Awful Auntie – David Walliams (2014) – A Kid-Lit Review

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It’s been a couple of years since I read David Walliams’ “The Demon Dentist” and in that time his reputation as a writer (and his book sales) have continued to soar.  Just the other week the Duchess Of Cornwall’s Bookshelves Project celebrated her 70th birthday with a list of the UK’s favourite children’s books.  It’s quite a wide-ranging list and Walliams has two titles on it- neither of which I’ve read so I’ve obviously got more treats in store.

I thought “Demon Dentist” was “up there with the best of Dahl” and had everything that a children’s book should have. “Awful Auntie” was his next publication so it might be hoped he’d pushed the quality boundaries further.  He hasn’t really and if “DD” is up with the best of Dahl (that’s “Charlie & The Chocolate Factory”, “The Witches” and “Matilda”) then this is nestling in with the mid-range of “The Twits” and “George’s Marvelous Medicine”.  I feel this are appropriate comparisons as they both share a one-dimensional overly sadistic undertone which stops this feeling as well rounded as its predecessor.

Set in the dilapidated Saxby Hall in 1933 the twelve year old main character Stella awakes to find her life has changed.  Her parents are no longer around and she is being held captive by the monstrous Aunt Alberta, a character without even the slightest drop of humanity who has as a side-kick a giant owl.  Agatha wants to claim the Hall as her own and is prepared to murder all around her to get it.  Stella has to use the Hall’s past to attempt to thwart her Aunt’s plans.  Such misery heaped on Stella becomes disturbing more than funny.  Walliams attempts to lighten the atmosphere by having her step temporarily away from life-threatening situations to make some mundane comments to her captor seems jarring to adult readers but most children will no doubt lap this up.  I think there’s also an over-reliance on lists to bring out the humour (Walliams does do this well as did Dahl) as here it does not add much to the flow of the novel, which highlights that the plot is sparser this time around.  The Tony Ross illustrations are great fun and would add much to the enjoyment, especially the plans and maps.

Children will relish guessing the twists in the plots.  He uses a small cast here and at least one character (Gibbons the ancient butler) is under-used.  There’s actually a complaint letter at the back of the book from recurring character, shop-owner Raj, who is moaning about his non-appearance in the book because of its 1930s setting and I thought that was written with more sparkle than a chunk of the preceding 400 pages.  “Awful Auntie” did fall a little short of my high expectations.  I feel that “Demon Dentist” is a better balanced book and has the feel of a lasting children’s classic whilst this over-emphasised dark slapstick to cover up Aunt Agatha’s evil machinations.  I expect Walliams to be outrageous but I think he over-eggs it here and loses something in the process. Kids, however, are a different breed and the continuing popularity of things like the film “Home Alone” suggest that this kind of slapstick-under-peril is perennially popular and the 1451 (at time of writing) 5 star reviews on Amazon would suggest I might be a little out of touch here but I just think he’s done and will do better.

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Awful Auntie was published by Harper Collins in 2014

The Tobacconist – Robert Seethaler (Picador 2017)

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A novel full of poignant moments and a sense of yearning at a time of great change.  Austrian born Seethaler’s novel is quietly impressive.  It begins in 1937 when 17 year old Franz is sent by his mother from their Austrian Lake District home to Vienna to work in a small tobacconist’s shop.

Here Franz begins to learn about life from the merchandise and the shop’s aromas, from the newspapers he reads each day and from the customers.  These include an aging Sigmund Freud with whom Franz strikes up an unlikely friendship.

But the times are a changing and anti-semitism makes a bond with the Jewish Freud increasingly difficult and the one-legged tobacconist who Franz works for seems a threat to the authorities.  Franz, initially bewildered by the mysteries of love and an obsession for a worldly Bohemian girl finds he has more difficult things to contemplate.

The very likeable Franz is the heart of this novel.  Everything is underplayed, there are few big dramatic scenes yet the drama and turmoil of the times is palpable.  It is clear that for the people in Franz’ circle things can never be the same again.

