place:

to hoard food during a shortage.
verb (used without object)

3.

to accumulate money, food, or the like, in a hidden or carefully guarded place for preservation, future use, etc.
Starting the timer now…
It is strange when you read a definition yet the most commonly thought of use of the word is not included, once upon a time to hoard things was seen as a positive but these days because of certain types of Tv programmes we thing of hoarding in negative terms, you think of houses piled with newspapers, a labyrinth of junk to squeeze between. I guess the question that I am pondering is where is the line between positive and negative hoarding?
My dad has shed in the garden full of what my mother classes as junk, broken electronics, motor parts, things he intended fixing or things he thought would come in useful, my son thinks it is a treasure trove, he wants to be an engineer at the minute (palaeontologist has been replaced at the top of his career choices for now) so he sees a hoard of treasures he could create fantastical inventions from. On the other hand my mum is a crafter, she has reams of paper, card, jars of glitter, paints and a million other items for creating cards, doing cross stitch, all of which my dad thinks are junk and take up too much space in the house. In my house I have too much stuff for the size of my house, I know this, but the majority of what is packed in boxes were gifts, my collection of elephants packed away so the cats, and, let’s just say, people that blamed the cats, could not damage any more of them, my Pop Funko’s which I love but are patiently waiting for a bigger house with an office where they can live and the biggest hoard, books!
I know there are books I should probably get rid of, I have so many still to read that re-reading others makes no sense yet I still do it, I do not just keep sets by my favourite authors, I pretty much keep all the books I buy, the only I clear out are kids books as they become to babyish for them though again classics such as the Enid Blyton Magic Faraway Tree books remain. My ex frequently threatened a trip to a car boot sale with my books but then to be honest he frequently saw things by their monetary value rather than the pleasure they could give, even checking to see if the oil paintings I possessed were worth anything, the are of course worth only what someone would pay for them the Ebay going rate for the is between £50 – 200 to me they are priceless they are not just paintings they are the story behind their acquisition, books are the same, they are not the paper upon which they are printed, they are the worlds created within the cover.
Am I a book hoarder? Maybe! Am I a collector of stories, a traveller to a thousand lands? Hell yeah!
The timer has gone so tell me what could you be accused of hoarding?

Lazy Sunday #37

I should have posted this yesterday but there was sun and I got distracted, also no vlog as I forgot to pick up batteries at the supermarket on Saturday

No coffee today as it is already lunch time but the weather has been so lovely here this weekend that I spent yesterday in the garden and this morning doing laundry.  I love being able put the washing out on the line rather than having it strewn over radiators and clothes horses around the house. Of course this does mean I have got even further behind with my A – Z but hopefully if I do two posts a day I will be caught up by this time next week.  I am still waiting for that bloody giraffe to give birth, seriously I have reached the conclusion that part of the reason they are becoming endangered in the wild is that this last couple of months of pregnancy makes them so vulnerable to predators, every time she goes to lie down I worry her slender legs will snap.

Any way let’s get on with this weeks blog shares…

  1. First up I am sharing a blog which has been created on WP to allow readers to keep track and find A – Z posts on various blogs I have already added a couple of blogs to my reading list during this A – Z but hope to find time to visit a few more https://atozchallenge.wordpress.com/
  2.  Next up something a little different, I have mixed feelings about books being re-appropriated for other things, but if it is an book that has already fallen to pieces that is okay, in this case the words are blacked out to leave a few that create a poem, which I believe I have featured before, however this goes one step further adding colour and art work https://cbwentworth.wordpress.com/2017/03/29/fire-3/
  3. Next up tickets are on sale for the Annual bloggers bash, I had really hoped to be able to get there this year however at the minute it is looking doubtful but hey it’s annual so if I don’t I will be sure to make sure I get there next years http://sachablack.co.uk/2017/04/06/bloggersbash-tickets-selling-fast-buy-yours-now-bloggersbash/
  4. I confess I am also a big fan of this show or I was until this year, I have to be honest I did not like the way with the move to ITV they have stopped turning round and offering constructive criticism, the fact they are left there maybe not understanding why they were considered not good enough seems a little cruel to me, especially in the later stages where judges may already have full teams  http://www.tmupchurch.com/2017/04/01/on-watching-the-voice-uk/
  5. Finally a quandary my friend finds herself in, if anyone has any idea of a way to fix this or a way the solved the problem am sure she would be thrilled to hear https://hnsieverding.wordpress.com/2017/04/07/prequel-or-book-1/

