Fiction: Book Review Run For Your Life by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge

photo-6

I love, love, love books where you really get a mental image of what the characters look like. Slightly surreally with this thriller, my ‘good cop’ was the spitting image of Freddie Prince Jr , my ‘baddy’ bore more than a passing resemblance to Lord Disick from the Kardashians. Of course, the Irish Priest was Father Ted and the Irish Nanny was Alice Eve. My brain’s clichéd casting abilities aside, I really enjoyed this book.

As with all James Patterson novels, the chapters are short, progressing the story in enticing bite sized morsels. Each one leaving you wanting more. The sentences, paragraphs, pages are so well crafted so as to paint a picture, without any unnecessary fluff and avoiding giving the game away too early.

Detective Michael Bennett is assigned to the case of a serial killer who is striking at classy establishments all over New York City. The novel moves between the perspective of Michael and ‘The Teacher’, the ruthless serial killer who is on a moral mission. This adds great colour to the book – we learn about Mike’s turbulent home life, which endears us to him. And we slowly start to find out what’s made ‘The Teacher’ so mad.

A fast-paced crime thriller, if you like James Patterson novels, or you’re looking for an exciting easy read this would be a good choice.

Fabulous Rating: 4/5

Fab & Fail List: Sunday 20th July 2014

Fab List

Hubby transforming the spare room with his decorating genius.

Being able to sit in the park on my lunch break, catch a tan and read a book. Gosh, weather, you are spoiling us.*

Treating myself to some new skin care – thank goodness for pay day.

Having a digital clear-up – good for the soul.

New books.

Fail List

*Except this weekend, where we appear to have tropical storms of epic proportions.

Getting rudely awoken by the boom of thunder at 4am.

The terrible news about flight MH17, sometimes I really do worry about the state of the world.

Far Away Places: The UK Isn’t Just London!

23 View of the Houses of Parliament from the London Eye

Seriously, it’s no wonder us Brits are so frequently asked whether we know the Queen (I don’t by the way). To those from foreign lands the rest of the UK must just seem like an extension to London. In fact, to those from foreign shores, does the rest of the UK even exist or do they think that the UK is London.

Don’t get me wrong, I love London. I really do. The hustle and bustle. The way the sunlight bounces off the polluted sky to produce some stunning sunsets across the Thames (best viewed from Waterloo Bridge in my opinion). I love that there’s so much to do. It’s a city full of opportunities. There’s exciting places to work. Trendy bars. New foods to try. Fashion is eclectic. The whole place is cosmopolitan and you’re never quite sure when you’re going to stumble across a manly man in a lumberjack shirt wearing a mini-skirt and carrying a sparkly clutch (well, that’s my experience anyway).

However, I also love Birmingham, and Manchester, and Bristol, and Edinburgh, and Oxford and lots of other places in the UK…

And, what seriously pisses me off (sorry I’m cross and the profanities have emerged) is that, as a country, we’re still so London-centric. Even now the BBC is mostly based in Manchester. Even though video conferencing and working from home means we can be anywhere in the country. Even though cities outside of London have so much to offer (and cheaper house prices to boot). We still fixate on London.

The most recent example to add fuel to my fire is this tweet from Robbie Williams. Don’t get me wrong. I adore Robbie. I think Olly Murs is pretty cool too. But why do these ‘guest appearances’ always seem to occur for London audiences?

Take the second-leg of Beyoncé’s recent ‘The Mrs Carter Show World Tour‘. Hubby Jay Z was watching in the wings at Birmingham, but didn’t decide to take to the stage with Bey until they reached London.

Erm, excuse me for a moment. I get it. London is the capital. But please understand, as London is the capital it ALREADY HAS SHITLOADS OF REALLY COOL STUFF (sorry the expletives and the capitals have come out now), spare a thought for us types in the smaller cities. OK, so we have the smug contentment of being able to buy a four-bedroomed house for the same price as a studio flat in the capital, but does that make us any less important in the eyes of superstars? Apparently so…

What do you think? Are we too London-centric? What could be done to redress the balance?

 

Fiction: Book Review #19 – Cover of Night by Linda Howard

Life is too short to read a bad book, James Joyce

Via Pinterest.

Oh yes, monsieur Joyce. Never has a truer word been spoken.

Cover of Night is billed  - on the front cover no less – as…

Suspense that’ll keep you on the edge of your seat.

Admittedly that acclaim does come from middle-aged women’s magazine, Bella.