I like novels where young characters attempt to make sense of the adult world and in Franz’s Vienna there is little that makes sense.  His retreats to analysing his dreams is both as a result of his meetings with Freud and an attempt to fathom out his existence where neither the real nor dream world seem quite right.

Robert Seethaler has written five novels.  His last “The Whole Life” was shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize.  This, translated by Charlotte Collins, with its quiet tenderness may slip under the awards radar but it is of lasting appeal.

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The Tobacconist was published by Picador in 2017.

A Clubbable Woman – Reginald Hill (1970) – A Murder They Wrote Review

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Amazingly, this is my first introduction to Reginald Hill and his Yorkshire set Dalziel and Pascoe series.  An acclaimed BBC1 adaptation ran from 1996 to 2007 and starred Warren Clarke and Colin Buchanan as the two Police Officers likened in this first novel to Laurel and Hardy but I managed never to see a single episode.  Reginald Hill died in 2012.  He wrote 24 Dalziel and Pascoe novels over a period of 39 years (plus a couple of novellas) as well as his Joe Sixsmith novels and a considerable number of standalones under his own name and as Patrick Ruell, Dick Marland and Charles Underhill.  A prolific British writer and I’ve never read anything by him before. Shame on me.

I’m putting this right with the first of a set I purchased from The Book People at one of their too good to miss prices. It was first published in 1970 and it does feel like it.  Do you think crime novels date as well as other genres?  I’m not convinced and it’s often because of attitudes.  Firstly, the title made me feel as if I was a misogynist just by choosing to read it and I found myself carefully positioning it when reading it on the train to make sure people didn’t see it.  This is because of the implications I take from the title that some women deserve what they get and that there are those who can be deemed “clubbable”.

We are in Northern, male, working-class territory here with its rugby club setting and two rather unenlightened police officers.  The contrast between the two, DS Andrew Dalziel nicknamed “The Bruiser” by other members of the rugby club is very definitively of the “old school” of policing and the university educated Sergeant Peter Pascoe, represents the future as it was seen in 1970, anyway.  It’s not too far into the novel before you can appreciate that the tensions between the two would be ripe with future potential to last for a number of books.

Despite their differences, their views on women aren’t that far apart and that is representative of this part of society in the time the novel was written.  They both seem to see pick-up potential with women in inappropriate situations.  Hill has written a police procedural which flows well.  He does protect us somewhat as readers (we never get to know what was in an “obscene” letter sent to one of the characters.  I can’t imagine that many twenty-first century crime writers sparing our blushes).

The wife of a long-standing member of a rugby club is murdered and everyone becomes a suspect.  I didn’t see the twists coming but didn’t feel totally satisfied by the conclusion.  Characterisation is strong. I felt that even the minor characters felt real which suggests very good things for this series.  I don’t feel that this is going to be the strongest of the Dalziel and Pascoe novels but I can be a stickler for chronological order and despite misgivings when I picked up the book it really was the only place to start.

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A Clubbable Woman was published by Harper Collins in 1970.

The Knife of Never Letting Go – Patrick Ness (2008) – A Running Man Review

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The first book in British author Patrick Ness’ “Chaos Walking” trilogy really does span boundaries.  Aimed at a teen audience it works well for adult readers.  Its Sci-Fi/Fantasy elements are well thought out and do not get in the way of first class storytelling and there’s so much running in it that I’ve classed it amongst my adventure novel/running man thread.

I’ve never read Patrick Ness before but I know he has many fans mainly through this trilogy and “A Monster Calls” which was recently made into a film.  Main character Todd Hewitt is approaching manhood as a settler in a New World.  A battle with aliens living on the planet has wiped out the human female population, made animals talk and all men’s thoughts expressed out loud as “The Noise”.  Todd makes a discovery which challenges all he has been told and the only option open to him is to run.

