Wednesday, 30 December 2015

#475 ~ Hard Times

Hard Times

Hard Times by Charles Dickens

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Bought as a set book for my Open University Module.

There is nothing to add about Dickens that hasn't been said already. It was a little hard-going in places, but that is more down to the style of its writing than the substance.

View all my reviews

#474 ~ Circ


Circ by Simon Fairbanks et al

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

An interesting collaborative writing by Giselle Thompson ('Receiver of Stolen Words') et al.

Engaging, interesting and well written. A group of this size was always a risk working in collaboration, but they pulled it off completely.

I loved it ... a triumph of good writing, humour and application of craft.

You can find it HERE.

Happy reading.


Kay xoxo

View all my reviews

#473 ~ In the Blood

In the Blood (Genealogical Crime Mystery, #1)In the Blood by Steve Robinson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

#1 in the Jefferson  Tayte Genealogical Mystery Series

I've gone for 5 stars on book from Kindle Unlimited.

Overall whilst it was well written and kept my interest it was slightly on the predictable side as far as plot goes. However, the writing and grammar were accomplished (a refreshing change from some of the rot out there) and therefore I rounded up the 4.75 I'd allotted in my head to a 5 stars.

I have downloaded the others in the series, and will be interested to see how JT gets on finding his own family connections.



View all my reviews

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

#472 - A Receiver of Stolen Words

A Receiver of Stolen WordsA Receiver of Stolen Words by Giselle Thompson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It's really rare to get 5 stars from me these days, but Giselle has managed. Obviously, there is a link as she has studied the Creative Module that I am currently doing, but it goes beyond just that.

She has a really fluid and lovely voice that is very recognisable, and is a mistress of the short story (a skill I envy). However within each of her pieces there are subtle variations in her style that make them a joy to read.

I'm a regular reader of her blog, and enjoyed the book that she collaborated on with 9 others, 'Circ'. Even though there were so many it was easy to distinguish talents from the other talented authors.

This is highly recommended if you are studying Creative Writing, or just enjoy differently told and well researched literature.

You can purchase a copy HERE, which is an absolute snip at £1.83; she is definitely selling herself short.

Happy reading.


Sunday, 4 October 2015

#470 ~ Our Triumph and Our Glory (Book 1)

Our Triumph and Our Glory (Triumph and Glory Book 1)Our Triumph and Our Glory by Megane Kilpatrick

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Megane is an old head on young shoulders. This short piece is beautifully written and outstanding. Currently, it's on free download, so please pick up a copy and support her.


#469 ~ Lacey's House

Lacey's HouseLacey's House by JoAnne Graham

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I liked this; a pleasant reading experience that made me cry in places.

The themes were sympathetically dealt with with an acceptable pace of plot.

* * *

Unfortunately, I'm so entrenched in two Uni modules it was the briefest possible wording of a review.


Saturday, 12 September 2015

#10 ~ Scribblings of Freya

OU material all arrived, and I've started on both modules. I need to get ahead.

I have been pleasantly about the content of A105, and am looking forward to getting stuck in.  A215 has created a great outpouring of writing.  So far today I've written 672 words, which doesn't include the reflective passages that I've written for each one; I'd estimate over 1,000 word count if they are added in.

The chink in the damn, has caused a deluge of writing ... all of it is quite different.  I am not sure where it's all been, or what the dark corner of my mind my contain, but it's exciting.

Until I'm sure what will be used for TMA or EMA, I can't share, but as soon as things are eliminated or submitted and marked I will do.  Mostly the passages are rough as a badger's bottom, but then that is the point of free writing.  I need to draft them quite a bit.  The idea is to mine ideas, and I'm certainly doing that.

I am very happy.



Monday, 31 August 2015

#468 ~ The American Lady

The American Lady (The Glassblower Trilogy #2)The American Lady by Petra Durst-Benning

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

#Book 2 in the Glassblower Series

I was a little disappointed with this second book in the series. It felt like the author had drifted along with no real purpose, or indeed, determination with the development of the characters.

It was humdrum, just telling, not showing, ordinary lives that had nothing remarkable in them. Whereas the plot did have things going on, and would have lent itself to the coming together of the two. There were also a strand from the first book (the wholesaler), which could have been expanded upon and brought a lot to the party.

