Monday, 29 May 2017

~419 ~ Dancing at Lughnasa

Dancing at Lughnasa

Dancing at Lughnasa by Brian Friel

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I would not have chosen to read this book, probably under any circumstances.

I had to though, as is is a set book for my upcoming Open University A230 'Reading and Studying Literature', which will be my last module at Level 2 (having just finished A215 'Creative Writing ... not that you need to know this!).

The front cover is appealing, and is the reason I dragged it off the reading pile in the first place - the dress seems genteel and is set in juxtaposition to the black wellingtons.

The theme of A230 is home and away, and after reading this short text I can see why it was added to the list. Not only is the home/away theme running through it, but also religion/paganism, responsibility/irresponsibility, setting rules/breaking rules and the face you project/the way you are perceived.

All round a very interesting text, if slightly intellectual read. Interestingly, it is only around 3 star review on Good Reads (more on Amazon), but that might be that you would not find it riveting if you were not studying, or interested in, humanities and the human condition.

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I purchased my copy on Amazon HERE.  At the time of writing this review it is priced at £9.98, which is a hefty price for a paperback book as thin as wafer ham.



Wednesday, 12 April 2017

#418 ~ Walk of Shame

Walk of Shame [DVD]

Watched on Netflix - 12/04/17

Total 5 star romcom ... highly recommended.

Local news anchor, Megan gets towed after a one night stand leading to a series of hilarious unexpected events just to get her car back and make it to the station to meet a major news channel.Te

Megan's a good Texas girl, but this movie illustrates the perceptions of others can be wrong.

Does she get any help?  Yes, from the most surprising sources.

If you haven't got Netflix, its available HERE on Amazon.

Friday, 17 March 2017

#417 ~ A Charmed Place

A Charmed Place

A Charmed Place by Antoinette Stockenberg

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I normally enjoy this author, but this one seemed a little cumbersome. Although probably it is been more to do with the disjointed nature of the reading time I have had, rather than than the fabric of the book.

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Saturday, 25 February 2017

#416 ~ Lucretia: or The Heiress and the Dandy

Lucretia: or The Heiress and the Dandy
Lucretia: or The Heiress and the Dandy by Rachel Carter

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In interest of full disclosure, I was asked by Rachel to do a review for her. That having been said, I am very busy with Uni work, working and being a parent, that I have not been accepting anything recently. However, I was impressed by her pitch of the book and decided to fit in into my schedule.

At the time it was also available (and still is at the date of writing this post) available as a free Kindle Unlimited download.

Now to the book was excellent and thoroughly enjoyable. Markedly so, compared to some of the complete rubbish that is turned out by a large proportion of the the US romance writers.

Why? Like a carefully chosen outfit, it provided style and comfort, yet was designed with a sense of restrained style and accomplished design. It wasn't out there smacking people between the eyes, but smoothly gliding along gathering attention.

Essentially, this is a story of young love, with a well matched pair finding themselves and each other along the way. There is an undertone of humour that underpins the author's writing ... a distinctly Georgette Heyer feel, in fact. I would love to see Rachel take this a little further in another book. The world is severely lacking Heyeresque level writing these days.

Production values were very, very high. Quality always stand out above the cheap end of the market and Rachel has managed it with ease.

I only found one error at location Location 750 - 'Naturally, could I bear miss out on your company?'

One highlight for me of phrasing was at Location 121 - 'In the pale evening light, the gardens were gloriously alive with emerald hues and Spring's promise of blooms to come'. What a nice bit of signposting.

The only slight negative is the cover. The quality of the content befits something more put together and stylish.

That having been said, don't judge it on the cover, pick it up and read. You will not be disappointed if you love historical romance that is well written with a funny edge.

I can't wait to see what Rachel writes going forward.

Happy reading.


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Friday, 25 November 2016

#415 ~ Twisted Little Things and Other Stories

Twisted Little Things and Other Stories

Twisted Little Things and Other Stories by Amy Cross

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a total break away choice for me, and actually I found it to be interestingly and thoughtfully written. The author does a really great job of constructing short story narratives - in this collection they sit together in a really nicely curated whole.

I didn't find any of the subject matter truly disturbing, but rather very thought provoking. Amy's work has a very 'Tales of the Unexpected' feel to it, and would probably work well in a TV episode format.

Production values were quite high, with only one thing to mention.  Unfortunately, I had forgotten to make a note on here before I returned the book and have now lost the highlighted note on my Kindle (stupid girl!).  It was only one missing/word order comment so it doesn't really matter.

Read as part of my Kindle Unlimited package. 