Patrick Ness has got me eating my words as here he does something I normally gripe about yet here it works.  Much of the novel is written in present tense.  I moaned about this in Andrew Pyper’s “Demonologist” a horror novel made significantly less scary as a lot of the action becomes reported rather than letting us readers experience it.  Ness avoids this largely because of his “The Noise” device.  With all thoughts coming out as a stream Todd’s narrative can be filled with interactions from other characters which enables it to remain in the present.

It makes for action all the way and works here as a narrative style just about as well as it can.  It also makes it quick to read but it can feel a little like it is all on one level.  He maintains a fairly high octane pace throughout which may frustrate readers looking for a little more light and shade.  Being much older than the intended audience I wasn’t sure about the talking animals but I was soon won over by Todd’s dog Manchee who becomes a great character in his own right.  Animals in novels always cause me anxiety in case bad things happen to them.  (I’ve discussed this before on here.  I can read all kinds of things happening to humans without flinching but put an animal in the mix and I become squeamish.  I used to think that odd, but a number of you have agreed with me).  The relationship between Todd and his dog adds much to the novel.

This kind of dystopian future feels right on trend and if this appeals then I’d urge you to seek this book out as it is so well done.  The world in which they live is revealed to us very much as it’s revealed to Todd and that provides a great opening for the trilogy.  We’re left with a cliffhanger and the edition I read had a bonus short story “The New World” (published 2013), which, because I knew by then how it fits into the general narrative proved to be chilling reading.  The whole thing would seem to be of lasting appeal to young adult readers and possesses the qualities to win over a much wider audience.

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The Knife Of Never Letting Go was first published by Walker Books in 2008

My 400th Blog Post – A What You’ve Been Reading Special

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Today reviewsrevues hits the big 400 (thank you wordpress for letting me know, I wasn’t keeping count!).  Since my 300th celebration I’ve moved house and changed jobs but thankfully I’ve still been able to find the time for the reading and reviewing.  I am probably increasingly reading more new books, certainly far more than I was when I started the site.  Thank you to the publishers that have supported me and please keep those book parcels coming! I like to celebrate these big milestones by having a look at what you have been reading.  I did my last retrospective at the end of 2016  and then set the dials back to zero. So, what has been attracting the most attention in the last six months? 400 posts so top 3’s in 4 sections –  Books- Recent publications ;  Books-Back catalogue; CDs and TV. Here goes … (clink on the titles for the full reviews)

Books- Recent Publications

3. Small Great Things – Jodi Picoult (2016)

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Posted in my 100 Essential Books thread at the end of January, I am delighted to see people want to read about this book as it is still going to be one of the strong challengers for my Book Of The Year.  I’ve been recommending it like mad at the libraries where I work and the feedback from those who have followed my advice has all been positive, both from Jodi Picoult fans and those, like me, who have chosen to start their Picoult experience with this book.  Just yesterday a lady told me it would be a book she would “remember for a long, long time”.  Great praise.

2. When We Rise – Cleve Jones (2017)

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American gay activist’s account of life in San Francisco in the 1970’s/80’s. I posted this review in March.  I was told that Cleve appeared on “Newsnight” this week and had been surprised that his book was attracting a good general readership.  The six part TV series made of this book written by Dustin Lance Black has not yet appeared in the UK.  (I took out a Netflix subscription thinking it was on there but it isn’t.  There are rumours that Channel 4 have bought it).  When that is shown sales of this book will continue to soar.

1.A Life Discarded – Alexander Masters (2016)

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Posted in April.  Masters’ non-fiction work is about a discovery of a large number of diaries found dumped in a skip.  Part biography, part detective work, I am going to continue to say nothing about the subject of this book and urge you to read it- a lot of you seem to want to know about it, making it the most read review in the recent publications category.

Books – The Back Catalogue (Older publication dates)

3. The Noel Coward Diaries – Edited by Graham Payn & Sheridan Morley (1982)

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I posted this back in May 2015 and yet it is really only this year that it has been attracting this much attention, showing that perhaps Sir Noel is coming back into vogue.  This is one of my 100 Essential Reads and if you fancy spending close to thirty years in the company of this fascinating man this is a must-read.

