Sunday, 20 July 2014

Library Loot - Summer Edition

As you know from previous mentions in posts I am not buying or receiving books at the moment.  However, as a member of a book group sometimes it is necessary for me to source a book that I don't have on my TBR.  My usual means is the local library and once more, they have come up trumps with both books in stock.  Book group takes a break during August and having two winning votes we decided to read and review both of them for our meet in September.

Library Books

The Cuckoo's Calling - Robert Galbraith

Alys Always - Harriet Lane

What books came into your life this weekend?

Friday, 18 July 2014

Poetry Corner #8

Perhaps this poem is fitting with the 100 year anniversary of WW1.  I have chosen In Flanders Fields by John McCrae (30 November 1872 – 28 January 1918).

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields. 

John McCrae

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Wondrous Words Wednesday

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where you can share new words that you have encountered or spotlight words you love.  This weekly meme is hosted by BermudaOnion's Weblog.  If you would like to join then please hop over (see link above) and add your URL to the Linky.

It has been a while since I have been able to participate in this weekly meme.  I have been reading The Impressionist by Hari Kunzru and I have found quite a lot of words but I have chosen a few to share this week.

miscegenation - noun. Interbreeding of races, especially whites and non-whites.
"She expounds on the theme of miscegenation and all its terrible consequences."

marcelled - verb. To give a marcel wave to hair
"Slicked, marcelled, shingled and pomaded."

millenarian - adjective. Relating to or believing in Christian millenarianism.
"The atmosphere is fevered, millenarian."

palimpsest - noun. 1a manuscript or piece of writing material on which later writing has been superimposed on effaced earlier writing.
2. something reused or altered but still bearing visible traces of its earlier form.

"Oxford had become a palimpsest."

How was your week in words?

Friday, 11 July 2014

Poetry Corner #7

This week I am going to share another poem by Carol Ann Duffy from her collection, The World's Wife.
Mrs Faust
First things first -
I married Faust.
We met as students,
shacked up, split up,
made up, hitched up,
got a mortgage on a house,
flourished academically,
BA. MA. Ph.D. No kids.
Two towelled bathrobes. Hers. His.

We worked. We saved.
We moved again.
Fast cars. A boat with sails.
A second home in Wales.
The latest toys – computers,
mobile phones. Prospered.
Moved again. Faust’s face
was clever, greedy, slightly mad.
I was as bad.

I grew to love lifestyle,
not the life.
He grew to love the kudos,
not the wife.
He went to whores.
I felt, not jealousy,
but the chronic irritation.
I went to yoga, t’ai chi,
Feng Shui, therapy, colonic irrigation.

And Faust would boast
at dinner parties
of the cost
of doing deals out East.
Then take his lust
to Soho in cab,
to say the least,
to lay the ghost,
get lost, meet panthers, feast.

He wanted more.
I came home late one winter’s evening,
hadn’t eaten.
Faust was upstairs in his study,
in a meeting.
I smelled cigar smoke,
hellish, oddly sexy, not allowed.
I heard Faust and the other
 laugh aloud.

Next thing, the world,
as Faust said,
spread its legs.
First politics -
Safe seat. MP. Right Hon. KG.
Than banks -
offshore, abroad -
and business -
Vice-chairman. Chairman. Owner. Lord.

Enough? Encore!
Faust was Cardinal, Pope,
knew more than God;
flew faster than the speed of sound
around the globe,
walked on the moon,
golfed, holed in one;
lit a fat Havana on the Sun.

Then backed a hunch -
invested in smart bombs,
in harms,
Faust dealt in arms.
Faust got in deep, got out.
Bought farms,
cloned sheep.
Faust surfed the internet
for like-minded Bo Peep.

As for me,
I went my own sweet way,
saw Rome in a day,
spun gold from hay,
had a facelift,
had my breasts enlarged,
my buttocks tightened;
went to China, Thailand, Africa,
returned enlightened.