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Sunday, 13 November 2016

#414 ~ Worst Laid Plans

Worst Laid Plans (A Maddox Storm Cozy Mystery,#1)

Worst Laid Plans by Claire Robyns

Not exactly writing to set the world on fire. The characterisation was a bit weak in places, but it did have enough about the plot and timing to keep me turning the pages - and that is quite hard to do.

I was engaged enough in the world built by this author to read more of the series.

From an editorial point of view, the productions values were good with no errors to mention. The only bug bear I had was an ending that felt a bit like an emergency stop on a driving test. The ending could have been handled slightly differently to avoid this.

Other than that a solid three stars (the thick end of 3 nearing 4).

I purchased as part of my Kindle Unlimited package, but anyone not on that scheme can purchase a copy at just £2.99 at the time of writing this post HERE.

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Monday, 7 November 2016

#413 ~ The Ladies' Room

The Ladies' Room

The Ladies' Room by Carolyn Brown

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Not outstandingly brilliant prose, but giving it consideration the author created a strong narrative voice that kept me in the moment - I could clearly hear the Southern drawl, even though there was no attempt to amend the writing to achieve this - very successfully done in my opinion.

The plot didn't set the world alight, but then I suppose that was probably the aim. It detailed a journey of self-discovery and awakening of confidence and courage.

Overall a decent job, and I would like to explore this author more.

Production values were high, and there are no bug bears etc. to detail.

Purchase details:

I purchased/borrowed as part of my Kindle Unlimited package, but you can download a copy HERE.  At the time of writing this post it's £3.49 which seems a reasonable price.

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Thursday, 3 November 2016

#412 ~ The Bad Mother's Diary

The Bad Mother's Diary

The Bad Mother's Diary by Suzy K. Quinn

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Reading this brightened my day. It's joyfully delightful. After nearly 30 years of motherhood, and no privacy in the bathroom even now ... I am fully on her level.

The boring bits about purchase:

Part of my Kindle Unlimited package, but you can purchase it, you won't e disappointed, HERE.

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Tuesday, 1 November 2016

#411 ~ The Marriage List

The Marriage List

The Marriage List by Dorothy McFalls

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book had been kicking around on my Kindle for some time, I'm not sure if it was one of the free daily book deals, or I paid for it.

On paper, or at least on the Kindle in this case, it was everything that I don't like: full of Americanised English and what passes for grammar, it was also fairly high on the not terribly authentic scale, but some little tiny thing kept me turning the pages.

Taking all of the above into account it scored the thick end of 3 stars.

The good, the bad and the ugly:

As mentioned above it was not high quality writing based on sound historical research and knowledge and so there were very many ugly bits.

One golden moment, for all the wrong reasons was Page 81 'The green-eyed monster, jealousy, stabbed her but good.'  - a sentence such as this should never, ever, ever be seen this genre.

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Wednesday, 26 October 2016

#410 ~ The Story of Our Life

The Story of Our Life

The Story of Our Life by Shari Low
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

By and large this was quite enjoyable, but I had a big problem with the authenticity of the dialogue, it felt very American with many conjunctions missing - this did not match up to the characters and their demographic. This is quite disappointing for a seasoned author, so I knocked off a star.

Apart from that it was an okay read, but the plot felt a little ponderous at times.

If you're not looking for startling prose, but fully open to a holiday read format, give it a go.

Errors/Bug Bears/Highlights:

Location 69: 'squeeze in nine holes in before dinner.'

Location 1017:  '...buying into in the joke.'

Locoation 4382: '...truth in on my face.'

Purchased as part of my Kindle Unlimited deal, you can get a copy HERE.

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Sunday, 18 September 2016

#409 ~Something Quite Beautiful

Something Quite Beautiful (No Greater Love)

Something Quite Beautiful by Amanda Prowse

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A first time read for this author, just to check whether her style etc., would fit me. I was pleasantly surprised and found this to be a decent paced and enjoyable short, which helped me make up my mind to give this author more attention.

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#508 ~ The White Cuckoo

The White Cuckoo

The White Cuckoo by Annie Ireson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Back on the studying wheel, so posts will be mostly brief and sparse ...

This one was an interesting take on a paranormal story, I particularly liked mix of some historical and some contemporary strands.

On the whole very well written, although it dragged a little for me towards end end.

Exceptional production values with no errors, or bug bears come to that.

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Sunday, 11 September 2016

#507 ~ The Butterfly Garden

The Butterfly Garden

The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a completely disturbing book on so many levels ... and yes, that statement makes it sound like I wasn't that happy with the book. Check out the stars though, it gained 4 of them even though my opening words are made up with 'completely disturbing'.