The Good ... the Bad ... and the Ugly

I'm looking forward to the next book, which is due out in September 2015 and praying that the author kicks the plot up a notch.  I strongly feel that the ability is there to provide a truly brilliant read, and have got all my fingers crossed.

The 'Bad' element, as always was "gotten" rearing its ugly and useless head.

As far as 'Ugly' goes, there simply isn't enough of that in the text as a whole, it needs menace and suspense.

Happy reading.


#9 ~ Scribblings of Freya

I started reading 'How to Write Poetry: A resource for students and teachers of Creative Writing' by Cynthia Sharp; another Kindle Unlimited Download.

In the chapter of two she talks about building an imagery file, which is actually something that I have done in a quite haphazard way for a few months.  I think I now need to go through my notebooks, and pull out the relevant bits and put them in one specific place.  She then went on to provide some imagery to use for either a Haiku, or 3 line poem.

'The diamond splatter of winter rain'

I used it to come up with a proper Haiku - that is to say, not one that is just 5:7:5 syllables, but that has a natural context.


The diamond splatter

on winter rain on green leaf

jewel of nature free

(c) Freya Thorne 
United Kingdom
All Rights Reserved

I then went on to play with it a bit further for a 3 line poem, it's quite freeing to not have to worry about syllable length.


The diamond splatter of winter rain on green leaf

Heavenly bounty displayed with majesty

A gift from on High to lighten the burden of my soul

(c) Freya Thorne
United Kingdom
All Rights Reserved

I'm really pleased with how the development has worked out, and now I can feel something even longer bubbling away in my cauldron of creativity.

It's a bit disturbing where the poet in me sprang from.  I could understand it a bit more if A215 had actually started!  So, perhaps it is just something in me anyway ... my place, my calling, my destiny.

Happy rainy Bank Holiday Monday all.



Sharp, Cynthia, 'How to Write Poetry: A resource for students and teachers of Creative Writing' 16 November 2014 Published by David Carlyle (Country Unknown) on Amazon UK and downloaded as a Kindle Unlimited book from HERE.

Sunday, 30 August 2015

#467 ~ The Magpies

The Magpies

The Magpies by Mark Edwards

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was surprisingly good. It went along at a reasonable pace, and the characters were quite believable. Although the author could have really ramped up Lucy's chilling side a bit more, which would gave got a further star from me.

Overall, the text was imaginative and proved to be a decent psychological thriller.

The Good ... the Bad ... the Ugly

Having lived next-door to a weird creep who did everything possible to ruin our lives, I have a deep appreciation of how living in close to proximity to a destructive and evil being can play on your mind, and drive you to do extraordinary, and out of character things.  Therefore, you won't really find anything but praise for book within this section, which I am sure you will agree makes a pleasant change!

Happy reading.


#8 ~ Scribblings of Freya

Watching Monty Don this morning on Gardener's World, cocooned in the quiet before family life begins, I had the inspiration for a Haiku from a phrase he used.


The velvet season

Glorious colours spill forth

Winter looming near

(c) Freya Thorne
United Kingdom
All Rights Reserved

I like it so much, I think it might work in a longer piece, so I will mull over the possibilities.

Still no books from Open University, although to be fair to them, they aren't due for delivery yet.  It's just last year they arrived in July.  The two modules I'm doing are not due to start until early October, but I just need to get ahead, purely because I'm doing two modules this coming year; a huge amount of work.

Happy reading.



Saturday, 29 August 2015

#466 ~ The Earl and His Tiger

The Earl and His Tiger Special Edition: Regency RomanceThe Earl and His Tiger Special Edition: Regency Romance by Elizabeth Moss

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I am afraid it was lacking the essentials. It felt like a facsimile of Georgette Heyer's 'These Old Shades'; and not a good one. Just like it is wrong to try and sing a Celine Dion hit, so it is wrong to try and undertake a Georgette Heyer'esque book without the talent to pull it off. It takes a brave and talented writer to do that.

It would have scored a 3 star rating, but "gotten" reared up and bit this books's rating on the bottom and knocked it down to 2 stars after some thought.

I don't think I will be in a hurry to read more by this author, when there is better and effective writing out there.

The Good, The Bad and, The Ugly

A moderately constructed book; it left me wanting though.

Badly done was the use of 'gotten'.  This writer should be perfectly capable of steering away from its use.  EDITED TO ADD:  FOLLOWING THE COMMENT BY THE AUTHOR I AM GOING TO RE-READ THIS AGAIN IN CASE I HAVE MADE A MISTAKE ABOUT "GOTTEN", IN WHICH CASE I WILL BE PERFECTLY WILLING TO APOLOGISE.