2. Motown: The History – Sharon Davis (1988)

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I’d read Sharon Davis’ Motown based column in “Blues and Soul” magazine for years and this book is a thorough study of the label from a British point of view.  I posted this back in November 2015 and once again it has been a slow burner which has taken off this year.  I have Davis’ biography of disco pioneer Sylvester on my To Be Read list.  Seeing the popularity of this makes me think I should get that read.

1.SS-GB- Len Deighton (1978)

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Posted in February this year there has been significantly more interest in my review of this, the book, than the BBC 1 Sunday night adaptation.  To be honest, I wasn’t totally convinced by either.  I think the book has dated rather and doesn’t live up to the premise of an alternative history of  London just after the Nazis won the war,  but this is my most read review in the older books category.

CDs

3. Light Years- Kylie Minogue  (2000)

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Posted in May this is Kylie’s finest hour, a culmination of the pop princess, the disco queen and consummate entertainer.  Rated number 34 in my Essential CD list.

2. Very Best Of Kathy Kirby (1997)

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Posted in October 2016 is number 79 in my Essential CDs. I claimed in my review that this was one of my guilty pleasures, but now so many of you have read the review I don’t need to feel guilty about one of the great under-rated artists in 60’s pop.

1.Let’s Groove – The Best Of – Earth Wind & Fire (1996)

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Since it was posted in October 2015 this has consistently been the most read CD review and things have been no different this year.  It just shows how loved this group was around the world.  Number 30 in my 100 Essential CD list.

TV

3. Roots – BBC4 (2017)

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The high standard was maintained throughout this re-make of the classic TV series.  It feels valid to question why it was re-made but if it brought home the issues raised to a new generation then it was very important that it was.  It lacked the impact of the original which had everybody talking about it when it was first shown but it had good performances, high production values and was equally compulsive viewing. I posted this review in February.

2. Jamestown – Sky 1 (2017)

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I wasn’t sure what to make of the first episode of this (too) glossy historical drama “from the makers of Downton Abbey” when it appeared on Sky 1 in May.  The tale of “maids to make wives” in Seventeenth century Virginia wasn’t without promise.  Here’s a post-review confession, I only ever watched the first episode.  The rest were series-linked in my planner but when it came down to it I didn’t feel the need to watch any more.

1.The Level – ITV1 (2016)

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I posted this review in October after the first episode.  By the third episode this was my most read review ever, something which has continued ever since.  It actually kept me watching the series.  This Brighton-based series had finished before the start of 2017 and yet this year it is over 500 reads ahead of its nearest rival.  In 2016 it finished 1300 away from the number 2 read.  This seems to be the review that is bringing new visitors onto reviewsrevues.com.  Long may it last.

Just writing about these 12 most read out of the 400 reviews has got me recognising that you readers out there like a bit of variety.  There’s quite a range in these twelve reviews alone. It’s part of the fun that keeps me guessing as I’m never sure when I’m posting what will attract the biggest audiences and the continuing readership of “The Level” from countries around the globe has me a little bewildered as the series did not seem to make that much of an impression when it was on TV- but it’s clearly the reviewsrevues readers’ favourite.  Right, it’s heads down now and onwards to the 500.

Many thanks to all of you who take the time to read my ramblings and those of you who feel motivated enough to comment on what you read.  That’s a huge thank-you to my Big 5 commenters who have stimulated thought and conversation on here – that’s Kay Carter, Monika, Fiction Fan, Geoffrey Valentine and Cleopatra Loves Books.  Keep on reading……………..