Turned 40, celibate,
teetotal, vegan,
Buddhist, 41.
Went blonde,
redhead, brunette,
went native, ape,
bersek, bananas;
went on the run, alone;
went home.

Faust was inA word, he said,
I spent the night being pleasured
by a virtual Helen of Troy.
Faced that launched a thousand ships.
I kissed its lips.
Thing is -
I’ve made a pact
with Mephistopeheles,
the Devil’s boy.

He’s on his way
to take away
what’s owed,
reap what I sowed.
For all these years of
gagging for it,
going for it,
rolling in it,
I’ve sold my soul.

At this, I heard
a serpent’s hiss
tasted evil, knew its smell,
as scaly devil’s hands
poked up
right through the terracota Tuscan tiles
at Faust’s bare feet
and dragged him, oddly smirking, there and then
straight down to Hell.

Oh, well.
Faust’s will
left everything -
the yacht,
the several houses,
the Lear jet, the helipad,
the loot, et cet, et cet,
the lot -
to me.

C’est la vie.
When I got ill
it hurt like hell.
I bought a kidney
with my credit card,
then I got well.
I keep Faust’s secret still -
the clever, cunning, callous bastard
didn’t have a soul to sell.

Carol Ann Duffy

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Fallen For Rock Blog Tour with Giveaway and Book Review

About Nicky Wells: Romance that Rocks Your World!

Ultimate rock chick author Nicky Wells writes romance with rock stars—because there’s no better 

romantic hero than a golden-voiced bad boy with a secret soft heart and a magical stage presence!

Nicky’s books offer glitzy, glamorous romance with rock stars—imagine Bridget Jones ROCKS Notting 

Hill! If you've ever had a crush on any kind of celebrity, you’ll connect with Nicky’s heroes and their 

leading ladies.

Born in Germany, Nicky moved to the United Kingdom in 1993 and currently lives in Lincoln with her 

husband and their two boys. Nicky loves listening to rock music, dancing, and eating lobsters. When 

she’s not writing, she’s a wife, mother, occasional knitter, and regular contributor at Siren 107.3 FM with 

her own monthly show. Rock on!

Fallen for Rock is now available in e-book and paperback editions! Hooray! Get your copy here:

Pssst… obviously, Fallen for Rock is also available on all other Amazon sites!!

Did you know? There’s a single out now by Nicky’s fictional rock band Tuscq come to life! “Love Me 

Better” is available for download from Amazon, iTunes and many other places.

Fallen For Rock

‘A thrilling and delicious story of love and self-discovery woven around a broken romance that will make 

you turn page after page and cheer to the end.’

Love, life, loyalties. Nothing stays the same when Emily gets drawn into the world of rock.

Glossy and sophisticated professional high-flyer Emily has no time for nonsense such as the rock music 

her ex-boyfriend Nate adored so much. Yet when she unexpectedly comes into possession of VIP 

tickets—access all areas—for new rock band phenomenon, MonX, she can’t resist the temptation. 

The fateful gig turns into more than one night, and Emily finds herself strangely drawn to this new 

and unfamiliar glittery world. However, only weeks later, MonX and her own universe fall apart with 

devastating consequences for all. When MonX lead singer Mike appeals for her help, she reluctantly 

embraces a new opportunity. But she soon discovers that while she may be a rock chick after all, a 

groupie she is not... Or is she?

Just exactly where do her loyalties lie? And what direction will her life take now that she’s left behind 

everything she treasured?

Warning! Fallen For Rock contains some explicit content and strong language that may not be suitable 

for readers under eighteen years of age.

