Friday, 29 March 2013

Quail Fried Rice by Jill Carroll

Quail Fried Rice was a perfect story for a lazy day. It's gentle pace and quality storyline was very welcome.

Jill Carroll is an excellent storyteller. Her descriptions of food dishes were tangible, mouthwatering and seriously made me want a plateful. She talked about the land so vividly I could see it in front of me. Quail Fried Rice is a story of two people who fall in love and who are accepted as they are and welcomed by the townspeople. I thought it was fabulous and, I think, a bit of a moral message in itself.

I am ignorant when it comes to life in a desert town in America and, as an added bonus, this book provided me with an excellent insight into fauna and flora in that part of the world. I stopped several times to look up various names and enjoyed the learning curve.

It kept me reading all day and I will be looking out for more fiction by this author :)

Thursday, 28 March 2013

The Witch of Luna Hill by Neel Kay

I woke up very early this morning and one of the first things I did was start reading this book from where I left off late last night. Always a good sign!

The Witch of Luna Hill is billed as a fantasy/romance novel which, to me, doesn't really do it justice because it's actually a crackingly good fantasy novel which would stand on its own as just that. Although I feel this book is for the older teenage market, I really enjoyed it as a forty something woman and I will definitely be buying the second of this two book series when it is published.

The story centres around Aia, a young woman who was attacked and almost killed but was resuscitated by the villager who found her. She suffers amnesia and, taking a name given to her by those who found her, she begins a new life. She has nightmares, which she assumes are flashbacks of her past, but she can't bring them to focus. A chance meeting with Merian, the sister of the feared Lyder, takes her home to a people who expect her to save them all.

There is a real feel of Scandinavian lore about this book and it was no surprise to find out the author, Neel Kay is a Dane. Her webpage can be found here:

Twitter: @NeelKay

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Flawed Gods by Angela B Mortimer

Flawed Gods is written by an author who has immersed herself in this fictional tale and it flows at a good pace. As I read, it struck me this story would, with a little tweaking, make a rather good animated film for adults.

The Varan's are an elder race of aliens who seed planets and watch as evolution plays it's part on the species they have created. This isn't the core of the story, however, as that honour belongs to Doella, the main female character. She bewitches at a glance any human or alien male who is in sight of her and, being of the race she is, this means she usually ends up in bed with them. I have to admit I personally found this a little wearing and predictable after a while and, although it is part of her character and personality, I was happy to note there were some she kept at bay! However, this did not detract from the story and, for certain readers, it may even enhance it...

This is a story of a woman who holds very different views to others of her race. A woman who refuses to be controlled by rules and other's opinions. Flawed Gods seems to be almost a back story to who Doella is and the importance of certain people she meets and takes forward with her on her journey to discover the role she must fulfill and those who demand it of her.

This is the first book in a four part series and the second part, Hyclos, has recently been released. I think it holds great promise and I am looking forward to reading the second novel and watching the story move onward.

Flawed Gods


Twitter: @AngelaMortimer2

Monday, 11 March 2013

Dysfunctional Romance! by Derick Hudson

I am so glad I decided to buy this book. The cover is not brilliant as it doesn't really give you a clue about the content of the story but, to be fair, I am not sure what could.

The story is about Barry and Sandra who are absolutely meant to be together because they are both as mad as a balloon and this is what makes their story so good. It's all about acceptance of each other and their flaws, a real feel-good read. It also happens to be one of the funniest books I have read for a while, with sharp and hilarious one liners I wish I had written myself and may well start using verbally around the house just because they make me giggle so much.

Derick Hudson has an eye for the ridiculous and it flows along at a pace in this novel. I loved the banter and relationship the two main characters have, both wonderfully real and believable.

Derick Hudson writes not as a typical male or female author who might stereotype their opposite sex but just as a great storyteller and I hope he writes a sequel to the story of these two very likable characters.

Twitter: @Derick_Hudson

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Are We Nearly There Yet? by Ben Hatch

I have a soft spot for travel books and have been a huge fan of Bill Bryson for many years so I was looking forward to reading this one from Ben Hatch.

It is a story about his travels whilst writing a guidebook for Frommer's (the American equivalent of Time Out, apparently) about visiting England with your family and where to go etc.