 

 

 

100 Essential Books – All The Wicked Girls – Chris Whitaker (Zaffre 2107)

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Chris Whitaker’s debut “Tall Oaks” was highly enjoyable and received considerable critical acclaim.  It also gained him an interview on reviewsrevues.com on my Author Strikes Back thread.  His off-kilter tale set in small town America seemed an audacious beginning for a British writer yet worked well due to Whitaker’s skilful characterisations and humour amidst the dark deeds.  Whitaker’s character Manny made the novel with his mix of bravado and teenage angst.  There’s more of this in his latest novel set in the small town of Grace, Alabama in 1995.  This is the novel Chris referred to as “The Summer Cloud” in our interview.  Now, with a title change, I was looking forward to reading it.

People in Grace are dominated by their back stories and when church-going teenage girls start going missing old grudges and prejudices come to the surface.  The narration is split between events and the words of the missing girl, Summer, the first to be taken from Grace itself.  The people of the town implode with the tension as an unmoving grey cloud gathers over their heads.

I was reminded of the best of Stephen King in Whitaker’s story-telling and of a 1997 American novel “The Church Of Dead Girls” by Stephen Dobyns which I loved and which should be due for a re-read yet I think Chris’ work is even better and this is once again due to his characterisation.   Those missing Manny will warm to wannabe teenage policeman Noah, his sidekick Purv and Summer’s sister Raine who take the search into their hands with black humour and laugh out loud moments as well as real poignancy.  There is a great bond which develops between these three damaged outsiders.  Also damaged and addictive is Police Chief Black who shows the author is great at adult characters too.  The plot is darker than “Tall Oaks” and religion and good and evil have a strong part to play.  I marvel at how authentic the author’s creation of small town America feels, in terms  of speech, the environment, their cultural references and lives.  The prejudices and obsessions of  a small community is so effectively conveyed and I found the whole thing totally involving.

“Tall Oaks” showed the potential but this is the real deal…………………….”

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All The Wicked Girls is published by Zaffre on the 24th August 2017.  Make a note of the title for a perfect late summer read.  Many thanks to nudge and the publishers for the advance review copy.

The House Of Birds -Morgan McCarthy (Tinder Press 2016)

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A couple of reviews recently have had me agonising over my star ratings and as this is one of the culprits I thought I’d lay out, for the first time, I believe, the thinking behind those five stars.

A five star novel is one that will stay with me for a very long time. It’s a book I would not want to part with which has made a significant impression. Usually, I would say I read just a very small number of these each year. Examples of five star books recently reviewed here are: “Everyone Brave Is Forgiven” by Chris Cleve, “The Golden Age” by Joan London and “Owl Song At Dawn” by Emma Claire Sweeney. I’m not usually alone with my praise in these books. Just these three titles here have gained awards and plaudits. It’s not just me who rate them so highly.

A four star novel is one which I really enjoyed and which I would very much like to remain on my bookshelves. It is one I can certainly see myself enjoying as much on a re-read. It might not be an all-time classic but it certainly gave me considerable pleasure. Examples of four star books reviewed here recently are “Queer City” by Peter Ackroyd, “The Mayfly” by James Hazel and “Crimson & Bone” by Marina Fiorato.

A lot of what I read I would consider three star. This is the “default” rating when I start to read a book. This is the largest category in terms of breadth. It’s a good book that I enjoyed but probably wouldn’t need to keep to read again. These are the books I tend to pass on, often recommending them to their new owner. As I don’t give half star marks (too confusing) this is quite a big category, from books which I didn’t quite feel got into top gear, to perfectly satisfactory genre-type fiction, to books which are really quite good but didn’t blow me away. Examples of three star books reviewed here recently are “Don’t Wake Up” by Liz Lawler, “Next” by Michael Crichton and “The Silkworm” by Robert Galbraith.

Two star books have disappointed me in some way or I’m a long way from the intended audience and it hasn’t really worked for me. I won’t give up on the author but on this occasion there have been issues. Examples of two star books reviewed here (and they are thinner on the ground are “There Once Lived A Lady Who Tried To Kill Her Neighbour’s Baby” by Ludmilla Petrusheskaya, “The Evenings” by Gerard Reve (and I admit these two might both be translation issues) and “Being Elizabeth Bennet” by Emma Campbell Webster.