Book Review – Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination By Helen Fielding

I think this is actually an interesting contrast to my last book review…

As always we begin with the Goodreads blurb…

At the close of the last millennium, Helen Fielding debuted the irrepressible (and blockbuster-bestselling) Bridget Jones. Now, Fielding gives us a sensational new heroine for a new era…Move over 007, a stunning, sexy-and decidedly female-new player has entered the world of international espionage. Her name is Olivia Joules (that’s “J.O.U.L.E.S. the unit of kinetic energy”) and she’s ready to take America by storm with charm, style, and her infamous Overactive Imagination.

How could a girl not be drawn to the alluring, powerful Pierre Ferramo-he of the hooded eyes, impeccable taste, unimaginable wealth, exotic international homes, and dubious French accent? Could Ferramo really be a major terrorist bent on the Western world’s destruction, hiding behind a smokescreen of fine wines, yachts, and actresses slash models? Or is it all just a product of Olivia Joules’s overactive imagination?

Join Olivia in her heart-stopping, hilarious, nerve-frazzling quest from hip hotel to eco-lodge to underwater cave, by light aircraft, speedboat, helicopter, and horse, in this witty, contemporary, and utterly unputdownable novel deluxe.

It may seen ironic that the last book I reviewed I complained about the plot being too far fetched but while the other die so within the thriller genre here in Rom-Com/Chick-Lit it works perfectly, the author mocks the very absurdity of the plots within the actual title, but here mixed with comedy it works brilliantly. The Bridget Jones author manages to create another cast of characters that grab the imagination though I have to say the lesser characters are less rounded than in the first Bridget Jones book, however it is not really an issue, as unlike those others, these are not likely to feature again. I did really enjoy this book, it is fun and an easy read which provides perfect escapism, it is definitely the perfect holiday read, there is a but though!

I was happily engrossed in this book until I noticed that I was running out of pages and seemed a long way from the story being resolved. The action in the last section of the book seems a little hurried and lacking in the detail and atmosphere building of the earlier sections, it is almost as if she was busy writing a great book and then it was pointed out she was reaching her word quota and had to finish it off quickly. I am not sure if the answer would have been to leave the last section for a next book and build up the previous action to the climax of this one or to just have risked making this one longer, I certainly would be happy to see Olivia have more adventures but only the author knows what her intentions are in that regard.

So to scores up until that last bit this would have had the perfect score but because I felt the last bit was on diet rations it gets 4.5 starts out of 5.

Book Review – Call After Midnight By Tess Gerritsen

This book is a stand alone novel and not part of the Rizzoli & Isles series

As always let’s begin with the Goodreads blurb…

THEY’D SAID HER HUSBAND WAS DEAD … SO WHY WAS SHE SURE HE WAS STILL ALIVE?

A ringing phone in the middle of the night shakes newlywed Sarah Fontaine awake. Expecting her husband’s call from London she hears instead an unfamiliar voice. Nick O’Hara from the US State Department is calling with devastating news: Geoffrey Fontaine, Sarah’s husband of two months, died in a hotel fire … in Berlin.

Convinced her husband is still alive, Sarah forces a confrontation with Nick that finds them crisscrossing Europe on a desperate search for Geoffrey. Trying to stay one heartbeat ahead of a dangerous killer, they become quarry in the clandestine world of international espionage, risking everything for answers that may prove fatal.

When you love a series by someone you can find their stand alone novels lacking, however I have read a couple of others which I had really enjoyed so I was optimistic about this one.  Sadly for me this book was a bit of a flop, the plot is a little implausible, well more than a little to be honest, but more than that the characters themselves just do not ring true.  Had it remained steadfastly a thriller, spy drama it might have been more engaging but the sub plot of a romance between the two main characters just makes it so hard to believe. We are asked to believe that the grieving widow, whose reaction to her husbands summons is to jump straight on a plane can fall in love with another man within a few weeks. I accept her husband is not who he pretends to be, nor does it turn out they had the happy marriage she thought they had but the reallocation of affections is too swift without the soul searching one would expect.