I tried with this book, I really did. I was expecting a tense thriller. Something where I needed to know who dunnit, why they’d dunnit and what they were up to next. I made it to chapter seven and then gave up…

Cover of Night by Linda Howard

Cate has moved to a sleepy town in Idaho after the death of her husband and now runs a small B&B. One of her guests mysteriously disappears (exiting through an open window in his room) and she’s kinda perturbed (although she seems more annoyed about having to tidy up his stuff than anything particularly sinister). She also seems to have a bit of a thing for the local handyman, although by chapter seven, she doesn’t quite seem to realise this herself. Then there’s the plot of the guys who are looking for the guy who escaped from the window. But it’s just, well, boring. Dishes have been washed, coffee has been served, Cate’s mother has come to visit, Cate has sent her toddler twins to the naughty chair on numerous occasions. But I kind of felt that none of this added anything to the story. It didn’t grip me, in fact it was so lack lustre that I’m surprised I made it to chapter seven.

One of the issues with this book, is that it has a bit of an identity crisis. It doesn’t quite know whether it wants to be a romantic novel or a thriller. It succeeds in being neither and is, instead, utterly boring.

The novel could also do with substantial editing. I know that when you’re trying to write you feel the need to include every minuscule detail to ensure everything makes sense/is in context etc… (heck, I often stage manage my dreams in such a fashion) but the art of a good writer (or editor) is to take bits out. The bits that are left out are as important as the information that’s left in. They’re the bits that make the reader use their imagination – the parts that make the story unique to them. Here’s one such instance which I think could have done with some editing…

Goss’s weapon of choice was a Glock, but in situations like this you took what was available on short notice. The two handguns provided were a Beretta and a  Taurus, with a box of cartridges for each. Goss had never used a Taurus before but Toxtel had, so Toxtel took it and let Goss have the familiar Beretta. They transferred the weapons to their bags, then called the pilot of their rent-a-plane to tell him they were on their way.

Because they were flying on a private plane, they didn’t have to go through security at the airport.

Seriously?! How can a few sentences about guns and ammunition be so blooming boring?!

I don’t like to slate things, I really don’t. But this just wasn’t for me.

Fabulous rating: 0/5

Check out my reading list here. What’s on yours?

Fab & Fail: Sunday 13th July 2014

Fab List

Charlotte Tilbury

This make-up look and interview with Charlotte Tilbury in the current edition of Style Birmingham magazine. I love this quote:

I know that makeup can make your day better. The psychology of makeup is interesting. It’s an instant effect so when you look at yourself in the mirror you feel good about yourself and the whole world reacts to you in a happier and more positive way.

This graphic print dress from Wallis. It’s received poor reviews, but I might just have to try it on for myself.

Adding some new book inspiration to my Pinterest board. 

Re-living the Swing Both Ways gig by listening to the live CD of the night we went. Gosh, us screaming crowd were louder than I thought!

This blog post provides some words of wisdom on how to live and love your life. Who wouldn’t want to do that?

The sound of early morning breakfast bowls being scraped for the last morsel of cereal.

New notebooks.

Fail List

Feeling ropey.

Feminism: Sexism in Football?

I keep taking photos of their arses.

Oh yes, bend over again.

Take your top off.

Imagine a man uttering these sinful words whilst spectating women’s sport. Outrageous, right? So sexist. They should ashamed of themselves, right?

So why is it OK for hoards of women to be saying these things about men? Yep, whilst watching Socceraid (and doing my own fair share of ogling) I overheard a group of women uttering these exact words and I’m fairly certain they weren’t the only ones.

Just another reason why I think feminism is an outdated concept.

James McAvoy

What do you think are men fair game to be ogled? How would you react if a man was saying these things about a woman?

Fanks: The Very Inspiring Blogger Award

I’d like to thank my agent, my mother, my husband, all the fans…

Sorry, got a bit above my station there for a moment. But I would like to say a massive THANK YOU to the fabulous Bluchickenninja who nominated me for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. Thanks honey and right back atcha. I love a good mooch on Bluchickenninja’s blog, where she shares her creativity, her love of books and her trials and tribulations with this thing we call life. Go and check out her blog, if you haven’t already.

Very Inspiring Blogger Award

Right, oh, so there are some rules to this here award and these be they…

  1. Thank and link the amazing person(s) who nominated you.
  2. List the rules and display the award.
  3. Share seven facts about yourself.
  4. Nominate 15 other amazing blogs and comment on their posts to let them know they have been nominated.
  5. Optional: Proudly display the award logo on your blog and follow the blogger who nominated you.