One star books don’t usually get to the review stage and it’s unlikely that I will read anything else by the author. I’m better at weeding books out now so I don’t get to read too many of these. The book is just not for me………

Just occasionally I feel these divisions let me down and some books do not fit neatly into the ratings and I end up feeling stingy. This is one of those occasions.

Morgan McCarthy’s fourth novel (the first I’ve read by her) starts off a little slowly but then starts to weave its magic and at times I believed I was reading a book with four or five star potential but on completion it just didn’t end up doing anything which either surprised or thrilled me so much that I would want to keep it to re-read it, so given that and my above criteria, it ends up as a three star novel but if asked did I enjoy it and would I recommend it the answer would be a definite yes to both.

I thought I was being brave choosing to read a book with this title. A simmering ornithophobia (particularly indoors) would leave me going into a cold sweat over a “house of birds”. If just one comes into the house I’m off like a rocket (especially in a cat’s mouth), but no worries, this refers to a bird-embossed wallpaper which I can certainly cope with. Kate inherits a house under contested circumstances and boyfriend Oliver, who has quit his high-pressured London job, moves back to the Oxford of his childhood to project manage renovations. He finds sections of a diary which relates to the house’s past in a dual narrative which moves from the 1920’s to the present day. The most effective relationship in the novel is that between Oliver and the long-dead Sophia who causes the young man to question his life and its lack of direction. His involvement in the legal aspects tying up the house threatens his current relationship.

Morgan McCarthy does absolutely nothing wrong in terms of plot or characterisation. I just felt it was all a little tightly controlled and careful to really get me frothing at the mouth. As in the majority of these dual-narrative different time-zone novels I found myself responding more to the older strand but I did find Oliver a vibrant, worthwhile character who did come alive and whose male perspective to Sophia’s 1920’s quandaries was refreshing. Some of the other characters did not feel as real.

In many ways this is a treasure trail which leads towards the truth and is involving for most of its duration and effectively handled. I will certainly be seeking out this author’s earlier novels.

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The House Of Birds was published by Tinder Press in 2016. Many thanks to Bookbridgr and the publishers for the review copy.

Back up…..Back up!

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Last week and without any prior warning my laptop decided to play up.  Just couldn’t get it to boot up and spent a day watching that little necklace of beads going round and round as it went in an interminable loop of diagnosing and attempting to sort the problem.  My last laptop completely died without any notice- just a black screen and that was it almost as if someone in a leading computer retailer decided it was time I bought a new one and pulled some plug somewhere which set it into terminal decline (!)

I learnt a lesson after that and this time…….I had insurance.  I know that means I’ve probably paid for a brand new laptop many times over but now its enabled my laptop to go away to computer hospital and I have a loan one to write to you all on this morning.  Last time I lost virtually everything, but this time I’ve been a little bit canny and regularly backing up files onto a flash drive on the first day of each month.  Last week, as you will no doubt work out it was the last of the month, so my canny plan fell a bit adrift, as everything I have been working on over the past month may have gone.

That includes the review that I was planning to post today.  All may not be lost however as the latest update I have from knowhow.com is that my laptop is currently undergoing data rescue and they may be able to save what I was working on.  So, I ummed and ah’d as to whether I just wait and see if all is lost before trying to recreate in my head what I was working on and I’ve decided to wait -so no proper review today………….

Apparently the fault on the hard drive may have been caused by me switching it on and off too much.  It seems there are only a limited number of times you can switch on and off and go through the initial booting up process without the hard drive getting either magnetised or de-magnetised (I was in too deep a trauma at the time to listen to which).  If I use my laptop five times during a day, I switch it off five times during that day.  This is apparently wrong, you should avoid switching it off at all if you are going to be using it.  The guy I spoke to said his laptop had been on for something like 167 days. Who knew?  I thought they’d burn out if you left them on overnight!  In fact, when it went into its loop of trying to repair itself and I left it on after I’d gone to bed to see if it could sort itself out I got up a couple of times in the night just to check it was alright.  I’m from a different era.  My parents used to pull out the aerial form the back of the TV each night in case of thunderstorms- I think I’m becoming like them.