The subject matter was for the majority of the time deeply uncomfortable, and would be for any reasonably well adjusted individual, but it was a consuming read on the one hand repulsing me, and on the other full of hope that what seemed almost a hopeless situation could end in anything but an unhappy and upsetting way.

Only attempt to read this book if you have a strong stomach and interest in literature that is enquiring and in need of stimulation and food for thought and contemplation. If you have you will probably run the full spectrum of emotions that I have.

Purchase details:

Downloaded as part of my Kindle Unlimited package from

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Sunday, 4 September 2016

#506 ~ Just One Damned Thing After Another

Just One Damned Thing After Another (The Chronicles of St. Mary's #1)Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Book #1 in the series


One of the most entertaining books I've read this year, and can't wait to catch up on the whole of this series.

A long time ago it had been one of my 'Daily Picks' and at the time it would have been free, but it was just dropped into my library and I'd forgotten all about it.

At the time the cover and title had been a draw but as I'd forgotten all about that, and thus my expectations when starting to read it were quite low.

Seriously funny and well written, and as it turns out it made the grade as one of my 'Editor's picks'.

If you like sci-fi definitely try it, but if you like to read funny and entertaining literature, it will be worth your consideration.

Git it a try, I am sure you won't be disappointed.

I was luck enough to download this Kindle file as part of my Kindle Unlimited package (it's not now available through that), but you can get it HERE ... oh, and a bargin at 99p for the Kindle version at the moment.

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#505 ~ A Time for Living

A Time for Living (Polwenna Bay, #2)

A Time for Living by Ruth Saberton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book 2 in the Polwenna Bay series

You get easy reading, entertaining romance with Ruth Saberton. I am really loving this series and highly recommend it. There are no great surprises, just like slipping on a comfortable pair of slippers after a hard day walking on cold concrete, her books make you feel warm from the feet right up to the heart and beyond.

Part of my Kindle Unlimited package, but I would happily pay to read her work.

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Thursday, 21 July 2016

#504 ~ Longbourn


Longbourn by Jo Baker

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Editor's Pick

Unusually, this is one that I bought (some time ago) and is not part of of my Kindle Unlimited package.  A bargain at £4.99 you can get it HERE.

A piece of fiction that is not only compelling, but well thought out and executed.

It focuses on a servant in the Bennet Household and mirrors from the point of view of the under stairs occupants what went on with Elizabeth and D'Arcy in Pride and Prejudice. Fair enough, this doesn't seem that exciting when one states the bare facts like that, but the skill and attention to detail that must have taken is second to none.

It is so well written, with both beautiful straightforward and complicated characters that I couldn't read it quick enough.

The production values were, as you would expect, really excellent. It's another's Editor's Pick from me. There were some highlights, one error and no bug bears for this one:

Location 532: 'kneeb-ritches'

Some of the highlights

Location 55: A definite highlight and a great example of how to weave words when describing the everyday detail in the hard life of a servant 
'Over the eastern hills the sky was fading to a transparent indigo.  Sarah, glancing up, hands stuffed into her armpits, her breath clouding the air, dreamed of the wild places beyond the horizon where it was already fully light, and of how, when her day was over, the sun would be shining on other places still, on the Barbadoes and Antigua and Jamaica where the dark men worked half-naked, and on the Americas where the Indians wore almost no clothes at all, and where there was consequently very little in the way of laundry, and how one day she would go there, and never have to wash other people's underthings again.'

Location 5290: 

'It was not the end, of course; it was just an end.  Mrs Hills thread may have become snarled up into an intractable knot, but others were still unspooling'

Location 5330:

'Threads that drift along will sometimes simply twine themselves together, without need for spindle or distaff:  brought into each other's ambit, they bind themselves tight with the force of their own torsion. And this same torsion can, in the course of things, bundle the resulting cord back upon itself, ravelling it up into a skein, returning to the point of its beginning.'

'ambit' - the scope, extent or bounds of something.

Bibliography details:

Longbourn by Jo Baker
Kindle Edition, 448 pages / Published August 15th 2013 by Transworld Digital (first published 2013) / 
Original Title Longbourn / ASIN  B00CQ1D3BY / Edition Language   English

Happy reading.


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Saturday, 16 July 2016

#503 ~ Dead Romantic

Dead Romantic

Dead Romantic by Ruth Saberton

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Editor's Pick

Absolutely loved this one. Novel plot with well-shaped and believable characters.