Now for the ugly bits:

'... rubbing down his forehock' (Moss, E (2015) Location 1055).

The hock of a horse is at the rear.

'... his immaculate riding habit ...' (Moss, E (2015) Location 2474).

I'm not thoroughly sure, I must confess, but I am not certain a gentleman would wear a riding habit.  It is a untidy phrase in any event.

'...'Knox, where are my pistols kept?' (Moss, E (2015) Location 3804).

Wouldn't a gentleman know where his own pistols were?  I don't believe that they would have been entrusted to a servant.

'... I shall take up to visit your father.' (Moss, E (2015) Location 4163).

There appears to be a word missing.


Moss, Elizabeth 'The Earl and His Tiger' 8 January 2015 published by Thimblerig Press on Amazon UK.  I downloaded as a Kindle Unlimited title.

Happy reading

Monday, 24 August 2015

#7 ~ Scribblings of Freya

Haiku thought for today.

Puppet on a string

Dance to the tune of other folk

Cut bonds and fly free

(c) Freya Thorne
United Kingdom
All Rights Reserved

Happy Sunday everybody.


Saturday, 22 August 2015

#6 ~ Scribblings of Freya

Having had a conversation with a new friend recently, I have come to realise that what can be revealed as a slightly flippant remark about something, can lead them to assume something quite different than perhaps is the actual bread and butter truth of a situation.

It got me to thinking, and a Haiku popped out:

A simple word said

Can oft' be misunderstood

Shielded truth lies under

(c) Freya Thorne
United Kingdom
All Rights Reserved

Muhhhhh, it's not an exemplary example of the art form, but it tells it how it is.  

The conversation, did get me started on a bigger picture of that truth though, and a new poem has started to struggle into life.  So far I'm really quite pleased with the 2 verses, or stanzas, or whatever they are.  I will develop it further; it most definitely has legs for a TMA for OU A215.

Friday, 21 August 2015

#465 - For Love of Sarah

For Love of Sarah

For Love of Sarah by Hazel Statham

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am without a shadow of a doubt a Hazel Statham fan. She is such an easy an entertaining read.

This book didn't, therefore, disappointing. Clean, efficient and endearing to the end. As always from Hazel, there language is period appropriate and delightfully put together.

Another lovely offering.

Happy Reading


Kay xoxo

Thursday, 20 August 2015

#464 ~ Custard Tarts and Broken Hearts

Custard Tarts and Broken HeartsCustard Tarts and Broken Hearts by Mary Gibson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In the end it was a simple choice to give this 5 stars. Not because of the amazing prose or rhetoric, but for the simplicity of the work.

A solid, down to earth, good old fashioned story of a Bermondsey girl and the enduring love she found for her family, and her Sam.

It was simply written well, with no added flourishes, that would have diminished its power. Beware it had me bawling like a little babe at the end.

I loved it, and a worthy 5 stars.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

I loved it all; no mistakes that I picked up on and not a "gotten" in sight.

Happy reading.



Monday, 17 August 2015

#5 ~ Scribblings of Freya

Snivelling bitches, dirty little witches

How dare you ... talk behind a body's back.

Quick to point the finger, just horrible little mud slingers

How dare you ... be so false and go on a sneak attack

Snivelling witches, dirty little bitches

Have the courage of your convictions 

Don't sneak, don't peak ... 

be upright, ready for a fight

And discuss it without a disgusting malicious yellow streak.

Snivelling bitches, dirty little witches

Oh how you make me want to weep ... 

and bury you six foot deep.

(c) Freya Thorne
17 August 2015
United Kingdom
All Rights Reserved

Sunday, 16 August 2015

#4 ~ Scribblings of Freya

Over-arching Summer boughs all now cut and gone

Echoing the dreams of WI women singing Jerusalem

Farewell to flower arrangements, jam and cake

Fierce competition, cricket teas and double-face.

Your fulsome, blousy, heady dreams of youth now gone

Bracts faded purple, grey and green where life once shone

Farewell to possibilities, a life so full of youthful grace

A face time worn, and yet ready still, to stand another dawn.

A season of life, and love and time 

a never ending paradigm.