OK, one and two are taken care of, let’s move onto point three, with seven facts about me…

1. I don’t really like the combination of cheese and meat together.

2. I say ‘brilliant’ way too much.

3. I live in my jogging bottoms when I’m at home.

4. I don’t have any pets, but if I did I’d have a ginger tom cat called Elvis, so every time he went out of the house we could say ‘Elvis has left the building’.

5. I’m flat footed.

6. I’ve been told I laugh like a witch… charming!

7. You can find out more facts about me here.

OK, nominating 15 other blogs, blimey here goes…

1. 2 Cups N Run – for writing inspiring posts about running and coffee :).

2. Adventures in Low Vision – love the writing style on this blog, also very inspiring. And very relatable in some instances.

3. Little Bit Soph – for inspiring me to try new beauty products and keeping me up to speed on what’s good out there.

4. Lynette Noni – I loved her collaborative writing piece a while back. Lynette’s blog is bursting with positivity.

5. My Little Book Blog - For fab book reviews and for reminding me of my days starting out in publishing (I don’t work in publishing any longer by the way guys).

6. Cooking With a Wall Flower - I’ve lost count of the number of scrumptious recipes I’ve pinned from this website.

7. Susan Millward – my only real life friend that blogs and helps me put the world to rights in the blogosphere and down the pub.

8. Moth Loves – For inspiring fashion posts.

9. A Blushing Brunette – refreshing to find someone with the same skin concerns as me.

10. Labeled Disabled – Truly blogging from the heart.

11. Taste of Colours – for mouth watering recipe inspiration.

12. Cult Fit – love the inspiring posts, meditations and poems on this site.

13. Erm, the rest of my blog roll appears to be the uber bloggers – the likes of Fleur de Force and Anna Saccone

14. So, if anyone can suggest three other bloggers that I should be checking out…

15. Let me know and I’ll send you a package of goodies in the post as a way of saying thank you :)

Who or what inspires you?

Faff: An Update on My Eyes

I tried to discharge you once, but you came back…

Ha, ha! Got to love my eye surgeon with his dead pan delivery.

Yup, I headed to my home from home last week for my post-surgery check-up and I’m pleased to report that the lasering (or welding as I’m now frequently referring to it as) has worked and closed up the small holes.

I also got the go ahead to continue with my yoga (I’d read conflicting reports on the t’interweb so was steering clear of any downward dog antics or other inversions), but was told I can’t box, sky dive or bungee jump – darn it ;-).

It was debatable as to whether I would be discharged, but as I’m still symptomatic (I still get flashes in my right eye) it was decided that I’d return for a check-up in four months to ensure everything was still behaving. Although I’m to present myself to eye casualty if the flashes get worse or if I get any other symptoms before then.

Because of the timing of my appointment, Hubby and I had booked the day off work, and spent the afternoon wandering around our local shopping centre. Me getting odd glances as I kept my shades on to protect my dilated pupils from the bright lights.

Next stop, getting some new specs. I really like these ones. Some new shades and trying out contact lenses again…

Fab & Fail List: Sunday 6th July 2014

The Fab List

Robbie WIlliams Swings Both Ways

Seeing Robbie – you can read my review of his Swings Both Ways tour here.

Spending some quality time with my hubby.

Victoria and Albert Hotel, Manchester

Our fantastic and bargainous hotel in Manchester.

Visiting the Manchester United museum at Old Trafford, that’s one ‘place to visit’ ticked off the list. Psst! There’s free entry to the museum at the moment. 

Curling my hair the easy way – plait whilst damp, spritz with hairspray, blast with a hairdryer, leave in plait all day, spray with more hairspray and blast with hairdryer again before releasing the plait and scrunching with more hairspray on the evening – et voila.

Discovering a fantastic (and healthy) local take out.  Sooo yummy!

My recent make-up purchases.

Cheese and Shiraz – that’s my kind of pre-gig snack!

The weather being good enough that I can wear flip flops in the UK. And not just any flip flops.

Starbucks Coco Mocha Frappucinos and lemon chicken melt panninis. So yum! And yep the caffeine did make me go loopy! 

Cheesy photo opportunities.

Max Paprika crisps

Treating myself to Max Paprika crisps as part of my Boots meal deal.

Blue nails.

Sunshine.

The Fail List

Manchester closing off one of its main roads for a cycling event on Sunday, making it virtually impossible to navigate to our hotel.

The Manchester United museum. Whilst I’m pleased I’ve visited, after going to the Real Madrid museum it was a bit like comparing Debenhams to Harrods.

A lack of signage and organisation at the Phones-4-U Arena in Manchester (where we went to see Robbie). I’ve never known chaos like it at a concert. Groups of people blocking the main entrances and we even ended up in the wrong seats for a while. Sort it out!