I also asked the guy how often he backed up his data and he said every ten minutes in three different places so my once a month routine feels a little pathetic, however righteous I felt when doing it.  This loan laptop wipes everything off every time I switch the power off, so maybe I’m just going to have to bite the bullet over the next few days and leave it on standby……….  Hopefully, normal service will be resumed shortly.

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Don’t Wake Up- Liz Lawler (Twenty Seven 2017)- A Murder They Wrote Review

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Liz Lawler was obviously paying full attention when told that a debut novel needs to grab readers right from the start as the opening chapters of this novel certainly pack a punch. As an ex-nurse Lawler is totally convincing at setting the scene in her thriller set largely in a Bristol hospital.

Twenty-eight year old Doctor Alex Taylor is good at her job and well respected by colleagues. She has a handsome vet as her boyfriend but her life changes the moment she wakes up on an operating theatre table. Why she is there and what will happen to her provides those opening chills.

I think Lawler has made a brave move in opting to write a “nobody believes me” novel because these are often on a fine line. It’s easy to stretch plausibility and readers can lose sympathy with the character not being taken seriously as their actions, which often lead them down deeper holes and further suspicion can be perceived as them being stupid. Liz Lawler does largely avoid this although at times Alex is frustrating and not always likeable, but then she is in some predicament. It certainly kept me reading but personally I wasn’t completely won over. The author puts her main character through scenes of torture which made me feel a little grubby after reading them. I wasn’t totally convinced by her male characters in particular Detective Inspector Greg Turner who is assigned to Dr Taylor’s case. After such a tremendous beginning I did not feel that the novel always flowed smoothly.

I don’t often read this kind of commercial misery-thriller and I would admit that it would have to be fairly extraordinary to blow me away so perhaps it wasn’t the greatest match for me but if I haven’t put you off with this and you like being chilled right from the start this debut is well worth seeking out.

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Available now in a Kindle edition. “Don’t Wake Up” will be published as a paperback in October 2017. Many thanks to Twenty Seven and Pigeonhole for the opportunity to read a review copy.

Book Bingo – A monthly update

It’s already month number three on my local community library’s Book Bingo fund-raiser and I feel that I’m just pootling along a little and will need to crank up to a higher gear if I’m going to finish within the next couple of months.  It’s not that I’m not reading, it’s just that what I’m reading for review purposes does not always fit in with the categories on my Bingo card.  I’m not griping because I love having a stack of books to read!  (Publishers take note!!)

Last month my Bingo card looked like this:

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And this month

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So let’s see what is newly covered………..

On the top line to get the bunny I had to purchase a book from the local charity shop.  That was certainly no hardship with a local hospice charity shop, The Earl Mountbatten charity shop having a good selection of books at three for £1.  From this I purchased Michael Crichton’s “Next” alongside two other books which will sit on my shelves for  a while longer.  I’ve had to stop buying books from this particular shop as sometimes I can come out with 6 or 9 so it was great to have the opportunity to go back in there and put my book-buying to a worthy cause.

Underneath the bunny sticker there’s “written under a pseudonym” and one of the most famous pseudonyms of the last few years helped out here.  When JK Rowling began writing as Robert Galbraith I bet she never dreamed that one day she would help me get a dog sticker on a Book Bingo card, but she has with “The Silkworm“.

When I started reading this I had it lined up for the top left hand corner which needed a book with “an animal in the title” and then a copy of “The Mayfly” by James Hazel turned up on the doorstep, which meant I could use Robert Galbraith for other purposes and got me the chicken sticker.  I also answered a question this month which was on the author of “Black Beauty”- not going to catch me out with that one!

Right, concerted effort to get more stickers covered starts here but I’m lacking a little in confidence as I know that the books I have lined up will not help out.  I’m just going to have to read more…………shame………..!