The pacing is fast and furious, in places a little too fast as you barely get time to get a real feel for places and situations before we are torn away to the next, I do love Tess Gerritsons books but for me this one just did not grab me the way her others have,

So time for a score and I hate having to give this score but I have to be fair so I award it 3.5 stars out of 5.

Book Review – Telling Tales By Alan Bennett

I have to say I challenge anyone who has heard his voice not to read this and hear him talking to you…

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As usual begin with the Goodreads blurb…

Ten childhood snapshots from the master of the monologue Alan Bennett recalls his childhood in a sequence of talks that are funny, touching and told in his unique style. Hampered, as he sees it, by a family that never manages to be quite like other families he recounts his early years in Leeds a place where one learned early on the quite useful lesson that life is generally something that happens elsewhere: there is hiking every Sunday, trips into town and teas in cafes. Its an ordinary childhood, Bennetts father a butcher, his mother a reader of womens magazines who dreams of coffee mornings and cocktail parties and life down south. He re-lives family crises, early pieties and the lost tradition of musical evenings round the piano, all these tales told with that wry observation and ironic understatement that has earned Alan Bennett a place in the forefront of contemporary writing.

Even though his childhood in Leeds took place decades before my own I can still relate to much of what he was saying, I grew up on the outskirts of Leeds in a mining village and to be honest it always felt like you went back a decade or two from the city centre. But the truth is that even for those who grew up in other areas there will be elements from their own childhood they recognise, after all we all have those certain characters in our childhood that make their mark one way or another. Though it is written about a specific area the language is not dialectically difficult, and as I said in the opening if you have heard Alan Bennett’s voice it is impossible to read this without your head creating the illusion of him narrating it to you.  It is also interesting reading the introduction the understand more about his reasons for choosing to use this medium to relate his personal stories. It is a slim book and can be read in one night and makes a refreshing change to some of the ‘celebrity’ memoirs that are three hundred volumes of drivel., it is a testament to Bennett’s genius that he can select out a few memories that give you such an in-depth understanding into his childhood without needing a whole book.

And for the score, well it has to be five out of five stars.

Gold star

Lazy Sunday #32

Well thankfully the threatened snow has not shown it’s face here, it is bad enough that it is freezing, and I would not mind snow so much if it was the lovely white fluffy stuff you see on postcards but here in Huddersfield it almost seems to fall as slush and just gets you cold, wet and dirty. Today I am hoping to get a few blog posts under my belt, and get some writing done so you will forgive me for keeping the chatty part of the post brief, plus I am nearly at the bottom of my mocha and need to go make another coffee, so without further ado…

  1. I don’t know if it because I am not good enough or simply I do not have a big enough readership to have had to worry about these but in this post the lovely Stephanie Hurt talks about the sort of scam that could very well catch a lot of new authors out, after all we all want that big break https://stephanie-hurt.com/2017/02/09/writer-beware/
  2. If you are in the UK you know over the last couple of weeks there has been a huge panic due to the unusual weather in Spain and the effect that has had on the lettuce marker, however hopefully these photos will show it should be short lived before normal service is resumed, I also love the fact that for Irene it is Almond trees that signify spring whereas as for my it is the cherry blossom but both are very similar to look at https://irenedesign2011.com/2017/02/10/spring-is-arrived-in-spain-10-photos/
  3. I love doing crafty things I keep a journal though I realised lately I have fallen into a habit of just scrawling a few lines and decorating only with a couple of bought stickers so I need to up my game, though I don’t crochet I have been known to knit and cross stitch, and I have re-appropriated the odd bit of furniture, infact I have a large box in which I store jewellery which was once a bathroom cabinet before I decoupaged it so you should understand why I loved this post https://quotidiandose.wordpress.com/2017/02/10/crafty-author-mfrwauthor/
  4. Next up is a book review, and though I am intrigued by the actual book it is more the content of the review and that question of how much to reveal in a review. I have sat in tears as I read the memoir of a child abused by a parent, or someone who has survived terrible assaults and I think why didn’t someone warn me I would need tissues but then I think if they had would it have changed my interpretation of the book, would preparing me for the worst somehow numb me to it, maybe in comments yuo can answer when the subject is real and emotive do you want foreknowledge? https://booksandbowelmovements.com/2017/02/11/nobody-warned-me/
  5. On Tuesday Valentine’s day once again raises it’s head with a shower of rose petals and discarded chocolate wrappers, and I am still single so no romantic meals for me but I have to say I have always been someone who can actually cope quite well being single. I would rather be alone than in the wrong relationship, I have never felt I needed someone else to complete me, okay there might be someone out there, this mythical ‘the one’ who might change my mind but I am a firm believer that people come in and out of our lives for different reasons at different times, and if you like yourself the times inbetween are just as awesome as those involving others, don’t get me wrong I miss the physical affection occasionally but not enough to settle for just anyone so I always find Sandra’s single life posts interesting https://quirkybooks.wordpress.com/2017/02/04/7-steps-to-being-successfully-single-and-happy-being-single-icbsd/