Book Review

Well!  This certainly was a ride into the world of rock and roll.  I thoroughly enjoyed this rocking tale.  Full of behind the scenes snippets, Nicky gives her readers a feel for what it could be really like to be a VIP guest at a rock concert.  A great leading lady in Emily, a classy, designer clad, city banker whose tastes reflect her salary.  Sassy to boot!   Can someone really re-invent themselves so completely?  Apparently so, and the metamorphosis is believable.  The problems MonX faced within the band are entirely credible, the infighting, jealousy and disputes over everything are exactly what you might read about a 'real' band in the newspapers.  How about other characters such as Mike Loud, lead singer with MonX?  Was he for real?  Too nice?  Maybe, maybe not!  Mike was given good character traits which contrasted with those of his bandmates nicely, as well as being a perfect companion for Emily along the way.
A good fun, rock and roll read. 4*

Fallen for Rock SWAG Giveaway!

To celebrate the launch of Fallen for Rock and to spread some joy, Nicky giving away the following 


One Large Signed Poster of “Fallen for Rock”

Three Sets of Signed “Fallen for Rock” Swag (Postcards and Bookmarks)

Three Sets of Signed “Fallen for Rock SWAG SPECIAL” including 2 bookmarks, 2 postcards and 2 

guitar picks

One Set of “The Complete Nicky Wells Swag” (signed): Bookmarks and postcards for Sophie's Turn, 

Five Sets of Signed “Fallen for Rock” Guitar Picks (two picks per set)

Sophie's Run, Sophie's Encore, Spirits of Christmas and Fallen for Rock

One Amazon Gift Certificate for £5/$7 or equivalent

One Audio CD: Bon Jovi "Greatest Hits" (2010)

Enter HERE:

rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Small Print:

Giveaway is open internationally. Giveaway entrants must be aged 18 or over. Giveaway closes at 

midnight on 14 August 2014. Winners will be notified by email.

Monday, 7 July 2014

Guest Post by Lynda Renham and Book Review: It Had To Be You

Today's treat is a guest post from Author Lynda Renham 

Lynda goes on holiday

(A short piece on the pleasures of driving abroad)

I recently had a holiday. You know those wonderful restful days when you come back recharged and happy or in my case, most likely divorced. I’m the world’s worst back seat driver and probably the world’s worst passenger when in a car driven on the wrong side of the road. Okay, I know it’s the right side of the road in Italy but it’s the wrong side as far as I’m concerned. Our arrival in Italy was fine until we went to collect the car. I nearly fainted when the woman in her broken English told us the car was new. Great, that was all I needed to hear. She then proceeded to conduct a long conversation with my husband about a deposit. No matter how much we told her we had insurance she still persisted.  We finally handed over the credit card. Or should I say my credit card.

‘I don’t do credit,’ says Andrew, proudly.

I’m thinking it’s a good thing I do.

We find the car, not with any help from the staff, I hasten to add. They dismissed us like we were flies they would swat out of their way. As soon as Andrew started the engine, I started to tremble.

‘Will you be okay driving?’ I ask, in a shaky voice.

I get a cold look. I’m not saying I don’t trust him am I? Not much!

Off we go. Andrew driving and me hitting an imaginary brake every few seconds.

‘There’s a car,’ I say gently and then a bit louder until I’m finally screaming,

‘There’s a car, brake, brake...’ in a slightly hysterical voice.

The sat nav is in my lap and as we begin climbing a steep hill my feet are convulsing so much you’d think I suffered from restless legs syndrome.

‘Bend, bend,’ I yell. ‘Slow down. What gear are you in?’

How Andrew coped I do not know. We climb higher and I can barely look. I get confused and think cars are going to come out of a slip road and grab Andrew’s arm for all I’m worth.

‘Car, car, brake,’ I shout.

Andrew stops the car and instructs me to sit in the back. I refuse. We continue on not speaking. The lovely sat nav voice tells us we are going the wrong way and I groan. Andrew attempts to turn around but we are on a hill. He begins to roll back. I scream. I’m convinced I’m going to die in Italy and not in a romantic Princess Diana way either. I go to grab the handbrake and grab Andrew’s knee instead.  The climb continues with me constantly telling him there is a bend coming up. Just in case he doesn't hear I say it a bit louder to be sure and emphasis the sharpness.

‘Sharp bend coming up, sharp very sharp.’

‘I can see them you know,’ he snaps.