The story Ben writes is a very personal one. He takes with him his wife Dinah and their two small children on a five month tour of England. A very brave move in itself, as any parent will appreciate. He tells of the places they visit and the reception they receive but moreover he tells of the emotions of the trip and what it cost him to do it. 

His father is very unwell but, proud of his son and what he is doing, he insists he carries on with the trip and Ben does this, despite misgivings and the pull to be with his father. The trip he makes shows his father the family man Ben has become and is a legacy to the man he loves very much. I found it very emotive, laughing one minute at scary episodes in haunted houses to crying with empathy the next as his father's illness unfolds. It's a snapshot of life.

The only criticism I can give is to wonder why he only just brushed into Suffolk and left again before he was photographed. I can only hope he was on a road on which he had to cross the border twice and there was a yokel hovering over the sign, pointing out his misfortune and laughing at his plight. Bryson never mentions Suffolk either. I don't know what it is, there really isn't any substance to the rumour we don't let tourists back out again until they have ploughed six fields by hand and milked a herd of cows. They only do that in parts of Norfolk. Allegedly ;) 

P.S. This book is currently at the ridiculous price of 98p, I suggest you grab a copy quickly before he realises...

(I have since been informed by Mr Hatch they did visit Suffolk on this trip and enjoyed themselves but I am leaving the menacing yokel where he is, the hours not up yet and I want my money's worth *smiles*)

Twitter: @BenHatch

Martha's Medicine by C C McMillan

This week I snuggled up with Martha's Medicine, a lovely book by C.C. McMillan. I loved the title as it reminded me of a band I used to have a bit of a thing about, All About Eve, and their song "Martha's Harbour". It ended up being rather poignant as the character Martha is indeed a harbour for lost souls.

The story revolves around a popstar who has lost his way and a woman, Martha, who is hiding from life for very good reasons. To begin with I had reservations about the story, because it seemed a little unlikely the P.A. of a famous popstar would send her boss to a woman who writes a letter asking her to do so, but I was soon drawn in to the beautiful descriptions and images the author brought to mind. Her descriptions of Scotland were wonderful and I felt as if I was back there, watching this story unfold.

Martha's story is really touching and believable. The characters background story has made her the woman she is, wanting to help those she sees in pain now because she couldn't before when she was too young. Danny, the popstar in the novel, is like so many of the people in the public eye who have believed their own publicity and have gone off the rails into excess, seemingly past saving to those around them. Martha offers him a way out if he will take it and together they make a story which really should be turned in to a film.

This book was a joy to read and, for a first novel, beautifully crafted. A writer to watch out for.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

The Liebster Blog Award

I was asked to take part in the Liebster Blog award by Terry Tyler whose blog can be found here -

Terry's blog is always full of great stuff and well worth a good look around. I particularly loved her post on getting older, very funny and as a lady of a certain age I could fully appreciate what she was saying, here it is for those of you who may have missed it

The Liebster Blog Award is to recognise blogs who have less than 200 followers and are worthy of adding to your reading list. The idea is to post 11 random facts about yourself, answer 11 random questions asked by the person who nominated you and then think up 11 questions for 11 bloggers you personally recommend. Since my blog is barely hatched, I can't really nominate eleven other bloggers yet but I will come back to this at a later date and do a special write up on blogs which I really enjoy :)

11 Random Facts About Me

1. My heart lives beside the mountains of Scotland but the rest of me lives in a town. One day I shall go and join my heart :)

2. I love to laugh and do so, often. Sometimes I do so rather inappropriately. My grandad used to say I would 'laugh to see a puddin' crawl'. I see the humour in all sorts of things I probably should not!

3. I love rock music and do a mean air guitar. I cried buckets when Freddie Mercury died, for the loss of the entertainer and for the fact I never did get to see him live on stage.

4. I do a good impression of a chicken and speak fluent Rooster although my Hen could use some work. This has served me well in the past whilst egg collecting and has enabled me to escape the coop unscathed.

5. I have an enquiring mind and particularly love geosciences and astrosciences. I agree with Professor Stephen Hawking on many things and, in particular, his opinion it's a bad idea to broadcast our existence to extra terrestrials (Active SETI). If the equations are correct then we should be getting a reply any day now. If you want me, I will be in the nearest bunker with a can of baked beans and brushing up on my Klingon.

6. I wear glasses as contact lenses don't suit me as I have, according to the optician, 'funny shaped eyeballs'. Bit harsh, I thought. I wanted a consultation not a deconstruction of my fragile ego.