That’s it for today as my daughter keeps distracting me with silly messages so I am going to go get ‘stuff’ done lol have a good week all of you and remember being alone on Valentines does not mean you are not loved or worthy of love xxxx

Book Review – The Children Of Witches By Sherri Smith

I picked this book up in a charity box and confess it was the title that grabbed my attention…

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As always let’s begin with the Goodreads blurb…

When rumours of witchcraft sweep through the town, Anna’s son, Manfred, who does not communicate like other children, is seized by those who use him to pursue their own agenda. As innocent townsfolk are accused, a climate of fear prevails. No one is safe – and Manfred is at the heart of the terror.

I confess I did not really pay much attention to the blurb when I picked the book up, I had just done my shopping after finishing the day job and was having a flick through a trolley full of books we had, donations for which went to our local charity, I spotted it thought it looked interesting and grabbed it, throwing my donation into the tub. The actual blurb on the book is longer than the Goodreads one and plays a lot more on the witchcraft aspects of the story. I was really looking forward to it and it has some really good point it also has faults though.

The story is based on real events and at times I did question if it would have been better as a factual examination of the events or as taking it further and going for pure fiction. The story in some ways is reminiscent of the Salem witch trial, the way that it is the children who accuse and that they are encouraged to greater and greater accusations, the way the accusations are made and the way the villagers react to them is intriguing, as is the initial introduction of the Church into the mix however for me this was where the story became a little sluggish. There seemed, and maybe it is because I am not religious myself to be too much of the church at times and not enough of the family, I really cannot put my finger on what exactly the problem was because I understand with the plot where it was going but at times getting there felt like wading through treacle in wellies, which is a shame because the conclusion of the aspect of the story was really good. I was not really that taken by they end of the story overall, but to be fair because of the characters involved, even without having a real story it related to I do not think this was ever going to be a happily ever after story, I would like to have had more about the other characters on the periphery and how their lives were effected by the conclusion of the story. Do not get me wrong I enjoyed it and this is a good book in many ways but I do think it could have been an amazing book if it had explored the broader consequences rather than such a small character focus group.

So a score, I debated this but am going to go for three and a half stars out of five.

gold-stars-3-5

Lazy Sunday #31

Well it has once again been a bit of a lazy week though in some respects I have been making strides forward in the back ground, first let me invite you to join me in my very first Facebook page take over. Wednesday evening I will be taking over the Hourglass Events Leeds 2018 page which you can find here, I shall be hosting there live from 9pm GMT and doing a give away or two, it is a group so you will need to join in advance to be sure not to miss out but given the fact there are numerous awesome authors on there trust me it is worth it, plus you might just get the chance to grab offers from others between now and the event. I will be doing another next month as well on the Darker Side page and will provide more details nearer the time.

So you will have already seen my Resolutions post this morning so this afternoon lets settle down with a coffee and read a few post dinner blogs…

