Monday, 28 September 2015

Lessons In Eating Soup by Melanie Grabowski

'I am a refugee in an attic. Milky light spills in through a small window. I squat beside it on a footstool, keeping watch on the street below. I spy on the soldiers in stiff green uniforms, wearing rifles like handbags.'

This is another e book that I came across on Smashwords.

It gives an insight into the life of a child in Poland in the eighties during a period of martial law. It is delicately and wonderfully told. Melanie Grabowski's writing is incredibly fresh and crisp. Words fail me as to how well written this short piece is.

Beautiful   5/5

Will You Sing Fredric - Jacob Mossberg

"Will you sing, Frederic?" A gentle voice spoke as Frederic lay sleeping.

Frederic jerked and rose in his bed. He looked around, dumbfounded. The room was empty. He
must have been dreaming. So he lay down again while punching his pillow to adjust it.
As soon as he had put his head down, a gentle voice whispered once more; "Will you sing,

For my latest read I did a random search on Smashwords and found this.

It is quirky and imaginative and had me hooked from the very first line. In many ways this is right up my alley. I am a sucker for originality and anything left of centre. It is creepy with a pinch of humour.

The ending was a little confusing and vague but perhaps that is what the Author intended and maybe we are supposed to interpret the ending in our own way.


You can find out more about Jacob Mossberg on Goodreads


Sunday, 27 September 2015

Blue Moon - Oli Smith

It's 21st July 1969 and man is about to step foot on the moon. But they have company.

I found this short book online via the BBC and it's not bad. It features David Tennant's Doctor Who in a race against time to make sure the moon landing goes ahead without an unexpected alien hitch.

An enjoyable quick read.


The Snow Dragon - Vivian French

This is another children's book that I found and listened to on You Tube.

In a world on fire a boy goes in search of the last Snow Dragon.

This is a wonderful story and every child should read this. And every adult as well! It's pretty imaginative and great escapism. Children's writing at it's best.


Galaxy Four - William Emms

Following a skirmish in deep space, two alien spacecraft have crash landed on a barren planet in Galaxy Four. When the Doctor arrives, he discovers that the planet will explode in two days' time.

I grew up reading the Doctor Who Target books and so I thought it was about time I read another one for old times sake.

Written by the man who wrote the original 1965 script for the TV show, this is one of the early William Hartnell adventures and one of the missing ones at that. There is something I really like about early Doctor Who that has been lost over the years and this novelization captures it well. I think it's the fact that it's a simple, honest story without any gimmicks.

The brilliant thing about reading a Target novelization is the fact that it's all in your head. There are no bad actors, no terrible special effects and no wobbly walls. The acting and effects are as good as your mind can muster up.

This was a great read and a nostalgic one. I felt like a kid again. I'm still a Doctor Who fan after all these years.


Saturday, 26 September 2015

4 Books by Dr Seuss

I wanted to catch up a little on this year's 52 books in 52 weeks reading challenge and so I really wanted to read something quick and fun. At the back of my mind was Dr Seuss. I don't know if it's a result of being a child of the 70's in England but his books have escaped me growing up.

I found these 4 books on You Tube and listened to them one after the other.

The Cat in The Hat

The Lorax

Green Eggs and Ham


How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

I can't believe I lost out on these child as a kid, they are fun and wonderfully written.

I also enjoyed learning a bit about the author in the process. I'm a middle aged bloke with a big nose so I don't think I can really rate them, I don't think that's my job. But I'll give them all a 4/5.

I really should read some more.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

A Village Affair - Joanna Trollope

A newly wed woman moves into the house of her dreams. It's idyllic and everybody is envious of her home, her family and her lifestyle. But there's something missing.

This is totally out of my comfort zone but I decided a long time ago that I wanted to read widely if I am to become a better writer myself.

This is essentially what I would call a Woman's Weekly book. It's woman's fiction or woman's family drama or however else you would describe it. It's actually not as bad as I thought it would be. I expected it to be nauseatingly boring and humdrum. But it's quite a decent and gentle story.

It has it's fair share of one dimensional characters and many of those one dimensional characters are pretty similar and that doesn't help. But it more or less kept my interest until the end and the main story is quite good.

A decent average read but totally not what I would normally read.


Friday, 18 September 2015

Revival by Stephen King

Everything is light as a feather these days. You can buy Coca-Cola Light, Marlboro Lights and Budweiser Light; but this one is a new one. Stephen King Light.

It's not up there with my favourite King books like The Stand, Bag of Bones, Misery and The Shining but neither is it down there with my least favourites. It's nowhere near as boring as The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon or Rose Madder or the house brick that was Under The Dome.

But it is Stephen King Light. It's not that scary. It's not that gripping. It lacks that terrifying but funny quirkiness that I love about King. But having said that it is a slow burner and a decent read. There are only two real scary bits in this book and the best one is found in the penultimate chapter. And it's a good one. Stephen King at his best. It's a pity the rest of the book couldn't have been so scary!

This is a real slow burner and if you stick with it, it's an average but decent read. Just not his best.


Wednesday, 9 September 2015

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

A young woman agrees to become a governess for two young children and soon realises that all is not what it seems in more ways than one.

If you can get past the very wordy, antiquated language of this one it's a really good story.

It's not the easiest book to read but I've found that's a common denominator with most books written and published in the 1800's. It comes with the territory. But as far as the story is concerned it's pretty creepy and disturbing. It's not exactly an edge of the seat page turner but it does suck you in all the way to the end.

I think the great strength of 'The Turn Of the Screw' is it's ambiguity. It leaves you guessing and speculating all the way through and once you read the last page the story lingers, and you are left wondering. A few readers would probably find this annoying. I don't. I'm going to be thinking about this book for a while, the reader is left filling in the blanks and that's more than fine with me..

I'd much prefer that kind of an ending to one of those endings that wraps everything up in a pretty little bow.

For me this was a bit like John Habberton's 'Helen's Babies' mixed together with a good chunk of Daphne du Maurier's 'Rebecca' if you add in a few creepy ghosts.

It wasn't the easiest book to read but it's worth a good 3.5 out of 5.

Friday, 4 September 2015

Terrifying Tales by Edgar Allan Poe

I'll start off by saying that none of these tales are very terrifying at all. Maybe they were terrifying in the 1800's when they were written or if you happen to find yourself reading them inside a big old creepy house in the middle of nowhere, with all the lights out. But it's essentially a decent collection of short stories.

It's hard going at times because it was written so long ago and people talked differently and wrote differently then to what we are used to. But if you can get past that it's a nice collection. My favourite was the very creepy 'The Pit and The Pendulum',  followed by 'The Masque of the Red Death' and 'The Murders in The Rue Morgue.' The lowest point came with the nauseatingly boring 'The Purloined Letter.'

A decent read and I also enjoyed learning about Edgar Allan Poe. An Author I didn't know a hell of a lot about until I came across this collection. His story is as fascinating as his written works.