7. I am 5' 3 1/2" tall. I used to be 5' 7" tall but lost the extra inches when I stopped wearing high heels on a daily basis. The climate down here is slightly milder but speaking at the chest level of normal sized people can be a little wearing at times. Fortunately, my other half is also gnome like and therefore having a snog doesn't cause neck problems. Handy, that ;)

8. I dye my hair as the grey (Silver. SILVER!) highlights have already started and, until I can safely dye it purple and spit at people in a decade or so when more socially acceptable, I am taking no chances. The wiry beasts and I do battle on a daily basis. Just lately they seem to be multiplying quicker than wasps do in the summer when you have just sat down for a picnic.

9. I love to write, draw, paint and be creative. Some of this is successful and some I wouldn't dare show or admit to in public. The dark recesses of my mind is not a holiday you should go on without a nice big life insurance policy and perhaps a rescue helicopter on stand by ;)

10. I don't feel the need to be famous. I don't want to be on television. I have dodged cameras and family photos for years!

11. I don't watch much television. I spend my free time writing, creating, listening to music, playing at photography and filling my head with as much knowledge as this increasingly aging brain can absorb. If something peaks my interest then I will research it until I have uncovered every little detail...and then I will probably write about it :)

These are the questions set by Terry for me and her other nominees to answer :)

1. What's your favourite flavour of crisps?

Bovril. Unfortunately, when Walker's Crisps took over the brand of Smith's they got rid of Bovril crisps. I wrote asking for their reinstatement but was told 'No, but we do beef ones'. No consideration, I thought. Well. Honestly.

2. How many of other people's blogs do you read per day, on average?

Not as many as I ought to or would like to, at the moment.

3. If you weren't promoting your book/blog, would you still use Twitter/Facebook so much? If not, how much would you?

Twitter is a great source for links to science related articles and discussions so I use it for that too and for networking with like minded people in as gentle a way as possible. I am still working out the etiquette and building a list of people I am interested in :)

4. Do you smoke? If not, did you ever? (I know at least one person I've tagged has good reason to really, really hate it)

I tend to 'vape' these days on an electronic cigarette although not in public much, as it looks like I am addicted to some sort of drug, doesn't it? What's that you say? Oh. Fair point!

5. When a doctor asks you how much you drink, do you lie?

No, I don't need to as I rarely drink unless out for the night, which I rarely am.

6. What is your star sign? Do you know about the typical characteristics of that sign, and if so, which ones apply to you?

My star sign is Sagittarius, apart from that I couldn't possibly comment in public ;)

7. Do you remember your first blog post? What was it about?

I do indeed. It was meant to be forthright and positive but came across as arrogant and a little bit know-all so I deleted it and sent it off into the ether with a flea in it's ear and a warning not to do that again.

8. Imagine you have to give up these four things for a month: alcohol, writing, listening to music, television. Starting with the one you would find the easiest to give up, in what order would you find them easiest to do without?

I could happily give up everyday broadcasted television as I hardly watch it but would need a set for the home cinema system to connect to. Alcohol is also no problem as I don't bother unless I am out in the evening. Writing/listening to music...eek, no no no please don't take those away, I'll be good, I promise!

9. I love QI, Have I Got News For You, Mock The Week, Ed Byrne, Frankie Boy,e sometimes, Fawlty Towers, Python, Catherine Tate.. and loads more. I loathe Michael McIntyre. What do you/don't you find funny?

I like Monty Python, Blackadder, Catherine Tate, Miranda Hart and Jo Brand to name a few top ones. I detest The Office, can't see anything funny in it or Ricky Gervais. He needs to be fed salted tea. I find him as funny as I would somebody swiping my last chocolate bar when I have PMT. It's not clever. Pay the price :)

10. Do you watch soap operas? If so, which is your favourite, and if not, why not?

Good grief, no. I have a huge family, of which I am the matriarch, and they provide me with more than enough excitement, thank you very much. There's a chocolate box of emotions just waiting for me to choose daily from around these parts, let me tell you. Watch it on TV? In my pajamas without chocolate medicine on standby? What ARE you suggesting? ;)

11. And finally - please put a link here to any of your blog posts - tell us what it's about, and why you have chosen it!

I think it is going to have to be this one because it beautifully illustrates why I don't need to watch soap operas haha :)