(c) Freya Thorne 
16th August 2015
United Kingdom
All Rights Reserved

#463 ~ The Glassblower

The GlassblowerThe Glassblower by Petra Durst-Benning

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

#Book 1 in the Series

I wasn't sure what to expect with this one, I don't usually pick foreign authors with translations.

The cover originally drew me in, and as I do the odd bit of glass lampwork there was no harm, I thought, in giving it a go - after all I could just use the 'Return' button if this Unlimited Kindle offering and I didn't get on.

It was a little sluggish at the beginning, but after that turned into a delightful offering. It isn't all light stuff contained in this book, there were dark under-tones; it certainly wasn't as clear as the glass the girls work with. The author has also left strands behind to be woven (or better still embroidered) into future work, which I am very much looking forward to picking up.

The subject matter is a worthy one, that of the empowerment of women; the author dealt with it well, but there was still room for a little bit of growth and playing around with the darkness offered, especially with the strand about the wholesaler. I am hoping that she will play around more with this more in the coming books.

I docked-off 1 star for the use of 'gotten' throughout the book. If you can write well, and this author certainly can, then there is no excuse for using it. That word is a disgusting plague on the written word. A shame, as that took the score to 4 stars rather than 5.

The good, the bad and the ugly

Apart from "gotten" there was nothing truly ugly in this book, and there didn't appear to be an blatant errors.

The good, though were things like this passage:

"... they called them "plum-cake days".  All summer long the songbirds had trilled in the pear tree outside the kitchen window but they were gone now.  The only sound these days was that of a blackbird chirruping or the high piping of a lark, and soon the mists would fall and silence even these."  (Durst-Benning, P (2003 - translated version 2014) Page 7).

The cover image, was also beautiful, which I believe was designed by Marc Cohen (see link below to Amazon page if you require more details on this).


Durst-Benning, P 'The Glassblower', 2003 Ullstein, Germany (2014 Translated from German by Willcocks, S AmazonCrossng, Country Unknown

Book was purchased via Kindle Unlimited HERE.

Happy reading.




Wednesday, 12 August 2015

#462 ~ Merely a Mister

Merely A Mister (Regency Trilogy, #3)

Merely A Mister by Sherry Lynn Ferguson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

#Book 3 in Regency Trilogy

Finally, my wait and see attitude to this author has proved vindicated.

Yes, there is no doubt that her writing style still remains changeable within a work, but there were only a couple of times in this current read.

I was, additionally, delighted that she ramped up the content. I really loved the progress of true love with Myles and Anne, and it was a very pretty scene at the end between the two ... it brought a tear to my eye (and I am a fairly hardened reader!).

On my blog under 'The good, the bad an the ugly' I have done into a little more detail about things that annoy me about her style, if anybody is interested.

Other than that, I still believe that she does hold promise of a higher rating. What I require from her are more baddies, twists and turns and conflict. Not everybody is capable, but I strongly feel she really is. O look forward to furthering our writer/reader relationship in the future - I would love to say great things of her.

For now, a very solid 4 star rating.

The good, the bad and the ugly

For those who are perhaps of the English persuasion, it might be difficult to comprehend what I mean by style with regard to this author's writing.

She does really well to stick to an authentic historical language, without tending towards the Ye Olde Worlde, but dips in and out of it at times with Americanism.

I don't tend to cite many examples of this, but as examples here a couple:


"Anne dear, you do look tired," Vera said in the light of the entry" (Ferguson, SL Location 1091).

Reasoning behind my query:

I would strongly argue that 'entry' is not really appropriately used here, and feel that it would be more commonly used in the North American language, rather than Regency England.  It would have been better to express this as hallway rather than entry.  

It may feel a really small criticism, but it can - and certainly does in my case - grate against the nerves.  Easily solved by solid and authentic research.  Given this might prove problematic, but there are always other to discuss this with by email.


"Mr Myles stood outside by the tiny front gate, just steps from the stoop."

Reasoning behind my query:

'Stoop' is another North American term, it is a 'door step' her in England.

These examples (and many others throughout the book) may feel a really small criticism, but it can - and certainly does in my case - grate against the nerves, and spoils anything with promise.

They are easily solved by solid and authentic research.  Given this might prove problematic, but there are always other to discuss this with by email.


Fergusion, SL 'Merely a Mister' October 2013 Montlake Romanc, Country of publication Unknown

Kindle Unlimited HERE.

Happy reading.


Kay xoxo