  1. The first post I am sharing is about a love of mine I can no longer indulge in and that is wearing heels! This form of footwear has become rather contentious, okay they are not really good for your foot but they do look good, and the feminists argue we should not be forced to wear them , which I totally agree with but neither should we be judged for wanting to, I love a nice pair of heels, they look pretty and make me feel even more fabulous, and it is never for someone else I have worn them (well okay there may have been the odd occasion but lets not go there lol) but for how they make me feel. I cannot wear them at the minute a combination of weight and my bad back but if I could I would probably want all the pairs featured but especially the red boots https://valentinaexpressions.com/2017/02/04/feet-in-short-trunks-valentina-cirasola-designer/
  2. The second blog I want to share today is one I have shared before because of their art, today I am sharing it because I love the fact they have been gracious enough to share a little glimpse into their life and I have to say I can imagine sitting there with notebook in hand and writing the most glorious poetry, some vistas are just inspirational https://paintdigi.com/2017/02/04/photos-of-my-country-2/
  3. I am a huge Instagram fan, though with me phone it is a nightmare keeping up with posts, I tend to try to catch up via the computer at least once a day so that I can return some of the likes from friends on posts my phone might decide I don’t need to see, but the other thing I enjoy is seeing the way different types of creative art is shared, be it music, art, or poetry, so I loved this post which shares some of the poetry accounts they have come across  https://christinastrigas.com/2017/02/03/top-10-instagram-poets-i-cant-stop-reading-in-february-2017/
  4. Next up is a post from a lovely lady who also happens to be an amazing poet and uses Instagram herself to share her words, this post however is about her camera and is something I relate to, I too find lately I do not take my big camera out as much, relying instead on the camera on my phone and sometimes am gutted at the images I have missed https://lucywilliamspoetry.wordpress.com/2017/02/04/lucys-diary-04022017/
  5. The final one today is a writing post, the post initially caught my attention because of the idea of music transporting us but then as I read on I found so much of this post resonated with me that I wanted to share it here https://amandamblake.wordpress.com/2017/02/04/anywhere-but-here/

Book Review – Doctor Who; Time Lord Fairy Tales By Justin Richards

I did wonder if I had already done this one but apparently not…

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Goodreads says…

WE ARE ALL STORIES, IN THE END…

Fifteen tales of ancient wonder and mystery, passed down through generations of Time Lords.

Dark, beautiful and twisted, these stories are filled with nightmarish terrors and heroic triumphs, from across all of time and space.

There are times when you get incredibly excited about a book and for me this was one of them, I thought it would be a fun read and was looking forward to some unique fairy stories, however what you actually get is mainly a twist on traditional fairy tales. Now don’t get me wrong they are well written, entertaining and I thoroughly enjoyed the book, I think the problem is it was not quite what I expected. I would love them to have taken things further and made the tales more alien. I think one issue is also who the book is aimed at, while I enjoyed it I am not so sure the monster would have understood everything in it, Doctor Who is a family show and although this is certainly not an adult book it is certainly aimed at older readers. I think my favourite story was Cinderella and the Magic Box, and one other good aspect of this book is it does feature a mix of new and classic Doctors.

So it needs a score and I am going to give it 4 out of 5 stars, good but not quite great.

4stars

269 Days To Darker

I am thrilled to announce that it became official this week that The Darker Side of Fiction will be an annual event to be held in Peterborough. While there is of course no guarantee I will be invited back each year I can see me attending on a regular basis even if only as a guest, I love the fact Hourglass not only were willing to take a chance on me personally but that they work tirelessly to support and promote independent authors and give them chances they would struggle to achieve on their own.

I have done small signing event in my friends shop, I have done an on-line book launch but proper signing events are very hard to organise, I believe it is possible to arrange to do them in your local Waterstones but like everything it costs, and of course so does this but here is the big difference. You publish your first couple of books but are still struggling to make your voice heard and get your books read, all those people that promised reviews somehow never quite got round for it so you and trapped in the undercurrent of Amazon’s logistics, so how do you make you voice hear, get your work seen, well in steps an angel or in this case a couple of angels.

Hourglass events is run by Jo and Rachel, and they decided to combine their events business with a love of reading and create first the Leeds event then the Darker event, this gives smaller authors like myself the chance to sign alongside others with established followings, it provides the possibility of reaching a wider audience, that someone looking at the next stall might pick up your book and decide it looks interesting and worth taking a chance on. Kindle give-aways are great for getting you book onto peoples kindles what they can’t do is get that person to actually read it and post a review if they enjoy it, someone picking up a print version and investing their own money is more likely to at least read it, the review well that can come down to numerous other factors but you do stand a higher chance if they loved it.

I would really encourage anyone who gets the chance to go along to one of these book signing events, they are a fairly cheap way to pass a few hours, and even if you don’t by a stack of books you get the chance to meet new authors, get their cards and follow them on social media so you can find out more about them and maybe buy the books at a later date, but more than anything give them the support to continue following their dreams in an industry where so often you can be left feeling like you have banged your head against a million walls.