It didn't help that the Italians drive like lunatics and spend their time with their car practically nudging yours. It’s pretty terrifying when you’re on a hill. I found myself leaning forward in some strange attempt to help the car move forward. I’m not sure how heavy I think I am if I can move the car with my body weight.

We arrived at the villa and my heart was filled with dread when I saw it was on yet another hill. What’s wrong with Italy? Doesn't it have flat roads like everywhere else? We climb the hill and then get stuck. I scream yet again. Honestly I’ll be screaming for England the whole two weeks at this rate. Three dogs come racing to meet us. Later, of course we came to know them as Jack and Jill and Ugo. I begin telling Andrew there are three dogs. I obviously think my husband is blind as well as deaf. I’m now stating the obvious and yelling it at the same time. 

By the time we were due to leave, my lovely husband had become very confident with driving the car and would zoom up the hill to the villa pushing the remote button to open the gate so he could glide through without stopping. I, of course, would be screaming,

‘Wait, wait, Andrew wait. Oh God, we’re not going to do it.’

Of course, we always did. We didn't kill a dog, or drive the car over a cliff. Mind you, through my eyes I felt sure we came very close quite often. Next year a holiday in England I think.

Book Review

Synopsis - When 29-year old Binki Grayson is offered a Christmas bonus by her boss at the office party she didn't imagine he meant a quickie over his desk.

Things for Binki just go from bad to worse and by Christmas Day she is not only jobless but boyfriend-less, so when she discovers her late Aunt Vera has left her something in her will she thinks things can only get better.

What she doesn't realise is that her inheritance comes with a complication by the name of William Ellis.

Review -  Another five star read from Lynda Renham.  This book should come with a warning - reading this may give you a stitch from laughing so hard.  If you're feeling low you won't be for long - laughter is therapy, right?

Only Lynda could come up with someone as misfortunate as Binki.  Someone who could lose her job, get a parking ticket and lose her boyfriend all in one day and just before Christmas.  Of course, when Binki finds out about her inheritance the process is far from smooth.  You gotta love Binki, with a name like that, what would you expect?  A character we can identify with she loves chocolate and is an ordinary, down to earth, everyday girl and eats when stressed.  Sound familiar?  The book has all the typical chick-lit ingredients, the domineering boyfriend, the bossy best friend, the hunk and his stick insect, bitchy girlfriend.  There may be cliches and stereotypes but we can forgive when presented with such an 'unputdownable' and funny piece of fiction.  I didn't want to finish the book because I didn't want it to end but I could not put it down because I wanted to know what happened next.  A real page turner.

Thank you Lynda for guesting on my blog today and for asking me to read and review this wonderfully, funny book.  5*

ISBN 9780957137288
Published by Raucous Publishing 2013

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Book Review: Reaching for the Stars - Janice Horton

SynopsisScottish celebrity chef Finn McDuff is media stalked and disillusioned after winning his third star and losing his third wife. He decides he’s had enough of all the food campaigns, the TV cookery shows, the constant frenzy surrounding his private life and, after giving up all his accolades and closing down his restaurant, he disappears.

With the enfant terrible of the kitchen missing, two rival newspapers, having lost their media meal ticket, compete against each other to whip up further public curiosity in the missing chef. Love him or hate him, everyone is out looking for Chef McDuff. Who will find him first and whose side will you be on...? (Taken from Goodreads)

Review - As you know I have been out of action on the blog front lately due to other commitments therefore this review will be brief.   I received my e-copy after winning a competition - Best Chick Lit’s take over of Loveahappyending Lifestyle Magazine’s twitter feed and Re-tweeting! 

I am presuming that my copy was an advance or pre-publication as there were a lot of typographical errors.  Noting the cover change I am hazarding a guess that these errors have since been amended.  Due to my schedule it took me a lot longer to read this book than usual. 