Ruth Saberton has the knack of realistic and sparkling dialogue which is really funny and authentic.

Producers and Commissioners out there, this book would translate so well to a film plot or for TV and literally would be 'totes hilare'.

It wasn't until I was putting this review together that I realised Ruth Saberton is also author of the Polwenna Bay series, which I am love too.

Nice to see fabulous production quality, I only think there was one (or maybe two) tiny thing:

Location 2680:  '...a long-ago December when Dad spend all Christmas ...' - spent.

Unless stated otherwise, most of my reading these days is part of my Kindle Unlimited reading package, but there are one or two old books that aren't, or I have to purchase them to get a full set of a series!

Happy reading.

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Monday, 11 July 2016

#502 ~ The Dead Duke, His Secret Wife, and the Missing Corpse

The Dead Duke, His Secret Wife, and the Missing Corpse: An Extraordinary Edwardian Case of Deception and Intrigue

The Dead Duke, His Secret Wife, and the Missing Corpse: An Extraordinary Edwardian Case of Deception and Intrigue by Piu Marie Eatwell

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Interesting story, and true, story, but written with a little too much eye on the plain facts. It would be so much more interesting if it was written into a fictional piece. At time this book was a little slow going.

The odd error, but on the whole not a bad production value.  Errors found were:

Location 2477:  '...ched' - watched

Location 2489: 'Thomas ner Turner' - Thomas Warner Turner

Location: 2499: 'Harrig-ton' - Harrington

Happy reading



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Sunday, 10 July 2016

#501 ~ Burying the Honesuckle Girls

Burying the Honeysuckle Girls

Burying the Honeysuckle Girls by Emily Carpenter
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Although not quite sure at first, this turned out be a first-class read. In fact, I would say that I could truly class it as an Editor's pick, and highly recommended.

I did discover something reading this: I don't mind "gotten" when it's in a contemporary, or location appropriate setting. When in this book the use of that word (and not overly so) seemed to fit.

It's a nicely stranded contemporary and historical family saga, which moved me to tears at the conclusion.

Without giving too much away, the plot at the end reminded me of my own childhood growing up in a village with a large and very scary Institution at one end ... so many lives ruined sometimes through genuine mental health issues and disabilities that were hidden away, and most distressingly of all, just some patients that had simply failed to keep to the strict moral code of the day or to bow down to a voice of authority.

This book is a nicely judged piece of work, with a very high production value - just one mistake, which (as usual) is detailed on my blog.

For a first novel, it is exceptionally well done, and I look forward to more by Emily Carpenter.



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Saturday, 9 July 2016

#500 ~ The Wicked Lady

The Wicked Lady (The Ladies, #4)

The Wicked Lady by Brenda Jernigan

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Book 4 in the 'Gentlemen Always Play Fair' Box Set Compilation, and thank goodness for that - Location 21980 thankfully onward to the conclusion.

Quite frankly, I am as fed us reviewing these mediocre offerings as you are probably reading the fact that I have nothing to say about them other than the errors etc. Stick with the reviews though, there has been much, much better reading going one.

As far as this books is concerned, it was lucky to make 2 stars and not be consigned to the DNF pile out of sheer lack of production values, interest or writing skills.

By this point in the exercise I am so fed up that I don't think I can be bothered to list the actual errors and bug/bears, but just to be thorough I will force myself.

Location 22410: ' a handful of jelly as she snatched him to his feet...' - jam in the UK, and probably historically known preserve.

Location 22600: '...sidewalks' - nope.

Location 22958: 'bourbon' - Brandy or Whisky.

Location 23209: '...Chatsworth' - the country seat of the Dukes of Devonshire, if you are going to name an estate, don't use one that is so obviously not connected with the characters.

Location 24454: '...don't mind fixing two horses for us?' - are they broken?

Location 24913: 'She bumped his shoulder, and the connection forced her to backed up'.

Location 24918: '...cream-coloured pants'. - Have a little look at the Two Nerdy Histrory Girls blog for some pointers on historical dress(both American writers and both knowledgeable - they are most definitely not 'pants'.

Location 25543: 'A cool breeze tease Kristen's lose strands of hair...' - teased and lose is past participle of lost, so that would be loose.

Location 25983: 'Trevor's mouth moved in such an mesmerizing way...' - a mesmerizing way.

Having considered all the books in the set, I would think that a three star rating overall would be appropriate, but only just if I still had the possibility of half stars it would have been 2.5.

Do I wholeheartedly recommend it?  No, not unless you are into poorly written and produced historical romances without the feel of decent research or effort.

Happy reading.

Kay xoxox

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