This is a new idea for me as I haven't come across much chick-lit starring chefs.  I didn't find it particularly funny but I did start to enjoy the book as I got further into it.  As stated in the synopsis above, we have an award winning chef who after achieving his third 'Golden Star' finds out his wife is leaving him. The marital breakdown spurs him into doing some serious thinking.  He disappears much to the annoyance of the two rival reporters whose newspapers are both chasing for a story.  Let's look at the characters, our leading man is Chef McDuff who is a decent person underneath his celebrity chef persona. We have two reporters, a fair-minded lass who wants to print the truth and the ambitious hack who wants to make his name and do whatever it takes to get his story in print.  There are also plenty of other characters to help make the story.  If I were to choose a favourite character, it would be Raine the female reporter who is not the naive young lady that others are led to believe.  Did I like the story?  It didn't give me the wow factor but made a pleasant enough read at the end of the day.  If you are looking for a light holiday read and you like Scotland, cooking and chick-lit then this may contain all the right ingredients.  3*

Friday, 4 July 2014

Poetry Corner #6

This week I am sharing Shakespeare's Sonnet 18 published in 1609.  It is an all round favourite with many and now seems a good time as any to share it with you.

Sonnet 18

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? 
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date: 
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm'd; 
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature's changing course, untrimm'd;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st; 
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee. 


Friday, 6 June 2014

Poetry Corner #5

I am sharing another poem from Carol Ann Duffy from her collection in The World's Wife.

Mrs Aesop
By Christ, he could bore me for Purgatory. He was small
didn’t prepossess. So he tried to impress. Dead men,
Mrs Aesop, he’d say, tell no tales. Well, let me tell you now
that the bird in his hand shat on his sleeve,
never mind the two worth less in the bush. Tedious.

Going out was worst. He’d stand at our gate, look, then leap;
scour the hedgerows for a shy mouse, the fields
for a sly fox, the sky for one particular swallow
that couldn’t make a summer. The Jackdaw according to
envied the eagle Donkeys, would, on the whole, prefer to be

On one appalling evening stroll, we passed an old hare
snoozing in a ditch – he stopped and made a note -
and then, about a mile further on, a tortoise, somebody’s pet,
creeping, slow as a marrige, up the road. Slow
but certain, Mrs Aesop, wins the race. Asshole.

What race? What sour grapes? What silk purse,
sow’s ear, dog in a manger, what big fish? Some days
I could barely keep awake as the story droned on
towards the moral of itself. Action, Mrs A., speaks louder
than words. And that’s another thing, the sex

was diabolical. I gave him a fable one night
about a little cock that wouldn’t crow, a razor-sharp axe
with a heart blacker than the pot that called the kettle.
I’ll cut off your tail, all right, I said, to save my face.
That shut him up. I laughed last, longest.

Carol Ann Duffy 

Sunday, 1 June 2014

It's a Wrap - End of Month Round Up

It's been a quiet month in reviews.  Suddenly, life has got a bit hectic.  It's something or nothing and all at once.  I am not complaining.  I have just returned from my cousin's beautiful wedding where I was able to catch up with my cousins from elsewhere in the UK.  Unfortunately, I didn't manage to host the give-away as planned and I think this will have to wait a couple of months as I am not around much in June.

Post Stats
Books Reviews = 1

WWW meme = 2
Poetry Corner Feature = 3
Sunday is for Sharing = 1

Books Read and Reviewed
Started Early, Took My Dog - Kate Atkinson 4*

No winners or losers this month.

Poetry Feature
Come Softly To My Wake - Christy Brown
"Hope" is the Thing with Feathers - Emily Dickinson
War Song of the Saracens - James Elroy Flecker

Sunday is for Sharing is an ad hoc post which was to promote my teen's booktube channel.

I have received two books for review in July.  I did not make a post about incoming books this month.  I made two WWW meme posts and three poems to Poetry Corner.  I have read two books this month but have not reviewed them due to my busy schedule.  One was a book group read and the other was a book I borrowed from my cousin which was rather overdue to be returned.  Once again reading choices will be made from the book jar.

Did you have a good month in books?

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